A Bird

"Another time we were at work in a trench. The dawn was grey around us; grey was the sky above; grey the snow in the pale light of dawn; grey the rags in which my fellow prisoners were clad, and grey their faces. I was again conversing silently with my wife, or perhaps I was struggling to find the reason for my sufferings, my slow dying. In a last violent protest against the hopelessness of imminent death, I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom. I felt it transcend that hopeless, meaningless world, and from somewhere I heard a victorious 'Yes' in answer to my question of the existence of an ultimate purpose. At that moment a light was lit in a distant farmhouse, which stood on the horizon as if painted there, in the midst of the miserable grey of a dawning morning in Bavaria. 'Et lux in tenebris lucent'--and the light shineth in the darkness. For hours I stood hacking at the icy ground. The guard passed by, insulting me, and once again I communed with my beloved. More and more I felt that she was present; that she was with me; I had the feeling that I was able to touch her, able to stretch out my hand and grasp hers. The feeling was very strong: she was there. Then, at that very moment, a bird flew down silently and perched just in front of me, on the heap of soil which I had dug up from the ditch, and looked steadily at me."

Viktor Frankl
Man's Search For Meaning


Sons of the wild jackass unite!

"The progressive movement is a vital moving force that transcends personalities, politics and parties. It is based on the fundamental principle that the will of the people shall be the law of the land."

Senator Bob LaFollette, Jr. (1945)


Democracy's Temple Shines Birghter

"White water fountains, colored water fountains. You couldn't sit at the lunch counter, go to the bank or get a hamburger. The pain will always be there, but I think there's a realization that people have evolved."

Florida State Sen. Frederica Wilson
After casting her electoral vote to elect Obama as President

"Every time I think of it, I get a little misty eyed. I am undone by the election of Barack Obama and what it says to me as a black American, and his victory in the whitest state."

Jill Duson
The first black mayor of Portland, Maine
Chairwoman of Maine's Electoral Voters

Read more @ Lawrence Journal World.


Brother Can You Spare Me A Trillion?

"Credit is a system whereby a person who can not pay gets another person who can not pay to guarantee that he can pay."

Charles Dickens


How Do You Spell "Boondoggle?"

"If we can boondoggle ourselves out of this depression, that word is going to be enshrined in the hearts of the American people for years to come."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


Sittin' On The Dock On The Bay

That's right sports fans, I took this picture on Christmas Day 2008 while sitting on the dock on the bay on the lake behind my house. It wasn't my dock, but the dock worked fine for a spot to have a cheese stick and drink a carton of OJ. The tracks were made by my yesterday. Today was an excellent afternoon for some XC trudging around the neighborhood fields and ponds. I shot these pictures while sitting on the dock. Not sure whose dock it is, but it sure is handy for taking a break.

A blanket of at least 12-inches of loose powder snow covers the fields and lakes in this area of Western Wisconsin. The skies were clear when I started out and turned partly cloudy as the afternoon progressed. Winds were brisk in the open areas and coming from the south. The weather station says snow is coming tonight and turning to freezing drizzles tomorrow. If that comes true, my plan to go downhill skiing tomorrow might get pushed out to Saturday.

Snowmobiles were out crossing the lake on the trail that runs from somewhere south around River Falls to Superior. Traffic was light, but the trails are open. The trail groomer came through the area on Monday. My guess is that hardcore snowmobilers are spending Christmas up north -- or maybe down in southern Wisconsin where record snow blankets the hills and dales. The fewer the snowmobiles on the trails, the longer the trails will be open. The snow is really light and fluffy and won't provide much trail cushion.

Yesterday, while sitting on the same dock, I saw a small herd of deer over in Bill's Bay. I skied over there earlier, but the springs in that part of the lake leave water under the snow. Once my skis sink into the water, the water freezes and the skis don't slide until I scrape them off. Hence, today I told the field on the south side of the lake and followed the snowmobile trail down the lake. There's a trick to this XC skiing.

Anyways, it was an excellent, invigorating afternoon of XC skiing for me. When I got home, it was time for an excellent Christmas dinner with the wife.


Hoover Hears A Who

"A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus."

Herbert Hoover

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."

