Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Crazy Afro-American Hillbilly Music Blogging

I like Old Time String Band music, which some more urbane types would call 'hillbilly' music. Sometimes I fergit that there's Afro-Americans up in them hills 'n hollers too. Besides, I love the name of this band!

Take note of the old-school clawhammer banjo style. She musta learned that from her Granmaw.

Carolina Chocolate Drops ~ Trouble In Mind

Thanks to johnkontos123.

A little digging led me to, of all places, the Knoxville News-Sentinel's channel. They have a lot of straight news videos, but also a lot of old-time music videos from WDVX's Blue Plate Special show. Check out the knees-aflappin' style on the jug and - what? Wooden spoons, I think. Hillbilly nunchaku. Heh.

Fixer and I met in Knoxville, so to speak, and have friends there, so we're kinda partial to East Tennessee.

Carolina Chocolate Drops ~ Cornbread and Butterbeans

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

One of my favorite motorcycle songs, written by Gram Parsons after he wadded up a BSA. This appears to be from Austin City Limits and features a late iteration of The Hot Band with Barry Tashian on guitar and backup vocals, Frank Reckard on electric guitar, and Hank DeVito on pedal steel.

Emmylou Harris ~ Wheels

Thanks to johnkontos123 of the UK. This gent has been very prolific of late at putting up stuff at YouTube that I like. Emmylou, Nanci Griffith, early Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, and many others. Don't miss his channel if you like The Ramones!?

Rachel Maddow's Star Power

An interview with Rachel Maddow at MoJo.

If you don't know by now, Rachel Maddow is the world's most unlikely cable news talk-show host. For one thing, she doesn't watch TV. And she's young (35), is a Rhodes scholar with a PhD from Oxford, and is openly gay—an industry first. (More than one friend has told me that her ascent is some consolation for the passage of California's anti-gay-marriage Prop 8.) But her combination of lefty sensibilities, a hipster vibe, wicked smarts, and genuine good cheer has taken the entire country by storm. She's made msnbc competitive against cnn's Larry King for the first time. Existing in the space between Jim Lehrer's NewsHour and Jon Stewart's Daily Show, Maddow's hour-long show privileges reporters and actual experts over pundits, real information over blather and fake fights, and comes with healthy sides of sass and sarcasm. It's a mix she learned at the left-of-center radio network Air America, where she still broadcasts a live show each weekday. In her spare time, Maddow's writing a book on the role of politics in the US military. In her other spare time, she's an enthusiast of graphic novels and mixology. An extended interview is available here.

My favorite quote from the extended interview, about Pat Buchanan:

MJ: Does he get it when introduce him with an "It's Pat!" headline?

RM: I don't know. We talk about culture stuff, and we have some overlap in terms of our tastes, but we've never talked TV shows, so I don't know if he's an SNL guy.

Heh. Enjoy.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Once again, we're in the middle of it, coming to the aid of a sinking freighter. It's been interesting.

Gregg + Bipartisanship = Zero

P.M.Carpenter on 'bipartisanship' in the wake of Sen. Gregg's "Oops! I forgot - I'm a Repug" flip-flop on his nomination for SecCommerce:

I once sympathized with Obama's primordial reaching out to Congressional Republicans; dignified gestures were long overdue in our abundantly uncivilized politics and I couldn't help, however guardedly, but be approving. But now enters reality, Mr. President: They just aren't interested. They'll say they want to work with you on this difficulty or that crisis, but when the time comes to act they'll nearly always present themselves as nothing but a huge platter of your indigestion.

Obama as president very much wanted a nice, pleasant and Kennedyesque game of touch football, but Republicans see themselves as apocalyptic commandos in the throat-cutting Thunderdome.

'Apocalyptic commandos' my ass. They're just speed bumps in the path of progress and democracy. They slow things down a little, but then you get to run over them.

I'm glad Gregg's gone. He didn't want the census to count people if they weren't home or didn't want to talk to the enumerators. I think he was afraid that an accurate count would create new Democratic congressional districts.

