Friday, July 31, 2009

Should probably find something more serious to be annoyed about



I've been annoyed every time I've watched the news today at the way they cover the tennis.br /br /Why do they show clips of players and their families (in the crowd) celebrating winning a point - in slow motion?br /br /They do this with football as well. Slo mo is supposed to be there to highlight the skill - it says so much about what sport on TV is for.br /br /As I said, this really annoys me.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/12478668-7012206839624817201?l=nevertrustahippy.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Enemy recruits traitors with victim strategy



a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/07/30/robertson.al.qaeda.europe/index.html"CNN:/abr /br /blockquoteAn American who says he went to fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan told interrogators that about the time he became an al Qaeda member he came across several Belgian and French militants.br /br /p Belgian counter-terrorism sources said the group traveled to Pakistan's tribal areas at the beginning of 2008, also intent on fighting in Afghanistan./pp The Europeans -- four Belgians and two French citizens, all of North African descent -- were recruited, Belgian police say, by Malika el Aroud and Moez Garsallaoui, a married couple who had long enjoyed a notorious reputation among European counter-terrorism services./pp El Aroud's previous husband, Abdessattar Dahmane, had assassinated Ahmed Shah Massoud, the head of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, in a suicide bombing attack ordered by Osama bin Laden two days before 9/11./pp When CNN interviewed the couple in 2006, El Aroud showed how she administered a pro-al Qaeda Web forum called Minbar SOS, which included pro-al Qaeda postings and propaganda videos. a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/07/30/robertson.al.qaeda.full/index.html"Read how al Qaeda is now operating/a/pp Belgian investigators say the Web site played an important role in the radicalization of members of the French-Belgian group./pp One of them was a 25-year-old Frenchman, Walid Othmani. He was arrested on his return to Europe from Pakistan and is now in French custody. Belgian prosecutors told CNN Othmani has been charged in France with participation in a criminal conspiracy with the aim of preparing a terrorist act./pp "I don't think I would have left to fight jihad without viewing these videos [on Minbar] ... it made me aware that the European media were hiding things about the situation in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan," Othmani told French interrogators, according to Belgian legal documents obtained by CNN./pp According to Belgian counter-terrorism officials, Garsallaoui, a Tunisian citizen, recruited some of those who traveled to Pakistan in person in Brussels, but relied on the Internet to recruit others./pp...br //pbr //blockquoteOne of the elements of the enemy recruiting has always been to portray themselves and Muslims as victims. You could see the same portrayals in early bin Laden al Qaeda videos. They are not above using faked atrocities and they make no attempt to put facts in context.br /br /They certainly don't show the mass murder of fellow Muslims in their "involuntary" martyrdom operations. Those who are sucked in by the deceit and become traitors to their own countries deserve little sympathy. They must have been looking for such an excuse to begin with.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5051247-8775983730268274928?l=prairiepundit.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

The Moral Basis of Capitalism



Here is a detailed PowerPoint presentation by a href="http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/documents/prentice_ppt_071709.pdf"Dr. Paul Prentice on "The Moral Basis for Capitalism." /aI'm no fan of PowerPoint, but this offering is truth heavy with no fluff. I saw this presentation on July 17 as part of the Centennial span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0"Institute's/span "Issues Friday" program at Colorado Christian University. Dr. Prentice makes a compelling case.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/14410967-4637871891489940857?l=theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Vote for the person and the policy, not the party



p style="font-style: italic;" class="MsoNormal"This is one of several guest columns that were submitted in response to this question: How do you identify yourself politically (liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, independent, something else or none of the above) and what does that mean to you?/pp class="MsoNormal"a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_IabUCQmoheQ/SmUFMahWa_I/AAAAAAAAL-k/dgFaC5_z1qg/s1600-h/Guest+column.jpg"img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 120px; height: 60px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_IabUCQmoheQ/SmUFMahWa_I/AAAAAAAAL-k/dgFaC5_z1qg/s200/Guest+column.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5360696642290215922" border="0" //aspan style="font-weight: bold;"By Bob Coppedge/span/p p class="MsoNormal"I consider myself an independent, and that means to support and vote for the person and the policy, not the party. Over the years I have registered as a Democrat and as a Republican, and will register in a party when there is a candidate to support in the primary. No party has a monopoly on wisdom, and to vote the party line is to shortchange the mind all should cultivate. /p p class="MsoNormal"Frustrating indeed is the negative atmosphere that surrounds many campaigns. Respect is too often a rare commodity, especially respecting the right of others to have a different opinion, but it’s hard to respect someone who looks down on you for your different opinion. Convince me of the wisdom of your position, but in a respectful way that appeals to my mind, not my emotions. I will then be more inclined to consider your position./p p class="MsoNormal"My vote, money and recommendation go to the candidate who supports policies I support, and does so in a generally positive manner./p p class="MsoNormal"Retired from New Mexico State University, with two of my degrees from NMSU, I was raised in Hobbs and spent 10 years out of state -- in Utah, Oregon and Florida. I’ve been back in the state with NMSU for over 30 years, following local, state and federal politics. It’s a great state!/p p style="font-style: italic;" class="MsoNormal"Coppedge lives in Mesilla Park./pdiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/23370090-5140214143549020919?l=haussamen.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Both an idealist and a Democrat



p style="font-style: italic;" class="MsoNormal"This is one of several guest columns that were submitted in response to this question: How do you identify yourself politically (liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, independent, something else or none of the above) and what does that mean to you?/p p class="MsoNormal"a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IabUCQmoheQ/SmQPRy4clUI/AAAAAAAAL90/nZkBy3buThw/s1600-h/Guest+column.jpg"img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 120px; height: 60px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IabUCQmoheQ/SmQPRy4clUI/AAAAAAAAL90/nZkBy3buThw/s200/Guest+column.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5360426254868452674" border="0" //aspan style="font-weight: bold;"By Ellen Wedum/span/p p class="MsoNormal"I confess I used to be rather apathetic about politics. I only voted in presidential elections and was barely aware of who my congressional representative was, let alone my state representative. As a graduate student at the University of Oregon I did campaign for Eugene McCarthy in the Oregon presidential primary in 1968 -- which he won!/p p class="MsoNormal"He had a rally at UO, and I carried a sign that read “Welcome to Eugene, McCarthy!” Then in 1980 I campaigned for John Anderson, and was appalled when Reagan won (especially when he went on to triple our national debt). That cured me of working for third-party candidates, even highly qualified ones like Anderson. /p p class="MsoNormal"I had never visited a state legislature until the 1989 Supreme Court ruling in a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webster_v._Reproductive_Health_Services" target="_blank"Webster v. Reproductive Health Services/a. I was living in West Lafayette, Ind., working on my doctorate degree, and a Democratic state representative introduced a bill to add all the limitations that had just been upheld in Missouri to the Indiana laws. The bill passed the House and prospects looked dim in the Senate until Gov. Evan Bayh declared that he just might have to veto that bill./p p class="MsoNormal"The Indiana Senate voted it down by a narrow margin. I was watching from the balcony as they voted./p p class="MsoNormal"At that time the Indiana House consisted of 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans. The author of the defeated bill was so mad that he changed parties right in the middle of the session, resulting in a 50/50 D/R ratio. He was defeated when he ran for re-election as a Republican, but his defection sure made for some excitement during the session. The House had to set up co-speakers, who alternated days in presiding./p p class="MsoNormal"So my first categorization was as a pro-choice Democrat and political activist./p p style="font-weight: bold;" class="MsoNormal"span style="font-size:130%;"Living in ‘red’ districts/span/p p class="MsoNormal"In 1992, while finishing up my doctorate in physical chemistry, I became a candidate for the first time (I had a very understanding research director!). I ran for congress against a 13-term Republican, John Myers. He was known as ‘Kissing John,’ and sure enough the first time I met him he grabbed me and kissed me./p p class="MsoNormal"I wish I had slugged him, but he stepped back too quickly./p p class="MsoNormal"I scared him some when I put $50,000 of my own money into the race, and he called in the big guns, Bush #1 and Quayle, for a rally at Purdue four days before the election. They lost, but he won. /p p class="MsoNormal"Somehow I usually end up living in ‘red’ districts of the country, so I keep on invigorating the democratic process by running against candidates in ‘safe’ Republican seats. I consider myself more of a politician than an activist now, and I feel responsible for learning about the viewpoints of the residents in this area. I do continue to speak out on issues in an effort to persuade some of them to my point of view./p p style="font-weight: bold;" class="MsoNormal"span style="font-size:130%;"Working toward public financing/span/p p class="MsoNormal"I have observed that the flaws in human nature lead elected politicians to try to turn their districts into monopolies, just as businesses try to become monopolies. There are some rather weak laws to impede both politicians and businesses from doing this. In the realm of La Politica they clearly don’t work. /p p class="MsoNormal"I have been advocating for public financing of political campaigns since 1992, and for the 2010 campaign I am working on promoting public financing for the state legislature by walking House District 59 asking for $5 donations from registered voters in the district. My goal is at least 1 percent of the registered voters, which is one of the requirements listed in Sen. Eric Griego’s ill-fated a href="http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?Chamber=Samp;LegType=Bamp;LegNo=165amp;year=09" target="_blank"Senate Bill 165/a./p p class="MsoNormal"I hope to see a leaner, procedurally better defined version of that bill introduced in the next session. /p p class="MsoNormal"As someone who has been sacrificing my money as well as time and energy for the sake of political ideals for the last 20 years, I now classify myself as an idealistic politician. And while campaign finance reform enjoys bipartisan support among such people, most of those ideals are part of the Democratic platform. So I am both an idealist and a Democrat./p p style="font-style: italic;" class="MsoNormal"Wedum is a retired physical chemist and lives outside of Cloudcroft. She has been the Democratic candidate for the House District 59 seat twice and plans to run against incumbent Republican Nora Espinosa again in 2010./pdiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/23370090-6418619494635439154?l=haussamen.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