Calvin Coolidge


Public Service Announcement

"Violence, specifically domestic violence, always spikes during the holiday season." he said. And this year, because of the economy, Psychologist Jim Dasinger believes it could get worse. "Remember we've got more job losses, more foreclosures coming on, so this is putting greater stress and conflict on couples."

Dasinger also cautioned that "There's three phases to domestic violence, the argument and assault, followed by an apology. The only way to break the cycle is to report the abuse."


Adult Supervision Coming To A Free Market Near You

"Financial regulatory reform will be one of the top legislative priorities of my Administration, and as a symbol of how important I view this reform, I’m announcing these appointments months earlier than previous administrations have. These individuals will help put in place new, common-sense rules of the road that will protect investors, consumers, and our entire economy from fraud and manipulation by an irresponsible few. These rules will reward the industriousness and entrepreneurial spirit that’s always been the engine of our prosperity, and crack down on the culture of greed and scheming that has led us to this day of reckoning. Instead of allowing interests to put their thumbs on the economic scales and CEOs run off with excessive golden parachutes, we’ll ensure openness, accountability, and transparency in our markets so that people can trust the value of the financial product they’re buying. And instead of appointing people with disdain for regulation, I will ensure that our regulatory agencies are led by individuals who are ready and willing to enforce the law."

President-elect Obama
Dec. 18, 2008

Read more @ Washington Wire.


That's Not Fair!

"This should be a year of no bonuses for any firm that took bailout money. The assumption of having to take public money is that your firm is in an emergency situation, and you put out your hand for public help."

Peter Singer
Princeton University philosophy professor


Prayer Rower Pisses Off Partisans Left And Right

With the election of Obama, does that mean he is required to dance to the Left tunes? Apparently not. President-elect Obama has picked Rick Warren, head of the 20,000 member Saddleback church in California, to say the prayer at Obama's inauguration.

One of my right-wing co-workers who eats his lunch in his car listening to Rush Limbaugh said lots of "conservatives" think Warren is too weak on abortion. Another friend who keeps her ear glued to left-wing radio via Air American told me how Obama is pissing off the gay community by picking Warren who opposed the recent anti-gay marriage amendment in California.

I may have heard Warren's name mentioned a few times and was reminded that he invited McCain and Obama to his church together during the campaign. It's a beautiful sight to see the myopic, partisan visionaries lined up against the Left and Right walls of American politics seeing the tone of the government settle into the center. Did the Left wing think the political world was going to suddenly veer to the Left ditch? Lord knows that's what the Right wing was telling us during the campaign. The no-compromisers are going to learn, if you want to tear down the partisan wall in America, you will be meeting in the middle.

From my humble perspective, politics is about working out compromises among groups with differing opinions. The Right may want the whole pizza to be sausage and the Left may want the pizza to be peperoni, but the result in a democracy will be a pepperoni and sausage mixed with some onions, mushrooms and green peppers sprinkled in to represent some of those third party voices that can't scream, bitch and complain as loud as the mouthpieces on the Left and Right.

From The Right...

"Unless Rick Warren has changed, he is very disappointing in the pro-life cause. Just ask pro-life leaders their opinion. He doesn't like to deal with it at his church. It just seems funny that he is known as 'pro-life' when he largely ignores the subject and teaches others to do the same. I fear God for these 'men of God'. We have lost 50 million babies, and most won't say a word. Reminds me of Nazi Germany or our slavery days. Very few spoke out. It was more comfortable to keep quiet."

E-mail to Pat Robertson' Christian Broadcast Network @ Alert Net.

From the Left...

"My take on this is that President-elect Obama and his staff are being incredibly disrespectful to Progressives who were a major part of getting the Obama-Biden ticket elected and having Warren anywhere near the festivities on January 20th is just flat-out stupid politically.

People in the Religious Right will never support Barack Obama or his agenda, so giving a homophobic bigot like Warren such a prominent place on such a special day for our country will do absolutely nothing to gain Obama support from that lot. Meanwhile, he will piss off a lot of his supporters before he even takes office and will be going against what the mainstream of America thinks by boosting someone who is anti-choice, for continuation of the Iraq occupation and who clearly hates gay people."

Bob Geiger @ Huffington Post.


A Game Economy

“Business is a game, the greatest game in the world if you know how to play it.”

