Saturday, March 29, 2008

John McCain: Wrong On Everything

Speaking of "Free Ride" McCain, Josh Marshall lectures Dems to start hitting him on the war-

For the record, there's a few points where I disagree with Josh. First, I disagree that the war is McCain's greatest achilles heel. You would think it is, but voters and logic rarely go together. Exit polls in the GOP primaries showed that for Republicans who are opposed to the war in Iraq (the Chafee wing of the party, god bless 'em), the majority of them voted for... John McCain. So don't count on the voters getting this issue right anytime soon.

McCain's real achilles heel is the economy (and, in general, his devotion to all things Bush). If Democrats really want to hammer McCain, videos like this one are where their focus should be-

Secondly, Josh in his video unconsciously echoes the standard trope that the surge did work to some degree. The 'success' of the surge was just like the 'success' of George Bush's "ownership society"... a house of cards built on bubbles and lies. A big mistake to make in the very week that the complete failure of the surge-- and of the Bush Iraq policy in general-- became indisputably clear.

Says the Daily Kos' georgia10 in her analysis of the devolving situation in Iraq this week, "Measured against the [political] goals established by both the president when he sent more troops into Iraq and by McCain when he vociferously argued for escalation of that conflict, the surge has failed. But even when measured against the post-hoc and truncated 'goal' of only reducing violence -- which is what McCain and others point to when they claim the surge is 'working' -- the surge has failed."

That isn't to say, however, that Democrats shouldn't hammer McCain on the Iraq issue every chance they get. They absolutely should. It's the biggest foreign policy disaster in modern U.S. history, and McCain has proudly wrapped himself around it. And while he does so insisting that his command of the situation is his forte, facts do not bear that out. For instance, he gave a speech on Iraq on Wednesday that, in many parts, were lifted word for word from a speech he gave in 2001. Apparently, the last 7 years are irrelevant to McCain. Don't want to let facts get in the way of ideology. As for his assertions that he was a "vociferous" critic of the Rumsfeld-era policy... another big lie.

So by all means, take on his Iraq lust. But don't lose sight of the fact that it's hardly the only reason to be scared of his presidency.

Ignore John McCain At Your Peril

It seems more and more people are starting to realize that the possibility of a President McCain is not as far-fetched as it seemed 6 months ago. This also coincides, awesomely enough, with with the peak of supporters of the Democratic candidates ranting that if their candidate loses the primary, they will vote for John McCain in November {*runs up stairs loudly, slams bedroom door*}. I know that I saw lots of this in my undercover stay at Camp Clinton last week (I had to ban myself and hide after being told that Obama was ruining "Hillary's election").

And then if McCain wins, they will all move to Canada!! Like, for reals this time!

Mark Kleiman pulls his hair out amidst this insanity-
Having opposed the Bush tax cuts because they were unfair distributionally and imprudent in the face of a war, John McCain now proposes to make the Bush cuts permanent, and add an equal dollar volume of even more distributionally unfair tax cuts, in the face of a war he intends to continue for another 100 years.

But don't worry: McCain's "economic adviser" promises that the Tooth Fairy will make it all better, and anyway we should wait for McCain to "flesh out" his proposals.

In fact, of course, McCain would have to propose massive spending cuts or tax increases sometime in the sweet by-and-by, presumably after the election, in order to meet his stated goal of a balanced budget by 2012.

McCain also wants to wreck the private health insurance market by substituting Health Savings Accounts and individual tax credits for employer-purchased health plans.

Think about that the next time you hear a "progressive" explaining why if the Democrat he favors doesn't win the nomination, he's staying home or voting for Nader or voting Republican. Back in primary reality, this stuff counts, and temper tantrums don't.

But they are soooo much fun. C'mon, give me that at least.

Over at LJDemocrats, moderate Robert Peate sees this danger approaching, and warns, "We Democrats need to get our act together--fast. The possibility of McCain winning in the fall is very real."

I replied by stating that-
"Nobody has done more to make John McCain seem like a viable presidential candidate than Hillary and Bill Clinton. The sooner their candidacy ends, the sooner we can get to the important business of explaining to Americans why John McCain is a scary old man who knows nothing about foreign policy or the economy, but insists that we elect him to run both.

