We promote fair and honest political discussion from all sides of the ideological spectrum While my own opinions and my contributors tend toward a more progressive view, that's not always the case. I ask people to comment freely and openly to promote fair discourse.
A long time coming
Mark Foley: SICK SICK SICK!!!
Looks Like Lamont Levels Lieberman?
Oil Prices in the tank
Clinton Reams Rummy
A long time...
Chandler/Abramson in '07?
A new poll
I found this.
It would seem those wonderful kids over at the Pentagon seem to think they can provide best for our troops even though they've not been providing at all.
Check out Soldies For Truth for lots of good information this and other screw ups.
If the military can't provide for our men and women, at least let them do it themselves.
Technorati Tags: Iraq War, body armo, Army
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:49 AM
There's lots of debate right now over what the major issues are for the year. Abortion is rearing it's head in many states. Some are even considering stopping state funded birth control. Then there's spying on U.S. citizens and the Patriot Act. All these are important to many of us, regardless of which side one falls on. The issue though, no matter what else happens, is going to be the pocket book and nothing screws with people's lives more than the cost of gasoline.
The market ended today with the May contract of crude cracking $67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the price of gasoline going over $2 a gallon before it ever sees the pumps, we may be in trouble. Summer driving season starts on Memorial Day weekend and that's when the prices will really kick in. I would expect fuel prices to hit $3 a gallon or more by the beginning of the summer season.
What all this means is people will be spending more money for their driving. This will have an impact on lots of things, including retail costs. This means people will have less money to spend on various goods and services. Heck... it'll even affect people's ability to put food on the table or even maintain a house payment. I hope you don't have to commute very far. You're likely to run into problems because gasoline costs are going to hurt.
Here's the predicament for the Republicans: They're supposed to be good at economic things. We've got an executive team who came from the energy industry. Why haven't they been able to handle it?
I failed to mention the Iraq War earlier because I believe the war is tied to oil. As Ted Koppel pointed out in a recent editorial in the New York Times:
But the Bush administration's touchiness about charges that we acted â€” and are still acting â€” in Iraq "because of oil"? Now that's curious. Keeping oil flowing out of the Persian Gulf and through the Strait of Hormuz has been bedrock American foreign policy for more than a half-century.
But realistically, even though the Iraqi War was over oil, it's still not improved our condition really has it. The word to ask if I were running for office, is "Are you better off than you were 2 years ago or perhaps 4 years ago or even 6?" All one must do is to look at gasoline prices.
Also remember we lucked out big time on winter. If Old Man Winter had elected to be a bit cross, then I daresay the U.S. would've had a heating crisis between the costs of natural gas and heating oil. We can't forget about hurricane season though. It's less than six months away. What if we have a couple of Cat 5s this year? The Gulf Coast can't handle it again. Louisiana and the rest of the coast is still the victim of one massive cluster fuck. The only reason we don't hear about Mississippi is that's prime Republican territory.
How does this all translate to votes? People vote their wallet. Almost always. If people are making more money and enjoying a nice life style, then they will vote the status quo. People are making less money though and most people are in debt up their eyeballs. If Democrats can convince people they will be financially better off with them, then they will get elected. I just hope the Dems start talking common sense economics instead of getting hooked in on wedge issues, which often seems to be the case.
The long windedness had ended for the moment. I hope I make some sense.
Technorati Tags: oil prices, elections, economy, Iraq War, Bush, Cheney, Congress
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:35 AM
I found this over on TPM:
The late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater on John McCain's new pal Jerry Falwell, July 1981: "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."
I thought it was just too funny.
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:02 PM
What's going on this morning? Anything exciting?
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:08 AM
As most of my regulars have noted, I've not posted in a while. I've been kind of busy with a number of personal matters. I'm backing on the net though and I'll be posting a bit more frequently, at least for a little while. As always, I appreciate the comments and please keeping visiting. Also, please consider visiting to affiliates on the right hand side. They would appreciate your business, as would I.
Now... something that interests me is medical marijuana. I'm not necessarily all for legalization of marijuana for recreation use, but I think it's an absolute for medical reasons. I've read too many stories about people getting too much good out of weed when they have nasty chronic illnesses like cancer.
The way the system works now is drugs are put on on schedules or lists depending on various qualities of said sustances. Schedule 1, which marijuana falls under, contains other substances like heroin. These drugs are believed to have no medical value. Marijuana is believed to be a gateway drug that leads others into much harder drugs. Right now, it's the opinion of Washington that despite numerous tests to the contrary by both physicians and patients, marijuana has no use.
In 2005, SCOTUS struck down California's medical marijuana law, reducing the case down to a jurisdictional dispute.
A new case is now before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, by the same people who took the case to SCOTUS earlier in the summer. They are pushing the rules again, calling this a "right to life" case. The deal is, the Supreme Court has never completely shut down this case down. So the folks are heading back again, depending on what the the Appeals Court says.
This issue is going to keep getting pressed. The problem is the best way to get this to change is get bureaucrats who think this medical marijuana is actually a good idea. As I said, I'm not in to recreational use of the stuff but I think no one can deny a person dying a horrible death like cancer some relief. Talk about immoral behavior.
Perhaps it is insane to try and keep various substances illegal but we certainly should deny the sick some relief, particularly if it can be found in a naturally occurring substance like marijuana.
