Wednesday, January 31, 2007
who needs to pay taxes when you're a gop official?
after a land sale in monrovia in 2002 and two subsequent sales in fontana in 2005 and 2006, miller claimed an exemption under internal revenue code section 1033, which grants those forced to sell property through eminent domain at least two years to reinvest the profits without paying capital gains taxes.
miller's repeated use of the forced-sale exemption has enabled deferment of capital gains taxes through at least 2009.
bob carroll, co-creator of 'i love lucy,' dead at 88
bob carroll's work is familiar to anybody who watches tv. along with his partner madelyn pugh davis, and a third writer, jess oppenheimer, carroll wrote the pilot script, and worked on every single episode of 'i love lucy.' tv week:
mr. carroll and ms. davis co-wrote every one of the half-hour series' 180 episodes from 1951-57, either with mr. oppenheimer or with bob schiller and bob weiskopf, who joined the writing staff in the show's fifth season to help with the work load.
mr. carroll and ms. davis first worked with mr. oppenheimer and ms. ball on the cbs radio show "my favorite husband" beginning in 1948. it was that show that cbs originally intended to transfer to tv, but "i love lucy" was instead developed after ms. ball expressed her desire to star opposite her real-life husband mr. arnaz, a cuban-born bandleader.
anybody who ever enjoyed a television sitcom owes at least some of their laughter to bob carroll, who helped pioneer the medium.
we guess god's in the mood for some laughs, since he called both bob and molly ivins home.
wednesday night music club
beethoven - sanctus from missa solemnis
edda moser - soprano
hanna schwarz - mezzosoprano
rene kollo - tenor
kurt moll - bass
conductor, leonard bernstein
Labels: skippy's music club
rip molly ivins
“i’m sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn’t make you a better person,” she said in an interview with the san antonio express-news in september, the same month cancer claimed her friend former gov. ann richards.
to ivins, "liberal" was no insult. "even i felt sorry for richard nixon when he left; there's nothing you can do about being born liberal — fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed," she wrote in a column included in her 1998 collection, "you got to dance with them what brung you."
in a column in mid-january, ivins urged readers to stand up against bush's plan to send more troops to iraq.
"we are the people who run this country. we are the deciders. and every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war," ivins wrote in the jan. 11 column. "we need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'stop it, now!'"
slightly-related but disgusting tangent: oh those hate-filled liberals in the blogosphere. why can't they learn how to be civil, like the conservatives. here's just a few of comments, presumably left by the well-mannered and gracious conservatives, found on the message board at msnbc's piece on molly:
all that liberal anger and rage against those not like her neocommunist self decayed molly from the inside out. hate kills.
good riddance to bad rubbish as my mom used to say. her one-sided left-wing hatchet jobs are finally gone and will soon be forgotten.
#1 take yourself and your liberal friends back to canada. we need you like we need more friggin' mexicans.
#2 jimmy carter is an idiot. the epitome of incompetence!
ivans down, feinstein , boxer & pelosi to go.....
you're on the right track, pal. let's just add a few more names like fonda, robbins, penn, sarandon, ginsberg.....
actually, given the opportunity, i'll go vomit on her grave!!!
addendum: if you don't feel like the posters above, and would like to show some love to molly, pls. sign the sfchron guest book.
double addendum: mad kane gives us her ode to molly ivins.
we were hoping for dick, but we'll take heinlein
when does skippy get $180?
when do we get a grant? and we don't mean lou.
some of our best friends are named obama
what storybooks did he read as a little kid? goldilocks and the three little nicely groomed black people?
conservatism is dead and we aren't feeling so good ourselves
gone is the rockefeller republican--the pro-business conservative who welcomes government investment in social programs but simply wants to run them more efficiently. olympia snowe and susan collins are two the very last of a dying breed--outcasts in both of america's political moieties.
gone is the small government conservative. as even the wall street journal staff have admitted, "the the era of small government is over. sept. 11 challenged it. katrina killed it." the republican party is the party of big government conservatism now (whatever that means), as the cato institute has lamented at length.
gone, also are the old burkeian and hamiltonian conservatives whose preference for aristocracy and republic over mob rule and democracy has given way to the pseudo-populism of bill o'reilly and rush limbaugh, and the unilateral attempt to ostensibly spread direct democracy across the globe.
and gone too are the old ayn rand conservatives: those who view selfishness as the highest good, absent all communal forces to the contrary--including not only government but organized religion as well.
all of these proud descendants of the burkeian conservative tradition have been utterly marginalized in today's american political discourse. and there's a very good reason for that: conservatism as we know it has ceased to provide any meaningful answers for the problems that confronted by the nation and the world. instead, we are at a crossroads of epic proportions that will determine nothing less than the future of the free world in ways that most of us probably fail to fully grasp.
in the place of traditional conservatism--as thomas frank and hundreds of others have pointed out time and again--is an alliance between what markos and jerome call the "corporate cons" and the "theocons". i would also add the "neocons"--though many would simply say that they are a subset of the corporate cons.
the problem with this categorization, however, is the obvious difficulty that two of the above are not conservative at all, while the third is only conservative of religious tradition and nothing else. the old rhetorical adage "what are conservatives conserving, exactly?" is perfectly applicable for these people--none of whom are true conservatives at all.
but other than that how did you like it?
i’ve seen all four films in the scary movie franchise, and late one night, very drunk, i even watched the first 20 minutes of date movie on hbo (i then, blessedly, passed out). compared to epic movie, each of those films might as well have been made by preston sturges.
if you can't beat them, ask them for work
oh, how the homophobe has fallen.
the tennessean: "project president chris sanders said miller's solicitation was 'certainly not one that we're going to follow up on.'"
