September 18, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. The Washington Post suspects High turnout and new procedures may mean an election day mess. “Election officials across the country are bracing for long lines, equipment failures and confusion over polling procedures that could cost thousands the chance to cast a ballot.”

    Premier Election Solutions, the company that makes many of the nation’s voting machines, last month acknowledged that software used in 34 states, including Virginia and Maryland, could cause votes to be dropped. The company, formerly called Diebold, said it has no fix for the problem now, but election officials can catch the errors and recover the votes through a routine process of double-checking electronic memory cards.

  2. The LA Times reports Tempers flare as Hurricane Ike relief efforts continue. Bolivar Peninsula northeast of Galveston “has essentially become an island” and 200 to 250 people in the area refuse to leave. Tens of thousands of people from the region remain in shelters. The death toll has risen to 50 people. The Houston-area death toll is at 23.

    Over 1 million people in the Houston area are still without electricity. “State officials worry that it will take weeks to restore basic utilities in towns like Galveston and communities near the Texas-Louisiana border because power substations have been demolished and key infrastructure systems are down.”

    The Houston Chronicle reports Galveston may have power in 10 days and FEMA is being criticized by the city of Houston.

    FEMA took another round of criticism today from the Houston mayor’s office after ready-to-eat meals ran out at a distribution center at the University of Houston’s Robertson Stadium.

    Deputy chief of staff Terrence Fontaine’s outburst came shortly after noon when, after serving about 8,000 meals, the center ran out of food.

    “I’m trying to figure out right now where the truck is,” he fumed. “I’ve been waiting on it for three hours. We need it to come from the command station at Reliant (Park). FEMA is saying nothing – nothing. Not yet. I’m waiting on the product to come up the line. . . .All I’ve heard is, the product is on the way.”

Four at Four continues with news from Afghanistan and Iraq, Mexico’s violent drug war, and a 2 for 1 bonus environmental disaster news from the Arctic and Pacific coast.

Lutz remains a Putz on Global Warming denial

Stephen Colbert pushed GM’s Bob Lutz on his Global Warming denial views. And, he reasserted his rejection of that “CO2 theory”, citing thousands of scientists as well.

Colbert: Why not just call this the Chevy-Gore?  You don’t believe in Global Warming, do you? You’ve said that you don’t.

Lutz: I accept that the planet has heated.

But, like many noted scientists, I don’t believe in the CO2 theory.

GM engineers, scientists, and others who believe in the scientific method and working within reality must wince every time he speaks about Global Warming.

POWs’ Plea

Last night the Rachel Maddow MSNBC show had a couple of clips about a very important legislative bill that passed in the House of Representatives on monday  Sept 15 ’08.

The bill is H. R. 5167 which had 38 co-sponsors with only 3 being Republican.

The bill’s name is: Justice for Victims of Torture and Terrorism Act

But watch a video, of which I combined two of her reports together, that will explain further.

McCain Calls for SEC Chair Christopher Cox to be Fired

(cross-posted at DailyKos)

At a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, IA on Thursday, John McCain laid part of the blame for our economic crisis on SEC Chairman Christopher Cox and said that he would fire Cox if he was President.  McCain said that Chairman Cox “in my view, has betrayed the public’s trust. If I were President today, I would fire him.”

The Dumb Problem

I don’t mean to belittle the American voter…..


Oh wait, yes I do.

It was after all the American voter who gave us George ‘the Torturer I want to have a beer with ” Bush. And now the have an even better real life Mavericky, POW, Straighttalkin’ icon to be gullible enough to vote for. MOMMY, help meeee!

I know it is not good politics to talk about this ‘nation of whiners’ in a derogatory manner. I know that the American voter is the very model of thoughtfulness, probity and steely eyed common sense that defies and even spits in the eye of the bespectacled elitists and eggheads who think they know better than the down home, salt of the earth “average American.” But these people are scaring the piss out of me. Which is not good when you are blogging in a library.


Why Isn’t The American Worker More Pissed Off ?

The title of this essay is a bit rhetorical in nature. I think we can all come up with some structural and ideological reasons why the American worker is not just blindingly angry. An article over at Alternet summarizes two recent books that tell us familiar stories about how American workers are being abused in the work place and treated like cattle. The bottom line: many of us are getting fucked in the eye with a sharp stick. What I find intriguing is the way that these familiar issues are not being discussed as a part of regular political discourse. It certainly speaks to the way McCain easily embodies the radical right and Obama is afraid to embody the radical anything.

I would argue that working people in America aren’t angry enough because they have no vehicle. There are low rates of unionization and most people are very much aware of how easily they can be replaced. People have a bunker mentality they are living on hope that some how economic realism will pass them buy. How ironic that we are taught to believe that we control our own destinies and our coping mechanism is simply avoidance.

Poor people are not necessarily jobless people. The right likes to ramble on about welfare bums and and entitlements in order to get people to express contempt for one another. The right really only wants to unify Americans over cultural issues, the last thing they want to do make those same angry supporters think about their economic situation.

