Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010:New Year.... at hand and I think that this new year will be a very good one for most of you who have been trying to do something with your lives. You know,getting a better job,moving to a better location for you and your family. Maybe you are wishing for better health as I am. Whatever your goal (s) for 2010 are, I hope that you'll remember that in order to achieve them you will have to remain focused on them continually. Don't give up this year!Go out and get your share of this life!
Remember that while you are out partying and drinking tonight that others will be doing the same thing also. Don't drive from one place to the other after drinking. Let someone else do it for you. I want you to be here for 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Time And Life In General This Past Year

While i sit here waiting to get paid after a hard days work ( NOT) I figured that I'd do this post just to kill some time.
I don't care for the Christmas holidays all to much, in case you didn't no that. I like the New Years holiday much better. This sorry assed year is almost over and none to soon! Those of you who have been here for awhile no that i've had a very shitty year starting from last January up till now even, so this year can stop dead in its tracks right now.
Let me see. First there was the ice storm which knocked me off-line for two weeks at the start of the year. We all know that i lost a sahit-load of ad revenue thanks to that crap. Then there were the tornado's which screwed things up once again. then I filed wage violation charges against my employer, which are settled as of now for the most part. Then i came to Florida. Ha! Bad move? Time will tell I guess.
So I missed most of Preseident Obama's first year in office which is one reason why there hasn't been to much posting on the political topic. We all know about my vacation with a certain alcoholic that I met, so further talk isn't necessary.
Anyway, 2010 is only a week away, finally. Those of you who know me also understand that I'm coming out swinging when this year kicks in. No more bullshit from my other half or from anyone else for that matter. I have a few scores to settle with a few individuals who seem to think that that nice.calm, quiet Micheal is going to let them just pass on their "sins." that ain't gonna happen. On top of that, i'm going to be covering the stuff that I started out covering in the first place, along with my usual take on life in Tampa Bay.
That's it for now. Have a great Christmas and a Happy,prosperous New Year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tampa Bay Area Unemployment 12.3%..

... and it is not going to get better any time soon. so, if you are seeking work in this area, my suggestion to you is to stop wasting your time here and look for work elsewhere. Of course, with Christmas only a few days away, you might get lucky and find some seasonal work at WalMart or other such retailers in the area.
For those of you who wish to know, the unemployment rate for the entire state of Florida now sits at 11.5%, which really sucks if you live in the state.
Florida lost a total 16,700 jobs during the month of November, the worst in the nation. The unemployment rate of 11.5% is the highest in 34 years which is 1.5% higher than the national average.
Of course, the 12.3% rate for the Tampa Bay area makes it the leader for those without work than all of the other metro areas in the state.

November's rate is the highest posted in Florida since May 1975, when unemployment peaked at 11.9 percent. Several economists predict the state will break the 12 percent mark early next year before gradually retreating.
It could take until 2019, state economists project, before unemployment in Florida gets back to a more palatable 6 percent range.
With more than 1 million jobless out of a statewide labor force of 9.2 million, Florida was singled out by the Labor Department as the only state in the country to post a statistically significant increase in unemployment in November. Seven other states that posted significant changes in unemployment all saw their rates go down. In fact, 36 states and the District of Columbia all saw a dip in unemployment last month.
About 9,200 of the jobs Florida lost in November were tied to construction, most of them specialty trade contractors, Rust said.
More than two-thirds of Florida's job shedding over the year has been tied to three industry sectors: construction; trade, transportation and utilities; and professional and business services. Health care has been the only growing industry for much of the year.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blackwater's Dark Side?

Keeping up with the Blackwater saga has been one of my favorite hobbies ever since this outfit made it into Iraq.

Published on Sunday, December 13, 2009 by
The Blackness of Blackwater
by Christopher Brauchli

How now, you secret, black and midnight hags! - Shakespeare, Macbeth

The good news for Blackwater fans is that things are not as bleak as might at first appear. Blackwater has more lives than the victims of its blunders. Earlier this year, I erroneously suggested that Blackwater might very soon be leaving Iraq since it had been told to leave by the Iraqi government. It turned out that the Iraq government lacked the authority to tell Blackwater what to do. Herewith a brief history.

A congressional report found that Blackwater guards were involved in almost 200 shootings in Iraq between 2005 and 2007. Included among them was a 2007-shooting spree that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. Following that event Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded that Blackwater leave the country. Believing (mistakenly) that he had the authority to determine whether a given contractor could work in Iraq or not he said: "The Iraqi government is responsible for its citizens, and it cannot be accepted for a security company to carry out a killing." George Bush, who was accustomed to making all the arrangements for the Iraq war, ignored Mr. al-Maliki and extended Blackwater's contract for another year. Bowed, but not defeated, Iraq did not give up trying to rid itself of the Blackwater scourge.

On January 1, 2009 the new Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Iraq took effect. That agreement provided that Iraq had the "primary right to exercise jurisdiction over United States contractors and United States contractor employees." On January 28, 2009 Iraq said it would not issue Blackwater a license to continue operating in Iraq. Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, a spokesman for the Iraqi interior ministry said: "Those companies that don't have license, such as Blackwater, should leave Iraq immediately." Alaa Al-Taia, an Interior Ministry official said: "There are many marks against this company, specifically that they have a bad history and have been involved in the killing of so many civilians." Iraq probably thought that would be the end of Blackwater in Iraq. It was wrong.

The Obama administration said Blackwater is a State Department contractor and SOFA only gives Iraq jurisdiction over contractors "who are in Iraq to supply goods, services, and security in Iraq to or on behalf of the United States Forces . . . ." Expounding on that a State Department diplomatic security official said: "The purpose and mission of the Department of State's private security contractors is limited to protection of US diplomats and diplomatic facilities only and is defensive in nature." And so Blackwater continued its work providing "aviation services" in Iraq.

Blackwater worked throughout the spring and early summer and on July 29th its contract was extended by the Obama administration with an agreement to pay it an additional $20 million, bringing the total amount it received for "aviation services" to $187 million and its total for Iraq work to more than $1 billion. The July extension was to end on September 3 when its role was to be assumed by other defense contractors. On September 1 it was learned that its contract would be extended indefinitely to enable the handover of its work to the successor company to proceed more smoothly. When she learned of the extension, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois issued a statement saying: "Given the company's history of massive abuses and misconduct, I believe it is inappropriate for the United States government to continue doing business with this firm." One of these days Blackwater will be out of Iraq. It needn't be depressed at the thought of leaving. That's because it has Afghanistan at its disposal and Afghanistan is a gold mine for private contractors.

As of March 2009 there were approximately 70, 000 private contractors working in Afghanistan whereas there were only 48,000 U.S soldiers in that country. According to a Congressional Research Study, the ratio of contractors to soldiers is the highest it's been in any conflict in the history of the United States.

Among the private contractors is, not surprisingly, Blackwater. It provides diplomatic security for State Department people under the name "US Training Center" and does Defense Department work under the name "Paravant LLC. " Paravant has continued the proud tradition established by Blackwater in Iraq of killing civilians. According to the Nation, one of Blackwater's subsidiaries in Afghanistan is under investigation for the shooting of two Afghan civilians in May.
When Congresswoman Schakowsky learned of its contract in Afghanistan she wrote Secretaries Clinton and Gates urging them "not to award further contracts to Xe [Blackwater's new name] and its affiliates and to review all existing contracts with this company." As of this writing she had not received a response. In her concern she was joined by Sonali Kolhatkar, author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords and the Propaganda of Silence. Commenting on Blackwater's presence in Afghanistan she said: "If they build the same record of killing civilians in Afghanistan that they had in Iraq, it will cement the Afghan resistance even further against the U.S. occupation." She's right. Someone should let the President know.

Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at For political commentary see his web page at
© Copyrighted 1997-2009

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Want To Cut Back On Smoking? Camel Snus...

... is the way to go, at least it is for me.
I generally do not make it a habit to endorse any kind of products, whether I use them or not, but, I am so impressed with this one that I just had to pass this along to you cigarette smokers who are trying to cut back or quit coompletely.
What is Camel Snus? Good question, but first a little info about my use.
I started using the product just at the beginning of last week on a recommendation from a co-worker who had been using the product for a few weeks. I must say that I was/am very impressed with the way in which the product has helped me to cut back on my cigarette smoking, which was at around 2 packs per day. I am still smoking, but only at the rate of around 1 pack per day or less. Camel Snus is saving me alot of cash which would be going into packs of cigarettes instead of into my pockets, and staying there.

