Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mortgage Predators, Nightmare Continues

"It's a problem because so many hands touch a mortgage during the process," said Steven L. Antonakes, Massachusetts' commissioner of banks. "The level of responsibility and the ability to effect positive change can vary from relationship to relationship" among the different players.

Fpr example, more than 20 percent of foreclosure actions in Massachusetts in the last year have been initiated on behalf of a unit of Deutsche Bank Group, the German financial services giant, according to ForeclosuresMass.com, which tracks cases. Deutsche, while listed on the deed as the mortgage holder and technically the legal owner, is a trustee for investors such as hedge funds and other financial firms that hold the securities that are backed by these mortgages.
A spokesman said Deutsche Bank has no economic interest in the mortgages and is not responsible for foreclosures or for selling foreclosed property. Such decisions are made by servicing companies, according to contracts with different investor trusts, the spokesman said.

Moreover, mortgage-backed bonds are usually sold with legally binding commitments that create more obstacles for delinquent borrowers. For example, reductions in loan amounts are often needed to keep people from losing homes, but mortgage-backed bonds are usually sold with prohibitions against forgiving loan principal, except in rare cases, said McCoy, the UConn professor.
"Anyone seeking a loan workout is going to have to face these impediments," McCoy said."

These are not subprime mortgages. Now people will finally pay attention. In the subprime world these financial institutions took advantage of "inexperienced poor people," who probably should not have received a mortgage in the first place.

Now you have middle class folks finding themselves in the same situation. These financial institutions have turned brokered mortgages into junk bonds.

Last week the "market" dropped. What wasn't reported is the "market" is the market is still over 13,000. The respectable financial institutions will survive in some incarnation. The bankrupt homeowners may not get that same opportunity.

Roberts' seizure

Chief Justice Robert's had a seizure. I'm just guessing that Roberts has epilepsy. If he does, so what. By taking the mystery out of the seizures, they can actually showcase the illness. People will this diagnosis function quite well in society, and it's time the stigma is removed.

Obama v Edwards Policies for the Poor

"If I had to choose between the two, I guess I’d go with the Obama plan. I’d lean that way because Obama seems to have a more developed view of social capital. Edwards offers vouchers, job training and vows to create a million temporary public-sector jobs. Obama agrees, but takes fuller advantage of home visits, parental counseling, mentoring programs and other relationship-building efforts.

The Obama policy provides more face-to-face contact with people who can offer praise or disapproval. Rising out of poverty is difficult — even when there are jobs and good schools. It’s hard to focus on a distant degree or home purchase. But human beings have a strong desire for approval and can accomplish a lot with daily doses of praise and censure. Standards of behavior are contagious that way.

A neighborhood is a moral ecosystem, and Obama, the former community organizer, seems to have a better feel for that. It’s not only policies we’re looking for in selecting a leader, it’s a sense of how the world works. Obama’s plan isn’t a sure-fire cure for poverty, but it does reveal an awareness of the supple forces that can’t be measured and seen."

Someone from the mainstream media is focusing on a REAL issue. It's about time.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Thank God, Coste didn't get a life

A great piece on Coste by Neon Gods.......

A Bridge to CampFed

Boy this cheers me up........

Tom Snyder 1935-2007

See you tomorrow.....

RIP Bill Walsh

He created a system around a quarterback's weakness. Net result three Super Bowls, two Hall of Fame QB's and coaches too numerous to name.

He changed the way football is played. Managers take note, he tweaked a system to bring out the best in an employee. Everybody wins.

He will be missed.

Stand by your man

"This almost subconscious bond of loyalty" between the attorney general and the president "may be driving a lot of this," said Schott, who has studied relations between the executive and legislative branches of government and the role of psychology in political behavior. "It's obvious that Gonzales owes Bush his career. Part of his behavior comes from this gratitude and extreme loyalty to Bush."

Fredo's never ending saga

"As far as we can tell, there are three possible explanations for Gonzales' talk about a dispute over other - unspecified - intelligence activities. One, he lied to Congress. Two, he used a dodge to mislead lawmakers and the public: The spying program was modified after Ashcroft refused to endorse it, which made it "different" from the one Bush has acknowledged. The third is that there was more wiretapping than has been disclosed, perhaps even purely domestic wiretapping, and Gonzales is helping Bush cover it up.

Democratic lawmakers are asking for a special prosecutor to look into Gonzales' words and deeds. Solicitor General Paul Clement has a last chance to show that the Justice Department is still minimally functional by fulfilling that request. If that does not happen, Congress should impeach Gonzales."

Who would have ever thought John Ashcroft would be the Constitutional voice of reason? Go figure.

Saudis going south in Iraq

"The Bush administration and Saudi Arabia's ruling family have a lot in common, including oil, shared rivals like Iran and a penchant for denial that has allowed both to overlook the Saudis' enabling role in the Sept. 11 attacks. But their recent wrangling over Iraq cannot be denied or papered over with proposals for a big new arms sale. And if these differences are not tackled, there is an increased likelihood that the war's chaos will spread far beyond Iraq's borders."

How many of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia? Who had private escorts from the US?

"If Washington wants Saudi backing for the Maliki government, Maliki must earn it by ending sectarianism in the security forces, reforming discriminatory anti-Baathist restrictions and pushing through an equitable oil revenue law.

It is past time for Bush to acknowledge that the U.S. has no realistic chance of winning a military victory in Iraq, and that it needs to be urgently preparing to manage the consequences of U.S. withdrawal. That will require working cooperatively with all of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria. Compared with those, Saudi Arabia should be easy."

Forever Ours

By the record crowds that turned out to see Ripkin & Gwynn enshrined in the Hall of Fame, it so apparent that good guys finish first. Both showed up to their job and performed without much fanfare until the close of their careers.

No allegations of cheating or being selfish. The timing of the induction is perfect. Last week a CEO was sentenced to six years in jail. His bottom line crime was manipulating the system and being greed.

No drama, just smart, steady work. Sometimes that is all it takes to succeed. A lesson for all of us.

A small percentage of voters speak

“Democracies frequently adopt and maintain policies harmful for most people,” Professor Caplan notes. There are various explanations for this — the power of special interests, public ignorance of details, and so on. But Mr. Caplan argues that those accounts fall short.

“This book develops an alternative story of how democracy fails,” he writes. “The central idea is that voters are worse than ignorant; they are, in a word, irrational — and vote accordingly.”

I agree with Kristof suggestion of teaching economics and statistics in high school. Maybe more people will be able getting a true reading on the data throw at them.

Immoral Administration

"Now, why should Mr. Bush fear that insuring uninsured children would lead to a further “federalization” of health care, even though nothing like that is actually in either the Senate plan or the House plan? It’s not because he thinks the plans wouldn’t work. It’s because he’s afraid that they would. That is, he fears that voters, having seen how the government can help children, would ask why it can’t do the same for adults.

And there you have the core of Mr. Bush’s philosophy. He wants the public to believe that government is always the problem, never the solution. But it’s hard to convince people that government is always bad when they see it doing good things. So his philosophy says that the government must be prevented from solving problems, even if it can. In fact, the more good a proposed government program would do, the more fiercely it must be opposed."

Government is not bad. Mismanaged government resources is bad. If this were a publicaly held company, the entire top tier of this administration would have been fired or in incarcerated.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Nerdiness = Hyperwhiteness?

Black nerds represent the “silent majority” who go to school, get a job and without fanfare take of their families.

True or BS?

Birth order discussion on Pandagon. Fun post for a rainy day...........

Why now?

I have never been a fan of A-Rod. When he becomes "clutch" in the fall, them I will hop on his bandwagon.

However, I have to question Jose Conseco's new book. Why didn't he throw A-Rod under the bus in his first book. He is the highest paid player in the game.

Granted, his book uncovered steroids in baseball, but I have to wonder if he is doing this hype his new book.

Go away Jose'.

How urban..........

"Cynthia Dunham is founder and executive director of The Leadership Centre, a non-profit that promotes homeowner association education and based at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. She said some associations are adding a "refurbishing" expense to their budgets, using assessments made on all properties to keep abandoned ones weed free.

"It is easier to send in a landscaping crew to trim weeds and spray than to have an eyesore," she said. "This is a temporary way to deal with an unfortunate reality."

