Tuesday, May 30, 2006

College Loans

Turns out that 2 out of 3 college grads owe about $19,000 in school loans. Who is the biggest holder of this debt? - The U.S. government. This should help make it easier for the government to recruit to the military. Allow tuititions to rise and cut student aid, grants, and loans. Then, the military becomes all the more enticing.

Never mind that there is no plan for Iraq and it further descends into chaos. Afghanistan is going down the toilet also because Bushie never actually finished the job. Sheik Omar and Osama are still running wild so the Taliban is encouraged to just stay in the game. Pathetic.

I'm Still Here

Hey folks, I have just been busy with stuff the last week or so, I will be back posting tonight or tomorrow.

Day 1722!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Oil at $100/barrel?

Interesting commentary about this very real possibility. The recent run-up happened without any real disruption of oil. Given rising demand around the world (particularly China and India) and geopolitical hotspots (Sudan, Iran, Russia), the price of oil could rise rapidly. Given our dependence on foreign oil, the U.S. has a national security risk related to oil disruptions. That is why Bushie has put Libya back in our good graces. Libya is not a democracy and remains a regime that does not care about human rights - but oil washes those concerns away.

Hayden Will Be Confirmed

Looks like General Michael Hayden will be confirmed as the next CIA Director. He seems like a professional and is well liked in Congress. The problem is that he is the architect of programs that have collected tens of millions of phone records of innocent Americans (who we call, who called us, for how long) and conducted warrantless wiretapping of Americans phones. Whether he will make a good Director or not remains to be seen. The fact that he oversaw programs that skirt the law should be dealt with, but likely will not be.

What I do not understand is why people are celebrating big government expansion of power and infringement of our civil rights.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Holy Crap! - $2.8 Trillion Federal Budget

The Republicans in the House pushed through a $2.8 trillion budget late last night. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert then had the nerve to say:

". . . it continues us on the path to a balanced budget and shows once again that Republicans are prepared to move forward aggressively to maintain fiscal discipline."

What the Hell is he talking about? In the last 6 years federal spending has increased from $1.7 trillion (last year of Clinton) to now $2.8 trillion (64% increase). This spending also does not include Iraq war costs which are done as emergency supplementals. The national debt has exploded from $5.7 trillion to $8.4 trillion (47% increase). When Clinton left office we had a budget surplus of $240 billion - today we are looking at a $350 billion to $400 billion deficit.

That is what Hastert calls fiscal discipline?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Republican Math

Quoting from the linked article, "The GOP says the tax cuts, first enacted in 2003, have created 5.2 million jobs since August 2003 and bolstered tax revenue by nearly 15 percent last year. According to the White House, the cuts have helped spur growth by keeping $880 billion in taxpayers' pockets during the past five years."

So if we assume that half of the tax cuts were in effect since August 2003 (it is closer to 60 percent, but let's be conservative), then basically the tax cuts are coming out to $85,000 per job ($440B divided by $5.2 million). If you look at the majority of jobs created they are low pay, no benefit jobs. The tax cuts are going disproportionately to the rich and the very rich, and are simply not producing jobs.

Bloody Day on Wall Street

Not surpising given the CPI number.

It is also great to see that Bushie signed his $70 billion tax cut for the wealthy. Lower income folks who are not investors get nothing. This will ensure that we pay for our National Guard troops on the border by borrowing from China and other foreign countries. We are supposedly at war, but Americans are not asked to sacrifice anything in the short term. Then, Bushie just charges his huge expenses and is passing them on to our children and grandchildren. That is exactly what is happening.

Fixed Voting Machines

In the conspiratorial spirit of the day, here is an interesting piece that suggests that the 2000 election in Florida was fixed.

Here is some more interesting reading on the subject. It is related to Diebold.

I firmly believe that we need transparancy in our voting machines. First of all, it should not be made by for profit companies. Second, the code that is used in the machines should be open for scrutiny by a panel of outside experts to ensure that there are no security flaws, or hidden code that changes voter intent. Third, there must be a paper trail. Anyone who does not believe that there should be paper ballots that print out along with electronic voting is just stupid. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue, it is an American issue.

Consumer Prices Rising

Another indicator that inflation is creeping up. The CPI jumped 0.6 percent last month. Prepare for increasingly higher interest rates. Aside from credit card payments, adjustable mortgages and other impacts on individual consumers, the problem is that with rising rates it becomes increasingly more expensive to finance our mammoth national debt. Interest payments on the debt will rise because we will have to offer foreign investors higher rates of return on their purchases of U.S. debt.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Watch the Pentagon Video

I took a look - multiple looks - and I just don't see a 757. Certainly something hit the Pentagon, but given the size of the object relative to the Pentagon, it does not look like a 757 to me. I am not saying that it was not a 757, I just don't see it. The video will likely be viewed the way you want to view it. Some will say 757, some will say missile, etc.

