Friday, April 25, 2008

Just a Note

During the next dip in oil prices between now and November, I'm buying.


Because I really think Bush will start something with Iran just prior to the election. He's got two chief reasons to do so. 1) to shore up his image as a tough guy willing to clean up the middle east and 2) to give McCain an advantage going into the election.

Click the links for evidence.


Quote Of The Day

When is this guy going away?

Chris Matthews to Barack Obama on how to win white males:

You got to talk like a firebrand because if you‘re carrying their fight for them, they‘re going to like you. You know, a lot of white people root for black athletes because they‘re winning for the home team. People are quite willing to pick up black heroes, if they‘ll win for their side.


Factoids You Can Use

If you've read this blog, you know I'm not much of a fan of turning our food supply into ethanol. It's a terrible waste of resources and the energy return is miserable. But did you know that it's also not cost efficient?

Each day, the club posts not just the straightforward per-gallon price of so-called E85, the high-ethanol blend of fuel touted by fans as a potential substitute for gasoline, but also an adjusted E85 price to reflect how much a driver would have to spend on the corn-based fuel to drive the same number of miles as he or she would using conventional gasoline. The adjustment reflects a little-discussed quirk of chemistry: There’s less energy packed into one gallon of E85 than a gallon of gas.

While regular-grade gasoline hit a record $3.577 a gallon on average nationwide Friday, the adjusted price of E85 was even higher, at $3.855 a gallon. In fact, over the course of time that AAA has been tracking adjusted E85 prices, they’ve never fallen below the daily price of regular gasoline.

Can anyone tell me why we've embarked on such a policy? Oh. Yeah. I forgot. This ethanol program is essentially an arm of farm subsidies.


A Gun Here, A Gun There

There's a lot of fluff in the news today .... again .... still .... about Iran supplying arms to Iraq.

Does anyone really doubt that Iran is intervening in Iraq? That's not the question as far as I'm concerned. In fact, were I an Iranian leaders I certainly would be intervening. Think about it. If _________ bad guys were taking over the Mexican government, is there any doubt that the U.S. would be heavily playing games there if not outright invading? And besides, what right do U.S. leaders claim to be appalled by intervention in Iraq? How many troops/guns/contractors do we have in Iraq?


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

John McCain on what he thinks of reverend Hagee saying Katrina was payment for New Orleans sins:

"It's nonsense, it's nonsense, it's nonsense, it's nonsense, it's nonsense. I dont have anything additional to say. It's nonsense, it's nonsense, it's nonsense, I don't have anything more to's nonsense. I reject it categorically."
Gee John, do you think it's nonsense? Articulate fella.

In all fairness. Nailing McCain with this Hagee issue makes no more sense than nailing Obama with Reverend Wright. In both cases is stupid gotcha politics and pretty much irrelevant.


Only An American

It's a free country alright.

Did you know that there's a nutbar who has leased property and is going to build a Disneyland style amusement park in Baghdad? Gen. Petraeus is said to be a big supporter of the project.

That's just what they need. If they get that far in building it, the roller coaster will make good target practice for those honing their skills with RPG's.



This is rich. Only in the age of the internet would you become aware of such ironies.

Today McCain is out vowing "never again" to the Katrina survivors in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain took stock of still-hurricane-damaged areas of New Orleans on Thursday and declared that if the disaster had happened on his watch, he would have immediately landed at the nearest Air Force base, drawing a sharp contrast to President Bush's handling of the tragedy.

McCain called the response to Hurricane Katrina "a perfect storm" of mismanagement by federal, state and local governments.
Fair enough.

Now this is where it gets good. Guess where McCain was on Aug. 29th when Katrina was pounding New Orleans?
It was Aug. 29, McCain’s 69th birthday, and on the tarmac, Bush presented his old political rival with a cake. The two posed, holding the cake up for cameras, and within seconds, went their separate ways. The cake, melting in the 110-degree Arizona heat, was left behind, uneaten.
Heckuva Job McCainy!