Technorati Tags: medical marijuana, Californa, Supreme Court, Angel Raich
posted by Stithmeister @ 7:32 PM
As the Anniversary of the Iraq war has approached, there have been many groups looking back at the past several years. In hindsight, with recent reports of a spiraling National Budget, the linked article seems particularly relevant. On Monday, November 1st of 2004 additional translation of a tape purportedly by Osama Bin Laden was released. The full speech had not been released previously. Oddly, the section I’ll focus upon is the most damning. Not Damning of Osama Bin Laden and the al Qaeda network, but of our own Government.
Bin Laden states "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.” “"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations,".
In a recent Bloomberg article , on January 13, 2005 the following was reported.
The U.S. spent $102 billion through Sept. 30 2005, on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, with costs averaging $4.8 billion a month. The $102 billion covers the period starting with the initial deployment of troops in the late fall and winter of 2002. Additionally, The U.S. Army will need to spend more than $10 billion this year to repair or replace vehicles that are wearing out at four times the expected pace due to heavy combat use in Iraq,
The U.S. has spent $39.8 billion through Sept. 30 billion in Afghanistan since the October 2001 invasion to displace the Taliban regime and attack al-Qaeda’s terrorist network.
The Federal budget for 2006 sits at $2.57 trillion. A partial breakdown is shown below. Information is from The Washington Post
Department of DefenseThe fiscal 2006 defense budget of $419.3 billion represents a 4.8 percent increase over fiscal 2005 in real terms, but is about $3 billion less than projected (My emphasis) for fiscal 2006 in last year's plan. This budget does not include an expected administration request for $80 billion in supplemental appropriations, including $75 billion for the Defense Department to cover the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in the current fiscal year.
Department of Homeland SecurityThe Department of Homeland Security is proposing a budget of $29.3 billion for fiscal 2006, an increase of $258 million, or 1 percent. Including $4.8 billion in existing and new fees, its discretionary budget is $34 billion, a 6.8 percent increase. Including funds spent by other federal departments, the government is spending $49.9 billion on domestic defense, an increase of $3.9 billion, or 8.6 percent, from this year.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit, which has had massive financial shortfalls, would receive an increase of $490 million, or 13 percent.
Homeland Security also proposes spending an extra $90 million for new detention facilities for illegal immigrants after it had to release thousands of them because of inadequate bed space. The department plans to spend $36 million more on the Border Patrol, mostly to hire 210 new agents along the nation's borders -- a fraction of the 2,000 Congress said last year should be hired.
If you think that these two agencies are the sum of spending against Terrorism, you are wrong.
Department of AgricultureUSDA agencies involved in combating bioterrorism, developing a vaccine bank, and protecting the food system fare well in the new plan. No exact Dollar amount is given but the total agency budget is about $19 Billion.
Environmental Protection Agency
A total of $7.6 billion. The budget calls for a $79 million increase in EPA's homeland security programs, including a project to monitor contamination in select cities,
Department of JusticeTotal budget of $19.1 billion. Spending for the FBI would grow by $556 million, or 10 percent, to finance the hiring of 500 new intelligence analysts for the war on terrorism, boost the number of FBI translators and improve the effort to watchlist terrorist suspects.
How do other programs compare in spending? Lets look at two others. Both listed as priorities by the administration.
Department of Education
The administration is requesting $56 billion for the Department of Education. This is about 10% of the Department of Defense budget.
Department of EnergyThe Energy Department's budget $23.4 billion. Despite the fact that our government denies it, a major reason for our concern in the Middle East is oil. Heavy investment in new technology could end our perceived dependence on foreign fuel, perhaps forever.
As I hope these numbers show, we are spending ever more on an enemy that we seem unable to reach. This past week, the National Debt was raised yet again. The new debt limit is Congress $9 trillion. It equals about $30,000 for every person in the country. In the five years since President Bush took office, the debt limit has been increased by $3 trillion. This does not take into account that when Bush entered office, we had a budget surplus. Assuming this trend continued, we’d be $14.4 Trillion in debt by the end of his term. There are many who will say we cannot afford to ignore Osama Bin Laden and his ideological brethren. In pure dollar figures, I say we can’t afford continue with the same approach we have been using. If we keep trying to solve the problem by throwing money at it, then Osama Bin Laden has won.
posted by Greymagius @ 9:09 PM
Sorry about not getting in much today. I've been pretty busy and am shifting things around in my personal life. I do intend to keep my blog going though so expect posts the rest of the week. Thanks again to my reader and I will try and keep things moving for you. In the mean time... what's going on with you? What issues do you find interesting right now?
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:19 PM
There is a growing realization in America that where as the Democratic Party seems to have rolled over and played dead, the Republican Party has been hijacked and taken from the core Conservative ideas. Author Kevin Phillips has a rather distinguished pettigree as a Republican. I have not had a chance to read it myself yet, but the New York Times Article high-lites several points that I find quite interesting.
In his book, "The Emerging Republican Majority" published in 1969, he presented thoughts on how post Vietnam, the two major parties would evolve. His ideas have been bourne out to a large degree since then. In his new book, "American Theocracy", he presents a less positive view of the Republican party. There are three main areas he focuses on;
The Role of Oil in defining American Foreign and Domestic policy.
The intrusion of Radical Christianity into Politics and Government.
The Levels of Debt, both of the Government and the American people.