Thomas J. Watson


Journalism V. Political Operativism

"...Our point is that journalists have a fundamentally different relationship to facts than that of most political operatives. Facts are the foundation of what journalists do—get them wrong and your credibility suffers; get them wrong often enough and you’ll be out of a job. For creatures of politics, facts are malleable—weapons to be used as necessary to produce victory at the polls and in the policy-making arena. Journalists are taught to check facts and assemble them without regard for whether they like the picture that emerges; political operatives only have use for those facts that enhance the picture they want to project...."

Read more @ Columbia Journalism Review.


"Free Market" "Comeuppance"

"The powerhouse credit card company American Express has just joined the storied list of financial firms converting to bank holding companies. Like Merrill Lynch and Salomon Brothers, American Express is seeking shelter from the subprime storm by converting to the highly regulated Bank Holding Company form. In another economic climate, these voluntary conversions from the largely unregulated corporate forms that shape credit card companies and the minimally regulated and often wild, risk seeking investment bank culture would be inexplicable..."

"...There is a word for what I am feeling about American Express' flight to regulation: Schadenfreund, or comeuppance. The stress and worry that the highly-compensated executives of American Express, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch are experiencing in this crisis can't be half as intense as the customers of these financial giants who were trammeled by high interest rates, risky investment strategies and huge compensation packages for executives who cooked up the products that caused us all so much financial pain. Like my mother used to say: 'what goes around, comes around.'"

Emma Coleman Jordan
Diving For Dollars and The Discount Window


Drinking, Driving, Pot, Paraphernalia & Politics Don't Mixed

Western Wisconsin Lawmaker Gets Busted

A western Wisconsin lawmaker has issued an apology following his arrest for driving under the influence on Thursday night. Rep. Jeff Wood, I-Bloomer, said he was arrested in Columbia County by the Wisconsin State Patrol for driving under the influence, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Wood represents the 67th Assembly District which includes most of Dunn and Chippewa counties along with part of Barron County. He was first elected to the Assembly as a Republican in 2002, but earlier this year Wood left the GOP and became an Independent and now caucuses with the Democrats.

A 40-year old father of three and a student of political history, Wood quoted the late Arkansas Senator Wilbur Mills after Mills fell into the Tidal Basin with stripper Fannie Fox, "This is not typical behavior for me, but unfortunately I drank too much and exercised very poor judgment."

Wood will now be caucusing in a broom closet at the Capitol located between the Republican and Democratic caucus rooms.

Read the latest on Rep. Wood.

Will Freedom Of Expression Survive In Iraq?

Thousands of Iraqis have demanded the release of a local TV reporter who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference. Bush's experience of ducking the issues for the past eight years paid off when he ducked the two shoes thrown at him by the reporter.

Crowds gathered in Baghdad's Sadr City district, calling for "hero" Muntadar al-Zaidi to be freed from custody.

Officials at the Iraqi-owned TV station, al-Baghdadiya, called for the release of their journalist, saying he was exercising freedom of expression. American journalist Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, has established fund to buy the shoe-throwing journalist a new pair of loafers. At this time, it is not know whether Iraqis bury their dead with their shoes on.

In Hollywood, Ed O'Neil, who played the part of shoe salesman Al Bundy in the long running TV series Married With Children, said he hopes to get the part of the reporter for the planned made-for-TV movie being considered for the event.

Iraqi officials have described the incident as shameful and apologize for the reporter not being a better shot. The officials said it was only a coincidence that two hooded men carrying jumpers cables followed the arrest precession into the interrogation chambers at the local police detention center.

A statement released by the government said Mr Zaidi's actions, which also included him shouting insults at President Bush, "demonstrated the need for more baking schools in Iraq to bring protesting to the pie-throwing level emphasized in America."

Correspondents say the protesters are supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr - a leading critic of the US presence in Iraq. Smaller protests were reported in Basra and Najaf at the Payless Shoe Stores where long lines clogged the roads as protesters waited to by shoes for Bush's upcoming visit.


Bush Meets Two Middle East Loafers

“I’m OK. All I can report is it is a size 10.”

President George W. Bush

Freedom To Fail

"The freedom to fail may at times appear to be an overly painful solution -- particularly to the firm going out of business. But business failures serve a higher public purpose. They are the means by which our economy discards obsolete or inefficient ways of doing business. In this way, the overall efficiency of our economy is improved. Business failures are not tragic events to be prevented -- they are the sign of a healthy and productive economy."