We have a candidate who a) can defeat John McCain in an honest debate, and b) doesn't praise McCain's experience and Commander-in-Chief threshold-passing awesomeness... he's that skinny guy that Fox News keeps ranting about. Democrats need to understand that, and get working to get him elected ASAP."

I fully understand that's unfair to Hillary's millions of devoted supporters, but that's just the reality of where we are. The longer this goes on, the longer of a free ride John McCain is allowed to have.

And with Hillary's destructive desperation at new lows, it seems the DNC leadership is finally starting to get it.

Weekend Odds and Ends

Only one week until 'Battlestar Galactica' returns. Good times. Here's the news...

An AP report notes an increase of food prices worldwide. The factors behind this include "Freak weather... [and] dramatic changes in the global economy, including higher oil prices, lower food reserves and growing consumer demand." Trips to the supermarket = painful.

Defense Secretary Gates decides to find out what's going on with our nukes.

Someone wakes up President Bush, reminds him that he's supposed to pretend to care about human rights: "President Bush sharply confronted China's President Hu Jintao on Wednesday about Beijing's harsh crackdown in Tibet, joining an international chorus of alarm just months before the U.S. and the rest of the world parade to China for the Olympics."

And French President Sarkozy's the first world leader to suggest personally boycotting them.

Over two dozen world cities will be recognizing 'Earth Hour' today, with plans to " to turn off the lights on major landmarks, plunging millions of people into darkness to raise awareness about global warming". Officially in are "Chicago and San Francisco, Dublin, Manila, Bangkok, Copenhagen and Toronto", with others expected to follow.

Airport security gets more ridiculous by the day... nipple rings = WMD!

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was released from prison, while on appeal. His corruption conviction is a window into the Rovian politicization of the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, in campaign news, Hillary Clinton's top donors are blackmailing their own party again. They've been sending letters to Speaker Pelosi demanding that she "reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates" or they will pull their donations to the party. Stay classy, Senator.

One thing the Obama campaign has taught us is how racist many Democrats are.

Finally, John McCain unveils his first general election ad... he's an American who loves America goddammit!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

What's Going On In Iraq?

A little elaboration on what is happening in Iraq now. TPM had a good summary on Wednesday and another yesterday, for those in need of the Cliff Notes.

Basically, what we're seeing is the likely re-escalation of the civil war in a smaller sense (guess we should've built taller walls and/or paid the insurgents more $$), but in the larger sense we're seeing a political power play between Prime Minister al-Maliki and Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr... but, you know, with guns and bombs and stuff. Al-Sadr, while just a citizen, is a big political player in Iraq, with more support and allies in the Iraqi government than Maliki himself has. A fragile ceasefire by Sadr's forces has been in place for about a year (likely because he realized his political power was more important than the unpredictable fruits of war). For reasons that aren't fully clear, the Maliki government has decided that now is the time to take down the Sadr-allied militias. And while technically (for whatever it's worth) the ceasefire is still in place, the militias have been given the okay to fight back. Combine this with the news of mass defections from the Iraqi police to these militias (surprise!), and all hell is breaking loose.

But there seems to me to be another interesting dynamic at play here, one that tears to shreds (yet again) the neocons' simplistic, cartoonish view of Middle Eastern politics. Prime Minister al-Maliki is very closely allied, and backed, by the Iranian government... hence the red carpet treatment that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got on his visit to Baghdad a month ago. al-Sadr, on the other hand, is a nationalist... as likely to support the small Iranian encroachments as he would be to support the larger U.S. ones. So we have a situation where the United States (while continuing to saber-rattle against Iran) is backing the Iranian-backed Shiite militias-- I'm sorry, 'government forces'-- in their fight against the Iraqi nationalist Shiite militias (while continuing to pretend to care about the will of the Iraqi people). BEST WAR EVER.

And once again, the U.S. military is a hostage of Bush's hubris, stuck fighting someone else's war that they have no personal stake in. And once again, the President is invoking the overhyped 'al Qaeda in Iraq' to justify this mess while actually doing al Qaeda's dirty work for them. All while we enable the conditions which will ensure that a U.S. withdrawal gets farther away than ever.

