November 25, 2008 archive

It’s the competency, stupid

Even though our economy is in much worse shape than it was during the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, I think that after 8 years of one disaster after another, what I’m most ready for in an Obama administration is some competency.

This morning at his press conference, President -Elect Obama said:

This isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works. That is why I will ask my team to think anew and act anew to meet our new challenges.

Much as I found myself far more interested in the field operation of the campaign, I am now much more interested in the behind-the-scenes work being done by the transition team. As the MSM focuses on all of the rumors and speculation coming from “unnamed sources,” I am very curious about what the Agency Review Teams are learning.  

Thankful Pony Party



Cedric the Entertainer Pony Party

Cedric the Entertainer thought he’d try being Cedric the Actor. On Monday he made his professional stage debut, on Broadway, at the Belasco Theater in a new production of “American Buffalo,” David’s Mamet’s 1975 play about male friendship and revenge. Sadly for the actor, the play is scheduled to close on Sunday unless there is an upsurge in ticket sales over the weekend, but for a brief period, his familiar marquee appellation has been listed on the program as playing the slippery Chicago junk-shop proprietor and con man Donny Dubrow.…

So I thought for this pony party it might be fun to skip through some of Cedric’s YouTubes:

The Pony Party is an open thread.  Please do not REC the party (unless you’re a huge fan of Cedric).

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports the U.S. unveils new programs to ease credit.

    The Federal Reserve said that it would buy up to $600 billion in mortgage-backed assets from the government-sponsored mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency would also buy up to $100 billion in debt directly from the companies and up to $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities…

    Separately, the Fed and Treasury Department announced a $200 billion program to ease commercial lending on debts like student loans, car loans or business loans. The Fed would lend up to $200 billion to holders of asset-backed securities supported by car loans, credit card loans, student loans, and business loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.

    The NY Times also reports the Outlook grows more dire for the housing market. The scarcity of credit, making home loans difficult to get, are continuing to hurt the housing market. “Of the sales that did go through in October, nearly half were the result of a sale after a foreclosure. And sellers were forced to lower prices again, sending home values down at a record pace.”

    “Prices declined in September in all 20 cities surveyed in the Case-Shiller report, with San Francisco and Phoenix suffering the biggest drops… The report also suggested that conditions in the housing market were worsening” with house price drops accelerating.

  2. The Washington Post reports President-elect Barack Obama picks Peter Orszag to head the Office of Management and Budget. “Obama said that Orszag will take the lead in scouring the federal budget, which is straining under record deficits, with an eye toward eliminating programs that do not work.”

    Orszag is currently the “director of the Congressional Budget Office, where he oversees a staff of 235 people who produce nonpartisan analyses of economic and policy issues. Orszag is widely respected for his work on how Americans receive medical care. Unlike many of his predecessors, who hewed closely to pure number-crunching, Orszag has carved out a niche as a leading international thinker on health policy.”

    In an essay in September, I wrote about Orszag’s assessment that “The nation is on an unsustainable fiscal course.”

Four at Four continues with an update from Iraq, Brazil sending troops after a violent protest by Amazon loggers, and an interesting op-ed on Tibet.


Ozymandias is burned on toast

He’s dragging his bony ass back to Crawford

He’s fat and hairy like Peter Lawford

He’s the Least where once he was the Most

Ozymandias is no longer green as grass

Now we’ve discovered we can be Black as a berry

No way can Ozy regain his Cherry

Because Our Boy is a flat out pain in the ass

We’ve suffered Ozy through his sullen spaces

We’ve starved our senses through events we never wished

To experience; poor Laura Oz has missed her menses

Experienced menopause in all those juicy places

Lord Cheney Oz has become meaner than mean

Condi Oz has finished propping up the plaster

God knows poor Condi was never alabaster

At least she was capable of cutting the scene

Powell Oz has pulled the skids out from under

All these Brute Beasts …

    not that they were ever tony

Their mutual Dawn has now come up like thunder

Since Ozzie Powell endorsed Mister Ebony


Ozymandias is  now royally Toasted

But not in France and not in Monteneg’

If we forget how Oz was once Too Big

We can now rejoice how he’s become roasted

Ozymandias has become Yesterday’s News

For those of us who knew he really wasn’t nice

We can all congratulate ourselves


So lock all the doors

    screw in all the screws

Since now Old Ozymandias has turned vanilla

We have to deal with that Turkey-Chopper

    sticking her brute neck out of Wasilla

Lowering the American Lifestyle

Looks like hard times are-a comin. We have all heard people talking about a coming depression, it is such a prevalent meme….and the economy is built so much on confidence and belief, that even if we weren’t on track for a depression, we might be creating one by destroying all confidence in our economy!