Camel Snus is "a smokeless spitless tobacco product, consists of 0.6 grams of pasteurized powdered tobacco portioned into small cylindrical pouches. To use Snus, place the pouch between the cheek and the upper lip where the oral cavity absorbs the nicotine.

On April 28, 2006 RJ Reynolds released Camel Snus in Portland Oregon and Austin Texas; the smokeless tobacco product expanded further in eight states, and in May 2008 RJ Reynolds and Camel Snus dove into the major markets of Los Angeles; Chicago; New York; Atlanta; Washington, D.C. Camel Snus used print media to advertise until February 2008, when they decide that print media was not a viable marketing source. Camels Snus offers the spitless pouch in two flavors: Mellow and Frost. Even though Snus is not associated with lung cancer since it is not inhaled; studies show an increase in pancreatic cancer and heart disease from non-tobacco users, although these risks are 50% less for snus users than cigarette users. In December 2008, the Spice and Original flavors were replaced with a single Mellow flavor. The newest version of Camel snus contains 8mg of nicotine per pouch, according to an RJ Reynolds spokesman." ( )

I just love this product and I think that all of you who wish to at least cut back on your smoking will like it also, try it folks.
Now, I am using the "mild" flavor and I can tell you that you will catch a little taste of tobacco from the product, but not enough to make you sick or anything like that. If you do not like the taste of a little bit of tobacco, then try the "frost" flavor. The container says that one pouch will last for 30 minutes, but i've had my cravings be gone for 2 hours on average. That's not to bad for a heavy smoker like me. I can't complain because a container of Snus will last me for at least one week.
Go out and buy yourself one. You'll be doing yourself a big favor!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cheating On Your Loved One: The Art Of Heartbreak

No, this is not some article on how to cheat on your spouse or on your girlfriend/boyfriend. This article is about how it feels to be on the receiving end of a cheating "other half".
First things first though. Some of you may recall my little story about " Anna" the alcoholic who I was trying to get sober and off of the streets.
Due to events which have taken place in the past 48 hours, I have decided to use her real name from this point on. Why? One reason will be to shame her if she even has any such thing as shame. Another reason is because I have a very real need to vent in public. I am very angry, hostile, and I am hurting in ways that I could never imagine thanks to a cheating partner. And, I feel very,very mean at this point in time!
Terri Ellen is the name of the person of interest here. I met her on the streets as some of you are well aware, and I took it upon myself to try and help her out of her rut. Drinking excessively and living out in the streets is not a thing that any woman should be experiencing. Things started out simple enough, but along the way something happened that should not have been allowed to happen. We fell in love with each other. Other than the usual argument over her drinking habits, we had been doing fine for the most part.
This posting may work better if you just read the letter which I am writing to her.

" Terri Ellen,
I have many question to ask of you, but, I do not know where to even start. I've known you for six months now and I thought that we where doing well considering all of the other bullshit that we have had to put up with. Things haven't been very easy for either one of us, but, the better things in life are never easily attainded, honey.
You went, while I was working, and got high on crack and then you fucked the man that you were getting high with. An ex boyfriend at that! The one that you kept dissing because he had broken your arm once before. Remember telling me that when we first met? I sure do.
You have no excuses, but the reasons that you have givien me are nothing but pure BULLSHIT!!! You got aroused by the crack and so you decided to fuck this shithead? You knew what that crack would do to you, so you went and did some with this asshole anyway, while I'm worrying to death over you because you could have been sick, or dead even. I just went through a different emotional state when you went to jail and it took 4 days to find you! Have you no fucking conscience, you tramp?
Who the fuck do you think that you are to play with my feelings for you, in such the way that you have?
When we where sitting on the bus and you told me that you had smoked that crack and then that you had fucked this punk, the life left me. The light in my eyes went out and I wanted to kill you. Damned you you bitch! Everything that I did was not just for me, but mostly for you, and us as a couple. I spent most of my time working my ass off just to get us the things which we needed, so that you would not have to do without. You know this better than anyone. I've done everything for you and this is the way in which you decide to repay me. By fucking somebody else! That is one very low blow, darlin. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to sleep at night since this went on? Let me fucking tell you, okay? Do you even care at all? Have you ever?
Every time that I close my eyes now, I see only one thing Terri. That would be you and that punk screwing each other. Mental torture can really show you some horrid details when it is allowed to.
You took it upon yourself to not even consider me when you were getting high and doing your other shit. I never crossed your mind, did I? Let me tell you one other thing while I'm here Terri Ellen. They do not make pain medication that works for this sort of pain. It eats at me from the inside non-stop without so much as a brief break. I look at you now and I just want to puke my guts out all over the place.
I'd have moved Heaven and earth for you and you know this as well. I've moved/removed alot of earth for you Terri. How do you show your gratitude? You rip my heart out of my chest and you squeeze it into a blob of jelly. Then you stomped on it after throwing it to the ground. That was still not enough honey, you had to also spit on me and then shit on me for good measure. You have left myself to die from your actions and I still do not think that you care one way or the other.
Guess that I'll just have to wait and see what happens next.You have lost all of my trust as well as the care which I had for you.
Thank You Terri Ellen for what will be one of those Thanksgiving memories which will never be forgotten. it couldn't have happened without you. (Continued )

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Barack Obama's Pledges, And How He's Doing...

...and this story comes to you by way of As you can see, I'm still having a small problem with Blogger posting the links to the story. What is one to do?

Tracking delivery on campaign promises

President Obama made hundreds of pledges to get elected. USA TODAY's Richard Wolf reviews some:


Promise: Offer tax cuts of $500 for individuals with income up to $75,000 and $1,000 for couples with income up to $150,000. Obama said 95% of working families would benefit.
Quote: "This is a tax cut, paid for in part by closing corporate loopholes and shutting down tax havens, that will offset the payroll tax that working Americans are already paying." - Janesville, Wis., Feb. 13, 2008
Status: Obama settled for $400 and $800 as part of the $787 billion stimulus package passed by Congress in February. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimated that 91% of families with children would get tax cuts averaging $538. Overall, 75% of taxpayers would get reductions averaging $385. Obama's proposals to close loopholes and target tax havens are pending in Congress.

Promise: Offer $3,000 tax credits in 2009 and 2010 to existing businesses for each full-time employee hired.
Quote: "I will give American businesses a $3,000 tax credit for every job they create right here in the United States of America." - Canton, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2008
Status: Obama dropped the idea during stimulus negotiations because of concerns in Congress that businesses could cook their books. As unemployment worsens, however, the White House is reconsidering it.

Home ownership
Promise: Create a $10 billion Foreclosure Prevention Fund to help people stay in their homes. Give a tax credit to middle-class homeowners to cover 10% of their mortgage interest every year
Quote: "This fund will help homeowners sell a home that is beyond their means, or modify their loan to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy." - North Las Vegas, Nev., May 27, 2008
Status: Obama created a larger, $75 billion program in February, a month after taking office. It includes a one-time, $8,000 refundable tax credit for new homebuyers that expires in November.

Type in the link at the begining of this post for even more stats on Obama's financial regulation promises,healthcare, and stem cell research along with a host of other campaign promises which Obama made.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wall Streets Bundled Life Insurance Policies...

... are another attempt by those gouls on Wall Street to pass off a different product to you which will more than likely screw you in the end. Remember those mortgage backed securities?

STOP THEM: Wall Street to Bundle Life Insurance Policies
by War on Error Wed Oct 28, 2009
Wall Street banks, beaten down by the financial crisis, and propped up by
government bailout money are looking to get their securitization machines humming again. USING LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES.
Personally, I find this repulsive, ghoulish, and possibly dangerous. Please hit the orange REC button on the right side so others can see this. And while we have time to stop this.
The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.
Either way, Wall Street would profit by pocketing sizable fees for creating the bonds, reselling them and subsequently trading them.
Call Congress and the SEC to end this brain child NOW, before it launches. Life and death should never be something Wall Street gets to gamble on.

And if Wall Street dices up and securitizes life insurance policies, like they did with mortgages, who will be responsible to pay a Life Insurance claim? Could we see life insurance bankruptcies erupt at the very time the boomers claims become due?
How many ways could seniors be manipulated to die sooner? How many would have to die to insure a large return? Appalling as these questions are, I believe they must be asked.
Indeed, what is good for Wall Street could be bad for the insurance industry, and perhaps for customers, too. That is because policyholders often let their life insurance lapse before they die, for a variety of reasons — their children grow up and no longer need the financial protection, or the premiums become too expensive. When that happens, the insurer does not have to make a payout.
But if a policy is purchased and packaged into a security, investors will keep paying the premiums that might have been abandoned; as a result, more policies will stay in force, ensuring more payouts over time and less money for the insurance companies.
ibid, nytimes
There is a growing demand for a long-term hedge against improving annuity mortality. We have shown how innovation in swaps and bond contracts can provide new securities which can provide the hedge insurers need.

