SocraticGadfly: 8/10/08 - 8/17/08

August 16, 2008

Another animal world first?

Move aside, homo sapiens, as the only animal to be a teacher. The latest research indicates dolphins may well demonstrate a theory of mind and relatively advanced social learning skills.

Schadenfreude for Goldman Sachs outsourcing

Ahh, so sad for the daytraders, fund managers and other folks at the Goldman Sachs, JPMorgans and Morgan Stanleys of the world, having their six-figure, even high six-figure, jobs outsourced to India.

You know something?

That’s the WTO, biatches.

Many of the nearly 200,000 jobs that major U.S. banks expect to whack by the end of next year aren’t disappearing, they’re just disappearing from U.S. soil. Supposedly, somewhere from 20-40 percent of investment research jobs could be sent offshore.

You know something?

That’s free trade, biatches.

Beyond schadenfreude, it’s nail-biting and back-biting time in Manhattan’s downtown canyon walls, too. The NYT story says nobody from Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch or Citigroup would talk to them.

That’s all right. Maybe you’ll hang around before the last NYT job is outsourced to Mumbai.

And, here’s part of why they don’t want to talk — silence is coming straight from the top:
“Some of that is self-serving,” Octavio Marenzi, chief executive of Celent, said of the impulse to keep quiet. “If I admit that research analysts can be off-shored to India, that means that I could too.”

So, Mr. CEO has to decide whether to go to New Delhi or accept a golden parachute buyout.

You know something?

That’s the real world, biatches, except we don’t get golden parachutes out here.

The Chandra Levy killer?

Remember her death seven years ago?

Well, the Washington Post takes you back through it, and all the mistakes and lethargy of the D.C. Police Department in investigating it.

And, the killer is? Well, it’s not then-Congressman and alleged Levy lover Gary Condit.

It could well be a Guatemalan immigrant named …

Sorry, you gotta go read it. Let’s say he’s been named before on the police radar screen.

So, WHY was the case botched? Arrogance of D.C. Police Chief Ramsey? Arrogance further down the line? Lack of funding for the department? Laziness?

At the same time, as many readers of the series noted, is the ongoing attention in large part due to Levy being a white woman? I wouldn’t argue against it, at least.

A round-up of recent linguistic dustups

First, I’ve gotten into a fracas with other atheists who are, I charge, abetting fuzzy thinking by bad use of language.

Second, in response to a blog post of mine at Talking Points Memo, when I commented about a sense of “entitlement” Cynthia McKinney seemed to evidence as a Congresswoman, a “person of color,” of more color than me (and no, I’m not being flippant or snarky), claimed that I was using “entitlement” as some anti-black code word.

To which I say: Political correctness still abounds. And while conservatives can flog a dead horse on that issue, they’re not all wrong, either.

Third, at the blog which should be called “Enabling Those We Choose,” after I was banned without warning for actually “watching” Barack Obama, and not buying into the Republican-Democrat duopoly, I asked blogger Blue Girl, in posting a link about Obama’s FISA cave-in, what she thought about her boy now.

Again, no racial connotation meant. But, she assumed one, from her one-word response.

Once more, political correctness abounds. Because some people, even when they should know better (yes, that’s you, Blue Girl Tammy – good thing I didn’t sign your online petition for a Kos “scholarship” to Netroots Nation, even while wondering why you ask for money from someone you really don’t care for), choose to indulge this idiocy.

At other times, though, I have no doubt I have some share of fault. Working as a newspaper reporter/editor, I write a lot. Sometimes, I may think I’m writing more lucidly than I am.

At other times, I’m thinking faster than I’m writing, with the result my writing has all sorts of intellectual ellipses that I never think that other people might not follow.

And, there is the occasional troll, like Pat Buchanan-saluter Citizen Fitz over on Amazon's book review pages.

August 15, 2008

Some ‘Washington Wowie’ with that merlot?

Some of Washington state’s newest fruit farmers are allegedly Mexican drug lords, a few of whom may even be growing pot in vineyards.

The story notes that drug folks have made some major busts there already, and that many farmers who are selling out have been approached, without having offered their land, are being invited to name their price, and are getting it paid in cash.