"'i suppose he thinks helping pass discriminatory bills would make him an effective advocate for the gay, lesbian and transgender community,' sanders said monday."
"miller did not return telephone messages today from the associated press seeking comment."
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
we love it when a blog comes together
birthdays don't mean dick
i wonder what changed?
tuesday night music club
weird al yankovic - bob
special tuesday night music club bonus:
readers of this space know our fondness for sinead's nothing compares 2 u and the scissor sisters' rendition of comfortably numb for best covers ever, but we found our number three best cover song ever:
the flying lizards - money - live!
Labels: skippy's music club
stop (yawn) the presses
he even mentioned the dreaded "blackwater," and reported that the helicopter that was recently downed in baghdad belonged to that private security firm, and that the four men which were killed and hung in fallujah three years ago were contractors of same.
don't get us wrong, we love jack cafferty. he's the only guy that seems to be able to shut wolf "how's my beard" blitzer up, or at least render him speechless, if only for a few seconds.
but, jack, if you had been reading the blogs for the past three years, you would have known about blackwater and the government contracts (read: taxpayer monies) that they have been getting to strut around iraq like so many macho roosters in sunglasses.
related but somewhat off-topic congrats go out to fdl, whose libby trial blogging got linked to, (via the word "colorful" in "colorful insight from bloggers") on cnn's situation room blog, under the category "libby trial online."
(also, another link on the word "suit" in "patrick fitzgerald's suit." way to go, fdler's!)
A lesson for state legislators
There are more important things for West Virginia's legislature (and citizens) to worry about than about what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms or who they hold in their hearts.
Our good friend Pam of Pam's House Blend points to an editorial from New Mexico that should be required reading for our representatives in West Virginia as well.
Editorial: Republicans are fixated on gay sex
It seems to me Republicans spend more time thinking about gay sex than any other group of people in the known world even more so than gay people trying to find other gay people with whom to have sex.
Of course, I'm talking about our very own esteemed state representative Gloria Vaughn. In case you missed the latest, Vaughn has proposed we amend the New Mexico State Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Now I could criticize this move from so many angles that frankly my mind fizzles and goes blank, making it hard to choose from which direction to attack.
Nevertheless, I'll give it my best.
How about: It's is a colossal waste of time.
Evidently, every New Mexican makes a decent living wage. No child will go to bed tonight with an empty stomach, because they are all well fed. For that matter, no child will go to bed with an empty mind because our education system is tops in the world.
Evidently our streets are free of drugs. Every New Mexican has a job and can feed their families with a $5.15 minimum wage. Our roads are the best in the nation. Everyone in the state has access to affordable health care.
We can only assume such is the case, because Vaughn isn't seeking to amend the Constitution to solve any of those problems. No. The most important item on her agenda is to make sure that gay people can't marry one another in the state of New Mexico.
...So please Mrs. Vaughn, and any other Republican who supports this, let's work on some issues that might actually improve the lives of New Mexicans. After all, time is short. There's only 60 days in the session and while you all were arguing about legislative initiatives to ban gay marriage last year, you failed to pass any laws to improve the minimum wage.
In other words, some poor mom will cry herself to sleep tonight because her kids went to bed hungry. She's trying to figure out how to make ends meet on $5.15 an hour . She doesn't give a tinker's damn about who's sleeping with who.
Amen. As a Sunday school teacher at my small church in West "By God" Virginia, I've pointed out that four verses cover all homosexual activity while hundreds more focus on hetereosexual relations that are constantly broken by faux Christianists. More than 3,000 verses cover the poor. If the fake Christians really wanted to follow their Biblical teachings, they would put a lot more emphasis on helping the poor than they would between what occurs between other people in their relationships. But how often do you see that from the religious right?
Besides, does West Virginia want to lose our coveted No. 1 title in Fred Phelp's rankings?
how the white house operates
From the first time the White House was asked about allegations that senior officials had exposed a CIA agent's identity as part of a plot to discredit an administration critic, the answer was consistent.
As spokesman Scott McClellan put it as early as July 22, 2003: "That is not the way this President or this White House operates."
But in the course of the Scooter Libby trial, one thing has become quite clear: That is precisely the way this White House operates.
Faced with accusations that they had marched the country to war on evidence they knew was suspect, White House aides evidently responded with little if any restraint in attempting to discredit their critics.
we (the collective anti-iraq war crowd in 2002 and 2003) f'n told you so.
help google improve their results
dissatisfied with your search results?
so I told them
i think george bush was the most relevant result for this search. now I don't know how to find george bush's biography.
and i added the url http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/
mccain’s support has declined among unaffiliated voters. obama now leads mccain by an 11-point margin among this important segment of the electorate. edwards and mccain are essentially even among unaffiliated voters.
mccain’s position on iraq—considered the most important issue by voters--may be taking a toll. most americans want exactly the opposite of what mccain advocates and want to reduce the number of troops in iraq. public confidence in the war on terror has declined sharply in recent months and a plurality now believes that the terrorists are winning. ninety-four percent (94%) of americans say it is likely that american soldiers will still be facing combat in iraq when the next president is sworn into office on january 20, 2009.