This is all part of what President Bush calls a "positive moment" in Iraq's development.

"Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic!"

My friend IM'ed me this story... it's depressing as hell, but in many ways is a telling tale for life in America in the early 21st century for many. Via
Debbie Shank breaks down in tears every time she's told that her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq.

The 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral, but she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead, she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan.

Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit....

Her husband tries to look on the bright side: "Luckily, she's oblivious to everything," he said. "We don't tell her what's going on because it will just upset her." And Walmart spokesman John Simley says that this story is "sad," but insists that "Wal-Mart's plan is bound by very specific rules" and that "this is done out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan." Yea, it sounds like a real fantastic plan.

You can read the full story at the link above. And try to refrain from kicking things.

A Tale of Two Headlines

AP: US Embassy Personnel In Baghdad Told Not To Leave 'Reinforced Structures' Due To Incoming Insurgent Fire

The Times (UK): President Bush: Iraq violence is a 'positive moment'

[UPDATE: Here's a good cheat sheet of who's-who in this new fighting. TPM's analysis- here.]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Obama Blogging

At the risk of coming off as totally gay for Obama or gargling his Kool Aid or whatever, here's some Obama-related links I found of interest. Got some Hillary links you want to post? Please feel free.

Bloomberg News: Obama Calls for Overhaul of Financial Regulations (Video)

International Herald Tribune: Obama's promise of a new majority, and the question it prompts

The American Prospect: The Obama Doctrine-- Barack Obama is offering the most sweeping liberal foreign-policy critique we've heard from a serious presidential contender in decades. But will voters buy it?

YouTube: Barack Obama takes a question about gas prices in Beckley, WV

And, finally, this is from January but I just came across it... the creator of one of the nerdiest web comics around (seriously) explains why Obama's commitment to open government is what sold him on his candidacy. An important, but overlooked, issue.

Nothing To See Here, Move Along, Move Along...

Live Science reported this disturbing news on Tuesday-
A vast ice shelf hanging on by a thin strip looks to be the next chunk to break off from the Antarctic Peninsula, the latest sign of global warming's impact on Earth's southernmost continent.

Scientists are shocked by the rapid change of events.

And notice the difference in wording in how Fox News' site reported the story-
An ice shelf 10 times the size of Manhattan is holding on to the Antarctic Peninsula by a thread, a possible sign of global warming's impact.

Hat tip to a commenter at Will Bunch's blog, who snarks, "In related news, Faux News reported a body was found with a hole in the front of the head, a larger exit hole in the rear of the head, a smoking .357 handgun next to the body, in what was reported as a possible sign of a gun shot."

Don't worry, I'm sure we'll get around to doing something about all of this in a few decades or so, if we're not all underwater by then. I saw some lady on the subway with a reusable grocery bag, so we're definitely on top of this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Housing Bubble, Mortgage Crisis, and Bear Sterns: A Primer

Courtesy of the PBS News Hours this past weekend, a succinct 11-minute report explaining how problems in the housing market spread into the wider economy.

Warning: May shake your faith in the religion of deregulation and free-market chaos.

On a related note, a Brooklyn resident wrote this letter printed in the NY Daily News today: "Bear Stearns selling for $2 a share and ruining many people financially is a prime example of why we should not invest Social Security in private retirement accounts. Aren't we glad we didn't swallow that snake oil?" Yes. Yes we are.

[Bear-Stearns proves tantrums work (]

The Surge Is Working (© 2007- GOP Inc.)

I recently posted a Rolling Stone expose on the surge, describing in detail the process by which the U.S. military 'ended' the insurgency... by buying it. The article elaborates-
To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military has created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq's central government. The Americans call the units by a variety of euphemisms: Iraqi Security Volunteers (ISVs), neighborhood watch groups, Concerned Local Citizens, Critical Infrastructure Security. The militias prefer a simpler and more dramatic name: They call themselves Sahwa, or "the Awakening."

At least 80,000 men across Iraq are now employed by the Americans as ISVs...