William Proxmire


Sour Grapes & Lettuce

"The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."

Cesar Chavez

"If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor."

Frank Lloyd Wright


What The Hell DO THEY Know?

"I dread looking at Wall Street. It's not going to be a pleasant sight."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (12/11/08)
In anticipation of the stock market reaction to Big 3 bailout rejection

On 12/12/08, the closes up 64.59 points

How Beautiful Could The World Be? Part II

Have you ever been late to work?
In the Stalin era, a person who arrived late to work three times could be sent to the Gulag for three years.

Have you ever told a joke about a government official?
In the Stalin era, many were sent to the Gulag for up to 25 years for telling an innocent joke about a Communist Party official.

If your family was starving, would you take a few potatoes left in a field after harvest?
In the Stalin era, a person could be sent to the Gulag for up to ten years for such petty theft.

Read more about Soviet gulag history.

"Each time they brought in the soup... it made us all want to cry. We were ready to cry for fear that the soup would be thin. And when a miracle occurred and the soup was thick we couldn’t believe it and ate it as slowly as possible. But even with thick soup in a warm stomach there remained a sucking pain; we’d been hungry for too long. All human emotions—love, friendship, envy, concern for one’s fellow man, compassion, longing for fame, honesty—had left us with the flesh that had melted from our bodies...“

V.T. Shalamov
“Dry Rations,” from Kolyma Tales.


See Gun Run

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Authorities are investigating how a 6-year-old kindergarten pupil got a .22-caliber pistol taken to an Augusta school.

Wilkinson Gardens Elementary School principal Rickey Lumpkin said a teacher heard students talking about a weapon Wednesday morning. The pupil who took the unloaded pistol to school was given a short-term suspsension.

Lumpkin said there was no attempt to harm anyone.

Read more.

In Oregon...

Gun sales have been hitting all-time highs this holiday season in Jackson County and Oregon, propelled by fears that President-elect Barack Obama's administration will enact laws clamping down on assault rifles and ammunition.

The Oregon State Police reports that on Nov. 28 — the biggest shopping day of the year known as Black Friday — there were 2,198 background checks, 25 percent higher than the previous record on the same shopping day in 2005, when 1,731 checks were conducted.

"Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor common-sense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent."
"It was unanticipated to be that high," said Marie Severson, firearms manager for the OSP.

In addition, during the month of November, 720 checks on average were conducted daily throughout the state, an increase from a year ago when 437 checks were conducted on average in the same month. About two percent of the background checks turn up disqualifying information such as felony convictions, misdemeanor assault convictions, being an illegal alien or renouncing U.S. citizenship.

Read more.


How Beautiful Could The World Be?

"In camp too, a man might draw the attention of a comrade working next to him to a nice view of the setting sun shining through the tall trees of the Bavarian woods (as in the famous water color by Dürer), the same woods in which we had built an enormous, hidden munitions plant. One evening, when we were already resting on the floor of our hut, dead tired, soup bowls in hand, a fellow prisoner rushed in and asked us to run out to the assembly grounds and see the wonderful sunset. Standing outside we saw sinister clouds glowing in the west and the whole sky alive with clouds of ever-changing shapes and colors, from steel blue to blood red. The desolate grey mud huts provided a sharp contrast, while the puddles on the muddy ground reflected the glowing sky. Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, 'How beautiful the world could be!'"

Viktor Frankl
Man's Search For Meaning


The Forgotten Voice In Wisconsin Politics

"...Without dairy cows, the thump of the heavy metal presses would be silenced in Racine, West Allis and Kenosha, and Milwaukee beer would turn flat in the kegs for lack of customers. The trouble with leadership of both major parties in Wisconsin is that they don't consult the guy on the back forty, and (he) is getting pretty fed up with them.

The guy on the back forty isn't a man to go in for fancy stuff like moral principles. More often than not, he's inclined to the cynical belief that all politicians are crooks."