Monday, January 29, 2007
dog whistle court room antics
off the record, on the qt, and very hush-hush…
compare ari fleischer today. from firedoglake’s live blog:
apparently both libby and fleisher knew la confidential well; after all, they’re quoting it to each other, much like one old dfh quoting firesign theatre to another. why, you’d almost think they were using movie quotations to, um, send signals to each other. (as firedoglake points out, there is a protocol for dealing with classified information, and movie quotations definitely aren’t part of that protocol). we’ve already seen this handwriting of obviously coded messages sent en claire in libby’s famous though not decoded “aspens turning” note to judy “kneepads” miller.
so what signal was libby sending to fleischer? it would be irresponsible not to speculate!...
so, here’s what i’d say libby, quoting hudgeons, was signalling fliescher:
1. on the overt channel: “keep this conversation off the record” (as indeed, the tagline states)
2. on the covert channel: “play ball, because we’ve got photos in our files that you, ari, never want to see the light of day.
off the record, on the q.t., and very hush hush….
meantime, we like the government disclaimer that lambert puts at the bottom of all his emails:
you can either refuse to commit this crime, or you can expect to suffer criminal sanctions in the future, when constitutional government has been restored to the united states of america. i do not envy you for having to make this difficult choice, but i urge you to make it wisely.)
monday nite music club
los lobos - pawn shop - live!
one of our fav local la bands to make it big. the lobos rock! check out the wicked guitar solo!
Labels: skippy's music club
yet even more blogs at the libby trial
yes, our good friend jeralyn merritt of talkleft is now attending the libby trial, thus joining the fdl crew and brad blog as blogs of note in the court room.
now if we can just get some truth in there, things might pop. apparently, instead, we got air fleischer with immunity.
don't ask us, we're broncos fans
the ifi is one of the leading proponents of sjr7, the proposed indiana constitutional amendment on marriage rights, and other legislative efforts to deny equal rights to lgbt folks. under the guise of protecting traditional family values, it helps spread misinformation that fosters bigitory toward our community and our own families. tony is undoubtedly a very fine father and devoted family man, and for that he deserves high praise. his refusal to resort to shouting, cursing and other demeaning tactics many other nfl coaches use is extremely commendable. and i think most in our community take pride in the fact that either he or his colleague lovie smith, coach of the bears, will become the first african american coach in nfl history to win a superbowl.
but tony's prominent appearance before this group, as a representative of a major sports institution in indianapolis, sends a chilling message. all of us shared the grief that tony and his family experienced a year ago when his son took his own life. i understand that stories about a connection to sexual orientation were unfounded, and i would defend tony's right to consider that a private matter. still, there is an irony many of us in the lgbt community know well: the number of lgbt youth who have taken their lives because of self-hatred and homophobia is much above the national average. organizations of the ifi variety cannot escape the fruits of their helping to foster the myths and resulting bigotry which contribute to those grim statistics. surely tony doesn't in any way support that; so why is he lending his celebrity and role model status to such a group?
is it hot in here or are we just crazy?
the report will say that global warming caused by human activity is no longer a theory. it is a fact.
"this is slam dunk city," said jerry mahlman, the retired director of the geophysical fluid dynamics laboratory at princeton university, who reviewed a preliminary draft of the report. "we are certain that global warming is the real deal. we expect the warming of the planet to be pretty much incontestable."
charged with producing a definitive examination of the causes and effects of a planetary atmosphere overdosing on carbon dioxide, members of the united nations' intergovernmental panel on climate change will gather for opening ceremonies in paris tomorrow.
any sale would have to be approved by the bankruptcy court. the company has signed what is called a letter of intent to sell itself to green and expects to agree on financial terms soon, air america spokeswoman jaime horn said.
green is the brother of mark green, a longtime new york politician who has also appeared frequently as a guest on air america radio.
Weak-hearted fright wingers
It is an existential conflict. It is, in fact, about the future of civilization on large parts of the globe, in terms of what's represented by Al Qaeda and their associates. And it's very important that we recognize it's a long-term conflict, and we have to be engaged. There might have been a time when we could retreat behind our oceans and feel safe and secure and not worry about what was happening in other parts of the globe. But that day passed on 9/11.
And now, when we face the very real prospect that attacks can be mounted against the United States from various parts of the globe, including Europe—remember, the last threat was out of the U.K. with airliners to be blown up over the Atlantic—and where the possibility exists that the terrorists could next time have far deadlier weapons than anything they have used to date, this is a very serious problem. And the United States cannot afford not to prevail.
Cheney sounds like the typical dittohead. Compare his comment to this from last week posted by a fright winger on Time's blog.
If you want to win the War on Terror, you should be able to defeat them on the field.
If not, if you are defeated, remember this : each day you will see your kids taking a plane, a train or a buse pray they won't be hit by the international jihad reaching America.
A withdrawal of Iraq is an open door for terrorists to blow up in the streets of NY.
Cheney and the fright wingers are so terrified and have so little faith in the United States that they believe the nation can be defeated militarily. They actually have comic books with Islamic militants taking over the streets of the country.