...The American forces responsible for overseeing "volunteer" militias like Osama's have no illusions about their loyalty. "The only reason anything works or anybody deals with us is because we give them money," says a young Army intelligence officer. The 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, which patrols Osama's territory, is handing out $32 million to Iraqis in the district, including $6 million to build the towering walls that, in the words of one U.S. officer, serve only to "make Iraqis more divided than they already are." In districts like Dora, the strategy of the surge seems simple: to buy off every Iraqi in sight. All told, the U.S. is now backing more than 600,000 Iraqi men in the security sector — more than half the number Saddam had at the height of his power. With the ISVs in place, the Americans are now arming both sides in the civil war. "Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems," as U.S. strategists like to say.

This could never backfire, right? Right???!

Wrong. The Guardian reports that-
The success of the US "surge" strategy in Iraq may be under threat as Sunni militia employed by the US to fight al-Qaida are warning of a national strike because they are not being paid regularly.

Leading members of the 80,000-strong Sahwa, or awakening, councils have said they will stop fighting unless payment of their $10 a day (£5) wage is resumed
. The fighters are accusing the US military of using them to clear al-Qaida militants from dangerous areas and then abandoning them.

A telephone survey by GuardianFilms for Channel 4 News reveals that out of 49 Sahwa councils four with more than 1,400 men have already quit, 38 are threatening to go on strike and two already have.

Improved security in Iraq in recent months has been attributed to a combination of the surge, the truce observed by Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, and the effectiveness and commitment of the councils, which are drawn from Sunni Arabs and probably the most significant factor, according to most analysts...

Yikes! Sounds like it's time for a stimulus package for our Iraqi insurgent friends!!

Well, at least that truce with al-Sadr's people is holding u... oh crap. And these are just the short-term fallouts of such a short-sighted and stupid policy. As we learned with our alliances with the muhjadeen in Afghanistan and Hussein in Iraq in the 1980s, the long-term fallout may not be felt for many years later.

Of course, this was only ever meant to buy time for scared politicians here in America, and as it has accomplished that, it's been yet another mission accomplished for George W. Bush's glorious war.

And so when now will we get to leave? The answer, as always, is apparently never.

Hillary Clinton <3 The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

Contrary to what readers of this blog may think, I don't want to waste space here ranting about Hillary Clinton all the time. I spent years defending the Clintons to my conservative friends in the face of all the craziness of the '90s (Vince Foster, blowjobgate, etc)... but when she chooses to embrace that very craziness and become what she used to hate, yes it pisses me off. I just feel more and more than her remaining defenders are like Charlie Brown, always laying flat on their back, reassuring themselves that Lucy means well and next time, next time, they will definitely get to kick that football.

Maybe she can still get the nomination. And maybe she can go on to beat John McCain. But it'll cost the party its soul.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sen. Clinton's Economic Cure-Alls

Sen. Clinton gave a big speech on economic matters yesterday, and if she was hoping to get major media attention out of it, she failed (substantive issues = way boring). That's probably for the best, though, as it seems none too brilliant.

Here's the Associated Press report on her proposals-
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed several remedies to the nation's home mortgage problems Monday, including one tool more often associated with Republicans than Democrats.

The New York senator proposed greater protections for lenders from possible lawsuits by investors, a variation of so-called tort reform. For years, GOP leaders have called for restrictions on what they consider unwarranted lawsuits against businesses.
Democrats have often resisted them on grounds they limit injured parties' legitimate rights to redress.

"Many mortgage companies are reluctant to help families restructure their mortgages because they're afraid of being sued by the investment banks, the private equity firms and others who actually own the mortgage papers," Clinton said in what she billed as a major address on the economy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Yes, that's Senator Hillary Clinton basically reworking President Bush's talking points about why the telecoms deserve wiretapping immunity to make the case for why mortgage brokers deserve similar shielding.

Funny... she later says, "So I think that people who would be voting for either me or Senator Obama are going to ask themselves, 'Wait a minute, there are really big differences between the Democrats and the Republicans, and let's have a unified party and elect a Democratic president.'" Yes, Senator, let's. Have anyone in mind?

