Saturday, August 02, 2008
With that, country music star John Rich launched into a spirited "Country First" concert on behalf Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tonight featuring his number-one hit "Lost in This Moment with You" and the debut of a song he had written especially for the presumptive GOP nominee, "Raising McCain."
The free concert, sponsored by the Florida Republican Party, attracted several hundred people including a fan sporting a homemade T-shirt saying, "Don't let the USA become an Obama-Nation."
The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Shanghai to the United States has risen to $8,000, compared with $3,000 early in the decade, according to a recent study of transportation costs. Big container ships, the pack mules of the 21st-century economy, have shaved their top speed by nearly 20 percent to save on fuel costs, substantially slowing shipping times.
The study, published in May by the Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets, calculates that the recent surge in shipping costs is on average the equivalent of a 9 percent tariff on trade. “The cost of moving goods, not the cost of tariffs, is the largest barrier to global trade today,” the report concluded, and as a result “has effectively offset all the trade liberalization efforts of the last three decades.”
Friday, August 01, 2008
In other news, liberal bloggers are buzzing about ex-McCain strategist John Weaver's criticism of the McCain camp's recent tactics, which they see as evidence that the McCain camp's negativity is causing a backlash. Conservative bloggers, meanwhile, are linking to Dana Milbank's column that mocks Obama for being "presumptuous." The excitement that Weaver's and Milbank's respective words are generating in the blogosphere illustrates how people in politics are never more influential than when they're criticizing their own side.
Yes, because Dana Milbank's a liberal just like John Weaver is a conservative.
Please kill me.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A divided Federal Communications Commission has ruled that Comcast Corp. violated federal policy when it blocked Internet traffic for some subscribers and has ordered the cable giant to change the way it manages its network.
In a precedent-setting move, the FCC by a 3-2 vote on Friday enforced a policy that guarantees customers open access to the Internet.
The commission did not assess a fine, but ordered the company to stop cutting off transfers of large data files among customers who use a special type of ''file-sharing'' software.
Doc: Uh, what for? Do you have a severe bacterial infection that I'm unaware of? I mean, it isn't really effective against Chlamydia anyway.
Cohen: No, just because. I want some.
Doc: Okay, here you go!
In other words, Houston doesn't tell you what you can do with a structure, but it still tells you what kind of structures you can build.
The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.
Years later it apparently does not occur to American's Funniest Pundit to ask why a "high government official" was warning media figures to start popping Cipro in the aftermath of 9/11. I can see why, at the time, the obvious interpretation would be that there was intelligence about possible biological attacks. But now that we know that the US gov't believes that anthrax came from the inside, shouldn't Cohen be a wee bit curious about what this warning was based on?
I actually wouldn't mind if the more libertarian-minded people would focus more of their attention on this stuff instead of, you know, helmet laws and smoking bans. That isn't to say that I'd necessarily agree with them, but this stuff tends to get in the way of the economic freedom libertarians like to talk about a lot more than, say, minimum wage laws.
The U.S. unemployment rate climbed to 5.7 percent in July, its highest in more than four years as employers cut payrolls for a seventh month in a row, though less severely than predicted, according to a government report in Friday.
The Labor Department said 51,000 non-farm jobs were eliminated in July, bringing losses for the year to 463,000.
ABC News already knows the answers to these questions. They know who concocted the false bentonite story and who passed it on to them with the specific intent of having them broadcast those false claims to the world, in order to link Saddam to the anthrax attacks and -- as importantly -- to conceal the real culprits behind the attacks. And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this. They're allegedly a news organization, in possession of one of the most significant news stories of the last decade, and they are concealing it from the public, even years later.
They're not protecting "sources." The people who fed them the bentonite story aren't "sources." They're fabricators and liars who purposely used ABC News to disseminate to the American public an extremely consequential and damaging falsehood. But by protecting the wrongdoers, ABC News has made itself complicit in this fraud perpetrated on the public, rather than a news organization uncovering such frauds. That is why this is one of the most extreme journalistic scandals that exists, and it deserves a lot more debate and attention than it has received thus far.