It is one thing when a fright wing bed wetter makes such comments. But for the Vice President of the United States to display so much cowardice, and so little faith in the military and in law enforcement, that I can't help but feel he is emboldening our enemies with his words.
The only way for Al Quaeda or another terrorist organization to succeed in a massive attack is to have a president and vice president so inept and incompetent as to ignore multiple warnings and to shrug off any signs of an impending threat by saying to a CIA briefer that he had covered their ass and then to blithely dismiss them while remaining on vacation. And since Bush and Cheney only have a short time left in office before their terms expire or they're impeached, the time is running out for such terror attacks to occur again.
It would take a trained psychoanalyst to go through and explain why Cheney, who so identifies his administration with the nation itself (just like a monarch would do), sees the United States as so weak as incapable of defending itself properly from people with box cutters and improvised explosives.
As for me, I believe the nation as a whole is made of sterner stuff. As long as we're not led by weak and cowardly people.
more on the march
Legislation to Help Breast Cancer Patients
Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition that you can sign to show your support. The bill has only five co-sponsors in the House so far, but barring an extensive lobbying campaign from insurance companies, there should be more coming. Only lobbying by the insurance companies could possibly derail such a compassionate effort. Only your voice can counteract the lobbying.
The bill has been referred to, among other committees, the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Subcommittee on Health is chaired by none other than Frank Pallone, who represents New Jersey's 6th Congressional District. Congressman Pallone is one of the good guys, but it wouldn't hurt if his constituents let him know that they support H.R. 119.
(Sorry for the capital letters, but I just don't have the time to rewrite this in all lower case.)
Sunday, January 28, 2007
go wes young lady
sunday night music club
buddy rich just wailin' away
Labels: skippy's music club
the short version of my take on yesterday's march in d.c....
somewhere near triangle, virginia, the streetlights along i-95 south ended, and the highway stretched on into the darkness. after a long, taxing day marked by sunlight in my eyes and wave after wave of human noise for hours and hours, the darkness, and nothing but the sound of the bus engine, were a welcome relief from heaven. i stared out the window into the black sky, amazed at how many people showed up for the event, thinking about all the things my four fellow bloggers said, and how i hadn't laughed that much in one day in years.
it was the perfect ending to a fantastic day. i'll never forget it.
(full version at mockingbird's medley...)
gen. petraeus' imaginary army
we know general petraeus thinks he'll need at least 100k coin forces in baghdad. we know that there were 24K us forces in baghdad before the "surge." we know that of the surge forces, 17,.500 are going to be sent to baghdad. so the general needs 60,000 more soldiers.
he says he's going to get them from the iraqi facilities protection service, which currently numbers 150k. only problem, according to wapo:
that service is widely considered unreliable, and elements were described in July by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as "more dangerous than the militias," according to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)....the newsweek story on the fps is, perhaps, more alarming than the wapo account. another wapo story suggests that dod is kind of freaked out by the fps, too.
The Iraq Study Group described FPS members as having "questionable loyalties and capabilities." It quoted an unnamed senior U.S. official as saying that they are "incompetent, dysfunctional and subversive," with some serving the manpower needs of sectarian party militias and death squads....
The FPS units employed by those ministries are "a source of funding and jobs for the Mahdi Army," Sadr's militia, according to the Iraq Study Group report.....
In Fallujah, members of the Marine Expeditionary Force said that when they retook the hospital in Ramadi, local leaders insisted "that the FPS be barred from returning because of their corruption and unreliability."
The latest Defense Department report on Iraq said there is "anecdotal evidence" that FPS personnel "are unreliable and in some cases responsible for violent crimes and other illegal activities." It also described a survey done at the Central Bank of Iraq, which found that of the bank's 1,800 FPS guards, "800 failed to show for work, suggesting that they were either ghost employees or otherwise unfit for such employment."indeed, as this story, notes, the dod's opinion of the fps is not reassuring:
Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commanding general of the Iraq Assistance Group, told reporters Dec. 17: "The minister of interior has got to eventually deal with or wrestle with the Facilities Protection Service. I mean, it's got over 150,000 armed individuals that must be brought under a certain amount of control. And I think over time you'll see the minister of interior working on that."according to another wapo story, efforts by the iraqi government to reign in the rogue fps began last may. until then:
U.S. officials training Iraq's security forces say they have no more control over the FPS than the Interior Ministry does. "Negative. None. Zero," said Lt. Col. Michael J. Negard, a spokesman for the U.S. training of Iraqi forces.
we're sure the families of the 17,500 troops assigned to man the stations in baghdad's most violent and difficulty neighborhoods will be relieved to learn that their compatriots in this effort appear to aspire to the discipline and moral order of a biker gang.
indeed, it sounds like that fps is so corrupt that no rational general would want the safety of us counter insurgency troops to depend on their participation. and it sounds like they probably won't help us coin efforts against sadr, since the fps is where a lot of sadr's boys have their day jobs. so it sounds like if petraeus is serious, the sunni population of baghdad could well regard this as a choice to unleash the shia, if not sadr's boys, against them. which might be counter productive from a coin point of view, not to mention a civil war point of view.
now everyone, democrat and republican alike, tells us that gen. petraeus is an honorable man - indeed the best man for the job - indeed, he "wrote the book on counter insurgency!" so perhaps, gen. petraeus wasn't really serious when he said he'd use the fps. because as bad as the fps sounds, it sure sounds better than the alternative.
which is gen. petraeus' imaginary army.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
saturday night music club
the shins - pink bullets
Labels: skippy's music club
peter, paul and mary cheney
it's very funny. trust us.
more blogs at the libby trial
our buddy the bradblog now has blogger margie burns as their exclusive correspondent at the libby trial, so along w/the intrepid reportage of firedoglake, bradblog makes sure blogtopia* is well-represented at the most important trial of the third week of january 2007!