I wonder how much they are paying the crews?

props to Atrios

Bonds Drama King

There comes a time in every athlete's career when it's over. The foul shots don't sink as easy. The silky smooth hands of a wide receiver aren't as sure or the step not as quick.

For a long ball hitter, sometimes there are no more home runs in the bat. Oh how sweet it would be if Bonds simply ran out of steam.....

Lonely road to Nowhere

"Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, detects "a sense of fatalism" at the White House.

"I think President Bush has reached a point where he perceives he doesn't have options other than what he is doing -- a course has been put in place and you have to see the course through," Jamieson said. "If people get locked down psychologically, it makes it possible for them to think that they are doing something heroic, even in the face of public criticism."

Sunday Brunch

Chew on this find by Suburban Guerrilla while you eat your Sunday Brunch. She does consistent great work. While you're there donate what you can....

Do we really have that many criminals?

If we spent more money on providing our population with good schools and health care, I doubt that we would have a need for so many prisons.

As a surprise to no one, what has been deemed a crime changed after the burgeoning private prisons. The prisons only make money if there are prisons.

I can't help but venture into conspiracy theory territory but it does give one pause.

Read Andrew Bosworth's piece and weep.

Do we really have that many criminals?

Hooked on a Feeling

Emergence of Liberal Bloggers

"Our current media stars are so impressed with themselves and their fame and their ability to hobnob with the movers and shakers in this government, that they have become completely out of touch with the rest of America. After all, aren't they the "serious" pundits that Fox, CNN, Washington Post and New York Times feature all the time? Well, then, they must be right.

These are our media emperors. It's our job to warn them that they have no clothes. "




I'll assume Mr. Goldberg has been living in a cave for the past six agonizing years........

Keeping up with a good guy

"It's karma, baby! This is what happens when you invest so much monetarily and emotionally in one individual: You ride with him or you die with him. Such is the Eagles' situation.

McNabb is a five-time Pro Bowler, one of only seven players in NFL history to amass 20,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards. He's Mr. Squeaky-Clean, the reason Mama (Wilma) McNabb is seen in all those Campbell's Chunky Soup commercials. But McNabb is also the man who ended 2006 after just nine games with an ACL injury, one season after ending 2005 with a sports hernia, who has failed to finish that 16-game marathon in three of the last five regular seasons.

"We'll keep a close eye on him and just see how he does," Reid said.

Good. Because there is a bright side to this: At least we're watching McNabb for all the right reasons."

Training camp opened this week without any sideshows. No front yard sitsups, or contractual holdouts. The only question lingering is how wll the franchise QB perform or even finish the year?

With a strong supporting cast, as a fan, not a bad place to be.

Hall of Fame Inductions: Two Good Guys

"Ripken and Gwynn are members of a dying breed, having played their entire careers with one team, and they have been tremendous ambassadors for a game that's had its reputation stained by steroids.

"I think the fact that there are so many people (coming) is a reflection on what kind of people the fans think Cal and I are," said Gwynn, who accumulated 3,141 hits, eight NL batting titles and a career .338 average in 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres. "The feedback I'm getting is that we did things the right way."

Said Ripken: "I don't know if we can always figure out the reason why, but I'm thankful that it's happening."

Both of these guys were known for being "nice guys." How wonderfully boring.

What a shame, Costner is too old to play Coste in the movie

The Chis Coste story has all the elements of a perfect baseball tale, journeyman writer playing for a working class team whose fate is unknown hourly. I love it.

The Phillies must keep him. He is a steady Eddie who delivers. It is cool watching an great story unfold. The happy ending will be determined by Phillies management. Sigh.

Toby McGuire?

Mondale Speaks Out

"Whatever authority a vice president has is derived from the president under whom he serves. There are no powers inherent in the office; they must be delegated by the president. Somehow, not only has Cheney been given vast authority by President Bush -- including, apparently, the entire intelligence portfolio -- but he also pursues his own agenda. The real question is why the president allows this to happen."

My guess is that Shrub didn't want to actually WORK. Shrub has never worked for ANYTHING. When he engaged in independent thought, he left a mess for someone competent to clean it up.

50% Club: Wealthy Heroes

"Their motivations are manifold: Some give out of a sense of fairness, personal satisfaction or a desire for simplicity; others are driven by religious faith or dedication to a cause.

Many are anonymous philanthropists, and not all of them have great wealth: Some are members of the middle class, but have chosen to survive on less so they can give more. Above all, they aim to stand as role models, and to encourage others of all income levels to think about their giving potential."

In light of the over reported rich, spoiled celebs and athletes, this restores my faith in humanity. At least for an hour....

Tour de France 2007: Death or Rebirth

"Here is a country with superb roads and railroads, glorious cities and landscape, and food and wine that don't need my praise. That's not to mention an excellent health service, or industrial productivity quite as high per hour worked as it is in the United States (it's just that the French don't care to devote quite so much of their lives to working as the Americans).

Maybe the Tour should look at France as its image, rather than the other way round.

France Soir added to the gloom by making up its front page as a mock death announcement, reporting the demise of the Tour "at the age of 104, after a long illness." But that could have been said of the France itself, in 1940 or 1958, when the country seemed likewise a terminal case.

It wasn't, and nor I hope is the Tour. It certainly needed another severe shock to the system, and has now had it. Just possibly Prudhomme is right, and this year's Tour will be not a death-knell but a rebirth."

President Petraeus?

"That’s because the Petraeus phenomenon is not about protecting the troops or American interests but about protecting the president. For all Mr. Bush’s claims of seeking “candid” advice, he wants nothing of the kind. He sent that message before the war, with the shunting aside of Eric Shinseki, the general who dared tell Congress the simple truth that hundreds of thousands of American troops would be needed to secure Iraq. The message was sent again when John Abizaid and George Casey were supplanted after they disagreed with the surge."

Friday, July 27, 2007

FBI Suggests Gonzo ugh lied

"Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Robert S. Mueller III also undercut statements Gonzales offered this week to lawmakers about a controversial hospital visit to the bedside of then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft in March 2004.

Mueller's disclosures come amid what until now has been a highly partisan debate on Capitol Hill over Gonzales' tenure at the Justice Department and his reputation for honesty."

More evidence that the Bush team loves power and will not be a hurry to give it up. Impeach them NOW.

We are going to storm the Bastille, when?

Gonzo creates bipartisan environment

"Gonzo answered the question, all right -- inadvertently, of course: "There are no rules."

That's the guiding philosophy of this administration. As far as these people are concerned, there are no rules of common decency. There are no rules of customary practice. There are no rules governing respect for the truth, or even respect for the privacy and health of an ailing colleague.

And we all know who sets that tone.

Sen. Chuck Schumer tried valiantly to get Gonzo to say who sent him on that Mafia-movie errand to the hospital. Gonzo's a loyal soldier; he wouldn't snitch. All Schumer got out of him was that the visit was "on behalf of the president of the United States."

Imperial President

"Congress must not capitulate in the White House's attempt to rob it of its constitutional powers. Now that the committee has acted, the whole House must vote to hold Miers and Bolten in contempt. The administration has indicated that it is unlikely to allow the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to bring Congress' contempt charges before a grand jury. In that case, Congress can and should proceed against Miers and Bolten on its own, using its inherent contempt powers.

It is not too late for President Bush to spare the country the trauma, and himself the disgrace, of this particular constitutional showdown. There is a simple way out. He should direct Miers and Bolten to provide Congress with the information to which it is entitled."

Not Funny

When rich impaired celebrities get behind the wheel of a vehicle, it is dangerous for those unlucky enough to be on the highway at the same time.

I guess I am a little hypersensitive to this issue. Far too many classmates are dead because they or someone else was drunk & decided to drive.

Young Lindsay Lohan is the latest actor who has a problem. If she choses to kill herself, fine. Maybe some serious time in jail will get her off the street, saving an innocent victim from her excess.

Brooks' Uphill Struggle

While not a fan of Senator Clinton, it brings me joy knowing her lead in the polls continues to surprise "beltway insiders."

Market Expansion for the Working Folks?

""Anyway, now reality is settling in. And there’s one more thing worth mentioning: the economic expansion that began in 2001, while it has been great for corporate profits, has yet to produce any significant gains for ordinary working Americans. And now it looks as if it never will."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Oh Mon Dieu!

i fell in love with the Tour de France in high school. The athletic event was incorporated into our French lessons. When police are waiting for a participant at the end of a race, this is just bad.