I worked for the census in 2000 and may again next year. It was fun, and it paid well + mileage. I wasn't an enumerator. I checked addresses, mostly out in the boonies around here, and I met a lot of nice people who really wanted to get counted so they could maybe get their roads paved and not have to schlep their kids three miles by snowmobile to get them to the school bus. I met one guy who thought the census was government intervention, black helicopter stuff. I had a 'U.S. Government' placard on my dashboard and his neighbors actually intercepted me and told me to be careful around him. Heh.

Just a fun story about my census job, one of many. I was accompanying a young lady of about my own age on an evening run to check on addresses out in Russell Valley, where indoor plumbing and electric lines have only recently arrived. It was snow melt season and the dirt roads were muddy, slick, and slippery. We were in her beat-up old 4-wheel-drive Toyota van. On our way back from waaaay out in the woods, we were going up a little hill and the thing started spinning its wheels, ran outta steam and very gently slid backwards off the road. Stuckamundo. That was when she informed me that the 4-wheel-drive hadn't worked in years. Oh fucking swell.

Remember that this was nine years ago. Neither one of us had a cell phone. We started walking towards town. It was as dark as a Repug's soul, and the gal kept telling stories about bears and how glad she was that I was there to defend her from them. If a bear had attacked us, highly unlikely that one would be around unless it's trash day, I'm pretty sure I coulda outrun her, but I didn't tell her that. We walked maybe two miles on what passed for the main drag out there until we got to a paved road. We figured we had about another mile until we got to houses and could perhaps get someone to call for a ride the last two or three miles to town.

Amazingly, a car came by at that point. I flagged it down. It was an old Monte Carlo fulla Mexican guys. I got no idea what they were doing out there, but I'm sure they were up to no good of some sort. I suspect some sort of herbal remedy or pharmaceutical deal was involved, whether coming or going I have no idea and couldn'ta cared less. One of 'em almost spoke English and sorta reluctantly, they realized we were in a jam and gave us a ride into town. Six Mexicans and the two of us in a two-door coupe. I can't recall the exact seating arrangement, but 'clown car' comes to mind. They dropped us off at the 76 station in town and sped off into the night. Muchas gracias, vatos. It was maybe a little after 9PM.

The gal called her son to come get her. She was a coupla hours overdue at home and they were all in a tizzy. About ten minutes later two carloads of her son and his friends roared up and the son, who had a temper, jumped out and started berating me for putting his Mom in such a spot. Me. Putting her in such a spot. I gently told the lad that a) his Mom was never in any danger whatsoever, b) I was gonna go all Marine Corps on his ass if he didn't tone it down, and c) what the hell was he thinkin' lettin' his Mom ride around in a load like that old Toyota anyway? His Mom told him that she was really glad I was along and he shut up.

The kids around here party out in those same woods, they know the back roads, and they're all pretty well equipped with shovels and yank straps to extricate beer-and-hormone-stuck rigs, so a pickup load of 'em peeled out and were back with the Toyota in about thirty minutes. I stayed with the gal until they came back.

I got to enjoy an unplanned evening stroll in the woods with a nice gal whilst drawing pay from the taxpayers. Ho-hum. Just another day in Paradise...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

El Rude-o

The narrow-mindedness, clannish nature of the Christian right is sometimes just downright adorably hilarious. For their divorce from reality is breathtaking, like watching a toy poodle try to fuck a hippo. Damn, that's some plucky ambition. Damn shame that little poodle just suffocated in a pile of hippo shit.

There's more...


I got this via e-mail from my old High School bud, Steve. Believe me, I open anything with 'colonoscopy' and 'Dave Barry' in the same sentence with trepidation, and I was right. Here's just a taste. The rest is Below the Fold.

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'

Having had probably more than 17,000 feet of stuff metaphorically shoved up my behind over the years, I could totally relate!

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You
eliminate everything.

And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

Up to this point, my idea of 'MoviPrep' was to first get a large buttered popcorn and then try to find a seat somehere other than behind someone with a big hat which I'd have to knock off when the picture starts.

[...] There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' has to be the least appropriate.


There are some claimed actual comments from patients undergoing this procedure. I believe it.

2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'


Weather ...

Again. Our port call on St. Maarten didn't happen but we went to St. Thomas instead. No worries.

Majority of Americans want Bush administration investigated

USA Today

Even as Americans struggle with two wars and an economy in tatters, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds majorities in favor of investigating some of the thorniest unfinished business from the Bush administration: Whether its tactics in the "war on terror" broke the law.

Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done.

Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither.

It would be unanimous but for the brain-dead Repug base.

We seem to be heading in the right direction for a change. Whether anything comes of it remains to be seen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Peanut Butter Warning!

A coupla crazy Canuckistanians (ain't they all?) offer a heretofore unthought-of warning apropos to our current peanut butter crisis. Can you even get salmonella poisoning that way? Shudder...

Also some highway courtesy tips.

Thanks to amniva.

RP on PBO and GOP

Here's a few from The Rude Pundit, whom everybody should read every day.

On Repug obstructionism and bipartisanship:

Oh, Obama tried. Don't let anyone tell you that Obama didn't try to get to first base with Republicans. He thought he might be able to sweet talk 'em into taking a little tongue. Hell, he might have even been ambitious enough to think he could get some under-the-bra titty action. But he wasn't even offered a handshake at the end of the date. They told him to go fuck himself, so Obama decided to jack off on their heads.

He went to Elkhart, a place no one should ever have to go, even in flush times, he held a press conference, and he deployed his charm and cool and reminded us again of why, devoid of politics (and, yes, there is mucho shit to criticize him about already), we voted for the man. Seriously, the best Republicans can do is whiny little drama queen Lindsey Graham pissing and moaning that "It started with the attitude, we won, we write the bill"? First of all, to answer his stunning allegation, um, yeah, that's the way it works, Mary. And "the attitude"? Wait, you mean the guy with the mandate is acting like he has a mandate?

It's sad, truly, that Republicans just don't know what they're up against. No one gives a fuck what they have to say. That's the baseline from which the GOP has to start if it wants to rebuild. They have made themselves irrelevant. It's a hellish position to be in, but the demon rape couldn't happen to a nicer group of folks. Most of the country gets it: we're in serious, serious shit here. And they know that right now, the reduction of the solution to "tax cuts" makes about as much sense as thinking you can water the desert with your piss.

And they haven't gotten their mind around what it means to deal with Obama. For the majority of Republicans in Congress, they only have memories of Bill Clinton to compare. It was easier to degrade and pigeonhole Clinton, especially since he didn't win 50% of the vote. But this shit is new. We've got a President who people want to follow, someone they admire.

He's not a joke, and he's not trying to be our buddy. Right now, still, he's a leader, and, unless Republicans get their asses to the table where he's dealing, they're left holding worthless chips from a closed casino.

"Worthless chips from a closed casino." It's all they got, and the Repugs think they're still worth something. The Repugs are slithering past denial into anger about their rejection by all but their moron 'base'. Tough shit. Whatever bad things befall them, they've got it coming. Can you say "karma"? Which basically means "what goes around, comes around". I hope the chips are edible. Or that they can nourish themselves with boxcar loads of them in suppository form.

On Live Whiskey-Blogging the President's News Conference:

A new president means a new liquor. The Rude Pundit's done with the vodka, the drink of secret alcoholics not wanting to smell like a frat house bathroom. It's bourbon time. Evan Williams, motherfuckers, a smooth, brown, American sippin' whiskey. Best downed neat.

"Smooth, brown, American." Hmmmm. I think he's onto something there when it comes to our President.

(All quotes pretty much guaranteed to be inaccurate.)
8:01: And we're off. How odd not to see a President who hunches along like Slim Pickens after being kicked in the nuts.

8:02: How odd to hear a President tell us straight that shit's fucked up.

8:03: Calls the economic problem "a full-blown crisis." Now that's fear that's tangible, not the unprovable fear of "terrorists" bombing the mall.

8:24: Can you imagine how hideously awful it'd be to watch the pathetic sight of John McCain attempting to wrestle with this crisis? It'd be like seeing Terri Schiavo on a CW show.

8:26: He actually says how the retarded health care system is bankrupting the country. He says how the education system is fucked up. How we need new schools. How odd it is to see a President explain shit to us like we're grown-ups. And how fucking incredible to hear someone articulate how liberal principles - honestly liberal principles - are the ones that will actually accomplish all the things conservatives say they're in favor of.