Less Likely

It's ironic that Hillary's win in Pennsylvania, being as narrow as it was (despite the media hype), actually makes it less likely she can win the nomination:

A Political Wire reader runs the math and notes that before the Pennsylvania, Sen. Hillary Clinton needed to get at least 63% of the vote in the remaining states to have a chance to win more delegates than Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton now needs 296 of the remaining 435 delegates up for grabs (or approximately 68% of the vote.) In contrast, Obama needs 140 of the remaining 435 to have the majority (or about 32% of the vote.)

Therefore, despite her win in the Keystone State, the results have in fact made it less likely Clinton can win.

Considering that most polls predict Obama should win North Carolina by a healthy margin and both campaigns think Indiana will be close, the chances of a Clinton victory are actually lower than ever.
Added: Here is some more commentary/context on Pennsylvania that you're unlikely to ever hear on the teevee.


A Tell

Do you want an example of just how in-the-tank the media is these days? This is from an article about a press conference with Dana Perino, White House shill spokesperson. The questioner is Helen Thomas:

Q The President has said publicly several times, in two consecutive news conferences a few months ago, and you have said over and over again, we do not torture. Now he has admitted that he did sign off on torture, he did know about it. So how do you reconcile this credibility gap?

MS. PERINO: Helen, you're taking liberties with what the President said. The United States has not, is not torturing any detainees in the global war on terror. And General Hayden, amongst others, has spoken on Capitol Hill fully in this regard, and it is -- I'll leave it where it is. The President is accurate in saying what he said.

...Q You're denying, in this room, that we torture and we have tortured?

MS. PERINO: Yes, I am denying that.

Helen then turned in her seat, looked at her colleagues, shook her head in disgust, and asked sadly: "Where is everybody? For God's sakes!"
Helen. Everybody is in the tank. None of your colleagues, and I use the term loosely, thinks it's a big deal that the Preznit authorized torture in the Oval Office. It's not a blow-job after all. Helen. This is not the 1960's when reporters actually did their jobs which included acting as the "fourth estate". It's the new century where the media is a corporate arm of government.



This is just a blather post. But I wanted to mentioned that I watched Frontline last night. The topic was the politics over the last 20 years around the issue of global warming.

It was striking that the current Bush administrations policy processes were almost identical to the lead up to the Iraq invasion/occupation. And I was shocked (although I shouldn't be by now) at just how powerful and influential Cheney has been. In the serious, key issues of the day, Cheney has been really acting as the defacto president.

I know. Duh. I guess a small part of me wondered if there wasn't a lot of hype built into the CW that Bush is a puppet. No longer.



The Israeli's are sure that North Korea has been assisting Syria in building a nuke:

The Washington Post leads with news that lawmakers will see a video today of North Koreans inside the suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site that was destroyed by Israel last September. This video is apparently what convinced Israel and the White House that Syria was receiving help from North Korea to build a nuclear reactor, particularly because of its striking design similarities to the reactor at Yongbyon.
As with anything coming out of the Bush administration, there's a lot of doubt about this intelligence and it's meaning.
Israel apparently decided to show the Bush administration the video from inside the Syrian facility after U.S. officials openly expressed skepticism that North Korea was helping to build a nuclear reactor. Syria vigorously denies the claim. "If they show a video, remember that the U.S. went to the U.N. Security Council and displayed evidence and images about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," the Syrian ambassador said. Others are also skeptical, particularly because officials will tell lawmakers that "there was no uranium for the reactor and no indication of fuel capability," which has led experts to wonder whether this was really part of a Syrian nuclear weapons program. Also, there is no evidence that Syria has tried to rebuild after the bombing, so the inevitable question is: Why now?
Let's take a look at it assuming it's true (which is a ginormous assumption given this crowd). Two things stand out to me. First, the motivations for any developing country to get a nuke are huge. It's how you get taken seriously and prove your technological abilities. And this is all the more true since Bush has implemented a foreign policy that is so obviously predicated on those with the bomb vs. those who don't. Is it any wonder that Syria might be trying to get the bomb? Or Iran?

Secondly, I've got to wonder if it's not a bad thing that another middle eastern country gets the bomb. Aside from the seeming inevitability of it, perhaps nuclear parody will be necessary in order for the Israeli's (and the west generally) to take the Palestinian's seriously and to attain the necessary flexibility to finally reach a peace agreement.

