July 04, 2009

Obama Lie No. 444 – pressure me from the left

No surprise here, that Der Promise-Breaker would release this one on the Fourth of July, to bury it deep inside the Fourth of July holiday news black hole.

President Barack Obama claimed a few months back that he welcomed pressure from the left to push him further forward.

But he now says, on national healthcare, I didn’t really mean that, so stop running those advocacy ads against moderate Democrats.

But, that’s not all.

The president who either cannot or will not lead on the most important legislative issues of his term, so far, suddenly has no problem using the threat of “muscle” and smackdowns against these advocacy groups:
Obama also hinted that efforts are under way to discourage allies from future attacks on Democrats, according to the source, who did not have permission to speak on the record about the discussion.

Finally, note who was “chosen” from the WaPost staff to write this, whether solely because it’s her beat or because Team Obama wanted her.

The byline is from Ms. Health Insurance, Ceci Connolly.

Gail Collins snarks on Palin

NYTimes editorial editor wishes for a pants-down scandal, not the open-wallet one we may get, and regrets SP will inflict herself more on Lower 48 now. Just go read it.

Once again, China passing US on environmentalism

As we approach Copenhagen in December, China approaches passing the U.S. in wind turbines.

True, there may be construction underbids, or corruption, associated with a semi-command economy on such issues.

Nonetheless, Beijing is requiring electric utilities to get 8 percent of their power from nonhydroelectric renewable sources by 2020. Waxman-Markey allows dams built after 1992 to contribute to the U.S.’s desired 15 percent “green” by 2020 standard. It does also allow (theoretically) documented conservation measures to count.

In reality, which will be better, I don’t know. But, aside from China’s continued refusal to commit to overall CO2 cuts, the story shows the U.S. doesn’t have a lot of room, necessarily, to go around browbeating China.

Next round of foreclosures coming

The L.A. Times details what I first looked at more than a year ago — the likelihood of a second peak in foreclosures.

The Times primarily notes that many people who applied for mortgage modifications didn’t get them, and now their application-time grace periods are about to expire. However, it overlooks that many people either bought new, bought second houses, or refinanced, at the end of the housing bubble, in many cases with Alt-A, if not subprime, loans.

In turn, from my (until now) professional perspective, means more tough times for newspapers. Banks don’t take out ads to sell foreclosed homes. Sheriff’s may do legal ads for tax-delinquency sales, but that’s it. And, more individuals looking to sell, to pinch pennies, will do “for sale by owner” routes.

‘Copenhagen or bust’ for climate control

There is no Plan B in Copenhagen, if this round of global climate change control breaks down either before or during the Copenhagen summit in December.

That’s straight from the mouth of Denmark's Minister for Climate Connie Hedegaard. She admits there are still many hurdles, but stresses they are all political, not technical.

With her statement on the table, will certain GOP Senators do everything they can to deliberately monkey-wrench Waxman-Markey?

LA Times bias in Honduras?

In an otherwise-good article, Tracy Wilkinson says:
The two camps cannot even agree to call the coup a coup.

Well, you just called it a coup. Taking one camp’s side.

That said, Wilkinson does note this is more about “politics as usual” ideology as anything, because the two main political parties in Honduras are really two extended families in the 7-million person country. And, Zelaya himself is a timber baron, who, other than in Chavezista style, hasn’t given a tremendous amount of indications of true populism.

Overall, the Times story is very good. But that is a big oops in the middle of it.

France again rejects GMO corn

That’s despite the claim from the European Food Safety Authority, the European Union’s food watchdog, that Monsanto GMO corn is safe.

Not so fast.

The EFSA refused to follow through on a French request that it examine whether or not GMO crops, often bred to be able to be specially used with herbicides and pesticides by the same company that creates the GMO crop, didn’t perhaps produce chemically super-resistant weeds. EFSA said it wasn’t ready to do that until next year, but went ahead and claimed the corn is safe now.

Nice try.

Sea ice lowest in 800 years

Just one more global warming alert that Smokey Joe Barton, Jim Imhofe, etc., will try to deny away.

The REAL real reason for Palin’s resignation

Maybe she isn’t allegedly on the take from a contractor. Then why?

I have some alternative possibilities:

1. She’s lesbian
2. Todd is gay
3. She’s lesbian AND Todd is gay
4. She’s not just pregnant, she’s knocked up — by Levi Johnston
5. She’s lesbian AND Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson is her lover
6. She’s knocked up by the state’s top Democrat, Mark Begich
7. She’s knocked up by Uncle Fester himself, Dick Cheney
8. She’s lesbian and her lover is Audrey from the Palin’s Deception blog, and the two, through joint egg donation fusion, are actually Trigg’s parents

Submit your own. If we get more than 10, I can cull the best and mail it to Letterman.

July 03, 2009

Palin running from Feds?

With a bit of insight from other blogs, parsing her speech, where she comments/complains about all the taxpayer dollars being spent on investigating her, I think we can guess she needs to resign to get into full-time “lawyer up” mode.

And, exactly WHY would the Whore of Wasilla be resigning, and, perhaps connected and even more, why did she announce it back there, rather than either Juneau or Anchorage?


Maybe it’s because of two structures, one public, one private, that she helped build in Wasilla, Brad Blog suggests. That would be the big “hockey complex to nowhere” and improvements to her house.

