July 14, 2010 archive

If this depression is egalitarian, I’m Lloyd Blankfein!

Robert Samuelson sez this depression recession is “egalitarian.”

It has been the most egalitarian of all the 11 recessions since World War II.  In various ways, it has touched every social class through job loss, pay cuts, depressed home values, shrunken stock portfolios, eroded retirement savings, grown children returning home-and anxiety about all of the above.

This graph of unemployment by income level sure the fuck doesn’t look “egalitarian:”


A Dingbat at CENTCOM

General James Mattis

“Success is a poor teacher,” says General James N. Mattis, who has been nominated to replace David Petraeus as Commander of CENTCOM, in a strange loop-de-loop of Pentagon pecking order.

Petraeus moves down from overall command in Southwest Asia to run our miserable show in Afghanistan, and Mattis, who was previously passed over for Marine Corps Commandant, moves up.


Could it be his talent for winning hearts and minds?

“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.”

But even if Mattis isn’t exactly a hearts-and-minds kind of guy, maybe he inspires his troops to treat captive populations with sensitivity and respect!

“No better friend, no worse enemy.”  The words echoed through 2nd Lieut. Ilario Pantano’s head on the afternoon of April 15, 2004. That was the motto of Lieut. General James Mattis, at the time the commander of the 1st Marine Division in Iraq.

On Feb. 1, the Marine Corps charged Pantano with at least seven violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including two counts of premeditated murder.

Apart from a few bad apples, what kind of operation made Mattis what he is today?

Mattis played a key role in the April 2004 battle of Fallujah, Operation Vigilant Resolve, by negotiating with the insurgent command inside of the city, as well as playing an important part in planning the subsequent Operation Phantom Fury in November.

Vigilant Resolve!

Phantom Fury!

Power! Fear! Stupidity!

On May 1, 2004, the United States withdrew from Fallujah, as Lieutenant General James Conway announced that he had unilaterally decided to turn over any remaining operations to the newly-formed Fallujah Brigade, which would be armed with US weapons and equipment under the command of former Ba’athist Army General Jasim Mohammed Saleh. Several days later, when it became clear that Saleh had been involved in military actions against Shi’ites under Saddam Hussein, US forces announced that Muhammed Latif would instead lead the brigade. Nevertheless, the group dissolved and had turned over all the US weapons to the insurgency by September, prompting the necessity of the Second Battle of Fallujah in November, which successfully occupied the city.

“Success is a poor teacher!”

So now we were totally ready for the Second Battle of Fallujah, precisely because of the total screaming failure of the First Battle of Fallujah!

And how did that work out for our friends in Iraq?


Fallujah in December, 2003

And after…




And after…


“It’s fun to shoot some people. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot.”

No Comment

400 geese euthanized to reduce number near New York airports

New York (CNN) — Four hundred Canada geese from Brooklyn’s Prospect Park were herded into crates and euthanized last week in an effort to reduce their number near New York’s airports, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Measures to lower the number of Canada geese close to John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia international airports have been in place since last summer, said Carol Bannerman, spokeswoman for the USDA’s Wildlife Services.

New York City officials asked for federal assistance with solving the goose problem after US Airways flight 1549 was cripped by a bird strike and narrowly avoided crashing by successfully landing in the Hudson River in January 2009.

* * * * * *

Canada geese shot to death in New Jersey

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. – Authorities say 18 Canada geese were found beaten and shot in the head near a retention pond in western New Jersey.


(Moorestown resident Chris) Cramer took three injured birds to a wildlife refuge over the weekend.

Mount Laurel Mayor Jim Keenan says the attack was “disgusting” and “a horrendous act against the animals.”

Police Chief Dennis Cribben says anyone charged with killing the geese faces a third-degree cruelty to animals charge.

Open Ice Cream!


News at Noon

From Reuters

Fears grow as millions lose jobless benefits

By Nick Carey

July 14, 2010

(Reuters) – Deborah Coleman lost her unemployment benefits in April, and now fears for millions of others if the Senate does not extend aid for the jobless.

“It’s too late for me now,” she said, fighting back tears at the Freestore Foodbank in the low-income Over-the-Rhine district near downtown Cincinnati. “But it will be terrible for the people who’ll lose their benefits if Congress does nothing.”

For nearly two years, Coleman says she has filed an average of 30 job applications a day, but remains jobless.

Related Stories

Obama aides say stimulus saved millions of jobs

Growth outlook cut running into next year

Not Motivated? Good!

So… you get up and go to work everyday, if you even have a job, and you’re teetering constantly on the edge of financial catastrophe. The bills are overdue, you’re nervous about answering the phone, and you inspect the sidewalks and alleys everyday for soft spots in case you might end up living on them one day?

Then you get to work, if you even have a job, and you spend all day pissed off at the unfairness of it all and wondering why the brainless conforming moron in the next cubicle takes home four times what you do on payday while operating on three brain cells, asking how high everytime the boss says jump, and performing rote repetitive tasks all day long that a hampster could do faster?

The answer is simple, obviously. You think too much! You’re too effing smart for your own good!

theRSAorg | 01 April 2010 This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. www.theRSA.org

Dan Pink’s full 41 minute talk “Drive” is here.

Holbrooke on Afghanistan/Pakistan

Sorting through the complexities in Afghanistan

July 13: Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, talks with Rachel Maddow about the history of the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the different Taliban groups active in the region.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

In this world

Hate never yet dispelled hate.

Only love dispels hate.

This is the law,

Ancient and inexhaustible.

–The Dhammapada

Phenomena XV: Love



Fear is strong

Does hatred

make anyone


We come in

all degrees

of beauty

all depths

of substance

all capabilities

of love

Should cultural


so consistently

deny us love?

The riddles

need solving

so that lives

may be lived

and love

may be found

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–June 13, 2008

Late Night Karaoke

Obstruction, a hidden tactic, hoping to win the day …

The GOP strategy of obstruction is working beautifully

By Greg Sargent, The Plum Line, July 13, 2010

As you know, I’ve been arguing here that the GOP strategy of obstruction is paying off for Republicans — big time. The public is blaming Democrats, not Republicans, for the government dysfunction that has resulted from Republican obstructionist tactics, because Dems are in charge.


This clearly demonstrates that people have not connected GOP obstructionism with one of its most visible results: The prevention of the extended of unemployment benefits that a sizable majority says it wants.

I wonder if they know they’re playing Games, with People’s Lives ?

Republican Reverse Robin Hood

  It’s a rare event to see honesty for a major politician. So when it happens you should take note. Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) clearly listed his priorities yesterday, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

 WALLACE: We’re running out of time, so how are you going to pay $678 billion just on the tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year?

KYL: You should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes. Surely congress has the authority and it would be right, if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending. And that’s what republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.