And only a few crazy bloggers are even interested.
WASHINGTON -- A top U.S. biodefense researcher apparently committed suicide just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him in the anthrax mailings that traumatized the nation in the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a published report.
what is it... um... ah, right.
Still unlikely to have been this I suppose.
A second test of the anthrax-laced letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle points to the presence of a troubling chemical additive, sources tell ABCNEWS.
MORE INVESTIGATIVE NEWS: • Atta Met Iraqi Official in Prague
Four well-placed and separate sources told ABCNEWS that initial tests detected bentonite, though the White House initially said the chemical was not found.
As far as is known, only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons, but officials caution that the presence of the chemical alone does not constitute firm evidence of Iraqi involvement.
Funny reading that article now. Less than a month after 9/11 they were pinning anthrax on Iraq, and in the middle of that article there's a link to another article pushing the Iraq/9/11 connection. One reason idiots like me opposed the war is that we noticed this horseshit in real time.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
CAFFERTY: I'd be willing to make you a bet. If you added up all of the people who have attended every political event John McCain has held since the campaign started, the number would not get to 200,000, which is the number of people that watched Barack Obama speak in Berlin.
That ad that he put out is nothing more than the same jealousy he displayed last week when Obama was on this tour. McCain went to Canada, Mexico and Colombia. And the only thing I remember about any of those three trips or visits was some hostages got released one day while he was in Colombia. It had nothing to do with McCain being there.
So, you know, Obama is getting a lot of attention and McCain doesn't like it. It's jealousy.
So whatever you do, DON'T LEAVE JOHN MCCAIN ALOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE. By his own admission, the poor guy is feeling left out.
The area around Independence Mall was tied in knots this morning after a man and a woman attempted to enter the William Green Federal Building about 11 a.m. with "prohibited items," authorities said.
The couple was detained and federal agents searched a car in an adjoining garage, where they discovered additional "prohibited items."
Broadcast reports said the couple had ammunition and a knife in their pockets and a shotgun stowed in their car.
What the McCain campaign doesn’t want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad script ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was...wait for it...using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that’s political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents—a lie.
BREAKING NEWS: Federal judge sides with Congress, says Bush aides can be subpoenaed
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has sided with Congress in its fight with the Bush administration over whether top White House aides can be subpoenaed by Congress.
The House Judiciary Committee wants to question the president's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and former legal counsel Harriet Miers, about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys.
"Cap Metro is proposing a zone fare system for the metro rail system," said Shaivitz.
Zone one would be between Leander and Kramer, and zone two between Howard and downtown Austin.
The proposal calls for $1 for those traveling within one zone and $1.50 if for those traveling two zones. That will be voted on Monday night.
The line isn't all that long, and fare collection and monitoring is much simpler and faster if you just keep it simple. Confusion and uncertainty about how and how much to pay are pretty big barriers to ridership. Start by just charging a buck.
First-time jobless claims for state unemployment benefits for the week ended July 26 rose 44,000 to 448,000 - an unusually high gain as the government moved to enroll workers in a new extended federal benefits program and found some percentage qualified for regular benefits, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
ANCHORAGE, July 30 -- Alaska's vast landscape is littered with federally funded tributes to Sen. Ted Stevens's single-minded promotion of the state, from the brushed steel of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to the $187 million that subsidizes air mail for the one-third of residents who live beyond the reach of roads.
In his almost 40 years in the Senate, the octogenarian Republican in many ways defined the shape of the Last Frontier, not least by using his perch on the Appropriations Committee to ensure that his state's tiny population remained the nation's richest in federal spending per capita. More than $9 billion arrived in Alaska from Washington in 2006, twice as much as a decade earlier.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
(video NSFW, so do not click)
Oh, sorry, this doesn't actually fall under the "black people responsible for everything other black people do" rule.