What may be Brian Sabean's 2009 version of Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski...



a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mTIR6JMpzsI/SnERGnTjgiI/AAAAAAAAD8E/uBv_uy11PN8/s1600-h/539w.jpg"img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 400px; height: 267px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mTIR6JMpzsI/SnERGnTjgiI/AAAAAAAAD8E/uBv_uy11PN8/s400/539w.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5364087436502860322" border="0" //abr /...a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/07/29/giants.pirates.trade.ap/index.html"Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez/a.br /br /"Oh...fuck," is pretty much the reaction coming from Giants fans. McCovey Chronicles says a href="http://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2009/7/29/968391/reaction-freddy-sanchez-trade"the Giants overpaid/a; span style="font-style: italic;"The San Francisco Chronicle's/span Bruce Jenkins a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/threedotblog/detail?entry_id=44526"says it doesn't feel quite right/a; SI.com's Cliff Corcoran a href="http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/mlb_trade_talk/posts/72301-giants-didnt-get-enough-for-barnes-alderson"doesn't like this coming after Monday's Garko trade/a.br /br /We say: FUCK ME WITH A PAIR OF HEDGE CLIPPERS.br /br /Freddy Sanchez is a good hitter. He'll improve production from the two-hole. He'll probably get a few base hits, maybe even sometimes more than one in a game. But he'll get singles and doubles and singles and then, two batters later, Benjie Molina will come up and still hit into a double play.br /br /For Tim Alderson, one of the Giants' -- and baseball's -- better pitching prospects, the Giants land a guy we confuse with Felipe Lopez. (We're not really sure why).br /br /Alderson for Victor Martinez? Maybe. Alderson for Cliff Lee? Yeah. Alderson for Albert Pujols, Matt Holiday and Chris Carpenter? If they threw cash the Giants' way, yes.br /br /Alderson for a .300, 10-homer guy? We'll be holding our breath. Brian Sabean should be holding his, too.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/19679634-489375152544293228?l=zachls.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Burgess in Kuala Kangsar Tour



a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_PddQ8xLinAc/SnECfJBQ9GI/AAAAAAAAHDA/17SAT7Viy8A/s1600-h/P1012010.JPG"img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 400px; height: 300px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_PddQ8xLinAc/SnECfJBQ9GI/AAAAAAAAHDA/17SAT7Viy8A/s400/P1012010.JPG" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5364071365195396194" border="0" //abr /Thought you might like to see a pic of some of our delegation of members of the a href="http://www.anthonyburgess.org/"International Anthony Burgess Foundation/a and a href="http://www.badanwarisan.org.my/"Badan Warisan Malaysia/a on our trip to Kuala Kangsar yesterday. You might recognise Dr. Rob Spence who came to talk to Malay College Old Boys Association about Burgess last year, and his wife Elaine (in blue at the front). We gave books by, and about, Burgess to the schools as a thankyou for their hospitality.br /br /We were really privileged to be allowed to see around the schools - the first MCKK where Burgess taught, and the second the girl's school housed in what used to be King's Pavilion (the old residency) where Anthony Burgess and his wife Lynne lived 1954-6. The two schools are rightfully proud of their traditions, and I hope we have added yet another layer to that by reminding them that a very famous author was connected with the buildings.br /br /The teacher at the front in the picture is holding a copy of span style="font-style: italic;"The Long Day Wanes/span, the US edition of span style="font-style: italic;"The Malayan Trilogy/span which I passed to her (... a bit of informal book-crossing!).br /br /The biggest thrill for me was being allowed to go up to the top of the tower of the old residency where there were panoramic views of the forested hills, Perak River, and sultan's palace. This is the very scene that inspired Burgess to start writing about Malaya (just read the opening of the second chapter of span style="font-style: italic;"Time for a Tiger/span).br /br /And of course, our tour took in all the other famous sites in Kuala Kangsar ... mosque, palaces, oldest rubber tree, cemetaries, Idris club (aka Burgess' Iblis Club), riverside ...br /br /Our Badan Warsian members added to our enjoyment significantly, being able to explain about history and architecture and culture much more effectively than yours truly, and I must say a big thank you particularly to a href="http://nadge.org/?tag=najib-ariffin"Najib Ariffin/a (who also happened to be a Malay College old boy) for his entertaining and informative commentary on the coach.br /br /Thanks too to my former student Hasnul Ariffin, who present a spectacular time-lapse photograph of Malay College Big School to the IABF taken to mark the centenary of the school.br /br /Thank you to everyone who helped to make our trip a big success.br /br /Next - (and I am quite serious here) going to work on a Perak literary tour taking in Ipoh and other places and focusing on more contemporary literature!div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7912730-4521131204628921929?l=thebookaholic.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Howard, Meet Lou.



Here's Howard Kurtz in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, a href="http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/talkradio/transcripts/Transcript.aspx?ContentGuid=70ac76a2-901f-49a0-91e1-0244ea3d7547"pretending/a that he doesn't share an employer with a href="http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/cnn-president-says-obama-citizenship-issue-is-dead-but-lou-dobbs-revives-it/"the biggest media birther of 'em all/a, Lou Dobbs:br /br /blockquoteHH: Now the second story, the birthers. Today, the National Review joined me, Michael Medved, most every center-right responsible conservative I know in denouncing the idea that the President isn’t a citizen. But yet this story continues to have legs. Today, the Hawaii guy came out and said again no, we’ve got his birth certificate. How long does this go on, Howard? And do you sense that the media is, and by that I mean mainstream media, is having fun with this because it has the potential to embarrass some conservatives because of the, in the way that the truthers embarrassed some Democrats?span id="ctl00_cphMain_CtrlTranscript1_lblBody" class="TranscriptTxt" pHK: Probably in some quarters. I applaud the conservative who have stood up and said basically, this is whacko stuff, there’s not a shred of evidence, I don’t want to associate with these folks. span style="font-weight: bold;"I don’t understand why this has gotten so much prominence particularly on cable television in the first place./span If we make a judgment as journalists that this is basically a lot of garbage, then why do we have to spend a lot of time flogging this horse? span style="font-weight: bold;"Now the guy who has been flogging it the most, it seems to me, is Chris Matthews on MSNBC./span And while I agree with his general point of view on this, which is that it is a load of baloney, he, I don’t think there’s been one show in the last seven where he hasn’t dragged somebody on, G. Gordon Liddy or whoever, in order to beat up on that person.br //p/span/blockquotebr /br /Ugh. Matthews discusses the birther bullshit in order to span style="font-style: italic;"puncture /spanit. Dobbs simply wants to propagate it.br /br /Kurtz knows this, of course, so why not mention it? a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/200907290010"Cowardice/a?br /p/pdiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/26747494-4915240363040482052?l=instaputz.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

No public option?