Sex goes green

From rechargeable vibrators, through the question of whether a Prius makes its owner “hot,” to recycling those dildos, sex is going green indeed.

Friday scatblogging — I’ll be taking this as a field test

Can you identify all of the scat pictured above?

Terrierman has the answers right here. I’m giving myself a field test on some of this, in the central and northern Rockies.

Camille Paglia despairs of Obama — including sounding TOO black

She throws a bit of everything into her worry bin.

First, Obama is like short-term FBI head L. Patrick Gray:
Obama is twisting slowly, slowly in the wind like a tempting piñata for right-wing cudgels.

Next, he’s not playing his campaign strategy cards correct. (I agree.)

Then, contrary to Toby Keith and Ralph Nader, he sounds too black, or too young urban black, at least:
A major gaffe this summer has been that, in trying to act more casual and folksy to appeal to working-class white voters, Obama has resorted to a cringe-making use of inner-city black intonations and jokey phrasings — exactly the wrong tactic.

Paglia then claims she’s not surprised Hillary Clinton is still lurking, but says most of her votes weren’t actually for her, but for a dropped out “other,” without Paglia naming names.

Well, that’s stupid, just stupid, Camille. More stupid by far than the Obama is talking too black idea.

With all that wingers had already put Hillary through, many of her voters were just as “core,” if not more so, than Obama’s.

Just like the stereotypical self-hating Jew, liberal(ish?) female pundits and commentators who feel obliged to diss Hillary Clinton come off as self-hating women, almost.

Plenty of newspaper jobs — in India

And, they’re hiring many an American, not just Indian nationals and expats.

And, it’s freelancers moving there, too, not just Americans, and expat Indians, working for Indian papers and mags.

August 14, 2008

Air-purifying concrete highway

A road in the small Dutch town of Hengelo will be paved with an air-purifying concrete, or that’s the claim about it.

The University of Twente developed and tested concrete paving stones contain a titanium dioxide-based additive.

Under laboratory-controlled sunlight, the additive, which comes from a Japanese invention, binds the nitrogen oxide particles emitted by car exhausts and turns them into harmless nitrates.

The road should be done by the end of this year, with the first real-world tests of its effectiveness next summer.

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park – to Wyoming?

Well, no, I’m not going that far, not on my first day of vacation, nor on the whole trip.

But someday, I may be able to.

The city of Cheyenne is looking at a 140,000 acre conservation corridor inside the Belvoir Ranch that it recently acquired. That could include development of a trail all the way to the Laramie Hills at the Colorado-Wyoming state line. Larimer County, Colo. voters have already approved conservation sales taxes for the hills, and the two states are working on trails development and related partnerships.

Don’t lose sleep over possibly losing sleep

Supposedly, we’re not as shortchanged on sleep as claimed. Oh, and the leading study that HAS claimed that? Funded in part by …

Drug companies!

That said, the Sleep Foundation study that claims we’re sleeping too little claims the University of Maryland study isn’t allowing for insomnia, etc. But, those things have always been around.

Read the whole story for yet another example of how Big Pharma tries to influence health, along with a list of which particular Big Pharma companies contribute to the Sleep Foundation and how much.

Steve Jobs, cyberstalker?

Well, it’s possible at least, since he’s admitted all iPhones are equipped with an Apple-controlled kill switch to shut down “malicious applications.”

First, per the Wired blog, what is a malicious app?

Second, beyond the blog, what’s on the iPhone that Jobs isn’t disclosing?

Western Colorado up for sale

The Bureau of Land Management put 55,000 acres of western Colorado’s Roan Plateau up for auction for oil and gas leases today. This is the area of and around Dinosaur National Monument, and sure to pressure wildlife such as prairie chickens, and add to smog in what’s supposed to be an area of pristine natural beauty.

August 13, 2008

Protest group sues GOP

Impeach for Peace wants to be able to protest within sight of the Republican National Convention.

Now, the question is, will they be further isolated than protest groups in Denver?

Do scientists have an ethical obligation on research outcomes?

I certainly say “yes.” It’s an issue scientists are wrestling with at the Asilomar conference center in California.

Some biologists, such as genetic engineering researchers, have had to do that for a long time.