The cries of 'Spreading Democracy' ring hollow when we consider how many non-oil producing countries lie under the heavy hand of dictatorship. North Korea is in my estimates, much more of a Tyranny than Iraq was. China, though changing, still keeps it's people under an Iron fist. How many African nations are ruled under Tyranny and ignorance runs wild. There are many countries where our forces of 'Democracy' would be welcomed as true liberators. Where there is no infrastructure that has to be destroyed then rebuilt. There are not masses who already hate us. If we truly wanted to create 'Oil spots' of Democracy, let us go to the undeveloped countries of Africa. Instead, we go into a country where the primary goals from the begining was 'Protect the Oil Pipelines'.
The hi-jacking of Government by Fundimentalist Christians is the second point. When Preachers get better briefings on potential Supreme Court nomines than Senators do, you have to worry. A rather scary idea that is being pushed is that the 'Seperation of Church and State" is a myth or erronious understanding of what our Founding Fathers wanted. I think a few quotes well support the 'Truth' of that idea:
"If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution." - George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789.
"I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, 1801.
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." – Benjamin Franklin.
That the 'Father of Our Country and the two men most responsible for our founding documents expressed such opposition to Religion in Government, religion at all for the most part, says much.
Finally, on the matter of Debt. When individuals go into debt, it is a matter of Choice. Thanks to the policies of the current Administration, the national debt has swelled to nearly $9 trillion That equates to about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. I was given no say on this Debt dropped upon mre. But I shall be paying my portion through taxes as well as 'Budgeting" through loss of programs such as Education, Health Care and Social Security.
It is my hope, that both Democrats and Republicans can clearly see the disasterous state that we are being reduced to. As a Democrat, I want to support programs that help those who cannot help themselves. Soon however, unless things can radically change, no programs, including things such as Military Spending, will be supportable. Every Tax Dollar will be required to pay off the huge debt we has been thrust upon us.
In eight years, we have had destroyed so much of Americas strength. I hope that the Evangelicals are right in part, because God help us, if this continues.
posted by Greymagius @ 10:25 PM
Sorry about the hiatus this weekend. I was out of town for a funeral and got back late Sunday night.
My Cats fought valiantly on Sunday and in all honesty, I think if we'd have had good referees calling things correctly, then we wouldn't have lost the game.
The women's team plays today against a tough Michigan State squad. With any luck, the women will pick up the win and advance.
Technorati Tags: Kentucky, NCAA Mens Tournament
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:21 AM
I picked up on an interesting blog post over at Lindsay's blog. She's got an interesting post discussing the Missouri state house move to cut public funding for contraceptives, generally going to poorer women.
JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House voted Wednesday to ban state funding of contraceptives for low-income women and to prohibit state-funded programs from referring those women to other programs.
I know Cynicus argument is probably that this is another step toward pregnancy being a punishment for sex. That's a possibility. It's also some of the religious wackos going yet another step too far. What this eventually comes down to though is class warfare. Once again, the poorer masses, growing by the day, will be forced to do without yet another option for them to help improve their lives. Sure life is important so why don't we try to improve the quality of those already here.
Technorati Tags: MajikThise, birth control Missouri, Cynicus, Stithmeister
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:28 AM
Consumer Price Inflation Moderates in February
Technorati Tags: Peter Morici, Consumer Price Inflation
posted by Stithmeister @ 1:41 PM
For your intellectual/philosophical types that read this delightful blog, we've found something just for you. A sight, Elsewhere.org, has some interesting and perhaps inane intellectual gibberish. It sounds legimate though. I'm just not sure about capitalist Marxism though.
Here's a portion of one of their essays...randomly generated of course.
1. Madonna and predialectic textual theory
Technorati Tags: Madonna, Marxism, Capitalism, Elsewhere
posted by Stithmeister @ 1:53 PM
A friend sent me this link from Gather. It's quite amusing. I've reprinted the comments here:
On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis
Technorati Tags: Gay marriage, religion
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:55 PM
An open thread here... what's going on?
posted by Stithmeister @ 9:05 AM
Back in 1968 a gentleman named Sirhan Sirhan shot and killed then presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy. Kennedy, former attorney general, New York Senator and brother of slain president John Kennedy was shot in his hotel in Los Angeles. Sirhan was apprehended by Rosey Grier and Rafer Johnson.
There are some interesting facts about the case. Sirhan was and is not a Muslim. While he had written some notes inj the form of journals, he had no apparent reason to the assassination of Kennedy. Some have speculated he was a child the CIA's MKUltra program, which experimented with brain washing and other forms of mind control. This was the time when the CIA was feed LSD to unsuspecting citizens.
The other issue is as this case is in California, it could reach the office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As his wife is Maria Shriver, niece of Robert Kennedy, there could be a decided conflict of interest here.
So what do you think? Should Sirhan be given parole? He's been up 12 consecutive times. He was originally slated for the death penalty but since SCOTUS declared unconstitutional back in the early 70s, he had his sentence commuted to life in prison.
Technorati Tags: Sirhan Sirhan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Bobby Kennedy, Rosey Grier
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:27 AM
I'm a little late in getting up the responses on this issue. My online poll looks to be about 50/50. It's a mostly moot point now since the political fallout is over. Bush was looking like burning some serious political capital on this issue until Dubai PW backed down. A Republican controlled Congress threatened to override Bush. They agreed to turn over their U.S. port interests to U.S. based companies, although critics would suggest it'll probably just be U..S. subsidiaries of Dubai PW.
