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You Must Remember This…

June 14, 2009

Only the latter part of that famous song was about playing kissy face. The first part which is often forgotten alluded to the new scientific discoveries of the time that showed we weren’t so special as we may have thought and that everything was relative.

This day and age we’re living in
Gives cause for apprehension
With speed and new invention
And things like fourth dimension.

Yet we get a trifle weary
With Mr. Einstein’s theory.
So we must get down to earth at times
Relax relieve the tension

And no matter what the progress
Or what may yet be proved
The simple facts of life are such
They cannot be removed.

Ever wonder why as a kid it seemed like it would take forever until you were old enough to take dad’s wood paneled wagon out for a spin but as an adult you find you’re attending a 20th reunion and you could swear it hasn’t been that long since you were dancing under the crepe paper to Stairway to Heaven? It isn’t just you.

So make sure to slow down and savor the kalamari.

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    June 14, 2009 10:52 am

    Check out this rattus. Well technically not a rattus but close enough.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 15, 2009 7:22 am

      What a ridiculous rattus! The rattus department was clearly hung over the day it made that one. The tail and feet are way too long for the rest of it.

      I watched to two other vids above also. I would like to go to Greece now, right now, thank you. I’ll skip the kalamari, but those scenic towns and dark blue waters sure did look enticing.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 15, 2009 8:27 am

        In the rattus’ defense, I think it is just a baby pygmy. Saw some other videos of full grown ones and they actually grow a torso when they get bigger. They look sort of like kangaroo ratusses.

  2. cometman permalink*
    June 14, 2009 2:27 pm

    Trailer out for the upcoming Michael Moore movie. Funny stuff.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 15, 2009 7:26 am

      Hah! I love that guy. I heard that the film will open on Oct. 2. As it said at the end, this time it really is personal to him. I expect this will be his magnus opus. I hope he nails those Goldman Sux fuckers and brethren banksters, but good!

  3. Stemella permalink*
    June 15, 2009 7:37 am

    In following the Iranian protests and election fraud, I find myself going back to the two I followed closely at the beginning of the Iraq war,

    Robert Fisk
    Iran erupts as voters back ‘the Democrator’

    and Juan Cole

    and newly to Iranians using twitter

    • cometman permalink*
      June 15, 2009 8:44 am

      Nice article by Fisk. He’s a really good source who’s been in the region for decades and I often read him when I want to figure out what’s really going on. Fisk does mention that Mousavi isn’t exactly a new figure on the political scene there and that he was around when the ayatollahs took control. My take is that Mousavi is probably smarter and more diplomatic than Ahmadinejad, who I always took to be the Iranian version of Dubya. But that doesn’t mean that Mousavi would be ushering in an era of “Change” if he were declared the victor like our media seems to think. Pierre Tristam had a good article here about that. Saw some by Cole recently and he’s pretty adamant about the election being rigged. Hard to figure out exactly what is going on there without being there since our media does such a crappy job. I’ll have to check out the twitter later to see what people there have to say.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 15, 2009 9:18 am

      Here’s another take on what’s happening in Iran from Reza Fiyouzat. Don’t know much about the author – a quick search showed he was born in Iran and is a university professor. His take is that the whole election was nothing but a charade in the first place and that while the election was likely fixed, it really wouldn’t have made that much difference who won since as long as the ayatollah’s are in charge there is no democracy no matter how many sham elections are held.

      In the Iranian version [of a stolen election] , in contrast, they didn’t bother with realistic looking anything: not realistic final numbers nor a realistic looking process; opposition candidates’ campaigners had limited or no access to major transit points in the ballot boxes’ moves and in the ballot-counting process, and quite honestly, the first-round ‘landslide’ looks particularly unrealistic. They must be in some kind of hurry for something, since a run-off second round would have finalized everything by the last week of June, regardless. But, no; they just took it clean, and took it in the least amount of time possible.

      ~snip~

      Obviously, Mr. Mousavi himself had enjoyed the position of recipient-at-the-better-end of past coups; which must help him see one pulled against him. Not that you need prior knowledge, but it may assist in seeing the tragedy. It may be too glib to say, “What swings around can hit you in the face”, so I probably shouldn’t say it.