Being poor doesn’t necessarily mean being unemployed, as Greenhouse points out in The Big Squeeze, “The annual pay for Wal-Mart’s full-time hourly employees averaged $19,100 in 2007 — some $1,500 below the poverty line for a family of four

Companies are also often using two tiered wage systems, a clever way to create resentment among workers. In some instances this occurs within the context of unionized entities

Caterpillar, the heavy machinery manufacturer, is a case in point. Greenhouse tells the story of lower-tier workers at a Caterpillar plant outside Peoria, Ill., where workers are represented by the United Auto Workers

Under the two-tier contract at Caterpillar, the most Arnold can ever earn is $14.90 an hour or $31,000 per year — so little, he says, that some of his coworkers are living at home with their parents. “Some,” he said, “are even on food stamps.”

A 52-year-old who works alongside Arnold, doing the exact same work, earns $19.03 an hour, or just under $40,000 a year, because employees who started before Arnold began in 1999 are on a higher wage scale. “I don’t like it,” Arnold said. “I wish I was at least able to get to the pay scale that the guys who are right next to me are making.”

One can understand why even workers aren’t certain unions will look after their interests in scenarios like this. Because in this scenario, they aren’t.

Open Thread


Rock Paper Thread

Capitalism in Hospice Care

The patient is terminal.  Second and third opinions from specialists all confirmed that any effort to prolong its life even past November 3 would be in vain.

Key members of the family gathered last night privately (very, very privately) to make the hard choices.  Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson had been making all of the key decisions about the patient’s care up until now, but for this last step, they felt it was appropriate to have everyone on the record:

Attending the meeting on the Capitol Hill were Democratic Senate leaders that included Charles E. Schumer of New York, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota A contingent of Republicans was led by Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, and included Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.

House leaders included John Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader; Spencer Bachus, Republican of Alabama; and Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts. Members of the leaders’ staffs were asked to leave the meeting shortly after it began.

Docudharma Times Thursday September 18

Sometimes I Think Being A Republican

Is A License For Stupidity

I Thought They Liked Welfare For Corporations?  

Thursday’s Headlines:

High Turnout, New Procedures May Mean an Election Day Mess

Israel: Livni prepares to form coalition after narrow victory in leadership vote

To succeed Olmert, Israel’s Mofaz opts for macho politics

Riot police sent in to contain Parisian gang war

‘Big bang machine’ is back on collision course after its glitches are fixed

Afghanistan’s forgotten frontline

Six more arrested in China baby milk scandal

Zimbabwe: Latest test of Africa’s power-sharing model

Ethiopia accused of hiding famine as millions starve

Mexicans fear they are all targets now

Stocks Slump as Investors Run to Safety


Published: September 17, 2008  

The financial crisis entered a potentially dangerous new phase on Wednesday when many credit markets stopped working normally as investors around the world frantically moved their money into the safest investments, like Treasury bills.

As a result, the cost of borrowing soared for many companies, while the stocks of Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that only a couple of weeks ago were considered relatively strong came under assault by waves of selling. Investors were so worried that they snapped up three-month Treasury bills with virtually no yield and they pushed gold to its biggest one-day gain in nearly 10 years. Stocks fell by nearly 5 percent in New York.

Japan releases £13bn to stem Asia market panic


From Times Online

September 18, 2008

Leo Lewis Asia business correspondent

Japan’s central bank today poured a further 2.5 trillion yen (£13 billion) into the financial market in an effort to calm panicked investors who continue to dump stock despite America’s $85 billion bailout of AIG, the insurance giant.

Today’s injection – the Bank of Japan’s sixth in one week – takes to its total fillip to 8 trillion yen since Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch was rescued by Bank of America and the US Fed agreed a two-year loan to AIG.

However, Asia markets continued to plunge overnight. Japan’s Nikkei closed 1.8 per cent down while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng plummeted, losing 1,301.5 points to close 7.3 per cent down. In Australia and Singapore stocks plunged by over 3 per cent in the morning session.


7 U.S. soldiers die in helicopter crash in Iraq

The Chinook was a part of an aerial convoy flying to military base at Balad  

Associated Press    

BAGHDAD – An American Chinook helicopter crashed early Thursday as it was landing in southern Iraq, killing seven U.S. soldiers, the military said.

The CH-47 Chinook was landing after midnight about 60 miles west of Basra at the time of the crash, the U.S. statement said.

A spokesman for the Multi-National Force-Iraq confirmed that the helicopter had crashed. He said five had died, and the bodies of two soldiers who had originally been missing were found.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

A Transition through Poetry XI

Art Link

Tangles and Ripples


There came a time

when folks had to choose

whether they knew me or not

Most of them fled

unable to cope

or unwilling to try

The few who remained

faced questioning

of their own motives

for standing by me

New friends were made

some would deem



the dregs to some

who recognized me

as one of their own

newly arrived

or maybe just

freshly met

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–January 19, 2006

Only in America

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the woman who could very well be our next Vice President.

What’s your PalinSpawn name?

If Sarah Palin was your mother, what would your name be?

Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator

h/t blah3

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