Technorati Tags: Dubai PW, Bush
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:58 PM
For folks looking for a new job in politics... here's a new Crony Jobs. It gives some quality information on how to get a job in the current administration.
The sad thing is it's mostly true.
Technorati Tags: Bush, crony jobs
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:00 PM
This normally falls under the category of entertainment but I think it's a lot of BS too. Isaac Hayes, known as Chef on the satirical and hilariously funny program quit the show claiming he was tired of the show picking on religions. He thinks they should show religions more respect. South Park has been on for a decade now and the very FIRST episode was "Jesus Vs. Santa Claus". What made him think it wouldn't be irreverent towards religion. They've picked on all kinds of religious groups from the very beginning. Then, as Parker and Stone pointed out, the moment they pick on Scientology (don't get me started), he's out. He's absolutely bogus on this. I've lost a lot of respect for the original Soul Man.
Technorati Tags: South Park, Comedy Central, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, Scientology
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:45 AM
Yeah right...Media Matters has certainly gotten their share of personal attacks from Bulldog Bill.
In a segment with actor and activist Mike Farrell, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that he doesn't "do personal attacks." O'Reilly made his remarks on the February 23 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, during a discussion with Farrell about gay marriage and the death penalty. As Media Matters for America has noted, O'Reilly has personally attacked individuals on numerous occasions, both on The O'Reilly Factor and on his radio show.
Nope... not at all does old Bulldog Bill O'Reilly make personal attacks.
Technorati Tags: Bill O'Reilly, Media Matters, Mike Farrell
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:29 PM
The word is starting to float around that Senator Russ Feingold, D-WI, plans to introduce a resolution to censure President Bush over the illegal wiretapping issues. He made the announcement yesterday on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos, saying simply:
"The president has broken the law, and, in some way, he must be held accountable."
Naturally, Bill Frist wasn't happy, saying it would weaken the country in a time of war.
A censure resolution, which simply would scold the president, has been used just once -- against Andrew Jackson in 1834 over a dispute about banking.
Bill Frist naturally doesn't mention the corruption surrounding the Republican controlled Congress right now. He doesn't seem to think his own indiscretions nor those of people like Senator Conrad Burns or Congressmen Tom Delay or Bob Ney will likely weaken our government. No... this adminstration and the yes men congressmen need to be fought every step of the way.
The administration managed to keep from being investigated for the moment, although some in Congress are interested in checking into articles of impeachment. The problem though is I think it's going to be difficult to make it stick. Under the current scheme of things, Bush is safe. If by some chance, Dems can win control of BOTH houses, then he may be in trouble. If that doesn't happen this year, then it will be fairly smooth sailing for Bush.
Technorati Tags: Russ Feingold, Bill Frist, Wiretapping Scandal, George Bush, Patriot Act
posted by Stithmeister @ 2:10 PM
The brackets are out... doesn't look good for the home team either. They open against UAB.
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:23 AM
Strongman Slobodan Milosevic was found dead in his prison cell. In all honesty, he probably got a better end than he deserved. The initial thoughts were he died of chronic heart problems that plagued him for sometime.
Technorati Tags: Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic
posted by Stithmeister @ 5:11 PM
UK played a dismal game against South Carolina. They just couldn't get their offense going, which is usually the story. Kentucky just hasn't had consistent clutch play this year and it's been maddening. You've got to have a couple of guys you can count on to get it done when it gets close and we've just not had it.
posted by Stithmeister @ 5:05 PM
Found the below referenced link on the DailyKos. I thought it worthy of further commentary.
The original ABC News article is linked below and gives more comprehensive information.
Let’s face it folks, George W. Bush is anti-science. If it’s not a better weapon, he doesn’t want it. He trots out ‘science’ as a P.R. stunt. He doesn’t understand ‘Science’, as can easily be seen from his track record on Global warming, Evolution and Stem-Cell research. Now, the Budget from Congress further cuts the work of NASA. He tends to believe in guidance from above, from a God that he has absolute faith in.
It’s not surprising then that his government seems little interested in NASA, other than a Public Relations Agency, to bring back the high idealism of the days of the Space Race. Lots of folks say “So what? We’re sinking in debt, so what if we don’t go back to the moon in the next 20 years? What have we ever got from NASA?”
Watch Television? Chances are the shows you’re watching were transmitted via satellite. Use a GPS? Have On-star in your Car? Satellite mapping & tracking allow us to know where you are and tell you how to get to where you’re going. Do you check the weather as you head out in the morning? Guess where the information for that comes from? Satellites! This becomes more than just giving scientist new research tools. This directly affects the lives of yourself or someone you love. We cannot accurately forecast the weather, without these tools.
There’s an old saying, ‘Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” We may not be able to change it, but we can do something to protect ourselves from it. The Katrina Disaster was horrific. Think what it would have been like if we hadn’t had as much warning as we did. Current estimates are that we are entering another period of extreme Hurricanes. We can hope that post Katrina; folks will be more wary and willing to take action. But they need time to prepare and accurate information to do so. The entire Eastern and Southern coast sit in danger. Aside from loss of thousands of lives, the financial cost of last years Hurricanes is in the tens of billions. We are spending only 2.2 billion for ALL satellites. Let’s look at perhaps building 1 less super Stealth Fighter or new Destroyer. Let us instead put that money to creating a presence above us that we can all agree exist and truly provides guidance and looks out for our safety.
posted by Greymagius @ 2:52 PM
We've got a tough game lined up for this one as Kentucky squares off against South Carolina. This game does have a little meaning for me as my grandfather and his old bomber crew buddy would argue over this one. One went to UK, the other South Carolina. But I know what Granddad would say:
GIVE'EM HELL TUBBY
Technorati Tags: Kentucky Wildcats, South Carolina Gamecocks, stithmeister
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:58 PM
Kentucky play at 3:15 EST. They play Alabama.