In an interview with Parade Magazine, Rummy supposedly misspoke when he said, ". . . it's physically impossible to defend at every time and every place against every conceivable technique. Here we're talking about plastic knives and using an American Airlines flight filed with our citizens, and the missile to damage this building and similar (inaudible) that damaged the World Trade Center."

Here are some of the eyewitness accounts. There are a lot of discrepencies between the various stories. Not surprising given that eyewitness accounts are often unreliable.

Here is a conspiracy theory link.

Here is a counter link that supports the official story.

You can decide for yourself. I will say that if there was a conspiracy I am certain that someone will come forward.

Phone Company Lawsuits

AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth are now facing a $200 billion lawsuit for allegedly giving private customer data to the NSA as part of Bushie's secret program. BellSouth has said they never gave data and Verizon said the same today. Supposedly their customer data is in the NSA database - we will have to see. As this suit works through the courts we will find out what happened.

Pentagon 9/11 Tape

The government is going to release a security tape of the plane slamming into the Pentagon. I doubt it will stop the conspiracy theorists given that it is now 5 years later, but hopefully it will address the theories.

Marcus Vick Signs w/Dolphins

Looks like Vick is going to get a shot at being a wide receiver for the Dolphins. He signed a free agent contract with the team yesterday.

Exploding National Debt

Here is a great piece on the problems posed by our national debt.

Bear Feeding Frenzy

Some bears ate a monkey at a zoo. These things happen. I guess the zookeepers should have fed the bears more.

Barry Bonds

I know the guy is coming off of injury, but based on his stats this year, it looks like he needs to get back on the 'roids (allegedly). At this point, he may not be able to catch Hammerin' Hank. Maybe as the weather warms he will be able to get into a groove.

Bushie Speech on Immigration

THE DECIDER is sending 6000 National Guard troops to the border. Apparently, they won't be allowed to shoot or arrest anyone - that is the job of the Border Patrol. With our military stretched thin and hurricane season approaching, there are limits to which units he can choose from. We'll see how this works out.

My bigger complaint is that he is still proposing his Temporary Guest Worker program. Basically, this would give short term visas to people who want to work in the U.S. The can come here and do crappy jobs for low wages, but they cannot become citizens. Then, when their pass expires they are supposed to go back to their country. This is going to flood the country with folks and then how the Hell are we going to get them to leave if they choose not to? Obviously it does nothing to solve the problem.

The Republican base is not going to be happy and Republican Congressmen are already blasting Bushie. Looks like poll numbers will actually drop into the mid-20s as he loses more Republican support.

FBI Monitoring the Press

Yesterday I posted a link to the ABC story about the FBI listening in on members of the press. Here is another link to a similar story. It is funny, until you realize how dangerous it is.

Freedom Marching On In Iraq

Looks like this month is turning into another bloody month for Americans and Iraqis.

Amazing Double Amputee

This guy scaled Mt. Everest without any legs. Amazing. I am so out of shape that I get winded playing with my kids.

Power Shut Off for a Penny

This woman in Michigan got her power cut off because she was one penny short on her power payment. It happens I guess.

Day 1708!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bushie Speech Tonight

THE DECIDER is going to send National Guard troops to the border - but they will only assist border guards, not provide law enforcement operations. Then, he is also going to propose his amnesty program to make illegals who are in this country legal by giving them temporary worker status. This is just a horribly bad idea.

Republican Chuck Hagel criticized the idea of using National Guard because many Guardsmen have had multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now going to be forced to provide border security when we should just be hiring and training more border agents.

Government Spying on News Agencies

It appears that Bushie is spying on news reporters. So much for freedom of the press. What else is new, this is an administration that does not believe in the values of the nation or the protections provided by the Constitution.

Viva Libya!

The Bush administration normalized relations Moammar Gadhafi and Libya after 25 years of sanctions today. This is pathetic. Gadhafi and Libya admitted to the the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland killing 270 people, including 181 Americans. In addition, Libya agreed to pay victims families a total of $2.7 billion, and voluntarily disclosed and ended its weapons of mass destruction program. Why the change of heart by Bushie? It's simple – oil. Libya has huge untapped oil reserves and by opening up trade with Libya we can increase our supply of oil.

A known terrorist who killed Americans, Moammar Gadhafi, is still running the country with his top lieutenants. To make matters worse, in a BBC interview, Libyan Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem stated that his country did not accept guilt for the Lockerbie bombing, saying instead that Libya had “bought peace” by agreeing to the $2.7 billion victims’ families fund.

