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Saturday, December 20, 2003

Yet another reason for McCain to run...and another reason to throw away The Economist 

OK, suppose for a second you believe that Dean is the Republican "dream candidate", i.e. the one who "W"hatever's folks want to run against because they can beat him in the 2004 general election. Wouldn't this infuriate you, then? Republican voters can cross over in droves to steer the Democratic election as they see fit because "W"hatever is running unopposed. That's why we need McCain (along with the fact that he can walk the walk when it comes to heroism, unlike duck-behind-the-Bush and the White Whale).

I think the Republicans are actually scared. The Economist, which has become so conservative now it is starting to lose all credibility (I'll come back to this), is citing Gephardt as the Democrat's best choice to defeat Dean. Nice try, guys. We all know anyone who will vote for someone who is 75% Bush will vote for 100% Bush. Gephardt has a better chance than Lieberman, of course, but this is clearly an attempt by a magazine that wants Bush-at-all-costs to influence through counter-intelligence. This, fortunately, is what the Economist is best at, because it has now run counter to intelligence for months.

Here, for example, in their review of "America Unbound", a celebration of all that is "W":

"What were these beliefs? In short, they held that the world was a bad, dangerous place; that the nation-state was its most important constituent part; that power, especially military power, was the coin of the realm in such a world; that international organizations and treaties only constrained the use of American power; and that, uniquely among nations, America's interests and ideals were at one." For this, he is "determined, clear-eyed...[and] pragmatic."

Never mind the nation state (Heard of NATIONAL SOCIALISM? Heard of the USSR?) is the greatest machine ever created for systematic killing. Never mind that every other nation state believes it is unique in unifying interests and ideals. Never mind that the world is a bad place in part because powerful nation states believe they are above the other 95+% of the world's opinion.

OK, let's see if the incompetence permeates the entire Economist. This week's issue is a double-weeker to give the editors their Holiday in the sun. Pages 65-67, sexist article on Congo music, complete with derriere shot on p. 67. Page 100, an homage to Hugh Hefner. Pages 111-113, an article on human hair which of course must be started with a story of the shaving of woman's genitalia. Wondering how this affects the economy? Me, too. I can move past this, though, maybe puerile smut helps sell magazines, if so, more power to them.

However, on p.115 they have an "exoneration" of Dr Bjorn Lomborg (the Skeptical Environmentalist) that contains an arcane, uninformed justification for a largely irrelevant recent Danish ruling (wow...that's 0.083% of the world's population!)...and this supposedly discredited all of the green groups. Or, I should say, "embarrassed" them. Lomborg is a controversial figure, to be sure, but this article clarifies nothing. But it is titled "A Reprieve for Free Speech"?

Finally, the worst of the lot. The article on pp. 114-115 on "Time and chance." This in the "Science and Technology" section. It ends with a very speculative link between the loss of 45 million Native Americans during the 17th and 18th centuries to disease and brutality (a horrible thing) and a "little ice age" on the earth. Hello? Earth's population went up 350 million, or 50%, just from 1700 to 1800 alone. No wonder they can't see through pseudoscientists like Lomborg. Puzzlingly, they end this article with "As environmentalists are wont to observe, mankind is part of nature. These observations just show how intimate the relationship is." They have just used the same type of illogic as Lomborg, but to argue the opposite side (i.e. that man CAN affect nature as much as the environmentalists say). They're speculating directly against what they're defending in the Lomborg article on the same page, and without any statistical support (are they imitating Lomborg from the other side of the environmental fence? Maybe this is more "French Humour" [pp. 75-76] in which article they misrepresent an event or two in the movie "Ridicule"). I give up! I can't make heads nor tails of it. And I'm also letting my subscription run out.

-Vulf

Bush's lap dog looks to "W" for inspiration...look elsewhere! 