Palin might be able to block, sidle around, or whatever, on state investigations, but she can’t outrun the feds. If true, I’m dying to read what Bill Kristol will eventually be forced to write.

Max Blumenthal at The Daily Beast has juicy details on SBS, the contractor for both projects, and one with close connections to First Dumbass Todd, not just Sarah.

So, instead of John Ensign and Mark Sanford, she did not get caught with her pants down. Instead, it was with her wallet open.

According to Alaskan TV, July 26 is the effective date.

A good roundup of conservative takes is at the Anchoress, who herself speculates serious family illness.

Almost everybody out of more than two dozen commenters says she’s politically toast. And, that was before this speculation started getting focused.

Note: For more on “The Whore of Wasilla” and other Palin nicknames, head here.

A good story on my newspaper’s demise

More in-depth, and with more nuance than The (MUST be capitalized) Dallas Morning News story, Brett Shipp of WFAA lets you know just what a community newspaper does and what it means.

Thanks, Brett.

And, he’s right about what a community newspaper does.

The small daily paper in the south Dallas suburbs, Focus Daily News? Doesn’t do obits. Or birth announcements. Or weddings. Or anniversaries. Or engagements.

And, I highly doubt owner Marlon Hanson will change that plan.

His primary purpose for his paper is, as a daily newspaper, to base his revenue on national advertising inserts.

So, if you want any of that “lifestyles” stuff, Best Southwest, and in the old-fashioned way of actually appearing in a newspaper, guess what? You have to pay Dallas Morning News rates for it.

Fort Worth mayor speaks – for good – on gay bar raid

Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, breaking a week-long official silence, actually has something good to say about what needs to be done on the gay bar raid in his city last week.

He wants a thorough review of what happened at Rainbow Lounge – a thorough review conducted by federal prosecutors. The U.S. Attorney in Dallas, James Jacks, said Moncrief has already discussed the issue with him. And, people associated with the results of the raid are cautiously optimistic:
Todd Camp, who witnessed the raid and a has been outspoken about the incident, said Moncrief’s request was a start.

“I’m glad that the mayor has said what he said,” Camp said. “There was a very public call for an independent investigation separate from the ones that are ongoing.”

He said a Web site, rainbowloungeraid.com, would be launched Friday to provide information about the raid and the investigations that have followed. And a group will meet next week to form an organization that Camp said he hopes will address how to move forward.

“There’s going to be a lot of good that comes out of this,” Camp said. “Fort Worth is an inclusive city, and I agree with the mayor on this.”

Go, mayor, go!

The Whore of Wasilla is resigning

Claiming she can be more effective outside government than inside (so can my left butt cheek, for that matter), Sarah Palin is resigning as governor of Alaska

Full text of Palin speech, from state website, is here.

According to Alaskan TV, July 26 is the effective date.

If, as all speculation claims, it’s to get an early start on a presidential run, she’s an idiot. Just like in this picture.

Given that there’s a fair amount of resentment to her within the party, and that many Alaskans in the GOP were seeing her as less and less effective by the day, this gives both state- and national-level operatives a chance to sharpen the long knives early.

And, unlike a year ago, and since this is within the party, those knives WILL come out.

She should have stayed in the governor’s mansion and tried to repair her image.

Beyond that, even with the earlier and earlier start to the presidential campaign season, she has two full years now to fall of the radar screen as well as to be sliced and diced.

That said, both that fact and the bald-facedness of her lies, per the second link, show that, without plenty of fortunate outside help, she’s incompetent as a politician.

Per the third link, from local TV, she claims she resigned to avoid lame-duck gubernatorial status since she wasn’t going to run again for that position.

Yeah, you idiot, but until you officially said so, nobody knew that for sure.

And, before the long knives are fully sharpened, after the recent escapades of Sen. John Ensign and Gov. Mark Sanford, some people are going to start speculating what’s in your rearview mirror.

Like, some new affair? More about the Trig Palin pregnancy? Who knows.

Looks like a fair chunk of the conservative blogosphere, starting with the often-insightful Allahpundit, agrees with me and with MSM analysis that this is a career-ender, not finishing out your first term as governor. It doesn't help when many of them talk about the quality of your speech with words like "rambling."

A good roundup of conservative takes is at the Anchoress, who herself speculates serious family illness.

Almost everybody out of more than two dozen commenters says she’s politically toast.

The one exception to the “almost”? Kristol.

Note: For more on “The Whore of Wasilla” and other Palin nicknames, head here.

WaPost doesn’t need Big Biz salon sponsors

When you have people like Ceci Connelly already in the pocket of the insurance industry

The Politico has a detailed smackdown of the Post’s business side egregiousness. That said, if the Post lost $19.5 million in the first quarter, it’s obviously trying to scrape up money from somewhere.

Ironically, per the Politico story, the first salon was on healthcare (page 3 of story):
“Offered at $25,000 per sponsor, per Salon. Maximum of two sponsors per Salon. Underwriters’ CEO or Executive Director participates in the discussion. Underwriters appreciatively acknowledged in printed invitations and at the dinner. Annual series sponsorship of 11 Salons offered at $250,000 … Hosts and Discussion Leaders ... Health-care reporting and editorial staff members of The Washington Post ... An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done. ...

Sheee-it.