WASHINGTON — On May 17, 2005, the White House’s political affairs office sent an e-mail message to agencies throughout the executive branch directing them to find jobs for 108 people on a list of “priority candidates” who had “loyally served the president.”
“We simply want to place as many of our Bush loyalists as possible,” the White House emphasized in a follow-up message, according to a little-noticed passage of a Justice Department report released Monday about politicization in the department’s hiring of civil-service prosecutors and immigration officials.
The report, the subject of a Senate oversight hearing Wednesday, provided a window into how the administration sought to install politically like-minded officials in positions of government responsibility, and how the efforts at times crossed customary or legal limits.
The federal indictment of the GOP's longest-serving U.S. senator - on seven felony counts, stemming from his seven-year sweetheart association with an oil-services company - is not merely a severe embarrassment to the minority party on Capitol Hill, a party that had been ousted from power in '06 partly because certain ethics-challenged members had already stained the Republican brand. The bottom line is that Ted Stevens' legal predicament is a gift to the Democrats, who dream of gaining nine Senate seats on election day, thus dominating the chamber next January with a filibuster-proof tally of 60.
WASHINGTON -- Two weeks after finishing a grueling, three- month regimen of chemotherapy treatments, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter said today that his prognosis for recovery from Hodgkin's disease is "excellent."
The Philadelphia Republican, who has served longer than any senator from Pennsylvania in Senate history, said he fully intends to seek election to a sixth term in 2010.
These zombie narratives (Democrats are out of touch, effete, elitist, and Republicans are rugged men of the people) are so ingrained that no amount of facts or reality can stop the bobbleheads from repeating them.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merrill Lynch's agreement to sell $30.6 billion of toxic securities gives away the bank's potential profits on the securities and leaves it on the hook for most of the risk, strategists at Bank of America wrote on Wednesday.
Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
has financed 75 percent of the sale of the securities, meaning it is on the hook if the assets decline by more than 5 cents on the dollar, Bank of America strategist Jeffrey Rosenberg wrote.
Perhaps he's beginning to believe the hype.
In his closed door meeting with House Democrats this evening, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama delivered a real zinger. According to a witness, he was waxing lyrical about last week's trip to Europe, when he concluded, "this is the moment, as Nancy [Pelosi] noted, that the world is waiting for."
The 200,000 souls who thronged to his speech in Berlin came not just for him, he told the enthralled audience of congressional representatives.
"I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions," he said.
BUT A DEMOCRATIC SOURCE SAYS: “His entire point of that riff was that the campaign IS NOT about him. [The Post] left out the important first half of the sentence, which was along the lines of: ‘It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol … .”
...MSNBC just informed me that the highly misleading clipped quote might feed the idea that Obama is "presumptuous" despite being, you know, a highly misleading clipped quote.
...Craig Crawford: "Even if it's not true..."
Please kill me.
In a shift away from highways-first transportation policies, top elected officials in the Baltimore region have decided to direct about $340 million in previously unallocated revenue over 20 years entirely toward mass transit projects.
The future of transportation in Southwest Florida will likely rely more on additional toll roads and expanded lanes on Interstate 75, than any potential light or high-speed rail systems that seem to have been knocking around in the state Legislature for quite some time.
Even if a commuter rail system were constructed, the most heady changes would still occur on I-75, which is currently in the midst of expanding to six lanes in both directions.
According to Southwest Florida Expressway Authority Chairman Bill Barton, that I-75 expansion is already obsolete, even though it is not yet even finished.
Richard Cohen and others like him who play the role of "liberal" in the mainstream media are the reason why so many people hate liberals. They're idiots.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
WASHINGTON — Hours after Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted on Tuesday, his GOP colleague Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina sent his money to charity.
Dole donated $10,000 from her campaign to the Society of St. Andrew, a Christian anti-hunger organization, to equal the cash received this cycle from Stevens' political action committee.
Before Ron Fournier returned to The Associated Press in March 2007, the veteran political reporter had another professional suitor: John McCain’s presidential campaign.