Leroy Gore
Sauk-Prairie Star (1954)


Proxmire Of Wisconsin

"I came to Washington eager to set the world on fire. I made the mistakes a new Senator makes -- of moving into fields with no special knowledge, trying to save the country, instead of waiting for the experience and knowledge which comes after several years of careful research and study. I learned that the government is becoming so enormously big that it is getting out of control. We need discipline in federal spending...Waste is just as sure as the sunrise. The only way to cut down on this waster is to pound away as hard as you can, challenge the usefulness of all programs, insist on justification for every item...I have grown more aware of the enormity of the problem. But I wouldn't consider this a basic change in my philosophy...I'd call myself an eclectic middle of the roader who is dedicated to economy in government and human rights and vehemently opposed special privilege..."

"...It depends on what you mean by "liberal." The difficulty was I followed (Senator Joe) McCarthy, who was the epitome of reactionary Republicanism. The assumption, since I was a Democrat, was that I would be an extreme the other way....On economic matters, I try to be as pragmatic as possible. Economic dogma is so undeveloped, so unsure. I favor what on the basis of all the facts seems to make sense. On civil rights I feel strongly. That's a fundamental aspect of liberalism. On both civil liberties and civil rights, I feel government should do everything in its power to guarantee them to anyone....I don't follow the President, and I don't follow any groups within or without the Democratic party."

Senator William Proxmire


Get Back In Your Bottle Genie!

"Government spending is like a jammed faucet. The ordinary citizen can't put the water back in the faucet, so he hurries with his tin cup."

Jenkins Lloyd Jones


On Wisconsin

"Wisconsin is a portly Teutonic old lady, full of beer and cheese, with a weakness for wild men and underdogs."

Mary McGrory


The Difference Between Republicans & Democrats

"I began to notice that on all political problems, the Republicans had reasons not to act, while Democrats worked at solving the problems. It made a tremendous impression on me....Democrats came up with the answers, while Republicans always seemed to give explanations that nothing out to be done, and the system would take care of itself."

William Proxmire


Just Like Stray Cats...

"Honest workingmen are slow to accept charity, but when once their names are on the poor lists, they are equally slow to conclude, even after becoming more self-supporting, they can care for their families without assistance."

Milwaukee Sentinel
August 19, 1895


Udderly Wisconsin

"If it can be shown that Wisconsin is a happier state to live in, that is institutions are more democratic, that the opportunities of all its people are more equal, that social justice more than nearly prevails, that human life is safer and sweeter, then I shall rest content in the feeling that the Progressive movement has been successful."

Fighting Bob LaFollette (1912)


No Country For Middle Age Men

"...AIG is the poster corporation of the unrepentant as it is now enjoying a bailout of its bailout, having burnt through the first $80 billion in little more than a month.

Even among those inclined to turn a blind eye to corporate crimes, there was disgust when AIG executives went on a corporate retreat at a California oceanfront resort, where private rooms for pets with silver water bowls filled with “Dog Perginon” go for $545 a night. Former AIG chief Maurice Greenberg is still living the high life, putting his name on a $50 million endowment at Yale, with Henry Kissinger claiming that his losing his job has been punishment enough..."

by Margaret Carlson
from CEOs Give Thanks to Hank This Thanksgiving



Welcome To The Intellectual Patty Duke Show

Great intellectual debates never die, they just update their wardrobes and get new hair styles. What more obvious proof do we need that the following quotes by Ayn Rand and Hannah Montana. Those the quotes were put down with more than 60 years of time between, it is clear that the intention remains the same. Read on and let me know it you agree...

"The creator stands on his own judgment; the parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks; the parasite copies. The creator produces; the parasite loots. The creator's concern is the conquest of nature; the parasite's concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence. He neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice.”

Ayn Rand

"I do love you…but only as much as I’d love a pet fish… I’d cry if I had to flush you down the toilet but I don’t want to kiss you."

Hanna Montana


Black Death Friday: Xmas Deals To Die For

After Black Friday death, shoppers back at Wal-Mart

Other than glaziers out front fixing the doors damaged by a throng of impatient shoppers, there were no outward signs Saturday at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart of the chaos that turned this year's Black Friday into a day of death and mayhem.

In the deadly melee, shoppers had pushed glass sliding doors to the ground, bending their aluminum frames like an accordion. The stampede resulted in the death of Damour, who was in the front vestibule helping to open the store for the morning. A cause of death is still pending an autopsy, police said.

Meanwhile, Damour's mother was en route to Jamaica, Queens, from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to help prepare her son's funeral arrangements, the family has said.