As Obama scrambles to take control of the economy as Bush twiddles his thumbs under his poncho and continues to assiduously secure his legacy as The Worst President Ever, the big question at the heart of it all is….Can Americans continue to consume a huge percentage of the worlds resources relative to its population, or is The Party Over?

When this debacle of greed all shakes out, we still be a society that is based on over consumption? Will we still fill the holes in our lives buying ….stuff?

Will social status still be determined on what car you drive, the price of your designer clothes, and which expensive neighborhood you live in?

How will TV advertising, which drives the lust for “MORE” change when people don’t have any money to spend on unneeded useless crap that they are peddling, change?

In other words, how will the coming hard times affect not just the patently unsustainable American Lifestyle, but how will it change our society….and our mindset, which is so deeply based on consumerism?

And finally….how bad do you think it is going to get, a recession, a deep recession, a depression, or a Great Depression?

Welcome to Docudharma Stadium

Congratulations fellow taxpayers!  The federal bailout of Citigroup comes with some perks you may have overlooked.  Citigroup has a contract for the naming rights to a new baseball stadium for the New York Mets.  A mere $400 million buys the name “Citi Field” for 20 years:

Under the naming-rights agreement, Citi pays the Mets $20 million a year. What is not known is if Citi could get out of the agreement through a buyout or escape clause. Citi officials insisted on Friday that baseball games would be played in 2009 with the Citi Field sign on the new stadium.

What perks do we get for our bailout of Citi?  Well, it only seems fair that if it’s our money paying for the naming rights, we should get to choose the name!  With so many taxpayers involved, however, agreeing on one name would be difficult.  So I propose a revolving name system for the Mets’ field, where all taxpayers get a chance to have the stadium named after them for one game.

Open Thread


i can has thread?

Real News: Obama And Iran

The Ploughshares Fund pools contributions from individuals, families and foundations and directs those funds to initiatives aimed at preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons and promoting regional stability, in the pursuit of a safe, secure and nuclear weapon-free world.

Can Obama untangle the Iranian challenge?

by Alexandra Bell

The Ploughshares Fund, November 18, 2008

People were turned away at the door at a standing room-only event at the Hart Senate Office Building titled, “Can Obama Untangle the Iranian Challenge: Prospects for a New Policy,” hosted by the Ploughshares-funded National Iranian American Council (NIAC).

NIAC’s president, Dr. Trita Parsi, welcomed a panel that included Former Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador James Dobbins, Dr. Farideh Fari of the University of Hawaii and Ploughshares Fund president Joseph Cirincione, who discussed the future of U.S.- Iran policy and the agenda for change.

The consensus of the entire panel was that current actions are failing to thwart the nuclear ambitions of Iran and the U.S. cannot keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result.  They all agreed that now is the time for engagement.  

The panelists answered press questions and were followed by Representative John Tierney (D-MA) who also stressed the need for enhanced diplomacy with Iran.  Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) agreed and pointed out that uranium enrichment cessation was an object of the negotiations and therefore could not be a precondition.

Pepe Escobar and The Real News reports on the event and analyzes the situation and current US foreign policy towards Iran, and what Obama can and should be focusing on in relations with Iran.

Joseph Cirincione: “The best way to seek regime change in Iran is not to seek regime change“.

One of the key foreign policy challenges of the Barack Obama presidency will be to elaborate a new approach towards Iran. A spirited, informed debate is already on in Washington – where a special presentation to the Senate has outlined crucial American and Iranian points of view; and also in academic and diplomatic circles, as a Joint Experts’ Statement on Iran recommends the President-elect adopts a bold new strategy, focused on dialogue and mutual respect.