I'm really having a hard time processing the notion that the American people gave Democrats control of the House and the Senate in 2006, then gave them even larger majorities two years later while installing a Democrat in the White House -- a href="http://firedoglake.com/2009/07/29/kent-conrad-public-option-is-dead-in-the-senate/"just so we could get Willard's health care plan/a.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/26747494-166840801847204354?l=instaputz.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Outrage and Ouchy Grammar



It's been a day when our minds have been on much more serious things - tragic death (possible murder?) of a href="http://www.blogger.com/%20http://www.mmail.com.my/content/8388-death-teoh-beng-hock-mystery-waiting-be-solved"political aide Teoh Beng Hock/a, and a href="http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2009/07/200971754853355138.html"bombings in Jakarta/a.br /br /Nevertheless, I had a little outrage left for a href="http://www.mmail.com.my/content/8366-upset-open-sale-salman-rushdie-books"this reader's letter in span style="font-style: italic;"The Malay Mail/span today/a, asking why Salman Rushdie's books are sold in MPH when :br /span style="font-style: italic;"/spanblockquotespan style="font-style: italic;"... they are banned in most Muslim countries./span/blockquote(Unspecified, of course!!)br /br /The unnamed MPH spokesman gives a very conciliatory answer and passes the buck to distributor Pansing.br /br /If this bloke had wandered into my bookstore, I'd have told him to check in his bigotry and ignorance at the customer service counter. If I were a newspaper editor, I wouldn't have wasted column inches on him.br /br /The fact is Rushdie's books span style="font-weight: bold;"are not banned in Malaysia/span with the exception of span style="font-style: italic;"The Satanic Verses/span (although everyone who wants to read it can easily lay their hands on a copy). There is no earthly reason for them to be.br /br /And the rest of us should stand up firmly against the very suggestion that books should disappear from the shelves.br /br /I'm an extremist? You betcha. But I only read books. I don't plant bombs or throw young men out of windows. (Outrage is better saved for those people.)br /br /As for whether Rushdie's books apart from span style="font-style: italic;"The Satanic Verses/span are banned in other countries - I suspect not but I need to dig around to find the actual evidence. And certainly there is a move span style="text-decoration: underline;"/spana href="http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Heritage_and_Culture/10242826.html"towards greater tolerance and away from book banning in the UAE/a [a href="http://www.complete-review.com/saloon/archive/200809a.htm"via/a].br /br /While we're getting angry with things in span style="font-style: italic;"The Malay Mail/span, let me ask you (since I feel like playing teacher today) if you can spot the grammar error in this sentence :br /span style="font-style: italic;"blockquoteA leading light of the abolish English for science and maths campaign has a new book./blockquote/span The article goes on to talk about how the Higher Education Ministry and the Malaysian National Institute of Translation (MNIT) a href="http://www.mmail.com.my/content/8384-third-eye-must-be-consistent-national-laureate"will hold a road show nationwide to promote A. Samad Said's book/a, span style="font-style: italic;"Bisik Warna/span. The Deputy Higher Education Minister calls it :br /span style="font-style: italic;"blockquote...a work of arts (sic) and words from the national laureate on life, organisations, leaders and philosophy .../blockquote/spanThe (sic) proving that the journalist who wrote the column can spot someone else's ouchy grammar error, even if they can't see their own.br /br /Congrats to Pak Samad anyway, and it is good to see a book getting so much official support.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7912730-3404183014721890655?l=thebookaholic.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Gaza goes Taliban



a href="http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/stephaniegutmann/100005077/gaza-turns-into-a-taliban-state/"Stephanie Gutmann:/abr /br /blockquotepFreed from scrutiny by the EU and US focus on whether Israelis add extensions to their homes in Jerusalem, Hamas continues the quiet work of turning the Gaza strip into a Taliban-style Islamic state. A few days ago came the news that the Gaza Strip’s most senior judge “a href="http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFullamp;cid=1248277891424"has ordered all female lawyers to wear headscarves /aand a long, dark colored cloak under their black robes when they appear in court beginning September.”/p pThis is part of a general crackdown on female professionals — or maybe it’s just females. It follows the news several weeks ago, reported by Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post, that a href="http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1246443716574amp;pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull"Hamas policemen attempted to arrest a female Palestinian journalist/a “under the pretext that she came to a Gaza beach dressed immodestly and was seen laughing in public.”/pp...br //p/blockquoteThese are very scared men who fear their hormones cannot be controlled unless they control what women wear. Also see the post below where a 27 year old woman was murdered by her father for having a cell phone. It is hard to imagine civilized people treating women so horribly in the name of a religion. The sickness of the culture is becoming more obvious is people would stop turning their heads.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5051247-4689776903580982319?l=prairiepundit.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Amir Takes on Burgess



a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_PddQ8xLinAc/Sl6rcTQrDiI/AAAAAAAAG-8/cK19mvYdIjA/s1600-h/malayan+trilogy.jpg"img style="margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 207px; height: 320px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_PddQ8xLinAc/Sl6rcTQrDiI/AAAAAAAAG-8/cK19mvYdIjA/s400/malayan+trilogy.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5358909109312359970" border="0" //ablockquote style="font-style: italic;"The Malayan Trilogy is a rambunctious and colourful performance of heat and lust, with the comic bathos of downpours always on hand to quench any potential high-mindedness. It should be made a compulsory text at school, as long as the teachers aren’t prudes who will latah at the lewd words./blockquoteDo go a href="http://amirmu.blogspot.com/2009/07/tropical-tempers.html"read Amir Muhammad's excellent review/a of Burgess' span style="font-style: italic;"The Malayan Trilogy/span which was in span style="font-style: italic;"The Malay Mail/span yesterday. it's so good to see the book reaching a new generation of Malaysians and influencing the writing here (both Preeta Samarasan and Shih-Li Kow have named it as one of their favourite reads about the country).br /br /While you're on his blog, do take a look at the other reviews of Malaysian books there including a href="http://amirmu.blogspot.com/2009/07/teen-spirits.html"span style="font-style: italic;"Lethal Lesson and Other Stories/span/a by Adeline Lee Zhia Ern, and Adeline Loh's a href="http://www.blogger.com/%20http://amirmu.blogspot.com/2009/07/tourists-and-other-animals.html"Peeing in the Bush/a. (Too many Adeline's?!)div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7912730-80139820947351626?l=thebookaholic.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Take a minute to appreciate the good in the world.



script src="http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/js/2.0/video/evp/module.js?loc=domamp;vid=/video/us/2009/07/21/wi.car.fire.rescue.amateur" type="text/javascript"/scriptnoscriptEmbedded video from a href="http://www.cnn.com/video"CNN Video/a/noscriptbr /br /Here is a harrowing video, one that had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, and fighting back tears. A mother and her two young children are driving when she has an accident. She and the children are trapped in the car. The car catches fire. From every direction people run to help, to try and rescue this terrified family. Watch it. Savor it. Appreciate it.br /br /It is so easy to see the corrupt, the evil, the fearful, and the hateful that so often inspires human action, especially in the realm of politics. To see people rallying to save someone simply because another human being is being hurt bring tears of joy to my eyes. It gives me hope.br /br /I can only pray that they day will come when people realize that these best moments of human life ought to be our everyday moments. No one debated whether or not the mother in that car was black or white. I sincerely doubt that anyone cared if the people helping to kick in those windows were straight or gay. If an "illegal" alien was there helping save those lives, who would give a damn about his status?br /br /I have to wonder why it is that that same lack of care about such inconsequential human differences becomes so important when we are safe and comfortable? Is it really that important?div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/23782041-6440533546016979031?l=freestudents.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Polling leads Obama to change his health care pitch



a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124890178435291341.html"Wall Street Journal:/abr /br /blockquote...br /br /pTrying to regain momentum, Mr. Obama is shifting his pitch to new consumer-protection rules for insurance companies, part of a bid to win over Americans who already have coverage./p pDavid Axelrod, one of the president's top advisers, acknowledged that the White House's months-long focus on controlling medical costs hasn't worked. "Consumer protections are a lot more tangible," he said./p pOn Wednesday, Democratic leaders in the House reached accord with conservative party members to move their bill through the last of three committees, although the full House won't vote on the measure until at least September. "Failure is not an option," said California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman./p pThe White House is eager to show progress and build public support before Congress breaks for summer, when opponents plan to continue their campaign. "If this bill hangs out there over the August recess my guess is it will get shredded," House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio), said./ppIn the Journal poll, span style="font-weight: bold;"only two in 10 people said the quality of their own care would improve under the Obama plan/span; just 15% of those with private insurance thought it would. Twice as many overall, and three times as many with private coverage, predicted their own care would get worse. (Emphasis added.)br //pp...br //pbr //blockquoteThere is more. This is not a poll that the Obama administration can be happy about. Given the highlighted finding above it is surprising that there is as much support for the plan as there is. I think it is the major reason for the decline since 85 percent of Americans have coverage,div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5051247-7755530329062530698?l=prairiepundit.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Palin farewell speech, read by Shatner



a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCdqRbWYWbU"William Shatner reads Palin's farewell speech/a verbatim, to musical accompaniment (sorry, embedding not working at the moment).div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/26747494-8870862607862728563?l=instaputz.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Will Philip Hammond be the next Tory Chancellor?