What else is going on today?
Technorati Tags: Kentucky Basketball, Stithmeister
posted by Stithmeister @ 2:20 PM
Bob Burnett, a founder of Cisco systems had an editorial up on HuffPo.
The editorial is a comparison piece on George Bush and Osama Bin Laden. It's quite biting really and while I don't know if I agree with it completely, most of it I do think is fairly close to reality.
Technorati Tags: George Bush, Osama Bin Laden
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:44 AM
Dubai Ports World bailed on the deal to take over U.S. ports, allowing the Bush administration to save face with Congress. This debate has been heated as Republicans in Congress gres some cahoneys and elected to fight back on this issue.
A couple of thoughts. One, the reason the Republicans fought so hard on this was that it was an issue the general public could understand: "Arabs are gonna run American ports." It's not terribly complicated. I tend to agree with one assessment I saw over at HuffPo though and that was this deal was a strategic issue for the U.S. not in our own ports of call but in the UAE.
The U.S. is going to leave Iraq via the Tehran highway, no question. Cheney has already said this week that Iran wouldn't be allowed to have nuclear weapons. It's quite probably Israel might get in on the fight and there's been some speculation about the use of tactical nukes. Not pretty. UAE could provide a base point on the other side of the Straits of Hormuz. Iran has said that if war occurs, they'll shut down traffic for the Persian Gulf. That could present problems for oil as Saudi alone cranks about 1/4 of the world's oil supply. Methinks Russia isn't in a position to pick up the slack nor would they have the will.
The other thing I see is just how vulnerable Bush really is to lame duck status, which seems a bit early. With midterm elections coming up and Bush's numbers in the shitter, Republican candidates have to separate themselves from him just a bit. In Kentucky, they still like Bush... much of the rest of the country wouldn't trust further than they could throw him.
Technorati Tags: Dubai, Dubai PW, Bush, Republicans, Homeland Security, Dick Cheney, Iran, UAE
posted by Stithmeister @ 7:47 PM
Kentucky squeaked by the first round of the SEC tournament, beating the Ole Miss Rebels after being behind at half time. It was very close. The problem is now they play tomorrow and they'll have to win 3games in 3 days, which based on the season performance, seems unlikely.
We can hope though.
Technorati Tags: SEC, college basketball, Kentucky, WIldcats, Ole Miss
posted by Stithmeister @ 5:28 PM
Some guys from Louisville put together a sweet little video short. It's called "The Muppet Matrix" and it's loads of fun.
Technorati Tags: The Muppet Matrix, Muppets, The Matrix
posted by Stithmeister @ 1:52 PM
Trade Deficit Hits another Record
Congress Should Compel Concrete Action toward China
Today, the Commerce Department announced the January trade deficit was $68.5 billion, up from $65.1 billion in December.
The consensus forecast for January was $66.6 billion. My forecast published by Reuters was $68 billion.
The trade deficit exceeds 6 percent of GDP and is weighing down economic growth.
Although petroleum plays a key role, it is certainly not the whole story. Since December 2001, the monthly trade deficit has increased by $42 billion. Petroleum accounts for less than half of that change.
The Wal-Mart effect is broadly apparent. The January trade deficit with China was $17.9 billion, up from $16.3 billion in December
This situation is likely to become worse in the months ahead. The dollar remains at least 40 percent overvalued against the Chinese yuan, and similarly overvalued against other Asia currencies too.
China continues to peg against the dollar. Although China revalued the yuan from 8.28 to 8.11 in July, and announced it would adjust the currency to a basket of currencies, the yuan continues to track the dollar very closely. Currently it is trading at about 8.05.
China appears to be permitting the yuan to rise at a pace of about 3 percent year. Since implicit value of the yuan rises about 5 percent each year, the yuan will remain at least 40 percent overvalued for the foreseeable future. The overvalued dollar will contribute mightily to the U.S. trade deficit until the Bush Administration takes decisive action.
High and rising trade deficits tax economic growth. Specifically, each dollar spent on imports that is not matched by a dollar of exports reduces domestic demand and employment, and shifts workers into activities where productivity is lower.
Cutting the trade deficit in half would boost employment and productivity enough to raise GDP by $300 billion or about $2000 for every working American. Workers’ wages would not be lagging inflation, and ordinary working Americans would more easily find jobs paying good wages and offering decent benefits.
Longer-term, persistent U.S. trade deficits are a substantial drag on growth. U.S. import-competing and export industries spend three-times the national average on industrial R and encourage more investments in skills and education than other sectors of the economy. By shifting employment away from trade-competing industries, the trade deficit reduces U.S. investments in new methods and products, and skilled labor. Cutting the trade deficit in half would boost U.S. GDP growth by 25 percent a year.