November 25, 2008 – 9 min 37 sec

Obama and Iran

Diplomats and scholars encourage Obama to invest in change instead of regime change

2008 – Special Thanksgiving Message:

Thousands of Soldiers are no longer with us but especially with their families, this or any coming Thanksgivings!

As of 11-25-2008:

U.S.: Iraq Confirmed Deaths Reported Deaths: 4205 Confirmed Deaths: 4203 Pending Confirmation: 2

U.S.: Afghanistan Confirmed Deaths 629

This message comes from the family of only one soldier who did come back, but not the same as when he left, and will not be celebrating Thanksgiving or any other Holidays with his family, but is certainly not forgotten.

This soldier, and many more, numbers unknown because no one counts them, are still War Casualties but not in the numbers listed above.

The ‘Special Thanksgiving Message’ comes from his Mom and Dad, Kevin & Joyce Lucey, about their son,  Cpl. Jeffrey Michael Lucey, a 23 year old USMC reservist and Iraq conflict veteran.

As the Lucey’s say in the beginning there is alot to found about their son on the internet, as many will find there also is about many of those who served in our recent conflicts, Wars of Choice, I’ll just give a couple of links.

Jeffrey M Lucey

‘Something happened to Jeff’

Jeff Lucey returned from Iraq a changed man. Then he killed himself.

Docudharma Times Tuesday November 25

Who Needs Oversight

Over $700 Billion?

It’s Only Money Right?  

Never Mind!  

Tuesday’s Headlines:

The car of the future – but at what cost?

At family farm, grim claims of organ culling from captured Serb soldiers

Germany in shock at release of Baader-Meinhof killer

Zimbabwe on brink of collapse as outbreak of cholera spreads

The Big Question: Who are the Elders, and can they do anything to resolve world crises?

Meet a living Buddha: Young, handsome, with an old soul

Rape risk increasing in Cambodia

In Egypt, spooling the thread of time

Russia’s new presence in Latin America

Obama and Bush Working to Calm Volatile Market


Published: November 24, 2008

CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama sought to seize the reins of the economic crisis Monday as he and his new economic team worked closely with President Bush to inject confidence into the trembling financial markets, which rallied and erased most of last week’s losses.The coordination between Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush was taking place among aides, as well as in direct talks about the rescue plan for Citigroup and unresolved details of the overall Treasury bailout plan. The president said his successor would be informed of every “big decision” that was made, adding, “It’s important for the American people to know that there is close cooperation.”

Hamdan To Be Sent To Yemen

Bin Laden Driver Spent 7 Years at Guantanamo

By Josh White and William Branigin

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, November 25, 2008; Page A01

The U.S. military has decided to transfer Osama bin Laden’s former driver from custody at Guantanamo Bay to his home in Yemen, ending the seven-year saga of a man the Bush administration considered a dangerous terrorist but whom a military jury found to be a low-level aide.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan is expected to arrive within 48 hours in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, where he will serve out the rest of his military commission sentence, which is set to expire Dec. 27, two government officials said. The Pentagon’s decision to send Hamdan home narrowly avoids what could have been a sticky diplomatic situation, as Bush administration officials had long contended they could hold Hamdan indefinitely.



Injured veterans engaged in new combat

n a little-noticed regulation change, the Pentagon’s definition of combat-related disabilities is narrowed, costing some wounded veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits.

By David Zucchino

November 25, 2008

Marine Cpl. James Dixon was wounded twice in Iraq — by a roadside bomb and a land mine. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, a dislocated hip and hearing loss. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Army Sgt. Lori Meshell shattered a hip and crushed her back and knees while diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq. She has undergone a hip replacement and knee reconstruction and needs at least three more surgeries.

In each case, the Pentagon ruled that their disabilities were not combat-related.

In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military’s definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits — and triggering outrage from veterans’ advocacy groups.

Obama holds press conference, promises “whatever is required” for Wall Street

Original article, by Tom Eley, via World Socialist Web Site:

On Monday, US President-elect Barack Obama held a press conference in Chicago to announce selections for his “economic team.” After these introductions, Obama spoke briefly and in vague terms about a proposed economic stimulus package, and then took five questions from reporters.

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