      The true silver lining of this tragedy is for the people of Iran. These ‘elections’ should incontrovertibly demonstrate, to anybody with political eyes to see, that no matter how oppressively anti-democratic an electoral setup, the establishment is still capable of raising people’s hopes for ‘change’ (no matter how miniscule and pathetic), and that it still has the power to fool people and to draw them into a futile act; only to slap them in the face. So, now the people are (hopefully) more likely to put their political hopes in more effective moves in the future.

      The disappointment felt by Mousavi supporters cannot be imagined. It is so much more acute than expected, exactly because so little was expected. If, as a homeless person on the side of the street, you ask people to give you a thousand dollars, clearly (as the British say) you’re taking the piss, and you don’t really expect anything to happen. But, if you ask for a single dollar from a person who clearly can afford it, yet they not only not just keep walking, but turn around instead and spit and insult you in your face, then all bets on politeness are off.

      Here was Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a man who is as much a figurehead of the regime as any, and here were these people willing to go along with this insult of a ‘choice’ within a highly anti-democratic setup, and yet even the presidency of one of their own could not to be tolerated by the deeply conservative establishment. The Iranian people have been forced, yet again, to admit painfully that they clearly cannot call the theocratic rule over them anything other than an absolute dictatorship.

      • Stemella permalink*
        June 15, 2009 2:02 pm

        I’ve heard the same about Mousavi, that he is “establishment” and that the whole election from the start, including Mousavi’s selection as the opposition was Kabuki. Not too unlike the race between Bush and Gore, eh?

        Now that there has been a shooting the martyr factor is initiated and it does look like this may evolve into a full on Revolution akin to 1979 or the Orange Revolution in Ukraine or maybe even Czechoslovakia in 1968.

        I keep wondering if and how the US is involved. I’d be amazed if we weren’t. Perhaps it will be 1953 all over again. If they install the Shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi then we know it was a neo-con op. Pure speculation there.

        • cometman permalink*
          June 15, 2009 4:09 pm

          It was hearing about that first shooting into the crowd that really made me start to wonder about US involvement. Government forces didn’t try to stop the protesters when they hit the streets and weren’t the ones who fired. The fact that is was supposedly some volunteer militia person seems fishy to me. Makes me wonder if this “militia” person was on the US payroll. I wouldn’t put anything past our spooks these days. There are plenty of people in our goverment who’d like to see the US in Iran and they may think fomenting this uprising is their ticket in somehow.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 15, 2009 3:33 pm

      That twitter stuff is pretty interesting, at least the parts that aren’t in Persian. Saw some people talking about seeing people stabbed, ballot boxes being burned etc. Not sure what to make of it all since there is no way to verify anything, but it does give a feel for what’s happening at least.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    June 15, 2009 8:10 am

    From Tom Dispatch: Tomgram: The Ir-Af-Pak War – Obama Looses the Manhunters Charisma and the Imperial Presidency

    He warns us of Obama’s Afghanistan policy. Hopey changey it is not.

    What a record, then, of blood and war, of great power politics and imperial hubris, of support for the heinous (including various fundamentalist groups and grim, authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes who remain our allies to this day). What a tale of imperial power frittered away and treasure squandered. Truly, Rudyard Kipling would have been able to do something with this.

    As for me, I find myself in awe of these decades of folly. Thirty years in Afghanistan, it staggers the imagination. What tricks does that land play with the minds of imperial Great-Gamers? Maybe it has something to do with those poppies. Who knows? I’m no Kipling, but I am aware that this sorry tale has taken up almost half of my lifetime with no end in sight.

    In the meantime, our new president has loosed the manhunters. His manhunters. This is where charisma disappears into the charnel house of history. Watch out.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    June 15, 2009 8:20 am

    I wish I could believe this was something more than a furtherance of the game of charades by these global capitalist swine, but I simply can’t. They are untrustworthy.