To maintain an undervalued yuan, China purchases about $200 billion dollars in U.S. and foreign securities, which it hoards. This creates a 33 percent subsidy on Chinese exports.
Manufacturers are particularly hard hit by this subsidized competition. Through recession and recovery, the manufacturing sector has lost 3 million jobs. Following the pattern of past economic recoveries, the manufacturing sector should have regained about 2 million of these jobs, especially given the very strong productivity growth accomplished in durable goods and throughout manufacturing.
The Bush administration has refused to take action against China.
The Congress is considering several bills which would compel action. Among these is a bipartisan bill by Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH). It would add the subsidies provided by currency manipulation to the list of unfair trade practices actionable under U.S. trade law, and permit domestic manufacturers to petition the Department of Commerce and U.S. International Trade Commission for duties on Chinese imports to offset these subsidies.
The time is long past due for legislation like the Hunter-Ryan bill.
Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1815
Technorati Tags: Trade Deficit, China, Commerce Dept. Peter Morici
posted by Stithmeister @ 1:46 PM
Wanna be useful in your community and make a difference? Donate blood. The Central Kentucky Blood Center is having a severe shortage. There's a huge need folks so please go donate. It doesn't take long, generally less than 1/2 an hour and you're saving lives...generally more than one. Apparently blood transfusions are up right now so the is extraordinarily high.
The community's blood supply is at a dangerous level. Central Kentucky Blood Center is in dire need of your blood, especially O+ and O-, the most common types transfused at central and eastern Kentucky hospitals.
Locations for the CKBC. There may also be blood mobile donations in your area. Don't hesitate to give them a bit. Besides... you get a free tshirt out of it.
330 Waller Avenue
Lexington, KY 40504
Phone: (859) 276-2534
Toll free: (800) 775-2522
120 South Highway 27, Suite 4
Somerset, KY 42501
Phone: (606) 679-7413
200 North Lake Drive
Prestonsburg, KY 41653
Phone: (606) 886-1557
685 Hambley Blvd. Flat Iron Bldg., Suite 1
Pikeville, KY 41501
Phone: (606) 432-4979
Technorati Tags: blood donations, Central Kentucky Blood Center
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:53 AM
You know ... I generally am a nice guy but every now and then, I feel the need to use some expletives and not delete them. Rex Tillerson, top dog at Exxon Mobil needs to go fuck himself and here's why:
He's gone on to say that any of the areas in the U.S. that are currently off limits shouldn't be with regard to getting oil and gas.
America imports 10 million barrels of oil a day while it sits on an abundance of potential, according to Exxon Mobil Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson, who spoke to reporters and editors from Dow Jones & Co. (publisher of MarketWatch) one day ahead of the company's annual meeting.
Naturally, the head of the company that made the most profits of any company in this history of this company is calling for more drilling. He needs to go away. While they continually shaft the American public by manipulating oil commodities markets and creating havoc in oil producing nations, oil companies like his have continued to profit.
Irresponsibility in this country comes from not protecting the interests of the American public by forcing us into conflicts in the middle east and destroying the environment not just in this country but others as well.
You think the problems in Nigeria would be happening if Royal Dutch Shell really talked to the government there and suggest they spread the wealth around a bit to keep people happy? No because things like that keep oil prices up and they make more money and it's cheaper just to shoot them.
Technorati Tags: Exxon Mobil, Nigeria, Rex Tillerson, oil prices, natural gas prices
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:38 PM
TPM:Muckraker has a nice right up on the upcoming article in "Vanity Fair" and he tells a story. He talks about all the folks who kissed his ass in DC including Tom Delay, Conrad Burns and Bob Ney. I'm sure there are many more too. There's even discussions of his meetings with Karl Rove and how Ney was at his child's bar mitzvah. There's so much good juicy information about all these damned Republicans. It'll be interesting to see what if anything comes out about Karl Rove.
Technorati Tags: Jack Abramoff, Culture of Corription, Bob Ney, Conrad Burns, Tom Delay
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:22 PM
The last few days I've been falling behind on several bits of news. Honestly, it's tough to try and keep a blog going with a full time job. I will continue to post as I can, hopefully a few posts every day or nearly. My goal is to catch up a bit over the weekend on a wide variety of things.
The Senate Intelligence Committee bared their throat for the administration and dropped their trousers as they gave all semblence of being elected officials. They've agreed not to investigate and instead create and oversight committee, despite the administration's admitting they broke the law because they believed they were above it. And for all intents and purposes, based on this decision, they are. The President of these United States has been given absolute power without even the pretense any more.
They will hear us on the land and on the sea and the greatest fear in our nation shall be from the White House and that the madness of King George III has permeated our very fiber. The sad thing is it's not really madness. It's a complete and utter disregard for any citizen in this nation or the rights our founding fathers spilled their blood for, or even the greatest generation built our nation on.
Territory provides some more background, particularly regarding Hagel and Snowe statements from December. It's getting more and more difficult for us idealists to hang on to anything regarding hope as this thing continues on.
Certainly there are intellectual arguments to be made all across the blogosphere and we can hope that these folks will lose their jobs during election years but will the Democrats change anything really? I'd say not. I don't think we've progressed to the point other's suggest but I do think things are getting extraordinarily worse and they will. I just hope our people and our nation can survive long enough to make the changes we need to make to get things back on track.