The same cash flows, [B.sub.t] to the insurer and [D.sub.t] to the bondholders, can be arranged with swap agreements and no principal payment at time T.
Yes, there will be Hedge Funds that will make new fortunes Betting on our Lives!
We point out that, given the distribution of survivors, there is very little variance in the cash flows.
ibid, allbusiness
I have a hard time seeing the words Hedge and Swap used when the product is a life insurance policy.
Our life span and death date will be packaged in swaps and insurers offering bonds to investors.
It is deja vu Mortgage Default Swaps, only lives, not homes will be the foundation for the Wall Street traders. But, you can't reposses a life!
MetLife could be the next IndyBank if I understand this Wall Street scheme to bet on our very lives.
For a list of failed banks you can go here. They failed because of the Wall Street Housing Bubble:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Republicans Have Lowest Ratings In Decade...

... and hopefully that is because the citizens of the United States have figured out that voting GOP is voting against their own best interest.
This comes from CNN's plitical blog, but, blogger being what it is, will not post the damned link!

Thirty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, with 54 percent viewing the GOP negatively.
According to the poll, 53 percent have a positive opinion of the Democratic Party, with 41 percent holding an unfavorable view. The survey indicates that favorable ratings for the Democrats have dropped 5 points since February, with the Republican number slipping 3 points.
"The Republican party may still be battling the legacy left to them by George W. Bush," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "They have also spent a lot of time in 2009 working against Democratic proposals. That hasn't left them a lot of time so far this year to present a positive, post-Bush message. Of course, there is still plenty of time for them to do so before the 2010 midterms."
Nearly seven in ten people questioned say they disapprove of how Congress is handling its job, with 29 percent saying they approve. That's a drop of 6 points in the approval since April.

Obama Looking At Small Business

Obama turns his attention to small businesses
by SusanG Sat Oct 24, 2009
This country was built by dreamers. They’re the workers who took a chance on their desire to be their own boss. The part-time inventors who became the fulltime entrepreneurs. The men and women who have helped build the American middle class, keeping alive that most American of ideals – that all things are possible for all people, and we’re limited only by the size of our dreams and our willingness to work for them. We need to do everything we can to ensure that they can keep taking those risks, acting on those dreams, and building the enterprises that fuel our economy and make us who we are.
For the second time this month, President Obama has aimed his weekly address in the direction of small business. For the first October weekly address, he outlined specifically how health care reform would help out entrepreneurs and innovators, and in this morning's address, he discusses how his Recovery Act--and, by the way, his health care reform proposals--will benefit the little guy.
Small businesses have always been the engine of our economy – creating 65 percent of all new jobs over the past decade and a half – and they must be at the forefront of our recovery. That’s why the Recovery Act was designed to help small businesses expand and create jobs. It’s provided $5 billion worth of tax relief, as well as temporarily reducing or eliminating fees on SBA loans and guaranteeing some of these loans up to 90 percent, which has supported nearly $13 billion in new lending to more than 33,000 businesses.
In addition, our health reform plan will allow small businesses to buy insurance for their employees through an insurance exchange, which may offer better coverage at lower costs – and we’ll provide tax credits for those that choose to do so.
The President discusses his move earlier this week to have the federal government increase the maximize size of loans available through the Small Business Administration, and the effort the feds are undertaking to pump money into smaller, community banks. "The goal here," he explains, "is to get credit where it’s needed most – to businesses that support families, sustain communities, and create the jobs that power our economy."
And, he says, already we can see the signs that federal intervention has worked to unfreeze the economy through the loans to the big commercial banks and big business ... now it's the turn of the smaller institutions:
But while credit may be more available for large businesses, too many small business owners are still struggling to get the credit they need. These are the very taxpayers who stood by America’s banks in a crisis – and now it’s time for our banks to stand by creditworthy small businesses, and make the loans they need to open their doors, grow their operations, and create new jobs. It’s time for those banks to fulfill their responsibility to help ensure a wider recovery, a more secure system, and more broadly shared prosperity.
The full address can be found beneath the fold or on the White House website.
You can Watch the video:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

GM,Chrysler Managed Poorly

ASHINGTON - Shockingly poor financial management at General Motors and Chrysler weakened their case for a federal bailout, but officials feared letting them
collapse, the former head of a government auto task force said Wednesday.
In a first-person account posted on Fortune magazine's Web site and in a Brookings Institution speech, Steven Rattner said he was alarmed by the "stunningly poor management" at the Detroit companies and said GM had "perhaps the weakest finance operation any of us had ever seen in a major company."
GM's board of directors was "utterly docile in the face of mounting evidence of a looming disaster" and former GM chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner set a tone of "friendly arrogance" that permeated the company, Rattner wrote.
"Certainly Rick and his team seemed to believe that virtually all of their problems could be laid at the feet of some combination of the financial crisis, oil prices, the yen-dollar exchange rate and the UAW," Rattner wrote.

It would seem that both GM and Chrysler had more than a few inept people working for the companies. Either that, or they were totally stupid and had no reason being in the posititions in which they were in.
This is most inexcusable for GM, which has been around for ages and should have had the no-how to deal with hard times no matter how bad the economy was getting. The government should be held accountable also, since it let the companies apply for auto-bailout funds while knowing how weak these giants were. Both car manufacturers should have been allowed to fail even though that would have put many honest workers out of a job.
Did you know that the United States government now owns some 61% of General Motors and 8% of Chrysler?

Rattner said at the National Press Club that he, along with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House economic adviser Larry Summers, "hated the idea of the U.S. government owning equity in these companies" but they concluded the government needed to protect taxpayers.
"It was frustrating that many commentators were suggesting that the government stay on the sidelines and let the companies fend for themselves," Rattner said. "With financial markets still frozen, both would have unquestionably run out of cash quickly, slid into bankruptcy, closed their doors and liquidated."
Rattner said the loss of the companies could have severely harmed the economy, costing "more than a million jobs in the short run." He said their failure also would have dramatically deepened and prolonged the recession and would have pushed unemployment rates in several states "above 20 percent."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Score One For Cindy McCain

Published on Friday, October 16, 2009 by RebelReports
Cindy McCain Bankrolled Conference That Called for Ban on Mercenaries
by Jeremy Scahill
A little-publicized US Naval Academy conference named after Senator John McCain and bankrolled by his wealthy wife, Cindy, issued a call earlier this year for the US government to ban the use of armed private security contractors like Blackwater in US war zones, stating bluntly, "contractors should not be deployed as security guards, sentries, or even prison guards within combat areas."
The ‘McCain Conference on Ethics and Military Leadership’ appears to be ahead of the senator when it comes to the US use of mercenary forces."[T]he use of deadly force must be entrusted only to those whose training, character and accountability are most worthy of the nation's trust: the military," reads the executive summary of the U.S. Naval Academy's 9th Annual McCain Conference on Ethics and Military Leadership, which was held in April at the Annapolis Naval Station. "The military profession carefully cultivates an ethic of ‘selfless service,' and develops the virtues that can best withstand combat pressures and thus achieve the nation's objectives in an honorable way. By contrast, most corporate ethical standards and available regulatory schemes are ill-suited for this environment."
In 2001, Cindy McCain, who may be worth as much as $100 million, first endowed the McCain conference "in honor of her husband" with a $210,000 gift that was specifically intended to fund conferences that would "bring together key military officers and civilian academics responsible for ethics education and character developments."
According to the Fall 2009 newsletter, "Taking Stock," published by the US Naval Academy's Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership-the host of the McCain Conference-among the speakers at the 2009 event was none other than Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater. Prince's company is the most infamous of those engaged in the type of armed activity explicitly condemned by the conference's leadership.
The executive summary released by the McCain conference was recently highlighted in a report completed on September 29 by the Congressional Research Service on the use of private contractors. That report said that the US is "relying heavily" on armed contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan and suggests their use could continue to rise. The report also states that misconduct and the killing of civilians by armed security contractors "may have undermined U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Despite the fact that the McCain conference, which publicly advocated against the use of armed contractors in combat areas bears Sen. McCain's name and was bankrolled by his wife, when it has come to making this a major issue on Capitol Hill, the Arizona Senator has been largely silent. In 2007, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Jan Schakowsky introduced the Stop Outsourcing Security Act, which sought to do precisely what the McCain conference called for two years later: to ban the use of mercenaries in US war zones. McCain did not endorse or co-sponsor that legislation, which would certainly have benefitted from his support (neither did then-Senator Barack Obama). Responding to a reporter's question on the campaign trail in July 2008 about whether he believed that US troops and not private guards should protect US diplomats in Iraq, McCain said, "I'd like it, but we don't have enough. Yes, and I'd love to see pigs fly, but it ain't gonna happen."
The McCain campaign hired people with deep ties to the mercenary industry to work on his presidential bid. Among these was senior strategist, Charlie Black, whose firm BKSH & Associates worked for Blackwater's owner Erik Prince, helping to guide Prince through his appearance on Capitol Hill in the aftermath of the September 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad. McCain also brought on as a senior foreign policy advisor Richard Armitage, the former deputy Secretary of State. After leaving the government, Armitage served as a senior adviser for Veritas Capital from 2005 to 2007. Veritas owns the mercenary giant DynCorp, which holds billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan security and training contracts.
Moreover, the International Republican Institute, which has deep ties to McCain, hired Blackwater as its private security force in Iraq, paying Blackwater an average of more than $17 million a year since 2005 for security services, according to records.
As the Obama administration weighs a substantial troops increase in Afghanistan, leading Democrats and Republicans are calling for an expanded role for US trainers for the Afghan military, which will mean more business for private contractors. Blackwater continues to play a central role in the CIA's drone bombing program in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which vice president Joe Biden and others are suggesting should intensify. At present, there are 74,000 contractors on the DoD payroll in Afghanistan-roughly 10,000 more than the number of US troops. Thousands of other contractors work for the US State Department and other agencies.
The McCain conference raised questions about "the privatization of combat support functions," including intelligence collection and analysis, as well as "advising/training for combat." It concluded, "In irregular warfare environments, where civilian cooperation is crucial," barring the use of armed contractors "is both ethically and strategically necessary."
© 2009 RebelReports