Now I know the arguments .... nukes in the hands of extremists and so on. And that is always a risk, including in the U.S. But like it or not, nuclear bombs are a part of the modern landscape and the genie is not going back into the bottle. We are left with the hope and faith that rational human beings will do what it takes to prevent a holocaust. This has always been true in the past and will continue to be true in the future.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


This is what happens when people start fearing shortages and price hikes:

The two biggest U.S. warehouse retail chains are limiting how much rice customers can buy because of what Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., called on Wednesday "recent supply and demand trends."

The broader chain of Wal-Mart stores has no plans to limit food purchases, however.

The move comes as U.S. rice futures hit a record high amid global food inflation, although one rice expert said the warehouse chains may be reacting less to any shortages than to stockpiling by restaurants and small stores.
Think about it. I bought two airline tickets about a month ago. Both are now worth a lot more than when I bought them.

This is how inflationary spirals start to get serious. I can remember during the 70's gas crisis it was estimated that there was more gasoline in everyone car tanks than in distribution centers because everyone was keeping their tanks full all the time. And of course, as the news media highlights these stories with boogie-man-like headlines, it only accelerates.


Spitzer in a Nutshell

I love it when well-informed and researched bloggers cut through the garbage and summarize a situation. Here is one on Elliot Spitzer:

The last month has been difficult for the Democrats. First, the wild and reckless behavior of Elliot Spitzer ended his promising political career. The press was so busy with breathless details about the lady in question that there was little mainstream reporting about the role of Roger Stone, the GOP hit man in that saga. Stone allegedly headed a $2.2 million undercover effort complete with private investigators aimed at Spitzer. Stone then turned his information over to the FBI. The Bush Justice Department would never engage in partisan politics, of course, but let us see when the FBI next wiretaps an escort agency.
As they say, go read the whole thing about other atrocities revealed.



Want to know why this old fogey thinks the country is going to hell in a hand basket?

It's because of heliocopter parenting, the latest epidemic:

But in a follow-up column and podcast, Skenazy recounted her correspondence with parents nationwide, which proved that hovercraft parenting knows no geographical boundaries. A dad in Park Slope, Brooklyn won't let his 9-year old cross the street to go to the playground. An Atlanta mother doesn't allow her daughter to walk alone from the front door to the mailbox. A suburban lawyer makes his 11-year old call home immediately after walking one block from her own home to a friend's house. All this despite the fact that we now know "stranger danger" pales in comparison to the violence and sexual and emotional abuse too many children suffer at the hands of adult family members or acquaintances. And that the number of child abductions has been falling steadily for years.
You musnt' forget, there's a boogie man around every single corner!

By the way, this totally destroys a child's self-esteem .... just as much as a parent who beats a child.


North Dakota Oil

There's been a bit of hype in the media lately about oil being "discovered" in North Dakota. Big Ed Schultz was about to pee his pants over the whole thing a few shows ago .... you'd have thought we found enough oil there to supply the U.S. for decades.

Here are the facts.

The short version is that the oil in North Dakota, under the most optimistic projections, will only provide the equivalent of about six months of the U.S. oil needs. Meanwhile, production in other onshore facilities, i.e. in Texas, are depleting. Net, the U.S. will continue to need to import more and more oil.


Turns to .......

It's true. Everything Bush touches turns to s*#t.


In A Nutshell

Josh summarizes the primary situation quite succinctly:



I saw this yesterday and figured it was the beginning of the end:

Marcus Brauchli, who took over as [Wall St.] Journal managing editor less than a year ago, confirmed Tuesday he was stepping down. "Now that the ownership transition has taken place, I have come to believe the new owners should have a managing editor of their choosing," he said in a note to the staff.

Mr. Brauchli's departure likely heralds a more dramatic shake-up at the Journal, which has seen a shift in focus since News Corp. bought the Journal's parent, Dow Jones & Co., in December for $5.16 billion. In recent months, the paper has begun putting more emphasis on shorter news stories and more general news, as part of a push by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch to broaden readership and to compete more directly with the New York Times.