I suppose I'm done ranting for the moment. My angry side is wanting to say rather awful things about the afterlife of the individuals who are in support of the president and his supreme executive power. Hell... I didn't know better, I'd say he believes same watery tart through a sword at him.
Technorati Tags: Bush, wiretapping scandal
posted by Stithmeister @ 10:45 PM
It seems a U.S. soldier, killed in combat in Iraq can't get his religious symbol on a memorial along with other soldiers in the plaque. the symbol, the pentacle isn't an officially recognized symbol despite the military recognizing Wiccan clergy as chaplains. While there's obviously some religious favoritism here, I also think it's some bureaucratic BS as well, something of which the military is legendary for.
MajikThise mentioned that and the fact that Missouri is trying to make the official Missouri state religion Christianity. They're basically saying with the legislation, all religions are equal, it's just that this one is more equal than others.
Technorati Tags: Iraq War, Pentacle, Wicca, Missouri
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:27 PM
Legendary HOFer Kirby Puckett, 45, died of complications from a stroke. He played his entire career for the Minnesota Twins.
He certainly was fun to watch.
Technorati Tags: Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:21 PM
South Dakota passed the an abortion bill and Governor Mike Rounds signed it into law. He signed his name and now the war is on.
I myself am pro-abortion. I don't like the term pro-choice or pro life really. I think abortion should be legal. The reason is because I believe women should have as much control over their bodies and their futures as males. One sticking point for this law is rape. The only exception to the rules is if the life of the mother is in danger. Rape and incest were not included in this legislation.
So let's consider the consequences. A young 12-year-old-girl is raped and turns up pregnant. Her life is most likely ruined. She's forced into having a child she is neither prepared for nor wants. She doesn't have the famlial structure to take care of the child. She's also stigmatized, even if she gives the child up for abortion.
There's so much more to say. Certainly abortion is a serious issue. But another consideration is simply that abortion has been around as long as humans have. Women find ways to get rid of the baby, one way or the other. They may elect to damage themselves in someway or simply leave it in a garbage can.
Roe V Wade needs to stand. It may not be the best answer to this problem but really, there is no other answer.
Technorati Tags: abortion, Roe V. Wade, South Dakota, Mike Rounds
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:18 PM
A new movie called "V For Vendetta" will be hitting theatres on March 17th. It stars Hugo Weaving, known for playing elven lords and computer programs, and Natalie Portman, senator of the Old Republic and wife of one of more whiney of villains.
The original story was in the form of comic mini series written by Alan Moore after the election of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister in the UK. Moore wrote the story as he feared fascism rearing it's ugly head in the future...the late 90s. A "terrorist" who runs around wearing a Guy Fawkes mask threatens to blow up the old Parliament building in an effort to carry out the original Fawkes original plan. The story touches on issues like government wire tapping, rounding up undesirables and putting them in detention facilities on a large scale other equally fascist notions. The problem with reading this story is it reads too much like today's headline in the newspaper.
I think there'll be some backlash as the movie stirs up trouble. At least I hope there will be some arguing, fighting etc.
Technorati Tags: "V For Vendetta", Alan Moore, Natalie Portman, Fascism, Hugo Weaving, Margaret Thatcher
posted by Stithmeister @ 2:04 PM
A weekend out of town is over. My Cats were once again dominated by Florida. And there's always politics.
Bush is trying to push for line-item-veto legislation. As Cokie Roberts put this morning on NPR, it's just smokescreen legislation. This normally conservative issue was passed during the Clinton administration, signed by Clinton after passing a Republican congress. SCOTUS held it was unconstitutional then, violating the congressional powers. While the argument for it is it will help the president cut spending, the constitution says the power of the purse belongs to congress. It may very well pass but I think it'll be held unconstitutional again. The very premise of this type of legislation, regardless on the intent, would strip more power away from congress, particularly a power that is really the one thing Congress has to keep the president in check.
Tell your legislator no.
Technorati Tags: Line Item Veto, Bush, Congress, NPR
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:32 AM
I will be out of town on Saturday. I won't be back until Sunday.. hopefully I'll post something then. In the meantime, there's plenty to be belligerent about so feel free. Check out the Amazon selections while you're at it.
posted by Stithmeister @ 1:09 AM
So... anyone going anywhere exciting this weekend?
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:16 AM
In a brilliant stroke, the senate renewed the USA Patriot Act. They continue to vote to strip away our rights and our beliefs. It's ashame there are not more like Feingold, willing to stand for something other than the status quo.
Technorati Tags: USA Patriot Act, Russ Feingold, Senate
posted by Stithmeister @ 12:15 AM
Senate President and corrupt political boss David Williams suffered stinging defeats in the senate this week aft SB1, his medical malpractice bill was voted down. The other came at the defeat of SB236, a bill attempting to limit the judicial branch's power regarding things like the ten commandments.
The medical malpractice bill got beaten yet again. Williams assuredly will file the bill again for the next session. He's showing his true colors by trying to strip away one of the last rights people have and that's the right sue doctors for screwing up.
The bigger case was SB236:
SB 236 (BR 1749) - C. Borders, E. Tori, E. Harris, V. McGaha, R. Roeding, D. Seum, G. Tapp, D. Thayer, J. Westwood
Fortunately, he couldn't get enough votes to get either moved to the ballot. My God, we need to work on getting WIlliams out of office. Mark Nickolas is absolutely right. He's Kentucky's version of Tom Delay. A nod to Democratic floor leader Ed Worley of Richmond for standing in Williams way. This would've been a travesty had either bill made it through.