And, given the CYAs already flying from various Post brass, hell yes, an outside investigation is needed.

Remember Spaniards and Indians on Fourth

The Spaniards, at the time of the American Revolution, actually had more social freedoms than the 13 colonies/states. Treatment of slaves was less harsh and more defined under law. And, they weren’t “papist thugs.”

So, that’s your anti-jingoistic message for the Fourth of July this year, my American friends.

Deflation and its discontents

Paul Krugman has a sweeping riff on the latest job and wage numbers, the possibility of inflation, the growing need for more Obama Administration economic stimulus work and more.

Ironically, or whatever, after that gloom-and-doom tale, he goes on to accuse many of his fellow economists of scaremongering — about inflation. I’m sure Krugman’s right in the short term, but is he right in the long term?

Non-economist and fellow New York Times columnist David Brooks says China disagrees.

The pending China-US divorce

David Brooks, in one of his better columns, says three baseline things:
1. Chinese leaders assume American consumers will never have the same 1995-2005 binge;
2. The U.S. government will not get its fiscal house in order
3. Young Chinese, fueled by the Net, have become more nationalistic.

I halfway agree with 1, at least halfway agree with 2, and am not totally surprised by 3.

Results? Brooks says it’s a “divorce.” No. 1 has Chinese leaders pushing internal consumerism, etc. No. 2 is why Beijing keeps attacking the dollar and pushing for a backup global reserve currency. And, No. 3 could be a Pandora’s box.

Read the full column.

Zelaya removed himself from office

Octavio Sanchez, former Honduran government minister of culture, spells out the Honduran constitution and how former President Manuel Zelaya essentially removed himself from office:
Under our Constitution, what happened in Honduras this past Sunday? Soldiers arrested and sent out of the country a Honduran citizen who, the day before, through his own actions had stripped himself of the presidency.

On June 26, President Zelaya issued a decree ordering all government employees to take part in the "Public Opinion Poll to convene a National Constitutional Assembly." In doing so, Zelaya triggered a constitutional provision that automatically removed him from office. …

Our Constitution takes such intent seriously. According to Article 239: “No citizen who has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform [emphasis added], as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.”

Now, re both the Obama Administration and the Organization of American States, but focusing on Team Obama.

Does nobody in the State Department have a copy of the Honduran Constitution? Did nobody bother to read one? Ditto in spades for the National Security Council.

And, did nobody point out to Obama himself how wrong he was?

In other words, did Der Leader go on his merry way of talking about a Honduran coup out of ignorance (bad enough), or with eyes wide open (worse)?

I agreed, and still agree, with Team Obama on Iran (though not on Afghanistan, although that's not "level of discord" opposition.) But, the meddling, the amount of meddling, the timetable of meddling?

If we want to talk about a coup, the only coup would have been if Obama prevented the state from removing Zelaya from office.

Meanwhile, Tom Hayden’s been nipping at the Obama-Chavez Kool-Aid.

July 02, 2009

I am now another journalist out of work

Today, with a day’s notice, my newspaper company, Today Newspapers, officially shut its doors. Since The Dallas Morning News is the god of local media, including for people south of the Trinity whoring after recognition, I give you its official version of the story.

I will have a series of blogs on details.

For people in the Dallas Metroplex, who may think the city of Dallas south of the Trinity is the dark side of the moon and the south suburbs are the planet Mars, besides the closed Today, there’s a five-day daily called Focus, while laughably, to be kind, claims a circulation of 33,000, but, to the best of my knowledge, has never been audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, will likely continue to print the minimum amount of news possible, even with a now-wide-open playing field.

The Snooze? Since for years, it’s ultimate goal and focus has been Collin County, no chance it expands its coverage down here.

And, so, southsiders, that’s your news coverage situation.

In the days ahead, I’ll have more of the specifics.
D

Facebook privacy changes

We Facebookers are supposed to get more control over privacy settings, but that’s not all. Some other changes are coming too.

New Skeptic’s Circle …

Is now up, including my spoof, The Bell Curve 2.0.

Why the Khamenei crackdown in Iran?

Roger Cohen offers several thoughts, beginning with the one that Mir Mousavi’s late surge in the Iranian presidential election caught Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei off guard.

Meanwhile, Cohen says both sides in the recent presidential race are struggling with the issue of who reaches out first to the U.S., and in what way.

Mental illness is in your 30,000 genes

In an understatement of the month story, researchers say genetic tests for mental illness propensity are far, far away.

Technically, it’s 30,000 gene variations, not 30,000 separate genes, for schizophrenia, but, headlines for blogs or Twitter can’t be too long.

Of course, this is another example, also, of how the highly-touted idea of genetically personalized medicine is just as much just around the corner as are peaceful nuclear fusion power and fuel-cell cars in mass production.

Sanford sex scuppers book deal too?

It’s clear that whatever semi-delusional dreams South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had of running for President in 2012 went by the boards when he dropped his pants in Argentina, and possibly elsewhere, over the last several years before getting caught. Now, it looks like a book deal he had is probably also kaput.

Hell, I think Penguin should give him more money if he’ll tell all, including a real confessional of how much of a douche he knew he was, years ago already.

So, is recovery just around the corner or not?

Answering yes, if faintly, are several indicators, including a slowing pace of layoffs, a slowing pace of manufacturing contraction, etc., along with the prognostications of economists, labor analysts, etc.