This is sad. Spain's Aznar, aka Bush's lapdog (he's the little guy in the center of the photo), can't even think for himself...he surprised Spanish troops in Iraq with his visit, modeled after Bush's "daring" Baghdad raid on Thanksgiving (By the way, Bush planted the tip with the CIA to find Saddam...you heard it here first).

In fact, the troops were so surprised that many of their quotes have not yet been sanitized.

"Jesus, he's a little goat" (this suffers in translation)
"Don't they have a shower on his plane?"
"I set my drink on his head."

Thanks, Aznar, this made all the difference. Keep trying to divert us, we'll still read on...

"Saddam's arrest has failed to ease the violence. Some 50 Iraqis, and one U.S. soldier have been killed since. The U.S. administration and the Governing Council it appointed are hoping Saddam's trial will help stabilize the country. But they say a trial is not expected for months."

No, indeed. Saddam has way too much to say about where he got his army and chemical weapons in the first place. Iran-Contra ring a bell? It's just a scratch on the surface of a Liberty-Bell like crack to come.

Aznar, if you need an idol, pick a real one. Why isn't McCain running, anyway!? Maybe because he didn't want to run as a Democrat, like Clark.

-Vulf

Friday, December 19, 2003

I stand corrected...the WMD's were found after all... 

Except they were found in Libya, by Libyans....

-Vulf

What more? Here's 5 

What more needs to be said about "surfin"? Here's 5 for ya, Loopy...

5. In Australia, they call surfboards "shark crackers" (OK, I made that up, but they SHOULD)
4. Surfin is more fun than turfin (riding a surfboard on your front lawn)
3. You can pad those wet suits to make yourself look more muscle-bound...or otherwise enhanced.
2. Let's see...you're in salt water, and you're bound to get wounded...I think you can figure the cliche from here out.
1. Loopy...you live in stinkin' Colorado! You're land-locked Lupus. Get over it.

-Vulf

Surfin! What more needs to be said. 

Jeff Clark is a madman. At the age of 46, he should be resting on his laurels and organizing surf contests -- which he just happened to pull off at Maverick's for the coming winter, after a three-year hiatus.

With exceptionally dangerous 20-footers (think 40-foot faces) coming through Maverick's, Clark rounded up a jet-ski and a couple of tow-in partners and charged out there in solitude, grabbing more than a dozen huge waves and living to tell about it.

Wow! I am not worthy. More here.

-Lupus

Friday Football Picks 

Mark Toft is back and so full of energy that he needs to chi! Here's his week 16 picks!

Football Picks & Dicks

King Kaufman writes his picks here!

-Lupus

What the HELL? Wimmin, your bodies are public objects... 

It just keeps getting more surreal. Now they are handing out 12 years for drug use during pregnancy, despite the fact this woman:

"was a seasonal tobacco farm worker with a tenth-grade education who was living homeless, drug-addicted and trying to cope with the recent loss of her mother, who was run over by a truck. McKnight never received help for her drug problems. "

I'm sure the stress of such a life might have had something to do with it. But it gets worse:

"(South Carolina, it's worth noting, ranks lowest in the nation for spending on drug and alcohol treatment programs, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.)"

So what, you say self-assuredly, she probably couldn't have cared for the child anyway! She was a junkie, you just howled so yourself. Don't be so smug...this is a foot in the door:

"The legal precedent set in the McKnight case is far graver than it might seem at first glance. As the laws have been written in South Carolina, child abuse charges could as easily be applied to pregnant women who smoke, drink even a moderate amount of alcohol, work around certain kinds of chemicals or even change cat litter--in essence, any activity that is "within the realm of public knowledge" of causing potential harm to a fetus. ... McKnight's case has since emboldened South Carolina to go after other women, even retroactively. In early January South Carolina prosecutors are scheduled to go after their second murder conviction against a mother. In this case, it's another African-American woman, by the name of Angelia Kennedy, who allegedly smoked cocaine during her pregnancy, which resulted in a stillbirth five years ago. This kind of persecution hasn't stopped at the state line. Right after the Supreme Court decided not to review McKnight's conviction, Honolulu city prosecutors went after a 31-year-old native Hawaiian, Tayshea Aiwohi for the death of her two-day-old son. The prosecutor's office has charged Aiwohi with manslaughter for using crystal methamphetamine during her pregnancy. Although Honolulu prosecutors denied any connection to the McKnight case, they went further to say that they would now consider prosecutions of "meth moms" and alcohol abusers, even when those babies survive. Women like McKnight and Aiwohi are the victims of prosecutors who have decided that they have the right to judge and punish women for what happens to their bodies. It is a definitive step toward a government that would have the power to tell us what constitutes acceptable pregnancy and motherhood."

I have a few things to add. Note they are all minority women. Note that they are all poor. My Mom smoked like a tugboat during her three pregnancies. Should we now lock her up decades after the event? Check out this list of teratogens--it's longer than "W"'s nose. Sodium bicarbonate? Sodium chloride? That's TABLE SALT! Okay, wimmin, memorize that list (of thousands--it's public knowledge, see it's right on a public web site!), because if your baby dies and you had table salt during pregnancy, you're serving time!

Compare the comments on alcohol and cigarettes to cocaine on this website. Crack babies? Come on, if you're going to charge 'em for Coke, you've got to charge them for wine and cigs, too.

Where will it end?

-Vulf

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Saddam's Trial 

Stick around, if you thought O.J.'s was a farce. If Saddam is offered a "fair trial", what will really come out? Who gave him the means to gas the Iranians? The Kurds? Whose ambassador said he could invade Kuwait? Hmmm....stick around.

-Vulf

One way Republicans keep you from eating tainted food... 

is to just plain starve you.

This report is appalling. Not much can be added as the text speaks for itself, but my minor comments are in []:

"Hunger and homelessness increased in many of America's largest cities this year, with growing demand for emergency food supplies for families with children, the elderly and even people with jobs[my emphasis wherever in bold], a survey by U.S. mayors finds. The report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, released Thursday, found that requests for emergency food assistance rose 17 percent overall from last year in the survey of 25 large cities. Requests for emergency shelter assistance increased by 13 percent, the report showed. Most of the cities expected that requests for emergency food assistance and shelter would rise again over the coming year, the study said.
...
Denver suffered the greatest spike in demand for emergency food, with requests rising 48 percent this year. Unemployment, low paying jobs, high housing costs, substance abuse and high energy and utility costs are contributing to the hunger problem, the report said.
...
The study said as need increased, more than half of the cities had to turn hungry people away, with more than 14 percent of requests for emergency food assistance going unmet. Requests for food assistance by families with children increased by 18 percent and requests by elderly persons increased by 13 percent during the past year. Overall, nearly three out of four cities reported an increase in food assistance requests.
...
[Here's an "irony" or else misconception:]"The economy is on the rebound, they're doing well in the building industry, but as the economy is going up, prices go up, and housing costs go up," he said. "It's good for people who own homes, but hard on people who are renters."[What kind of rebound is it when more and more are homeless--it's the Bush Recovery, where unemployment goes down while the number of working poor skyrockets]
...
_Fifty-nine percent of the people requesting emergency food assistance were members of families.
_Thirty-nine percent of the adults requesting emergency food assistance were employed.[As I said above...]
_Requests for shelter by homeless families alone increased by 15 percent.
_People remain homeless an average of five months — longer than before, in most cities.
_Single men comprise 41 percent of the homeless population, families with children 40 percent[This is opprobrious], single women 14 percent and unaccompanied youth 5 percent."

Is this the legacy we want as the world's "richest nation", as the world's leader? How can we sleep knowing there are millions of children going to bed hungry in our own nation? How many more children have died of starvation, neglect, or abuse since 9/11 than the number of folks who perished in 9/11?

