December 24, 2008 archive

President-Elect Obama’s Holiday Address

In the final weekly address of 2008, President-elect Barack Obama calls for the season of giving to also be a season of common purpose and shared citizenship.

h/t to Edger  

Action: Green Transport for Christmas (2009, 2010, etc.)

I have had a number of “I’d Like For Christmas” essays over the past three weeks … now its your turn.

To say you’d like Pedestrian/Cyclists transport infrastructure in the Infrastructure Stimulus Package, sign the Rails to Trails Infrastructure Petition and share it with your friends (as I’m doing here).

To say you’d like Rail and other Public Transport infrastructure investment, sign the Transportation for America Petition and pass it along.

To say you’d like a Green Stimulus Package, sign the Sierra Club Green Stimulus Package Petition and pass it along.

My Christmas List, below the fold.

Four at Four

  1. The Washington Post reports Unemployment Filings Reach 26-Year High.

    The number of people filing for unemployment benefits hit a 26-year high last week, as the deepening recession forced more employers to cut jobs.

    First-time claims for unemployment rose 5.4 percent, to 586,000 for the week ending Dec. 20, the Labor Department reported this morning. The last time claims were that high was Nov. 27, 1982. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile indicator, rose to 558,000 from 544,250, also a 26-year high.

    Orders for durable goods, such as appliances and televisions, dropped 1 percent to $186.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau said today. It was the fourth consecutive monthly drop but a much smaller decline than the 8.4 percent drop in October, thanks largely to orders for defense-related goods.

    I sure am glad to see the Military-Industrial-Complex is still trundling along.

  2. The LA Times reports the Obama economic team tries to allay worries about stimulus plan. Vice President-elect Joe Biden met with seven economic advisors in Washington in an effort to “refine plans for a massive stimulus proposal, promising the money would not go toward dubious pork-barrel projects.” The Obama administration’s stimulus plan would cost as much as $775 billion over two years.

    Transition team advisors described plans to shore up decaying bridges, roads and schools that have long been neglected — part of an effort to build a broad public consensus and win a swift victory in Congress. Obama’s team hopes the president-elect signs a stimulus bill soon after he is sworn in Jan. 20.

    “It’s important for the American taxpayer to know that . . . this is not going to be politics as usual,” Biden told reporters. “And we will not tolerate business as usual in Washington.”

    Biden singled out special-interest projects. “There will be — I will say it again — there will be no earmarks in this economic recovery plan,” he said.

Four at Four continues with an update on Afghanistan and Iraq, and an uptick in tourism on the West Bank.

The Human Side of the Madoff Scandal: Weisel Foundation Loses All

Yahoo News/AFP reports that the Elie Wiesel Foundation lost nearly everything in the Madoff scheme.  I’m sure you are all aware of Holocaust survivor Wiesel and his work.  Lest we think these Wall Street schemes only effect the rich and the rich wannabees.

“We are writing to inform you that the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had 15.2 million dollars under management with Bernard Madoff Investment Securities,” said the foundation, which aims to combat anti-Semitism, on its website.  “This represented substantially all of the Foundation’s assets,” it said.  “We are deeply saddened and distressed that we, along with many others, have been the victims of what may be one of the largest investment frauds in history.”

Wiesel, 80, a Nobel laureate and prolific author who survived the Holocaust, created the foundation some 20 years ago to foster international dialogue and youth programs to teach tolerance.

I suspect we will see, in time, that the machinations of Wall Street and the big banks will begin to effect everyday people more and more everyday.  Madoff is the tip of a very big iceberg.  

Yet, I have heard shockingly little from O and the Congressional democrats on new regulation, much less holding these scumbags accountable, other than the ridiculous bail out schemes we have seen to date.  Instead, the people at the center of these ridiculous financial instruments and schemes (e.g., Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin) have been systematically invited in to advise O.  It is time to call these people out for what they are, scumbags, and assure they have nothing to do with government, the banking industry or Wall Street anytime in the future.…

Open Thread

Ho, Ho, Ho, Dammit!

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning


Combination of the Two

The warmth of your smile

Providing comfort in a cold world

Friendship to chase away loneliness

Support in the face of hostility

A willing hand when relief is needed

And a hug

Two humans working together

Cooperating for survival

Sharing the joys and the pains

when they arrive

And a kiss

Having someone to be bored with

and sometimes break that boredom

Someone to share stories with

and with whom to make new ones

And cuddle

Until the end of time

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 13, 2008

Late Night Karaoke

Wake Up

The Sonics – Strychnine

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Obama, 2 aides met with Blagojevich investigators

By NEDRA PICKLER and BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, Associated Press Writers

15 mins ago

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama and two of his top aides met last week with federal investigators building a corruption case against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, accused of trying to swap Obama’s Senate seat for cash or a lucrative job.

The interviews with Obama, along with incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and adviser Valerie Jarrett, were disclosed Tuesday in an internal report produced for Obama on contacts with Blagojevich. The report supported Obama’s insistence last week that there had been no inappropriate contact with the governor’s office by Obama or his staff.

Obama delayed releasing his report until U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s staff had completed the interviews with Obama and his two top aides, incoming White House attorney Greg Craig said in the review he wrote for Obama.

Terrorism 101

As I sit reading the news (no, I don’t watch cable news, I read reliable blogs), there were quite a few things I thought to write about, but, the one thing that captured my mind is the whole GOP mindset of, “they are TERRORISTS, how can you defend them!”

The human side of the petition

This will be a short essay. I just watched the first episode of the video Edger talks about in his essay: Torturing Democracy. I hope everyone will watch it. Its hard, but provides a powerful reminder of why this petition drive is so important.

While I was watching, I remembered that last year a book was published titled Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak. One of the poems by Jumah Al Dossari was reprinted in the Boston Globe. Here’s some information about the author.

Jumah al Dossari, a 33-year-old Bahraini national, is the father of a young daughter. He has been held at Guantánamo Bay for more than five years. Detained without charge or trial, Dossari has been subjected to a range of physical and psychological abuses, some of which are detailed in “Inside the Wire,” an account of the Guantánamo prison by former military intelligence soldier Erik Saar. He has been held in solitary confinement since the end of 2003 and, according to the US military, has tried to kill himself 12 times while in the prison. On one occasion, he was found by his lawyer, hanging by his neck and bleeding from a gash to his arm.

I’ve just discovered my wife has been unfaithful.

Look, I understand times have been pretty tough; what with half my flock suffering from footrot, the constant sandstorms across the Judean, this Census of Quirinius which is nothing more than a pain in everyone’s donkey (excuse my French) and, y’know, the road back from Nazareth is just one sig-alert after another (Beth-Lehem Ephratahian drivers are the worst… THE WORST I tell you!), but no amount of suffering can excuse my wife’s LYING TO ME in order to cover up her wanton, marital indiscretions!

“An angel of God came and impregnated me.”

I mean, REALLY, do I look like I was born since the last daybreak!?!

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