Most Americans probably will not care, but this is a horrible decision that sends the message lound and clear - the U.S. is open to negotiation with terrorists who are leaders of oil-producing countries. I guess a little oil goes a long way.

Rove to be Indicted

There is a report that the hammer will come down on Karl Rove and he will be indicted this week in the CIA leak investigation. We will see if this ends up being true.

Mel Gibson Criticizes Bushie

Mel "The Passion" Gibson ripped Bushie as a fear-monger. Given Gibson's marketing efforts to mega-churches for "The Passion," and his standing among Evangelical Christians for his portrayal of the Crucifixion, I find his criticism interesting.

Low Bushie Poll Numbers?

Laura Bush says she doesn't belive the polls. They must be wrong. I wonder if she truly is delusional.

BC Prof Quits Because of Condi

Secretary of State Condi Rice has been invited to speak at Boston College's graduation. One professor resigned her position because of opposition to allowing such a huge liar to speak at graduation. Quoting from her resignation letter:

"I cannot, in good conscience, exhort my students to pursue truth and knowledge, then collect a paycheck from an institution that displays such flagrant disregard for both."

Day 1707!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bugged Phones

Bushie is monitoring most Americans' calls. This is Big Brother government and very likely a violation of the 4th Amendment.

Here are some Q&A that is interesting.

The government claims that it is not listening in, just tracking calls, but there is no credibility in that statement given that they have been so secretive and Bushie lied when he said that wiretaps require warrants.

The government is supposed to represent and work for us, but rather they are acting like we are beholden to it. As we continue to lose our civil liberties it will be more and more difficult to get them back. We are on a dangerous path.

Day 1703!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ex-Lax Cookies

Three kids thought it would be funny to give their teacher cookies laced with Ex-Lax. One of their mom's explained how to crush the Ex-Lax and mix it into the cookie dough. They used the whole box and then apparently kids in the class who ate the cookies became sick. It is not funny and it demonstrates horrible parenting. Too many parents would rather be friends with their kids rather than parents.

Day 1702!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gold at $700 ounce!

Gold has been on a tear and hit $700 and ounce today. Not surprising given that the dollar is sinking against the euro and the yen. The unsustainable deficits and high oil prices are threatening the dollar and U.S. economic stability.

To make matters worse, a Washington Post story today cited the Republicans' latest budget figures are coming in at $2.7 trillion for next year (this does not include Iraq and any emergency spending). In the congressional version of the budget there is a provision that would kick the U.S. debt limit to $10 trillion. That is absolutely pathetic.

In Clinton's last year, the government spent $1.7 trillion, we had a budget surplus of about $236 billion, and we were paying off the national debt which stood at $5.7 trillion. In six years, THE DECIDER has seen government spending increase to at least $2.8 trillion (65% higher than Clinton), and have seen the national debt explode to $8.4 trillion (47% higher than Clinton). We have also seen our record surplus turned into a $400 annual budget deficit.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ohhh Fristie!

Looks like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has been caught selling Americans short again. He allowed private vaccine makers to secretly write legislation which protected their interests at the expense of average Americans. The guy is a corporate whore, I am not surprised.

Forrest Gump Recruited!

Looks like military recruiting is so tough that they are resorting to signing up an autistic kid. We are going to have mistakes made, but this is an inexcusable, pathetic story.

New Bushie Low!

USA Today/Gallup Poll puts the President at 31 percent approval.

I guess the fishing segment of the population did not like his lie about his perch.

Bushie's Best Moment as President

In an interview with German TV, Bushie was asked what his best and worst moments as president were. 9/11 was clearly his worst, but his best moment:

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5-pound perch in my lake."

The guy caught a big fish in his stocked lake. I love fishing, but that is his best moment? You would think he would say something like catching Saddam, or dismantling the Taliban, but a fish? What a loser.

There is one other fact that is making its way around the Internet. The world record for perch is apparently 4 pounds 3 ounces.

This just further proves that he is a liar.

Day 1700!

And still no Osama bin Forgotten.

We are now years away from 9/11 and it is clear THE DECIDER has done nothing to address the problems in gathering intelligence (remember how we needed to "connect the dots"). Porter Goss was a horrible CIA Director - the fact that Bushie fired him tells you something. Bushie doesn't fire anyone.

Now the choice of Michael Hayden to replace Goss is being questioned by congressional member of both parties. This president is a joke of a leader.