Physicists? Not so much.

But what if, even short of Luddite apocalypticists, nanotechnology has environmental actions not envisioned in advance? How much obligation do scientists and engineers have to openly discuss these issues with both their peers and the general public? I’d say a lot.

Or, here’s another ethics question? What if technology makes global warming, or peak oil, seem less of a short-term threat? Should it even be marketed? If it is, should that technology have some “black box” warnings similar to many medications?

Here’s part of the problem:
Paul Thompson, a philosopher at Michigan State and former secretary of the International Society for Environmental Ethics, many scientists were trained to limit themselves to questions answerable in the real world, in the belief that “scientists and engineers should not be involved in these kinds of ethical questions.”

What if Heisenberg and other Nazis had come closer to inventing the bomb? Wouldn’t they have offered this as their justification?

Lancaster ISD — ‘The worst school board meeting I have ever attended’

No, not my words, though they could be. Instead, that’s the comment of. TEA-appointed conservator James Damm.

Ron Rowell from the Texas Education Agency believes Damm is having a calming effect on the Lancaster School Board. Maybe at the last meeting, but not at the first two he was at.

Meanwhile, Damm partially contradicted LISD Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Peoples and said, yes, the district likely WILL need a bridge loan.

Oh, and will Damm’s comments shame either Carolyn Morris or Ed Kirkland? Fuhhgeddaboutit.

Kevin Drum and Freakonomics get future of ’burbs wrong

Drum, in summarizing a Freakonomics post on the future of suburbs in an era of Peak Oil, and the Freakonomics post itself, are both wrong, or at least potentially wrong on the future of the suburbs.

Going to the Freak source, quoting James Kunstler, with a pull quote from his long comments:
“The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.”

And Thomas Antus, a New Jersey municipal government official:
“To pay for the expanded services taxes will also increase exponentially to the point where individual pay checks are made payable to the government and deposited directly in the general treasury.”

Next, Jan Brueckner, economics professor at Cal-Irvine:
“If [gentrification] continues in a significant way, large numbers of suburban households looking for urban stimulation may end up switching places with minority central-city dwellers, stirring the ethnic pot in both places.”

Kevin sums this up as:
A focus on increased density is going to mean a funny political switcheroo for a lot of liberals. We're mostly accustomed to fighting evil corporations on behalf of the little guy, but it turns out that most suburban (and many urban) zoning regulations have been put in place by exactly the little guys we're used to teaming up with. Developers, on the other hand, would happily build out every last acre to the maximum possible density and maximum possible profit if only they were allowed to. So if we're in favor of higher density, we're frequently going to find ourselves siding with big developers and very much against local public opinion — and believe me, you haven't really taken on the task of changing public opinion until you've sat through a planning commission meeting trying to out-talk an angry mob of homeowners who are dead set against a proposed zoning change that might affect their property values by 1 percent

Wrong. Or, at least potentially wrong, in the sense of, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Kevin, and Freakonomics folks, you’re talking only about quantity, and not quality on point 2.

Cities can be and should be focusing on building codes more than zoning ordinances, requiring MUCH higher insulation standards, more use of recycled material, etc.

New development, redevelopment, infill, etc., should all HUGELY tighten the quality side of the equation. Of course, in major metro areas, this is an invitation for suburbs to cheat on each other, which means state-level governments have to intervene.

Ultimately, it’s going to require the feds to intervene with tax credits for development quality features.

And, while Kunstler is good as a prophet of alarm, not so much as prophet of doom.

(In an e-mail, Drum dismissed the idea of talking about quality, rather than quantity, with the comment, “it’s a blog post, not a book.”) Well, the length of the Freakonomics post, if not a book, is longer than your typical newsmagazine article by a factor of 2.

John Archer is more optimistic at the Freak:
“Suburbia will be flexible, it will be smarter, and it will be hybrid.”

Of course, Kevin’s going to run out of water and electricity in the Southland, perhaps, or at least cheap electricity and halfway cheap water.

Passive Pelosi™ whines in self-defense, says flat NO to impeachment

Her statement came during a protest-interrupted speech at American University of Judaism in Los Angeles.