In October 2006, the McCain team approached Fournier about joining the fledgling operation, according to a source with knowledge of the talks. In the months that followed, said a source, Fournier spoke about the job possibility with members of McCain’s inner circle, including political aides Mark Salter, John Weaver and Rick Davis.
Salter, who remains a top McCain adviser, said in an e-mail to Politico that Fournier was considered for “a senior advisory role” in communications.
Bennigan's and Steak-and-Ale restaurant chains, owned by Metromedia Restaurant Group, sought permission to liquidate in bankruptcy court protection, without citing a reason.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Metromedia Restaurant Group prepared a bankruptcy filing after allegedly violating several terms of a lending agreement with GE Capital Solutions.
US officials say the Justice Department has indicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R) on charges related to a long-running investigation of business dealings in Alaska.
The 7-count indictment comes nearly one year after federal agents raided Stevens' home in Girdwood, a resort town about 40 miles south of Anchorage. The Justice Department has scheduled a press conference for 1:20 p.m. to announce the indcitment.
...indictment here (.pdf).
Prices of U.S. single-family homes plunged at a record pace in May from a year earlier, with each of the 20 regions monitored showing annual declines for a second month, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller home price indexes reported on Tuesday.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas fell 0.9 percent in May from April, bringing the measure down 15.8 percent from May 2007.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I am not justifying anything. I was trying to make two major points:
1. Till was not killed merely for "whistling at a white woman." That phrase has attached itself to Till's name, suggesting that he was killed as the result of some casual encounter on the street -- which is simply not true.
2. Till's killers were the husband and brother-in-law of the woman whom Till insulted. It wasn't the Klan. It wasn't a racist mob. It wasn't some evil redneck sheriff. This was a personal crime, rather than a public crime.
To repeat what I have said in earlier posts: Emmett Till was not killed at random for the crime of being black. He was not hanged on the public square for advocating nonviolent social change. He was kidnapped and murdered by two men who felt that he had personally wronged them.
The point here is not to provide a "justification" for this crime. Rather, the point is to say that the meaning of Till's death has been distorted by propagandists who wish to use Emmett Till as a symbol of civil rights. I am saying that the facts of the case simply do not support that interpretation. While the acquittal of Till's killers said something about the unfairness of the criminal justice system in Mississippi, Till's death itself did not exemplify the values which some have attributed to it.
Was Emmett Till wrongly murdered? Of course. But thousands of Americans are murdered every year. Being a victim of murder, however, does not qualify one for sainthood.
Till's mother said her son was a "sacrificial lamb." But this construction wrongly imputes innocence and religious purpose to the victim. Till was not innocent. He was not merely walking down the street one day, selected at random, and killed simply because he was black. Till in fact was killed in response to his own action, by two men whose interest in him was specific and personal. Emmett Till was not killed while sitting in at a Woolworth's lunch counter or marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge or engaged in any other act of civil disobedience. Emmett Till was not killed as the result of his quest for civil rights, unless you consider insulting women to be a civil right.
The horrific nature of Emmett Till's death -- kidnapped at gunpoint rom his relative's home in the dark of night, tortured and murdered -- is not at issue. What is at issue is whether Till was a hero or martyr. Given the circumstances, I find it impossible to consider him such, and question whether any other rational person could do so.
*Again, "urban" doesn't mean "Manhattan," it refers to any location with a degree of density and walkability, such as beach towns and other similar vacation destinies.
KING: Okay. Were you impressed with this “fuzzy [math],” top 1 percent, 1.3 trillion, 1.9 trillion bit?
KOPPEL: You know, honestly, it turns my brains to mush. I can’t pretend for a minute that I’m really able to follow the argument of the debates. Parts of it, yes. Parts of it, I haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.
Michael Scherer today:
And so we return to where we began, a war of words with few numbers to back them up. The candidates speak in platitudes and broad swipes. They claim the high road, while banishing their opponents to the low road. And the American voters, if they are interested, must sort through the literature seeking numbers that were never really meant to add up.
