••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Friday, October 23, 2009

A White House effort to undermine conservative critics is generating a backlash on Capitol Hill — and not just from Republicans.

“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”

Altmire was talking about the Obama administration’s efforts to undercut Fox News. But he said his remarks applied just the same to White House efforts to marginalize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobby targeted for its opposition to climate change legislation.

“There’s no reason to gratuitously piss off all those companies,” added another Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. “The Chamber isn’t an opponent.”

POLITICO reported earlier this week on an all-fronts push by the White House to cut the legs out from under its toughest critics, whether it’s the Chamber, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck and the rest of the Fox News operation.

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has defended the push, saying the administration made “a fundamental decision that we needed to be more aggressive in both protecting our position and in delineating our differences with those who were attacking us.”

Congressional Republicans counterattacked Thursday. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the administration was “targeting those who don’t immediately fall in line” with “Chicago-style politics” aimed at “shutting the American people out and demonizing their opponents.”

Boehner’s No. 2, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) complained that the nation’s problems are growing while the White House “bickers with a cable news network.”

Liberal Democrats have little heartburn over the administration’s attacks on Fox and Limbaugh. But the attacks make moderates uneasy — especially when they extend to the Chamber of Commerce.

While Limbaugh and Fox commentators like Beck make no secret of their dislike for Democrats, the Chamber’s Republican lean is partially counteracted by nominal and financial support for pro-business Democrats who need to win votes from pro-business Republicans. The campaign websites of moderate Democrats from across the country are filled with endorsements from the Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, for example, has this testimonial from a Chamber official on his site: “On issues ranging from lowering taxes to increasing trade, Indiana’s businesses and workers have no better friend than Brad Ellsworth.”...

quit worrying! it's not a nixonian enemies list. obama's just doing what he said he'd do: calling out those who misrepresent his plan!

and anyway, FOX=666!
Why do women have sex? It's an intriguing question once you get beyond the obvious reasons: to perpetuate the species and because it feels good. Two University of Texas researchers wanted to dig deeper to find out what specifically drives women to go to bed with their partners. They conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 women ages 18 to 87 and found, to their surprise, that women aren't all that different from men....
100 Metropolitan Area Profiles
(from Brookings Institution)


Saturday, October 17, 2009

GREELEY, Colo. – The smell of manure hangs over Greeley as it has for half a century.

These days it's more than just a potent reminder of the region's agricultural roots and the hundreds of thousands of cattle raised on the city's outskirts.

The stench smells like an opportunity.

Investors are lining up to support a planned clean energy park that eventually will convert some of the methane gas released from the manure piles into power for a cheese factory and other businesses. JBS, which runs two of the largest feed yards and the local slaughterhouse, is testing a new technology that heats the cattle excrement and turns it into energy....

NEW YORK – When President Barack Obama said the United Nations had reached "a pivotal moment," he could just as well have been referring to his own presidency.

Both on the world stage and at home, Obama keeps asking for more, politely but firmly. But he's still had no signature win, not the kind that would set off a chain reaction of other victories.

For the U.N., Obama is seeking global cooperation to confront the challenges of bloody conflicts, a warming planet, economic deprivation and dangerous weapons proliferation. For his presidency, he's seeking the kind of high-fiving, powerful victory that a major health care overhaul would represent.

Power begets power, and success begets success, and no one knows this better than Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. "In politics, power is not static," he said in an interview Wednesday with PBS' Charlie Rose. "As you use it, if you're successful, it accumulates to achieve other goals."

Easier said than done, though Thursday's Security Council approval of a resolution embracing Obama's goal of a world free of nuclear weapons was a plus. So was the three-way Mideast leaders' meeting he engineered and led....
McALLEN, Texas – Rancher Mike Landry recently came upon a group of unarmed men dressed in camouflage burglarizing his guest house and stealing a truck from his 11,000 acres in Terrell County, rugged country bordering the Rio Grande in West Texas.

A couple of shots over their heads from his hunting rifle kept nine of them, all Mexican citizens, in place until Border Patrol agents arrived.

"It has really gotten to be pretty spooky," said Landry, who has run cattle in the area for 29 years.

Stories like Landry's seem to bolster Gov. Rick Perry's recent decision to send elite teams from the state's top law enforcement agency, the Texas Rangers, to remote borderlands to help them with security and deter a spillover of the gruesome drug-war violence plaguing Mexico. But Landry's situation never grew violent, and many other ranchers, sheriffs and politicians along Texas' 1,200 mile border with Mexico found the governor's announcement puzzling.

"We have landowners all along the border who are finding their farms and ranches overrun by smuggling operations," Perry said in an announcing how he would spend a fraction of the $110 million the Legislature approved this year for border security.