She goes on to expand on further proposals-
Clinton said she supports pending legislation to establish an auction system for hundreds of thousands mortgages in default. Under the plan, drafted by Democratic lawmakers, lenders "could sell mortgages in bulk to banks and other buyers," Clinton said, who in turn would "restructure them to make them affordable for families, because they know the government will guarantee them once they're reworked."

The Federal Housing Administration, she said, "should also stand ready to be a temporary buyer to purchase, restructure, and resell underwater mortgages" if the auction plan falls short.

I can barely understand most of this stuff, but it sounds to me like a huge mess that will be completely unworkable in reality. I'm not sure, unfortunately, that much of anything can be done about those already screwed over by the housing mess (how do you separate those screwed by predatory lenders from those who just defaulted?).

The focus should instead be put on putting in place the new laws and regulatory measures needed to make sure that this doesn't happen again. In short... stop trying to put a band-aid on this shotgun wound, and start actually fixing the system. You know, like we were going to do after Katrina, but didn't.

And here, to me, is the most ridiculous part of the proposal-
Clinton also called on President Bush to appoint "an emergency working group on foreclosures" to recommend new ways to confront housing finance troubles. She said the panel should be led by financial experts such as Robert Rubin, who was treasury secretary in her husband's administration, and former Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker.

Yes, that's what will solve all our economic problems... a stimulus check task force to sit around and ruminate on their own importance (lead, of course, by the brilliant Alan Greenspan). And then they can file a fancy report-- like the Iraq Study Group!-- and we can all pretend that it matters.

Matthew Yglesias notes that Sen. Obama also proposed a similar summit/task force a year ago, though his would not be packed with the people responsible for the policy and mentality that caused the mess that the new group would be entrusted with cleaning up.

One wonders what amazing plan John McCain will come up with. He may not know anything about the economy, but he bought Greenspan's book and no doubt has absorbed all his wisdom and genius by now. Have no fear, fellow Americans, the economy will be fixed in no time...

[UPDATE: Seems McCain spoke on this today. Basically plans to talk it out or do nothing.]

Video Smörgåsbord

Still have a few more hours left at work, and want to waste some time? Me too! Well, to assist you there, here's some politically-themed videos I've come across that may be of interest or amusement to my readers.

First up, global colding. It's a serious problem that needs to be dealt with using the most aggressive and wasteful methods possible. Yes, it's tongue in cheek.

Some more videos... The Red State Update guys do a hilarious parody of an Obama/Richardson interview after the endorsement. "Mean Pants Lady said I was gonna meet Vince Foster real soon". Well, I laughed anyway.

What is the Clintons' strategy for the rest of the primary? MSNBC pundits shuffle through it.

The Daily Show's Rob Riggle confronts his fear of hippies to file a report from Berkley.

Finally, an Onion News report... Army Holds Annual Bring Your Daughter To War Day

Commander-in-Chief Hillary Clinton Races Into Battle...

When talking about how she passed the Commander-in-Chief threshold (one of many new rules that the Clintons have retroactively introduced into the race), Hillary Clinton told of her rough journey into war-torn Bosnia during her husband's administration. Coming soon to a superdelegate near you, a film of this (literally) unbelievable tale of heroism-

I'm not exactly a swing primary voter, but this type of reflexive lying is disturbing.

[UPDATE: In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News' Will Bunch, she acknowledges that she made a 'misstatement'... in her prepared remarks that she used to bolster her foreign policy cred. Trivial? Maybe, but like I said, but it's telling.]

Monday, March 24, 2008

TIVO Alert: "Bush's War"

Fire up those DVR/TIVOs, dear reader(s)! Tonight, the PBS 'Frontline' series is airing the first part of a special documentary report... "Bush's War". It airs 9 to 11:30pm EST. Part two airs tomorrow from 9 to 11pm EST.

The airing was meant to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the invasion, but now it also has the unfortunate stamp of airing the same day we learned that the 4,000th U.S. soldier was killed.

The Wright Scandal For The Right

I mock the walking caricatures at the National Review all the time, and maybe that's unfair, so allow me to single out a post for praise because of its unabashed honesty.