It comes down to doing "whatever it takes" to win. In that spirit of competition no one wins.

Transition of Power

In this country we have taken for granted the transition of power. For over two hundred years, there has been no bloodshed after an election. While the 2000 election will have an asterisk, Al Gore walked away after the Supreme Court handed the presidency to Cheney.

It would not surprise me if this gang creates a crisis to maintain power. For the first time in our nation's history the transition will involve bloodshed.

I am truly concerned about our Democracy. Impeachment is the only option.

Historically Right Wingers have always been trouble

The Founders warned us against letting corporations get involved in politics. All this mess because of one forged Supreme Court ruling…

kudos to the Suburban Guerrilla.

Iran another sideshow distraction

This fun filled post was brought to by Sideshow..........

Brady joins the Impreachment Movement

Analyst says Bush is full of crap

"The primary concern is in Al Qaeda in South Asia organizing its own plots against the United States," he said. Al Qaeda planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks from its bases in Afghanistan.
The top leaders of the terrorist network, Gistaro added, are "able to exploit the comfort zone in the tribal areas" of Pakistan and Afghanistan and are "bringing people in to train for Western operations."
"We see increased efforts on the part of Al Qaeda to try and find, train, and deploy people who could get into this country," he testified."

Hey Condi, show your boss a map.

It's not fair

Ryan Howard has found his stroke. Thank God. He had a terrible spring. All of which is forgivable, when you get your groove back after the All-Star break.

My Phillies have won five in a row. Unfortunately for yours truly, I was supposed to be at last night's game. Duty called. We managed to become a finalist for a contract for a possible client in Newport News.

All things considered, I would have rather been at the game. Today, I have to take a client to the Businessperson's special.

Poor me.

If found guilty he should go to jail

First of all, I view Michael Vick as a underachieving quarterback with an attitude. Not a good combination. This is no longer important.

If he is found guilty for doing unspeakable things to animals, he should go face the music. Getting kicked out of the NFL should be the least of his problems.

The "why" is no longer relevant. Maybe he is just a bad person. Vick was given a gift. He has an opportunity to play a sport that he loves AND get paid for it. Who wouldn't like to get paid a livable wage to do something they love?


This is just bad

"Cheating in sports undermines the reason we're watching in the first place. If the competition isn't legit -- if the outcome is influenced by factors we can't see -- we're just wasting our time and emotion. Why care if the games are decided by something we can't see? The hollow win does nothing for us, unless you're a professional gambler. The rest of us cling to something more pure. Most of us came to sports when we were younger and more innocent. Adult cheating in sport defiles those memories."

Clinton & Obama: New Cowboy Diplomacy?

"Look, there are plenty of valid reasons for Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama to stand up to China. One place to start would be China’s disgraceful policy of supplying Sudan with the weapons used to slaughter people in Darfur.

There’ll be a tendency among liberals to excuse Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama for pandering on trade, because they are sensible on so many other issues.

But when we see candidates as smart and sophisticated as Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, we should demand more from them than Ross Perot-style populism. And it would be a disaster if eight years of reckless gunboat diplomacy in the political/military realm were followed by reckless cowboy diplomacy in economics and trade."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

YouTube Debate a hit in Europe

"By typical debate standards, the phrasing of YouTube questions was blunt and colorful. One man, questioning the consequences of an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, asked if all sides in the debate were watching "the same blanking war."

The debate was also set apart by the questions phrased the way average people speak and joke. There was also a freshness to some of the questions themselves, which covered subjects like nuclear power, education reform and (in Edwards case) the use of religion to explain personal opposition to same-sex marriage."

Economic Reality According to Brooks

"If you’ve paid attention to the presidential campaign, you’ve heard the neopopulist story line. C.E.O.’s are seeing their incomes skyrocket while the middle class gets squeezed. The tides of globalization work against average Americans while most of the benefits go to the top 1 percent.

This story is not entirely wrong, but it is incredibly simple-minded."

I believe Brooks' interpretation of the facts is a tad simple-minded. Ask the person with a college degree and the accompanying debt their his or her version of the global economy.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Broken Promises?

rateyes scripted this gem:

You made a solemn promise. This is that promise:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."

1. You cannot support and defend the Constitution and at the same time allow the executive branch to continue to deny us our civil rights guaranteed by that same Constitution.

2. You cannot bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States which says, among other things, that all treaties are part of the "supreme law of the land," and then look the other way when the POTUS breaks the provisions of the UN Charter to get us into an illegal war, along with the provisions of the Geneva and Hague Conventions. Such crimes are crimes against the Constitution, and therefore are "high crimes." It is your DUTY to impeach and remove from office the entire Bush administration.

Read the rest.........

Killing is not nice

I guess I was one of the lucky ones. Me and ex actually like each other and had a sane divorce. I have watched my friends go through some pretty nasty breakups. One friend was almost run over by a Volvo. If struck by his ex, my friend surely would have been killed. His ex was just that pissed. She had a nice comfortable lifestyle and my friend was wrecking it.

Hurt feelings, rejection, embarrassment and of course money are at the core of the murder plots.

What chaps my backside is, these "nice" guys always point the finger at a black man. There is plenty of real issues in the urban community, being falsely accused of a crime is convenient piling on. The black community is put through unnecessary hell because some white guy doesn't want pay for his babies or a divorce lawyer.

Newsflash, nice guys don't kill their wives.

Americans can rent or buy anything

"As Liza Mundy notes in her fascinating new book, “Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction is Changing Men, Women and the World,” the main driving force in the new technologies is simply the profit motive.

“What is at work in assisted reproduction,” she writes, “is often not science but business.”

The French have more freedom of choice

"Meanwhile, as a recent article in Business Week explains, the real French bureaucrats used judicious regulation to promote competition. As a result, French consumers get to choose from a variety of service providers who offer reasonably priced Internet access that’s much faster than anything I can get, and comes with free voice calls, TV and Wi-Fi.

It’s too early to say how much harm the broadband lag will do to the U.S. economy as a whole. But it’s interesting to learn that health care isn’t the only area in which the French, who can take a pragmatic approach because they aren’t prisoners of free-market ideology, simply do things better."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

This would be funny if it was so scary

thanks Brendan

More data to Impeach

If you really need more information, go read the gem brought to you by Suburban Guerrilla........

Three more & Conyers will press ahead

Impeachment will not cause a Constitutional Crisis it will end the current one.

Tammy Faye Messner

I never understood the phenom but a whole bunch of folks did.

May she be welcomed home.

Oxford Summer School

"Education is the missing link; if poor bright kids don’t make it to the best universities to become the surgeons, businessmen and other professionals of the future, the engine of social mobility runs out of petrol. Oxford is the most glaring example with only 53.7% of its students coming from state schools (less than 20% from standard comprehensives). This matters because 90% of our kids go to them and, as I had rammed home to me during my day at the Oxford summer school, intelligence has nothing to do with class, income or accent.

The miracle, as I discovered as I heard more about the lives of the summer school kids, is that these teenagers have made it this far. “I kept quiet about coming here,” one lad from Lancashire told me. “Me mates would think I was daft going to school in the holidays.”

The others laughed and agreed, and one added: “At school you wouldn’t let on that you are clever. The others look down on you. You have to hide it.” The best thing about summer school is finding that “there are people like you who are on your intellectual wavelength”.

The current occupant of the White House has an IVY league education because of financial affirmative action. The best and the brightest should not be denied a solid education because of whose blood runs through their veins.

Affordable education benefits all of us.

Gas production: Profits first, Safety last

"It's a marvel we can continue to run refineries the way we do these days given the many requirements and specification changes we have," said Charles Drevna, executive vice president of the refining industry's main trade group, the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. "There comes a time when the piper has got to be paid."

This year's problems have raised alarms about the safety of refining operations, especially after a deadly accident at a BP refinery in Texas two years ago that killed 15 workers. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board issued a highly critical report blaming a broken safety culture at BP. But the board's chairwoman, Carolyn Merritt, who has spoken out about safety problems at refineries, said there was a pattern in many other refinery incidents that the board had investigated.

"There is a lack of investments in modern equipment," Merritt said. "The overwhelming preponderance is that if you have inadequate engineering and equipment, poor process safety management, and poor staffing, you're set up for a catastrophe."

The OSHA laws and staff have been gutted by this wonderful administration.

Casinos; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I guess this is what the folks in Chester, Poconos & Philadelphia have to look forward to.........