(you can see bradblog's logo there sitting behind fdl's in the jury box...ok, ok, we know they aren't on the jury, but the cartoon we stole for the pic wasn't big enough for a gallery shot)
(*and besides, yes! we coined that phrase!)
addendum: enigma4ever of watergate summer made a plamegate timeline in the summer of 2005, and it's still relevant today.
freeway blogging makes dead trees media
speaking of which, our trusty greater maryland area correspondent, mimus pauly, is there at the march today (he'll be the one in the skippy tee-shirt). we expect to get a report from him about the activities in dc sometime this weekend.
ghost in the plane
you can't spell "ohio" without "o ho!"
from the associated press
january 25, 2007
cleveland -- two election workers were convicted wednesday of rigging arecount of the 2004 presidential election to avoid a more thorough review in ohio's most populous county.
jacqueline maiden, elections coordinator of the cuyahoga county elections board, and ballot manager kathleen dreamer each were convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct by an elections employee.
they also were convicted of one misdemeanor count each of failure to perform their duty as elections employees.
a really big shew
some of skippy's bloggers have been having trouble posting. if you can read this, it means something.
for instance, carnacki was unable to post this transcript of the april 2007 press club roast:
the assorted media and political glitterati who sat on their hands during stephen colbert's routine the previous year laugh hysterically.
this is in keeping with the consensus that making fun of unpopular dead presidents is acceptable. only living presidents of both parties that can expect excessive deference.
mr. little puckers his lips and folds his arms across his chest, relaxing his nixonian mask a bit. "and now, right here on our stage," he says affecting a nasally voice, "we have a really big shew for you tonight."
white house correspondents invested in protecting the status quo laugh uproariously. making fun of dead celebrities like ed sullivan is funny.
"it's an honor to be here, ladies and gentlemen," mr. little says switching to a voice that sounds remarkably like that of president bush's father.
"not going to make fun of my son. wouldn't be prudent. heh-heh-heh!"
half of the washington press corps stands up and applauds like trained seals. actor bruce willis stands and puts two fingers in his mouth to make a long, sustained whistle of appreciation. the rev. al sharpton looks at his watch and again at the nearest exit.
tears of joy roll down fox news comedian dennis miller's cheeks. dr. phil glares at all the celebrities whose lifestyles he doesn't approve of.
mr. little smiles and makes the great leap from imitating the father to imitating the son: "say, where are those wmds?"...
rich little chuckles with self-satisfaction. he sees colorado congressman tom tancredo taking pictures of people in the audience with his cell phone.
summoning the voice of howard cosell, mr. little points to antonio villaraigosa, the mayor of los angeles.
"hey, tom tancredo. the man you're looking for is over there trying to look american. quick, check his papers. he looks foreign to me."
read the friggin' book!
twenty counter-insurgents per 1,000 residents is often considered the minimum troop density required for effective coin operations; however, as with any fixed ratio, such calculations remain very dependent on the situation. (par. 1-67).
wikipedia notes that estimates of the current population of baghdad vary between 5 and 7 million. let's be conservative. 5 mil/1000 * 20 = 100,000 counter-insurgent forces. a current cfr report says that there are 24,000 troops presently in bagdhad. with the addition of the 17,500 troops of the current "surge" intended for bagdhad, petraeus will have 41-42000 troops when, by his own analysis, he'll need 100,000.
if we are to follow general petraeus' "book," therefore, we should be quite skeptical about the size of the surge - it needs to be 3 to 4 times as large as aWol has proposed. just as a point of rhetorical analysis, if we are to grant authority to gen. petraeus because he wrote the "book," we must refuse to grant him such authority if he doesn't follow his own book.
if petraeus only needs 17,500 more troops for bagdhad, why did he write a book that said we'd need 75,000 more to do effective coin. was he wrong before, but right now. has military doctrine changed and no one bothered to tell the congress? under this analysis, we should defer to petraeus' judgment not at all - indeed we should wonder why aWol has appointed a general who doesn't mean what he says.
alternatively, has aWol promised petraeus another 60k troops - but asked for time to politically finesse it? i.e., is there a "secret" surge plan to be executed after they pull off this present public relations effort? - in such a case, military doctrine stands but you got the military and executive branch colluding to deceive congress. nothing new, but it appears that the only way that aWol can deliver on the promise is to draft troops pretty fast.
perhaps between these darkly conspiratorial options lies a third. perhaps aWol's just stalling - running out the clock. the surge will allow him to appear like he's doing something - a democrat president will inherit his mess and the republicans will claim iraq, indeed, is all clinton's fault and jeb will win in 2012. in which case the surge is just the political offering of 20 some thousand american lives on the altar of aWol's political machinations. in which case, petraeus is either just another remf or an anti-hero of the existential tragedy aWol has made of american policy and politics.
maybe that's why hagel calls iraq a meatgrinder.