Toys R Us reopens after fatal shooting in Palm Desert

"These guys ran into each other, they squared off against each other, they killed each other," said Sheriff's Capt. Daniel Wilham. "It's a miracle that these were the only two people killed, given it was a crowded toy store."

The yellow police tape was taken down, and a few shoppers ventured into a Palm Desert Toys R Us this morning, a day after two gunmen shot each other dead in the store, on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The dead men were identified this morning by Riverside County Sheriff's officials as Alejandro Moreno, 39, of Desert Hot Springs and Juan Meza, 28, of Cathedral City. Two handguns were recovered at the scene.

The shooting occurred about 11:30 a.m. Friday after two women got into a fight. Sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said no one was arrested. He would not identify the women and said their dispute was not part of the investigation.

When the women started arguing, witnesses said, the two men pulled out handguns and ran down the store aisles shooting at one another, witnesses said. Frantic shoppers either dropped to the floor or stormed out of the store.


What's In Your "Wealth of Nations?"

“We have finally come to understand that the real wealth of a nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity. Take this resource base away, and all that is left is a wasteland. That’s the whole economy. That is where all the economic activity and all the jobs come from. These biological systems contain the sustaining wealth of the world. All around the planet these systems are under varying degrees of stress and degradation in almost all places, including the United States. As we continue to degrade them, we’re consuming our capital. And, in the process, we erode living standards and compromise the quality of our habitat. We’re veering down a dangerous path. We are not just toying with nature; we are compromising the capacity of natural systems to do what they need to do to preserve a livable world. We can – and must – forge a sustainable society, but it will take more vigorous leadership in the future. Fortunately, the ranks of the concerned and committed are rapidly expanding. The ultimate goal is to nurture a society imbued with a guiding environmental ethic. The ethic has been evolving, and ultimately, it will save us from many costly blunders. The British jurist, Lord Moulton, summarized the matter in one sentence – ‘The measure of a civilization is the degree of its compliance with the enforceable.’ That is our goal.”

Senator Gaylord Nelson
Earth Day 2000


Are You Thankful For The $7 Friggin' Trillion Dollar Bailout?

It seems we are early in the ever-growing economic downturn turned economic recession turned not-as-great-as-the-Great-Depression depression, but a story I read yesterday struck me as an interesting piece of fantasy. The Star Tribune headline read: This Bailout's For You. An accompanying smaller headline spelled out: Bailout Tab So Far $7,000,000,000,000 (that'd be $7 trillion). Suddenly the bailout number is bigger than a damn UPC code and about as meaningful...unless, of course, you actually know what the stuff in a UPC code stands for and can actually relate it to the related I2of5 code. But I only know what those codes mean because my boss' boss' boss' got a nasty gram from a big customer about us not providing them with information on the i2of5 code. More proof that experts are born from the womb of the mother of necessity.

So I'm reading the Strib story that said the government will deploy as much as $800 billion more bailout money "to make it cheaper for Americans to get a home mortgage, take out a car loan or borrow money through a credit card, as the government's intervention in the financial system expands to directly address the impact of the credit crisis on consumers."

How is this going to help me? Let's see, the 11.9 percent (I refinanced a couple times since) mortgage I took out on my house 20 years with 20 percent down should be paid off in 2009. The combined balance on my wife's and my credit cards is zero. It's used for trips and short-term purchases like the new bike, shoes, helmet and other stuff I bought last June. It is paid off in a couple of months. Of the two cars sitting in my garage, one was paid off two years ago and the other will be paid off next year. Both are Fords. The cars traded for them were Fords; the cars traded in for them were Dodge, and GM. Don't blame me for the Big Three automakers' troubles. I've never owned a foreign car.

Speaking of the Big Three automakers, what actually is the big deal about a $25 billion bailout tossed their way? Maybe I've become proportionally jaded here, but just a couple of months ago the Congress voted down the first bailout package of $700 billion. A week later and $110 billion of vote securing pork additives Congress approved an $810 billion bailout package. Who would have even noticed if they bumped it up another $25 billion?

If we used the metric decimal system of our currently and scaled these numbers down to Joe-The-Plumber numbers, it would be like adding a quarter to an $8.10 loan to your plumber friend at lunch. How would put a stink up over that? After all, if somebody asked you in 1933 "Hey, buddy can you spare me a dime?" they have to rephrase the question to $1.59 to get it into 2008 terms.