a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_eYYOIBdveaY/SmsayrcctYI/AAAAAAAABGE/7y9PC2TYS7c/s1600-h/hammond.jpeg"img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 77px; height: 116px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_eYYOIBdveaY/SmsayrcctYI/AAAAAAAABGE/7y9PC2TYS7c/s320/hammond.jpeg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5362409239272535426" border="0" //abr /br /PoliticalBetting a href="http://politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2009/07/25/does-osbornes-background-rule-him-out-as-a-cutter/" posts the question /a of whether Philip Hammond will be the next Conservative Chancellor. Perhaps George Osborne will be sidelined.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/38622711-1942607909329817510?l=vinospoliticalblog.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Problems with the Conservatives' new allies in Europe



a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/29/david-cameron-european-parliament-conservatives" Timothy Garton-Ash has an interesting article /a on some of the Conservatives' new allies in the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European parliament. One of them, Michal Kaminski, from the Polish Law amp; Justice Party seems to have particularly hard-line right-wing views. He appears to be a fan of Augusto Pinochet and he is rather intolerant towards gay people. And, he seems to have objected to the Polish government making an apology for the murder of Polish Jews in the village of Jedwabne in 1941. He does not seem to understand [or is deliberately ignoring] the history of anti-semitic violence in Polish history.br /br /It does go to show that the EPP has successfully incorporated the centre-right parties of the EU under its umbrella. By seeking to leave that group, the Conservatives have had to look further and further right to find allies.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/38622711-1967083732769833673?l=vinospoliticalblog.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Religious Studies vs. Theological Studies



span style="font-size:100%;"Randall Stephensbr /br /A provocative essay appeared in yesterday's a href="http://chronicle.com/article/The-Ethics-of-Being-a/47442/"iChronicle of Higher /i/a/spanspan style="font-size:100%;"a href="http://chronicle.com/article/The-Ethics-of-Being-a/47442/"iEducation/i/a. K. L. Noll offers up prickly ideas about the nature of truth and knowledge all the while distinguishing religious studies scholars from subjectivist, loopy /spana onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_70Gw2abmBeI/Sm94MZkJ3pI/AAAAAAAAAU4/RLGc6T2fOk0/s1600-h/rel_stud_v_theo.jpg"img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 182px; height: 320px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_70Gw2abmBeI/Sm94MZkJ3pI/AAAAAAAAAU4/RLGc6T2fOk0/s320/rel_stud_v_theo.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5363637835637841554" border="0" //aspan style="font-size:100%;"theologians. The essay reminds me of that great piece that appeared in Lingua Franca years ago titled "Is Nothing Sacred? Casting out the Gods from Religious Studies" (Nov 1996).br /br /a href="http://chronicle.com/article/The-Ethics-of-Being-a/47442/" Highlights from K. L. Noll's "The Ethics of Being a Theologian"/abr /br //span div style="margin-left: 40px;"span style="font-size:100%;" iMost people do not understand what religious study really is. Professors of religion are often confused with, or assumed to be allies of, professors of theology. The reason for the confusion is no secret. All too often, even at public universities, the religion department is peopled by theologians, and many of those theologians refuse to make the distinction that I am about to make..../ibr /br //span span style="font-size:100%;"i Theologians who do not think of themselves as unethical nevertheless sell their pew-sitting laity a bill of goods. The failure of theologians to remind the members of their churches and synagogues that the Bible is an anthology of ancient literature composed by ancient people in an ancient culture has consequences. The laity are entitled to know that any god described in a biblical text is an ancient god, a byproduct of the ancient culture that produced the text. The god of the Bible is the sum total of the words in the text and has no independent existence. It would be reasonable to begin every theological discussion with the disclaimer "the god described in this sacred text is fictional, and any resemblance to an actual god is purely coincidental." This is not an outsider's dismissive opinion, but the reality, and theologians have an ethical obligation to teach that truth even if they also want to believe and teach, as is their right, that a god exists./ibr /br //span span style="font-size:100%;"i Am I trying to imply that theology is without value? Certainly not. I do not presume to tell theologians how to be theologians, and I will not attempt to define the value of theology. I simply request that theologians fulfill basic ethical obligations, such as the affirmation that theology is not knowledge and must position itself apart from those academic disciplines that try to advance knowledge, such as history, anthropology, religious study, and (perhaps especially) the natural sciences./ibr //spanbr //div The comments below the essay are instructive in more ways than one. Minus the few that are on the order of "You Suck!" many find holes in Noll's logic. Quite a few think he has an overly confident view of objectivity. Notice, too, how much this sounds like various a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX_LM7WZc9A"atheism vs. theism debates/a.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/37589721331585843-2712395630317285942?l=usreligion.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Progressive in the historical sense of the word



p style="font-style: italic;" class="MsoNormal"This is one of several guest columns that were submitted in response to this question: How do you identify yourself politically (liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, independent, something else or none of the above) and what does that mean to you?/p p class="MsoNormal"a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_IabUCQmoheQ/SmToqXBERTI/AAAAAAAAL-U/9aAdwbSJanU/s1600-h/Guest+column.jpg"img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 120px; height: 60px;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_IabUCQmoheQ/SmToqXBERTI/AAAAAAAAL-U/9aAdwbSJanU/s200/Guest+column.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5360665270908372274" border="0" //aspan style="font-weight: bold;"By Stephen Jones/span/p p class="MsoNormal"Let me respond to your call for political (or is it philosophical) self-identification with the term progressive. I am a progressive. I identify most closely with the ideal of progressivism and notbr /necessarily with a political party, though in recent years I have voted, not surprisingly, increasingly Democratic./p p class="MsoNormal"By progressivism I mean to say I believe in a democratic worldview that champions direct participation and action in citizenship. Progressivism is a political movement that supports the interests of ordinary people in their roles as taxpayers, consumers, employees, citizens and parents and sees a role in which government is a responsive partner./p p class="MsoNormal"In recent times, the term ‘progressive’ is often used as either interchangeable with or instead of the term liberal, but this, I suggest, is a misuse of the term. Rather, I think, progressives have alwaysbr /sought to champion the rights of ordinary Americans against both liberals and conservatives./p p class="MsoNormal"Historically, progressive reformers sought to eliminate corruption in government, regulate business practices, address health hazards, improve working conditions and give the public more direct control over government./p p class="MsoNormal"As a progressive I identify closely with the progressive movements of American history and in continuing to pursue those ideals -- an American democratic ideal -- into the future./p p style="font-style: italic;" class="MsoNormal"Jones lives in Las Cruces./pdiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/23370090-4451113931823711393?l=haussamen.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Pakistan making use of US precision weapons against Taliban



a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/30/world/asia/30pstan.html?hp"NY Times:/abr /br /blockquotePakistan’s a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/us_air_force/index.html?inline=nyt-org" title="More articles about the U.S. Air Force."Air Force/a is improving its ability to pinpoint and attack militant targets with precision weapons, adding a new dimension to the country’s fight against violent extremism, according to Pakistani military officials and independent analysts.br /br /pThe Pakistani military has moved away from the scorched-earth artillery and air tactics used last year against insurgents in a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/23/world/asia/23assess.html" title="Times news analysis."the Bajaur tribal agency/a. In recent months, the air force has shifted from using Google Earth to more sophisticated images from spy planes and other surveillance aircraft, and has increased its use of laser-guided bombs. /ppThe changes reflect an effort by the Pakistani military to conduct its operations in a way that will not further alienate the population by increasing civilian casualties and destroying property. But they are also dictated by necessity as the military takes its campaign into areas where it is reluctant to commit ground troops, particularly in the rugged terrain of Waziristan, where it had suffered heavy losses. /ppMilitary analysts say the airstrikes alone, no matter how precise, cannot ultimately substitute for ground forces or for better counterinsurgency training, something Pakistan has been reluctant to accept from the United States. But they say the airstrikes have become a valuable tool for Pakistan in fighting the a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/t/taliban/index.html?inline=nyt-org" title="More articles about the Taliban."Taliban/a and a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/al_qaeda/index.html?inline=nyt-org" title="More articles about Al Qaeda."Al Qaeda/a in sometimes inaccessible terrain. /ppSince May, a href="http://www.lockheedmartin.com/products/f16/" title="Lockheed Martin site"F-16 multirole fighter jets/a, the Pakistani military’s aerial workhorse, have flown more than 300 combat missions against militants in the Swat Valley and more than 100 missions in South Waziristan, attacking mountain hide-outs, training centers and ammunition depots, Pakistani military officials said. /pIn conjunction with infantry fire, artillery barrages and helicopter gunship attacks, military officials say, the air combat missions have reinvigorated the a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/world/asia/28swat.html" title="Times article"military campaign/a in Swat and put increasing pressure on the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/baitullah_mehsud/index.html?inline=nyt-per" title="More articles about Baitullah Mehsud."Baitullah Mehsud/a, in South Waziristan.br /br /...br /br /p“The biggest handicap we had in Bajaur was that we didn’t have good imagery,” Air Chief Marshal Qamar said. “We didn’t have good target descriptions. We did not know the area. We were forced to use Google Earth. /pp“I didn’t want to face a similar situation in Swat,” he said. /ppIn advance of the Swat campaign, the air force equipped about 10 F-16s with high-resolution, infrared sensors, provided by the United States, to conduct detailed reconnaissance of the entire valley. /pThe United States has also resumed secret drone flights performing military surveillance in the tribal areas, to provide Pakistani commanders with a wide array of videos and other information on militants, according to American officials.br /br /...br //blockquoteThe human rights wackos seem more tolerant of Pakistan collateral damage, but they still don't put the responsibility where it belongs on the Taliban for setting up positions in civilian areas in violation of the Geneva Conventions.br /br /I believe the Bush administration made a deal to upgrade the Pakistan F-16s last fall. At the time I said that if they were used to go after the Taliban along the Afghan border they would be worth every penny. It looks like Pakistan is living up to my expectations so far.br /br /They appear to be using a raiding strategy trying to wear down the Taliban with the precision raids before making an assault on the area. Pakistan is still deficient in learning the techniques of counterinsurgency operations. The army's irrational resistance to accepting US help in learning the techniques continues.br /br /The video that accompanies the article is worth watching. Just go to the link above.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5051247-6885671271887320867?l=prairiepundit.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