Friday, January 26, 2007
welcome back, blogger
friday night music club
johann sebastian bach - toccata and fugue in d minor
performed and realized by stephen malinowski
this is a great video...if you liked fantasia, you'll love this one!
Labels: skippy's music club
meanwhile, back in iraq
the brazen assault 50 miles south of baghdad was launched jan. 20 by a group of nine to 12 militants. they traveled in black gmc suburban vehicles -- the type used by u.s. government convoys, had american weapons, wore new u.s. military combat fatigues and spoke english.
in a written statement, the u.s. command reported at the time that five soldiers were killed while "repelling the attack." two senior u.s. military officials as well as iraqi officials now say three of them were found dead and one mortally wounded in locations as far as 25 miles east of the governor's office.
we are mostly glad that the vidiot's health issues have resolved themselves in a positive outcome, but we are also glad that the sailor not only knows who coined the phrase "blogtopia," but who coined the phrase "blogiversary."
keep on blogging, kids, good on ya!
Cheney gave orders to Senator Roberts
From Think Progress:
In an interview with McClatchy Newspapers, Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) said that Vice President Dick Cheney exerted “constant” pressure on the former chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), to stall an investigation into the Bush administration’s use of false intelligence on Iraq. The so-called Phase II report on the administration’s use of pre-war intelligence was delayed for over two years. Two of its five portions were finally released in Sept. 2006.
Rockefeller said that he knew Cheney attended regular policy meetings in which he conveyed White House directions to conservative Capitol Hill staffers. They “just had to go along with the administration,” he said.
The nation's founders wrote the U.S. Constitution making Congress an equal branch of the federal government to the president. The Republicans in Congress turned themselves into a Rubber Stamp for the Bush administration.
whose default is it?
we cross-posted our discussion of california housing defaults over at booman tribune the other day. we got some interesting comments with links to even more articles about the current housing
idredit linked us to some eye-opening news. rge reports the recent headlines about housing produces 3 good ones vs 19 bad ones:
conclusion: do not be misled by the warmer weather. the housing market is nowhere near to be bottoming out if you look at the full set of news about this market.
housing starts in u.s. unexpectedly climb on growing sales, warmer weather
buyers scarce, many condos are for rent
u.s. jan home builder sentiment highest since july
us home loan demand drops as mortgage rates rise
foreclosure rates up big in december
south california southland home sales: new price peak, slowest december in ten years
san diego 2006 housing decline paints uneven picture
centex, kb home write off $793 million on value of land holdings, options
gmac rescap to cut 1000 jobs in mortgage-related business
washington mutual profit up despite mortgage loss
bank results show signs of credit deterioration
foreclosure leader: calif. lender’s hub loans hit
blue chip news: trading alert for countrywide financial corp.
foreclosure filings in nc reach all-time high
three new casualties among the sub-prime lenders: home 123 corp (subsidiary to new century), clear choice financial inc (and its subsidiary bay capital) and popular financial holdings
las vegas: assessed home values dropping
lennar logs q4 loss
homebuilders rise amid lennar’s optimistic outlook for 2007
bay area home prices flat, slow sales
more struggling builders warn market hasn't turned yet
two more home builders say times are tough
funding america decided to discontinue accepting any new business
the number of homeowners entering into some stage of the foreclosure process in december was 109,652, down 9 percent from november but up 35 percent from december 2005, according to realtytrac.
adjustable-rate mortgages, especially subprime arms, continue to drive the spike in foreclosures: many of those loans are due to reset in 2007, and many of the loans written in 2006 are performing less well than in previous years.
"the combination of slower home sales and rising interest rates on arms continues to drive foreclosures at significantly higher numbers than a year ago," said james j. saccacio, chief executive officer of realtytrac.
effective immediately, all loans in our pipeline will be processed out of our houston location and we will work to close those loans in as smooth a manner as possible. for questions concerning any loans that are currently in process, you should contact our processing team at (866) 782-0100 ext.1931, 1928, 1924 or 1933 for further information and status.
clear choice financial inc. announced it is insolvent. more than 100 layoffs at a mortgage lending subsidiary began in december, ceo chad mooney told mortgagedaily.com.
"we have been unable to raise additional capital to remain current on our pending obligations," mooney said in an announcement. (http://www.mortgagedaily.com/closureclearchoice011207.asp?spcode=pr)
popular financial holdings, a sister company to e-loan, announced it will exit subprime wholesale lending. the move will result in the elimination of approximately 627 positions. (http://www.mortgagedaily.com/popularsubprime011007.asp?spcode=pr)
new foreclosure filings in ohio increased by 1 percent in the third quarter of 2006 from the second quarter, trailing only michigan and rhode island for the largest increase, according to the study of 42.6 million residences with one to four units.
plus, 7 percent of loans in ohio were delinquent in the period, meaning payments are at least 30 days past due. the national delinquency rate was 4.7 percent.
time to buy a bike?
washington (reuters) - u.s. contingency planning for military action against iran's nuclear program goes beyond limited strikes and would effectively unleash a war against the country, a former u.s. intelligence analyst said on friday.
"i've seen some of the planning ... you're not talking about a surgical strike," said wayne white, who was a top middle east analyst for the state department's bureau of intelligence and research until march 2005.
