muleboy303-stephenhsmith

07 November 2009

i is a graduate of the Archie Campbell School of Economics, Politics, and Philosophy

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20 September 2009

timing is everything ? too soon, too late, to wit
which of these two authors now has to hide their face when walking down the street ?


... i suspect the answer is both.

many people disdain those who were right when they were wrong.

<<< published 2006 ..... published 2003 >>> ......

05 September 2009

on the car pet

child: "i want a kitty"

stereotypical parent: "a kitty cat is a big responsibility sweetheart. you'll have to take care of it. give her food and water, take her to the vet, shots, license/registration (for a pure bred like her), take her for walks/runs, bathe her regularly, find a place to put her up when you're at school or away on vacation, and of course, clean up after her"

now, restate using the words: gas, oil, mechanic, garage, drip spots

i didn't buy a used car, i got a fahkin new pet : )

......

03 September 2009

3 Sept 09 wonderful day

muleboy horoscope for 3Sep2009 (tyvm BA)...Get ready, because you always do better when you are prepared. Big opportunities should be on the way and they are moving fast. To catch this train you have to start running before it arrives to keep pace. A well-timed move today can take you for a long ride. (hope 'a long ride' isn't THE long ride :)
before (as is) ............... after(projected)




"Happiness ain't nothin' more than havin' some'n to look forward to" ... Robert Duvall, 'A Family Thing' (penned by Billy Bob Thornton)... may well be the truest words i've ever heard. and while it ain't a Porsche (gotta leave some'n more to look forward to oui?) it's close enough for me (for now : )

4 months, 400 hours, 5spd, 4 shame?

to keep a proper balance in life, perhaps every now and then it is necessary to do something nonsensical (though with effort it can be rationalized as well)

thus what began in early May of 2009 as an online search for a bicycle, culminated 3Sept,after a 400hour+ quest, in the purchase of a 15 year old luxury coupe.

a professional economist would decry the quest due to the 'opportunity costs' of my valuable time not utilized more productively (and indeed, one used car dealer did explode when i informed him how much fun i was having looking and had been doing so for over 3 months) but to me the joy of the hunt and the seeming superiority (so far) of the kill more than compensates for any intangible expense (especially when the value of not reading more of MJ is factored in. under that circumstance alone i've already made a profit)

i learned ('re-learned') a great deal about the world and myself during the quest. being a 'great shopper' isn't considered to be very macho or even patriotic in today's culture (especially in Texas?) but i still take pride in it and see it as but part and parcel of being 'solitary, sedentary, and contrary, with an intense, some would say 'fearful', aversion to commitment)

and now one 'quest' hath ended and another begun. a commitment made, and the 'having some'n to look forward to' self-limited to making the most of an acquisition in lieu of 'the' acquisition.

it feels like "change", both scary and exciting. well worth the four grand i'd say (so far :)
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24 August 2009

follow the money (the FED 1913-2009) summary 2

... all calculations use yearly CPI figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ... http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm ...

it just so happens that since the US Federal Reserve issued it's first Federal Reserve Notes with Benjamin Franklin's picture on them ($100) there have been exactly six 16-year blocks coinciding exactly with four presidential terms each. (or three blocks of 32 years/8 potus terms each) ... 96 years ... i note the parallels of US presidential elections because monetary and fiscal policy has a most significant effect upon their outcomes and vice-versa. a symbiotic relationship. booms and recessions, wars and not yet wars, deficit spending and 'balanced' budgets all have a role in 'setting the stage' for change, or 'continuity'.

one does not have to study history for very long before noting evidence of 'cycles'. indeed careers and fortunes have been made and lost on real and perceived future trends, peaks, and troughs, realized and unrealized.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
tbc ...




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follow the money (the FED 1913-2009) dream summary

... all calculations use yearly CPI figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ... http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm ...

it just so happens that since the US Federal Reserve issued it's first Federal Reserve Notes with Benjamin Franklin's picture on them ($100) there have been exactly six 16-year blocks coinciding exactly with four presidential terms each.
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THE DREAM OF POSSIBILITIES ...

nowadays, whointhehell cares what happened in 1913 ?
or 1933 for that matter ? (hell 1993 is 'ancient history' to many folks now. there was barely an Internet to speak of, cellphones were the size of a small loaf of bread, and a PC cost thousands, not hundreds) yet, i suspect, that except for a small fraction of young and/or extremely wealthy people, holding a crisp, new $100 bill in your hands, with Monsieur Franklin smiling back at you knowingly, still produces a thrill quite unlike any other. the thrill of "possibility".

therefore, i find it rather curious that as technology marches on, seemingly ever more rapidly producing 'possibilities' that were almost unimaginable just a few years ago, the 'possibilities' of that $100 note diminish simultaneously.

a couple of years ago i had a most vivid dream which recalled the days of my childhood. in my dream it was 1971 and i was 8 years old riding my new purple Schwinn bicycle on a perfect fall afternoon, through the as yet undeveloped sub-division not far from my home. in the dream i spied a car far off in the distance of the long straight road, but not so far off that i could not recognize it's brakelights signaling it's coming to a momentary stop, so that the man in the passenger seat could throw something like a briefcase out of the window of the car into the ditch alongside, overgrown with grass. (and muddy water, crawdads, etc. Baton Rouge in November)

the big car sped away with some screaching of the tires, and before i could pedal my way to the spot, i heard sirens in the distance. as there were no other people within sight for a thousand yards in any direction, i quickly retrieved the briefcase, ruining my converse tennis shoes in the mud, and sped home without even looking inside it.

without thinking thoroughly, i snuck my way through the house to my bedroom, to hide the case underneath my bed. only then did i realize the muddy footprints i had tracked all the way from the garage. the yelling that ensued upon their discovery may or may not have been the determining factor, but when the hollering was over i was in a mood to keep my find a secret. and i did. (somehow, in my dreams, i act for more intelligently and purposefully than i do in real life)

all that day my mind raced entertaining the possibilities of what might be in the case, yet i acted as calmly and lucidly as a made 50 year-old man (which by coincidence, i nearly am. 50, not 'made') ever so methodically i waited until late that evening to open the case. the recurring laughter from the living room insured that i would not be surprised by interruption. ('twas "Laugh-In" so it must have been a monday night) inside the case was row after row, bundle after bundle of $100 bills. one thousand of them to be exact (i don't know if 1000 notes will actually fit into a regular sized briefcase, but hey it's my dream)

ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS .... IN CASH

mine, all mine. if i could just keep my mouth shut. and i did. (another contrary anomaly of dreaming?) being an impressionable 8 year old boy in the age of Nixon, i had absorbed the lessons of secrecy (and disclosure and 'modified limited hangout, etc.), but also, more so, the then still revered axioms about 'thrift' and 'saving'. so i said nothing and spent none of it. i vowed to 'save it for a rainy day', as i'd heard a hunderd thousan times (pardon the pun) though i did entertain myself verily in math class, calculating what i could buy with it. which at that time was about 3 new, average sized houses, or 20 new Cadillacs. (purple Schwinn bicycles no longer held their fascination)

in the next scene of my dream, a decade had passed, and it was time for me to go off to college. the secret still intact, the 'do not touch' policy now a habit. so much so that i didn't even use it to pay for schooling. though by now it would only buy less than two new, average sized houses, or ten new Cadillacs.

in the next scene another decade has passed. how or whether i got through college is not revealed, nor is my secret. but i no longer entertain myself with math calculations as it has become too painful. yet still the money remains untouched even though it will now only purchase one and a half new, average sized houses or three new Cadillacs.

in the final scene, another decade has passed as well as much of the fun 'possibilities' that originally came with the case. the $100,000 dollars will now buy only half a house and two Cadillacs (after taxes)... thus the cumulative effects of FED monetary policy and it's partner in crime, US Federal Government fiscal policy in just the thirty years from 1971 to 2001.

dream or nightmare? well, the policies and their aftermath really happened, but the dream did not (i made it up, can't ya tell? although the riding my bike part was real) ... for comparison, a child/bike/briefcase story in 2009 would necessitate that $531,000 be in the case in order to buy as many houses or Cadillacs as the $100,000 did in 1971.




or in reverse, in 1971 it took less than $19,000 to buy what it takes $100,000 to buy today ......

follow the money (the FED 1977-2009)

... all calculations use yearly CPI figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ... http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm ...

it just so happens that since the US Federal Reserve issued it's first Federal Reserve Notes with Benjamin Franklin's picture on them ($100) there have been exactly six 16-year blocks coinciding exactly with four presidential terms each.
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prices up 138% in 16 years as FED monetary policy, through an era of record deficits, re-deregulation, personal computers, maturing baby-boomers, the end of the cold war, the 'peace dividend', the rise and collapse of the "Japanese Goliath", and de-unionization via global 'free-trade' policies, resulted in more than another doubling of prices. in 1993 it took more than $2.38 to purchase what $1.00 did in 1977 (or $14.60 to purchase what $1 did in 1913, as if anyone worried anymore what a dollar would buy sixty years before... an uncompounded increase rate now up to 17% per year for 80 years)
===========
the 'peace dividend', the 'world police', a short period of governmental fiscal 'sanity' (so called 'balanced budgets') coinciding with 'irrational exuberance' in the newly computerized financial markets as computer technology matured into the Internet, high finance is further de-regulated, unprecedented global trade allows inflation to be deported and deflation to be imported (debasing the currency stealthily, reducing the price of ever more capable computers, yet destroying domestic manufacturing jobs) and of course, the 'off-budget' 'little' wars that serve to feed the defense sectors of the economy and the political aspirations of the office-holders of the moment (with their preponderance for use of 'air-power' in order to minimize casualties to a rate not much more than was experienced in training exercises each year at the height of the 'cold war') FED monetary policy resulted in "only" a 50% increase in consumer staple prices in 16 years. (almost another 'return to the mean' as prices tripled and a half in the previous 32 years)

==============================================
up next... the summary (or caveats and bon mots)



......

follow the money (the FED 1945-1977)

... all calculations use yearly CPI figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ... http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm ...

it just so happens that since the US Federal Reserve issued it's first Federal Reserve Notes with Benjamin Franklin's picture on them ($100) there have been exactly six 16-year blocks coinciding exactly with four presidential terms each.
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FED monetary policy, through the baby-boom, suburban segregation, the first half of the cold war, the atomic age, television, the beginning of the race into space, and plastic, resulted in an increase of 61% more currency needed in 1961 than was necessary in 1945 (concurrent with the US economy accounting for nearly half of the world's gdp and over half of US manufacturing labor represented by unions)
from 1913 to 1961, prices tripled, an uncompounded increase rate of 4.6% per year for 48 years.

FED monetary policy from 1961-1977 doubled prices again (from 1913 a six fold increase, uncompounded rate of 8% increase per year for 64 years... or to put it another way, it took $100 in 1977 to purchase what $16.34 would buy in 1913)... through the 'guns and butter' policies of VietNam and the 'Great Society' and their inflationary aftermaths, and the cultural revolutions in sex, race, and age, one now required over twice as many dollars in 1977 as needed in 1961 for the same amount of goods.

====================================
up next... the age of deficits, re-deregulation, personal computers, and de-unionization via global 'free-trade' policies ...
================================================



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follow the money (the FED 1913-1945)

... all calculations use yearly CPI figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ... http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm ...

it just so happens that since the US Federal Reserve issued it's first Federal Reserve Notes with Benjamin Franklin's picture on them ($100) there have been exactly six 16-year blocks coinciding exactly with four presidential terms each.

FED monetary policy, through World War 1 and it's experiment with a command-controlled US economy and the boom ('Roaring 20's) that followed via de-regulation, immigration, and the maturation of the automobile industry, resulted in requiring 72% more US currency in 1929 to purchase the same amount of consumer staple goods than would have been needed in 1913.

but 'easy' money creates bubbles. bubbles eventually burst. the bigger the bubble, the worse and longer lasting are it's consequences. (economic, cultural, and geo-political) in the fall of 1929 the bubble burst.