That was a lovely rendition of "God Bless Amer..." WHOA! BOOBS! HOLY MACKEREL YOU COULD MOTOR-BOAT THOSE JUBBLIES!



a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_mTIR6JMpzsI/Sl1K9t9FauI/AAAAAAAAD4M/O1KZZUpV6PA/s1600-h/zoom_41183.jpg"img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 400px; height: 307px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_mTIR6JMpzsI/Sl1K9t9FauI/AAAAAAAAD4M/O1KZZUpV6PA/s400/zoom_41183.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5358521555809037026" border="0" //abr /Who is Sara Evans and why have we never seen her jugs before?!?! We are in love with this singer, this artist, this goddess of passion!br /br /We have zero idea what her contribution to pop music is or why she belonged at last night's All-Star game, but holy toledo, we want to meet her doctor and spend the day as her bra.br /br /But get this, Sara Evans, our true love, our soul mate, our inspiration, was born in 1971. Whaaaaaat? This is a lie! Do not lie to us, Wikipedia. She's 24. And a virgin. She's waiting for us. She'll come to California for us. And sing to us all night long until we smother her with a pillow and do things to her that God would certainly not bless.br /br /For the record, we'll call it zero drinks for her, 6 LTs for us to loosen up our vocal chords and a clarinet for fun.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/19679634-981741099532317505?l=zachls.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Abortion Criminalization



a href="http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/2009/07/morning-coffee-nicaraguas-shocking-abortion-ban.html"It's a disaster./adiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7163938-2560422235411387271?l=lefarkins.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

U.S. Trains Honduran Coup Officers



span style="font-family:arial;"biJuly 22, 2009, 8:05 a.m./i/bbr /br /centerbHeads We Win, Tails They Lose -- in Honduras/bbr /(brought to you by FromDC2Iowa.blogspot.com*)/centerbr /It turns out that President Obama and his Administration, while bemoaning the coup in Honduras -- backing, and insisting on the return of, President Manuel Zelaya -- have been training the very officers and soldiers who brought off the coup!br /br /It's an example of the U.S.'s win-win foreign policy strategy: In public we back the ousted leader; in private we train the army officers that overthrow him.br /br /The story, which I found in the iNational Catholic Reporter/i, is just one example of what we were missing while the world's media brought the laser-like focus of its video cameras on the death of Michael Jackson and little more.br /br /a href="http://ncronline.org/news/global/us-continues-train-honduran-soldiers"James Hodge and Linda Cooper, "U.S. continues to train Honduran soldiers; Coup that ousted president, didn't stop U.S. engagement in Honduras,"/a iNational Catholic Reporter/i, July 14, 2009. Here are excerpts from the Hodge and Cooper story:br /br /blockquoteA controversial facility at Ft. Benning, Ga. -- formerly known as the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas -- is still training Honduran officers despite claims by the Obama administration that it cut military ties to Honduras after its president was overthrown June 28, NCR has learned.br /br /A day after an SOA-trained army general ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya at gunpoint, President Barack Obama stated that "the coup was not legal" and that Zelaya remained "the democratically elected president."br /br /The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act requires that U.S. military aid and training be suspended when a country undergoes a military coup, and the Obama administration has indicated those steps have been taken.br /br /However, Lee Rials, public affairs officer for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the successor of SOA, confirmed Monday that Honduran officers are still being trained at the school. . . .br /br /Asked about the Obama administration's suspension of aid and training to Honduras, Rials said, "Well, all I know is they're here, and they're in class" . . . adding that it's possible that other U.S. military schools are training them too. "We're not the only place." . . .br /br /The school trained 431 Honduran officers from 2001 to 2008, and some 88 were projected for this year, said Rials, who couldn't provide their names.br /br /Since 2005, the Department of Defense has barred the release of their names after it was revealed that the school had enrolled well-known human rights abusers.br /br /The general who overthrew Zelaya -- Romeo Orlando Vásquez Velásquez -- is a two-time graduate of SOA, which critics have nicknamed the "School of Coups" because it trained so many coup leaders, including two other Honduran graduates, Gen. Juan Melgar Castro and Gen. Policarpo Paz Garcia. . . .br /br /The ongoing training of Hondurans at Ft. Benning is not the only evidence of unbroken U.S.-Honduran military ties since the coup.br /br /Another piece was discovered by Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch, while on fact-finding mission to Honduras last week. . . .br /br /"Helicopters were flying all around, and we spoke with the U.S. official on duty, a Sgt. Reyes" about the U.S.-Honduran relationship, Bourgeois said. "We asked him if anything had changed since the coup and he said no, nothing."br /br /The group later met with U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens, who claimed that he had no knowledge of ongoing U.S. military activity with the Hondurans, Bourgeois said. The ambassador also said that he himself has had no contact with the de facto government.br /br /That has apparently changed. Christopher Webster, the director of the State Department's Office of Central American Affairs, said Monday that Llorens has in fact been in touch with the current coup government, according to Eric LeCompte, the national organizer for SOA Watch. . . .br /br /Herrera Hernández, the lawyer with the Honduran attorney general's office, told Webster that the coup government has disseminated misinformation by claiming the coup was legal because the court had issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya for pushing ahead with a non-binding referendum on whether to change the Honduran constitution.br /br /However, the order to arrest Zelaya came a day after the coup, he said. And contrary to coup propaganda, Zelaya never sought to extend his term in office, and even if the survey had been held, changing the constitution would have required action by the legislature, he said.br /br /Whatever legal argument the coup leaders had against Zelaya, it fell apart when they flew him into exile rather than prosecuting him, the attorney said. The legal system has broken down, he added, for if this can happen to the president, who can't it happen to?/blockquoteLooks like Iraq and Afghanistan aren't the only countries where our "peace through war" efforts are a little off track.br /_____________br /br /* Why do I put this blog ID at the top of the entry, when you know full well what blog you're reading? Because there are a number of Internet sites that, for whatever reason, simply take the blog entries of others and reproduce them as their own without crediting the source. I don't mind the flattering attention, but would appreciate acknowledgment as the source, even if I have to embed it myself. -- Nicholas Johnsonbr /br /center# # #/center/spandiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/30130444-2644983456164491999?l=fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Journo to Journo: How Low Can You Go?



