December 13, 2008 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Commander: Some US troops to stay in Iraqi cities

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

Sat Dec 13, 10:48 am ET

BALAD, Iraq – Despite a summer deadline to pull American combat troops from urban areas, thousands will stay in cities to support and train Iraqis, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Saturday.

Even with the mandate in the recently approved U.S.-Iraq security agreement, there have been suggestions some troops would not leave urban areas. But Gen. Raymond Odierno was the first military leader to acknowledge some forces would remain at local security stations, as training and mentoring teams.

“We believe we should still be inside those after the summer,” he said the sprawling U.S. base in Balad, north of Baghdad before welcoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates on a brief visit.

Do The Math #2

In #1, I explained the Math of why Unions (read YOUR rights as a Worker) are a good thing.

Now, lets talk about “Why the Jobs went away” and disperse the clouds of disinformation about “Global Economies”. Lets talk about TRADE.

I am not an economist, in fact my eyes roll back in my head at the dry numbers and endless spin economists like to put on things.

I am however not STUPID, and can bring this down to a few simple truths.

Open for Questions

There is an interesting new development taking place at Obama’s web site Starting this last Wednesday, they are asking participants to submit questions they have about policy and implementation and then letting folks vote on the questions they would most like to see answered.

According to the blog entry linked above:

Since its launch yesterday, the Open for Questions tool has processed over 600,000 votes from more than 10,000 people on more than 7,300 questions…

Participation in Open for Questions outpaced our expectations, and we’re looking forward to rolling it out again next week…

Over the next few days, some of the most popular questions selected by the community will be answered by the Transition team, and their responses will be posted here on the site.

This could get interesting! Either the Obama Team will answer some VERY interesting questions, or they’ll skirt tough issues to pick and choose. Wait til you see what this process generated.  

Docudharma Times Saturday December 13

Republicans Tell Blue Collar Workers

Go Straight To Hell  

Saturday’s Headlines:

Senate Republicans seek to delay hearings on Holder as attorney general

Arundhati Roy: Mumbai was not our 9/11

Founder of Japan’s Red Army in final appeal for freedom

Gulag files seized during police raid on rights group

EU Leaders Unite on Climate Plan and Lisbon Treaty

Victims of Zimbabwean diamond crackdown to be dumped in mass grave

Sierra Leone: Government Must Meet Human Rights Obligations

Iraq official says U.S. troops might be needed for a decade

Cairo is no winter wonderland

Viva la revolucion? Cuba fifty years on

Questions Are Raised in Trader’s Massive Fraud


Published: December 12, 2008

For years, investors, rivals and regulators all wondered how Bernard L. Madoff worked his magic.

But on Friday, less than 24 hours after this prominent Wall Street figure was arrested on charges connected with what authorities portrayed as the biggest Ponzi scheme in financial history, hard questions began to be raised about whether Mr. Madoff acted alone and why his suspected con game was not uncovered sooner.

As investors from Palm Beach to New York to London counted their losses on Friday in what Mr. Madoff himself described as a $50 billion fraud, federal authorities took control of what remained of his firm and began to pore over its books.

Are the Greek riots a taste of things to come?

Greece’s riots are a sign of the economic times. Other countries should beware, says Peter Popham in Athens

Saturday, 13 December 2008

After firing 4,600 tear-gas canisters in the past week, the Greek police have nearly exhausted their stock. As they seek emergency supplies from Israel and Germany, still the petrol bombs and stones of the protesters rain down, with clashes again outside parliament yesterday.

Bringing together youths in their early twenties struggling to survive amid mass youth unemployment and schoolchildren swotting for highly competitive university exams that may not ultimately help them in a treacherous jobs market, the events of the past week could be called the first credit-crunch riots. There have been smaller-scale sympathy attacks from Moscow to Copenhagen, and economists say countries with similarly high youth unemployment problems such as Spain and Italy should prepare for unrest.



White House Moves Toward Auto Bailout

Program to Rescue Banks Could Expand to Carmakers

By Steven Mufson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, December 13, 2008; Page A01

The Bush administration yesterday moved to pull Detroit’s automakers back from the brink, saying it would drop its opposition to tapping the $700 billion financial industry rescue package to help General Motors and Chrysler survive through year’s end.

The White House said it would explore all financing options, including drawing on the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, which until now has been used exclusively to aid banks and other financial firms. The automakers and some members of Congress were also hoping that the Federal Reserve would make a loan to aid the firms and preserve tens of thousands of jobs.