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bipartisanship For Health Care?


Health care bipartisanship lives!
David Waldman Thu Oct 15, 2009
If one Republican vote for the Baucus health insurance "reform" bill makes it bipartisan, how many Democratic "no" votes on cloture does it take to make a filibuster of the public option bipartisan?
Maybe Glenn Thrush knows. Or maybe not. After all, he
granted anonymity for this important observation:
"If there really is such a groundswell of support for the public option, perhaps senator Schumer would like to show the caucus, especially the centrist Democrats, how he can come up with the 60 votes necessary to overcome the [Republican] filibuster that he damn well knows is coming," said a senior Democrat. In a full Senate, a "Republican filibuster" requires 41 "no" votes on cloture to sustain. There are only 40 Republicans in the Senate.So if there really is such a thing as a
"Republican filibuster" of the public option, perhaps SenatorAnonymous would like to show the world, especially his fellow Democrats, how they can come up with the 41 votes necessary to sustain this "Republican" filibuster that he damn well knows is every bit as "bipartisan" as the Baucus bill is.
Says me

79 Metro Areas Are Recession Free...

... according to an MSNBC and Moody's Economy Adversity Index. The index measures the economic health of some 381 metro areas, covering all of the states.
Using this link ( you can just click on the state in which you are interested, and you'll get some figures like the employment rate, single family housing starts, housing prices, ect. The map notes that 11 states are going through a time of recovery, though industrial production and other areas are still below normal.
I'm living down here in Tampa Bay, Florida, and we are not going to see any kind of better employment, or industrial production any time soon. Therefore, I'm not even going to comment on this state.
Speaking of the econony.
You may well know by now that those of you who receive Social Security checks will not be getting a " cost of living " increase in 2010. This will be the first time that this has happened since 1975! As if it isn't hard enough to live off of one of these checks as it is for most people, now you have to spend even more time in trying to decide if you should buy food or get your scripts filled! this is rediculous, folks. That is some 50 million people who will not be getting a raise. Some will suffer more than they should be. Are food and medicine prices going to stop going up in 2010? I doubt it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

19 Deaths From Swine Flu In Younger Children...

... and that was in the past week alone! H1N1 has killed a total of 76 children in the United States thus far, proving that this flu is more dangerous to the younger crowd.

The regular flu kills between 46 and 88 children a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That suggests deaths from the new H1N1 virus could dramatically outpace children's deaths from seasonal flu, if swine flu continues to spread as it has.

CDC officials say 10 more states, a total of 37, now have widespread swine flu. A week ago, reports suggested that cases might be leveling off and even falling in some areas of the country, but that did not turn out to be an enduring national trend.

The new virus, first identified in April, is a global epidemic. The CDC doesn't have an exact count of all swine flu deaths and hospitalizations, but existing reports suggest more than 600 have died and more than 9,000 have been hospitalized. Health officials believe millions of Americans have caught the virus.

Vaccinations against swine flu began this week and so far, states have ordered 3.7 million doses. Demand is exceeding supply, and people seeking the vaccination should ask their state or local health department where to go, said Schuchat, who heads the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Health officials also said more data is trickling in from several clinical trials of the new vaccine, and so far no serious side effects have been reported.
Preliminary results from one study indicate that both a seasonal flu shot and a swine flu shot are effective when given during the same doctor's office visit. However, the government is not recommending that people get the nasal spray versions of the seasonal and swine flu vaccines at the same time.
The nasal sprays contain weakened, live virus, and the government doesn't have data on how a person's immune system would react to exposure to both at once, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Go and get your children the shot for this flu folks, because this is going to get even nastier, I think. Some places are out of vaccine already so you may have to wait. Be the first in line!

Obama's Peace Prize And Republican Hatred

Why the Right REALLY hates Obama's Nobel
by Paganus Sat Oct 10, 2009
The conservative media's collective unravelling at the news of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize should surprise no one at this point. They have actively hated the Peace Prize since Carter won it.
But the tone and substance of the analysis from the Right clearly reveal, once again, a more deeply seated, and somewhat disturbing, basis for their criticism. Their vision of the world at peace is essentially a Roman one: the eagle victorious atop crushed 'enemies,' a fearful prospect to allies and rivals alike. "Oderint dum metuant - let them hate so long as they fear."
Of course, the problem with this approach to peacemaking is obvious. 1) It's not really peace and 2) it fools exactly no one. The Roman Historian Tacitus, in one of his more remarkable moments of empathy, has a British chieftain say of the Romans, "Auferre, trucidare, rapere falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant." - "to ravage, to kill, to steal under false pretenses they call "empire;" and when they make a desert and they call it peace."
Obama's initial rapprochement with the Muslim world, his trip to Egypt, his opening of discussions with Iran, his insistence on ending the occupation of Iraq, and his reformulating of the mission in Afghanistan have turned the basic neoconservative foreign policy formulation on its head. For that alone, for repudiating the imperial course laid by the the previous administration, he richly deserves the Nobel.
Paganus's diary

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Rewriting The Liberal Bible

Rewriting the liberal Bible
by kos
Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 01:20:04 PM PDT
For years, the wingnuts have claimed that the Bible is the literal word of God, and that it supports conservative ideology. Problem is, the actual Bible hasn't been as hateful and bigoted as they've wished, and really, cherrypicking the right passages while ignoring other salient ones is hard work! So conservatives, rather than adjust their belief structure to better line up with the actual Bible, have decided to rewrite it and eliminate liberal "bias".
As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:[2]
Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[3]
Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;[4] defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots";[5] using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."
Yup, they are admitting the Bible (and by extension, true Christianity) is too liberal.
So what are some examples of said liberal "bias" in the Bible?
The earliest, most authentic manuscripts lack this verse set forth at Luke 23:34:[7]
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.
See? The passage is a favorite of liberals, so it must be excised from the Bible, since liberals were running rampant when the Gospel of Luke was written in the year AD 70. I mean, Fox News didn't even exist then! The real Jesus would've called for the "Shock and Awe" bombing of Rome, not forgiveness. GOD the Bible is so liberal!
Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification. This improperly encourages the "social justice" movement among Christians.
For example, the conservative word "volunteer" is mentioned only once in the ESV, yet the socialistic word "comrade" is used three times, "laborer(s)" is used 13 times, "labored" 15 times, and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") is used 55 times.
"Without justification". Maybe the justification, if you believe in Christ, was that Christ believe in social justice? But nah, that's a liberal plot.
And much like Fox News rewrites reality in order to better ratify conservative ideology, these jokes are now setting out to rewrite the Bible to better ratify their own hate and bigotry. It's nothing new for religion -- people have been reinterpreting holy texts from pretty much every religion imaginable to justify all manners of horrors. It's just funny seeing these conservatives so overtly admit that the religion they use to justify their own excesses doesn't really support them.
(Via Little Green Footballs)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Flu Vaccines Running Behind...