Among other things, she defended her, and Congressional Democrats’, pitiful performance the last 18 months:
“Whether it’s the deficit or the challenges to the constitution we have to dig our way out,” Pelosi said, adding “this election is like death for life on this planet as we know it today.”

No, life and death was the FISA vote, and civil liberties died.

So, Peter Thottam, founder of the LA Impeachment Center, challenged her to “do her job”:
“Who gave you the right to take the constitution and shove it down the toilet? Who gave you the right to take impeachment off the table? Nobody told them to do this,” Thottam shouted at Pelosi moments before Secret Service agents removed him from the packed auditorium and turned him over to officers with the Los Angeles Police Department. “One million Iraqis are dead. Five thousand Americans are dead. You have destroyed the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments.”

After the speech, during book signing, she refused to mention the idea of inherent contempt against Karl Rove or others, and passed the buck on “ordinary” contempt charges to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers.

Run, Cindy, Run!

BIG win for whales

Navy agrees in federal court, in a settlement, to restrict its use of low-frequency sonar.

Here’s your money for national healthcare

Two-thirds of American corporations pay zero income tax.

Think of what could be done with that.

If it’s Tuesday, it must be Obama foreign policy pander day

How else to explain Barack Obama, yesterday, play me-too with John McCain’s call to admit Georgia to NATO?

It’s made worse by Obama explicitly saying, in the statement, that:
The relationship between Russia and the West is long and complicated.

And he wants to offer a “solution” that’s simplistic, as well as wrong, to a complicated issue.

Between his pandering, his campaign style, and other issues, I’m wondering if Dems don’t have the worst candidate since Dukakis?

You know the answer.

Vote Green.

Support Big Thicket expansion

Here’s the link for the Sierra Club’s petition to Congress supporting House Bill 5891 by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) to add 100,000 acres to Big Thicket National Preserve.

It IS GQ Johnny Edwards’™ baby

That’s the claim of a long-term (former?) friend of Rielle Hunter, that John Edwards is the daddy of Hunter’s kid.

I’ve never doubted that.

And, frankly, I bet not only has Edwards liked to the public, but on this part of it, he’s lied to his wife, Elizabeth, too. Assuming that’s the case, and that he’s also lied about the length of the affair, not only has he wrecked his political career, he’s probably wrecked any public service career in general.

I tried doing a Google News search for the latest on this from the National Enquirer,, but, under advanced news search options, Google didn’t return anything with NE as the source. Not an official newsmag in Google’s eyes?

But, going to its own website, we find out GQ Johnny Edwards™ allegedly restarted the affair after saying it was over. So, like Bill Clinton’s “is” issue, this is how GQ Johnny claimed the pregnancy couldn’t fit the time frame.

August 12, 2008

American stiffs soldiers

Two Guardsmen wound up getting charged $100 and $300, respectively, in checked bag fees by American Airlines for their military equipment.

Needless to say, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, among others, aren’t too happy with old AA.

10 percent of Dallas homes go underwater

One out of every 10 Dallas homes purchased last year sold for a loss.

And, 10 percent of people who have bought homes here in the past five years are upside down right now.

True, it’s not Stockton, Calif., which has a 38 percent year-over-year decline in home values, but it is a reminder that Dallas isn’t scot-free on any economic slowdown.

Passive Pelosi™ flopping again?

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi supposedly now will allow a House vote on offshore oil drilling.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to try to keep a lid on the issue on his side of the Capitol via a continuing spending resolution, but that might not hold up.

Given the amount that oil and gas prices have dropped recently, this is stupid as far as political strategy.

Given the need for an increase in gas taxes, this is stupid policy.

DNC-Denver booster power hypocrisy

At Denver, Dominion Virginian Power will host a reception for Virginia Democrats at the scenic Red Rocks Amphitheater. Problem, according to Raising Kaine, is that back home, the power company doesn’t look at mountain vistas like Red Rocks as scenic backdrops, but rather as sources of mountaintop-removed coal.

Virginia Dems, you’re now officially on the clock on the countown to renounce this reception.

Hillary knew of Edwards problem and kept mouth shut

That’s the word from former Hillary Clinton communications manager Howard Wolfson, who claims that if Edwards had come clean, it would have gotten Clinton the nomination.