Collapse Into Silence: Pirsig, Tao and the ‘Parmenides’

An amusing little philosophical bon-bon having zero relationship to anything political. We might as well  amuse ourselves from now till election day, because after that I expect we’ll be back to work trying to change the country. So take it for what it’s worth and have a little mental fun with it …

Originally published at…


American mystic and writer Robert M. Pirsig struggled mightily with the question of

how to interrogate the Unspeakable within the mental constraints of Western logical discourse. This struggle took him on an internal journey far from his Midwest, mid-century home, eventually pushing him into the unknown country of mental illness and involuntary commitment. I believe that what Pirsig was pursuing was not an empty Nothing, a no-thing. It was a full, even overfull Nothing, for which he struggled in vain to find a name and a vocabulary. I have taken to calling it the ‘over-full Nothing’ and will continue to use that term here to indicate when we are speaking of Nothing as an ontological term. Pirsig would come to believe that the closest approach to what he was trying to articulate could be found in the Tao, and indeed the Tao’s mapping to the characteristics of this ‘over-full Nothing’ was quite close. However, he failed to latch onto the full significance of something he noted in passing: the striking similarities between his thought and the system of the important Pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides. We will look in detail at the most influential deployment of the Parmenidean ‘over-full Nothing’, in Plato’s infamously obscure dialogue The Parmenides. Plato’s attempt to wrap it in logical discourse runs aground for the same reason that Pirsig’s attempt to do so ran aground 2500 years later. Both of their attempts to encapsulate the ‘over-full Nothing’ within language and logic eventually collapse into silence in the face of that of which nothing can be said.

Late Night Karaoke

Always Open Always Talking

The Power Station – Get It On (Bang A Gong)

Dear Joe, I want a Sustainable High Speed Electric Train for Christmas (Part 3)

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence, also available in Orange

This series started with the following clip:

And I have asked for Electric Trains (Part 1) and High Speed Electric Trains (Part 2). But I am greedy, so I want it all. What I really want is SUSTAINABLE High Speed Electric Trains.

First, it appears that Electric Trains, and Electric High Speed Trains, offer an important step in that direction already, since they offer substantial energy efficiencies … the most sustainable Watt is intelligent design that eliminates the need for that Watt.

Second, the foundation of the nationwide Electric Train system, the electrification of STRACNET, could be the “donkey that carries its own lunch” … there may be an opportunity to use the program to cost effectively accelerate harvesting of our nation’s sustainable renewable energy resources.

So, yes, I want a coast to coast, 100mph, electric freight and passenger train system. Yes, I want the break through the bottlenecks for the Acela in the NEC, establishment of the Empire Corridor, Keystone Corridor, Ohio Hub, Midwest Hub, Southeast Corridor, Gulf Corridor, T-Bone Corridor, Front Range Corridor, Cascadia Corridor, and the CA-HSR.

And, being greedy, powered sustainably.

Random Japan

Mind games

A Keio University professor has developed what is believed to be the world’s first web-based psychotherapy sessions available via mobile phone.

Academy Award-winning anime director Hayao Miyazaki was quoted as saying that Prime Minister Taro Aso’s publicly avowed love of manga is “embarrassing.”

The education ministry said it will distribute 80,000 copies of a manual that provides tips for teachers on how to combat internet bullying.

My Machinations

Freedom Machine,

A before & after set. I took a magazine shot, & manually cleaned it up for a friend who flew these. He is good friends with the man who owns & did a full restoration of it.

The POW patches below this image are ones I created for my friend who was shot down over Germany on his 26th mission.

 B17 before & after


Friday Night at 8: Conclusions

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized


I’ve been writing about, among other things, safety these past couple weeks.

I have to admit that I found the comments challenging — much protest against the notion of safety, of security, and not so much definition of what security and safety really mean.

As a writer, those challenges made me take a second look at what I was writing and expanded my view.  As a result, I’ve come to some conclusions on the subject which I would like to share for anyone who is interested.

Alligator Party

by Adam Baker (flickr creative commons)

From Rock Around the Clock – with Dutch subtitles!

See you Later Alligator – Bill Haley and the Comets

While the other kids were rocking round the clock

We were hopping and bopping to the crocodile rock

This is adorable!

Crocodile Rock – Elton John and the Muppets

Things that make you go ommmm.   Cowboy Crocodile giving meditation lessons?


Driving My Life Away, Looking For A Better Way

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.

Trickle down economics will never get us out of the mess that trickle down economics got us into.

The immediate crunch that the automakers are facing is a loss of revenue due to dropping sales greatly exacerbated by less availability of credit due to banking mismanagement encouraged by deregulation over the past couple of decades.

If that is true then the immediate crunch that the automakers are facing is a symptom of a larger “disease”, and not the cause of the disease.

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