... as if this should be a surprise? What with the Swine Flu grabbing all of the headlines, it should be expected that those all-important doses of vaccine would be in short supply.
Sanofi Pasteur (pharm company) says that it has shipped more than half of its 50.5 million doses of its seasonal flu vaccine,but that it could be as late as November before the remainder are sent out.

Cary attributed part of the backlog at Sanofi Pasteur to its simultaneous production of 75.5 million doses of the swine — or H1N1 — vaccine for the United States. Also contributing to the delay is the fact that this year's seasonal flu vaccine includes a strain that develops more slowly in laboratories, she said.
But "everybody who ordered vaccine from us will be getting it," Cary

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Healthcare Debate...

... rages on in places all over America.
Health Care Tuesday
by DemFromCT Tue Sep 29, 2009
The health-system overhaul proposed by Sen. Max Baucus would create millions of new insurance customers without subjecting health insurers to government-run competition -- two key victories for the much-maligned industry.
It's all about the mandate. Hence, the need for the public option.
National Journal:
Congressional Republicans have worked themselves into a high dudgeon over a Health and Human Services department probe into one insurance company's controversial lobbying activities.
Not content to blast the investigation in angry letters and floor statements, GOP lawmakers have now threatened to block all HHS nominees from confirmation until the agency reverses course.
At issue is whether insurance company Humana, Inc., violated federal rules when it warned some of its Medicare Advantage clients in a mailing that pending health care legislation could slash their benefits.
I trust Humana to be telling the unvarnished truth. Don't you?
Lost in all this righteous indignation are some basic facts about Humana's role and obligations as a government contractor. Humana's communications did not take the form of a generic advertising campaign or mass mailing -- something the insurer was and remains free to do. Rather, Humana mailed a letter to Medicare Advantage members whose names and addresses were provided by the federal government.
The army of industry lobbyists in the health-care battle is fighting on familiar terrain: More than half of them used to work for the government they’re trying to influence.
Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
Disturbing story:
Friends say the Miami University graduate who died this week after reportedly suffering from swine flu delayed getting medical treatment because she did not have health insurance.
Most cases of H1N1 are uncomplicated and self-limiting. You'll see similar stories both about the occasional severe case of H1N1 and the insurance issue. Keep both in perspective, but mixing them is volatile.
Almost one third of a group of patients who died in the past 4 months from H1N1 influenza had bacterial infections that complicated their illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in a conference call with healthcare providers. But the agency cautioned against applying that ratio to all cases of H1N1, saying the death records it reviewed were submitted by hospitals and medical examiners and did not represent a statistically valid sample.
Nevertheless, the 22 cases (among 77 deaths confirmed to be from H1N1) emphasize that bacterial co-infections are playing a role in the ongoing pandemic, something that was not clear at first, the CDC's Dr. Matthew Moore said on the call.
Clinician calls with CDC are frequent because H1N1 interim guidance and information is always changing.
I'll be on Second Life's Virtually Speaking with Jimbo Hoyer (Jay Ackroyd) this Thursday at 8 pm ET, also simulcast on Blog Talk Radio. We'll talk about pandemic flu with guest Josh Knauer of Rhiza Labs.
Weight loss and sleep apnea
Obese people with sleep apnea who lose 10% of their weight have a good chance of improving their condition, a study shows.
"This is good news because it shows that a little bit of weight loss can go a long way when it comes to improving sleep apnea," says the study's lead author, Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Median Incomes Fall...

... which is no big surprise, is it?
According to the Associated Press ( no link ) the median income in 2008 for us workers was some $50,303 which is down from $52,163 in 2007. 2008 level is the lowest level since 1997. Middle income and poor Americans suffered the most, but, all groups did see declines in their cash.
The wealthiest 10% of Americans ($138,000 or more per year) earned some 114 times the average $12,000 made ny the working poor living near or below the poverty average. Poverty jumped up some 132%, an eleven year high.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An American Gothic Vacation: Time To End The Fight...

To those of you who have followed this site on a regular basis, I say thank you. For the present time, this site is going to be taking a very much needed rest. Most of you know that I've not blogged at my normal pace for some time. Actually, it hasn't been done regularly at all this year. There have been just way to many obstacles in the way of me getting things done that should have been taken care of months ago.
Some of you may have read the brief piece that I did about a certain alcoholic who I was trying to help to get off of her addiction. As of today, I have given up on that cause. There has been just way to much time, effort, and emotion involved on my part, and i have grown tired of making fruitless attemps to help someone who I think really does not want the help.
I am exhausted. I am tired. I am finished. Terri Ellen Winters, I wish you the best and I do hope that you wake up tp life one of these days. i really don't see you doing that though and that's to bad. You had a future free from the drink and you decided to toss it to the side today.
I do not like to quit and I do not like to lose, at anything! But this crap with a drunk who wishes to stay that way has to come to an end.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is Osama bin Laden Right?
Published on Saturday, September 19, 2009 by The Independent/UK
Everyone Seems to Be Agreeing with Bin Laden These Days
Only Obama, it seems, fails to get the message that we’re losing Afghanistan
by Robert Fisk
Obama and Osama are at last participating in the same narrative. For the US president's critics - indeed, for many critics of the West's military occupation of Afghanistan - are beginning to speak in the same language as Obama's (and their) greatest enemy.
There is a growing suspicion in America that Obama has been socked into the heart of the Afghan darkness by ex-Bushie Robert Gates - once more the Secretary of Defence - and by journalist-adored General David Petraeus whose military "surges" appear to be as successful as the Battle of the Bulge in stemming the insurgent tide in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq.
No wonder Osama bin Laden decided to address "the American people" this week. "You are waging a hopeless and losing war," he said in his 9/11 eighth anniversary audiotape. "The time has come to liberate yourselves from fear and the ideological terrorism of neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby." There was no more talk of Obama as a "house Negro" although it was his "weakness", bin Laden contended, that prevented him from closing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In any event, Muslim fighters wold wear down the US-led coalition in Afghanistan "like we exhausted the Soviet Union for 10 years until it collapsed". Funny, that. It's exactly what bin Laden told me personally in Afghanistan - four years before 9/11 and the start of America's 2001 adventure south of the Amu Darya river.
Almost on cue this week came those in North America who agree with Obama - albeit they would never associate themselves with the Evil One, let alone dare question Israel's cheerleading for the Iraqi war. "I do not believe we can build a democratic state in Afghanistan," announces Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the senate intelligence committee. "I believe it will remain a tribal entity." And Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, does not believe "there is a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan".
Colin Kenny, chair of Canada's senate committee on national security and defence, said this week that "what we hoped to accomplish in Afghanistan has proved to be impossible. We are hurtling towards a Vietnam ending".
Close your eyes and pretend those last words came from the al-Qa'ida cave. Not difficult to believe, is it? Only Obama, it seems, fails to get the message. Afghanistan remains for him the "war of necessity". Send yet more troops, his generals plead. And we are supposed to follow the logic of this nonsense. The Taliban lost in 2001. Then they started winning again. Then we had to preserve Afghan democracy. Then our soldiers had to protect - and die - for a second round of democratic elections. Then they protected - and died - for fraudulent elections. Afghanistan is not Vietnam, Obama assures us. And then the good old German army calls up an air strike - and zaps yet more Afghan civilians.
It is instructive to turn at this moment to the Canadian army, which has in Afghanistan fewer troops than the Brits but who have suffered just as ferociously; their 130th soldier was killed near Kandahar this week. Every three months, the Canadian authorities publish a scorecard on their military "progress" in Afghanistan - a document that is infinitely more honest and detailed than anything put out by the Pentagon or the Ministry of Defence - which proves beyond peradventure (as Enoch Powell would have said) that this is Mission Impossible or, as Toronto's National Post put it in an admirable headline three days' ago, "Operation Sleepwalk". The latest report, revealed this week, proves that Kandahar province is becoming more violent, less stable and less secure - and attacks across the country more frequent - than at any time since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. There was an "exceptionally high" frequency of attacks this spring compared with 2008.
There was a 108 per cent increase in roadside bombs. Afghans are reporting that they are less satisfied with education and employment levels, primarily because of poor or non-existent security. Canada is now concentrating only on the security of Kandahar city, abandoning any real attempt to control the province.
Canada's army will be leaving Afghanistan in 2011, but so far only five of the 50 schools in its school-building project have been completed. Just 28 more are "under construction". But of Kandahar province's existing 364 schools, 180 have been forced to close. Of progress in "democratic governance" in Kandahar, the Canadian report states that the capacity of the Afghan government is "chronically weak and undermined by widespread corruption". Of "reconciliation" - whatever that means these days - "the onset of the summer fighting season and the concentration of politicians and activists for the August elections discouraged expectations of noteworthy initiatives...".
Even the primary aim of polio eradication - Ottawa's most favoured civilian project in Afghanistan - has defeated the Canadian International Development Agency, although this admission is cloaked in truly Blair-like (or Brown-like) mendacity. As the Toronto Star revealed in a serious bit of investigative journalism this week, the aim to "eradicate" polio with the help of UN and World Health Organisation money has been quietly changed to the "prevention of transmission" of polio. Instead of measuring the number of children "immunised" against polio, the target was altered to refer only to the number of children "vaccinated". But of course, children have to be vaccinated several times before they are actually immune.
And what do America's Republican hawks - the subject of bin Laden's latest sermon - now say about the Afghan catastrophe? "More troops will not guarantee success in Afghanistan," failed Republican contender and ex-Vietnam vet John McCain told us this week. "But a failure to send them will be a guarantee of failure." How Osama must have chuckled as this preposterous announcement echoed around al-Qa'ida's dark cave.
2009 Independent News and Media.
Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent newspaper. He is the author of many books on the region, including The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East.