span style="font-size:180%;"/spandiv style="text-align: justify;"blockquotespan style="color: rgb(255, 102, 0);"Updated/span, 12.45pm: span style="font-weight: bold;"Wong Chun Wai/span, the Star's chief group editor, spoke to the reporters at Kosmo to hear their side of the story.br /span style="font-size:85%;"span style="font-style: italic;""They pointed out that they had paid their tribute to Yasmin, pointing out the many stories recognising her talent. The article on her past, they said, was merely to inform readers of the other side of Yasmin, which the readers were not aware./spanbr /span style="font-style: italic;""The editor took my call politely and thanked me for my views and criticism. That's their side of the story. I do not think there was any malice but ..."/span/spanbr /br /Read his posting on a href="http://chunwai08.blogspot.com/2009/07/yasmin-ahmad-journos-angry-over-kosmo.html"span style="font-style: italic;"Yasmin Ahmad: Journos Angry Over Kosmo!'s Article/span/abr /br /br /br /span style="font-size:85%;"span style="color: rgb(255, 102, 0);"Original article/span:/spanbr /span style="font-size:180%;"A very angry letter to Kosmo!/span On the Facebook, one of my own journalists at the Malay Mail has started a thread dedicated at slamming the Malay-language tabloid Kosmo! for the crap they wrote about Yasmin Ahmad the day after her death.br /Later this afternoon, a group of journos will be sending a letter to Utusan Group chairman Hashim Makaruddin, a former journalist himself, to express their disgust with Kosmo!'s editorial policy. I agree with Marina Mahathir a href="http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/2009/07/yasmin-ahmad-1958-2009.html"span style="font-style: italic;"here/span/a that Kosmo!'s take this instance was really appalling, even by its own standards.br /br /span style="font-size:85%;"span style="font-style: italic;"The letter to Hashim, below (pls click to enlarge), and the e-mail from the group of journos seeking the support of other journos against Kosmo!br /br //span/spana onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Az7aX_dORNk/Sm-bDi0CQoI/AAAAAAAAEDY/7FeugMnXNrY/s1600-h/angry+letter.png"img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 400px; height: 259px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Az7aX_dORNk/Sm-bDi0CQoI/AAAAAAAAEDY/7FeugMnXNrY/s400/angry+letter.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5363676166408520322" border="0" //aspan style="font-size:85%;"span style="font-style: italic;"br //span/spanbr /b/bb/bblockquotespan style="font-size:85%;"bFrom/b: Rose Ismailbr /bDate/b: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 19:41:04 +0800br /bSubject/b: Letter to Utusan Chairman about Kosmo! Story on Yasminbr /Dear friends,br /br /We have written a letter to the Chairman of Utusan -- Tan Sri Hashim Makaruddin -- to express our anger and disgust at the story that Kosmo! ran on July 27th, 2009.br /br /This letter of protest, which will be translated into BM, has been written on behalf of practising and former journalists.br /br /It will be copied to the the editor of Kosmo! and the Home Minister.br /br /If you would like to be a signatory, please reply this email with the subject "Count Me In".br /br /We hope to send the letter at 5pm tomorrow (Wed, 29th July), so please respond before then.br /br /Let's uphold the kind of journalism that this country so desperately needs.br /br /Yours,br /Rose Ismailbr /Fatimah Abu Bakarbr /Shareem Amrybr /Sharon Nelsonbr /Caroline Yap/span/blockquote/blockquote/divblockquotespan style="font-size:85%;"/span/blockquotediv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/28452020-3394917030963133097?l=rockybru.com.my'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Norwich North by-election results



a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_eYYOIBdveaY/Smnv625CqRI/AAAAAAAABF8/duI1q1IQbh4/s1600-h/vote.jpeg"img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 103px; height: 124px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_eYYOIBdveaY/Smnv625CqRI/AAAAAAAABF8/duI1q1IQbh4/s320/vote.jpeg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5362080625807501586" border="0" //abr /The a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwich_North_by-election,_2009" Norwich North by-election /a has seen a victory for the Conservative candidate Chloe Smith. The Tories got 39.54% of the vote (13,591 votes) on a 46% turnout.br /br /Labour was second, with 18.16%. The Lib-Dems got 13.97%, UKIP got 11.8% and the Greens got 9.74%. The Greens did well in the European elections in Norwich. However, it seems this has failed to carry over to a good showing in the by-election. UKIP have pipped them to fifth place.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/38622711-6369757413308367411?l=vinospoliticalblog.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Those Crazy Conspiracist libertarians.....errr, excuse me, Democrat Republican House Members...Expose Goldman Sachs and Demand Answers....



div style="text-align: justify;"span style="font-weight: bold;"[I hope they don't hold their breaths waiting for a rational (or any) explanation for Goldman Sachs' special little singular arrangement.]/spanbr /br /Dear Chairman Bernanke:br //divp style="text-align: justify;" In the fall, Goldman Sachs secured access to government funding by converting from an investment bank into an ordinary bank. Despite this shift, the CFO of the company, David Viniar, said last week that the company is continuing to operate as if it were still a high-risk investment bank: "Our model really never changed," he noted in a quote to Bloomberg. "We've said very consistently that our business model remained the same." /pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"This statement seems accurate. span style="font-weight: bold;"Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve granted a temporary exemption to Goldman Sachs from standard bank holding company Market Risk Rules, allowing the company to continue operating as if it were an investment bank./span The company and its employees have taken full advantage of its new government subsidies, and the retained ability to bet big. In its most recent quarter, Goldman Sachs earned high profits of $2.7 billion on revenues of $13.76 billion, with 78 percent of this revenue derived from high-risk trading and principal investments. It paid out much of this revenue in compensation, setting aside a record $772,858 for each employee at an annualized rate. The company's own measurement of risk, its Value-at-Risk model, recently showed potential trading losses at $245 million a day, up from $184 million last May. /pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="font-weight: bold; text-align: justify;"Despite its exemption from bank holding company regulations, Goldman Sachs has access to taxpayer subsidies, including FDIC-backed bonds, TARP money (since repaid), counterparty payments funneled through AIG, and an implicit backstop from the taxpayer that allowed a public equity offering in a queasy market. span style="font-style: italic;"The only difference between Goldman Sachs today and Goldman Sachs last year is that today, the company is officially gambling with government money. This is the very definition of "heads we win, tails the taxpayers lose." /span/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"It is worth noting that there sometimes might be good reasons to grant temporary regulatory exemptions, considering that companies cannot instantly change their business model. Still, given Goldman Sachs's last quarter results and public statements that it is not changing its business model, span style="font-weight: bold;"we are worried that the company is using its regulatory freedom to evade capital requirements and take outsized risks with taxpayers on the hook for losses. /span/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"With this in mind, our questions are as follows:/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"1) In the letter granting a regulatory exemption to Goldman Sachs, you stated that the SEC-approved VaR models it is now using are sufficiently conservative for the transition period to bank holding company. Please justify this statement. /pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"2) If Goldman Sachs were required to adhere to standard Market Risk Rules imposed by the Federal Reserve on ordinary bank holding companies, how would its capital requirements differ from the current regulatory regime?/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"3) What is the difference in exposure to the taxpayer between these two regulatory regimes?/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"4) What is the difference in total risk to the portfolio between these two regulatory regimes?/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"5) Goldman Sachs stated that "As of June 26, 2009, total capital was $254.05 billion, consisting of $62.81 billion in total shareholders' equity (common shareholders' equity of $55.86 billion and preferred stock of $6.96 billion) and $191.24 billion in unsecured long-term borrowings." As a percentage of capital, that's a lot of long-term unsecured debt. Is any of this coming from the Government? In this last quarter, how much capital has Goldman Sachs received from the Federal Reserve and other government facilities such as FDIC-guaranteed debt, either directly or indirectly? /pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"6) Many risk-management experts, most notably best-selling author Nassim Taleb, note that VaR models can dramatically understate risk. What is your overall view of Taleb's argument, and of the utility of Value-at-Risk models as regulatory tools?/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"As we work through legislative conversations regarding systemic risk, these questions are taking on increased significance. We appreciate your time and the efforts you are making to explain the actions of the Federal Reserve to Congress, and to taxpayers. /pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Sincerely,/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Alan Grayson (D-Fla.)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Brad Miller (D-N.C.)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Ron Paul (R-Texas)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Tom Perriello (D-Va.)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Jackie Speier (D-Calif.)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.)/pdiv style="text-align: justify;" /divp style="text-align: justify;"Walter Jones (R-N.C.)/pp style="text-align: center;"______________________br //pp style="text-align: justify;"Less than 4 years ago....br //pp style="text-align: center;"a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102602255_pf.html"span style="font-size:85%;"bBernanke: There's No Housing Bubble to Go Bust/b/spanbr /Fed Nominee Has Said 'Cooling' Won't Hurt/abr //ppspan style=""By Nell Henderson - Washington Post Staff Writerbr //span/ppspan style=""Thursday, October 27, 2005br //span/pp"Ben S. Bernanke does not think the national housing boom is a bubble that is about to burst, he indicated to Congress last week, just a few days before President Bush nominated him to become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve./ppU.S. house prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years, noted Bernanke, currently chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, in testimony to Congress's Joint Economic Committee. But these increases, he said, "largely reflect strong economic fundamentals," such as strong growth in jobs, incomes and the number of new households..../ppMany economists argue that house prices have risen too far too fast in many markets, forming a bubble that could rapidly collapse and trigger an economic downturn, as overinflated stock prices did at the turn of the century. Some analysts have warned that even a flattening of house prices might cause a slump -- posing the first serious challenge to whoever succeeds Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan after he steps down Jan. 31./pp style="font-weight: bold;"Bernanke's testimony suggests that he does not share such concerns, and that he believes the economy could weather a housing slowdown..../ppBernanke believes "the Fed's job is to protect the economy, not to protect individual asset prices," said William Dudley, chief economist for Goldman Sachs U.S. Economics Research./ppThat view mirrors Greenspan's. He and Bernanke have both said it is unrealistic to expect the Fed to identify a bubble in stock or real estate prices as it is inflating, or to be able to pop it without hurting the economy. span style="font-weight: bold;"Instead, the Fed should stand ready to mop up the economic aftermath of a bubble.../spanspan"/span/ppspan style="font-weight: bold;"br //span/ppspan style="font-weight: bold;"...and wipe the derriere of Goldman Sachs with Federal Reserve Notes charged to the American taxpayer./spanbr /span style="font-weight: bold;"/span/pp style="text-align: justify;" /pp/pdiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7893272060787897238-2381592470272695985?l=delawarelibertarian.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