FED monetary policy for the next 16 years, through the depths of the 'Great Depression', massive increases in the size and regulatory oversight capacity of the US Federal Government, and the all-out effort of the second World War, resulted in requiring only 5% more US currency to purchase in 1946 the same amount of goods in 1929 (before the 'crash') ... arguably representative of a 'return to the mean' as it took 81% more money in 1945 to purchase what it would have in 1913 (just a 2% increase from the level of 1927)
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up next, the baby-boom, the cold war, the atomic age, television, and the beginning of the race into space... ah "the good times" ...
============================================

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08 June 2009

muleboy channels his inner PJ (O'Rourke)
whilst wearing PJ's ironically

just how one wears pajamas ironically i am not certain :)



there they are, all on the Internet now. scores, hundreds, thousands, millions of them, of every kind imaginable. one could not possibly sift through all to find "the one". some things must be left to the gods of proximity and timing.

some are young, some older, some brashy and bold, others quaint or demur. some with dozens of pictures accompanying, others only a few. many are grinning at you seductively, while a few scowl as if to dare you to look further. many look forlorn, as if they've long ago seen their best days, yet you ask yourself, perhaps they just need some tender loving care? all of them right there on the Internet, page after page of them, so you don't even have to get in your car anymore and drive to different places, spending hours, to look at them. countless websites are devoted to them, searchable in every locality.

and when you see all those pictures, you can't help but imagine yourself with them, most for less than the time it takes to click or scroll past, others intrigue and beckon you to linger and read the text. sometimes you find yourself returning to that page again, or bookmarking it for later. and the many different kinds each bring out another varied aspect of your own personality, charging you to decide which part you wish to present to the public.

you wonder what it would be like to have each one of them, for them to be all yours. to be inside of them. how would they smell? how would they feel? how would they sound? how they would respond under your command? would they be forgiving of your mistakes and rewarding of your guidance, whether it be gentle or aggressive? or would they punish you harshly for any and every little error you make?

and if you make the commitment, will they change on you? will they still be as exciting a year from now as they were when you first saw them? will they last, be consistent, dependable? or will they be yet another one way trip to heartaches and headaches, emotional and financial?

pray tell what will your friends and family think when they see you with the one you've chosen? will they be envious, proud, happy for you, or worry that you've gotten in over your head again?

alas, after enough time and experience, you will find one that compels you to act, to make contact to introduce yourself and to inquire. only to learn that someone else has already grabbed them up. and you wonder if that was "the one" as you move on to search another and another. until the memory fades and is replaced by the sheer volume or another "one" that dazzles.

such are the perks and perils of surfing through thousands of pictures on the Internet in the quest for that "perfect"... car !!!

stephenhsmith 7Jun2009

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31 May 2009

to paraphrase another George (Orwell)
"hormones have always been at war with reason"


and this classic scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" is freighted with it


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17 March 2009

Darach Ó Catháin




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11 March 2009

i am aware, herr oberst




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10 March 2009

the gospel of Mark

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it" - Mark Twain

me too Mark, me too. all day, every damned day. for every time i am convinced it is one, i read something that suggests the other, and the whole process starts again.

mo Mark
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05 March 2009

the reflex


for lyrics >


"The Reflex"

"You've gone too far this time"
But I'm dancing on the valentine
I tell you somebody's fooling around
With my chances on the dangerline
I'll cross that bridge when I find it
Another day to make my stand
High time is no time for deciding
If I should find a helping hand

[CHORUS]
So why don't you use it?
Try not to bruise it
Buy time don't lose it
The reflex is an only child he's waiting in the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn't that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

I'm on a ride and I want to get off
But they won't slow down the roundabout
I sold the Renoir and the TV set
Don't want to be around when this gets out

[CHORUS]

Oh the reflex what a game he's hiding all the cards
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn't that bizarre
Evey little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

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04 March 2009

luckovich salutes muleboy : )



on 3 March no less (3.03 : )
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03 March 2009




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02 March 2009

Happy Birthday Mik


hang around awhile would ya ?

(we may need you again)

Mikhail Gorbachev



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24 February 2009

mose and addie $200




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22 February 2009

remember the Alamo



'twas just half a lifetime ago
one day at the Alamo
i took this photograph
we were pondering the past
and how it moves so fast
yet it still makes me laugh

for life is ever bittersweet
all the pictures incomplete
for so much is still yet unseen
but in making time to think
what you miss if you dare blink
blink twice, and now you are 16

a time for opening of doors
plain to see the future's yours
to make of it what you will make it be
allow me, 'fore more years are through
to say i love, and i thank you
for everything that you have done for me

you're my music and my song
all i wanted for so long
a symphony of giggles, laughs, and hollers
yet there are more notes to play
and one last thing that i must say
just a reminder: i still owe you $200


......


Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band 21Sept1978

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21 February 2009

speaking of plasma



timeagan.com
(cool name too)

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14 February 2009

"you might say that innocence is my only crime" : )




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13 February 2009

friday night lights (out)

4 more Banks closed today
(13 this year... on Friday the 13th)

and at the cinema? "The Internationale" : )

click on links to

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"Is it SAFE ?"

Sam Zell’s Empire, Underwater in a Big Way

click on link to

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Justice Clinton


normally the words "Justice" and "Clinton" would not belong in the same sentence (pardon the pun) unless subpeonas and/or autopsies were involved, but being Friday the 13th, it seems like the proper moment to ponder ominously

the video above went viral this week, in the wake of Biden's overseas trip and speech on US Foreign policy and Holbrooke's trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan (plus learning of Kissinger's meeting the Russians last December)

yet Secretary of State Clinton has not ventured beyond US shores. but Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg did have emergency cancer surgery.

all of which combines to make me think that the foundation for nominating Hillary Clinton to the US Supreme Court this summer is being laid. after all, the Senate voted 94-2 to confirm her for SoS, thus dubbing the conflict of interest questions of Bill's 'charity' foundation's contributions "irrelevant" (in the minds of the Beltway cognescenti)

a lifetime job (good for probably at least 20 years at her age, maybe 30),including never having to run for office again
accountable to no one, de facto Chief Justice in a few more years, after 3 or 4 Obama appointments. a liberal version of Scalia (including numerous public speaking engagements with massive hurrahs, and writing most majority opinions), only having to bully/persuade 4 other human beings into doing it her way. plus a 'blind trust' enhances Bill's foundation's prospects and secrecy, and clears a path for Chelsea's electoral future. (at Caroline Kennedy's expense)

i would think it Hillary's dream job.
......

