November 2008 archive

How To Steal Eight Trillion Dollars And Get Away With It

The easiest way is to steal $26,000 from you. And then steal $26,000 from everyone you know. And then steal $26,000 from everyone you don’t know.

Nomi Prins is a journalist and Senior Fellow at Demos. She writes about politics, money and relationships.

Nomi is the author of Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America and also author of Jacked: How “Conservatives” are Picking your Pocket.

Before becoming a journalist, Nomi worked on Wall Street as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, and running the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London.

Financial “bailouts” spending your money just since Monday this week… yes, since two days ago… have been over One Trillion Dollars.

With the credit crisis continuing to worsen, the US federal government is pledging a seemingly endless amount of money to shore up failing institutions hit hard by toxic assets. Federal government pledges now top $8 trillion with the most recent $800 billion announced Tuesday.

The Real News Network spoke to journalist and author Nomi Prins.

Real News: November 26, 2008 – 8 min 54 sec

Bailout costs $8.5 trillion

The US Federal Government has pledged $8.56 trillion in economic bailout for financial institutions so far

Counting the teenage dead, bringing the war to campus


Reports from Iraq Moratorium #15, observed Nov. 21, are coming in to the Moratorium website.  This one from Santa Barbara:

Vets for Peace, Chapter 54: A war memorial honoring exclusively the 18- 19- year-old military personnel, men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was erected on a lawn overlooking the ocean at Santa Barbara City College. The local chapter of Veterans for Peace and students set up the memorial, which currently honors 303 young men & women.

Dr. Gilberto Robledo, former faculty member of SBCC and VFP member along with several other VFP/SBCC students sets up the memorial the third Friday of every month in conjunction with the national Iraq Moratorium. As students, faculty, staff & community members pass by, they’re asked to place a placard on a white tombstone. The military person’s picture, name, unit, circumstance surrounding the death, and birth date is on the placard. This interactive memorial depicts the cost of war, especially to the college age students, who in many cases are in the same age range as the teen casualties of these two current conflicts.

American teenage casualties, of course, are the tip of the iceberg when measuring the costs of the wars.  In Iraq alone, hundreds of thousands of civilians — some estimates say a million — have died.  Even before the war, 500,000 Iraqi children died unnecessarily because of economic sanctions that prevented them from getting the food and medical care they needed.

Reminding college students that young men and women their age are dying is one way to bring the cost of war home.  There are many others, like a “health care not warfare” campaign in Wisconsin aimed at redirecting our tax dollars from killing to life-saving.  You’ll find reports from there, and other actions across the country, on the website, too.

Check it out.

Open Thread


Please pass the thread.

Watching the Iraq Parliament on the Iraq/U.S. SOFA pact

The voting comes today but the dealing goes to the wire.

Iraq’s ruling Shiite and Kurdish blocs have made a key concession to a large group of Sunni Arab legislators in hopes of securing a big majority in a parliamentary vote on a U.S.-Iraqi security pact, a senior Shiite lawmaker and a close aide to the prime minister said Wednesday.

Just this past Sunday al-Maliki said if pack isn’t passed, Occupation Forces Out!

“Extending the presence of the international forces on Iraqi soil will not be our alternative,” Maliki told journalists. “The alternative will be their immediate withdrawal from Iraq.”

Holiday Food Porn

Its hot. Its steamy. It makes you tremble in anticipation.  It makes you covet thy neighbor’s portion even while sated on your own.

Food, Glorious Food!


(Yeah, I’m a Mom, I now picture the vulture scene from Ice Age 3, not Oliver Twist when this song plays in my head!)

Here is a space to share your innermost oral-fixation secrets, lay bare your culinary souls.


C’mon you know what I want. Right here. In the Kitchen. I’m so naughty….

I want every recipe you can give me!!!!!

From Turkey to Christmas Cookies!  Of course, it doesn’t have to be Holiday food, any favorite recipe you want to share.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion XV

Art Link



The fire

that may burn

in the belly

or on the tongue

slowly smoulders

in the mind

over the kindling

of traditional thought

Progress begins

when I flambé

the tissue of my brain

over the white hot flame

of new perspective

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 8, 2006

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

120 Stories.  Top, World, U.S., and Science

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Obama: Economic rescue will trump deficit fight

By BETH FOUHY and DAVID ESPO, Associated Press Writers

11 mins ago

CHICAGO – The economy growing weaker, President-elect Barack Obama said Tuesday that recovery efforts will trump deficit concerns when he takes office in January. Yet he pledged a “page-by-page, line-by-line” budget review to root out unneeded spending.

