Friday, February 29, 2008

More Bushie Stupidity


It's not as if plagiarism isn't hard to catch these days—in one of the great coincidences of my career, I once found a student paper that had been written by DarLucky's wife!—but along with not realizing that $4/gallon gasoline is imminent,* the Bushies still don't seem to understand the intricacies of the Web in finding examples of it.

So it is with one Timothy Goeglein, a Special Assistant to the President in the White House's Office of Public Liaison, who, in a column yesterday in the The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, quoted former Dartmouth professor, Jeffrey Hart, extensively.

Mr. Goeglein, I knew Professor Hart, and believe me, you're no Jeffrey Hart. (I've always wanted to use that line.)

Speaking of Professor Hart, I see he's gotten religion and is actually backing Barack Obama for president. His reasons for doing so can he found here, but it's more than a little surprising that the former National Review writer would back a Democrat for any reason. I have my suspicions as to why he's thinking as he is, but they'd be too provocative to articulate.

*I've just found what I think is an obvious parallel between Gorgeous George's "I hadn't heard that" of yesterday and his father's infamous wonderment at super market checkout scanners. Both incidents show the Brahminesque mentality of the two Yale grads and really show that they need to get out more.

UPDATE: The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel has reported that Goeglein plagiarized 20 of the 38 articles they published by him.

Back from Outer Space


On another note, it is good to be back. As some of you may know, my last space mission went longer than anyone anticipated. (The damn Russkies brought a gun into space! I guess they've seen Armageddon too many times.)

Anyway, it's nice having my feet back on terra firma. A lot has changed in the time I've been gone; some of them things I never would have anticipated. (An old white guy is the GOP candidate for President? Inexplicable!) I hope to be a regular contributor again, singing songs of hope and humor to my favorite choir of like-minded malcontents. Worst case: I'll be on a Pedro-like, every-five-days kind of schedule. Unless I pull something.

I will also no longer be hiding behind my old nom de guerre, Sergio. You may now call me by my birth name, Yossarian. Yes, they made my mom read that book in High School too.

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It's His Name, Stupid


Republican hit-and-runners like Rush Limbaugh and Bill Cunningham have made sport lately of making sure everyone is aware that Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein. "It's his name!" they declare. "How can it be unfair if it's his name?" Well, here's why:

Anyone know John McCain's middle name?

Didn't think so.

That's because a person's middle name is irrelevant to his or her ability to be President. And 98% of Americans get that.

But that is not who the GOP red-meaters are appealing to. They are simply trying to perpetuate the myth that Obama is Muslim. They are hoping the small, ignorant few that believe this to be true will be enough to swing the vote the GOP way. And they have good reason to think this. The last two Presidential elections were won by a fraction of the vote.

So yes, Hussein is Obama's name. But that doesn't absolve Republicans from charges of racism and bigotry when they try to use it against him.

(BTW, McCain's middle name is Sidney! How gay!)

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The State of Discourse


William F. Buckley was late to the civil rights movements, arguably anti-Semitic, a fan of Fascism and (initially at least) the Iraq war. But, you can disagree with a man and still admire the way he makes his point. Buckley built the modern American conservative intellectual tradition and founded the magazine that was its mouthpiece. At the time of his death, the intellectual/political movement Buckley started and the empire he built are in ruin.

The clips below are from a debate about the Vietnam War between Buckley and Noam Chomsky that was required viewing my freshman year in college. While the two trade barbs there is a charming civility and an intellectual rigor that is all but absent in the political process today.

Part One:

Part Two:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The IRS and the UCC


In its never ending effort to snuff out any hint of liberalism, the IRS has seen fit to threaten the United Church of Christ (Disclosure: I've been a member of the church for nearly forty years.) with the loss of its tax-exempt status because "reasonable belief exists that the United Church of Christ has engaged in political activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status." This intimidation comes about as a result of Barack Obama's speech at the UCC's national convention in Hartford last June.

This is an obvious attempt to sabotage both Obama's campaign and the church's very existence. It's kind of ironic—but certainly not consoling—that the UCC's ancestor, the legion of Congregational churches founded in New England in the 1600s, were instituted because of a government that simply couldn't be tolerated. Now, centuries later, the UCC pretty much finds itself with the same mindset.

Once again, Bush-appointed bureaucrats have shown that they have no shame and would truly like to effect the destruction of venerable and what should be sacrosanct American institutions.



This is chilling commentary from a man who a up until recently was dismissed as a quack. Lately, however, he is being hailed a prescient and traversing quite the lecture circuit, including the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Davos, and today Congress. At 21 pages the testimony is not a quick read, but it is surprisingly easy to read. If you own a house, invest in stocks, or have a checking account it might be worth 20 minutes of your time. I know people hate spoilers, but here is how it ends:

What will be the consequence of losses of over $1 trillion and, possibly, as high as $2 trillion? That would wipe out most of the capital of most of the US banking system and lead most of US banks and mortgage lenders – that are massively exposed to real estate – to go belly up. You would then have a systemic banking crisis of proportions that would be several orders of magnitude larger than the S&L crisis, a crisis that ended up with a fiscal bailout cost of over $120 billion dollars. And the worrisome part of this scenario is that – with home prices likely to fall by 20% or more – this scenario of systemic banking crisis is becoming increasingly likely.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Subprime made simple


Here's a very well done "stick figure" explanation of the ongoing mortgage crisis.

Friday, February 01, 2008

On A Lighter Note

Universal Remote

It's been a long week, and I felt like this was worth sharing....