    Here’s the scoop: Obama officials outline financial reforms

    In the most complete summary of the plan seen in some time, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Chairman Lawrence Summers said the plan would offer “a stronger framework for consumer and investor protection.”

    The piece was published in The Washington Post days ahead of the expected release on Wednesday of a package of administration proposals under discussion for six months now.

    One proposal, said Geithner and Summers, will be “raising capital and liquidity requirements for all institutions, with more stringent requirements for the largest and most interconnected firms.”

    In addition, large and interconnected firms whose failure could threaten the stability of the system “will be subject to consolidated supervision by the Federal Reserve, and we will establish a council of regulators with broader coordinating responsibility across the financial system.”

    New reporting requirements will be urged for issuers of asset-backed securities, as well as a rule saying securitizers must “retain a financial interest” in the performance of the asset-backed securities they issue, they said.

    Reduced reliance on credit-rating agencies will also be proposed, said the piece.

    Addressing another market implicated in the crisis, the plan will urge “oversight of ‘over the counter’ derivatives,” an unspecified “harmonizing” of futures and securities regulation, and stronger payment and settlement systems.

    My bet is that what they are really doing is concentrating even more power into the Fed in preparation for Summers to replace Bernancke and then it’s game over for all but the elites and corporatists.

    There will be no meaningful regulation that will cause the loss of one greasy green cent from the coffers of Goldman Sux.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 15, 2009 3:53 pm

      I’m with you – there are some things that sound OK in that article but I simply don’t trust these people anymore. Any regulation that is imposed will likely have a loophole so it can be avoided. Lots of talk about how to deal with a crisis involving huge too-big-to-fail financial corporations going under, but no talk at all about chopping them up so they aren’t too big in the first place. What we need is a firewall between industries like Glass Steagal provided and no one is even talking about that anymore.

      Lots of talk about making sure these huge conglomerates are properly capitalized before they start their byzantine deals, but what happens if they aren’t? Does somebody stop them from doing business when they are over leveraged or does the taxpayer just boost their balance sheet before they explode instead of after?

  6. cometman permalink*
    June 15, 2009 9:52 am

    Michael Hudson the meetings currently taking place in Russia which seem to be aimed at telling the US to take a fucking hike:

    The city of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s largest east of the Urals, may become known not only as the end of the road for the tsars but of American hegemony too; as the place not only where US U-2 pilot Gary Powers was shot down in 1960, but where the US-centered international financial order was brought to ground.

    Challenging America is the prime focus of extended meetings in Yekaterinburg, Russia (formerly Sverdlovsk) today and tomorrow (June 15-16) for Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The alliance is comprised of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrghyzstan and Uzbekistan, with observer status for Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia. It will be joined on Tuesday by Brazil for trade discussions among the so-called BRIC nations –Brazil, Russia, India and China.

    The attendees have assured American diplomats that it is not their aim to dismantle the financial and military empire of the United States. They simply want to discuss mutual aid – but in a way that has no role for the United States, for NATO or for the US dollar as a vehicle for trade. US diplomats may well ask what this really means, if not a move to make US hegemony obsolete.

    Add up the populations of the nations mentioned and that’s well over half of the world right there that is sick and tired of US bullshit like the following:

    Aside from no longer financing the U.S. buyout of their own industries and the U.S. military encirclement of the globe, China, Russia and other countries would no doubt like to enjoy the same kind of free ride that America has been getting. As matters stand now, they see the United States as a lawless nation, financially as well as militarily. How else to characterize a nation that proclaims a set of laws for others – on war, debt repayment and treatment of prisoners – but flouts them itself? The United States is now the world’s largest debtor yet has avoided the pain of “structural adjustments” imposed on other debtor economies. U.S. interest-rate and tax reductions in the face of exploding trade and budget deficits are seen as the height of hypocrisy in view of the austerity programs that Washington forces on other countries via the IMF and other Washington vehicles.