12 February 2009

ABE (Honestly)

the more you read, the more you want to read, so



A 'Lincoln Scholar' Comes Clean by Thomas J. DiLorenzo


Historian William Marvel is a past winner of the Lincoln Prize and the Douglas Southall Freeman Award for his scholarship. The author of Lee’s Last Retreat, Andersonville, and A Place Called Appomattox is described by the renowned Steven Sears as "The Civil War’s master historical detective." He is also unique among all the "Lincoln scholars" who I have read in that his books do NOT read like defense briefs in The War Crimes Trial of Abraham Lincoln, filled with hundreds of bizarre rationalizations for every odious or barbaric act. Instead, they read like they are written by a man searching for historical truth.

Marvel’s 2006 book, Mr. Lincoln Goes to War, says this on the inside cover: "Marvel leads the reader inexorably to the conclusion that Lincoln not only missed opportunities to avoid war but actually fanned the flames – and often acted quite unconstitutionally in prosecuting the war once it had begun." This is obviously not how to win another "Lincoln Prize."

The book is about Lincoln’s entire first year in office. It accurately portrays Lincoln’s henchman William Seward not as some Great Statesman but as "a coward & a sneak." Marvel does not hide the fact, as most other Lincoln "scholars" do, that Seward, on Lincoln’s instructions, orchestrated the passing through the U.S. Senate of a "constitutional amendment specifically prohibiting congressional interference with slavery" in the South. The Amendment, known as the Corwin Amendment, did pass the House and Senate before Lincoln’s inauguration. In his first inaugural address Lincoln explicitly pledged his support for the amendment. In that speech Lincoln also said that there need be "no bloodshed" unless a state refused to pay the tariff tax, which had just been doubled (the Morrill Tariff) two days before Lincoln’s inauguration. Since the Southern states that had seceded had no intention of paying taxes to the U.S. government any more than they intended to pay them to the British government, this was an explicit threat of war over tax collection.

Unlike all other Lincoln "scholars" who simply ignore this fact, preferring to dwell instead on atheistic Abe’s flaky religious rhetoric, Marvel states the truth: "Lincoln’s address drew [an] ominous reaction across the South. Moderate newspapers strained for hopeful interpretations, but the Richmond Dispatch read it as a declaration of war because of the implied threat of coercion." South Carolinians "translated Lincoln’s denial of the right of secession [in the speech] and his refusal to yield federal facilities [which the South offered to pay for] as a solemn promise to subjugate the Confederacy."

Another fact that Marvel, unlike all other Lincoln "scholars," does not shy away from is the fact that there was overwhelming support in the North in early 1861 for peaceful secession. He quotes newspapers in New York, Washington, Illinois, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere as saying so. He also notes that there was a strong movement to form a "central Confederacy" involving New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey (See The Secession Movement in the Middle Statesby William C. Wright). All of this shows that most Americans, unlike Dishonest Abe, understood that the union was voluntary and not held together by the threat of mass murder, looting, pillaging, plundering, and the burning of entire cities.

Lincoln’s decision to incite a war had nothing to do with freeing slaves, writes Marvel. "[H]e gambled [by resupplying Fort Sumter] on provoking a war to assure the dominance of federal authority." Marvel also understands that the real Lincoln was no Great Statesman but a most ordinary, Illinois machine politician who had maneuvered himself into the White House where he fully intended to continue his machine politician’s ways. "The president interested himself in the most minor patronage of his cabinet members, annoying his attorney general by interfering even in the assignment of federal marshals." He was an early day Governor Blagojevich, in other words, a "pay or play" politician.

Lincoln’s objective at Fort Sumter, writes Marvel, was to "launch a patriotic frenzy" in the North as a prelude to waging total war on his own country. The "frenzy" was not exactly spontaneous, and not as "patriotic" as the Lincoln "scholars" contend. The Republican Party orchestrated mayhem in cities throughout the North:

Perceived reluctance and insincerity [to invade and murder their fellow citizens] led Unionist mobs to descend on dissident businesses and individuals, demanding nationalistic demonstrations. Pennsylvania mobs destroyed the offices of dissenting newspapers, forced business owners to adorn their buildings with flags, and intimidated political figures into public expressions of Unionism. In New York City a resident described an absolute ‘despotism of opinion’ in which considerations of personal safety discouraged any unflattering remarks about the Lincoln administration or government policy.

And they say fascism began in Europe in the 1920s. Furthermore, Republican Party "orators" saw to it that "listeners came to have their hearts steeped in hatred" toward their fellow citizens of the Southern states, as "speakers competed for the most venomous denunciations of all things Southern." German immigrant Carl Schurtz informed Mid-Westerners that "all the world wants to march" to war. Any who disagreed, writes Marvel, "risked physical violence." The Lincoln "scholars" call this "national unity."

Marvel describes in chapter and verse how Lincoln ordered the arrest of the Maryland legislature (in a chapter entitled "The Despot’s Heel") despite the constitutional requirement that the states be assured a representative form of government, and how he ignored the Southern peace commissioners who sought a compromise. He also recognizes the importance of Lincoln’s illegal suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus, which was followed by the imprisonment of at least 13,000 Northern political dissenters without any due process. "Without that repression, later war measures, like the imposition of direct federal conscription for military service, might not have survived public opposition to become fixtures contradictory to a free society."

When the public did protest the revocation of their personal liberties, "Lincoln responded to the public outcry with more severe repression . . . and with more audacious examples of it," in fine Stalinist fashion. Soon he "would grow sufficiently confident to wield unilateral authority and military might against the most fundamental elements of democracy, imprisoning duly elected representatives of the people, arresting opposition candidates, and ‘monitoring’ elections with soldiers . . ." Think of these actions the next time you read one of Lincoln’s pretty speeches about government "of the people and by the people."

Lincoln "scholars" can never, ever mention the possibility that the U.S., like all the other countries of the world in the nineteenth century that ended slavery (including the British and Spanish empires, the French, Danes, Swedes, Dutch, and others), could have done so peacefully and in a relatively short amount of time. For by doing so they would be admitting that there was an alternative to having the federal government murder some 350,000 fellow citizens in the 1860s, the equivalent of 3.5 million deaths today standardizing for today’s population. That’s why today’s Lincoln "scholars" devote inordinate time and effort to repeating Lincoln’s religious rhetoric while ignoring so many of the plain facts of history. Lincoln covered up his war crimes with a masterful use of religious rhetoric; his modern-day excuse makers are merely following his lead.