Mr. Murdoch was impatient with the pace of change, say people close to the situation, and whoever takes over is apt to speed up the change process. The identity of the next editor isn't clear. Dow Jones said in a statement it would "begin a search for Mr. Brauchli's replacement immediately."
The Wall Street journal was (emphasis on past tense) simply one of the best newspaper in the United States. Yeah, I know, the editorial section is made up of a bunch of total nutbars. But the news portion of the paper has been doing really great reporting for years. Murdoch, when he bought the paper, said it would retain it's character, stay the same, yadda, yadda, yadda. Of course, few people who know him believed him.



I know it's not titillating, but the carnage in Iraq continues. U.S. deaths are up to five since Monday, including one of those "non-combat" deaths that usually turn out to be suicide. And Iraqis are living in hell.

On the other hand, tell me, what do you think of a kid getting a $100,000 second birthday party?


Pop Quiz

Which country has the largest spying program on the United States? (answer below the fold).

Israel. Nice ally eh?



Did you hear that Bush's scapegoat general in charge of Iraq got a promotion? Heckuva job Petraeus!

I wonder how all those other Pentagon generals feel about a jr. military man jumping over them to be Bush's new best friend. For Petraeus, now as things go to shit in Iraq, he can say he was one step removed from the situation as Centcom commander.


U.S. Strength

Sometimes I read stuff like this and wonder about it's unintended causes and consequences:

What are sovereign investors doing with their funds instead?

That isn’t hard to decipher. Over the last six weeks, foreign central banks custodial holdings at the New York Fed have increased by an average of $17.8 billion a week.

A week. Let me try to put that in context. $17.8b a week, annualized, is OVER $900 billion a year. If oil averages $100 a barrel in 2008, $900 billion is large enough to cover the US oil import bill (net of petroleum exports) two times over. If oil stays at $115, $900 billion doesn't quite cover the United States oil import bill two times over, but still provides a comfortable margin of extra financing.

The average increase over the past two weeks was even higher -- $18.5b. That, annualized, is just short of a headline grabbing $1 trillion figure. It is real money.

All that money is going into safe Treasuries and almost-as-safe Agencies – not “risk” assets.

Sovereign wealth funds are foreign government owned entities that take their excess dollars and invest them. Think petrodollars going to Saudi Arabia or your WalMart purchase dollars going to China, for example.

A couple of things come to mind when I read this. First, interest rates. This is one of the reasons that, despite a crappy economy and huge budget deficits, interest rates remain depressed. Ordinarily under such circumstances, interest rates should be skyrocketing due to the demand for money to finance the debt. But because the U.S. is shipping so much money overseas, it's sloshing back to the U.S. in the form of other's owning the country. I'm sure you can think of any number of consequences that this may entail. One consequence (that's positive) is it makes liars out of conservatives who say that foreigners are unwilling to invest in the U.S. because of regulation.

Second, what do artificially low interest rates do? They create bubbles, i.e. the tech stock market bubble and housing bubble. As these bubbles grow, consumers spend more accelerating the export of our wealth. Lather, rinse and repeat.

Finally, another thought comes to me. Why do all these countries see the U.S. as a safe, virtually risk free, place to invest money? One word .... military. Because we spend more money on military power than anyone in history, we are seen as a "safe place" to bury money, even safer than a Saudi prince's backyard. And of course, all the military spending accelerates the government spending, the growth of the deficit, and the lather/rinse/repeat cycle mentioned above. But hey, why should Saudi Arabia spend their money on a military when they can hire the U.S. military and have their money invested at 3% in U.S. Treasuries? Again, I'm sure you can imagine several unintended consequences of this dynamic. It sorta makes those conspiracy theorists who see U.S. government officials in bed with the Saudi royal family look a bit more credible.

All in all, it's a huge house of cards that someday will unwind. And when it does, Americans are in for a big letdown in lifestyle and expectations. I guess the saving grace is that if we decide to default on, oh say China, our military will be strong enough to face their demands.



Well, another decisive primary is over and it's .... indecisive. Have you noticed that the primaries continue to play out just as expected? Obama was expected to win Illinois and he did. Clinton was expected to win Pennsylvania and she did. I bring this up because the script, short of some earth-shaking gaffe, is going to continue right on track. Obama is supposed to win in Indiana and he likely will. The results of the script are not, nor will they ever be, a blow out for either candidate. Both sides have just enough evidence to realistically spin an argument in their favor. I don't think there will be a "knock-out" punch.

