December 23, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports Arrests for shoplifting soar as the economy dips.

    Police departments across the country say that shoplifting arrests are 10 percent to 20 percent higher this year than last. The problem is probably even greater than arrest records indicate since shoplifters are often banned from stores rather than arrested.

    Much of the increase has come from first-time offenders… making rash decisions in a pinch, the authorities say. But the ease with which stolen goods can be sold on the Internet has meant a bigger role for organized crime rings, which also engage in receipt fraud, fake price tagging and gift card schemes, the police and security experts say.

    Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports November sales of existing and new Homes fall.

    Sales of existing homes fell 8.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted 4.49 million units in November compared with October. Sales were down 10.6 percent compared with the same period a year ago, according to the data from the National Association of Realtors.

    Median home prices fell 13.2 percent, to $208,800.

    The drop in existing-home prices is the largest since the Realtors began collecting data in 1968 and likely the largest decline since the Great Depression.

Four at Four continues with news of Afghanistan and Obama, Iraq and the British withdrawal, and IRS audits (and income) are down.

Back to the Plantation

Consider the Plantation mentality that has re-taken hold in the United States over the last fifteen years and especially in the last eight.  Not that it hasn’t been with us since the beginnings of American history, but considering the successful struggles for liberty and justice during the Civil War, the New Deal, and the Civil Rights era, the fact that this mentality has not been rejected completely is amazing.

Dear Barack, I want an Exurban Cycleway for Christmas

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence and My Left Wing

Twin Cities Streets for People present The Future (result) of Freeway Expansion:

A little bit optimistic and a little bit pessimistic at one and the same time, I’d say … but, they really do have a very solid point.

Follow me over the fold for talks of an Exurban Cycle Commuter, and reflections on the risk of a Road Widening Stimulus Package.

On Strike!

I refuse to write another word until The Citizens Petition: Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes has over 6307 signatures!


If you ever want me to write again (since I am the Center of the Universe (according to my ego (which is almost ALWAYS wrong) and you hang on my every word and all) you will do something about it!

Plus, I am going to start holding my breath and jumping up and down………..NOW!

Brain Mapping, Civil Liberties & Obama


The topic below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Longtime readers of the Intrepid Liberal Journal may recall my April 2006 posting entitled, “Brain Fingerprinting and Civil Liberties.” One mistake I made at the time was conflating the acronym FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) with the term brain fingerprinting. Perhaps the most accurate generic term is brain mapping.

National Presto products shoot a lot more than salads

What was Steve Burns, a staff member of Wis. Network for Peace and Justice, doing on an anti-shopping spree in Madison Friday?

Well, it was Iraq Moratorium day, and Burns decided his action this month would be to call shoppers' attention to a little-known connection between a Wisconsin company and deaths of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Burns learned that Wisconsin's National Presto Industries, known to the public for making Salad Shooters and Fry Daddies, has a dark side that it doesn't advertise.

The Eau Claire-based company produced artillery fuses during World War II, artillery shells in the 1950s, and during the Vietnam war, from 1966 to 1975, manufactured more than two million eight-inch howitzer shells and more than 92 million 105mm artillery shells.  

Inaugural “Security” Question

Yesterday I opined in an essay called “The Shelf Life of Paranoia” the demeaning and infuriating invasion of privacy that is the consummation of years of paranoia building and the Bush Doctrine that treats us as potential enemies within our own borders was wrong on every level and a result of Paranoia.

Then asqv asked the perfect question bringing everything I had said into the realm of serious doubt.

“Paranoia or Security?”

She was referring, of course, to the Inaugural Event for Barack Obama, and the seemingly highly restrictive precautions being required for those who wished to attend.

I had to ask myself if I had double standards, or a definition so vague as to not be considered a standard at all.

Docudharma Times Tuesday December 23

There Should Be Investigations

No One Is Above The Law  

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Amid the economic wreckage, some sectors still hiring

Iran’s unpopular president is favored to win re-election

The new Iraq: The bombing goes on, but the building has begun

El Gordo brings £2bn sparkle to Spain

Bulgaria needs time to defeat corruption, says Sergei Stanishev

Independent Appeal: Modern face of slavery

East Timor on brink of anarchy admits UN

Military takes control in Guinea

Kenyans will be home for Christmas — at a cost

Soldiers beheaded as Mexican drug cartels step up terror to protect $15bn-a-year trade<

Clinton Moves to Widen Role of State Dept.