No health benefits from organic food



The a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8174482.stm"BBC/a has the story.br /br /blockquote...br /br /But the Soil Association criticised the study and called for better research.br /br /...br //blockquoteAn association of dirt is critical of others?div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5051247-6860781989576858675?l=prairiepundit.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

It's the Unemployment, Stupid!



span style="font-family:arial;"biJuly 29, 2009, 6:00 a.m./i/bbr /br /centerbPerry County: If the Question is Economic Recoverybr /The Answer is Jobs/bbr /(brought to you by a href="http://fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com/"FromDC2Iowa.blogspot.com/a*)/centerbr /James Carville, the political consultant who once famously tried to keep presidential candidate Bill Clinton "on message" with the wall sign, a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_the_economy,_stupid""It's the economy, stupid!"/a is a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=107006724"today giving Afghanistan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani similar "stay on message" advice/a. If Carville were content to stay in his own country, and on message, I suspect his wall sign for President Obama might well be, "It's the unemployment, stupid!"br /br /Our a href="http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemploymentamp;met=unemployment_rateamp;tdim=trueamp;q=unemployment+percentage+in+america"unemployment numbers continue to climb to roughly 10%/a, with some pockets more than double that, and most economists projecting at least a year before meaningful improvement, noting that the jobs picture is the last to improve when coming out of a recession.br /br /Despite these realities, the response of Congress and the White House has been bailouts for the corporate CEOs credited with the largest campaign contributions rather than America's working men and women.br /br /Nine months ago I urged a jobs program as the most efficient and effective "stimulus package." a href="http://fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com/2008/11/jobs-not-unemployment-key-to-recovery.html%20"Nicholas Johnson, "Jobs, Not Unemployment, Key to Recovery; Why America Needs a Jobs Program: Because When Your Automobile (Industry) is in the River It Makes More Sense to Go For the Shore Than to Continue Bailing it Out,"/a November 8, 2008.br /br /Earlier this week the iTimes/i reported that at least one of America's 3100 counties is now successfully taking that approach. a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/us/28county.html?hp"Michael Cooper, "To Create Jobs, Tennessee Looks to New Deal Model,"/a iNew York Times/i, July 27, 2009 (the a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/07/27/us/20090727-perrycounty-multimedia/index.html%20%20"site offers a multimedia slide show/a including the voices of some of the new job holders).br /br /Excerpts from my earlier recommendations, and the iTimes/i' report on the Perry County, Tennessee, project, follow.br /br /blockquoteMy own view -- buttressed by [reports regarding] (1) the automobile industry (especially General Motors), (2) retail sales, and (3) unemployment -- is that the best interests of the business community, as well as the American people, will be served by providing public jobs programs, and economic support to the unemployed, rather than continuing to pour billions of dollars into failed and failing businesses. . . .br /br /[A] major part of GM's problem is that laid-off GM workers, and the 10 million other unemployed Americans, don't have the money to buy anybody's cars right now . . ..br /br /[T]here's little likelihood much of the billions given to GM (whether "loans" unlikely to be repaid, "bailouts," or money said to be for "re-tooling" or research on more energy efficient vehicles) is going to find its way to UAW workers, suppliers and dealers -- unless GM would be stupid enough to increase its production, and inventories, of cars that neither its dealers nor its customers can afford. . . .br /br /If the automobile industry is the lynch pin to economic recovery the new president thinks it is, the solution is to get more money into the hands of consumers -- especially the unemployed (and soon to be unemployed). Enabling auto executives to have tens of billions of additional dollars to spend at their discretion in postponing bankruptcy doesn't strike me as a solution to anything . . ..br /br /Another problem with Washington's willy-nilly giveaways, aside from the fact that they are unfair, don't work and will ultimately bankrupt our nation, is that they are irrational. . . .br /br /I have no more enthusiasm for bailing out, or subsidizing, the retail sector than I have for the automobile sector. If Target's sales are down (as they are), I'm not confident that giving its executives billions of dollars will increase its "discretionary spending" sales to customers who barely have money for food.br /br /But if Obama is looking for economic sectors to which to transfer taxpayers' money, wouldn't the one that represents "two-thirds of the nation's economic activity" make more sense in a recession/depression than bailing out the one that makes $30,000 new vehicles? . . .br /br /Why We Need a Jobs Programbr /br /Look at the numbers. There are now over 10 million unemployed. Unemployment stands at 6.5 percent, and is projected to go to 8 percent next year -- 22 percent of whom have been out of work for more than six months, something we haven't seen for a quarter-century. The rates are increasing. Of the 1.2 million jobs lost this year 284,000 were in September and 240,000 in October.br /br /In the 1950s over 50 percent of the unemployed received benefits; today, because of various restrictions, only 32 percent qualify -- more unemployment, more holes in the safety net. . . .br /br /[T]he answers seem, to me, rather obvious.br /br /You can't improve business (profits, returns to shareholders, executive compensation) without improving retail sales; you can't improve retail sales without putting money in the hands, and confidence in the heads, of potential consumers; and unemployed consumers don't have money unless they are provided either unemployment compensation or wages from a public sector job (in an economy with a shrinking private sector).br /br /Given our rotting, unattended, infrastructure (roads, bridges, pipelines, schools) resulting from the last 30 years of "tax cuts" it seems to me, given the same amount of money, that using it to create "jobs" makes more sense than providing it for "unemployment compensation."br /br /But either makes more sense than trying to turn an economy around with "trickle down" -- whether tax cuts for the rich, or bailouts for the rich./blockquotea href="http://fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com/2008/11/jobs-not-unemployment-key-to-recovery.html%20"Nicholas Johnson, "Jobs, Not Unemployment, Key to Recovery; Why America Needs a Jobs Program: Because When Your Automobile (Industry) is in the River It Makes More Sense to Go For the Shore Than to Continue Bailing it Out,"/a November 8, 2008.br /blockquotespan style="font-size:85%;"[* Why do I put this blog ID at the top of the entry, when you know full well what blog you're reading? Because there are a number of Internet sites that, for whatever reason, simply take the blog entries of others and reproduce them as their own without crediting the source. I don't mind the flattering attention, but would appreciate acknowledgment as the source, even if I have to embed it myself. -- Nicholas Johnson]/span/blockquoteNow read what's happening in Tennessee:br /br /blockquoteCritics elsewhere may be questioning how many jobs the stimulus program has created, but here in central Tennessee, hundreds of workers are again drawing paychecks after many months out of work, thanks to a novel use of federal stimulus money by state officials.br /br /Here in one of Tennessee’s hardest-hit areas, some workers were cutting down pine trees with chainsaws and clearing undergrowth on a recent morning, just past the auto parts factory that laid them off last year when it moved to Mexico. Others were taking applications for unemployment benefits at the very center where they themselves had applied not long ago. A few were making turnovers at the Armstrong Pie Company (“The South’s Finest Since 1946”).br /br /The state decided to spend some of its money to try to reduce unemployment by up to 40 percent here in Perry County, a rural county of 7,600 people, 90 miles southwest of Nashville where the unemployment rate had risen to above 25 percent after its biggest plant, the auto parts factory, closed.br /br /Rather than waiting for big projects to be planned and awarded to construction companies, or for tax cuts to trickle through the economy, state officials hit upon a New Deal model of trying to put people directly to work as quickly as possible.br /br /They are using welfare money from the stimulus package to subsidize 300 new jobs across Perry County, with employers ranging from the state Transportation Department to the milkshake place near the high school.br /br /As a result, the June unemployment rate, which does not yet include all the new jobs, dropped to 22.1 percent.br /br /“If I could have done a W.P.A. out there, I would have done a W.P.A. out there,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democrat, referring to the Works Progress Administration, which employed millions during the Great Depression. . . .br /br /The impact has been enormous, all across the county. Even the look of the place is changing, following the old W.P.A. model. In addition to the jobs for adults, there are 150 summer jobs for young people, some of whom have been working with resident artists to paint murals depicting local history on the buildings along Main Street in Linden, the county seat.br /br /Over all, two-thirds of the new jobs are in private sector businesses, which are reimbursed by the state for the salaries of eligible stimulus workers. Some, in retail, might be hard to sustain when the stimulus money runs out in September 2010. Other businesses say the free labor will help them expand, hopefully enough to keep a bigger work force.br /br /The Commodore Hotel Linden, a newly restored 1939 hotel that has brought new life to downtown, has seen an increase in its bookings since it has expanded its staff thanks to the stimulus. And the Armstrong Pie Company expects to be able to keep on the new bakery assistants and drivers it hired with stimulus money, saying the new workers have helped the company triple its pie production and expand its reach through central Tennessee. . . ./blockquotea href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/us/28county.html?hp"Michael Cooper, "To Create Jobs, Tennessee Looks to New Deal Model,"/a iNew York Times/i, July 27, 2009 (the a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/07/27/us/20090727-perrycounty-multimedia/index.html%20%20"site offers a multimedia slide show/a including the voices of some of the new job holders).br /br /My only disagreement with the iTimes/i' story is its characterization of the Perry County approach as "novel." As it alludes later in the piece, we did this in the 1930s and called it the "Works Progress Administration" and "Civilian Conservation Corps" -- the creations of which we are still enjoying to this day (in, for example, our state parks).br /br /Why are we not doing it today -- outside of Perry County? Your guess is as good as mine. But my suspicion is that it has more to do with the big money corruption of our political system than with some new, Nobel-prize-winning insight into the mysteries of economic theory.br /____________br /br /* Why do I put this blog ID at the top of the entry, when you know full well what blog you're reading? Because there are a number of Internet sites that, for whatever reason, simply take the blog entries of others and reproduce them as their own without crediting the source. I don't mind the flattering attention, but would appreciate acknowledgment as the source, even if I have to embed it myself. -- Nicholas Johnsonbr /br /center# # #/center/spandiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/30130444-2688172585101183955?l=fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Latin America swings right?