So if I'm correct, then our intrepid and courageous super delegates have the ball. As is often the case for politicians, they'd rather not have to take a stand. But I'm afraid they'll have no choice in this instance. For those who think the ongoing battle hurts the party's chances in November, they need to step up to the bar and encourage others to do so as well. A widespread movement of super delegates can give either candidate the nomination. And for those waiting until they absolutely have to make a decision, let's hope they're not wrong in their judgment about damaging the party by prolonging the fight. As I've said before, it's not that we have to go through all the primaries that's at issue. It's the fact that the entire process started so early that everyone (including moi') is getting sick of it.

Added: For those who are disappointed in the results, the votes are still being counted and the current margin of victory is 8.6%, not the headline 10 points being shouted out everywhere.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Trading Threats

While the gasbags spit all over the teevee cameras about the biggest primary evah, the Iraqi's seem to be trading threats. Remember al Sadr threatened to unleash the motha of all battles if Maliki didn't leave him alone? Now Maliki has responded:

The Iraqi army command in Basra is giving top leaders of the Mahdi Army in the city 24 hours to surrender.

The order comes from Gen. Mohan al-Freiji, who told reporters Tuesday that Basra city and the surrounding province are back under government control.
If all this is something other than just cock-posturing, get ready for a resumption of insurgent attacks and battles where U.S. soldiers get drawn into the fight Maliki's boys get a chance to desert fight for the fathealand.


Stupid Discourse

All three Presidential candidates managed to agree on one thing, namely that mercury in vaccines causes autism.


There is no mercury in vaccines. Hasn't been for years. And yet, autism rates continue to climb. Not to mention that the mercury you get from coal fired electric generating plants is much more of a problem. Yet no one seems to worried about that.


Worst Evah

Yep, Bush is the worst ever. At least according to the citizens of the U.S.


The Shadow Vote

Here's more on, what I contend will be, the determinate of Hillary staying in the race or not:

The Wall Street Journal notes a new financial report showed Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign "struggling for cash. That could limit her ability to stay competitive in the final nine Democratic contests with Barack Obama, who has considerably more money to spend on advertising and organization."

Obama reported that he had $42 million available at the end of March to spend on the primaries. Clinton's filing showed she had only $8 million in the bank and debts of $10.3 million to outside vendors.
Obama is killing her in fund raising. This is the party insiders, activitists and key players voting. More evidence:
The Los Angeles Times: "Obama strategists said Monday that they expected to announce a series of additional endorsements by uncommitted superdelegates shortly after Pennsylvania votes. A strong showing by Obama in Pennsylvania would give superdelegates more comfort in coming forward, but a bad loss might send them back to the assessment stage."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post quotes Democratic strategist Tad Devine predicting a new wave of superdelegate support going to Obama.

Said Devine: "Unless Obama collapses between now and then, I believe they will move quickly after the voting is done in June, and move towards him. That will be the third wave of superdelegate movement, and whoever wins the third wave will win the nomination. This fight will not go to the convention."
They'll read the Pennsylvania results the way they want to, then use it as the reason to back Obama.


Invisible News

Just so you know, two more American soldiers and a slew of Iraqi's were killed yesterday.



Speaking of John McCain. Isn't there a bit of a disconnect between his public statements and this?

In other McCain-related news, the LAT points out that when the senator released his tax return last week, he disclosed that he received a tax-exempt $58,358 for what his staff called a "disability pension" from the Navy because of "his limited body movements due to injuries as a POW."
Oink oink. Mind you, if I hurt from the war I'd certainly take the disability pay. But then, I'm not running for Preznit and proclaiming that I'm fit as a fiddle now am I. Isn't this a bit like those insurance investigators who take movies of people seeking disability for back problems who are seen lifting heavy stuff? I think the guy either a) takes the pay and when asked about his health discloses his disability openly or, b) doesn't take the pay and returns it from the time he's been running.