The president-elect set no goals for reducing the federal deficit – now in record territory and headed ever higher – an obvious contrast to Monday’s announcement that he hopes to create a recession-busting 2.5 million jobs by 2010.

He spoke as he appointed Peter Orszag, currently head of the Congressional Budget Office, to be his own budget director.

Late Night Karaoke

Talking Is Wonderful

James – Laid

Teh stupid and ignorant

There are times when you read something and you wonder, “just how stupid can this person be?”

That the same person repeatedly makes stupid statements in an article doesn’t lessen the fact that they do so, but, only justifies the conclusion.  So, once again, I am here to highlight an article written by Brad Warthan of The State newspaper in South Carolina.

Feel free to it before reading on since my response to it is forthcoming…

Not Iglesia………………………….not Episode 60 something

Settling into my new Susquahana Sasquatches seldom seize scintillating serendipities subsequent scintillating suppurations sequentially home. The transition seems to have Pasadena pirhanas purposely portending passable patterns proposing probable potlatches unhinged or perhaps unburdened me of …well….burdens. The process of settling in Virtual vagaries vacillate vertiginous veriforms vacuously after months of the uncertainty of semi-homelessness seems to…..much like madness….

……………take its toll.

Soon, Tall twilly tweeds toking tortuously Tortugalike Trappists, I should be back to my normal self. hahahahaha

Thanks to all of you! For ….like…..whatever, Dudes and Dudessas!!!!!!!!!!

This is an autopost, I’m going to bed now….see y’all manana!

On Gratitude

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

A ritual and a practice.

At our house, when we have Thanksgiving dinner, we like to stop eating and talking to go around the table clockwise so that each person present can say what s/he is thankful for.  When we first decided to do this, some of our guests felt this was awkward, perhaps embarrassing.  But we don’t start with the guests, so they can get an impression of what expressing gratitude feels like. Those in our immediate family understood this and were comfortable enough with it.  After all, at birthdays, we like to go around the table to tell the person celebrating the birthday our many appreciations of him/her.  So on Thanksgiving, it’s a natural enough question, “What are you thankful for this year?”  The answers aren’t always surprising.  We’re thankful for being here another year, for our health however it might then be, for family and friends, for the lives of those now departed, for whatever abundance we may have received, for creativity, for our pets, for our relationships, for our businesses, for our politics, for our dreams and aspirations and hopes, and so on.  You get it, you can probably feel it even reading about doing this.  It’s a Thanksgiving ritual we love.  Feel free to try it out.

I always loved Thanksgiving because, however it was intended or begun, it seemed to be about gratitude.  For years I’ve had a practice I’ve done.  Sometimes I do it every day.  Sometimes I do it once a month.  Sometimes I don’t do it for a long time.  It depends.  What do I do? I make a list of the things I am thankful for.  I number them as I write them down, and I feel my gratitude for each item as I write it before going on to the next.  So, I write, “1. my good health, 2. the life of Dr. King, 3. compassion for my seeming enemies, 4. the novels of Cesar Aira.”  And so on.  Until I reach 50.  I do this, writing and feeling, until I have a list of 50 items or more that I have enjoyed and felt my thanks for.  When I am feeling pinched, stressed, exhausted, depressed, or any other “negative” emotion, it seems to take me a very long time to find items, to write them down and really to feel them.  When I am feeling expansive, relaxed, rested, optimistic, or any other “positive” emotion, it takes me virtually no time to write and enjoy the list.  Why do this exercise?  Because it’s almost magical.  And it lights me up.  Feel free to try it out.

Was it Meister Eckhart who wrote, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.”  I agree.

May all of you have a happy Thanksgiving.

Mommy alert: Melamine in baby formula

My oldest cat, Maus, is dying of kidney failure.  Maus is 14, and our veterinarian tells me that they see this a lot in older cats, most often accompanied by anemia, which ia another problem Maus has to deal with. But I can’t help but wonder, was the kidney failure caused by something he ate?   Did we inadvertantly give him cat food that was tainted with melamine?  When we learned that pets were dying from their food, we checked the list to see if we were harming our babies, and we did not find our brand there.

But what does that mean?  Stores purchase cat food from cat food companies and slap their own label on the cans–for a price, of course.  I think we made a big, mistaken assumption about the safety of our unlisted brand that we’re paying for now.  

Today, I read this:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. health officials have uncovered trace amounts of the chemical melamine in one sample of infant formula sold in the United States, a Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The amount found in the sample was no cause for concern, said FDA spokeswoman Judy Leon said. “There’s no basis for concern because we’re talking about trace levels that are so low … that there’s absolutely no risk,” she told Reuters.

Melamine-tainted formula was found earlier this year in China, where thousands of children fell ill and several died.…

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