The National Review gang, like Fox News and talk radio, have been foaming at the mouth about the Obama/Wright controversy-- and talking about little else-- and pretending that they actually care about this story (Sean Hannity was totally gonna vote for Obama until he saw those clips!). Responding to reader complaints about this obsession, John Derbyshire writes the most honest post written on this subject at that magazine-
"I don't get the sensitivity and slack-cutting towards Obama that Charles Murray's post typified. Obama's the enemy — a far-left Democrat. We should be attacking him at every weak point. That's politics.

A pro-Obama emailer whines to me that the Pastor Wright business is 'a Swift Boating of Obama.' Well, duh!"

Yes, after months of trying to throw attacks at Obama (flag pin! Muslim! his mean ol' wife!), the right-wing noise machine finally found something that sticks... and they're certainly not going to give it up just because their attacks are over the top and divisive. That's the whole point! Anyone expecting intellectual honesty or integrity from this 'debate' was always going to go home disappointed.

But just how damaging is this 'Swift-boating' to Obama in the long term? If polling data is to believed (is it?), not very. Gallup poll results show that the week the Wright story hit, Obama's lead over Clinton dropped to a point where she was leading him by 7 points. The newest results-- those coming after his speech on the matter last Tuesday-- show him now back ahead of Clinton by 3 points. How this affects his general election fight with McCain depends on a number of factors we can't know right now.

Part of the Obama resurgence in the polls is likely due to the pushback by his camp... not just the speech, but also the fight to put the shocking words of Rev. Wright in their proper context. Andrew Sullivan looks at the sermon (in full) from which the infamous clips/sound bites were culled. I'm not sure seeing them as part of a larger narrative will make anyone offended by them feel reassured, but at least doing so would be, yes, honest.

[PS- And if this silliness is really the worst thing they have on Obama, he must be a saint.]

Odds and Ends

Today is a magical day. Discount Peeps Day. Best day ever. Here's the news...

The Sunday talk show pundits babble on about McCain's Iran/al-Qaeda 'gaffe' and other fun.

The Washington Post has a good article on how health-care costs not only impact an individual's finances, but also prevent companies from being able to raise wages. And the Associated Press has a good analysis on how the economic woes are affecting the average American's day-to-day living.

Senators are urging the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into PassportGate.

File yet another story in the no-shit column: "With little-noticed procedural and policy moves over several years, Bush administration officials have made it substantially more difficult to designate domestic animals and plants for protection under the Endangered Species Act."

Here's an amusing story... Ben Stein has been screening his new pro-intelligent design 'documentary' to hand-picked audiences. PZ Myers, an evolutionary biologist and blogger, was attending a screening when a policeman forced him to leave, though his friend was allowed to stay. That friend? Richard Dawkins... the world's most famous atheist. Mrs. Garrison = pissed.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told Bill Maher he feels his seat is finally safe enough to propose a marijuana bill. "I'm going to file a bill as soon as we go back to remove all federal penalties for the possession or use of small amounts of marijuana," he said. Bill Maher = not pissed.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, new Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is cleaning up Musharraf's undemocratic messes.

Finally, the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in China was met with new protests.


A roadside bomb attack in southern Baghdad yesterday killed four soldiers, bringing the total U.S. death toll in the war to 4,000. Just another comma in George W. Bush's glorious war.

AFP: 'US military death toll in Iraq hits 4,000'

It's The Panel Discussion, Stupid.

There was a really interesting discussion on the economy on Bill Maher's show this weekend.

My favorite part was when Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell makes the argument (correct, in my opinion) that the post-WWII middle class was the creation of government policy and design. Conservative humorist PJ O'Rourke tries to argue otherwise, but seems to essentially agree as the conversation goes on with the points the other panelists are making. Does one person's wealth create another person's poverty? This is the question that leads to the debate.

I gave my take on the Bear Sterns bailout and why it was hypocritical last week.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weekend Video Theatre: Crisis in the Chartland

At the beginning of this week, Jon Stewart took a look at the wild ride that is our economy-

And are we in a recession or not? Our country's brilliant leaders attempt to figure it out.

[PS- As goes Starbucks and Borders Books... so goes the nation? Stay tuned!]

Economy = Fixed

I received my IRS letter informing me the arrival of our stimulus checks is nigh. Huzzah.