Gambling Referee

This is soooo not good. Referees and umpires are the traffic cops of sports. You don't even know they are there in a well officiated game. When they put themselves in center stage problems arise. A bad call can determine the outcome of the game or a series. Even a casual sports fan can recall a game changing call. Referees are human. Mistakes are made. The good ones fall on the knife and move on.

Point shaving by athletes is not tolerated. Referees gambling on games, particularly the games they are in. Wow.

From what has been written referee Tim Donaghy was an unlikable loner. Behavior no doubt brought on by his gambling addiction.

The NBA has been suffering from a lot of bad press in recent years. Commissioner David Stern publically attacked the generation of cornrow and tatooeed wearing stars. He even imposed his own version of dress code.

How ironic that the biggest shame brought to bear on the NBA is by someone who emerged from a good neighborhood and looks like David Stern.


The meaning of team

I am a huge fan of team sports. Done right, it gives an individual the opportunity to set aside "me" for team. It is amazing how a good coach and a team of peers can help an individual grow a person.

The wheels fall off of the team bus when a "star" is anointed. The star is set up as something special. The rules don't seem to apply to them because of their gift. A times the gift can be a curse. After not having the rules applied to them because they are special, people are stunned to see these men act well "special."

Michael Jordan was iniitially cut from his high school team. He had to WORK to become MJ. The work ethic he learned carried him to several NBA championships.

My parents ALWAYS said that you are judged by the company you keep. Would "his boys" be in Vick's life if he wasn't underwriting their bad behavior? Your friends want nothing from you but your friendship. Your true friends more importantly are willing to have the hard conversations if your behavior or attitude is not cool.

The most valuable lesson Michael Vick can learn from this whole sordid affair is that he needs to grow up and sort out who really are his friends. He may find the room a little less crowded.

Is that so bad?

To hell with his career, it may save his life.

How about a man who is woman enough?

"Even in an era when male politicians can mist up with impunity, it was startling to see the defense chief melt down at a Marine Corps dinner Wednesday night as he talked about writing notes every evening to the families of dead soldiers like Douglas Zembiec, a heroic Marine commander known as “the Lion of Falluja,” who died in Baghdad in May after giving up a Pentagon job to go on a fourth tour of Iraq. “They are not names on a press release or numbers updated on a Web page,” he said. “They are our country’s sons and daughters.”

The dramatic moment was disconcerting, because Mr. Gates, known as a decent guy who was leery of the Bushies’ black-and-white, bullying worldview, has clearly been worn down by his effort to sort out the Iraq debacle. He and Condi, who worked together under Bush I, have been trying to circumvent the vice president to close Gitmo without much success, while the president finds ingenious new ways to allow torture.

Mostly, though, it was moving — a relief to see a top official acknowledge the awful cost of this war. The arrogant Rummy was dismissive. The obtuse W. seems incapable of understanding how inappropriate his sunny spirits are. And the callous Cheney’s robo-aggression continues unabated. (What could be more nerve-racking than the thought of President Cheney, slated to happen for a couple of hours yesterday while Mr. Bush had a colonoscopy? Could it be — a Medal of Freedom for Scooter?)

Mr. Gates captured the sadness we feel about American kids trapped in a desert waiting to be blown up, sent there by men who once refused to go to a warped war themselves."

War on Sex

Bush & the neocons campaigned on bringing "dignity" back to the White House. I guess we have to agree on the definition of "dignity."

I really couldn't give a crap about Clinton & Moncia or Vitter's need to purchase sex. The sex scandals become worse when it involves a cover up or a sanctimonious hypocrite.

This mindless war on sex takes time away from the real issues: our whacked relationship with China, Iraq, Iran, affordable education, available health care, and living wage employment.

I must wonder when these women will stop the press conferences for their straying husbands?

As I posted on Suburban Guerilla's site earlier this week, my prayer is that Joe Lieberman is caught up in this mess. I get warm all over just thinking about it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Math doesn't add up

I guess Bush skipped math to attend cheerleading practice............

Kudos to Booman.

Punishment fit the crime?

The corporate leaders who knowingly put Oxycontin on the street are worse than the drug dealers our society is so quick to put behind bars. For a profit, Pharma put this highly addictive drug in the hands of physicians and pharmacists for them to peddle to unsuspecting patients.

It's original purpose was for cancer patient. Next thing you know it was being prescribed for chronic back pain. Why? Not happy with the small number of cancer patients, Pharma has to reach out to other chronic injuries.

What makes President Michael Friedman and the good Dr. Paul Gaudenheim better than the dealers pushing crack or cocaine?

Actually they are worse. They have the means to do the research to determine the perils of what they are dealing.

I've seen far too many injured workers start out with back injuries only to become drug addicts.

How many lives have they ruined by having physicians prescribe this highly addictive drug?

No jail time for these dealers?


Don't believe the hype

"Bush continues to dissemble and distort the facts — he recently insisted that "the same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th." Although al-Qaida in Mesopotamia didn't exist on Sept. 11, its recruits now have battle-tested maneuvers they can bring to American shores. There is no reason to believe they can't fight us there and here at the same time.

Even if the Bush White House had remained focused on bin Laden, splintering his organization would have proved difficult. It's hard to stop every fanatic with a bomb or a gun. But we might have been better prepared if the president and his advisers had used the terrorism threat to shore up our defenses and ramp up our emergency planning rather than to manipulate us into voting for their candidates and supporting their foolish war.

In our sixth summer since Sept. 11, after countless color-coded alerts and shoeless shambles through airport security, we no longer believe the hype. This may be just what bin Laden had in mind."

Bush cedes power to Cheney

No comment.

Who is the crack in Bush's team?

"One has to wonder, of course, what public opinion would have been if the first cabinet official to lose it — just a bit — had been not the stoic bureaucrat Gates but instead our female secretary of state. Had it been Rice up on that podium, and were she constitutionally capable of that degree of non-Bush-centered feeling, would she have been denounced? Would she have been belittled, punished politically, dismissed as too irrational and emotional — too girly — to deal with the ugly realities of war?

We’ll never know, because she — like all powerful women in politics — will never let us find out. They can’t afford to. Not unless much more of official Washington decides it’s man enough to truly feel our nation’s inner disarray."

How dare Ms. Warner? After she gave this administration the liberal venue to lie us into war, now she has the temerity to discuss the lack of compassion.

How dare the Times continue to give this woman space. I'm sure Faux News would be happy to give her air time.

Ms Warner should rendezvous with her criminal boyfriend Scooter Libby and write trashy novels and leave the reporting to an actual reporter.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Peasant Uprising?

Dear God its about time.

Thanks Neon Gods for this gem.

QB career in peril

Michael Vick's career was not exactly setting the world on fire. He is an overpaid, underperforming QB with an attitude.

If he was involved in doing really bad things to these animals, Vick should go to jail for a very long time. A tragic end to a mediocre career.

Toxic Relief?

"On the eve of yesterday's hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, FEMA reversed course on the issue and said it has asked federal health officials to help conduct a new assessment of conditions in trailers under prolonged use. But revelation of the agency's earlier posture -- in documents withheld by FEMA until they were subpoenaed by Congress -- attracted harsh bipartisan criticism.

Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) decried what he called FEMA's indifference to storm victims and said the situation was "sickening." He said the documents "expose an official policy of premeditated ignorance" and added that "senior officials in Washington didn't want to know what they already knew, because they didn't want the legal and moral responsibility to do what they knew had to be done."

It's bad enough these folks were ignored during the Katrina fiasco, then FEMA put them in toxic trailers. Those who knew what happened and failed to act should be sentenced to life in the still unrebuilt 9th ward. The only shelter is those lovely trailers

Wake up America

"Thom Hartmann began his program on Thursday by reading from a new Executive Order which allows the government to seize the assets of anyone who interferes with its Iraq policies.

He then introduced old-line conservative Paul Craig Roberts — a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan who has recently become known for his strong opposition to the Bush administration and the Iraq War — by quoting the “strong words” which open Roberts’ latest column: “Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran.”

This nightmare has been brought to you by Suburban Guerrilla.

Why Travolta?

I find it hard to believe, Hollywood couldn't find a talented large woman to play Travolta's role in Hairspray.