    The United States tells debtor economies to sell off their public utilities and natural resources, raise their interest rates and increase taxes while gutting their social safety nets to squeeze out money to pay creditors. And at home, Congress blocked, on grounds of national security, China’s CNOOK from buying Unocal, much as it blocked Dubai from buying US ports and blocked other sovereign wealth funds from buying into key infrastructure. Foreigners are invited to emulate the Japanese purchase of white elephant trophies such as Rockefeller Center, on which investors quickly lost a billion dollars and ended up walking away.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 15, 2009 10:12 am

      More on this meeting and its consequences from Chris Hedges. He discusses the Hudson article quite a bit and his prediction at the end for what is coming down the pipe is extremely cynical.

      The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges. States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized. Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic. There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds. Those who resist will be silenced, many by force. We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite.

      Yikes! I don’t know if things will get that bad or not. If they do, perhaps that’s what those detention centers were built for – the coming economic collapse. I’d like to think that if things fall apart there will be some who step forward to pick up the pieces. The thing that scares me is the left isn’t that organized but the right is to a larger extent.

      • Stemella permalink*
        June 15, 2009 1:50 pm

        Yeah, Hedges sounds bleak. He sounds like how I feel most of the time thinking about our economy. I read his and Hudson’s articles about Yekaterinburg and BRIC. This blurb from the BBC says that the Ruskies say the US$ is safe, not to worry. The dollar value has gone up. We’ll see what happens. I think they’re toying, dangling us on a string from the short and curlies.

        The dollar has risen after Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin said it would not be replaced as the world’s reserve currency in the near future.

        Earlier in the week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan had both questioned the dollar’s status.

        They had said it was time to consider an alternative benchmark currency for international debt.

        But Mr Kudrin said “it’s too early to speak of an alternative”.

        His remarks came ahead of a summit of leaders of Russia, China, India and Brazil on Tuesday in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

        A Kremlin spokesman said on Sunday that the summit would not be discussing the possibility of a new global reserve currency.

        “We will speak more about the possible ways to reform international financial institutions,” he said.

        The dollar was up 0.61 of a euro cent at 0.7197 euros and up 0.38 pence at £0.6119 (making one pound worth $1.63438).

        Here is a different perspective from the FT that speculates why Russia would say this before the end of the meetings
        Russia gagged?

        Of all the dollar critics in the world, Russia has been among the loudest. Putin began the dollar-bashing at Davos, Medvedev followed it up on CNBC, and more recently the central bank’s Alexei Ulyukayev continued the trend in Moscow.

        The seemingly stupid policy of talking down the dollar ahead of diversifying into alternative reserve currencies, has led some to speculate Russia must have an active interest in doing so. Indeed, Edward Hugh at a Fistful of Euros drew attention to the substantial amount of dollar-denominated debt the country has recently taken on. There’s also the fact that Russia is already pretty well diversified, meaning any respective dollar losses are likely to be balanced out by respective gains in other currencies held.

        And yet at the weekend out came this statement from Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin during a G8 finance chief meeting in Italy:

        “It’s too early to speak of an alternative” to the dollar, Kudrin said in Lecce, Italy, in a television interview today after meeting with finance chiefs from the Group of Eight nations. The fundamentals of the dollar are still in “good shape.”

        Er, quite a reversal.

        So what could lie behind it? Well, talking down the dollar might very well be in Russia’s interests, but that’s not necessarily the case for some of its more heavily dollar-weighted BRIC comrades — namely China.

        So the question is, should a sudden reversal in Russia’s policy the weekend before Moscow stages the first formal summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and China in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg really be viewed as a surprise?

        According to the forex team at the Bank of New York Mellon: probably not, especially since the dollar reserve system is high on the agenda at the summit.

        As the analysts write:

        None of this will come as a particular surprise to readers of this briefing. As we have noted before, there has been growing evidence that, following Secretary Geithner’s visit to Beijing at the start of the month, China decided it was self-defeating for them to continue making statements that undermined the value of the USD.

        We note, for example, the recent comments stressing the “partnership” they are in with the US, as well as Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei assertion last week that “nobody is talking about dumping the USD.” As such, the volte face from Finance Minister Kudrin this weekend seem to indicate that he has also been persuaded that there is little to be gained from talking down the value of the USD given Russia’s existing exposure.