Not Marvel. "[P]eaceful emancipation on some scale seems at least to have been feasible," he writes. "The repeal of the fugitive slave laws would have encouraged even more slaves to escape . . . further weakening the institution. . ." Furthermore, "just as isolation hastened the end of apartheid government in South Africa, the international stigma and external economic pressures of an increasingly enlightened world ought eventually to have driven Confederates . . . to a voluntary abolition . . ." This of course is how slavery was ended in the Northern states – voluntarily and for mostly economic reasons, supplemented with the beginnings of a moral crusade.

For those who are wading through the putrid swamp of Lincoln "scholarship" that seems to have exploded in recent months thanks to Abe’s 200th birthday, and are seeking something other than yet another bundle of doubletalk and circular reasoning, read Lincoln Goes to War and its sequel, Lincoln’s Darkest Year: The War in 1862, by William Marvel.

February 12, 2009
......

slow rollin' low

"Lord I wanted to be something you could depend on"

for lyrics


I got a slow rollin' low
Ain't a mother would want me
Done got me so down bent out of round
Don't know my head from my toes.

Ain't a hand here to hold
Ain't a shoulder to cry on
Ain't a lesson to learn or a corner to turn
Twixt the dyin' and me.

Lord, I wanted to be
Something you could depend on
Lawdy, Lawd, woe is me
Ain't a body would care.

I got a slow rollin' low
Forgot the words to my song
Ain't that just like a fool to want a ride
On them trains when the trains are all gone.

SLOW ROLLIN' LOW
(Billy Joe Shaver)
......

36,000 plus

Karl Marx, Otto Von Bismarck, Abraham Lincoln, and Charles Darwin, all were born, lived, and died in the 19th Century, whose life's work profoundly influenced events of the 20th Century and is still being argued in the 21st.

the odds of two of the four being born on the same day (2.12.09) must be astronomical

......

11 February 2009

now who's being naive, Kay ?

Mafia Millions Buoying Banks

VIENNA — Cash-rich Mafia groups have been channelling funds into banks desperate to survive the global credit crisis, the UN anti-crime chief said on Monday.

Antonio Maria Costa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said he had collected ample evidence to make such accusations.

"Consultations I've had with prosecutors and law-enforcement officials around the world show there is ample evidence that the banking system's illiquidity is providing a unique opportunity for organized crime to launder their money," Costa told Reuters.


......

09 February 2009

45 years ago today...

within 11 weeks of the coup d'etat, the most successful lohnot operation in history commenced on the Ed Sullivan Show (worked like a charm)


well they sure as hell weren't gonna put Bob Dylan in front of 60 million viewers and let him sing "Masters of War" now were they ?
......

a freudian negligee'

"whatinthehell? ... the United States elects it's first black President, and they spend the first month of his term arguing about the size of his "package".

(with southern, white Republicans, of course, saying that it's "too big")

Sigmund would be laughing like hell...

......

06 February 2009

Bill Bonner Brilliant

the good war

The Washington Post reports that the War on Terror is over. No armistice has been announced. No treaty has been signed. The whole thing is just being dropped quietly, like a burnt-out cigarette. Too bad. It was our favorite war.

In the few words that follow, we explain why. First, the background:

"The history of the world is but the biography of great men," was Thomas Carlyle's contribution to the genre. But here we are more of the 'cometh the hour, cometh the man' school of history. When something needs doing...there is always some clown dim enough to do it. Osama bin Laden was that man.

"Bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy," was what he was up to, he said in a videotape. He even did the math. "Every dollar spent by al-Qaida in attacking the US has cost Washington $1m (£545,000) in economic fallout and military spending," said the report.

"We, alongside the mujahideen, bled Russia for 10 years, [in Afghanistan] until it went bankrupt... So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy."

How many generations will still tell of bin Laden's triumph? He brought down not just one empire, but two. His band of terrorists leeched the Soviets so thoroughly, they fainted. It was no coincidence that the Soviets lost Afghanistan in the same year their empire disintegrated. Then, he delivered a challenge to the America's amour propre.

The attack on the World Trade Center incited a death wish. The feds flashed a Red Alert; Americans cowered in their houses and sealed their windows and doors against biological attack. The 9/11 attackers could have been pursued by the usual gendarmes – at negligible cost. Instead, in the general panic, the Bush administration decided to go all out. Thus it was that the greatest stimulus package since WWII began – in haste and in delusion.

The federal budget went from its biggest surpluses to its biggest deficits. Interest rates were cut too – to an emergency rate of 1%. Within 24 months, the bubble in the Nasdaq was replaced by much bigger bubbles – in housing, finance, derivative debt, art, private equity, executive compensation, student loans and other forms of private debt. In effect, bin Laden suckered the fattest man on earth into having another éclair. The thunder coming from the financial markets for the past 18 months is the noise of his midriff exploding.

But we are not writing to complain about Osama bin Laden or the Bush Administration's reaction. When it comes to war and adultery, make-believe may be better than the real thing. Certainly, it is safer. In the War on Terror, the enemy had no tanks...no aircraft... no ships...no armies...no celebrated strategists...no famous generals...no sophisticated weapons...no military culture...no leather trench coats...no burnished helmets...no battle cries.... The problem was, it was hard to find the enemy at all. The Department of Homeland Security conducted 3 billion airport inspections looking for them. We remember getting patted down so thoroughly we felt we should leave a tip. But how many enemy combatants do you think they nabbed? Not a one.

There are two possibilities. The first is that the security procedures were so fearsome that terrorists dared not try anything funny. The second is that there weren't really many terrorists at large – at least, not in the United States of America.

But compare it to WWI or WWII...or even a penny ante affair like the Spanish American war. The War on Terror mobilized the whole nation in a Great National Cause...at much expense, much damage to the Constitution, and much inconvenience, but without actually causing much real suffering. Sure, a few hapless Muslims, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, were put on the rack. And yes, the cops in London gunned down a Brazilian electrician. Back in the United States, young couples did not embrace as they had in WWII – that is, as if there would be no tomorrow. Instead, they spent money as if there would be no tomorrow! No doubt, the desperate spending contributed to the bankruptcy of the whole system of bubble finance. But compared to the pain of a shooting war; the War on Terror was a delight. As far as we know, the Department of Homeland Security suffered not a single casualty. Not even any self-inflicted wounds. No executions for treason. And hardly any reported cases, neither of fleeing in the face of the enemy...nor collaborating...nor sabotage.