Codependency in the White House

"Now Iraq is a bloody quagmire, Afghanistan is deteriorating and the Bush administration’s own National Intelligence Estimate admits, in effect, that thanks to Mr. Bush’s poor leadership America is losing the struggle with Al Qaeda. Yet Mr. Bush remains confident.

Sorry, but that’s not reassuring; it’s terrifying. It doesn’t demonstrate Mr. Bush’s strength of character; it shows that he has lost touch with reality.

Actually, it’s not clear that he ever was in touch with reality. I wrote about the Bush administration’s “infallibility complex,” its inability to admit mistakes or face up to real problems it didn’t want to deal with, in June 2002. Around the same time Ron Suskind, the investigative journalist, had a conversation with a senior Bush adviser who mocked the “reality-based community,” asserting that “when we act, we create our own reality.”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bush stalks Iraqis

"We simply can’t want to be in Iraq more than the Iraqis want us to be there."

Bush wants to be in Iraq more than they want us to be there. This worse that a one-sided love affair. "Oh baby, my love is strong enough for both of us." I doubt any sane person would want to be in that situation.

Too poor to stay, too poor to move

“I was born poor; I’m probably going to die poor; and before the storm came through I was doing pretty good,” Ms. Anderson said. She and Mr. Evans paid $325 a month for half a duplex in the Uptown section of New Orleans, with “a little porch watching the laundrymat,” she said, “and a backyard.” The streetcar took her right to her job at the Columns, an elegant 1883 hotel in the Garden District. Mr. Evans built cabinets and countertops.

Now they live in a monochrome apartment complex. An empty swimming pool bakes in the Memphis heat, and frayed ropes dangle where the swings should be. FEMA pays the rent. Their social life consists of church on Sundays. For the first time in their lives, they are on food stamps, and to make them stretch, Ms. Anderson shuns the nearby Kroger in favor of a distant Save-a-Lot. Without a car, she trudges home from the bus stop with frozen turkey legs in a canvas bag over one shoulder."

All this couple wants to do is work for a living wage. How dare they?

This is the America we dare not face or talk about. These people were poor in a community that poor educationally and economically. For years they managed to make a life for themselves. Onethat many of us can't even begin to wrap our brain around.

But instead employers will import/exploit immigrant labor. Is this the cornerstone of our repbublic?

Alexander H. Stephens one opined "the democracy's worst defect, demagogues rousing the poor against the rich, never occurred where the poor were nonvoting slaves"


Sound familiar?

Who was Alexander H. Stephens? The Confederacy's Vice President.

What exactly does "support our troops" mean?

"The Vietnam War veteran and former Navy secretary - whose Marine son recently returned from a tour in Iraq - had urged Congress to impose restrictions on troop deployments to give soldiers and Marines more time to recuperate and train at home.

Webb's measure, offered as an amendment to an annual defense policy bill, would have required that troops spend as much time at home as they do on deployments. Active-duty Army soldiers now get 12 months at home after a 15-month tour overseas.

"Many of our ground forces are actually spending more time in Iraq than they are at home," Webb said. "This is four years into an occupation. There is not a strategic justification for this."

Webb actually has "skin in this game" per se is truly trying to help the fatigued military. I wonder what the service records are for those who have blocked his efforts?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bootstrap Mentality

From the Pacific view

"One of the things he found most outrageous was how Americans weren't held accountable for causing their bad health. (And, of course, Bush agrees.) After all, the individuals had a choice in living healthier lives and if they didn't, well, why should the insurance industry be held accountable for the fact Americans didn't have as long life expectancies as other countries? Never mind the fact that Cuba, a country that is god-awful poor has a higher life expectancy and many fewer babies dying in the first few years of life than the United States. Or that France (as Michael Moore noted) has more people smoking and drinking and having sex and still they have better life expectancies. Somehow, it is only Americans that have bad habits that lead to earlier death - but that's because Americans are especially culpable for their bad decisions.

Last week NOW had a piece on how Georgia's PeaceCare is leaving the people behind and even being incapable of supplying insulin to type one juvenile diabetes patients whose parents run into trouble. According to the governor, it isn't the state's responsibility to cover these people, it's the federal government and if you are unhappy, please contact your congressman. Then we get to see the fact that it really is the fault of the parents (the adults) who should not have gotten into this situation (lost job, have kid who has juvenile diabetes) and then expect others to cover their failure. In fact, our country is being severely compromised because we don't demand that individuals take care of their selves or their families. It is far, far better that their kids die than we pick up their health care costs. Besides which, that would be a really bad example and then every Tom, Dick and Harry would expect us to help them as well. Well, we can't have that kind of country, can we?

And now we know it is even worse than what NOW's expose showed: after all, if our country succumbs to universal healthcare, the terrorists win! Damn."

New Press Room

There you have it folks. There is a new press room in the old White House. A new room will not change the old lies that flow from it......

Lock up your children

The Booman speaks:

"I wish there was a way to convince the vast majority of Americans that people that run for political office on a platform of addressing some defect in society's sexuality almost definitely have something wrong with their own sexuality...and should not be trusted around children. I don't really care if you are some kind of pervert as long as you keep everything consensual and don't dabble with underage people. If you want to use an escort service, it's really none of my business...I just hope you are courteous and don't cause a disturbance. But, it seems like there is an unhealthy correlation between those that rail against homosexuality and those that pick up underage boys. Or between those that talk about the sanctity of marriage and abstinence and those that cheat on their wives and molest their daughter's friends. If you see a headline that a politician has done something illegal with a child you can bet the politician was a Republican. It's not that there aren't Democratic sexual deviants, it's just the vast majority of creeps and predators are members of the GOP. And they're hypocrites."

Sprint terminates service of complainers

Unlike my pal Brendan, I see Sprint doing their customers a favor. Their customer service stinks. These consumers can now find a company that will actually service them.

Sprint was even kind enough to terminate their contracts without penalty. How noble.

Vitter's Family Values

I guess paying for sex is normal?????

Straight talk express derailed

Bush ruined McCain's first attempt at the winning the the nominee. The Rove machine planted a few stories about a little brown baby. McCain's undying support for Bush's has led to the demise of his current bid. Funny how Bush's fingerprints all over this dead campaign.

It's over Big Daddy.

Surgeon General politically manhandled

"Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. He also said he was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings."

Wouldn't swearing throughout a speech generally offend the audience?

Its all about the oil baby

"Vice President Cheney attended a closed-door Republican luncheon to appeal for party unity in what Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) called "a vigorous debate." Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) said he took Cheney's side, telling his colleagues: "If we leave prematurely, it would be absolute anarchy. We'd be turning over to al-Qaeda one of the largest oil-producing states in the world."

American Impotence

The mere mention of the "I" word in a room of testosterone raging boys, they suddenly feel compelled to show off their manhood.

The result is always disastrous. Not only do the fail when they are naked, their dressed performance is generally inadequate.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Physicians heal their wallets

Its about time physician greed has been discussed in this health care drama. I can't begin to tell you how many progressives naively believe that all physicians go to med school for humanitarian purposes.

Most of the doctors that I have encountered believe that since they were smart enough to get through med school, they are ENTITLED to get rich. ENTITLED. Let's not forget the physicians who hold MBAs.

Health care providers are part of the problem. They need to be part of the solution.

kudos to the Suburban Guerrilla for this gem.

Shrubs term has been a nightmare

The following nightmare has been brought to you by Neon Gods:

"My nightmare is that Cheney and Bush will not give up their office when their term is up in January 2009. In fact George Bush signed a little noticed Presidential Directive on May 10 that allows him to take control of the government in the event of a "catastrophic emergency." A catastrophic emergency is defined as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions." This definition is vaguely worded. What is an extraordinary level of "mass casualties, damage or disruption"? Notice the word "or" in the definition, it could be any one of the three. Who gets to decide whether a disaster meets this requirement? I assume it's the President. And what happens if he decides an event meets this requirement? According to the Directive, "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government."

In other words if the country suffers a catastrophe in late 2008, the President could invoke this Directive and take control of the government. Or he could avoid having to rely on chance and "manufacture" a catastrophe.

Granted, this is a stretch, and sounds very much like a paranoid conspiracy theory, but George Bush is no ordinary man. He appears to believe he is God's emissary on Earth, charged by God to rid the world of evil. I honestly believe George Bush and Dick Cheney are capable of finding a way to remain in power until they feel they have achieved their goal (which can never be achieved)."

No upside to this war

"There is no upside to this war. It has been a plague since the beginning. But it’s one thing to lose a war. It’s much worse for a nation to lose its soul."