Obama And The Healthcare Lobbyist
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Obama vs. the Lobbyists (TomDispatch)
by Dollars and Sense
From Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch; a link to Andy Kroll's article follows:
Congressman Joe ("You lie!") Wilson is undoubtedly not completely ignorant about how our health care system actually works. After all, in the course of his career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, he's received $244,196 in contributions from the health-care profession -- and that doesn't even count another $86,150 from the pharmaceutical industry or the $68,000 that came in from hospitals and nursing homes. In fact, if you go to the page at that organization's website on Congressional contributions and start clicking around among the members of Congress, you'll be struck by how many times the health and pharmaceutical industries (and their lobbyists) pop up.It's not so surprising, of course, since there are staggering sums of money at stake, which means striking amounts of the same to inject like some potent drug directly into the bloodstream of our political system. Consider but one figure: since 2002, according to Harper's Magazine, the profits of the top 10 health insurance companies have increased by 428%. And the CEOs of those top insurers have a personal incentive for ensuring that those profits don't slide due to new health-care legislation; after all, they made a combined $690 million in the last nine years.In fact, any administration arriving in Washington wanting to do anything these days walks into a blizzard of money, not to speak of the fact that the wind at its back, the campaign wind that got it there, was already blowing strong with similar contributions. TomDispatch regular Andy Kroll offers a vivid portrait of that world at this moment and what it means for the Obama administration. —Tom Read Andy Kroll's article.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Terrorist And Bomb Scares...

... are in the news today especially since those ever persistent authorities in New York City went on a few raids of some apartments in which the cops were looking for evidence of explosives used for homemade bombs. Of course, the cops found nothing of the sort but that hasn't stopped
Counterterrorism officials from issuing warnings to police departments all over America to be on the lookout for such items. Of course, those in New York were also looking for links to al-Qaida operatives. I take it that none of those were found either.
The joint FBI and Homeland Security intelligence warning, issued Monday, lists indicators that could tip off police to homemade hydrogen peroxide-based explosives, such as people with burn marks on their hands, face or arms; foul odors coming from a room or building; and large industrial fans or multiple window fans. The warning, obtained by The Associated Press, also said that these homemade explosive materials can be hidden in backpacks, suitcases or plastic containers.

Economic News...

...that is of no real consequence to most people.
Today is the one year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers' (LEHMQ) bankruptcy filing, and it is also the 1st year anniversary of the government's bailout of AIG (AIG). Nothing much to celebrate on either account, is there?
On more pressing news (?), retail sales went up some 2.7% in August with most of the credit for the jump coming from the government's Cash For Clunkers program. Most economist were predicting only a 2% gain in sales.
Not including cars and car parts, sales were up 1.1%.
So what will be the next program to keep sales rising in the United States? Rest assured that Uncle Sam will come up with something. In the mean time, how about another price increase with the minimum wage? You know, in the area of at least maybe $10 an hour so that the really low income resident would actually have a small shot at surviving? Would that be asking for to much? Why, of course it would.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

HART Line Bus System... the public transportation system down here in Tampa, Florida. It really does need to be replaced. Actually, the system is fine, it is the bus drivers who need to be canned and sent back to working at McDonalds or wherever the hell it is that they came from.
Hart Line bus drivers seem to be the laziest driver's that I've ever run across during my stays in various cities.
My actual complaint with these drivers is that they seem to not understand what being on time is. These drivers seem to think that they have their jobs in place, so fuck everyone else! At least that is the impression that myself and many other riders have.
Three days ago I was at the Hart Marion Street Transfer Station in downtown Tampa waiting for a route 1 bus to leave. This bus was due to depart at around 7:35 pm and this station was its point of origin, so there was no reason for this route to begin late. But nooooooooo! The driver of the bus finally came out of his little break-room at 7:45! Ten minutes late at the outset! What the fuck is that kind of service! Then the man wants to drive like he's in a NASCAR race at Daytona or somewhere! Of course, the driver didn't appologize for the late start. He said nothing to the riders on board.
This is not the first time that these drivers have come out of their little break-room late. On the same route a few weeks back, the criver was no where to be found. The security guard in the area had to go and find the man and bring him to the bus! What kind of shit is this?
And this service wants to raise its rates? It already cost riders 3.75 per day for an all day pass to ride the buses. A one-way trip cost you 1.75. Of course, with discounts for being poor or whatever, you can get on cheaper. That ain't the point. The service sucks no matter what the cost is!
I will say that HART does have a few very good drivers who know about customer service and about being on time. these few will bend over backwards in order to please their passengers. The other drivers should take note.
HARTLine, get with the program!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama Scares The GOP


No Wonder the GOP have gone crazy... This is a formidable enemy...(UPDATE)
by The Simple Canadian
Wed Sep 09, 2009
What have you guys done? The sun is shining through my window, I am looking at a beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia false creek waters and the boats slowly moving through, early in the morning (6am), I brush my teeth, and I say, let's check out the dailykos before heading to work... and voila, my anonymous diary that I posted last night is at the top of the rec list??? Merci tres beaucoup les gars!!!
This is really a formidable enemy (at least to them). Obama threatens to make the GOP irrelevant for many years to come. They are unable to match up with him intellectually, charismatically and politically. And unlike Kennedy, he seem to have a damn good Secret Service.
However, every time Obama speaks, Americans remember why they are a great Nation. He seems to move the entire world with him, with just one simple speech he could wipe out all the town hall demonstrations, all smear TV ads from the McCain campaign, everything, is just wiped out.
This, my friends, is for the ages. This, is what is going to pass the health care reforms:
To the GOP, this enemy, is different, and is very very scary. No wonder, they have gone crazy.
There is something that can make you better, but I can't afford it

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

USA Today: 1000s of Americans move to Mexico for health care

by Eclectablog Tue Sep 01, 2009
USA Today is reporting that "thousands" of Americans are moving to Mexico to receive inexpensive health care:
As the United States debates an overhaul of its health care system, thousands of American retirees in Mexico have quietly found a solution of their own, signing up for the health care plan run by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
One of the biggest arguments against changing our system in the USA is that our system is SOOOOOOOOOOO good that foreigners come here to get treatment.
Seems that's only part of the story. In Mexico, they run a program that costs between $90 and $250 a year for "legal foreigners". They have 1,507 clinics and 264 hospitals across Mexico and thousands of Americans are moving there to take advantage of it.
The program has helped people such as Ron and Jemmy Miller of Shawano, Wis. They decided to retire early, but knew affording health care was going to be a problem.
Ron was a self-employed contractor, and Jemmy was a loan officer at a bank. At ages 61 and 52, respectively, they were too young to qualify for Medicare, but too old to risk not having health insurance.
"We knew that we couldn't retire without Medicare," Jemmy Miller said. "We're pretty much in Mexico now because we can't afford health care in the States."
It's a pretty no-frills system. Pre-existing conditions aren't covered for the first two years and the hospitals aren't anything fancy. But at $250 per year, it's a very enticing situation.
Perhaps health care reform advocates can use this bit of news next time they hear the tired excuse that foreigners come to America for treatment because what we have here is so damn awesome.
Bob Story, 75, of St. Louis, had prostate-reduction surgery at an IMSS hospital in Mazatlán and discovered that patients were expected to bring their own pillows. It was a small price to pay, he said, for a surgery that would have cost thousands of dollars back home.
"I would say it's better than any health plan I've had in the States," he said.
My, my... Maybe that puts their other front-page article, For Florida, 'the end of an era' of growth into perspective.
I'm just sayin'...
UPDATE: First of all, the intent of this diary isn't to show that we should all go to Mexico for our treatment or even that it's right that some Americans do. Only that there are other options to our system and these can WORK.
Also, I don't think anyone is claiming they ran to Mexico for high-end or emergency treatment. Only for the routine care that is out of the price range even for so many Americans.
Again, I think this just highlights that there are other options and that our so-called "best system in the world" maybe isn't the only answer.
What pisses me off so much about the anti-reformers' arguments is that there is a blindness to two things. First, that there are other ways of doing health care that give better outcomes than ours and, second, that if we do anything remotely similar to single-payer, we'll have a system exactly like Canada/Sweden/England/fill-in-the-blank.
Why can't we have a system that incorporates the best parts of all these other systems, avoids the well-documented pitfalls and problems with them, and truly is "American"? That's a little thing called leadership and we should be able to learn from other countries and come up with a new-and-improved approach.

