February 2, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports Welfare aid isn’t growing as economy drops off.

    Despite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years…

    Of the 12 states where joblessness grew most rapidly, eight reduced or kept constant the number of people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the main cash welfare program for families with children. Nationally, for the 12 months ending October 2008, the rolls inched up a fraction of 1 percent.

    The deepening recession offers a fresh challenge to the program, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 amid bitter protest and became one of the most closely watched social experiments in modern memory.

    The program, which mostly serves single mothers, ended a 60-year-old entitlement to cash aid, replacing it with time limits and work requirements, and giving states latitude to discourage people from joining the welfare rolls. While it was widely praised in the boom years that followed, skeptics warned it would fail the needy when times turned tough.

Four at Four continues with climate changing off the U.S. Pacific coast, protecting deep sea reefs off the U.S. Atlantic coast, Bolivia’s lithium wealth, and China in the face of economic protests.

Prosecuting Bushco: Justice AND a Blow in the Class War

Note to the nervous, and people always seem to get nervous at the words “Class War” are spoken! Perhaps the greatest service McCain did in his campaign was draw the lines of the Class War. If you make under the McCain Line of $5 million a year….


Tired of Being Lectured by the Rich About Need for Austerity? Tired of “shameful,” “irresponsible” members of the Ruling Class acting like idiots….on YOUR dime?

“They don’t get it,” McCaskill said on the floor. “These people are idiots. You can’t use taxpayer money to pay out $18-billion in bonuses… What planet are these people on?”


Tired of … the richest American paying THE LOWEST EFFECTIVE TAX RATE since the IRS began giving out that data?  Tired of being declared an unlawful combatant in the Class War? Tired of the consequences of the Class War being so dire that a member of the House of Representatives has had to tell The People to defy The Banks authority to boot them into the street? Are you tired of being a pacifist in the Class War as it destroys American families and the American and world economy….because the Ruling Class is so greedy that it won’t even leave the customary crumbs on the table for the rest of us poor peons? Tired of the Ruling Class making obscene,  record profits, while children starve to death? Tired of the “two-tiered justice system” that the Ruling Class have created for themselves?

The one where they get away with starting illegal wars, torturing, looting the economy for billions of dollars, War Profiteering, (yes YOU, Halliburton) growing rich on the deaths of our (lower class) soldiers in Iraq, politicizing our government to their advantage and outting CIA agents with absolute impunity….while record numbers of the Lower Classes serve hard time for minor drug offenses or stealing bread to feed our families?

Tired of feeling helpless as Class War is waged upon you?

Then strike a blow against the Ruling Class. Strike a blow for justice. Sign the Citizens Petition: Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes.

Everyone knows that the Bush Administration committed War…and many other….Crimes. Even leaders of The Republican Party (the political arm of the Ruling Class) like Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Spectre, who tried to blackmail or extort a promise NOT to prosecute the Bush Administration from our soon to be Attorney General Holder. If there WEREN’T crimes, why would they try to strong arm the new AG from investigating and prosecuting them?

WE know they are guilty, (at LEAST guilty enough to thoroughly investigate) ‘THEY know’ Bush is guilty. Why then is there so much talk of “Looking Forward” and such angst about an honest AG being appointed?

Because the Ruling Class protect their own.

The only reason not to prosecute is to protect the Ruling Class from responsibility for their crimes. How does excusing yet another round of the crimes of the Ruling/Political Class from prosecution benefit anyone besides the Ruling Class?

Because Congress and the DOJ has “better things to do” than investigate and prosecute? You mean better things like bailing out The Ruling Class with tax money provided by the Lower Classes? Yeah, we better let them get to that before demanding justice….or something bad might happen to us. Like…maybe…being put under house arrest in our 7 million dollar home for stealing 50 Billion dollars….how inconvenient is that? Or maybe having to sell one of our seven houses. As the economy crashes around us….and NO ONE is held accountable for the mess they made. Yeah, nothing is more important than making sure that this system continues as it is….or people might suffer.

Thus, the most effective blow we can strike in the Class War that is being waged against us is this: Hold them accountable. Do NOT let the two tiered justice system that the Ruling Class has created to prosecute us and excuse them work this time. Demand justice. Demand accountability. Demand that the Ruling Class be held responsible for their crimes.

What suffers most in a Class War? Justice. How can we strike back in the Class War….by doing the right thing…. and show that we are not going to just lay back and take it? By fighting for justice for the Ruling Class. Not out of spite or resentment or revenge, but because IT IS the right thing to do, to hold them to the Rule of Law. To be sure that they are held equal, no more and no less, in this allegedly egalitarian democracy.

Strike a blow for equality…

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Ben Stein sends regrets, rational beings are pleased

Maybe it was the fact that he saw odum’s web poll and retreated in fear of the inevitable costumed protestors a la the monkey and banana that dogged George Allen. Or, maybe, Richard Dawkins had more to do with it.

At any rate, Ben Stein’s gonna be a no-show at the UVM commencement.


Here’s the letter from President Fogel. They asked Stein to speak as an authority on economics?


Dear Professor Dawkins,

   As one who has been deeply instructed by your work and who applauds your scientific leadership, I was honored to find a personal email from you in my inbox, but very sorry indeed that the occasion was the decision to invite Ben Stein to be a Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. Although we have recently learned that Mr. Stein will be unable to receive the honorary degree here or to serve as Commencement speaker, please know that it was our expectation that his remarks would address the global economic crisis and that he would speak from his widely acknowledged area of expertise on the economy. We regret that he will be unable to do so.