David Brooks will leave the bar solo

The historical rules that Mr. Brooks speaks of involved women who were not expected to be in a position to take care of themselves emotionally & financially. So they would not become old maids, women were married off early, if they actually graduated high school.

Many women who went to college did so for the express purpose of finding a husband. I would love to see a survey of women who put up with crap because they were not capable of supporting themselves. Worse, were the women who did all of the things society ( I would love to meet these faceless rule makers.) expected of them only to be traded in for a younger, thinner, more interesting version. Of course this behavior is just dandy. You really don't think the children that hailed from this mess weren't affected?

So when women get into and stay in relationships because they want to be, not because they are bogged down by financial chains this makes them angry?

Mr. Brooks with this attitude, after a night out, you would go home to the comfort of your hand.

China executes executive

This is taking termination to a whole new level. I have to believe there will be more to follow. In the meantime, a work improvement plan for other executives should include driving to the store on their tires, eat the contaminated food; and brush their teeth with the tainted toothbrush for 60 days. If they survive that period, they should be sent to work for Cheney as his day workers.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Retired NFL Players face lousy pensions

The NFL retirees are facing the same situation most working and middle class Americans. Most Americans will not even have a pension of any kind. The lucky ones have 401k plans.

Most of the NFL players are recruited from college programs. Where was the financial planning? The money that is made by the networks, teams and the players there is no excuse for the players who preceded them not to have a decent pension and health care.

Rove takes no responsibility

"Look, I make no apologies," Rove said in response to a question from the audience about whether he felt personally responsible for the war."

Adults with souls take responsibility for the mistakes they make in their life. Irresponsible children have been in the White House for years.

Scouting Trip should include the Heartland

When Novak throws Shrub under the bus it is truly time to change course in Iraq.

Powells pleas fall on deaf ears

"Powell believes that a reduction in US forces will have to be accompanied by talks with Syria and Iran. “You have to talk to the people you dislike most in this dangerous world.”

Maybe Powell should have spent more time with Cheney and Bush.........

Health Care our form of Terrorism?

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.” So declared F.D.R. in 1937, in words that apply perfectly to health care today. This isn’t one of those cases where we face painful tradeoffs — here, doing the right thing is also cost-efficient. Universal health care would save thousands of American lives each year, while actually saving money."

We can't even count............

As celebrated by Phillysucks:

""The Phillies are closing in on being the first professional team to reach 10,000 losses all time.
Below is the Phillies all time record.

Wins: 8808 Losses: 9999

Current as of 7/8/07

Initial stats prior to 2005 compiled from baseball-reference.com. 2005 season to present, record is updated daily.

Note: There is some conflicting information out there. The Phillies website includes the records from the Worcester Brown Stockings (1880-1882) which would make the Phillies 7-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on June 25, 2005 the 10,000th loss."

Who knows whether we have already reached or just one loss away? I'll operate on the assumption that we have yet to reachb this milestone.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Phillies magical misery tour


I had breakfast with the family yesterday at a local diner. Before the waitress could bring the coffee, my Dad shook his head and scolded me. "Don't EVER mention THEM in my presence again." My mother rolled her eyes and piped, " Can we order first?"

i knew immediately who held my Dad's scorn. He stayed awake the night before and watched the Phillies collapse after having a six run lead. He even drug our poor waitress into the conversation. She informed my Dad that she stopped watching the Phillies ten years ago. She simply did not want to subject herself to the pain.
Dad was annoyed with the management and the players. Knowing the answer, I asked "Pop, why do you do this to yourself?"

With his notorious shit eating grin he responded " what would we have to talk about, the bonehead in the White House?"

Good point. With that, he dove into my Belgium waffle.

Collateral Damage of Drunk Drivers

I grew up in an rural community in the 70s. There wasn't much to do. Unfortunately, house parties were a common form of entertainment. The punch was spiked or beer managed to find its way onto the scene. For most parents, drinking somehow was better than getting high.

When you are underage both are illegal. Having lost five of my classmates before graduation, ten before the five year reunion because they or someone else drank decided to drive.

The pain of these losses no doubt of have left wounds that have not healed two decades later. The regularity of "the calls" had an almost numbing effect.

Driving is serious stuff. I really don't think we as society take it very seriously. As a right of passage, we turn over this machine to kids. Believe me I drove my daughter crazy as she was learning how to drive. Eventually, I outsourced the lessons.

I showed her my yearbook with the obituary section. Then pointed out my classmates who are no longer with us because of alcohol.

Folks are either crippled or killed because someone decided to drive after getting impaired. K.K. White is a such a victim.

He is in a wheel-chair, because Royal Gatewood slid behind the wheel of a car when he was impaired. I doubt he managed to get in that condition alone. Drinking or getting high does have a social component to it.

Gatewood may serve some time behind bars which will be meaningless if he failed to learn anything from the situation.

White has a life sentence.

Game, Set, Match

"We're ready for a new president," says a former state Republican Party official in the South."

The rest of the country is finally catching up to the dreaded left leaning progressives.

Holiday Inn, Tar Heels, Hair

"After Mr. Edwards told George Stephanopoulos that “The Trial of Socrates” by I. F. Stone was “a wonderful book,” Bob Novak jumped on him, claiming that he had chosen a book by a “radical” journalist “identified as a covert Soviet agent.”

I tell the Democrat that Poppy Bush drolly told the story about his ’64 Texas Senate race, when a John Birch Society pamphlet suggested that Barbara Bush’s father, the president of McCall Publishing, put out a Communist manifesto called Redbook.

He laughs and says of Bob Novak, “Wait till he finds out I also like Langston Hughes.”

Shrub does what he feels like....

"People don’t change. Mr. Bush’s failure to have the courage of his own convictions was apparent early in his history, when he professed support for the Vietnam War yet kept himself out of harm’s way when he had the chance to serve in it. In the White House, he has often repeated the feckless pattern that he set back then and reaffirmed last week in his hide-and-seek bestowing of the Libby commutation."

Rich misses the point. 43 has always done what he feels like doing with assurance that Babs will make sure someone else cleans up his mess. This time, it will be at least two other administrations stuck cleaning up the debris of 43's latest misadventure.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cheney Fatigue

"It seems Cheney fatigue is settling in some Republican circles.

Republican strategist Rich Galen, who worked for both Bush and Bush's father, said he is finding less interest or enthusiasm for Cheney. "Republicans have, in essence, moved on and focused on who to get behind in 2008," Galen said.'

Its about time. Cheney wore the rest of us out long time ago.

England's National Health care System

"Forty-seven million Americans are uninsured. This is a problem. Several million more are inadequately insured. Another problem. But that leaves more than 200 million fully insured Americans who’ve never heard of waiting lists. I envy them."

I believe there should be affordable health care. Period. People need acces to care. The discussion should include the delivery of health care. Insurance just adds an expensive administrative layer to the mix.

"Friends" drop dime on tax cheats

"Taxpayers in other countries are offered incentives to report friends and family. In the US, a number of hotlines exist for both state and federal taxes and rewards are given. People who report tax cheats in Australia and Canada are entitled to cash benefits. Anyone calling the British hotline will not receive any money. According to the taxman, knowing that they are doing the right thing is reward enough.

Philip Hammond, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “We support legitimate attempts to reduce tax evasion. But it would be helpful if we knew what percentage of these calls were genuinely helpful and what proportion were made maliciously.”

Where is Chris Hansen when you need him?

"Over the past several weeks I have heard one credible story after another of police officers ruthlessly harassing, and frequently arresting, youngsters who have done nothing wrong. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly seem to be in denial about this problem, which is widespread. There is an astounding reluctance to criticize or properly discipline police officers, no matter how egregious their conduct.

The big losers are the good kids who are treated like criminals by bullies and predators masquerading as New York’s finest. Other losers are the many cops who routinely take their crime-fighting mission seriously, but are undermined by these lowlifes in blue.

Jonathan Moore, a civil rights lawyer who represents the girl harassed by Officer Gonzalez, said his client had agreed, with “some hesitation,” to my request to tell her story in a column. She is still afraid, he said, that Officer Gonzalez will “track her down and cause her harm.”

If Bloomberg turns a blind eye to this crap, I certainly do not want him in the White House.

Friday, July 06, 2007

How low will Shrub go?

The latest Newsweek poll.............