From the Guardian:br /br /blockquotea href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jul/29/latin-america-right-elections"Latin America's swing to the right/a/blockquotebr /The writer makes the case that in a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/chile"Chile/a, Uruguay and a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/brazil"Brazil/a the voters are moving away from the left. Perhaps they have seen the mess Chavez and his cronies have made.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5051247-1409812449125491012?l=prairiepundit.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

The Core



Ezra a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/07/the_195_years_test.html"objects/a to a href="http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=07amp;year=2009amp;base_name=let_it_die"my post/a arguing that it might be better to reject a bill that sells out too much to the Blue Dogs:br /br /blockquoteBut it's also worth offering a more general reality check here: The public option is not now, and has not ever, been the core of the argument for heath-care reform. It is the core of the fight in Washington, D.C. It is an important policy experiment. But it was not in Howard Dean or John Kerry or Dick Gephardt's plans, and reformers supported those. It was not in Bill Clinton's proposal, and most lament the death of that. It is not what politicians were using in their speeches five years ago. It is a recent addition to the debate, and a good one. But it is not the reason were are having this debate.br /br /Rather, what has kept health-care reform at the forefront of liberal politics for decades is moral outrage that 47 million of our friends and neighbors are uninsured./blockquotebr /I certainly agree with this, as far as it goes. Obviously, the core of the span style="font-style: italic;"argument/span for health care reform is universal coverage. And, indeed, there are better ways of achieving this than a public option and employer mandates, although they're not on the table. My concern is whether or not a compromise bill will, in fact, provide politically sustainable universal coverage, or anything close to it. If Ezra (and a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2009/07/community-rating"Kevin/a) are right that even compromise legislation will, in fact accomplish a lot, then I agree that it's worth supporting, and I guess we won't know until we have actual legislation on the table, and I'm willing to keep an open mind. br /br /Ezra also outlines a criteria we should use to evaluate whether a bill is worth passing:br /br /blockquoteIf reformers cannot pass a strong health-care reform bill now, there is no reason to believe they will be able to do it later. The question is whether the knowledge that the system will not let you solve this problem should prevent you from doing what you can to improve it. Put more sharply, the question should be whether this bill is better or worse than another 19.5 years of the deteriorating status quo./blockquotebr /I agree with this, to a point. Anybody who's read the many nasty things I've had to say about late-period Ralph Nader knows I'm not a heighten-the-contradictions guy. If the proposed bill represents a substantial improvement and is constructed in a way that it will be politically sustainable, I agree that it merits support. However, there also has to be a point in which the two premises start to contradict each other. It's true that there may not be many more opportunities to pass a span style="font-style: italic;"good/span health care reform bill. It is likely, however, that there will be plenty of chances to pass incremental reform that is far too expensive because of the need to buy off vested stakeholders. (The 2003 Medicare expansion, after all, passed with the Democrats holding none of the elected branches, and pretty much fits this description to a T.) If the bill gets bad enough, it's not clear how much is being risked by trying again, perhaps after mid-term elections likely to be favorable to Senate Dems.br /br /...and, yes, progressives are going to a href="http://www.eschatonblog.com/2009/07/threat.html"have to use threats/a if there's any chance that the bill will be worth supporting. If only conservatives (in both party caucuses) are threatening to torpedo the bill it's going to be bad. br /br /[X-Posted at a href="http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped"TAPPED/a.]div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/7163938-4437728299924658866?l=lefarkins.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

But...but...Obama's a racist!



object width="425" height="344"param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/FYo6dR0tf_Iamp;color1=0xb1b1b1amp;color2=0xcfcfcfamp;hl=enamp;feature=player_embeddedamp;fs=1"/paramparam name="allowFullScreen" value="true"/paramparam name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"/paramembed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/FYo6dR0tf_Iamp;color1=0xb1b1b1amp;color2=0xcfcfcfamp;hl=enamp;feature=player_embeddedamp;fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="425" height="344"/embed/objectdiv class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/26747494-1985635369064654907?l=instaputz.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

China's three biggest power firms emit more carbon than Britain



a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/28/china-greenhouse-gas-emissions-greenpeace" This article /a reports on a Greenpeace report that claims that China's three biggest power firms emit more carbon than Britain. This does seem testimony to the fact that China has been growing fast economically - and that this growth is energy-intensive.br /br /The article reports that in Japan, 418 grams of carbon dioxide are emitted per kilowatt hour but in China around 752 grams of CO2 is produced for each kilowatt-hour of energy-generated.br /br /It does seem that, if carbon emissions are to be controlled, China needs to develop more efficient methods of energy generation. Perhaps they should take a leaf out of Japan's book on this topic - as it seems to be among one of the most energy-efficient developed countries [probably in part because it has to import all of its oil].div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/38622711-8780048314926990991?l=vinospoliticalblog.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

This looks strange



a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mTIR6JMpzsI/Sm-6qtdyfcI/AAAAAAAAD7s/uvYcdJ7pc3w/s1600-h/Picture+3.png"img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 400px; height: 197px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mTIR6JMpzsI/Sm-6qtdyfcI/AAAAAAAAD7s/uvYcdJ7pc3w/s400/Picture+3.png" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5363710924143361474" border="0" //abr /Hey, wait a sec...br /br /(Papelbon also gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to blow a save. Fantastic.)div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/19679634-7485790700247344155?l=zachls.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley

Other reasons to oppose national health care



a href="http://business.theatlantic.com/2009/07/a_long_long_post_about_my_reasons_for_opposing_national_health_care.php"Megan McArdle:/abr /br /blockquoteI know, most of you have already figured out why I oppose national health care. In a nutshell, I hate the poor and want them to die so that all my rich friends can use their bodies as mulch for their diamond ranches. But y'all keep asking, so here goes the longer explanation.br /br /Basically, for me, it all boils down to public choice theory. Once we've got a comprehensive national health care plan, what are the government's incentives? I think they're bad, for the same reason the TSA is bad. I'm afraid that instead of Security Theater, we'll get Health Care Theater, where the government goes to elaborate lengths to convince us that we're getting the best possible health care, without actually providing it.br / br /That's not just verbal theatrics. Agencies like Britain's NICE are a case in point. As long as people don't know that there are cancer treatments they're not getting, they're happy. Once they find out, satisfaction plunges. But the reason that people in Britain know about things like herceptin for early stage breast cancer is a robust private market in the US that experiments with this sort of thing.br /br /So in the absence of a robust private US market, my assumption is that the government will focus on the apparent at the expense of the hard-to-measure. Innovation benefits future constituents who aren't voting now. Producing it is very expensive. On the other hand, cutting costs pleases voters this instant. This is, fundamentally, what cries to "use the government's negotiating power" with drug companies is about. Advocates of such a policy spend a lot of time arguing about whether pharmaceutical companies do, or do not, spend too much on marketing. This is besides the point. The government is not going to price to some unknowable socially optimal amount of pharma market power. It is going to price to what the voters want, which is to spend as little as possible right now.br /br /It's not that I think that private companies wouldn't like to cut innovation. But in the presence of even rudimentary competition, they can't. Monopolies are not innovative, whether they are public or private.br /br /...br //blockquoteThere is much more, but she has put the left back on their heels with her opening. There is nothing like stripping your opponents of their favorite weapon from the git go. Her arguments about innovation and competition are ones that the Demcorats have not really addressed either. With Canada and the UK free riding on our innovation, it is hard to see where it will come from if we go their route.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5051247-4029199696714439049?l=prairiepundit.blogspot.com'//div

technorati tags:
| |
More at: News 2 Cromley