-Vulf

A Democrat is a Republican who can't enjoy sushi anymore(who has mercury poisoning). 

One of my main interests is on framing issues to expose how Republican policies affect the non-Democratic voting public. In my previous post, "A Democrat is a Republican who just got offshored", I tried to highlight the danger outsourcing presented to a typical Republican white collar workers.

On the issue of fish and mercury, why does Bush want to continue poisoning our nation's mothers and babies? Scientists told the Food and Drug Administration that it should issue stronger warnings to pregnant women and young children about mercury levels in fish. How does the the Bush administration respond to this warning? By issuing tougher guidelines? Nope by raising the Clinton guidelines by 400% to 600%.

The EPA's new mercury plan raises the mercury caps from 5.5 billion tons by 2008 under the Clinton EPA to an interim cap "the high 20s to low 30s" by 2010 to a final cap of 15 tons - by 2018. Truthout provides more details here. States are trying to fight back, ironically, with New Jersey leading the pack.

I cross referenced the Environmental Working Group's safe fish list with the Monterey Bay Aquarium's environmentally friendly fish list to obtain the ultimate safe, environmentally friendly fish list. The list was rather short, which should leave sushi lovers alarmed and disappointed.

abolone(snail)
catfish(some concern on their levels of PCB's)
oysters(farmed)
trout(farmed)
salmon(canned and wild)
sardines
shrimp(U.S. trap caught, U.S. trawl-caught or farmed are less environmentally friendly. Avoid imported shrimp)
tilapia

These fish and seafood are environmentally friendly, but I have no data on their mercury content :

sturgeon(farmed)
cavier(farmed)
clams(farmed)
snow crab
hoki
lobster
mussels(farmed)
striped bass

Sushi lovers vote Democrat!

-Lupus


Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Cars Kill 

Oh boy, I'm sure this will move me to the top of the popularity list. Here are the top 10 reasons to kill your car.

10. Want to look like Marlon Brando? Eliz Taylor? John Candy didn't last long enough for this list, but his ridiculously early death (at 43!) should be a warning. Park yourself behind the wheel and you will be twice the person you used to be, and I'm not talking about growing your repertoire of skills here, unless adding adipose cells is a skill. Have you ever met a skinny trucker. There's a band named fat truckers!

9. Want your oil money supporting an evil regime or two?

8. Gasp...cough...choke...the air! "Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States. It causes nearly two-thirds of the carbon monoxide, a third of the nitrogen oxides, and a quarter of the hydrocarbons in our atmosphere. With the number of vehicles on the road and the number of vehicle miles traveled escalating rapidly, we are on the fast lane to smoggy skies and dirty air."

7. Walking is a great form of exercise...

6. Support your local neighborhood Mom and Pop. I'm glad those damn Wal-Marts are all on the edge of town. If I walk I never have to see them!

5. Short of using a metal detector, there is no better way to find a coin than by walking. In a car, fat chance!

4. Talking to the neighbors once in a while may lower your odds of being burglarized, or burgled. They might think you're in shape.

3. Add up the "hidden" costs of ownership--payments, repairs, gas, oil, wiper fluid, $1000 in-car video systems, KimWipes for the Big Gulp spills, tires, emissions testing, registration (It knocked out Gray Davis!), and more. Are you looking to save a little cash? How about 20% of your income?

2. You've been working out, and it shows. Wear some tight pants and go for a jog...on the sidewalk, not on that softer pavement, though. All we can see in your car is your skanked-out hairdo.

1. Detroit wants to move to a gun-manufacturing-based economy, anyway.

-Vulf

Re: A Democrat is a Republican is got offshored. 

Post by Lupus. Sorry for the confusion. I also fixed the order of the blog postings.

-Lupus

Holding the nose for Lieberman! 

My political philosophy actively embraces voting for the lesser of two evils, especially because voting for the greater of the goods is often not a choice. An extreme form of this scenario would present itself with a Lieberman v. Bush race.