End of Integration

How can you end what never began?

Krugman: Scandal a Bush Family Tradition

"Mr. Bush says that Mr. Libby’s punishment remains “harsh” because his reputation is “forever damaged.” Meanwhile, Mr. Bush employs, as a deputy national security adviser, none other than Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully withholding information from Congress in the Iran-contra affair. Mr. Abrams was one of six Iran-contra defendants pardoned by Mr. Bush’s father, who was himself a subject of the special prosecutor’s investigation of the scandal.

In other words, obstruction of justice when it gets too close to home is a family tradition. And being a loyal Bushie means never having to say you’re sorry."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The hidden collateral damage

The military used to perform the tasks that contractors now perform. When they return home from Iraq their psych claims are being denied.

The movie SICKO has given the health care carriers a bad eye, AIG is not helping the property and casualty industry...

Broder should fear the people


"Now, I'm the first to admit that THE PEOPLE are not always right about what is best for them. Sometimes THE PEOPLE want to maintain slavery or segregation. Just because THE PEOPLE have a majority opinion on some issue doesn't make them right. That is why we have all these protections for minority opinions. But you have to be a blithering idiot to be able to look at the current landscape in America and think it is THE PEOPLE that are out of touch right now and not the denizens of the Beltway.

THE PEOPLE want an end to this administration and its war. They are well enough convinced that this government is not healthy and not serving their interests. It is the Beltway types that don't want to face up to consequences of their profound failures. THE PEOPLE can see the budget numbers, the casualty reports, the failed government services, and the official corruption. They need leadership from the people that can hold this government responsible. If people like Broder keep burying their heads in the sand it won't be too much longer before we have a return to 1960's style insurrection.

THE PEOPLE don't want to riot. They want the system to work. But the system is as broken as Alberto Gonzales' credibility. And we see the Beltway making excuses for perjury and obstruction of justice and failed wars of choice. This time THE PEOPLE are right. The bums must be thrown out. And Broder will lead the pack with a dunce cap on."

The 4th of July applies to whom?

Profound reflections from Bigtree:

"This Fourth of July is yours, not mine," he said "You may rejoice, (I)must mourn. What to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelly to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour."

It is, in fact, this very contradiction between our nation's aspirations and its government's actions that many Americans ignore as they both celebrate our nation's independence from tyranny and oppression, and continue to tolerate the tyranny and oppression that our nation has fostered in Iraq with Bush's invasion and occupation.

"How can we continue to boast of the genius of our own past liberty from the imperialism of the British monarchy while our nation's military is actively oppressing the citizens of Iraq with tightened occupations in Baghdad and Ramadi? How can some Americans be so sanguine about our nation's revolutionary past, even as they blindly accept the repression of those in Iraq who are at the mercy of the false authority we fostered under the heavy hand of our military?

As Americans celebrate here at home with flags and fireworks, where is the freedom to be found in Iraq? Where is the freedom in our deadly checkpoints restricting free movement of Iraqis in their own country? Where is the freedom to be found in the face of our weapons that are pointed directly at the heart of the Iraqi community in the continuing, U.S. led, search and destroy missions?

Where is liberty to be found under our perpetual occupation? Where is liberty's refuge from the 'collateral' killings of innocent Iraqis that our government and military obscures behind talk of 'rolling back the insurgency' and 'defeating terrorism? Where is the liberty in the massive round-ups and detentions of innocent Iraqi men, women and children?

Where is the justice in the summary executions in the field by our soldiers of 'suspected' insurgents? Where is the justice in the indefinite imprisonment of Iraqis (many for years) without charges, without access to evidence, and without access to counsel?"

Read it all....

Shrub screws up Commutation

A gem from the pontificator:

"It appears that President Bush made a serious mistake in his Commutation Order. As justification for invalidating Libby's prison sentence, he pointed out that Libby would still be subject to two years probation, a harsh sentence, Bush says (rolls eyes).


As Judge Walton just noticed, it looks like Libby won't even serve probation, since, under the federal system, "supervised release," as it is called, can only follow an actual prison sentence.

Talk about incompetence. Bush can't even get Obstruction of Justice right!

As a special bonus, make sure you check out footnote 1. Hahahahahahahahaha!

If either party believes that it would be helpful to solicit clarification from the White House regarding the President's position on the proper interpretation of Sec 3583 in light of its Grant of Executive Clemency, they are encouraged to do so.

Strictly interpreted, the statute authorizing probation indicates that supervised release "should occur only after the defendant has already served a term of imprisonment," U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton wrote.

Walton ordered lawyers to weigh in with their arguments on the matter by Monday."

Lobster Summit

They lauded Condi Rice as a Russian expert. So what was accomplished during the Lobster Summit? Sounds like Putin looked into the soul of Bush and found nothing.

Putin is taking full advantage of Shrubs weakened position at home and globally.

Putin 1, Shrub 0

Italy v US

"The Italians won on health, family and food. The United States was better on race and opportunity."

If health care is not truly available to all in the good ole US, are we really morally superior on issues such as race and opportunity?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

James Madison

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

James Madison

What's a 7 letter word for ball and chain?


How I wish Bill would have kept his pants up. By doing so, we would not be subjected to this very public karmic resolution.

Patriotic Sportscaster

"It is nearly July 4th, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a King who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them—or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them—we would force our independence, and regain our sacred freedoms.

We of this time—and our leaders in Congress, of both parties—must now live up to those standards which echo through our history: Pressure, negotiate, impeach—get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm.

For you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task. You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed. Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974.


And give us someone—anyone—about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”"

God, I how I love Keith O.............

Yet another bad decision

The decision as was the timing was wrong. Since Bushie pulled this option out of his bike shorts, he simply put the spotlight on the obvious class distinctions.

Just because an option is available, doesn't mean you have to exercise it.

Or did Scooter threaten to sing if he served one hour behind bars?


Tepper pleads guilty

"She found the prison to be very well-run and well-organized."

How quaint....

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Tomorrow is Independence Day. Your elected officials will be out and about riding on floats, shaking hands, and working the crowds.

Tell them how you feel. When they ask for money and they will. Tell them no.....

Economic sanctions is the only way to get their attention.

The Untouchable Responds

Four losses away


A Founding Father of the Political Blogosphere

Someone smarter than me once said, great political thinking hails from Philadelphia. There are few very important concepts that were created in this city.

Surprise, surprise some of the brightest political thinkers in the blogosphere live in the Philly region. You know the cast of characters, Duncan Black, Susie Madrak, Booman and of course James Capozzola.

He was good to my friend when she needed a friend. That speaks to his character.

May he find comfort on the otherside.

A Founding Father of the Political Blogosphere

Someone smarter than me once said, great political thinking hails from Philadelphia. There are few very important concepts that were created in this city.

Surprise, surprise some of the brightest political thinkers in the blogosphere live in Philly. You know the cast of characters, Duncan Black, Susie Madrak and of course James Capozzola.

He was good to my friend when she needed a friend. That speaks to his character.

May he find comfort on the otherside.

The committed get forced out: Herbert

"The angry officer, according to Mr. Soguero, barged past him and into the classroom. “I followed him,” said Mr. Soguero, “and he’s pushing desks aside, walking through students to get at her, disrupting everything. She’s sitting in a chair. He grabs her arm, her left arm with his right hand, and he’s reaching back to grab his cuffs. At that point I walked around him and physically stood in between the two of them.”

This sort of thing, the police wildly overreacting to behavior by schoolkids that is not criminal, happens much more often than most New Yorkers realize. Officer Gonzalez behaved as if he were rounding up the James gang. He arrested the girl. He arrested Mr. Soguero. And he arrested a school aide who had tried to come to the principal’s defense.

Mr. Soguero was handcuffed in full view of everyone — students, teachers, staff — and marched out of the school. Later the police paraded him in front of news photographers in a humiliating “perp walk.”

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly supported Officer Gonzalez, telling reporters at the time, “The principal was simply wrong.”

But that was not the case. There was no evidence that a crime had been committed, and the charges were later dropped. Mr. Soguero, who was suspended by school authorities at the time of his arrest, was allowed to resume the post of principal."

I doubt this sort of thing would be permitted if the kids were in an exclusive community. You wonder why these kids grow up mistrusting the police.

Brooks: Farce over? I don't think so

Last time I checked lying to the Feds is a crime. 30 months a harsh sentence? Ask the kid in Atlanta, facing 10 years for having consensual sex with one of his peers what's harsh.