What a shame to let such a marvelous war to end without even a victory parade. Some of the agents should at least get medals for courage under fire...or exceptional valor.

Perhaps some special award. Such as the special agents who arrested Tamera Jo Freeman. A "Black Heart" medal might be appropriate. The woman was on a flight to Denver when her children got into a squabble. She spanked them both...and then Homeland Security agents put the cuffs on her. Charged with committing an "act of terrorism" she spent three months in jail and lost custody of her children.

And there ought to be some medal for the Pentagon flatfoot who put the long arm of American law all the way across the Atlantic and onto the shoulder of Gary McKinnon. Mr. McKinnon, as the mayor of London informed us on Tuesday, believes in UFOs. And to prove that the U.S. army is hiding information on extraterrestrials, he hacked into the Pentagon's computer...leaving his email address and a message: "Your security is crap."

Rather than thank him for this useful observation, the Defense Department no doubt put out a billion dollar consulting contract for someone to tell them their security is crap...and put out a warrant for Mr. McKinnon's arrest on a terrorism charge. That kind of service above and beyond the call of duty should be recognized.

So form up the battalions of veterans! Assemble the legions of luggage inspectors and metal detector operators...and all the thousands of investigators, worn down by five years of following leads to nowhere! Dress them up in bright, clean uniforms...and give them their moment of glory. Pin medals on their chests. Then have a jolly march down Fifth Avenue. Line the streets. Give them a hearty hoorah as they march by. Throw out the ticker tape. Young girls...fling yourselves at them...and get a kiss! And then, send them home.

Bill Bonner
February 5, 2009

......

03 February 2009

"I Screwed Up"

in only two weeks in office, the President of the United States is interviewed on all the major tv network's news programs and says the words "I Screwed Up"

a damned refreshing CHANGE

(especially since the screw up did not result in anyone being killed for a lie)


......

there are no words




......

29 January 2009

MAD : )




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28 January 2009

Peak USA 1956-1957

in 1956 the United States' economy comprised half of the world's economic output. the US led the world in manufacturing, technological advancement, and commercial culture, both old and new.

it is no accident that at the very same time, the US' middle-class' share of the wealth was at it's peak, nor is it just a coincidence that the percentage of the US labor force engaged in manufacturing and belonging to a union was at it's highest level in history.

least noted of all was the percentage share of US "defense" spending to the total budget and gdp. it was the lowest since the end of WWII.

ironic is the timing of the design, development, manufacturing, and sales of the 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air, as it coincided exactly with the peak of US military, cultural, and economic power. a peak that ended abruptly on 4 October 1957 with the introduction of the '58 model and SPUTNIK.



......

27 January 2009

the warriors code Lord Byron 1820

western style, not samurai

When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,
Let him combat for that of his neighbors;
Let him think of the glories of Greece and Rome,
And get knocked on his head for his labors.

To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan,
And is always nobly requited;
Then battle for freedom wherever you can,
And, if not shot or hanged, you’ll get knighted.

i did say he was a minor poet : )

......

before he taught me...

what i needed to know...
JAMES BURKE - BBC reporter July 1969


......

new age minimum ? how 'bout 75 ?

“While I believe Mr. Geithner when he expressed regret for his failure to pay these taxes, he doesn’t explain why the failure happened. This embarrassing ‘mistake’ occurred despite Mr. Geithner’s receiving annual and quarterly documents from the IMF and signing annual tax allowance requests that were supposed to serve as reminders about his tax obligations. He also failed to pay these taxes despite having accountants review his tax filings, and despite using software to prepare his tax returns. Had he not been nominated for Treasury Secretary, it’s doubtful that he would have ever paid these taxes.” “This matter seriously undermines Mr. Geithner’s credibility to be the nation’s top tax enforcement officer. It suggests serious negligence on his part, and creates the impression of someone trying to game the system. Mr. Geithner showed poor judgment in waiting so long to pay these taxes, and then did so only after paying them became a political necessity. Certainly most American taxpayers do not have that luxury.” “Whatever his qualifications and talents for addressing the banking problems that are currently plaguing our economy, I cannot in good conscience vote to confirm Mr. Geithner’s nomination.”

who said this and when? for the answer



Robert Byrd, 26Jan2009

i'm beginning to wonder if perhaps the Constitution's age minimum for a US Senator should be amended from 35 to 75 years of age


......

26 January 2009

"smart power" my ass

using high-tech toys to kill people in foreign countries is not "change you can believe in". the extent of being 'casualty averse' is a good barometer for decisions concerning using military means for foreign policy ends, to wit: "if a policy isn't worth getting many of your own people killed, it isn't worth doing in the first place" which of course makes every use of the US Army beyond the boundaries of the United States, with few exceptions, counter-productive.

for the 'exceptions'

Pancho Villa expedition 1916
Afghanistan 2001 (before 'mission creep')

the War of 1812 does not qualify. starting a war by invading another country negates the self-defense when the tide turns against you. see also: Maryland/Pennsylvania the summer of 1863
(remember i said US ARMY)
......

what a dick

Richard Fuld to be exact. if Gitmo is gonna stay open for another year, put this bastard in it

Lehman's Fuld sold Florida mansion to wife for $100


......

25 January 2009

Russell Hodin, nails it the "hopey-changey" meter




......

the future is UNKNOWN : )


"i took a drink, well maybe FIVE : ) ...ya never forget the first time you heard UNKNOWN HINSON
(and Joan Collins in her prime ouch)

......

my kind of headlines

and yes, they are related...

Starbucks may cut 1,000 more jobs

Why Israel won't survive


a simple Google search reveals how

......

"I always played scared"

the ADG's Philip Martin perfectly captures the perils and pleasures of playing a guitar. even if it is not a Gibson : )


An editor here at the newspaper asked me to contribute to a story about New Year's resolutions, specifically to say what underused local resource-restaurant or music venue or opportunity for recreation-I intend to take more advantage of in 2009 than I had in previous years. It was not, on the surface, a difficult assignment.