Boy, that’s a toughie to judge. But I’ll give it 50-50 that Clinton could have won.

Pander alert — Obama and tax-free seniors

If you’re a senior citizen making less than $50K a year, Barack Obama wants you to be free of income taxes.

Absurd. It would drain billions from the Treasury, come to be seen as another entitlement for seniors, and be a relatively unneeded benefit for the age group that already has the country’s lowest poverty level.

As the story points out, if you’re a senior already making $50K, you probably own your home, and own it free and clear, meaning you have a lot less overhead to boot. Plus, you get an extra income tax deduction and your Social Security benefits aren’t fully taxed.

This is pandering with a Grade-A Shinola sheen on it.

Above Aisle 3 — solar panels

Conscientious shoppers need to raise their eyes and see just where their department store is getting its electricity. The answer might be as close as the roof over their heads, as more big-box retailers install solar panels. Kohl’s plans on having 125 solar-paneled stores by the end of the year.

One problem — a Congressional tax break expires this year.

But, as the story notes, a carbon tax may help out in the future.

Men on Mars, nothing; where’s the shuttle replacement?

Answer? It won’t be here for at least five more years.

NASA claims that it will have the replacement Orion spacecraft ready to fly to the International Space Station by 2014.

Only if pigs get wings.

August 11, 2008

Delta, Northwest pilots OK merger

Well, technically, they OKed a joint collective bargaining agreement, but in reality, they OKed the merger of the two airlines.

It was much more popular with Northwest pilots, nearly 87 percent in favor, than at Delta, with 62 percent in favor.

That said, industry analysts say crude staying at $115/bbl could let airlines turn a profit in 2009.

Kevin Drum punks himself

By swallowing whole hog the spinmeistering by Peter Mansoor, Gen. David Petraeus’ former executive officer that, while other things beyond “the surge” may narrowly have contributed to “more success” in Iraq in 2007-08, it really was the surge.

Here’s Kevin, all sweetness and light:
Pro-war conservatives (have) … always had a much better argument to make (about the surge), one that Mansoor comes close to making here. …

The security situation in Iraq was on the cusp of something potentially dramatic, and it was possible that a small nudge might make an outsized difference. The surge was that nudge. …

It sure seems like both the most plausible and the most persuasive argument in favor of the surge — one that I'm not at all sure I'd reject out of hand.

The surge was a “nudge”? First, the various surge backers would n never describe as just a nudge.

Second, Mansoor himself rejects Drum’s idea while also pulling the McCain trick of redefining the surge:
To realize how misleading these assertions are, one must understand that the “surge” was more than an infusion of reinforcements into Iraq.

Finally, Mansoor's column ignores the ephemeral nature of any surge “success.”

And THAT’s what the neocons and just plain cons don't want to discuss.

In the middle of August doldrums, we have a clear winner for Kevin Drum’s worst post of the week, already on a Monday!

Bush seeks to backdoor the Pombo bill

President Bush’s proposed gutting and filleting of the Endangered Species Act is much the same as that which Richard Pombo, as chair of the House Resources Committee had tried to pass by legislation.

The executive order changes would:
1. Allow federal agencies to decide for themselves whether building and other activities were or were not endangering species, rather than consulting with the Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service.
2. Forbid federal agencies from assessing emissions that contribute to global warming.

Fact is, folks at the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management often get these reviews wrong. The story notes thast internal reviews by Marine Fisheries and Fish and Wildlife concluded about half the unilateral evaluations by the USFS and BLM that determined their agencies wildfire prevention projects were unlikely to harm protected species were not legally or scientifically valid.

Yes, this could be frozen by a new administration, but, it’s always a pain to roll back stuff like this.

Call the wahhmbulance for Brett Favre

And also for ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski who sounds more and more all the time like he has a marketing contract with Favre, Inc.

The idea that this is all the Pack’s fault is ridiculous. Brett was counting on the court of public relations to force the Pack to start him, Aaron Rodgers be damned.

Favre’s shaky 2005 and 2006 be damned.

Favre’s shaky final quarter of 2007 be damned.

(None of which has ever crossed Wojo’s lips or keyboard.)

Mike Silver, on the other hand, gets the story right.