Life On The Streets Of Tampa: Let's Meet Anna

Anna is one of those people who has been living on the streets for the past 5 months. This is not her first time in the great outdoors.
Anna is somewhere around the age of 54, 5 feet 7 inches, and she probably weighs in at about 110 pounds. Anna is a pretty womean for her age. She's been lucky that the beer that she drinks every day really hasn't aged her all that much. Yet. Anna has been a heavy beer drinker for at least the last 20 years and she loves the " Natural Ice " brand of the stuff.
So how did I come across Anna? I had arrived in Tampa back in June, and, with nothing better to do I went looking for some of my old friends. It took about a week before I ran into an old friend named Waymon. I've known Waymon for over 10 years, so he was the logical first choice in seeking out the past. My, how Waymon has changed! H'es been a heavy drinker since his late teens and he hasn't slowed down over the years. In Fact, he's gotten worse! Anyway, I stumbled onto he and Anna sitting in a breeze-way next door to a grocery store. Waymon was sauced on his wine and Anna was looking pretty well-lit on her beer.
Anna is one of those people who should be drinking nothing harder than Kool-Aid, or maybe a diet Pepsi. She can handle one beer, and even two without going into the "stupid zone", but after three or more, all hell will break loose! I'm not talking about the usual drunken rants and raves. Hers is a little different than most. She likes to mumble on an almost non-stop basis. This can get pretty annoying to most people, especially non-drinkers. She knows very few of those, by the way. Three beers or more also makes her hear things. I'm not speaking of alien voices or the usual shit inside someones head. I'm talking about not hearing what someone has actually said to her. Sort of like selective-hearing. What one says, and what one hears is not the same thing, no matter how clearly the comment is. Anna has this down to a tee.
I should note that when not partaking in her beer habit to the extreme, Anna is a very sweet, and intelligent woman. When she gets going though, it doesn't take her to long to get what I call " stuck on stupid." I'll explain that one in my next post.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Time To Lose The Republicans?

The following article comes from

by icebergslim Sun Aug 30, 2009
I am from Illinois, a blue state with the City of Chicago within it, a large populous state. Yet, while the White House WAITS on the Senate Finance Committee; large populous states have no representation of the committee. There are six individuals who are trying to pound out an agreement, yet all come from extremely small states and represents none of the majority of Americans. Note, we have had other bills come out of committee with the public option attached, but the bipartisanship of the White House has been a wait and see, as what comes out of the Baucus Committee.
Now the same sort of damaging retreat may be happening in the Senate Finance Committee. Three committees in the House and one in the Senate have used their Democratic majorities to approve liberal health reform bills. The only bipartisan negotiations are between a rump group of three Democrats and three Republicans on the Finance Committee who hail from largely rural states with small populations, namely Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming. Somehow this small, unrepresentative group has emerged as the focal point for bipartisan health care reform.
Bipartisan health care. No one is asleep here; do we actually believe that the Republicans will vote ANYTHING for Obama? When you have the likes of Grassley and Enzi, who are on this committee continuing to destroy any hope of bipartisanship, yet the White House forges along, but why? Is it for Independent votes? If that is the case, they are bleeding this group, since the Democratic Party has been all over the map in the messaging of health care and this message has clearly been yanked from the Democrats. The reality now in the Obama White House is that none of these Republicans were EVER going to be an honest broker, not for any of Barack Obama's agenda. At this time the Republicans only care about political points with hopes of recapturing the congress and hopefully the White House, so helping out President Obama is very LOW on their totem pole.
In recent weeks, it has become inescapably clear that Republicans are unlikely to vote for substantial reform this year. Many seem bent on scuttling President Obama’s signature domestic issue no matter the cost. As Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, so infamously put it: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
As we are still trying for the "bipartisanship lovey-dovey bill", the Republicans are staying on course to kill ANY health care reform bill, in the process making outrageous demands for their support EVEN THOUGH we have majorities in the House and Senate. The way things are going, you would think it is the Republicans in charge and not the Democrats.
In Salt Lake City today, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) held a fundraiser with former Bush adviser Karl Rove, where Rove declared that “Republicans will be defined this year by their effort to block Democrats’ efforts for health care reform.” “This year is going to be defined by Republicans and conservatives by what we oppose,” said Rove. After Rove praised Bennett’s health care plan, Bennett said that he agreed with Rove’s goal of killing health care reform:
Rove said that he supports Bennett’s work on the Healthy Americans Act - the health care bill Bennett is co-sponsoring with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon - although he said it’s “not exactly the bill that you or I would like each and every section.” Bennett said his bill is not a negotiating tool on health care, but it will be there as an alternative after Democratic reforms are blocked. “The No. 1 assignment in 2009 is to kill Obamacare,” Bennett said.
With lovey-dovey friends like these, no wonder health care is in disarray.
No one can rule out that the health care debacle or debate has hurt Obama and Democrats across the board, but I firmly believe once a health care package (with a public option) is passed by Democrats (let's be real the Republicans are not voting for ANYTHING) then we can rebound in the polling numbers. I also believe that once President Obama explains in clear lay-man speak, not that Washington, D.C. mumbo jumbo, but relay to the American Public why health care reform is not only important but what it means for THEM, we can win this battle. But, if we continue to deal with the Republican Party, which is fruitless, worthless and a waste of time, in my opinion, the public option could be a compromise if the Obama White House is hell bent on a bipartisan bill. Even though, a government run public option is what the public wants and demands, it could easily be dealt away:
The six have been working hard to reach agreement, but the concessions demanded by Republicans will most likely make the reform effort weaker and smaller. They could, for example, reduce the scale of the program and the subsidies for low-income people; drop the idea of a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers; and eliminate a requirement that employers offer coverage to their workers or pay a penalty.
Even if the group reaches an agreement, which is by no means certain, its compromise is unlikely to win support from a Republican Party that seems bent on delay. Leading Senate Republicans have seen little in the emerging compromise that they are willing to support.
Two of the Republicans working on the compromise — Charles Grassley of Iowa and Michael Enzi of Wyoming — have said they would not vote for a bill that could not win broad support, which Mr. Enzi defined as 75 to 80 senators, implying that roughly half of the Senate’s Republicans must sign on. That is unlikely — no matter how good or bipartisan or middle-of-the-road any bill may be.
After all this, does anyone believe these Republicans? And get this one, even if the Democrats and we got some very weak ones, give them everything, these Republicans will still NOT VOTE FOR ANY REFORM.
I hope President Obama and his family had a very restful vacation, even though the death of our great leader of the senate, Ted Kennedy, hurts, I am hoping that it is our former Lion of the Senate, while in his death will give some backbone or steel spine to the Democrats to forge this ahead and get on with it.
We need health care reform, desperately, but we don't need what the Republicans are trying to dish up. The Democratic Party is the leaders, majority of the congress and White House, it is time to show this leadership and get on with it.
NY Times
Think Progress
This Week With Barack Obama

Swine Flu Update

Okay, so i'm a little late with this update. Better late than never, in this case.
As of August 27,2009, there have been 8,843 people who have been hospitalized with the H1Ni influenza. There have been 556 deaths brought on by this flu.

Since I am down in the state of Florida, I will give you the latest on the flu here in the Tampa Bay area.