I don't believe in attacking candidates, but Lieberman, I have to admit, gets under my skin. The Holy Joe label fits him to perfectly. Here is another example of a sentiment held by Leiberman without any trace of irony on his part.

Mr. Lieberman proclaimed himself "energized" by the capture of Mr. Hussein, and he went so far as to call for the execution of the former Iraqi leader after a trial.

Now isn't trials with a predetermined outcome the hallmark of Saddam's rule? Why not just execute him? It is far more honest.

Lieberman's sentiment smacks of might makes right. Aren't we better than this. I think we are and Democrats deserve better than someone who holds these kind of sentiments.

Yes, I will vote for him if he somehow wins the nomination, but only because Bush is so much worst.

-Lupus


Tuesday, December 16, 2003

A Republican is a racist who got unzipped 

The picture of ol' Strom Thurmond in this Reuters article says it all. Gorked out beyond drooling in this photo, this former segregationist and centenarian (now offshored to Hades) nevertheless fathered a daughter 78 years ago with the very "race" he decried for the "productive" part of his career. Why is it those who are uncomfortable with their own sexual identity lash out against the GLBT? Why is it segregationalist Strom Thurmond fathered a child with a black woman? Seems to me many times people chastise that which they fear in themselves.

All of which means I must have a secret fear that there are no weapons of mass destruction inside of me...
-Vulf

Random Thoughts...The Right, Sodom, Dean and Lobo, offshored/unzipped, Marlon Brando 

First, thanks Lobo for a great point on winning the election. There are really several obvious voting groups: traditional "Left", the Center and the religious "Right", which has moved further right in the past few years, along with the Right in France (yes, in France...see this article for one), as evoked by the old myopia, racism:

"Racial tensions are rising. This week, a Jewish school outside Paris was burnt. Demands by some French Muslims to wear the veil at school, or to reserve time at swimming pools for Muslim women, have provoked a backlash. We want to keep the essence of France, explains Marine. They started with one mosque, now there are mosques everywhere; now they want the veil; next separate swimming pools. Integration has totally failed."

In addition, the right in Spain and Italy, like in the U.S., are in power already. It is the Center that will determine the next election, not Dean's theft of the left nor Bush's might of the right. More on that below.

As for Sodom's capture, why is it that something eight months late is suddenly hailed as a triumph? They went in for him, and it took them 9 months (8 since the fall of Baghdad in the spring) to find him, alone, bedraggled and hiding in a future outhouse? Kudos to the military, but excuse me, how does this reflect on "W". Give me $166 Billion and I'll find flippin' Jimmy Hoffa for you. I apologize--that's only $165.93 Billion after Haliburton returns their stolen money. My apologies for the exaggeration.

Now, back to Lobo's blog. Lobo's point on the mainstream is salient here: the mainstream media seems to think Dean is very far left. A "cautionary article" on Dean--he is McGovern AND Mondale all at once! Come on, I know he scares you, but you can't be that afraid already. Mondull? MisGovern? Come on! He's got a personality, after all...

However, as we transition to broader-minded media, we find one that initially rests on what a Dean supporter said on a blog. Come on, we all know how influential blogs aren't! However, it finishes more fairly. And certainly Dean's campaign must be viewed with interest, because it may/may not be totally unique.

Finally, AlterNet, like yours Vulfy, suggests Dean is quietly moving to the Center as the rest of the Dems puzzlingly think they can compete with "W" for the right. Maybe I'm high as a kite, but the Dem strategy to follow Bush to the right seems folly. I long suspected Dean was setting up the rest to gulp down the center like Marlon Brando does a quarter-pounder. Now, I am not alone. However, Lobo's cautions and caveats are spot-on. We'll keep watching this one.