8:49: Helen Thomas, oh, dear lost love, how the Rude Pundit misses our evenings swatting mosquitoes while making love on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. (And, as usual, her question is an old-time accusatory one, trying to get Obama to say that Israel has nukes.)

Her question was "Do we know of any Middle East nations that have nukes?". He didn't answer it, either, and she tried to ask it again but he cut her off. If I were President, and it's probably best that I'm not, I would have answered, "We're pretty sure no Arab or Muslim nations have any", and then broke into a shit-eatin' grin like Obama has. Heh.

The thought of making love to Ms. Thomas on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial does bring back a lotta memories, none of which involve either Ms. Thomas or the Jefferson Memorial however, thank you Jesus. Mosquitoes, yes.

Eat The Rich

Mark Morford, links at site.

Politicians? Lawyers? Not anymore. Time to loathe the *real* American monsters

Call it the backlash against the recoil against the collapse. Call it the completely natural response to the downward-spiraling times, though that seems a bit feeble and pansy-assed and not at all in alignment with the general attitude of raging seethingosity.

Call it, then, the death of all we once held dear, if what you held dear consisted of seven McMansions and three trophy wives and five revolving psychiatrists and four personal trainers and regular spa treatments for the Wheaten terriers, along with blatantly rubbing your aging genitalia against the stiff leather of your fleet of Porsche Cayenne Turbos after drunkenly nailing your mistress in your corner office at Goldman Sachs. Ahh yes, that's more like it.

Whatever you call it, there's a bitter tang in the air, a nasty streak of anti-Everythingism, a collective bullet of disgust and frustration that's most violently aimed at the most precious American commodity of all: the rich, the overly entitled, the uberwealthy, the manicured bankers and CEOs and Wall Street cash jockeys we used to cherish like royalty but who now smell vaguely of death and foreclosure and Bernie Madoff.

[...] Frugality might be the current national pastime, but it's also a mean sonofabitch.

Go read.

Weather ...

No Grand Turk yesterday due to weather. Pulled into Puerto Rico this morning but we're not going ashore. Taking advantage to an empty ship to get some formal pictures taken and then laying about for the rest of the day.

Pointer Sisters vs. Dancing Hippos. Heh ...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

KBR to Plead Guilty to Massive Cheney-Era Bribery Scheme


Former Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), will pay the federal government $402 million to settle a decade-long criminal investigation into claims the company paid off intermediaries of the notoriously corrupt Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and some of his subordinates to win a lucrative construction contract for a natural gas liquefaction plant while former Vice President Dick Cheney headed the corporation, according to court documents obtained by The Public Record over the weekend.

Neither Halliburton nor KBR, which was spun off into a separate company two years ago and is now known simply as KBR, spokespeople would comment. Attorneys for both companies are due in court sometime next week to enter guilty pleas on behalf of Halliburton and KBR to a single count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and four counts of violating that law.

The company is expected to enter into a separate settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the terms of which are still unknown. Late last month, Halliburton said in a news release that it was in talks with the SEC to pay $177 million in "disgorgement” related to the bribery scheme. In that news release, the company confirmed that it had reached an agreement with the federal government to settle the criminal probe.

That's good, right? Not so fast...

The plea deal and settlement between the government and KBR as outlined in Friday’s court documents was arranged at the same time KBR [was] awarded a new $35 million defense contract to build a power plant and electrical distribution center in Iraq even though the company is under criminal investigation over the electrocution of two U.S. Soldiers who allegedly were killed as a result of KBR’s shoddy electrical work (my em). KBR announced last week that the Army Corps of Engineers awarded the company the contract.

The military has now ruled at least one of the electrocutions of soldiers to be 'negligent homicide'. These were not quite outright murders, but U.S. soldiers died and KBR people need to fry for them anyway. And maybe the people who awarded them another contract for electrical work.

KBR also has handled lucrative U.S. government support contracts for U.S. troops in other countries. In 2002, Halliburton, now based in Dubai, was on the brink of bankruptcy related to a massive financial settlement it paid out to settle asbestos litigation. But in November of that year, Halliburton’s financial troubles disappeared.