But, note that those just indicate recovery seems to be around the corner. They don’t say it’s here yet.

Answering no, or at least, that the corner is at the end of the next block, is a still-rising unemployment rate, expected to hit 9.6 percent. And, some analysts still think it could eventually break the post-World War II high of 10.8 percent.

And, now, later today, both the NYT and the WSJ note that the June unemployment picture was not good.

Take note, though, we’re not there yet, so, this still isn’t yet the worst recession in post-World War II history. Besides, that one, from 1980-82, had a kick-start with the second oil embargo.

Internationally, the Eurozone supports the positive, Japan supports the negative.

Senate offers single-payer national healthcare plan

Finally, we’re getting a real healthcare reform bill from the Senate Health, Education, Labor Committee, that, on paper at least, offers real national healthcare with a single-payer option; in addition to the single-payer option, the estimated 97 percent coverage is close enough to a cigar to legitimately say this is national healthcare.

I don’t know if the $750/employee fee on companies who don’t cover their employees is high enough, but, it’s a definite start, and certainly in the neighborhood.

And, for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which puts private insurance on a godlike pedestal, there you go — avoid the penalty AND avoid your employees signing up for government health insurance by covering them.

Now, the other question is, does the bill set minimum standards of coverage for private-sector plans? Otherwise, a business could offer “insurance” with a $5,000 annual deductible and only 50 percent copay up to, say $25,000.

July 01, 2009

SC GOP chair says time for Sanford to quit

South Carolina Republican Party Chairwoman Karen Floyd has added her name to the swelling chorus of calls for Gov. Mark Sanford to resign.
“For the past two days, I have been speaking with Republican leaders across South Carolina,” she said in a statement. “There is clearly a growing view that the time may have come for Governor Sanford to remove himself and his family from the limelight, so that he can devote his efforts full-time to repairing the damage in his personal life.”


Also in that swelling chorus? Sen. Jim DeMint.

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall notes that the gov appears to be trying to force his wife to divorce him, so he can go with the flame called Maria, instead of him having to be even more of the bad guy.

So, I disagree with the SC GOP. Let Marky Mark stay for a while. Maybe he will name names on these other women with whom he has “crossed lines.” Or maybe he’ll do the political equivalent of going postal and start spilling the beans on others. Or maybe he’ll tell us about other lines he crossed. (Check those bathroom stalls at Atlanta Hartsfield!)

Do the really right thing, Gov. Stay in office and continue to entertain us.

Whose a clown for a living – Franken or Imhofe?

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, Mr. Anti-Science himself, in claiming the Waxman-Markey bill wouldn’t get more than 35 votes in the Senate, called Al Franken a clown, then justified it by saying that’s what he did for a living.

More on Fort Worth PD anti-gay thuggery

Was it just a routine check for intoxicated patrons at Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge last week, or was it possibly homophobic cops “ loaded for bear,” as one patron there claims?

If witness allegations that cops walked in with hands full of plastic handcuffs, well, then the latter is true.

As for Chad Gibson, still hospitalized with traumatic brain injury, patron cellphone photos show him on the floor of the bar, with a dent in the wall just above his head, while Fort Worth cops are disgusting enough to claim he fell down outside and hit his own head on the sidewalk because he was drunk.

Beyond that, if Gibson assaulted an officer or officers, why has he not been charged?

FWPD Chief Jeff Halstead now claims that patrons made advances at his officers. Right. Forty years after Stonewall, I doubt most drunken gay bar patrons, unless incredibly sloshed, would be close to that dumb.

Want to contact somebody? You can find e-mails for all Fort Worth City Council members here.

Here's what I sent to Mayor Mike Moncrief:
First, it's appalling from a PR standpoint, if nothing else, that you have yet to publicly comment on this issue. It's appalling beyond bad PR, though.

Second, why aren't officers involved with the Rainbow incident all on suspension? Chad Gibson may die as a result, and a REAL internal investigation would start by suspending officers, I would think.

Third, why are FWPD stories inconsistent with patrons, about where Gibson fell and suffered his head injury, who he fell, and more?

Fourth, if Gibson assaulted officers, why has he not been charged? (And, don't tell me police departments don't issue criminal charges against people in hospitals.)

Don't be quiet!

From gOd to ‘Joe the Plumber’

If I did exist, which I didn’t, I’d tell you to STFU. Stop claiming I am a political oracle.

But, Joe, if you do run, you are a Republican. Make sure you keep your pants on.

Sullivan is back on Palin watch

Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum, as part of his long expose on Sarah Palin, discusses the denouement of her pregnancy with Trig, and ventures the simple guess that she absolutely, positively, had to have Trig Palin born in Alaska.

Purdum notes of the state and its mentality:
John McPhee wrote, “Alaska is a foreign country significantly populated with Americans. Its languages extend to English. Its nature is its own. Nothing seems so unexpected as the boxes marked ‘U.S. Mail.’” That description still fits. The state capital, Juneau, is 600 miles from the principal city, Anchorage, and is reachable only by air or sea. Alaskan politicians list the length of their residency in the state (if they were not born there) at the top of their biographies, and are careful to specify whether they like hunting, fishing, or both. There is little sense of government as an enduring institution: when the annual 90-day legislative session is over, the legislators pack up their offices, files, and computers, and take everything home. Alaska’s largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, maintains no full-time bureau in Juneau to cover the statehouse. As in any resource-rich developing country with weak institutions and woeful oversight, corruption and official misconduct go easily unchecked. Scrutiny is not welcome, and Alaskans of every age and station, of every race and political stripe, unself-consciously refer to every other place on earth with a single word: Outside.