Or, you know, journalists can do their jobs and help the public understand these things. Scherer does do that to some extent, actually, but only after framing the entire thing as "THIS IS JUST TOO HARD FOR MERE MORTALS TO UNDERSTAAAAAAAAAAAND." Odd way to sell an article, by suggesting we shouldn't bother to try.
(AP) President Bush's goal of cutting in half a projected $500 billion federal deficit within five years is being dismissed as too timid by conservatives, unachievable by analysts and laughable by Democrats.
Mr. Bush will include the objective in the $2.3 trillion budget for 2005 he sends Congress in February, nine months away from the presidential and congressional elections. The goal is backed by many Republicans, but conservatives want a bolder move against the record deficits and big spending increases the administration has run up.
(AP) A senior Bush administration official says the budget deficit for this year will set a record in dollar terms, approaching $490 billion.
The official said Monday the deficit was being driven to record levels by the sagging economy and the stimulus payments being made to 130 million households in an effort to keep the country from falling into a deep recession. A deficit approaching $490 billion would easily surpass the current record deficit of $413 billion set in 2004.
Of course this analysis ignores the "wars are free" system of accounting favored by Fred Hiatt and others.
A big barrier to policies (land use&zoning, transportation, etc.) is that so many people have never lived in an area where car-free existence is fathomable that they can't even picture it.
A report to be released Monday by the Transportation Department shows that over the past seven months, Americans have reduced their driving by more than 40 billion miles. Because of high gasoline prices, they drove 3.7% fewer miles in May than they did a year earlier, the report says, more than double the 1.8% drop-off seen in April.
But will they work? Will the simple proximity and easy access to a train station necessarily compel residents of the new developments to use mass transit?
“It's hard to envision anyone would really give up their car and just take the train. Honestly, some of that concern sort of resonates throughout all of these communities,” said Warminster solicitor Michael Savona.
Simply having access to a train station isn't enough to make car-free existence attractive. Development must also include certain neighborhood amenities and retail which are within walking distance. But if people don't need a car to commute, you've taken away a big part of the reason they need a car. Add a walkable supermarket and you've taken away another big part. Have car sharing service around and you can cover the rest of any car needs without ownership. The point isn't that people will never want or use cars even if they are in transit-friendly places, the point is to create more affordable and desirable places which allow for reduced automobile dependency.
Much of the country is never really going to be easy to retrofit this way. Don't worry, there will still be plenty of car-dependent suburbs left after all the oil is gone! But there are plenty of places that can be greatly improved with minor land use changes.
A suicide bomber helped kill at least 36 people and wounded 116 others after detonating explosives during a rally in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a police official told CNN.
Three female suicide bombers killed at least 29 people and wounded 85 others in central Baghdad, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said. Most were Shiite pilgrims....
On Sunday afternoon, seven pilgrims were gunned down in a town south of Baghdad.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Not only that, I use Comcast to disseminate my message! Like most of the country my options for TV and broadband are, you know, limited, which is why I support all kinds of policy changes which would thwart the power of Big Telecom. But until then, I'm a customer too...
Auto executives just can't catch a break. Add to slumping sales and lofty gasoline prices a ticking time bomb in their auto leasing operations. During the past several years automakers from General Motors (GM) to Nissan Motor (NSANY) to BMW leased millions of cars and trucks. As those leases end, the companies have to take back the vehicles—many of them the gas-guzzling SUVs, pickups, and luxury models people don't want anymore. You know what that means: more pain as the automakers offload those vehicles at a loss.
Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research, estimates that this year alone the industry will lose $4.7 billion on sales of previously leased SUVs. "This caught everyone by surprise," he says. And it's a problem that will keep on giving because many automakers only recently started to write fewer leases. So there are plenty of newly leased gas-guzzlers out there, some with terms as long as 39 months. Spinella sees $10 billion more in lost value as thousands more SUVs come off lease in 2009 and 2010.