Technorati Tags: medical malpractice, ten commandment, David Williams, Kentucky General Assembly
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:58 PM
It would seem someone had anticipated the breach of the levees in New Orleans and they told Bush about it. A new video tape BEFORE the hurricane showed the president, FEMA chief Michael Brown and others, including Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The meeting, held on August 28th not only did the feds know it was coming, they said they would be providing support both during and after the hurricane. The interesting thing about it all is Bush told Diane Sawyer three days later that no one had anticipated the levees would breach. It would seem the president LIED about it.
"I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm," Bush said, gesturing with both hands for emphasis on the digital recording. Neither Bush nor Hagin asked questions, however.
Now... in all fairness, the mayor of New Orleans isn't off the hook either. The city desperately needed a strong evacuation plan to move as many people out as humanly possible, which doesn't seem to have been the case, particularly with all the buses and other forms of transportation sitting empty in a parking lot. It would've gotten people out of there.
So what we have is all the leaders sitting around in a big meeting telling each other everything will be covered and not a damned one of them did anywhere near enough to help solve the problem.
Now... what should we do. There are lots of things that could be done. One thing is get someone in charge of FEMA, as they currently have no one in charge (hurricane season is just about 4 months away) and tornado season is pretty much here. We need to make sure the person in charge knows how to handle emergency management too, not just some administrator who's been given money to the cause.
Technorati Tags: Bush, Michael Brown, Hurricane Katrina, Ray Nagin, New Orleans
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:41 AM
A real nail biter took place down in Knoxville tonight. Our boys and blue walked away with the win, a close win but a win none the less. They won by two points and lucked out when Tennessee missed their last shout... a three at the buzzer. Whew!
Did I mention number one ranked Duke lost to the unranked FSU Seminoles. I generally don't root for either team but against Duke, I'll take it. GO SEMINOLES!
Technorati Tags: KEntucky Wildcats, Tennessee Volunteers, Duke, Florida State
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:54 PM
Daniel Solzman over at Kentucky Democrat has happened upon something and it may be his claim to fame on the blogosphere. He's a poli/sci student up at NKU and is a loyal UK fan. He's produced an interesting video that spoofs an SNL video a couple of weeks ago.
Perhaps the biggest taste he's getting is viral marketing. In politics, something like this is golden. It will drive his traffic though, certainly for a while.
Technorati Tags: Daniel Solzman, Kentucky Basketball
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:51 PM
This was some commenter's off-topic post on the Eschaton blog. i think it needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
"I'm sorry. Just checking in, scrolling down and coming across the phrase "Taking away God..."
What a mind-blower. And what a revelation.
The Protestants from the reformation onward talked about a 'personal relationship with God/Christ" as opposed to a Church (and Church hierarchy) mediated one. The phrase is right at the core of fundamentalism today.
Do any of you wingers know what that means?
How the fuck could we possibly 'take away God' if you have a personal relationship with Him?
The early Christians were tortured for their faith and forced to meet in sewers to worship.
But we show 'Will and Grace' on the TeeBee and that 'takes away God'!
We allow gay people to enter into a civil marriage--you know, we allow Jews and Buddhists and atheists to get married too, though I'm sure you think thast's wrong as well--and we 'take away God'!
Well, I've got news for you, Gary--if that 'takes away God', you never had Him in the first place. You need people shouting in your ear all the time to fool you--you need everything censored to keep you from thinking or, holy crap, your faith being tested...
You people run around saying you've been born again, Washed in the Blood of the Lamb, and all that--
You are so scared of facing temptation that you insist it be banned by law. You are so scared of the temptations of the world that you not only have to smash them, but you have to go into other people's houses and smash them there, because you can't even bear to think of other people enjoying them.
Your faith is about as thin as a sheet of tissue paper. If God ever REALLY decided to test your faith, you'd crumple like a snowflake in Hell.
Now, I know you're just a troll, Gary. You do this just to git us riled. But you did get to the crux of this--of just what the fundies think.
We 'take away God'.
So this goes out to you, Dobson and Robertson and Falwell: If Desperate Housewives and Janet Jackson can 'take away God', your grip on Him is feeble.
Faith? Don't make me laugh. Your house is built upon the sand.
Christians? I know Christians. Christians are friends of mine.
And you are no Christians.
(sorry, guys. this just came out.)
Technorati Tags: religions, Christians, Evangelicals, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, protestants, catholics, Dobson, Robertson, Falwell
posted by Stithmeister @ 5:38 PM
Hat tip to Lindsay new Zogby International/Le Moyne college poll of troops on the ground in Iraq said most troops believe they should be coming home within a year. The Financial Times ran the story:
Most American troops in Iraq believe the US should withdraw within the next year, according to the first poll of US military personnel there.
It doesn't look good for the home team when the players are ready to come off the field. It does go to show, after the Buckley comments as well that this war is over... Bush just can't figure it out. Did we mention this poll apparently had unofficial approval from commanders?
Technorati Tags: Iraq, Bush, American Troops, Zogby Poll
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:44 AM
I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
Atom Site Feed
Ky Democratic Party
Air AMerica Radio
Ky. Stonewall Democrats
Long Way Home
Rick Howell Speaks
The Daou Report
New York Times
Christian Science Monitor
Los Angeles Times