Fine, Todd, but why did she drive out of Anchorage to Wasilla to go to a hospital surely unprepared for a complicated delivery, if a 44-year-old woman had one?

Andrew Sullivan, after a long absence from Palin watch agrees with me, calling this a non sequitur. And, saying that the MSM not investigating this is an exemplar of why it’s in trouble.

Meanwhile, the story has provoked a new round of GOP infighting, and what’s wrong with that?

No budget deal as Cali issues IOUs

If you were an outside vendor, would you accept a state of California IOU, backed in part by a GOP-dysfunctional state Assembly and Senate? I’m thinking that even GOP businessmen who preach against taxes all the time are going to blink hard at what the anti-tax obstructionism in the Leaden State has now brought about.

OAS takes its turn at Honduras meddling

Interim President Roberto Micheletti and his country have been threatened with suspension from the Organization of American States unless exiled ex-President Manuel Zelaya is restored to power within three days.

Micheletti says he’s ready to talk, whether with the OAS, Obama Administration or the UN, as protests I his favor continued to be larger than those for Zelaya, but nobody will dialogue.

And, Micheletti ready to talk defended the legality of everything done, and confirmed Honduras still plans a regular presidential election in November, as well as noting he would not run in that election and was only serving to fill out Zelaya’s term:
“We are acting within the law,” said Mr. Micheletti, a member of Mr. Zelaya's own political party and leader of Honduras’s Congress, who was sworn in as president hours after troops stormed the presidential palace. Mr. Zelaya, he said, “is now suffering the consequences of having broken the law.” …

Mr. Micheletti called for “understanding” from other nations, especially the U.S. “If [the U.S.] does not recognize us, it would be condemning to failure the aspirations of Hondurans.”

Note also, in case you were unaware, that Micheletti is from Zelaya’s political party. This is not some reactionary.

Meanwhile, Fausta’s blog (definitely right-conservative overall, but good on this issue), with translations of La Prensa articles, note just how long in preparation Zelaya’s clearly illegal referendum had been. It’s been months.

Fortunately, a few folks in the MSM, like Miami Herald’s Glenn Garvin, also know this was not a coup. Like Garvin says, can’t Obama, the OAS and the UN take Micheletti and the Honduran Congress at their word, and just be patient until November?

Obama to let former Big Oil lobbyist run EPA region?

Having moved to Lancaster, suburban Dallas, not too long after the brouhaha over Hall’s Waste Management work, also mentioned in the story, I agree that he’s a poor choice for Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 administrator.

I don’t know if he has an inside track over Al Armendariz (a better choice), or anybody else, or not, but I don’t want him.

June 30, 2009

US expat – no Honduras coup – EXCLUSIVE

In case you are not familiar with the story line, let me refresh you.

Either consciously influenced by President Barack Obama, consciously kowtowing to him, unconsciously doing one, the other, or a bit of both, or else lazily taking the line that Central American military activity automatically equals "coup," U.S. media has largely continued to claim a coup took place in Honduras earlier this week.

Instead, President Manuel Zelaya illegally tried to go ahead with a referendum to change the constitution, then, after the military arrested him, acting on a court order, Congressional leader Roberto Micheletti was sworn in ONLY to complete the seven months left on Zelaya’s term. If this really were a military coup, we wouldn’t have his denouement.

It’s still not a good thing whenever the military gets involved in government, especially in Central America. But, in this case, the military was doing its duty, and did it the right way.

And, now, via getting someone's attention with this blog...

An American expatriate in Honduras, who started there with the Peace Corps several years ago, has this to say:
Most of the country is calm, Most of the people are in favor of the new government as can be seen in the difference in the size of rallies.

The Ex president had said several times that it did not matter to him what the Supreme Court and the Congress thought He was going to carry through his referendum, even went to the extreme of robbing funds from other ministries to pay for the referendum.

Most people are extremely confused by the Response of Obama, Obama was extremely popular down here, and for him to denounce this action without researching it seems like a betrayal to them.

Chavez and the OAS are seen as leftest enteties who are or were trying to illegally influence Honduras's internal politics.

And, yes, it is meddling by the Obama Administration when it insists on restoring Zelaya. And, when it tried, for a full week in advance, to prevent the military from arresting him.

I then asked my “foreign correspondent” if I could post some of what he e-mailed me.

He replied:
I would greatly appreciat(e) it if you do. I have been increasingly frustrated over the last couple of days as I watched the reporting on CNN which did not at all mirror what I was watching here.

There you have it.

Media sensationalizing. Obama either sensationalizing, with resultant mishandling, or just plain mishandling for other reasons.

Perhaps, per the often sensible conservative blogger Allahpundit, Obama is fearful of “optics,” knowing the Honduran military’s long connection to more thuggish elements in the U.S. military, CIA, etc.

Updates as I get them.

No matter. It’s not a coup.