And more right.

Once again, call the wahhmbulance for Sergio

It’s just not his fault he didn’t win the PGA, he insists:
“There’s guys that get a little bit fortunate,” Garcia said. “They get in contention in a major and manage to get things going their way. And unfortunately, it hasn’t happened to me. I feel like I played well enough to win probably more than two majors throughout my career.”

Hmm, could have sworn you were skilled fortunate enough to have a 4-foot birdie putt on 17, six feet closer than Harrington.

Down the stretch, yesterday, particularly on 16 and 17, nope, you didn’t quite play well enough. Dunking your second at 16 certainly didn’t help.

And, one of the oldest clichés of golf is that you manufacture your own breaks.

Wally-World in Canadian dock for union busting

The Canadian Supreme Court will hear two cases of alleged union busting by former employees from a Wal-Mart store in Jonquiere, Que.

Wally-Worrld allegedly violated the Quebec Labour Code and the right to freedom of association when it closed the store in April 2005 rather than sign a union contract with employees, the cases claim.

But, the Quebec Court of Appeal sided with Wal-Mart, rejecting the case of employee Johanne Desbiens. The story adds that another case was rejected by Quebec courts similar case filed by another former Wal-Mart employee, Gaétan Plourde, was rejected by the province's courts.

Is it a “victory” getting the Canadian high court to hear the case? The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada), which represented the workers, says yes.
“When the Supreme Court accepts to hear you, it’s because the case is of national interest,” said Louis Bolduc, executive assistant to the UFCW’s national president.

Well, hold on there.

Just because it’s in the national interest doesn’t mean the judges will see the national interest as magically coinciding with your union’s, Mr. Bolduc.

The story goes on to note that the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has signed a protocol with the UFCW to support and cooperate its campaign to organize workers at Wal-Mart stores across Canada. (Image above from NUDGE.)

Better luck than what the AFL-CIO has, or has not, done here.

‘Rockefeller’ tentatively identified

“Clark Rockefeller” appears to be a 47-year-old German native named Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter . His brother, Alexander, has tentatively identified him.

The date for when Alexander lost contact with Christian also fits the time when “Clark” began trying on the first of several false IDs. It also appears he’s connected with an unsolved twin murder out in California.

Unlike Democrats, Putin doesn’t spook at Cheney

So, when the Darth Vader vice president says Russia’s actions in Georgia/South Ossetia “must not go unanswered,” I’m sure Russian Prime Minister Vlad the Impaler Putin is soooo not quaking in his boots.

Beyond that, even if nobody’s recognized it, the area’s been de facto independent for more than a decade. Move on.

Engage cloaking device, Mr. Sulu

Well, maybe in the 23rd century, some starship captain will say that. Scientists have invented two new “metamaterials” that can bend light the wrong way.

The two items work in different ways, and neither one claims to be opaque to the entire electromagnetic spectrum, but it’s a start.

Why isn’t Obama way in front?

A bipartisan group of pundits at Salon mulls just that question.

A few thoughts about what they’re saying.

Obama, in his own way, has a “Dukakis problem” on not appearing emotional.

All the pundits think Obama has to define/defend himself in a way Reagan did in 1980.
I disagree. Per a commenter to Talking Points Memo, I think Obama has let himself get put in that box, to some degree, by the crappy campaign he appears to be running right now. I don’t think Obama “has to” run this campaign on the grounds of defending/defining himself, though.

Obama has more weaknesses to shore up right now than McCain.
I would agree at least in part, and that’s a sad reflection on Obama. And a sign of just how much Hillary Clinton (and her staff) blew the primary campaign.

August 10, 2008

MMM, Mormon sex kink with fur handcuffs

A 30-year old tale of Mormon lust, infatuation, sexual kink and alleged kidnapping has resurfaced over a case of cloned puppies.

Going by the Times (London) story, McKinney appears to have a boatload of mental baggage she’s been accumulating for years since her late 1970s stalking of Kirk Anderson.

Obama has sold progressive soul at the company store – but Taibbi still cuts him a break

Not HIS progressive soul, necessarily, because he may never have had as much of one as we’ve thought, but his backers’ collective soul. Matt Taibbi, in his usual take-no-prisoners style, makes exactly that argument in putting Obama in the dock:
(M)any business moguls appear to be betting that the tax policies, like Obama himself, are only that: something that sounds good.