At the urging of unnamed officials in the Office of the[n] Vice President [Dick Cheney], according to Defense Department documents, the DoD recommended the Army Corps of Engineers award a contract to KBR to extinguish Iraqi oil well fires in addition to "assessing the condition of oil-related infrastructure; cleaning up oil spills or other environmental damage at oil facilities; engineering design and repair or reconstruction of damaged infrastructure; assisting in making facilities operational; distribution of petroleum products; and assisting the Iraqis in resuming Iraqi oil company operations."

That was a deal hatched five months before the start of the Iraq war, when the Bush administration said publicly that it had not been working on war plans.

"The fact that the Department was planning for the possibility that it would need to repair and provide for continuity of operations of the Iraqi oil infrastructure was classified until March 2003," the Army Corps of Engineers said on its web site. "This prevented earlier acknowledgement or announcement of potential requirements to the business community."

A March 6, 2003 internal Pentagon e-mail sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official says "action" on the multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was "coordinated" within Cheney's office.

The e-mail says Douglas Feith, the former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, received authorization from then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to “execute” the Restore Iraqi Oil contract to Halliburton in 2002.

Feith was one of the architects of the Iraq war who operated the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans that exaggerated the Iraqi threat and provided the White House with bogus information about links between Iraq and al Qaeda.

The email said Feith approved elements in the contract "contingent on informing WH [White House] tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w VP's [Vice President's] office."

In other words, "The Dick OK'ed it and the Chimp won't dare cross him."

Last September, Albert “Jack” Stanley, KBR’s former chief executive, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Justice Department said he paid more than $180 million in bribes to Nigerian government officials so KBR could win the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas plant contract.

Stanley is a close associate of Cheney who was promoted by the former vice president in 1998 to head Kellogg, Brown & Root, Halliburton’s engineering and construction subsidiary. Stanley faces seven years in prison and nearly $11 million in restitution payments. His sentencing is scheduled for May 6.

According to last year’s plea deal, Stanley started paying bribes began in 1995, the year Cheney was named chief executive of the corporation, and ended when Stanley was fired in 2004.

As part of the plea deal, Stanley cooperated with the federal government’s investigation into the matter, which may result in criminal charges against other KBR executives in the months ahead.

I hope someone rolls on Cheney to save their own neck. I'd like him to go to prison for the stuff he did in office, but I'll damn sure settle for jail time for something he did prior.

There's more at the link. There's a lot of these bastards need to go to prison.


It's a beautiful day here in California, brilliant sunshine, a foot of new-fallen snow and just under 1°F. We're off over the mountains and through the woods to Carson City for breakfast out and a shopping day. See yas.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Man considered world's biggest nuclear proliferator says he “can't wait to get back to work.”

Saudi Arabia Has 11 Ex-Gitmo Prisoners on Most Wanted List Despite Extremist Reeducation Classes
Apparently, “Death to Israel 101” didn't help.

Senators Desperately Looking for Programs Which Could Be Cut
Will meet aboard one of 11 aircraft carriers currently protecting us from Japan.

Kellogg's Drops Michael Phelps for Smoking Pot at Party with Friends
Maker of children's cereals loaded with sugar, trans fats and other unhealthful ingredients says he's “not consistent with the image of Kellogg.”


Last week, due to a typo, we reported that President Obama had assembled "the most ethnically diverse cabinet in history." It should have said ethically diverse. We regret the error.

And in the 'there's hope for me yet' dept.:

Protein Injections Shown to Reverse Effects of Alzheimer's in Mice
Could lead to gramps wising up again after years of ridicule.

The $780 billion stimulus bill can be paid down if we legalized marijuana

Mary MacElveen

This may be the most controversial column I have ever written depending upon your views concerning the use of marijuana. Presently, the use of it is illegal for the majority of American citizens. The use of it for medical reasons is legal in 12 states who use different criteria for the use of it.

As congress will be looking to make cuts in certain programs such as food stamps which have been cut from this stimulus bill, Baldwin writes, "Legalization of marijuana could also save law enforcement agencies an astronomical amount of money. Miron estimates that marijuana legalization could save the United States as much as 7.7 billion dollars in law enforcement costs per year."

With the amount we can tax this commodity with, plus how much we can rake in growing our own crops as well as how much we can save in prosecuting any offenders: That $780 billion dollar stimulus bill can be paid down in no time.