Denmark puts Obama, China under the climate gun

The Danish government says it wants the remaining process in the Copenhagen round of climate-control negotiations, before the actual December Copenhagen summit, sped up.
“It is time for a frank and open dialogue so the participating countries can make clear their positions, their concerns,” said Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard.

That said, the U.S. was one of the top 10 big polluters to attend a mini-summit in Greenland. The only one missing? China? And, if as hinted, it was because the Dalai Lama visited Copenhagen in May, that’s just excuse-making.

Dem AND GOP govs can both eff themselves

I am more than tired of both parties national governors’ associations “lets win the second quarter financial race” e-mails for an election 18 months away.

Keep it up, both of you; maybe some more Americans will join the third-party revolution. Better than that, maybe more of them will join the left-liberal third party revolution, which, unlike the Libertarians, wants to have more public financing of political campaigns and tighter limits on private contributions.

I voted Green in the past, and will vote Green, Socialist or similar any opportunity I have in the foreseeable future.

What does a 'Senator Franken' mean in the Senate?

Now that former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota has officially conceded the 2008 election and its legal challenges, which the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected earlier today, to Al Franken, now what?

(And, not, now what, on an election certificate. Gov. Tim Pawlenty would be a Grade A liar if he did not sign one.)

No, not that.

What does any of this mean on a practical level? Not quite as much as many would crack it up to mean.

First, just because you have 58 Democrats, plus two generally supportive independents, doesn’t guarantee cloture. Cloture is something decided on a bill-by-bill, even amendment-by-amendment basis.

Let’s look at a few key issues.

National healthcare? Party-swapping Arlen Specter might vote against cloture, based on opposition to the bill by unions. (In addition to Hagen or Ben Nelson possibly doing that, of course.)

Waxman-Markey? Stabenow might vote against cloture to protect the Formerly Big Three.

EFCA, if it ever gets to the Senate? Nelson or Hagen are obvious cloture-opposition potential.

Foreign policy? Joementum is a guarantee not only to vote against cloture, but take a neocon stance, on anything in the Middle East.

Beyond that, Sen. Franken's level of influence is dependent on what sort of legislative shepherding leadership President Barack Obama and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel display.

It’s Senator Franken!

Norm Coleman officially concedes.

Earlier today, the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the last state-level legal challenges by Coleman.

What does any of this mean on a practical level? Not quite as much as many would crack it up to mean.

First, just because you have 58 Democrats, plus two generally supportive independents, doesn’t guarantee cloture. Cloture is something decided on a bill-by-bill, even amendment-by-amendment basis.

Let’s look at a few key issues.

National healthcare? Party-swapping Arlen Specter might vote against cloture, based on opposition to the bill by unions. (In addition to Hagen or Ben Nelson possibly doing that, of course.)

Waxman-Markey? Stabenow might vote against cloture to protect the Formerly Big Three.

EFCA, if it ever gets to the Senate? Nelson or Hagen are obvious cloture-opposition potential.

Foreign policy? Joementum is a guarantee not only to vote against cloture, but take a neocon stance, on anything in the Middle East.

Did gOd tell Sanford to lie about frequency of affair?

Earlier today, it was reported that adulterous Republican Mark Sanford, the South Carolina governor, said gOd wanted him to stay in office.

Did gOd also tell Sanford not to publicly disclose all the times he met Maria Belen Chapur, in New York City as well as Buenos Aires?

Why Sarah Palin flew back to Alaska pregnant … and much more

Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum, as part of a long expose on Mamma Bear Sarah Palin, ventures the simple guess that she absolutely, positively, had to have Trig Palin born in Alaska.

Purdum notes of the state and its mentality:
John McPhee wrote, “Alaska is a foreign country significantly populated with Americans. Its languages extend to English. Its nature is its own. Nothing seems so unexpected as the boxes marked ‘U.S. Mail.’” That description still fits. The state capital, Juneau, is 600 miles from the principal city, Anchorage, and is reachable only by air or sea. Alaskan politicians list the length of their residency in the state (if they were not born there) at the top of their biographies, and are careful to specify whether they like hunting, fishing, or both. There is little sense of government as an enduring institution: when the annual 90-day legislative session is over, the legislators pack up their offices, files, and computers, and take everything home. Alaska’s largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, maintains no full-time bureau in Juneau to cover the statehouse. As in any resource-rich developing country with weak institutions and woeful oversight, corruption and official misconduct go easily unchecked. Scrutiny is not welcome, and Alaskans of every age and station, of every race and political stripe, unself-consciously refer to every other place on earth with a single word: Outside.

Fine, Todd, but why did she drive out of Anchorage to Wasilla to go to a hospital surely unprepared for a complicated delivery, if a 44-year-old woman had one?

Other than that, Purdum has some very good stuff; give it a read.

Update: And, in "The Rogue," Joe McGinniss offers up a new "crazy like a wingnut" angle: Palin adopted Trig, knowing she was a Down's syndrome baby, so Sarah could be a poster child for the pro-life movement. She had to fly from Dallas back to Mat-Su Regional Hospital in such a hurry because the adoption finalized earlier than she expected. Hey, it's as believable as what Sarah claims.

Coffee fights bad breath!

I’ll drink, a half-caf, black, straight up, to this. The study notes that it is probably a mix of coffee’s dehydrating effects, plus milk and sugar additives, that cause the impression that it contributes to bad breath.