Of course, we could recast these numbers into more contemporary terms. Remember the War in Iraq? Before the war, White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsay estimated the cost at $100 to $200 billion. So the White House got rid of him and "re-estimated" the cost at $50 to $60 billion. It's now over $605 billion and growing.

You'd call me naive or worse, but I would say the squawk against bailing out the Big 3 has less to do with their ability to do business and more to do with politics. The hearts of the Big 3 wanly beat in the Democratic blue states. A majority of foreign auto manufacturers in the US are located in solid Republican, red states. Vetoing a bailout to the Big 3 maybe the last chance for Republicans neuter the hopes of unionism in the manufacturing sector of the US. That leaves the growing service sector unions to fight from the bottom up.

From what I've read and heard about the various bailouts, I'm not sure the government "experts" are able to catching the Frisbee of reality. You don't even have to read more than the headlines to see this: Citicorp To Cut 53,000 Jobs; 80,000 jobs lost, unemployment spikes; BNY Mellon Will Eliminate 4% of Jobs as Profit Falls; Merck cuts 7,200 jobs; National City cuts 4,000 jobs; PepsiCo cuts 3,300 jobs; GM cuts 1,600 jobs; Yahoo cuts 1,500; Andersen cuts 52 jobs...

How in the hell is anybody worried about losing a job going to be running out and buying a new house because the interest rate is down one percent? Why would they buy an existing home, when the prices are still dropping? Wouldn't that be stepping into a potential equity trap? Who's going to buy a new car, unless you are certain of the security of your job? Why would you be encouraging additional credit card consumption, when the cavalier use to credit is a big component of the growing problem?

This isn't a free-market capitalism v. socialism issue! This isn't a Republican v. Democrat issue! This isn't a big government v. small Government Issue! This is a bullshit and baloney issue…as in of how many pounds of economic bullshit and rhetorical baloney can the powers that be stuff down the throats of us taxpaying, Americans before we gag reflex and barf out the words "enough you Goddamn thieves, whores and lying bastards cross-dressing as elected representatives!" The only crumbs those Washington cake eaters are feeding us are the crumbs of bullshit now paving the pockmarked path of economic despair that once led to the dreams and hopes of golden years that awaited us at the end of a long working life. Not to be... The gang rapers the trickle down economics have had their way with us, taken the cherries of our innocence and blended into the crowd with their greedy hands out asking for more. And so it goes...

Maybe it's time to start laying off government experts and the Panglossian forecasters with their receipts for rainbow stew and promises free Bubble Up. Maybe then, economic theory will turn into common sense reality. Maybe Wisconsin Governor Doyle did the right thing by cancelling the raises and merit increases for state employees. I know many people in the private sector who have seen that happening for a couple years now. Maybe Obama will get things all figured out and we will all live happily ever after and every body's 401K's will skyrocket to unheard of levels, the national debt will soon be a faint memory and next Spring the town maintenance guys will be filling potholes on my street with gold.

My wife ask me what I was thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful that the cold and sore throat that sent me home early from work on Tuesday is going away. I am thankful that I still have a job to leave early from when I’m sick. I am thankful that my wife is cooking me a nice turkey dinner. I’m thankful she called me upstairs to watch the huge flock of geese flying over the house. I am thankful that I grew up in a house with seven kids who sometimes had to eat cheese hot dish and drink powdered milk for the three or fours days while we waited for the Old Man’s paycheck hit the bank. I am thankful that I have a wife who grew in a large family that spent a few years living on the Kansas plains in a 10X40 foot trailer and understands where the bottom is and what it's like to be living near there. I am thankful that I don't take tomorrow for granted and I'm thankful I learned the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared!"

The wife just announced that dinner is served. Time will tell whether it's for better or worse. Until the next, I got eat while there is still food to put on the table.

Have A Borderline Thanksgiving


Who Does God Hate?


Nader's Nadar

"...There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American, Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards...He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician. He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up..."

Ralph Nader
Rocky Mountain News
25 June, 2008


Stumbling Through Darkness Blindly...