I would note that the schools in Hillborough County just started classes last week and that health officials expect the swine flu outbreak to go into hyper-gear as many students will be catching this flu.

In Hillsborough County/Tampa, six people have died from the H1N1 flu at this point in time. There has also been one death each in Pinellas and Polk Counties as of the 26th of August.

At Tampa Catholic High School, it is reported that 20 percent of the 700 student body are absent from classes due to the swine flu. Many parents have been told to keep their children home if they have any sort of illness at all, and it appears to be working.

The increase in cases was not unexpected. Young people are especially susceptible to swine flu and on school campuses, the highly contagious virus can spread quickly. Hillsborough County Health Department Director Doug Holt predicted it would take two weeks for influenza to invade a campus once classes started; that's how long Tampa Catholic students have been back at school.Holt said he eventually expects absences of at least 30 percent in public schools, where classes began this week.

With all of this nice,hot and humid weather, this flu will spread quicker than health officials think that it will, I predict. These kids will still be getting together away from school to socialize and play, spreading this flu at an even faster rate. Wait till mid-September which is when I predict that all hell will break loose here in the Tampa area.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tampa Florida: Land Of The Lost..

... and that is putting it mildly, my friends.
I've lived here three times since the early eighties and it has turned worse in this over-grown town each time that I come here. I'm speaking of the work here, the people, and the attitude in this shithole.
Tampa tries to make itself llok like a modern town with all of the trappings of a big city, but once you have been here for any lenght of time, and not as a tourist, you soon see that this place is one big rat-hole!
One of the bigger problems here in the Tampa Bay area, other than the Rays, is the county and the city's way in which they deal with the homeless. Believe me, there are many homeless in the Tampa area and they are spread out all over the place. This is particularly true in the Northern section of the town, as well as downtown, and the South side. Every where that you go in Tampa is a haven for pan-handlers and such. Some of these folks are unable to work, or to find any work in the first place. I have a soft spot for those types. But, the fact is that many of the beggers are just to damned lazy to go out and look for work. That takes effort and doing such a thing would take away from their beer drinking time. In some cases, that is all of the day. I have no sympathy what-so-ever for those types of homeless. With the drinkers, you may as well throw in the crack-heads, and the pill-poppers. these fucks always are broke in the mornings and are out bumbing smokes and what ever.
I write all of this for one reason. Since I've been here the past few months, I've taken one of these homeless alcoholics under my wings, so to speak, just to see if I could get them to get their act together. To see how bad that they really wanted to quit and to get off of the streets.
I am not some rookie at this type of thing folks. Having been an alcoholic and a drug addict, and on the streets myself once, I know what kind of effort and work that it can take to get oneself off of the shit and off of the streets. It ain't easy, but, you have to really want to do it for yourself. If you do not, then there is no one who can help you no matter what they try to do for you.
With that in mind, my next post will introduce you to Anna, an alcoholic who lives on the streets of Tampa, and one person who surely has no business being in her situation. Anna is one of those drinkers who you can't talk to without her getting defensive and using the " it's not my fault " excuse. One who wants to change things in her life, but does nothing to make things happen. I think that you will find her an interesting study, and story. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Late Night Political Jokes: Tuesday Edition

It has been some time since i've posted my " Friday Funnies" listing of the best political jokes coming from those late-night talk show hosts, so here is a shortened version for all of you on this fine Tuesday.

David Letterman:
"Congress has been agonizing over health care for months now. Squabbling, fighting, the town hall meetings going crazy. Meanwhile, while they're arguing about health care, we're stuck in two wars that were rubber-stamped in about 10 minutes. What? How does that make any sense when you think about it?"

"People are always saying to me, 'Well, Dave, are you worried?' No, I'm not worried about health care, and I'll tell you why. Because I'm with CBS. ... They have a tremendous health care plan. And here's what it is. Simply, when I die, I get to appear on a 'CSI' show as a corpse."

Bill Maher:

"And then there's the people who come to the town hall meetings about health care and think that Obama is going to do the same thing that Hitler did. I mean, what can't you tell these people that they won't believe? I could start a rumor right now. I could say, you know what? Under Obama's health care plan, when you bring your child to a pediatrician, from now on, when he's done, instead of giving him a balloon, he's going to give the kid a condom. Stupid is a preexisting condition, yes."

"And apparently, it's now no longer enough to be screaming as they've been doing at the town hall meetings. They're now bringing guns. I would say these people are armed to the teeth, but they have no teeth."

"And they're also bringing guns to events with the president of the United States. Did you see these people with the assault rifles? There was a guy -- and it was a black guy -- holding a big assault rifle, which is terrible news for white people. I mean, first we lose our dominance over music, then sports, then golf, then the presidency. Now, black people are taking over the gun-toting redneck industry."

Have a great day!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Feingold, Durbin to intro FISA, PATRIOT fixes
by ben masel Sun Aug 23, 2009

I caught up with Senator Feingold at his re-election fundraiser/picnic this
morning.He and Senator Durbin have given up on waiting for the Administration to submit a package of amendments to the PATRIOT and FISA Amendment Acts, and are drafting their own. Rollout in approximately a month.
I also asked Russ about legislation creating statutory privacy rights in the location database collected by cellphone carriers, which are not covered by existing law, and courts have been mixed in requiring warrants for law enflorcement access. He's going to see if Durbin wants to include this in the package, otherwise he'll do a standalone bill. I'd discussed both topics with Representative Nadler, Chair of House Judiciary's Subcommitee on Courts and Constitution in the elevator at Netroots Nation, convinced him to hold hearings on the location privacy issue "in a couple months."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Latest Polling From Rasmussen

As of Tuesday, August 17, 31% of our country strongly approves of the way that President Obama is working as our President. At the same time, 46% strongly dislike the way that Obama is handling things. We knew that the numbers would be going down in time, but this is lousy timing as Obama attempts to get his Healthcare plan going. The Prez needs all of the support that he can muster!
In other polling stats, 42% of voters now expect that their taxes will be going up during the Obama years, while only 6% of voters expect a tax cut. I do hope that those 6 percent aren't to shocked when their taxes do go up. Common sense will tell you that taxes will have to go up in order to finance our debt and the programs which will come into being under this administration. Remember this though, Bush was responsible for many of the cutbacks which will have to be re-instated once again by President Obama.
The final numbers on Obama's approval/disapproval? 49% of voters say that they overall approve of Obama's job performance, while 50% disapprove. Well hell! You can't please everybody, can you?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

National Health Care

As the health care debate rages on up in DC., a few companies are giving the rest of us their two cents worth. Of course, these companies are not in favor of any real health care reform, so their ideas are not in line with the reforms that the Obama camp is proposing. No big surprise there.
shellac from has an open letter to one of those companies, Whole Foods.

My letter to the Nashville Whole Foods management
by shellac
Fri Aug 14, 2009 I am a Nashville area surgeon and a loyal
customer of the Nashville Whole Foods ever since it first opened. This is true
no longer. I was stunned and deeply disappointed to read Mr. Mackey's right-wing
propaganda piece
in the WSJ. He has his right to speak his point of view. I have the right to take my money elsewhere.
This is the letter I wrote in the feedback page at my local Whole Foods store's website.I am a Vanderbilt physician and a loyal customer of Whole Foods for years now. It is with some degree of remorse that I write this letter, but I feel I have no choice.Your CEO Mr. Mackey's ill-informed article does tremendous harm to the cause of health care reform. His solutions, e.g. high deductible plans, are simply ridiculous. These things are part of the problem, not the solution. As the country spirals further into debt from health insurance costs, lining the pockets of health insurance company CEOs along the way, and America falls further and further behind other developed nations in all leading health indicators, Mr. Mackey has the audacity to point to Medicare as the problem. Of course his solutions are silly--they are simply right-wing talking points.
Hypocrites like him are the same people who would not bat an eyelash at sending troops to Iraq, causing the deaths of many Iraqis and Americans, and then footing the massive bill. Yet they balk at the idea of paying for health care reform, something that has the ability to save millions of lives. I truly do not understand this.
Mr. Mackey has the right to speak his point of view. We customers similarly have a right to support those businesses whose political support will not be detrimental to society. I realize that the employees in the Nashville store may not agree with Mr. Mackey, but I would be in violation of my Hippocratic Oath and my duties as a physician if I continued to support Whole Foods. For those employees who may suffer as innocent bystanders, I am truly sorry.Good luck.
I truly do not understand what is going through this cretin CEO's mind when he penned this op-ed. Does he not know that Americans are dying for lack of proper health care? Or does he not care?
Whatever. I will never step foot in that store again.