Don't know which Wolf posted the "A Democrat is a Republican who got offshored," but when we post our blogs we can see the drafts along with those posted, and so when I logged the "A Republican is a racist who got unzipped" blog, it was meant to echo some of the comments in that fine blog...reader please note--not the opposite. Whoever posted that blog deserves credit for "painting the space", despite the order on the public site.

Next, as for a nickname/pseudonym for our latest blogger JB, how about coyote...it's a brown wolf, sort of?

Finally, returning to Marlon Brando like a dog/Vulf to its vomit, how many people does obesity kill each year? The urban myth is 300,000, but is this really way too high? I think lack of exercise is a bigger health problem, not to mention lack of sleep and smoking (400,000 deaths/year)--the latter being obvious. What does the Pack think?

-Vulf

2-Party System 

Vulf brings up a valid point when it comes to the shifting of politics via information technology. But, I think that information technology is not an end in itself. Dean can get a million people registered on his MeetUp.com site but if someone is a member of the United Mine Workers of America, odds are they are going to vote the way of their union. If Dean can convince the union that his stance on issues is worth an endorsement then he will get that vote.

If one takes a pluralist theory perspective, broad-based coalitions always win out over the majority. If Dean manages to isolate portions of these coalitions then he will find himself drifting out of the mainstream and into the footnotes of political history.

I actually do think that a viable third party is possible, but it will have to be a party that is able to deconstruct discourse over Left and Right and lead a discussion in terms of overall values as they apply to balances between Liberty and Equality and between Community and Efficiency on a local and on a global basis.

--LOBO


A Democrat is a Republican who got offshored. 

Highly educated and compensated workers are now seeing their jobs shifted overseas. IBM just announced it was "shifting" about 4,700 software jobs overseas from offices in Dallas, Southbury, Conn., Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Raleigh, N.C., and Boulder, Colo. To further add to the indignity of the process, IBM expects their pink-slipped employees to train their overseas replacements.

The reason for the switch, simple economics. Overseas engineers are cheaper. Nothing personal just business. I do, however, remember a lot of these engineers expressing little symphathy for their manufacturing brethren who experienced offshoring earlier. Many of them shared Cato Institute Stephen Moore's sentiments that the 2.5 million (manufacturing) unemployed had only to shift to knowledge-based jobs, and then corporations would line up to pay [them] an even better salary for [their] brainpower.

Now that the "knowledge-based" myth has been descredited, who's to blame now. Unions cannot be blamed as they had been in the past. These skilled workers are not unionized. IBM put the blame on education levels and modern communication networks. Of course how this applies to Boulder, one of the most educated and high-tech regions in the country, I simply don't know.

But at least the engineers are waking up. With the high unemployment rate and the lousy safety net, they realize their American dream is not immune from turning into the American nightmare. They are starting to politically organize. After years of ignoring the average worker's plight, they now realize we are all in this together. Unemployment does not discriminate anymore.

-Lupus

Saddam Caught 

The capture of Saddam is a great accomplishment because it is going to make Iraq a safer place. Seeing Saddam captured will certainly take the air out of Saddam loyalists and will give some relief to the people he has terrorized in the past. The best outcome that may occur is that hopefully attacks on U.S. forces will slow down and intelligence will begin to flow more freely now that Saddam has been caught.

Will this have any affect on global terrorism? No, not really. Is Saddam going to fess up and tell us where the WMDs are hidden? No, because it's looking like there are none. Will the U.S. try to get him to implicate other governments so the U.S. can go on another WMD hunt? Probably.

My prediction is that Iran will start to become mentioned more and more over the next few weeks and months.

One last note, of course Saddam is going to be disheveled and hiding out in a hole somewhere. What, did anyone expect him to be wearing full military regalia and living in one of his palaces?

--LOBO

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Saddam...Got 'im! 

Saddam, they got him, and he looks only mildly worse for the wear. I'm sure he'll be resting cozily in Idi Amin's now-vacant quarters shortly.

-Vulf

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