So, half-caf for less dehydration, no additives. I’ll drink to this.

Sanford sez God wants him to remain gov

Yep, even more so than Monica Conyers two weeks ago, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is now the politician who officially knows the will of gOd. Or else, more full of bullshit than a 1,000-pound Brahma.

Did gOd also tell Sanford not to publicly disclose all the times he met Maria Belen Chapur, in New York City as well as Buenos Aires

Treason against the planet and treason against U.S. states

With 212 traitors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Paul Krugman didn’t mince words yesterday in discussing last week’s Waxman-Markey climate vote, talking about “treason against the planet.”

And, if we don’t want to stop at calling the 212 traitors against the planet, folks in more northern states might call any of the 212 in their area traitors against their home states:
Temperature increases on the scale predicted by the M.I.T. researchers and others would create huge disruptions in our lives and our economy. As a recent authoritative U.S. government report points out, by the end of this century New Hampshire may well have the climate of North Carolina today, Illinois may have the climate of East Texas, and across the country extreme, deadly heat waves — the kind that traditionally occur only once in a generation — may become annual or biannual events.

Hope you downstate Illinois “Little Egypt” Republicans like 40 100-degree days a year. And six months of chiggers. And tiny, but 24-hour swarming, skeeters. And fire ants moving north. Want anything else from down here?

June 29, 2009

‘Change without change’ the real Obama mantra

In Financial Times, Clive Crook says it perfectly, as the Fort Worth Police Department claims it was just doing its job.

In case that’s not clear, let’s let Clive speak in detail:
The cap-and-trade bill is a travesty. … The Waxman-Markey bill, while going through the complex motions of creating a carbon abatement regime, takes care to neutralise itself. …

If you regard universal access to health insurance as an urgent priority, as I do, the draft healthcare bills are easier to defend as at least a step in the right direction. Nonetheless, the same evasive mindset – the appetite for change without change – has guided their design. If you are happy with your present insurance, the bills’ designers keep telling voters, you will see no difference. …

The president has cast himself not as a leader of reform, but as a cheerleader for “reform” – meaning anything, really, that can plausibly be called reform, however flawed.

Clive has plenty more like that, ending with this bottom-line question:
First one must ask whether the bills really do represent progress, however modest.

On the two biggest issues, the answer is clearly no.

Obama is lying out his ass with his claims to be able to get a future, second, climate-control bill passed when he didn’t do more of a leadership job on this one.

As for national healthcare? “Change” without a single-payer option isn’t change.

Fort Worth PD brutes have no sense of gay history

For whatever reasons, though police targeting of gays could well be part of the problem, a Fort Worth Police Department and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission inspection of the Rainbow Lounge, reportedly over concerns it was serving intoxicated patrons, turned into a full-blown raid, including a cracked skull for one patron.

And, the brutality of this raid, coming just before the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots? For the Fort Worth PD to still not have a PR clue so far is ridiculous.

The Fort Worth PD claims it’s not targeting anybody, just doing a job.

Dallas Voice has more.

An old Lancaster ISD dog won’t learn new tricks?

The Lancaster School Board is slated to name one finalist as its new superintendent June 29.

That’s after the district selected three semifinalists the week before but refused to release their names when asked. Given Lancaster’s history in this area with superintendents, I think the district would want to take a different tack.

In 2006, when Cedar Hill ISD wound up hiring Horace Williams, the district not only named all three semifinalists by name, but, had open meet-and-greet times for the public with each of the three.

For a school district that, from where I sit, pretty much inflicted its previous superintendent, Larry Lewis, on the public as a lone finalist, the public relations on this looks bad even if it isn’t illegal. After five years, the board finally fired Lewis, then came to a settlement agreement on a lawsuit he fired.

And, given that Board President Carolyn Morris had the most acrimonious relationship with that former superintendent, Lewis, of anybody on the board, you would think that she, if anybody, would know better.

So, there you go, Lancaster residents, especially parents of school children. Your board, more than five years after a hiring disaster, and with the example of another local school district on how to do things right, has given the impression it still doesn¹t care about you.

The wrap on Gov. Sanford’s self-inflicted wounds

The State, Columbia, S.C.’s paper, has a set of great articles on how Gov. Mark Sanford wrecked his political career. First, from Sunday, the paper says five things brought Sanford down. Then, if you can’t remember anything, it has a handy timetable. And today, we get the latest in the South Carolina GOP Sanford death watch.

I still doubt Sanford will resign, but who knows?

Obama an idjit on green trade penalties while Congress is way too late

Acting, or rather threatening to act, the Waxman-Markey climate bill just passed by the U.S. House has a trade penalty provision against countries that don’t adopt their own global warming legislation. That’s you, China, followed by India, etc.

But, President Obama opposes it, calling it protectionist. (That said, I don’t know if such a provision is allowable by the WTO or not.)

Meanwhile, Obama admitted that the bill’s targets were modest and would not do enough to rein in global warming, but was confident more legislation could be passed in the future.

Uhh, sure.

But, the other half of the laughability factor is Democrats, led by folks like House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, rejected doing just something like this, with teeth,as far as air pollution, in the NAFTA crafting 16 years ago.


Anyway, for visitors, I’m curious about your views, so take the poll if you would. (Multiple answers are allowed, as I have a bit of snark in it.