"you're talking about a war against iran" that likely would destabilise the middle east for years, white told the middle east policy council, a washington think tank.
option 1, we conclude that aWol isn't satisfied with losing iraq, afghanistan and new orleans - he wants to lose a war in iran as well. but ask yourself, is it all part of a bold new republican health initiative to promote cardiovascular fitness. you could tax carbon emissions to get people out of the cars - but war in the middle east is an option only a republican would prefer.
google takes one for awol
is obama walking his talk?
I have the audacity to hope that soon Barack Obama will practice what he preaches, resist the temptations of the old politics of religion, and lead us into a new politics based on the moral value inscribed in the First Amendment, namely that religious freedom is best protected when no one tries to impose his or her religious principles on persons of different faith or no faith at all. As the Senator wrote, “I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or invoke God’s will and expect that argument to carry the day.”this is how legal scholars say, "snap!"
orwellian or kafkesque
Thursday, January 25, 2007
helping a journalist
a story reported by lara logan.
the battle for haifa street
the segment in question–”battle for haifa street”–is a piece of first-rate journalism but one that only appears on the cbs news website–and has never been broadcast. it is a gritty, realistic look at life on the very mean streets of baghdad, and includes interviews with civilians who complain that the us military presence is only making their lives worse and the situation more deadly. “they told us they would bring democracy, they promised life would be better than it was under saddam,” one told logan.“but they brought us nothing but death and killing. they brought mass destruction to baghdad.” - mediachannel.org
may the cleanup on aisle four be with you
chad vader - day shift manager, episode 2
to trip where no man has tripped before
jefferson starship enterprise
special bonus thursday night music club
we've plugged this song probably more than anything else we've touted (with the possible exception of who coined the phrase 'blogtopia'), but once again, here is the party party's rendition of awol singing imagine/take a walk on the wild side.
Labels: skippy's music club
thursday night music club
taking back sunday - liar
fun video, rockin' song
Labels: skippy's music club
horowitz was spewing the hardly-ever-right-wing meme that the nytimes was treasonous in its printing pics of cheney and rumsfeld's homes (even tho the info about same had been public knowledge for years, and rumsfeld himself gave permission for the pics to be printed). steve tried to correct the fallacies in horowitz's argument:
first, these are not presidential retreats. second, this is the most divisive war america has fought since the civil war, and it is a war with terrorists. consequently, the potential for crank attacks on american leaders is much greater.i don't dispute that point. the problem is that rumsfeld gave permission for the photos to be taken. and both his and cheney's vacation homes in st. michaels had already been discussed by newsmax, who published the information, so it was in the public sphere long before the nytimes article.
so again, i ask, why single out the nytimes as the villain, when others were complicit, including rumsfeld when he agreed to have pictures taken.
it seems to me that the real agenda is not the safety of leaders and cabinet members, but the smearing of the nytimes.
again, thanks for the opportunity to discuss this with you, i appreciate it.
steve, next time you feel like debating one of these goofballs, call pundits anonymous! we can help! we'll talk you down!
sometimes you gotta hit a jackass with a 2x4 to get its attention
(i changed the title of this posting...didn't like that one I was using before)
foreclosures in the land of $1.2mil median priced homes
just reported on our local "progressive" station, kist 1340.
we couldn't have said it better ourselves
but it is still liberaloasis' view that the bulk of this year is better focused on articulating our vision than getting caught up in the personaility game. that will best set the stage for 2008.
in fact, this should be a truism for any non-election year.
we need to get out of the habit of sitting back and waiting for a sweet-talking savior to do all the heavy lifting, since it's a years-long team effort to communicate an overarching vision and build trust with the broader electorate.
but it is especially so this year, because every prospective democratic candidate has plenty to prove.
and candidates, here's a way not to prove it:
trying to put a little wrinkle into a non-binding anti-surge senate resolution so you can have your own super-special iraq position to distinguish yourself from your rivals.
here's a way to prove it:
directly challenge the fundamental goals and objectives of the current neoconservative foreign policy, in iraq and beyond, and offer an alternate vision so compelling that the party gets behind you.
in other words, show some real leadership skills.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Shorter Robert D. Novak
Here's the short version of his latest column:
How dare the Democrats not take the blame for Bush's Iraq war!
ladies and gentlemen, the tubes!
via jonathan singer of mydd
this administration's healthcare plan...
to help pay for that effort, federal officials said the president’s budget would allow states to redirect money out of a medicaid program, which currently pays billions of dollars to hospitals that care for a disproportionately high share of patients who are uninsured. most often, these are public hospitals.this administration wants to penalize those people who buy into "gold plated" healthcare plans...and not do anything about those folks who actually can afford the penalties and still go to "gold plated private hospitals" like the four seasons' cwi westlake village.
...daniel sisto, president of the healthcare association of new york state, a hospital industry group, said, “you cannot rip away the safety net serving society today on the belief that a vision, a new system, will suddenly appear.” - nytimes
blurring the lines between a european spa experience and traditional medical care, our unique, onsite diagnostic medical center is managed by the california health and longevity institute, inc. punctuated by highly personalized, unhurried consultations and exams, physicians listen carefully to you and your body for clues and diagnostic findings to make recommendations for traditional and alternative lifestyle changes you can make today to improve your quality of life now and increase your lifespan.
