February 7, 2010 archive

The ouzo effect

  A strategist at the Deutsche Bank had something interesting to say last week regarding the economic crisis in southern Europe.

 “The problems currently faced by peripheral Europe could be a dress rehearsal for what the U.S. and U.K. may face further down the road,” Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank in London, wrote in a research note today.

 It seems impossible that what is going on in Greece has anything to do with America. After all, Greece has defaulted on its debts so often over the last two centuries that you could almost set your watch to it. It was always contained in the past because Greece’s economy is so small, so why would this time be different this time?

 And yet, it isn’t contained this time. It is spreading and no one knows how far it might go.

Dear Ms. Palin:

I know that people are today making fun of you in the media and on the blogs because of your Nashville appearance at the Tea Bag Pay As You Go Event. They’re complaining about your irritating voice, your inability to complete a sentence, your having no plan and your writing on your hand. They say you are speaking “word salad.” That’s sad, but that’s how it is in America. People have the right to make fun of their politicians, and they should. And, lest you forget, you’re a politician. Or maybe now you’re not a politician any more and you’re an entertainer. Or something. Anyway, those folks cherish their “right” to make fun of you.

Regardless, I have a small proposal for you to consider. I realize that it’s unorthodox to print it here and publish it on the Internet, but after all it is 2010 so I beg your indulgence. How else can I get your attention?  And I know from how you dealt with all those couture clothes you got from John McCain’s campaign, that you understand self promotion for profit.  

My proposal: How about you pay me $50,000 before your next “speech” and I will write it for you. I am an excellent writer. I know grammar and sentence structure. I know how to construct a paragraph. I had an elite, liberal education at a very expensive, fancy, elitist college, and I have a graduate degree from one of America’s most revered universities, and I’ve written books.  But don’t worry.  I won’t tell anyone about any of that. Let’s put it this way: I know how to write. And I’ll keep what I write simple and direct so that your audience will follow it perfectly.  And they’ll hear every single dog whistle I insert in the text.  You know about dog whistles already I’m sure.  Look at that great one you “borrowed” from Lee Greenwood about your being proud to be an American.

I assure you the speech I will write for you will be (1) far more whacked out than the one you gave in Nashville (it will scare liberals to death), (2) far more clever (you might be tempted to say “cleverer”) and (3) your supporters, all those superannuated, semi and fully retired, more or less rich, white folks, will really love it. They will have something that is akin to an orgasm when you deliver the speech I will write for you. Only it won’t be an actual orgasm, that might just kill them, no, they’ll just smile and hyperventilate and cheer a lot. And want to smoke afterward.

You know how to reach me.  I am ready.  We both can grow rich while saving America.

Love, davidseth

PS. I can see Uranus from here.

Weekend News Digest

Welcome to Sunday Weekend Edition and Open Thread. Ek hornbeck is busy with Super Bowl and America’s Cup essays, so today the news is hosted by me, TMC.

Blizzard paralyzes mid-Atlantic; two killed

Feb Blizzard, DC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A blizzard dumped two feet of snow across much of the U.S. mid-Atlantic on Saturday, paralyzing travel, leaving tens of thousands without power and creating a winter wonderland in a region not used to big snows.

Snowfall totals of 20 to 38 inches blanketed a crescent from West Virginia to southern New Jersey by early evening when the flakes stopped falling after more than 24 hours.

More than 230,000 homes lost power in the Washington area, according to The Washington Post, after the snow felled trees, brought down power lines and damaged utility poles. Pepco electric company said its workers were scrambling to restore power, but said it could be a few days before everyone was back up.

Traffic was at a virtual standstill in the nation’s capital and surrounding areas as the sun set on many deserted, unplowed streets. Up to 32 inches of snow had fallen in suburban Washington in the biggest snowfall to hit the city in decades.