Social Dues Not At Work

Here is one of a hundred ways that the lack of willingness (read: greed) of U.S. citizens to pay their taxes social dues ends up hurting all of us:

The NYT and WSJ highlight how this is the latest example of the growing rift between the United States and China over safety issues. Meanwhile, it's becoming clearer just how little oversight there is of imported products. A new government audit says the FDA would have to invest an additional $56 million next year simply to begin full inspections of foreign plants. At the current pace, "the F.D.A. would need at least 27 years to inspect every foreign medical device plant that exports to the United States, 13 years to check every foreign drug plant and 1,900 years to examine every foreign food plant," reports the NYT.
Mind you, $56 million is a drop in the bucket when you consider we're spending that much in about fours in Iraq. But if you look at the government's budget, you'll see where the priorities are. Including this numbskull:
In a blunt piece inside, the WSJ says that the tax cuts Sen. John McCain is vowing to push through as president "would either cause the federal deficit to explode or would require unprecedented spending cuts." He has proposed a total of more than $650 billion in tax cuts a year that would mostly benefit "corporations and upper-income families." Details are scarce, but he has promised deep cuts would equal $160 billion a year, which was "the total budget in 2007 for the departments of Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice and State."


Monday, April 21, 2008

Feel Familiar?

Do you ever wonder why you seem to be paying so much more for stuff, yet the government keeps saying that inflation is around 2%? Here's why:

The blue line is comparing apples and apples. In other words, it's inflation as it was originally measured by the government. The red line is inflation as reported by the government after "modifications" in the calculation process in the 80's and 90's, primary to stiff those with entitlements.

So we are actually in the ranges we were in during the inflationary 70's and 80's. And it's not going to improve anytime soon with continuing pressure from energy, food, and metals.

Remember how peak oil folks have been issuing warnings ranging from mild to apocalyptic? Recent developments are just the kind of headlines that you'll see as the water heats up on the boiling frog.


Not Bad

Don't agree with him on everything, but we're of one mind on this one:


In A Nutshell

Digby tackles the idea that conservatives won't back McCain in the general. She concludes:

The conservatives never get enough credit for being pragmatic. They are. When faced with the total repudiation of their most precious ideals in the wreckage of the worst presidency ever, they picked the one guy in their whole party who any voter could possibly believe wasn't a loyal Bushie. The only thing they required was that he was a bloodthirsty sonofabitch who would keep the flame of war alive. He is happy to oblige.
I think that's true. But. I also think that enthusiasm plays a role in elections. While conservatives who do vote will vote for McCain, the question is how many will actually vote? The dislike of McCain won't show up in percentages, but rather in numbers. And the numbers that matter are voters and $$$. Compare those numbers with Obama's.


The Real Primary

I've contended in the past, and continue to believe that this will be the real determinate in the primaries:

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton began one of the most crucial stretches of her presidential campaign in debt, newly disclosed financial reports show.

According to campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission over the weekend, the New York senator began the month of April with close to $32 million cash-on hand. But only $9 million of that total are funds that are able to be spent in the primary races. The report also showed Clinton owes more than $10 million, meaning the Democratic presidential candidate was in the red even before she heavily stepped up television advertising in Pennsylvania.
When As donors stop giving enough money, Hillary will go away.


A Letter To His Children

Robert Rapier works in the petroleum business and writes about it extensively. In his latest post, he has included a letter to his children on the reasons why he's moving to Dallas. (Hint: he's buying farmland).


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Real Journalism

It's not often you see real journalism these days. If you have a few moments, go watch this and you'll see some.


Penn Primary

Finally, the Pennsylvania primary is next week. Let me save you a whole lot of grief from watching the cable bobble heads explain it all to you. Here's the spin:

In advance of the Pennsylvania primary on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun Times reports Sen. Barack Obama's team "will call it a victory if he keeps Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to a single-digit lead."

However, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said Obama should be expected to do well because of "earth-shattering, record-breaking, eye-popping, extraordinary spending by the Obama campaign."
So you, dear reader, are now totally capable of deciding who wins in Pennsylvania.


Commodity Prices

Here is a very simple explanation of why the recent jump in food, metals, and other commodity prices are not speculative bubbles.



The chess pieces continue to move around inside Iraq. At least according to Michael Gordon, who is often wrong.

Has al Sadr moved his forces out of Basra as is claimed? Is he gearing up for an offensive against the U.S. government in Baghdad? Have the Iranians abandoned al Sadr and thrown their full weight behind Maliki? Are the Sunni's gearing up for an offensive?