A New Year's resolution can be wishful or self-flattering, and the most worthy ones are probably best kept private. If we mean to become better people, the first step might be to realize there are so many areas in which we need improvement that public declaration of intention to mend one fault only calls attention to unaddressed multitudes. I usually don't make resolutions, and if I do I don't consider the calendar.

On the other hand I like to please people, especially editors, and was flattered to be asked. So I tried to write something that satisfied the prerequisites of the task without sounding overly smug. The editor in question looked it over, found it wholly inadequate and returned it with a nice note saying that while it wasn't what she was looking for, she'd be happy to see the piece fleshed out as a column.

I wasn't going to do that, in part because what I wrote was just a few lines about how I planned to play more guitar in 2009 than I had in years past, not out of any hope of becoming a better guitar player but because I enjoy it.

But the more I thought about it, the more it struck me that while there's much I do poorly, few of those things could be called enjoyable. But I like to play the guitar. And recently I acquired a new instrument that's finer than any I've ever owned. It has a big, warm tone (some of you real guitar players can probably guess the make) and a comfortable action that makes it easy to play. It's more guitar than a player of my ability needs or deserves.

I have referred to myself as the "world's worst guitar player," which may not be strictly true but serves as fair notice for anybody who might think I'm being falsely modest.

I am only competent in a narrow mode of playing. I can write my own songs and play them, play a few standards and sometimes understand what other guitarists are doing (or trying to do). While I tell myself I play as well as I need to play (though I suppose I don't need to play at all), the truth is though I've been playing nearly 40 years I've never progressed beyond the comfortable plateau I hit when I was around 15 years old.

This is only partially my fault. While I could have become better had I taken lessons and applied myself-aside from learning a few riffs from guys I've played with, I'm entirely self-taught-I recognize that I lack the necessary musical facility to be genuinely good.

Though I played in bands when I was younger, I always found it stressful to learn new songs. I never understood how some guitarists could play back, note for note, a riff they'd heard once. I never made the necessary earto-fretboard connection that even mediocre guitarists eventually get.

I could learn songs, but I needed to write out the chord changes and sometimes watch the hands of the bass player or my fellow guitarist. I could play with others in a rudimentary way but I had only the vaguest concept of scales-I thought more in terms of safe boxes on the fretboard than in sounding the interesting notes that formed in my head. I always played scared.

The only reason anyone ever let me be in their band was because I wrote songs and had a passable-in some quarters-folk-rock voice I wasn't shy about using. The bands I was in played really loud and our music didn't require much virtuosity from the rhythm guitarist.

Looking back, I don't quite know how I pulled it off except that I really wanted to be in a band then. I practiced a lot and genuinely enjoyed coming up with songs. I don't think I realized I wasn't any good-after all, I was playing in a band that was sometimes getting paid.

These days, I understand I am a talentless musician. I'm not tone deaf but have no particular gift either. My approach to music is the same I take toward writing: I listen for rhythm and phrasing and maybe have a knack for it. I can write a poem that scans. But there's a more important sonic dimension I recognize but do not fully understand. There are people who hear much more profoundly than I can, who can dive into those waters to retrieve treasures that I cannot imagine.

That's all right. Those of us without great gifts still have a right to song-for most of human history music was performed by people with common voices and modest talents. It's only been in the past 100 years or so that people routinely have the opportunity to hear highly skilled, prodigiously talented musicians play. While there are millions of really good guitar players out there, being a bad guitarist isn't a sin-as long as you don't insist on inflicting your playing on other people.

Most of us probably don't do much that we're not good at doing; getting through the day is difficult enough without throwing in recreational challenges. But it's probably helpful to bump up against limitations now and again, to flail and occasionally fail. It is good to get in water over your head if only to apprehend how serious and complicated the world can be. It is easy to dismiss what we don't understand- to mentally reduce hip hop to rhythmic thuggery or dismiss bebop as random bleats and honks.

So I resolve to play more guitar this year, not in the hope of getting better but because my nice guitar deserves to be played and because I find it pleasant. And I sometimes surprise myself with an accidental pull-off or stray harmonic-the sort of ornamental flourish that, in real music, might pass for a grace note.

pmartin@arkansasonline.com


......

24 January 2009

the daily IF ...

'twould seem that something of Rudyard's "IF" is applicable to most every day. today it be...

"IF all men count with you, but none too much"


......

and no one said a word

in the last ten days the price of a barrel of OIL went from below $35 to over $44. just a few short years ago, such an event would have been on the front page of every newspaper in the country as well as 'topic A' on every tv 'shout show'. now? hardly a peep.

that is the product of "conditioning"


......

23 January 2009

it's been 4 days (only?)


if this song applies in 4 weeks, 4 months, or 4 quarters, it's going to be a long four years

......

22 January 2009

words versus actions

if words matter (even when the syntax isn't tortured) today's EO's are a classic example of 'one from column A, one from column B'.
ending torture as official US policy ? ended immediately (good)... closing GITMO ? not good enough, not fast enough, and give the damn thing back to Cuba, it's theirs.

BUT... President Obama's statement following the signings could be very important. notice what word is missing ?

The message we are sending around the world is that the US intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism and we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals ... We intend to win this fight, and we intend to win it on our terms.

the missing word? (or words?) is "WAR" & "WAR on TERROR"
......

simple questions

why, nearly two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, is there still a NATO ?

why should any nation-state with a 'central' government, span more than one time zone ?



......

election calendar

province leaders for IRAQ on 31Jan
(wonder how many americans know that?)

israeli parliament on 10Feb
PREDICTION: IDF/IAF will bomb rebuilt tunnels on Gaza/Egypt border 48 hours or less before the polls open



......

food fight

well, sausage-making anyway. go here to

House Dems push tax breaks through committee

By DAVID ESPO – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid grim new evidence of economic weakness, legislation at the heart of President Barack Obama's recovery plan advanced in Congress Thursday over the persistent opposition of Republicans seeking deeper tax cuts.

"We are very pleased with the progress," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after $275 billion in tax cuts cleared the House Ways and Means Committee on a party-line vote of 24-13. Democratic leaders have promised the measure will be ready for Obama's signature by mid-February.