For Your Consideration

Gen. McChrystal says conditions in Afghanistan war are no longer deteriorating

ISTANBUL — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, whose gloomy assessment of the war last summer prompted the White House to boost troop levels, said Thursday that conditions are no longer deteriorating and predicted further improvements this year.

“I am not prepared to say that we have turned the corner,” Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal told a group of U.S. reporters during a NATO conference here. “I’m not prepared to say we are winning. I am prepared to say we are very much engaged, and I’m confident we’re going to see serious progress this year.”


Asked why he thought the situation had improved, McChrystal said he could not point to specific measurements, but rather a general sense that security was better in some areas and that the mood among Afghan leaders was more optimistic.

My favorite quote from the comments

erwinroots wrote:

Isn’t “no longer deteriorating” the same as “can’t get any worse”?

Super Bowl Rant Of The Day

Growing Discontent with Democrats & Access-Bloggers Leaves an Opening for Genuine Progressives

Lately there has been a spate of diaries at such web sites as FireDogLake and “Open” Left wherein lay members – typically under attack from site moderators, who act as Democratic Party hacks and gatekeepers – have sought ways to bring back the Progressive Party, or join the Greens, or build up some other institution, that will allow progressives to act together as a cohesive political unit.  (I posted an entry there myself, only to end up being attacked by site moderators, threatened with banishment, and ultimately banned when I refused to back down against their incessant bullying.)

FDL’s iphelgix explains the reason for leaving the Democrats.

Fellow FDLer TalkingStick points out the wisdom of studying the teabaggers for ideas about how we progressives can rebuild our own movement.

Mason calls for progressives to join him in building a Progressive Party from the ground up, apparently not aware that it already exists in states such as Vermont and Washington, and as Green Party affiliates inMissouri and Wisconsin.   He is joined in this effort by MadHemingway, who posted the 1912 platform the Progressive Party ran on.

FDL members are not alone in Left Blogsylvania in expressing their utter disgust with the Democrats; at “Open” Left, such lay members as Arthur Lukas gripe about where progressives are and asks where we should go from here.  Even at the Daily Obama, whereupon I also post, a poll I put up asking if it is time for progressives to break away from the Democratic received a fifty percent yes-vote.

Such discontent is often met by moderators and site owners with derision, insults, threats, and banishments of the “offending” members.  Nevertheless, it has grown more difficult for the access-bloggers to bully progressives into submission, a lesson FDL’s Jason Rosenbaum refused to learned after the beat-down his contemptuous post before the Massachusetts special election received.  In short, no one on the left is buying into the Big Lie that Democrats are any different from Republicans in terms of substantive policies, nor are we responding to threats and insults anymore for “failing” to be bullied into supporting Democrats no matter what.

This discontent and refusal to be bullied has created an opening for progressives seeking to organize the left back into a cohesive and more importantly, effective movement in opposition to the far right.  There are angry voices aplenty, people outraged by the betrayals of the man they though they were electing president in ’08 and the endless capitulations to the GOP made by Democrats.  Here we have an advantage.

The only thing lacking in the new political environment is effective leadership among progressives.  We will not find it among the self-appointed “leaders” of the ‘netroots, the access-bloggers like Chris Bowers, Markos Moulitsas, and the aforementioned Rosenbaum whose only real goal is to gain access for themselves – and only themselves – to the inner circles of “serious” political power and corporate media recognition.  It is therefore up to us to take on leadership roles and organize the left.

If we can take charge, we the progressive base, then we can finally begin the work of taking back America from the fascist elements that have usurped it for their own ends to the detriment of everybody else.  The Full Court Press is one tool for doing that, and it’s a very good start.

Puppy Bowl VI Liveblogging

Well folks, today is the sixth annual Puppy Bowl, a spectacle of juvenile canine frivolity that (briefly interrupted by the Bissell Kitty Halftime Show) provides as much butt sniffing, barking, snarling, and wrestling over saliva soaked chew toys as a typical day in Washington D.C.