Published: December 22, 2008

WASHINGTON – Even before taking office, Hillary Rodham Clinton is seeking to build a more powerful State Department, with a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys to trouble spots and an expanded role in dealing with global economic issues at a time of crisis.

Mrs. Clinton is recruiting Jacob J. Lew, the budget director under President Bill Clinton, as one of two deputies, according to people close to the Obama transition team. Mr. Lew’s focus, they said, will be on increasing the share of financing that goes to the diplomatic corps. He and James B. Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration, are to be Mrs. Clinton’s chief lieutenants.

Nominations of deputy secretaries, like Mrs. Clinton’s, would be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

European Countries May Take Detainees

Under Bush, Nations Refused to Resettle Guantanamo Prisoners

By Peter Finn

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 23, 2008; Page A01

European nations have begun intensive discussions both within and among their governments on whether to resettle detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a significant overture to the incoming Obama administration, according to senior European officials and U.S. diplomats.

The willingness to consider accepting prisoners who cannot be returned to their home countries, because of fears they may be tortured there, represents a major change in attitude on the part of European governments. Repeated requests from the Bush administration that European allies accept some Guantanamo Bay detainees received only refusals.



America’s stop-and-go energy plan

Today’s cheaper gas is no reason to lose focus on reducing oil imports, activists and executives say.

By Jim Tankersley

December 23, 2008

Reporting from Washington — Breaking America’s foreign-oil addiction was all the rage on Capitol Hill when gas cost $4 a gallon. Now that it’s under $2 and falling, history suggests that the enthusiasm for alternative fuels and more efficient cars will subside. It did that in the mid-1970s and again in the 1980s and 1990s.

But this time could be different.

A sense of urgency may still remain, according to congressional leaders and environmental groups, because of a confluence of factors including broad anxiety over global warming, enthusiasm for green elements in economic stimulus packages and President-elect Barack Obama’s repeated vows to act.

And in any case, few consumers are convinced that low gas prices will last.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning
Art Link

Kaleidoscope #1

For Calming

When life gets too hectic

and you start to panic

stop what you are doing

and take a deep breath

look intensely inward

search for your center

try to remind yourself

to contemplate this:

There should always be time

to smell the colors

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–December 15, 2005

Late Night Karaoke

Just Hanging Out

Dr. John Right Place , Wrong Time

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Wednesday I’m headed north to the lake house, where I’m supposed to have Inet but maybe not, one reason I’m agitating for Wednesday.  

Could be gone until the day after eksmas (Friday) and while I would normally expect to be available as usual between 11 pm and midnight certainly, I’ll also unavailable during “family time” at my sister’s which includes at least 2 huge meals a day.  She doesn’t have a connection.

If I have access I’ll be working out of a flash drive on a borrowed machine which is always excellent fun.

Still I’m hoping and planning on staying in touch, looking forward to it actually.

But the lake house could be basically uninhabitable unless you wanted to camp out by the fireplace.  No heat, no phone, no electricity, no water.

No fun at all.

Nor is staying at my sister’s although I’m usually allowed a quiet corner to sulk.

I’ll expect she’ll get tired of cooking and be glad to see our backs.  I imagine we’ll leave right after breakfast Friday, after lunch if we leave from the lake house (which should mean net).

Did Contractor Expose Troops To Toxin? {Some UpDate information}

I caught this report, 12-22-08, and thought I’d pass on, especially if someone missed the report and is or knows an OIF or OEF Vet that might be suffering from something diagnosed or undiagnosed, or might want to get checked. No matter where you were In-Theater I would suggest that All Veterans of Both Theaters get Tests and continue to do so, we had enough problems about Agent Orange and the Gulf War I Vets with ‘Gulf War Syndrome’, denial from the government and apathy from the country!

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