In the past, I have been resistant to this idea of legalizing marijuana, but knowing how much money it does bring in due to and underground market and seeing the facts of how safe it is compared to cigarettes and alcohol, I feel this is the time to revisit this debate. One thing about our government is if they see dollar signs mentioned in any debate, their eyes pop open and perhaps their minds can be changed. If the government sees something it can tax, that usually gets their attention.

Am I advocating the use of it? No, I am not. That choice if we made marijuana legal would be up the adults that choose to consume it. I say adults because there is already an age criteria for the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.

Ms. MacElveen is a serious thinker and writer, and is right a very high percentage of the time. She's right again. Please read the rest.

She mentions that the economy would also be boosted by 'good ol' American bong' factories springing up all over the place, but I don't think she's a toker. She failed to mention the windfall for the snack food and pizza industries.

We could also save, or pay down, the stimulus money by one year without foreign oil. Fuck that! If pot is legalized, ya think I'm gonna walk to the store all stoned ta get my ZuZus 'n WhamWhams? I'm gonna need the pickup!

Quote of the Day

Balloon Juice

I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.

Anthrax Marinara and tire rims al dente perhaps?

Well, it hasn't ever worked before, so let's try it again!

You know... Doing the Same Thing Over, and Over, and Over, Over, and Over, and Over (and Over) Again, Expecting Different Results!

Cruise Ship Dance Revisited

Well, Fixer might have had the Pointer Sisters running through his head, their tune he says, yeah, right, while he was watching all the cruise ships pull out of the parking lot like Friday afternoon at the factory, but I got this:

Dance Of The Hours from Fantasia

Thank you, ellyka16.

The Destructive Center

Paul Krugman reads Obama and 'centrists' the riot act. Today's 'must read'.

What do you call someone who eliminates hundreds of thousands of American jobs, deprives millions of adequate health care and nutrition, undermines schools, but offers a $15,000 bonus to affluent people who flip their houses?

A proud centrist. For that is what the senators who ended up calling the tune on the stimulus bill just accomplished.

In the Senate, Republicans inveighed against “pork” — although the wasteful spending they claimed to have identified (much of it was fully justified) was a trivial share of the bill’s total. And they decried the bill’s cost — even as 36 out of 41 Republican senators voted to replace the Obama plan with $3 trillion, that’s right, $3 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years.

So Mr. Obama was reduced to bargaining for the votes of those centrists. And the centrists, predictably, extracted a pound of flesh — not, as far as anyone can tell, based on any coherent economic argument, but simply to demonstrate their centrist mojo. They probably would have demanded that $100 billion or so be cut from anything Mr. Obama proposed; by coming in with such a low initial bid, the president guaranteed that the final deal would be much too small.

Now, House and Senate negotiators have to reconcile their versions of the stimulus, and it’s possible that the final bill will undo the centrists’ worst. And Mr. Obama may be able to come back for a second round. But this was his best chance to get decisive action, and it fell short.

So has Mr. Obama learned from this experience? Early indications aren’t good.

For rather than acknowledge the failure of his political strategy and the damage to his economic strategy, the president tried to put a postpartisan happy face on the whole thing. “Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands,” he declared on Saturday, and “the scale and scope of this plan is right.”

No, they didn’t, and no, it isn’t.

Everything I know about economics I've learned from being a mechanic: If you work on your own motorcycle and fuck it up worse than it was to begin with due to incompetence, it doesn't matter how much money you spent on it, it's going to cost you a hell of a lot more for me to straighten it out.

And if you worked on someone else's motorcycle and fucked it all up, let's say stole parts off it for your buddies sorta like the Repugs did to us, not only is it going to cost a lot more money, everybody's gonna be totally pissed off at you. Be careful at the hamburger stands and bars 'cuz yer liable to get your ass kicked.

Either way, the bill gets paid or you got no motorcycle to ride.

The Dance ...

Ever see cruise ships dance? Well they do in Port Everglades. Heh ...

This tune was going through my head as I watched:

Pointer Sisters - Neutron Dance

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Crazy Redneck Music Blogging Twofer

Tony Rice ~ All The Way To Texas

Lacy J. Dalton ~ Crazy Blue Eyes
Thanks to onebarton2.

Maneuvering ...

You know how impressed I am, watching these big ships get into and out of tight places. Westerdam does it quite well.