I understand there is also a game.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

Early Puppy Bowl VI Edition

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US vows to stay course as Haiti battles hunger

by Andrew Beatty, AFP

Sat Feb 6, 4:15 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – The battle-stretched US military Saturday vowed to help Haiti as long as needed, as the Caribbean nation struggles to feed up to a million people left destitute by a huge quake.

Colonel Gregory Kane, the US Joint Task Force Haiti operations officer, said US involvement in the earthquake-shattered country would last as long as their presence was required.

But he said military operations could end as little as 45 days after they began in the aftermath of the January 12 quake.

“Europe Risks Another Global Depression”

While the “news” media focuses on the Tea Party mad hatters and their awesome political clout, there’s another potential financial meltdown in the pipeline.

This report from Baseline Scenario will possibly get move coverage in the coming week, as the markets react. In the meantime I just thought I’d post a quick Essay about it, as a kind of “Heads Up”.  

“Whoa Nelly!”, Australian Iraq War Inquiry? {Brit Inquiry}

Catching this, not much up yet, gives me a chance to catch up on the Brit Iraq War Inquiry, still ongoing.

First the Brits with theirs, next the Dutch and theirs and now some very prominent Aussie’s are calling for their own! Could the pressure start mounting on the Power that controlled the whole extremely failed policies of the previous decade? Time will tell but most residents of this country are apathetic and arrogant as to most everything especially baring their guilt and guilty in mass, as the The pitbull in lipstick said at the no American Flags tea gathering, “We don’t want to look back'”!

Wall Street CEOs Organizing To Buy U.S. Elections

The January 21 Supreme Court decision [.pdf] in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case lifted bans on corporate spending for campaign finance, drawing heavy criticism from across the country for the ruling’s potential to undermine the American democratic process.

Now with that ruling in their back pockets, “[a]t least half a dozen leaders of the Republican Party have joined forces to create a new political group with the goal of organizing grass-roots support and raising funds ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to people familiar with the effort”, says the Wall Street journal in an article January 30.

The Supreme Court ruling could potentially allow the group, called the American Action Network, to take unlimited contributions from corporations for use in political campaigns.

Sunday Morning Over Easy – Spring Fevah!

Friday afternoon I adopted a puny little Dracaena plant. Like most businesses these days, we have a firm that comes in and “manages” the plants in my restaurant, replacing them as they inevitably get damaged. I actually did that as a side job for a while, after my greenhouse days. So, in talking to the plant tech ladies, I told them I would take any plants they were just going to toss out.

Hardly a news worthy event, and yet, it reminded me that I haven’t brought a new plant into this house in years. No money to blow, and nowhere to blow it if I had some. Another sign of the decline is that there are no longer greenhouses in every burg. It used to be you could find tropicals and exotics within a half hour of anywhere you stood. Even Home Depot only has seasonal greenhouses any more for outdoor planting in the summer. Sad. The obvious answer is people just don’t have elective spending money to sustain the industry. The less obvious answer is almost amusing in its technology-backfires-yet again way. Plants die in new houses like this:


One of my friends bought a McMansion on the golf course nearby, and spent a huge amount of money to have his entry way atrium filled with plants, all which died almost immediately.

He was baffled. He replaced a few, then kept trying different plantings. When this came up in conversation, I explained how Low-E windows work and told him he would have to install full spectrum lighting to let them live, he was livid.  He did as most people do: Gave up, bought some tacky statue and threw in some plastic plants.

“You mean they build all these houses with atriums, that cannot possibly support plant life?”

Uhhh, yep. Exaaaaaaaactly.

In the land of living behind closed doors and windows for at LEAST 5 months a year, houseplants used to be a huge industry for the oxygen bestowing factor, let alone the calming effect of having green softness inside against the cold harshness outside.

No more. People breathe dead, perpetually recycled air half the year. Their windows save them money, but cost them life giving rays.


Load more