Free polls from Pollhost.com
What's your take on the Waxman-Markey climate bill?
Very good per the current political climate Solidly per the current political climate So-so at best in the current political climate Something is better than nothing, I guess Where was Obama's leadership on this? Sometimes the so-so is the enemy of the better I reluctantly agree with Greenpeace - dump it Weak from the start, got worse with time   

Pope claims 1st C bone fragments in Paul’s tomb are him

Pope Benedict claims that bone fragments from the first-second century have been found in what the Roman Catholic Church has traditionally claimed is St. Paul’s tomb. And, says they must be "him."

First, while the coffin supposedly dates from at least 390 CE, we don't know how much further back it goes, and Benedict and Vatican archaelogists haven't offered to date it.

Second, even if it does go back to the 1st century CE, the first church at the site goes back no further than the oldest confirmed date for the coffin. So, we don't know if "whomever" the bones belong to was originally buried either in that coffin or that site, let alone that he was a Jew from SE Asia Minor and likely sufferer of either manic depression or temporal lobe epilepsy. (Contra John Shelby Spong, I do NOT think Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was closeted gay desires.)

No coup in Honduras

Instead, President Manuel Zelaya illegally tried to go ahead with a referendum to change the constitution, then, after the military arrested him, acting on a court order, Congressional leader Roberto Micheletti was sworn in ONLY to complete the seven months left on Zelaya’s term. If this really were a military coup, we wouldn’t have his denouement.

It’s still not a good thing whenever the military gets involved in government, especially in Central America. But, in this case, the military was doing its duty, and did it the right way.

And, yes, it is meddling by the Obama Administration when it insists on restoring Zelaya.

Perhaps, per the often sensible conservative blogger Allahpundit, Obama is fearful of “optics,” knowing the Honduran military’s long connection to more thuggish elements in the U.S. military, CIA, etc.

No matter. It’s not a coup.

June 28, 2009

Conservatives BS about ‘suppressed’ EPA global warming report

Via CNET, it’s clear that the anti-science wing of the GOP is going to try to make hay out of an allegedly suppressed report by career EPA staffer Alan Carlin, cited by Smokey Joe Barton last week on the House floor during Waxman-Markey debate.

But, let’s take a look at Carlin’s own, Googlepages website to get the lowdown on his political angle.

And we have it. Go to Carlin's website, look at his list of publications. This guy's flogging cost-benefit analysis (PDF) as THE answer on global warming, and other stuff, for years. His global warming answer is atmospheric engineering with aerosols, a HUGELY dangerous proposition.

Meanwhile, if the science doesn’t support the actuality of global warming, then why was Carlin proposing such a solution for an allegedly nonexistent problem?

EPA's only "problem" is that Carlin wasn't smoked out and headed off at the pass six months ago.

Update: Welcome to all you Europeans coming here via “Wikio.” I hope you’re staying around long enough to learn the truth about Mr. Carlin.

Anyway, for visitors, I’m curious about your views, so take the poll if you would. (Multiple answers are allowed, as I have a bit of snark in it.)


Free polls from Pollhost.com
What's your take on the Waxman-Markey climate bill?
Very good per the current political climate Solidly per the current political climate So-so at best in the current political climate Something is better than nothing, I guess Where was Obama's leadership on this? Sometimes the so-so is the enemy of the better I reluctantly agree with Greenpeace - dump it Weak from the start, got worse with time   

WaPost blames ‘sniping among liberals’ for healthcare woes

At the Washington Post, its copy editors win the prize for misleading headline of the year, claiming “sniping among liberals” endangers any healthcare reform. Of course, Ceci Connolly takes that angle in her story.

And, wrong!

No, it’s sniping, or, putting on notice, BY liberals at centrist neo-somethings like Kay Hagen, Ben Nelson and Sen. Betty Crocker, Dianne Feinstein.

That’s because they’re signing off, in part, and in part due to Big Pharma campaign dineros, signing off in part on conservative bullshit like Greg Mankiw’s.

Greg Mankiw BS on national healthcare

He claims that a single-payer type public option is no different than a nonprofit group setting up a healthcare plan:
But if such a plan were desirable and feasible, nothing would stop someone from setting it up right now. In essence, a public plan without taxpayer support would be yet another nonprofit company offering health insurance.

Well, lemme see, the purchasing and price negotiation power of the whole U.S., potentially, versus the small number of members of a nonprofit.

He then claims it would eventually need public subsidies, just like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Well, no, or at least not for those reasons. National health insurance doesn’t buy up subprime mortgages.

Finally, Mankiw gets to the bottom-line conservative bogeyman. They’re afraid of real competition in health insurance:
A dominant government insurer, however, could potentially keep costs down by squeezing the suppliers of health care. This cost control works not by fostering honest competition but by thwarting it.

So, big is OK for Microslob, but not for healthcare, just because it’s not privately owned? What bullshit.

Meanwhile, at the WaPost, its copy editors win the prize for misleading headline of the year, claiming “sniping among liberals” endangers any healthcare reform.

No, it’s sniping BY liberals at centrist neo-somethings like Kay Hagen, Ben Nelson and Sen. Betty Crocker, Dianne Feinstein.

Twitter, Iran, urban legends, solipsism

My professional newspaper column thoughts on a variety of interconnected subjects.