Since security was tightened at checkpoints in cities like El Paso and Laredo, immigrants and smugglers have been squeezed into places like Terrell County. The county sits between Big Bend National Park, which is too arid for safe passage, and Del Rio, another high-security spot.

Though traffic is up, people in those areas say they fall far short of being "overrun."

Perry's critics note that border crime has been falling in recent years....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Most career advice is highly subjective, offered by experts rather than researchers. A new study, however, suggests that there are methods and activities that can maximize your chances of success.

Researchers at the University of Missouri studied the efforts of 327 job seekers, ages 20 to 40, and found that developing and following a plan at the start of your job search, and having positive emotions later in the job search had a significant impact on success.

[See the good and bad news about job openings]

Conscientiousness appears to be key. Qualities such as self-discipline and dependability seemed to affect a job seeker's tendency to set goals and develop a plan, thereby directly influencing the number of job offers received, the researchers report. "Perhaps, conscientious job seekers conducted better quality job searches by scrutinizing their fit with prospective employers more carefully or more effectively following up with employers (e.g. sending thank you notes that emphasized qualifications)," the researchers report.

Likewise, positive emotions may have helped job seekers behave more confidently or cope better with stress, "thereby responding more skillfully in interviews than job seekers with less positive emotions," according to the report.

While the researchers acknowledge that job seekers cannot change their personalities, they note that individuals can change their behaviors and the display of their emotions. They recommend that job seekers "set goals, plan, and monitor their job search progress," as well as analyze their job interview skills. They also recommend that job seekers find ways to generate more positive thoughts and better responses to bad news.

[See how many companies want to rehire workers they laid off]

Researcher Daniel Turban, a professor and chair of the Department of Management in the University of Missouri's College of Business, recommends that job seekers make plans for their searches, then regularly assess their progress. "Some of these recommendations seem like they are common sense, but they are just not that common," Turban says. "People don't have strategies, they don't assess their plans, and they don't think about their strategies and reflect on whether it's working or how to make them work better. They just don't do it."
The case gives new meaning to the term pothead.

Or dope.

Cesar Lopez, 29, was in a Lebanon, Pa., convenience store early Saturday morning, staring at the inside of his baseball cap near a restroom.

What the Lebanon man was probably looking for wasn't in the hat, because it was stuck to his forehead, according to police.

A uniformed police officer who happened to be in the store plucked a small clear-plastic bag of what appeared to be marijuana from above Lopez's brow.

"Is this what you're looking for?" the officer asked.

Lopez was charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana and released.

The bag had probably been tucked inside the sweatband of the cap - a common place for concealing drugs and paraphernalia - before it became dislodged, according to Chief Daniel Wright.
yup, that's where i always put mine....


...Democrats and Republicans alike agree that we must ease the way for nuclear power to play an increasing role in making America energy independent.
that's bull! "an increasing role"?! nuclear is too risky and always requires big subsidies, too. "independent" at what price?

two more questions:

is it true that john kerry, to get lindsey graham's support for the bill, agreed to allow offshore oil exploration?

and, as if this is a joke that can't get worse, the icing on the cake:

is it true that one version of the bill would take away the EPA's authority to control greenhouse gas emissions?

look, i supported kerry in '04 because he was not only a war hero but an antiwar hero, but he played up the former and never mentioned the latter. then he failed to say anything about abu ghraib or respond to the swiftboating.

if the concessions to graham and the nuke industry are done in the name of bipartisanship, then bipartisanship is another name for shaking hands with the devil.

what is wrong with him?

some things cannot be compromised.
NEW ORLEANS – Insisting he's "just getting started," President Barack Obama defended his administration Thursday against complaints from some residents of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast that federal help in recovering from the 2005 disasters hasn't improved much since he took office.

"We've got a long way to go but we've made progress," Obama told a town hall at the University of New Orleans. "We're working as hard as we can and as quickly as we can."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

buffy sainte-marie was on democracy now! yesterday. she's written a lot of great songs.

this is the one i want to post here:

Universal Soldier
Words and music Buffy Sainte-Marie
Copyright Caleb Music

He's five foot two and he's six foot four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist, and a Baptist and a Jew
And he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
Kill you for me, my friend, and me for you

He's fighting for Canada. He's fighting for France.
He's fighting for the USA
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan
And he thinks he'll put an end to war this way

He's fighting for democracy,
he's fighting for the Reds
He's says it’s for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
And he never sees the writing on the wall

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone.
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
And without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he really is to blame
But his orders come from far away no more
They come from him and you and me
and Brothers, can't you see
this is not the way to put an end to war?
oct 11

what with the (undercovered) march and all, i thought i'd share this e-mail i sent to talk of the nation after they discussed don't-ask-don't-tell about 11 months ago. i was happy to hear neal conan use my idea the next time the show focused on the topic.

