March 11, 2009 archive

Banks Did Not Pay For Insurance, FDIC Will Have To Borrow

Unbe-fraking-leavable! Just when you think you know what the hell is going on and have some idea what it will take to get things back in shape, a new shite storm comes sailing along to bring you a new life-time supply of manure. What has the Dog so spun up this afternoon? Well, are you sitting down, gentle reader (duh of course you are, you’re on the internet)? The FDIC is going asking to be able to borrow $500 billion (as in five hundred thousand million) dollars, because it is does not have enough money to do the heavy lifting of taking over a bank like Citi or B of A.  

Signs of Obama’s solidifying Afghanistan strategy


Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan without setting clear goals and an exit strategy. “This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction, and resources it urgently requires,” Obama said at the time.

Since the announcement three weeks ago, signs are beginning to emerge to what Obama’s Afghanistan strategy will be. Obama mentions three tools – the military, economic development, and diplomacy – he has available to eliminate the threat to the United States.

“We’ve got to recast our policy so that our military, diplomatic and development goals are all aligned to ensure that al Qaeda and extremists that would do us harm don’t have the kinds of safe havens that allow them to operate. At the heart of a new Afghanistan policy is going to be a smarter Pakistan policy,” Obama told the NY Times on Friday.

Four at Four

  1. The Guardian reports the U.N. climate chief saus U.S. CO2 cuts could spark ‘revolution’. “Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said domestic political constraints made it impossible for the US president to announce ambitious short-term climate targets similar to those set by Europe. And he questioned the value of a new global climate deal without such a US pledge.” The cuts that scientists say are needed are politcally ‘impossible’ for the United States to make.

    Pachauri said regarding President Obama’s climate policy: “He is not going to say by 2020 I’m going to reduce emissions by 30%. He’ll have a revolution on his hands. He has to do it step by step.”

  2. McClatchy reports the U.N. expert says U.S. rendition policy broke international law. “Martin Scheinin, a U.N. special rapporteur and expert on international law, issued his annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday.” His report accuses the U.S. and some of its allies “of breaching international law for the so-called extraordinary renditions and subsequent alleged torture of terrorism suspects during the Bush administration’s global war on terrorism, and is launching a probe into the detention of suspects.”

    According to the report, the U.S. masterminded “a ‘comprehensive system’ of rendition and detention of suspects as well as creating “an international web” of intelligence sharing, his report notes that it was possible only through collaboration with many other countries.”

  3. The Hill reports President Obama lays out five steps to mend earmarks. “Obama’s reforms are five-fold. First, Obama said, lawmakers must post their spending projects on their websites ‘so the public and the press can examine them and judge their merit for themselves.’ Second, those earmarks must also be open to scrutiny at public hearings… Third, earmarks that go to for-profit private companies would be subject to a competitive bidding contract structure like the one used for other federal contracts… Fourth, Obama said that earmarks should never be traded for ‘political favors.’ And fifth, he noted that his administration will review each spending project and, if it is deemed unworthy, will work to eliminate it.”

  4. The Guardian reports Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say.

    Global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, according to a devastating new study which predicts that one-third of its trees will be killed by even modest temperature rises.

    The research, by some of Britain’s leading experts on climate change, shows that even severe cuts in deforestation and carbon emissions will fail to save the emblematic South American jungle, the destruction of which has become a powerful symbol of human impact on the planet. Up to 85% of the forest could be lost if spiralling greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, the experts said. But even under the most optimistic climate change scenarios, the destruction of large parts of the forest is “irreversible”.

The Great Unravelling…UN Investigates US

From the BBC

The UN is to investigate the use of secret detention centres allegedly used by the CIA and other groups as part of US counter-terrorism efforts.

The decision follows a UN report which uncovered what it said were serious abuses by the intelligence services.

The report said secret prisons were “one of the most horrendous practises” adopted by intelligence services.

Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said that in many cases states receiving detainees had “reportedly engaged in torture and other forms of ill-treatment”.

From Reuters

“Australian, British and United States intelligence personnel have themselves interviewed detainees who were held incommunicado by the Pakistani ISI in so-called safe houses, where they were being tortured,” he said, referring to Pakistan’s spy agency.

Scheinin later told reporters that such “wrongful acts” violated international law.

The system, put in place by the Bush administration following the September 11 2001 attacks in the United States, had reflected a “dark page” in U.S. history, he said. But “it was only possible through collaboration from many other states.”

“Now that the witch hunt is hopefully over, it is time for the law to step in,” Scheinin told the Council.

From McClatchy

Scheinin cites “consistent, credible reports” that countries involved in facilitating extraordinary renditions in various ways included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Britain, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Macedonia and Pakistan. Suspects then were transferred to “mostly unacknowledged” detention sites in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan “or to one of the CIA covert detention centers, often referred to as ‘black sites,’ ” according to the human rights report.