        A little case of “say what you don’t mean, get what you want”?

        • cometman permalink*
          June 15, 2009 3:58 pm

          Definitely difficult to read the tea leaves with regards to what the Chinese are up to. But they’ve been making deals with other countries for quite a while now and I doubt they’ve all of a sudden decided the dollar is just fine because Timmeh paid them a visit.

  7. cometman permalink*
    June 15, 2009 1:52 pm

    Haha! This is really funny in a very perverse sort of way. The former CEO of AIG Hank Greenberg was forced out a few years back when some of their fuzzy accounting first came to light. A little background on that here.

    Well now it appears that Greenberg cleaned out a retirement program worth a few billion on his way out the door – one that was supposed to reward retiring high-ranking AIG execs with big performance bonuses and now he’s being sued to get it back.

    Attorney Theodore Wells told the jury in Manhattan that former AIG Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg improperly took $4.3 billion in stock from the company in 2005, after he was ousted by the company amid investigations of accounting irregularities.

    “Hank Greenberg was mad. He was angry,” Wells said in U.S. District Court of the emotional state of the man who, over a 35-year-career, built AIG from a small company into the world’s largest insurance company.

    Wells said that Greenberg, within weeks of being forced out in mid-2005, gave the go-ahead for tens of millions of shares to be sold from a trust fund. The fund was set up to provide incentive bonuses to a select group of AIG management and highly compensated employees that they would receive upon their retirement.

    At least he was stealing from his fellow thieves instead of from us.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 15, 2009 2:09 pm

      Gawd. There was this wood thing invented a while back that has a sharp metal part attached to a rope. I think that thing would be appropriate for that crook.

  8. Stemella permalink*
    June 15, 2009 3:22 pm

    Tyler Durden over at Zero Hedge recommends this Iranian blogger for following events going on in Tehran :Persiankiwi

    Here are the tweets from the last hour:

    # today is bad day for us – 3 of group still not contacted from Azadi demo and we have 1 injured – #Iranelection5 minutes ago from web

    # foreign news reported us on twitter – we have too much ppl looking at us –
    #Iranelection11 minutes ago from web

    # motorbikes all over Tehran – outside now – they break windows of houses
    some have pepper gas – they want to scare ppl #Iranelection14 minutes ago from web

    # we are routed thru mirror proxies – but service is unreliable – keeps cuting out – have to switch off lights now – #Iranelection17 minutes ago from web

    # Gov hackers are on twitter now – we are getting threats – #Iranelection19 minutes ago from web

    # reliable source – more than 100 motorbikers at Baseej headquerters in Iran street #Iranelection24 minutes ago from web

    # one of us is injured and we have doctor – we cannot go to hospital now as plainclothes are at all hospitals #Iranelection26 minutes ago from web

    # reports of gun shots in Sadatabad too – we heard gunshots from that direction about 45 mins ago #Iranelection28 minutes ago from web

    # reliable source – gunshots in Sharak Gharb were not directly at the people but still many injured by tear gas #Iranelection29 minutes ago from web

    # we have call from Sharak Gharb – reports of streetfighting and tear gas #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

    # we only want freedom – we are peaceful – we have no life no future in IRI without freedom – #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

  9. Stemella permalink*
    June 15, 2009 3:28 pm

    Here’s Simon Johnson’s take on Timmy and Larry’s new regulation proposals.

    The authors are not completely clear on what they think caused the current crisis, but you can back out some points from their reasoning – and the implicit view seems quite at odds with reality.

    Short, sweet, to the point! After listing several specific points he concludes,

    And of course the complete omissions from this document are breathtaking. No mention of executive compensation or the structure of compenstion within the financial sector. Not even a hint that the complete breakdown of corporate governance at major banks contributed to execessive risk taking. And no notion of regulatory capture-by-crazy-ideas of any kind.