In Mr. Brooks little world, I guess someone who looks like him gets nailed for a crime, it is a little harsh.

The only farce is Shrub's presidency. Even the 26% of the population who still support him, don't recall elected Cheney as the POTUS.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tell me you're not surprised...

THEY live by a separate set of rules.....

Libby's pals will throw a fundraiser and chatter about the injustice of it all....

Sicko spurs action

After seeing clips of Sicko, Suburban Guerrilla said this movie "is going to start a revolution. Its the one issue that affects everyone."

I wasn't so sure. When maybe 25% of the population bothers to vote, you have to wonder.

After seeing cinemablend's site, this is one time I hope Susie's right.

Cohen: Tax authories out of touch

"People accept that Bill Gates made a ton of money because he has a real product," Becker said. "When somebody makes it from a hedge fund, it's harder for people, including myself, to accept. But as an economist I have to say, O.K., these guys are managing a lot of capital, and if they get some of the value they create, that is what the market is telling us."

Where Becker balks, and I balk too, is at the fact that in the United States, fabulous wealth creation has been unmatched by improved education. Teaching that will get you recognized in a globalized world is denied minority kids in failing schools.

"The proportion of American children not completing high school - around 25 percent - has scarcely changed in recent decades. Hedge-fundocrats and their private equity cousins should consider ways to pile money into ending this national failure.

Where I also balk is at tax treatment that allows many of the ultra-rich to pay 15 percent capital gains tax in the United States on much of their earnings, rather than the top income tax rate of 35 percent, and the global ultra-rich buying up London to sidestep many taxes, including stamp duty.

Tax authorities in the United States and Britain resemble dinosaurs pursuing space ships. They have lost touch with the super-rich, as has most of humanity.

Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner, once gave Americans this clue to Britain's New Labour: "We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich."

He did add, however, that the filthy rich should pay their taxes. That would be a start, some consolation for upper-losers, workers and the rest."

Krugman: If it looks like a tramp

Having worked in the insurance business for 23 years, I learned long time ago, eventually the very disaster the company writes insurance for will occur. Eventually, somebody is going to pay.

The true thieves in the subprime mortgage debacle are the mortgage brokers. As they were manipulating the data on the mortgage applications, they knew these folks couldn't afford to make the payments.

Paul Krugman is dead on:

But the securities were never as safe as advertised, because the risk transfer wasn’t anywhere near big enough to protect investors from the consequences of a burst housing bubble. It’s not quite the metaphor I would have come up with, but here’s what the legendary bond investor Bill Gross had to say about C.D.O.’s in Pimco’s latest “Investment Outlook”:

“AAA? You were wooed Mr. Moody’s and Mr. Poor’s by the makeup, those six-inch hooker heels, and a ‘tramp stamp.’ Many of these good-looking girls are not high-class assets worth 100 cents on the dollar.”

Now we’re looking at huge losses to investors who thought they were playing it safe. Estimates of the likely losses on C.D.O.’s range from $125 billion to $250 billion, with some analysts warning that a wave of distress selling will deepen the housing slump even further.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Clarence Thomas' America

Education is THE great equalizer. To deny a child an education, is to deny a child an opportunity. Most slaveholders forbid their slaves education. Imprison the mind, imprison the body and soul.

I must wonder what America Supreme Court Justice Thomas grew up in and currently resides. We have made some advances but inequality still exists, whether we like it or not.

My parents are in their seventies, when they were in school, many of their peers were pushed out of school for various reasons. My grandparents made sure that they graduated high school. Back then, this was a huge deal. In turn, it was a no brainer that my generation was expected to graduate high school.

What it is not common knowledge, it was Thomas Jefferson who founded his university in the spirit of public access to education. This is the same man who denied his lover their children freedom until after his death.

Funny how that worked out.

As far as this latest Supreme Court decision:

When men of color no longer get stopped for no other reason than being black...

When little black children are not given a second chance for doing something stupid but are funnelled into the criminal justice system, instead of given a second chance...

When I am no longer the only chocolate baby in the boardroom....

When all schools have books, clean bathrooms, committed teachers and administrators....

When some white people stop assuming that all black people know each other and have one voice....

Then I will celebrate how far we as a nation have come in race relations.

Clarence Thomas is a selfish human. He managed to work the system and snag a nice gig. His views, opinions and attitudes are unbelievably conservative. Does he really think that he has been given the secret handshake? Unlike those who sacrificed and made it easier for him to make it; Thomas is throwing up roadblocks for those who follow him.

Well Done my brother.

For those who don't think judicial picks are important, they are living in the same fantasy world next door to Clarence Thomas.

Are we ready?

"* Americans have experienced some horrific instances of terrorism (9/11, Oklahoma City), but the kind of incidents we’ve seen in Britain have not reached our shores. Why?

* Oliver Willis suggests we’re “living on borrowed time.” Are these kinds of attacks in the U.S. inevitable? (Andrew Sullivan writes, “The truth is: it’s amazing we haven’t had more of this kind of thing, especially in the US. When it comes, we need stamina, stoicism and calm. And it’s coming.”)

* How ready is the United States for these kinds of threats?"

Join the discussion...

Bush is busy, Lieberman speaks

Come on CT, recall him.

Daddy Bush hosts Putin

Clearly Pappa Bush is trying to save his son's backside yet again....

Angel in the living room

I am a huge baseball fan. This season I have returned to spending time with my boys.

I must confess, that while I am sympathetic to Reggie Willitis' need to work on his "stroke," I would put my foot down on living in "the cage."

Elvis Sighting

Why people insist upon comparing Bush to any historical figure is a royal waste of time. For once in his useless life, he is in a league of his own.

Phillies Phever: 6 losses from History

We don't even rate a curse...

You're doing a heck of a job Brownie: PM yields power

As the folks in this White House have grabbed power at every turn, this behavior is stunning.

Stelzer: Private Equity(Excess) Backlash

"But the dealmak-ers forgot to consult their undoubtedly dog-eared copies of Adam Smith, the man they cite for the proposition that they are being led as if by an invisible hand to do the public good. First, as James Buchan points out in his Adam Smith and the Pursuit of Perfect Liberty, that phrase occurs only three times in the million-word output of Smith, “and on not one of those occasions does it have anything to do with free-market capitalism . . .” More importantly, Smith argued that: “The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities.”

It is reasonable to guess that Smith would not have approved of a tax system that allowed a British bil-lionaire to pay taxes at a lower rate than the woman who cleans his office, or an American multi-billion-aire to enjoy a tax rate far below that inflicted on his butler. Never mind that such a lower rate provides private-equity entrepreneurs with an incentive to risk the “sweat equity” – noncash contribution – they invest in these ventures. At times, a sense of fairness trumps such economic considerations, and this is one of those times."

Adam Smith is rolling over in his grave....

Global Inequity

"In a gesture apparently growing out of concern for this disparity, the Beijing city government recently banned billboard advertising for luxury apartments. No more of those huge depictions of appliance-rich, marbled residential compounds complete with nursery schools, underground parking garages and health clubs that seemed to rub the migrant workers noses in their conspicuously less advantaged state.

Still, the low wages of the migrant workers illustrate something else: that if China learned nothing else from its Maoist experiment, it learned that requiring everybody to be more or less the same economically no matter what their work kept everybody poor.

And that, fundamentally, is why things are the way they are in China now, because Chinese leaders, no doubt fully aware of the utopian ideals of Communism, believe that there is no other way. And probably nobody is going to change their minds, not the underpaid workers and not the new middle class, even if they are kept up at night by the noise being made by the workers outside."

I bet Bush can't find Albania on a Map

“I miss Albania!” W. wails. “They know how to treat a president there. Women were kissing me and men rubbed my hair. The crowd kept yelling, ‘Bushie!,’ and they almost grabbed the watch right off my wrist trying to get at me.”

Rich: The Cheney Branch of Government, Who Knew?

The average person suffered through social studies/history class. Unfortunately, some teachers fail to present the information in an interesting way. While you were nodding off in class, you did not sleep through the addition of the another branch of government, the Cheney Branch.

Cheney has decided, I suppose with the Decider, that he is not a part of any existing part of the infastructure that our founding fathers established.

Can you imagine what Nixon or Hitler would have done with a mastermind such as Cheney in their administrations?