"It will create jobs immediately, and it will also lay the foundation for economic stability as we go forward," Pelosi added.

But Republicans said there was no reliable estimate of the bill's impact on employment.

"The American people deserve to know what they are getting for their nearly $1 trillion," said Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the top Republican on the tax-writing committee.

On the key vote of the day, Democrats closed ranks to preserve a tax break for this year and 2010 that would mean $500 for many workers and $1,000 for millions of couples, including those whose earnings are so low that they pay no federal income tax.

They also turned back a Republican attempt to jettison a new federal subsidy to help laid-off workers pay for health insurance after they lose employer-paid coverage, and a third to waive income taxes on unemployment benefits for two years.

Democrats argued that the Republican proposals would favor upper-income individuals and couples who they said benefited disproportionately from tax cuts passed during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

"We need to be dealing with people at the bottom of the income scale," said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. He also noted that the legislation would provide a $25-per-week increase in unemployment benefits.

But Republican Camp cited a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service that he said showed lower and middle-income workers already would have received most of the benefits from the proposal to eliminate the tax on unemployment benefits.

Congressional committees did their work as government reports showed the number of newly laid-off Americans filing jobless claims and the pace of home construction both posted worse-than-expected results. Additionally, Microsoft Corp. said it would slash up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months, while chemical maker Huntsman Corp. said it would cut more than 1,600 employees and contractors combined.

Democrats have an oversized majority on the committee, as they do on all panels as a result of their gains in last fall's elections. And while Republicans sought several changes in the legislation, the proceedings were devoid of drama or even emotion.

Republicans in both houses have been developing alternatives to the Democratic legislation, and Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the GOP House leader, announced a meeting next week with Obama.

"Our plan offers fast-acting tax relief, not slow-moving and wasteful government spending," he said, referring to a study by the Congressional Budget Office that questioned administration claims that the money could be spent fast enough to reduce joblessness quickly.

Not all Democrats were completely pleased with the legislation making its way to a vote on the House floor next week.

The portion of the measure ticketed for highway and bridge construction, $30 billion, is far less than some favor, and there was grumbling.

"This bill ... is not even near what we need for short-term needs and it does not in any meaningful way address the long-term needs for our country," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, although he added, "It is better than nothing."

There was outright opposition in the House to another element of Obama's economic recovery program, but it was entirely symbolic.

On a vote of 270-155, lawmakers voted to block use of the remaining $350 billion in the financial industry bailout created last fall. Among the opponents were 90 Democrats.

The Senate cleared the way for Obama to use the money last week, so the House vote was little more than a chance for individual lawmakers to vent their opposition. Some Democrats took advantage of the opportunity. "There's a massive transfer of wealth going on, taking money out of the pockets of the American people and putting it into these banks. This has to stop. we have to stop," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

The tax cuts that won committee approval included a $500 credit for workers making up to $75,000 per year. Couples with incomes up to $150,000 a year would receive a $1,000 credit. Individuals with incomes up to $100,000 and couples earning up to $200,000 would qualify for lesser tax breaks.

The Republican alternative envisioned a different approach.

It called for reducing the current 10 percent bracket to 5 percent, affecting a taxpayer's first $8,350 in income, and lowering the existing 15 percent bracket to 10 percent, covering income from $8,351 to $33,950.

The legislation that cleared committee also would provide a temporary $2,500 tax credit to help pay for college, and includes breaks to encourage the production of renewable energy resources.

For businesses, the measure includes $29 billion in tax cuts to encourage investment in new plants and equipment, and to permit money-losing firms to claim refunds on taxes paid up to five years ago, during profitable times.

Separately, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved $2.8 billion to expand broadband communication service to underserved areas of the country.

Associated Press Writers Andrew Taylor, Jim Kuhnhenn, Stephen Ohlemacher and Kevin Freking contributed to this story.


......

subliminal suggestion ?

with them folks, you can never be sure


......

21 January 2009

i had hope


i had hope that on inauguration night all, or at least one, of the major tv networks would corral Mel Brooks into hosting a primetime, uncut, presentation of his 1974 masterpiece, "Blazing Saddles", so that americans could all laugh like hell at themselves, together. in the way hoped for when the film was made 36 years ago.

some things change more slowly than others.


......

dirty dirty dirty song


2 Live Crew got nuthin on Jimmie Rodgers
(recorded July 1, 1930)



......

20 January 2009

a very good speech

50% great, 30% rhetorical flourish, 20% scary as hell
or to say half of it i could hear Huey Long saying in his calmer moments, woven together with the embroidery of words, tone, and timing for which it is entirely possible Obama has no peer, past or present. but altogether too many lines that would make NeoCons click their heels and stiff-arm salute (before they realized who was speaking them or ?)

only time will tell

for full text go here to

President OBAMA: My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
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it used to be "are" not "is"

the common form of reference to the United States is now "is". "the United States is... "a superpower" or "the world's largest economy" etc. it used to be "are". a very big damn difference it makes, or rather, has already been made. (until it's not)

so enough with the incessant assertions of singularity, oaths of allegiance, peons to 'unity' under a providence monotheistic, and the constant refining-redefining what the meaning of "is" is (particularly coming from Bill Clinton's hometown) the ADG's "single-mindedness" is bass-ackwerds again.

per the ADG...

Why is it that once every four years an immense pride is overshadowed by an immense humility before a set of bleachers that somehow has become an altar?

Why is it hearts that should be consumed by pride are humbled by the thought of the sacrifices that made and make such a Republic possible?

Why is it we are so confident and so wary at the same time?

We think it has something to do with the vision of the past, with the never finished American dream (may it never be finished!), with a set of meager settlements on a continent's edge having become so much and still becoming so much more.

We think it has something to with becoming, out of many, one.

We think it has something to do with the knowledge that we have so much still to become, so help us God.

the harder they try to desperately unify with emotional appeals and gaudy (and expensive) ceremonies, the easier it is to see that "The United States" are not to be much longer in this world.



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just realized

in 1970's being a Bobby Allison fan, oh how i did loathe that arrogant sonofabitch in his damned cowboy boots, "King Richard". today i just realized what number car he drove (and a "Dodge" also... how appropriate, but then even his name was 'petty') the car however was very beautiful



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