Ayn Rand cultist John Ridpath condemns socialism, extols capitalism and forgets to mention the word "theory." Likewise, he forgets to explain the difference between "capitalism" and "democracy" and the interactions between the two concepts. In addition, "immorality" is a relative judgement call in most intellectual circles, but not in the myopic world of Ridpath's Randian worshipping...

"...tyrannical socialists and democratic socialists do have something in common with the mafia.

What they all have in common is the moral principle that it is appropriate on their part to initiate force in order to expropriate your property for their use. And whether or not this is established by force in the tyrannies, or by vote, and how thoroughly this is applied, whether totally applied in the tyrannies, or partially applied in the democratic-socialist societies are differences of a superficial nature.

The fundamental principle remains the same: individuals do not have right to their own lives, and their own property. And that brings us to my comments on love.

Because I frankly believe that the truth of the matter is that socialists parade beneath a mask of benevolence, and love of humanity, overwhelming generosity, and concern for everyone -- this is the mask they wear.

But if you ask: What does socialism really boil down to? I boils down to the view that individuals left free from physical force to pursue their own lives, will do corrupt and evil things. That individuals are bad; their view of human nature is not one of love and benevolence, it's one of the corruption of human nature, and the need, therefore, for those who are familiar with what the good life and the moral life is, to take upon themselves the power of government in order to force you into their world.

That is what the evil of socialism is. The distinctions between democratic socialism and tyrannical socialism are not fundamental.

The real issue here is: Are individuals to be regarded as sovereign units not to be attacked, or not? And all those social systems which answer: they are not morally sovereign individuals; we will attack them in the pursuit of the good.

There's many different definitions as to what that good is. There's Plato's definition; there's Rousseau's definition; there's Hegel's definition; and there's Marx's definition; and it goes on and on.

But the principle always remains the same. They know what the moral life is, and they have the presumption to ask, to be given, the coercive powers of government in order to plan your lives, and take away from you your right to your own property, your own lives, your own free choices.

Now that is immoral....Capitalism is the only alternative to these types of immoral social systems."



Even A Blind Nut Finds A Squirrel

Yo Dr. Bil ontheborderline...

“Today, people are beginning to understand that the government’s account is overdrawn, that a piece of paper is not the equivalent of a gold coin, or an automobile, or a loaf of bread—and that if you attempt to falsify monetary values, you do not achieve abundance, you merely debase the currency and go bankrupt.”

Ayn Rand, “Moral Inflation,” The Ayn Rand Letter, vol. 3, no. 12, p. 1

Alan Greenspan, who, first as chairman of the Council of Economic Affairs and later as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the US, was at the center of economic decision making for two decades right up to 2006 was a great admirer of Ayn Rand and a true believer in the philosophy she espoused in Atlas Shrugged.

"I became a regular at the weekly gatherings in her apartment," he says in his autobiography, The Age of Turbulence, and was captivated by her philosophy that "...individuals have innate nobility and that the highest duty of every individual is to flourish by realising his potential..." When Greenspan took his oath of office at the White House for his first public policy job as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, he had Ayn Rand standing beside him.

As chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, when confronted with a seemingly unending series of financial calamities - the bursting of the technology stock bubble, the 9/11 attacks, the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan - Greenspan was steadfast in his belief in this laissez-faire philosophy, cut interest rates to rock bottom levels and kept it low for a long period.


Congressional testimony: Rep. Henry Wasman v. Alan Greenspan

REP. WAXMAN: The question I have for you is, you had an ideology, you had a belief that free, competitive -- and this is your statement -- "I do have an ideology. My judgment is that free, competitive markets are by far the unrivaled way to organize economies. We've tried regulation. None meaningfully worked." That was your quote.

You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others. And now our whole economy is paying its price.

Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?

GREENSPAN: ...[Y]es, I found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is, but I've been very distressed by that fact.

REP. WAXMAN: You found a flaw in the reality...

GREENSPAN: Flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.

REP. WAXMAN: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?

GREENSPAN: That is -- precisely. No, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.


On Reporters

"Reporters are human beings -- they are never objective, precise machine calculators. Reporters hate some candidates. The love others. Some amuse and entertain them. Some bore them. Some excite or even inspire them. And in a thousand subtle ways, this subjective reporter's love or hate or boredom or enthusiasm shines through."

William Proxmire