“I think we don't want to make too much of his promises on taxes,” says Robert Pollin, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts. “Not all of these things will happen.”

Noting the overwhelming amount of Wall Street money pouring into Obama's campaign, even elitist fuckwad David Brooks was recently moved to write, “Once the Republicans are vanquished, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for that capital-gains tax hike.”

That said, I think Taibbi is off base with this comment:
Look, we all knew this was coming. Once Obama vanquished Hillary Clinton, it was inevitable that his campaign would start roping in the Clinton moneymen for the fall confrontation with McCain.

This is just the flip side of what McCain worshipers are claiming, saying that, before this year, Schmuck Talk Express™ wasn’t actually, well, Schmuck Talk Express™.

Taibbi is making the same claim, that before Obama was, ahem, traduced by Clinton (insert “wily woman” someplace), he was a total innocent. Ain’t true.

The talk of the new campaign finance of small donors by Obama’s campaign, and how it’s only half true, at best? That was happening LOOONGGG before Clinton was vanquished.

Iraq wants VERY CLEAR timeline

And not just a timeline that’s vaguely “out there.”

That emphasized phrase comes from Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zeba. It’s within ongoing status of forces/security agreement talks between Iraq and the U.S.

That said, as the story notes, Iraq isn’t “settled.” But, this is the real world, not Colin Powell’s hypothetical Pottery Barn.

Globally, gays still get little help with AIDS

Internationally, just 1 percent of AIDS prevention money goes specifically to gays.

As the story indicates, coming out of the closet can still be a huge thing, and not just in Muslim countries. In Malawi, for example, gay sex is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Run, Cindy, Run!

Cindy Sheehan is now officially on the November ballot as an independent challenger to Nancy Pelosi.

Given Passive Pelosi™ action on the FISA mutilation bill, as well as failure to do more to cut off, restrict, slow down or otherwise constrain funding for Iraq, at a minimum, best of luck to you, Cindy.

Is John Edwards getting punked?

Rielle Hunter says she won’t undergo DNA testing to help establish paternity of the child Edwards may, or may not, have fathered.

If Edwards is telling the truth about not fathering the child, but may have seen Hunter later than he claims they ended things, I undergo paternity testing just to prevent any more gold-diggeritis.

Engage cloaking device, Mr. Sulu

Well, maybe in the 23rd century, some starship captain will say that. Scientists have invented two new “metamaterials” that can bend light the wrong way.

The two items work in different ways, and neither one claims to be opaque to the entire electromagnetic spectrum, but it’s a start.

A toast to Kevin Drum – with sewer water

Since January, Orange County, Calif., home of the Political Animal blogger, has been using recycled wastewater as part of its water supply.

Actually, the water, as recycled, is cleaner than Poland Springs bottled water. But, for psychological reasons, rather than being directly added to the water supply at that point, it’s injected into the county’s aquifers, in the process, actually becoming dirtier.

A toast to Kevin Drum – with sewer water

Since January, Orange County, Calif., home of the Political Animal blogger, has been using recycled wastewater as part of its water supply.

Actually, the water, as recycled, is cleaner than Poland Springs bottled water. But, for psychological reasons, rather than being directly added to the water supply at that point, it’s injected into the county’s aquifers, in the process, actually becoming dirtier.

There goes Whole Foods’ ‘gourmet’ image

It’s recalling ground beef that might be E coli contaminated. And that ground beef came from Nebraska Beef, which also grinds hamburger for such gourmet grocery stores as … Kroger.

The Washington Post has more on Nebraska Beef, and it illustrates, just as did the two-month long salmonella saintpaul scare earlier this summer, all the problems with our Big Ag food system.

Whole Foods actually bought the beef from a company called Coleman Natural Foods, which actually had the meat processed (what an euphemism, isn’t it?) by Nebraska Beef.

As the story points out, Nebraska Beef has, well, a horrible past history, and why it hasn’t been shut down is unbelievable.

I have to wonder if Whole Foods sues Coleman over deceptive trade practices.