hey neal,

i wanted to phone but felt intimidated when you said you wanted to hear from members of the armed forces, which i'm not.

here's what i would've said:

not only is the policy unfair, it's a national security threat, as was the former ban on gays in the military.

anytime people have a strong motive to hide something about themselves, they're vulnerable to blackmail, which spies can use to recruit them.

i'm really amazed that so many officers, trained to think strategically, have never thought of that.

to use one of today's most overused phrases, "in the interest of full disclosure" i confess my first reaction was that it's a bit premature. i wondered what the nobel committee could have been thinking.

then i recalled that the process isn't over. obama won't get the prize in the mail. he'll have to go to oslo to pick it up, and while he's there he'll have to give a speech. not just any speech. the nobel lecture.

and what's he going to talk about? the weather? i don't think so. he'll likely commit himself to negotiation, disarmament, peacemaking, defending the environment, and some other things.

when he gets home he'll have to follow through on those commitments.

in other words, giving the peace prize to obama was a strategic move. it's meant to put gentle pressure on him to realize his potential.

not just him. us too. the president can't do much without the help of the american people.

think back: woodrow wilson won the peace prize in 1919. he didn't get it for winning the war. he got it for his peace plan.

the joker in the deck was that the republicans took over the senate earlier that year and held the majority till 1933. they refused to ratify membership in the league of nations. without american leadership the members of the league ignored many of wilson's proposed 14 points. they imposed harsh penalties that fractured germany's economy, bringing on the rise of hitler and a long period of instability culminating in depression, war, and genocide.

of course i'm oversimplifying, and i encourage everyone that hasn't already done so to look up the history of various countries during that period, but i don't think many of you would disagree with the oft-cited notion that failure to heed the lessons of the past predisposes us to make avoidable errors.

let's not repeat the mistakes of the 1920s.

let's get it right this time.

blessed are the peacemakers.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

WASHINGTON – Rejecting Republican amendments, Democrats turned back GOP efforts to cast the health care overhaul as a tax hike on the middle class Thursday, as a crucial Senate panel aimed to wrap up debate on the measure by nightfall.

The outcome increasingly appeared inevitable with Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., declaring he had the votes for approval of the bill embracing President Barack Obama's priorities of extending coverage to the uninsured and holding down spiraling medical costs.

The final committee vote probably won't happen until next week so senators and the Congressional Budget Office have time to review the legislation. The full Senate and House are to take it up later this month.

The legislation would dramatically reshape the U.S. health care system, extending coverage to about 95 percent of Americans, making carrying insurance a requirement for the first time, providing subsidies to help poorer people buy health plans and barring insurance industry practices like dropping coverage for sick people.

A new purchasing exchange, or marketplace, would let people shop for and compare insurance plans that would be required to meet certain standards. Baucus' bill leaves out a new government-run insurance plan — opposed by Republicans — to compete with private companies.

However senators agreed Thursday to let state governments negotiate basic coverage plans for some lower-income people. The author of an amendment on that subject, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said it's a form of a public plan but would rely on the private sector and would result in more affordable coverage, a major concern for senators.

The measure would apply to people who make up to twice the federal poverty level — about $44,000 for a family of four — but make too much to qualify for Medicare. States could use federal subsidies to negotiate with private insurers to write coverage plans for those people.
WASHINGTON – First-time claims for jobless benefits increased more than expected last week, a sign employers are reluctant to hire and the job market remains weak.

And even though consumer spending jumped by the most in nearly eight years in August, due partly to the government's Cash for Clunkers program, economists question whether the improvement can be sustained. They note that households face rising unemployment, tight credit conditions and other obstacles.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to a seasonally adjusted 551,000 from 534,000 in the previous week. Wall Street economists had expected an increase to 535,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The increase comes after three weeks of declines. Weekly claims have been trending down since the spring, but the decline has been painfully slow. The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped to 548,000, about 110,000 below its peak in early April.

"This is a bit disappointing but not unduly alarming," Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note to clients. The increase "leaves the downward trend in claims intact."

Economists closely watch initial claims, which are considered a gauge of layoffs and an indication of companies' willingness to hire new workers. Many economists say initial claims below 400,000 would be a signal that employers are adding to the net total of jobs.
The number of people remaining on the rolls, meanwhile, fell 70,000 to 6.09 million, the lowest level since the week of April 4.
Continuing claims have declined slowly from a record level of 6.9 million in late June, "suggesting that the unemployment rate is near its peak," Abiel Reinhart, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, wrote in a note to clients