I don't think anyone knows for sure. But one thing is certain, Americans and Iraqi's continue to die while we seem to be preparing for the next battle of the Iraq Civil War.



Today, it's the ever-deserve George Stanglepuss:

Not long ago, while cruising through the cable universe looking for something to watch that didn't involve the Knights Templar or a really big tumor, I came upon The War Room, Chris Hegedus' documentary about the 1992 Clinton campaign that starred those two Sorkinite heartthrobs, James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. Look how clever they are. See James drink a beer and talk like Doug Kershaw on Quaaludes while falling for Mary Matalin, who, as the movie was being filmed, had just rejoined the Republican campaign fresh off her acclaimed performance in the TV movie V.

See George deplore how the campaign has descended to this gutter level, as though Bill Clinton would have a girlfriend, and as though this kind of thing would materially affect the way President Bill Clinton would do his job. George is shocked by this, and saddened. And he fears for the reporter's professional life. See George tell the reporter that, if the reporter runs with this lurid, innuendo-laden trash, he will have no friends any more among the Important People in Washington. His career will be over. Nobody will talk to him again. Ever. He will have to eat his lunch in the cafeteria alone, every day, while everyone at the Cool Kids table mock him. He will never get picked for basketball. This is not the kind of thing that has any place among the serious issues that will affect all Americans, and it is far beneath the proper parameters of what is proper dialogue for something as important as a presidential race.

See George.

An indescribable foof.

p.s. -- The foofhood extends to a second day. Worse and worse.
Heckava job George.


Your Moment Of Zell

Please, go away Joe:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee, is leaving open the possibility of giving a keynote address on behalf of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) at the Republican National Convention in September.

Republicans close to the McCain campaign say Lieberman’s appearance at the convention, possibly before a national primetime audience, could help make the case that the presumptive GOP nominee has a record of crossing the aisle. That could appeal to much-needed independent voters.


Free Public Education

This is a story that would make any Republican proud:

The Los Angeles Times leads with California school districts' cries to parents for funding in the face of sweeping budget cuts. Potential layoff notices have been handed to 20,000 teachers, librarians, and nurses, as districts ask for as much as $400 a year from each student's family.
It's not enough that most teachers use their own money on the classrooms and students. California schools have been on the slide since the famous refunding priorities in the 70's. What refunding? The one that shifts people from paying their dues to society to buying lots and lots of S.U.V.'s!


Hot Head

In case you didn't know it, John McCain is one.

If he won, I don't think he'd be the first. We seem to like to elect spoiled brats.

Added: I think John McCain is going to remind folks of the pre-viagra Bob Doll.

Added: What a petty prick:

A platform that had been adequate for taller candidates had not taken into account the needs of the 5-foot-9 McCain, who left the suite and went looking for a man in his early 20s named Robert Wexler, the head of Arizona’s Young Republicans, which had helped make arrangements for the evening’s celebration. Confronting Wexler in a hotel ballroom, McCain exploded, according to witnesses who included Jon Hinz, then executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. McCain jabbed an index finger in Wexler’s chest.

“I told you we needed a stage,” he screamed, according to Hinz. “You incompetent little [expletive]. When I tell you to do something, you do it.”

Hinz recalls intervening, placing his 6-foot-6 frame between the senator-elect and the young volunteer. “John, this is not the time or place for this,” Hinz remembers saying to McCain, who fumed that he hadn’t been seen clearly by television viewers. Hinz recollects finally telling McCain: “John, look, I’ll follow you out on stage myself next time. I’ll make sure everywhere you go there is a milk crate for you to stand on. But this is enough.”

McCain spun around on his heels and left. He did not talk to Hinz again for several years.


No Surprised

You mean to tell me that members of the media have been punked by the government?

The NYT successfully sued the Department of Defense to gain access to thousands of e-mails and internal documents relating to its posse of military T.V. commentators. The 8,000 pages of information "reveal a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated." These "military experts" often communicated with the Pentagon to receive the latest agenda before going on camera, and some used the inside information to assist private companies in obtaining military contracts. More unfortunately, "members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access." Several of the purported military experts express regret over their actions, while the Pentagon defends the operation as a genuine effort to inform the American people. The networks, with the sole exception of CNN, refused to comment.
This is shocking! Thank god for the internets.