And how's your day going?

Thanks to PuckUniversity. I think.

A Way To Revive Spending

Dan Newman in WaPo

That's where the government can help right now. Investment in infrastructure and education may pay off in the long run, but those jobs and projects take time to create. What small businesses need, immediately, is healthy demand for their goods and services.

The rebate checks of last year aimed to provide just that, but most Americans saved the money or used it to pay down debt. Less than 20 percent went to bolster consumer spending. There's little reason to expect more from the proposed $1,000-per-household tax cut in the current stimulus bill.

A better choice would be something Americans are likely to spend, and without huge logistical headaches: a gift card. By sending every taxpayer a $2,000 debit card, the government stimulates spending directly. The card doesn't get deposited with a bank, a step that greatly reduced the use of last year's rebate checks for new spending, and with a defined expiration time, perhaps a year, the program could help precisely while other programs get underway.

And such cards allow people to spend where they find it most valuable, obviating debate about where the government "should" spend money. Consumers will choose what things they need most, and, whatever those are, they would be more affordable.

I'm down with this idea. I just got a $100 rebate card from AT&T for something I bought six months ago. What I had to go through to get what they promised me is a story all by itself, but I finally got it. The point is, it has to be spent. I can't put it in the bank or cash it. It's just money back that I already spent, but spent it will be, tomorrow at Costco.

Give everybody back a reasonably significant amount of money and let them spend it on whatever goods and services they want, but not save it or pay down debt. It will get into the economy in a New York minute. Call it 'trickle-UP economics'.

"George W. Bush's penis has made it to Broadway"

I hope you have a nice fresh full bottle of bleach. Pour it in your ear now.

The Political Carnival

There are some visuals I never, ever want inside my tiny little noggin. Here's one now:

As The New York Times reports this morning, former President George W. Bush's penis has made it to Broadway. And it was not demure in saying so.

Must've been a small screen.

I assume Broadway got around the penal-- or in this case penile-- code.

One reviewer noted, "There is full frontal male nudity, ostensibly to imply that President Bush is compensating for something."


Get ready... Here comes my "shortcomings" line. Nah, never mind. You've heard it before. I obviously need to bone up on my penis jokes before I really blow it. Although, I have to admit, I'm having a ball thinking of them. But it's harder than I thought... really hard. Maybe I should pour myself a stiff drink.

I'll be heading off now, before I get myself into real trouble. I wouldn't want you guys to give me the shaft.

Bush managed to give this country a pretty good buttfucking despite that cocktail weenie he's got instead of an actual pecker. I think he substituted a telephone pole as soon as our backs were turned.

We Tried

Our Mom gves the Repugs what for on their obstructionism and flogging the dead horse of their failed criminal conspiracies:

We tried courteous. We tried inviting. We tried group hug. What'd we get?

The same pit bull Republican extremism that got us into this mess. Okay. Plan B. Time to take the gloves off and take these petulant corpses to task.

"Corpses" because that's what they are. The walking dead. The Republican Party is utterly out of ideas, hope, vigor and the stamina needed to pull this country through her critically dangerous hour of economic peril. Their leaders are codgy, ghost white advertisements for funeral home makeup....Mitch McConnell? John McCain? John Boehner? Newt Gingrich? Tired relics of nearly two decades of failed financial Darwinism. Wallowing in the bitterness of defeat, this whole crew knows they likely won't live long enough to see their worldviews ever regain prominence. It's their leafless, cracking dried up tree, and they despise the fact that they're sitting in it. Their solutions are as dead as Milton Friedman, and so are they. It's just that no one bothered to tell the oxygen in their lungs.

Last night on the floor of the Senate, Lindsay Graham....bitter neo-Confederate, failed guardian of our well being...actually said 'America's best days are behind it.' No, Senator. Your best days are behind you. You & the fawning cowboy capitalists, the chuckling power company execs, the high flying Wall Streeters, the smirking hedge funders, the pious free marketeers, the menacing oil oligarchs. The best days in America for all of you was when you could operate unhindred, unregulated, at will and for your own greedy ends.

You're right, Senator. If those were the days you thought were the best, they're dead. As dead as you look & sound.

Please go enjoy the rest.