   With thanks again for writing, with admiration, and with every good wish–Daniel Mark Fogel, President, The University of Vermont

Darn. And here I was gonna show up with my family dressed up as troglodytes. and my dog done up as a dinosaur.

It would have been so easy, even a caveman could do it.

Backstory here.

Nader: Wither Wall Street

Original article, by Ralph Nader, via nader.org:

Soon after the passage in 1999 of the Clinton-Rubin-Summers-P. Graham deregulation of the financial industry, I boarded a US Air flight to Boston and discovered none other than then-Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers a few seats away. He was speaking loudly and constantly on his cell phone. When the plane took off he invited me to sit by him and talk.

The Republican’ts Strike Back


Benjamin Netanyahoo thinks Iran’s invisible nuclear weapons program is the biggest danger facing the world today. Most folks think the Global Financial Meltdown and a discredited ‘free market’ theory is the greatest challenge we face. And then there’s that woman with 14 kids…enough said.

But, humbly, there is a danger facing mankind greater than any threat heretofore experienced on planet Earth: Republican’ts.

Open Thread


If you can keep your thread when all about you are losing theirs …

Saving 49 Lives (Part 2), The First Action Step

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Yesterday I wrote about the 49 people facing the death penalty in the federal courts because of decisions made by previous, Bushco AGs, and that these were lives we could save.  This essay continues that discussion.

The Bush Justice Department went far, far off the tracks on torture, rendition, black sites, wiretapping, the federal death penalty, and on and on and on.  It went so far afield that articles about this evening’s expected confirmation of Eric Holder as Attorney General note the gigantic changes expected at DoJ from the new, Obama Administration.  The NY Times, for example, writes:

The Justice Department, probably more than any other agency here, is bracing for a broad doctrinal shift in policies from those of the Bush administration, department lawyers and Obama administration officials say.

Please join me below.

Docudharma Times Monday February 2

Bush May Be Gone

But His Disaster Continues

Monday’s Headlines:

Late move on drugs by Bush FDA could be dangerous

Israeli governing parties face poll battering amid Gaza scepticism

Maliki allies set for big wins in Iraq election

Anger as Pope names controversial bishop

Wildcat strikes over foreign workers expected to spread

Aung San Suu Kyi allowed out of house to meet with Ibrahim Gambari

Aid groups: Sri Lanka situation ‘nightmarish’

Five-pound note buys two souvenirs and a wide smile in Zimbabwe

How team of rivals could still save Zimbabwe

Where has Chávez taken Venezuela?

Welfare Aid Not Growing as Economy Drops Off


Published: February 1, 2009

WASHINGTON – Despite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years.

The trends, based on an analysis of new state data collected by The New York Times, raise questions about how well a revamped welfare system with great state discretion is responding to growing hardships.

Michigan cut its welfare rolls 13 percent, though it was one of two states whose October unemployment rate topped 9 percent. Rhode Island, the other, had the nation’s largest welfare decline, 17 percent.

Under fire in the Afghan badlands

British push deeper into Taliban territory to pave way for spring surge

By Kim Sengupta in Lakari, Helmand

Monday, 2 February 2009

The shattering blast from the rocket-propelled grenade forced us to dive into a ditch. A second round exploded almost immediately, leaving a swirl of black cloud overhead. Then after a moment came long, raking bursts of machine-gun fire from the poppy fields. We were pinned down in the mud. What followed was hours of fierce, rolling, close-quarter combat against the Taliban fighters in the heart of the Afghan badlands. This was Operation Kapcha Salaam or “Cobra Salute”, the furthest south that a British combat mission has ever gone in Afghanistan.

In this highly dangerous Taliban-controlled area in the deep south of Helmand province lie the supply routes that keep the insurgency watered and armed, as well as the “blooding ground” where young jihadists cut their teeth. The joint British and Afghan offensive, which included armour and warplanes, was part of efforts to pave the way for the forthcoming US surge, which Nato chiefs hope can turn the tide on a war they are far from winning.



Democrats Set High Goal Of Sweeping Fiscal Reform

As Senate Opens Stimulus Debate, Sacrifices Become More Urgent

By Lori Montgomery

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, February 2, 2009; Page A01

It’s the holy grail of Washington politics: a federal budget that generates ample funds through a simpler and fairer tax code, defuses the spending time bomb for health and retirement programs, and supports the nation’s economy during the worst downturn in generations.

President Obama and congressional Democrats have high ambitions to chart such a course, and say that they hope to strike a grand bargain with Republicans to bring taxes and government spending back into balance over the next few years, taming budget deficits that threaten to spiral out of control.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


The Path Well-Chosen

The fork in the road

of humanity divides us

into givers and takers

Fundamentally I know

the givers will reach

the prize

at the end of the rainbow

of human endeavor

and put it to good use

for the good of us all

…even the takers

But the takers

make the road

seem so damn long

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–September 5, 2008

Happy Groundhog Day

For regular people (whatever the heck “regular” means), Happy Groundhog Day! If you’re a Christian, then Happy Candlemas. For my Pagan friends, Happy Imbolc! But if you’re just a crusty old Celtic traditionalist type like  me, then happy  Lá Fhéile Bríghde! (Brighid’s Feast Day). Since Brighid is the patroness of writers, naturally I’ll be  celebrating her day with much feasting  and libations and getting  some writing done.

Late Night Karaoke

For Mitch McConnell  

Jethro Tull – Living In The Past 1969

My Superbowl thoughts…

Men, be careful what you wish for…

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