Apparently, the US has to rely on others to bring justice to its domestic War criminals.

The people on the other side of the screen

I ran into someone a few days ago who prefers the name-calling style of communication.  As these things frequently unfold, the name-calling escalated when it could have just as easily have been derailed by a simple apology…or even just by leaving the conversation…rather than an obstinate and seemingly never-ending defense of the behavior.

Eventually, the person wrote the following, which is the inspiration for this essay.

I don’t [think] you should be getting so bent out of shape because of words typed up by some random people you don’t know.  I think you should take a step back and get some perspective if you really have such a hard time dealing with the ramblings of anonymous goobers on the internet.

I do not consider the people I meet on the Internet to be “random people I don’t know.”  I call them my friends.  That’s probably why behavior on the Internet means more to me than him.

Gov. Sanford And Ideological Glare-Blindness

There are times for ideological fights, this the Dog believes with his entire heart. The issue is when to pick these fights. There is an argument that it is the best time when things are in crisis. The thinking on this, such as it is, is that when things are bad you need to be most correct in your actions. Of course this is what we are seeing from the Republican Party in general right now, and from anti-stimulus Governors in particular. It is also a complete fallacy. In times of crisis you need to have already decided the plan of action and act on it. If you are wise you will have planed and thought and argued prior to the crisis, but that is a rare trait in the America of the early 21st Century.  

The latest from the Peace Lack Of Movement

In “An open letter to MoveOn”, Dennis put into words something that has been bothering me about the peace activist movement for a long time now. I commented here, voicing my own frustration and rage at these continued requests for my time and money. I’ve been extremely active in this movement since 2004, and I’ve already invested a great deal of time and money (I have rather a lot of one and very little of the other), with nothing to show for those peaceful efforts.

Iraq and Afghanistan wars rage on. Billion dollar bailouts of corrupt corporations continue. After a mealymouthed “Quest for the Holy Grail of Truth(tm)” charade conducted by the Judiciary, Rove and Miers have agreed to a private bellylaugh session. No accountability at all for Rove, Rice, Cheney and Bush – war criminals who have shredded our Constitution, made a mockery of our laws, and murdered millions for a lie.

Today was the coup de grace, the frosting on the cake. I get this from United for Peace and Justice, the first activist group I ever joined:

They need $5000 to make sure the story of their activism gets into the press.

Think about that for a minute.

They need to buy some coverage. As if it was an advertisement. But it’s not an advertisement – it’s SUPPOSED to be the NEWS.

They need to bribe someone in the media to do their job and report the fact that we exist and are angry.

We exist in numbers like this.

And this.

And we need to pay off the press or we don’t get heard.

Got all that? We need to pay UFPJ’s fucking media bribe in order to have our concerns heard and taken seriously.


First Amendment Blues: WTF?

Sure seems like a whacky News day today. I stumbled onto this little item… since I dont see a current Open Thread and I dont feel like posting it Over There, here ya go.

HEADLINE: “Man charged, accused of dropping F-bombs”

Manufacturing Update for the week of 3.11.09

Well hello everyone, and welcome to a new edition of the Manufacturing series! For those new to the Manufacturing series, I try to cover anything related to the topic at hand regarding new developments like green manufacturing. Our industrial base has been neglected, its foundations eroded due to short-sightedness.  Thankfully, though, America (and our friends up North) have learned to survive in this new mad environment.  American manufacturing is always transforming, counted out by many, the assembly-line man and woman in this country have shown they not only could get the job done, but often better!  

Been ill again, so haven’t kept up.  Rest assured, I’m in somewhat top form now.  But enough about me, we got manufacturing stuff to talk about! Some interesting news out there, but first, of course the Numbers!

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

From Yahoo News Science

1 Spacewalking astronauts tidy up, tackle chores

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

Tue Mar 10, 5:38 pm ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Two space station astronauts ventured out on a spacewalk Tuesday to do a little maintenance work before visitors arrive.

The spacewalk 220 miles up took place on the eve of space shuttle Discovery’s launch to the orbiting outpost.

American commander Mike Fincke and Yuri Lonchakov, a Russian, wrapped up all the chores left over from a spacewalk just before Christmas. They accomplished everything faster than anticipated, in well under five hours, and accepted congratulations from Moscow flight controllers as they floated back inside.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Dream Catcher #1


Hopes and dreams

of a better future

might be captured

in designs which



the disappointment

of a second-rate


and the struggle

to escape

the entanglements

of a past


out of ignorance

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 10, 2009

Late Night Karaoke

Last Chance

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