Speaking of swamp dwellers
the chuck stops here....and here...and here....
i don't think we've ever had a coherent strategy. in fact, i would even challenge the administration today to show us the plan that the president talked about the other night. there is no plan. i happen to know that pentagon planners were on their way to central com over the weekend -- they haven't even team b'ed this plan....there is no strategy. this is a ping-pong game with american lives.... we'd better be damned sure what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more lives into that grinder.... and i want every one of you, every one of us, 100 senators to look in that camera, and you tell your people back home what you think. don't hide any more, none of us." -tpm muckrackerand there is good reason for him to be angry....(from an interview in this month's gentleman's quarterly)
and tonight on pbs
it’s incredible that you had to ask for that.
it is incredible. that’s what i said to andy card. said it to powell, said it to rice. might have even said it to the president. and finally, begrudgingly, they sent over a resolution for congress to approve. well, it was astounding. it said they could go anywhere in the region.
it wasn’t specific to iraq?
oh no. it said the whole region! they could go into greece or anywhere. i mean, is central asia in the region? i suppose! sure as hell it was clear they meant the whole middle east. it was anything they wanted. it was literally anything. no boundaries. no restrictions.
they expected congress to let them start a war anywhere they wanted in the middle east?
yes. yes. wide open. we had to rewrite it. joe biden, dick lugar, and i stripped the language that the white house had set up, and put our language in it.
senator hagel....good for you. i worry about your physical safety with the delusional neo-con crowd. i'm sure that spocko might some right wing whackjob urging their listeners to do you harm because you dared to question the "emperor."
ifill: once again from vice president cheney, his interview, senator hagel, today, at cnn, he said that part of what's going on here is that people do not have the stomach to complete this mission. senator hagel, your response to that?
hagel: oh, i am so sorry that the vice president so underestimates the people of this country--he has so little faith in this country to say something like that. that's an astounding statement from the vice president of the united states.
you're telling me, or maybe more directly, maybe the vice president should tell the families of those who have lost their lives--over 3000, and over 23,000 wounded, some very seriously for life, that they don't have the stomach? - kovie's diary over at kos
default of de economy
things are not all that rosey w/the housing market in california. the east bay business times reports that mortgage defaults are at an 8 year high:
lending institutions sent homeowners 37,273 default notices during the october-to-december period. that was up by 36.9 percent from 27,218 the previous quarter, and up 145.3 percent from 15,196 for the fourth quarter 2005, according to dataquick information systems.
last quarter's foreclosure activity was the highest since 38,053 default notices were recorded statewide in the third quarter of 1998. defaults peaked in the first quarter 1996 at 61,541. an average of 33,615 notices of default have been filed quarterly since 1992, when dataquick's statistics begin.
"several factors are at play here. the numbers last year and the year before were very low because of strong sales and appreciation. also, most defaults occur a year or two after the loan was made, so we're in a period where the loan pool is at risk. and then there are those inventive loans that have been made the last few years, where qualifying involves assuming more risk. we're in the midst of an adjusting market right now, and we won't know until spring or summer if this is ominous or not," said marshall prentice, dataquick's president.
these would be the ajustable rate mortgages, sold to the unsuspecting homeowners w/the comforting lie "they probably won't go up." the sfchron:
"the state of california has been tremendously dependent on adjustable-rate mortgage products," said scott anderson, senior economist for wells fargo. "when people have overstretched and are spending more than 50 percent of their net income on housing, it doesn't take much of a surge in interest rates to lead to financial problems."
gonna find out who's naught and nice...
jonesin' for james earl
the vader sessions
wednesday night music club
george harrison, ringo starr, eric clapton, phil collins, elton john, and a bunch of other guys - while my guitar gently weeps
bonus music club beatles extra:
john lennon - imagine
Labels: skippy's music club
tales from the swamp
carnacki reported on jay "hey, rube!" carney's dubious blogging attempt over at swampland, where he first tried to make up facts about clinton's poll numbers (as well as who sits behind the president during sotu), and then insult the readers who pointed out the mistakes.
(semi) big media picks up on it. via romensko via athenae at first draft, lance lehmkuhl, the philly daily news online editor, not only gives mad props to fdl for its libby trial live blogging, but won't let carney off the hook:
taken together, these two examples illustrate a shifting balance between bloggers and mainstream journalists, which i suggest we all would do well to keep track of. the familiar notion of expertise, civility, factchecking, and quality residing on one side of the aisle and parasitic, shoot-from-the-hip glibness residing on the other is way out of date, and those who fail to keep up with this fact may soon be in the same position.
change of address card
addendum: we love steve's explanation of the move on his old site:
a picture is worth a thousand scowls
this is supporting the troops...how?
marines deployed in afghanistan are not getting adequate nutrition from the defense department’s standard combat ration, meals ready to eat, the marine corps center for lessons learned (mcll) said in its january newsletter.
marine and army troops deployed to afghanistan conduct dismounted operations – meaning they walk instead of ride – in mountainous terrain and mre's do not provide enough nutrition for their mission, the mccll newsletter states.
as a result, “many marines and soldiers lost 20 to 40 pounds of bodyweight during their deployment,” the newsletter states. it adds that at least one solider was evacuated because of malnutrition and a 60-pound weight loss. - fcw.com