Day 1700!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

THE DECIDER has destroyed the CIA

Porter Goss resigned as the Director of the CIA. It comes as somewhat of a surprise, which has led to a lot of speculation - power struggle with the White House, power struggle with John Negroponte (Director of National Intelligence), perhaps being caught up in the Duke Cunningham prostitution scandal that is growing larger - who knows? I am sure more details will emerge in coming days, but during his term, Goss saw top intelligence officers throughout the CIA resign in protest of his horrible leadership. Bushie's choice has effectively gutted the CIA. Why am I not surprised, he has destroyed everything else he has touched.

Day 1698!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Maybe Bushie Consults 3 Mystic Dwarfs

A judge in the Philappines was fired for consulting his three imaginary dwarf friends, Armand, Luis, and Angel.

Maybe those three dwarfs are consulting Bushie. I'll ask them later today when I consult with them about what I should do this weekend.

THE DECIDER loves Abramoff

It looks like disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates met with White House official 200 times in the first 10 months of Bushie's presidency. Abramoff was working on behalf of one of his clients, the Northern Mariana Islands. It is nice to see that the nation's priorities were being attended to by Bushie. It was absolutely critical that the White House work on addressing the needs of Northern Mariana Islands every single day. It only cost Abramoff $100,000 to get such unbelievable access.

Hmmm, I don't know what would have been more important to focus on in those first 10 months of his presidency.

Day 1695!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Freedom Marching On in Iraq

We have hit another sad milestone of 2400 American soldiers killed in Iraq. Yesterday was the third anniversary of THE DECIDER's proclamation on that major combat actions had ended in Iraq. It was his speech on the aircraft carrier that he delivered with the big, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" sign hanging behind him.

One Weird Couple

This 33-year old man is marrying a 104-year old woman. It is his first and her 21st. Bizarre. She must have some kind of magic power. I wonder what happened to her first 20 husbands.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Abramoff Records to be Released

The Secret Service will release its records of visitors. We should see how many times disgraced and convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff went to the White House, and with whom he met during those visits. It should give us some idea about policies that he impacted.

Day 1694!

Great Political Satire

Stephen Colbert (of Comedy Central's Colbert Report) gave a biting keynote speech at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. If you want to see what great political satire is, read his speech, or if you prefer watch his comments (Part 1 and Part 2).

As I watched it, I was uncomfortable for the president - even though I found his talk to be hilarious. I have to say, it was amazing to see Colbert rip the president as he was sitting just a couple of feet away. The audience had a cool reaction to the talk. Some I am sure did not find it to be funny and I am sure others were very uncomfortable with the talk. Given Bushie's approval numbers and his policies and suspect decision-making, Colbert's satirical speech gave life to the opinions of many Americans.

Here is a good media column that gives some commentary and insight on Colbert's address.

Draft Thoughts

The Texans could have had Vince or Reggie - and ended up with Mario? That is going to be a huge mistake. It is no wonder Danny Boy got rid of Casserly. New Orleans lucked out with Reggie falling into their lap and I cannot wait to see Vince play in Tennessee.

Bears had a mediocre draft - at best. I don't know the players they took, but would have liked to have seen a receiver/tight end. They seemed to draft all defense.

Within the NFC North: (1) Detroit blew their draft by not taking Leinart (2) Green Bay got a good player in A.J. Hawk, but they still stink. (3) Minnesota will be better but nothing special that I can see. It looks like the Bears should stay on top of the division.

Redskins - got nothing in the draft that I can see. Trading away their first round pick from this year for Jason Campbell last year seems like a waste to me. With Saunders in, who knows if Campbell will even be a part of the offense. Of course, when you have Brunell and Todd Collins, who knows.

Within the NFC East: (1) Dallas had an OK draft - Carpenter and Fasano look like solid contributors. (2) The New York Giants had a good draft if Kiwanuka is any good - picking up Moss gives Eli another weapon. (3) Philly addressed a lot of needs, particularly with their offensive and defensive lines. Avant and Bloom should help out in their receiving corps, but neither player is a star. Basically, it looks like the East is up for grabs.

We have an "Energy Crisis"

It is now official because THE DECIDER's energy secretary said so. Of course, most of us have known about this problem for some time. Today I had to spend another $50 to fill up the tank on my Highlander. I just cringe when I think about the $4/gallon gas that we will be paying for this summer - assuming THE DECIDER doesn't decide to actually nuke Iran.

Iraq Musings

THE DECIDER has proclaimed that Iraq is now at a turning point on the way to democracy. We will see. April was the worst month in terms of U.S. casualties in five months.

I have to wonder how soon we would be out of Iraq if the costs of the war were actually put into the budget. Because Bushie pays for his war through emergency supplementals rather than through the normal budget process, it does not show up as part of the annual budget deficit. If we actually counted the $100 billion in the budget, we would see that we are now running about a $450 billion deficit. Instead it just goes onto the national debt and is paid for by borrowing from other countries.

Day 1693!