    There are a couple of positive notes towards the end. The administration will seek a resolution authority for dealing with failed banks, but we knew this already. And the authors recognize the need to change how financial systems operate around the world; unfortunately, there is zero detail on this crucial point.

    Overall, there are no surprises here. Brick by brick, we are building the foundation for the next financial crisis; by all indications, it will be more disruptive and a great deal more damaging than the crisis of 2008-09. But presumably by then the authors will be out of office.

  10. cometman permalink*
    June 16, 2009 7:29 am

    So for about the last week or two, every time I hit one of the major portals like MSNBC or Yahoo I keep seeing headlines about David Letterman saying something mean about Sarah Palin’s brats. My question is who gives a fuck? Is that really one of the most important things going on in the world? Jeebus T Lapdancing Xrist they probably won’t even cover the turmoil in Iran for as long as they’ve been following this non-story. Can’t they just let the dumb bimbo fade into obscurity instead of turning her into some kind of martyr for the intellectually challenged? Rrrrrrrrr.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 16, 2009 8:32 am

      Manufactured content to appease the sheeple who think People Magazine is news and that Letterman is a news source.

      It was all over the tv too, all the channels – definitely a manufactured story meant to sell Palin. Part of the lead up to the Kabuki that will be our next election.

      What we are seeing in Iran is no different than what we’ve seen here in terms of electoral mechanics.

  11. cometman permalink*
    June 16, 2009 8:02 am

    The benefits of single payer healthcare described very simply by Dave Lindorff:

    There is a level of dishonesty in what passes for the debate over health care “reform” in both Congress and the media that is stunning in its brazenness and/or venality. Of course real reform would cost more in government spending. But that is because real reform would remove the cost of medical care from both employers and from workers (who over the last 20 years have been shouldering an increasing share of their own medical care). And that shift would mean more profits for US companies, which would free up more money for wages, and it would mean less money deducted from paychecks, meaning higher incomes for workers.

    If President Obama had any political courage at all, he’d simply get on TV and say this: I will create a plan that will cover everyone, lift the burden of paying for health care from individuals and employers, and have the government pay for it all. You the taxpayer will pay for this plan with higher taxes, but you will no longer have any significant medical bills, you will no longer have health insurance premiums deducted from your paycheck, your employer will no longer be paying for employee medical coverage, and you will never have to worry about losing health benefits again, even if you are laid off. (Incidentally, eliminating employer-funded health insurance would go a long way towards allowing workers to fight to have unions, and to strike for contracts, by ending the threat that they would lose their benefits.)

    Of course, to do that the president would have to be talking about what is variously known as national health care or a single-payer plan, in which the government is the insurer of health care for all.

    The concept really isn’t that difficult. Yes it costs money but if your employer doesn’t have to pay thousands of dollars per year for your health care, they would probably use at least some of the savings for higher wages, which would increase payroll taxes, which would pay for healthcare. And that would benefit just about everybody except the insurance companies. Which is probably why it’s never discussed in simple terms like that – if it were, even more people would understand how bad they’re getting screwed right now and Congress might be forced to publicly address the issue. Then it would become clear that the reason we don’t have it isn’t because it’s too difficult but because Congress doesn’t want to upset the people in the insurance industry that hand out the bribes. Much easier to just sweep it all under the rug.

    And here’s another thing. One of the arguments you hear sometimes is that we can’t just throw tens of thousands of people out of work by making insurance companies irrelevant. First of all, why not? Corporations do it all the time when they need to cut costs. And second, how long will it be before all the insurance adjuster’s jobs, many of which don’t require much besides sitting behind a desk and processing paperwork, get shipped off to some call center in India? I’m betting not that long at all. So why not create a single payer system and simply move many of the people who work in private insurance to government jobs before their own companies render them obsolete?

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 16, 2009 8:38 am

      The article says it. Obama has no political courage at a time when he has the highest clout with the public and the Republicans are at their weakest. In short, he’s a fucking pussy and a tool of those corporations that are profiting off of our sickness. The corporatists want to destroy the middle class. Giving us a better and more fair standard of living is against their self interest. They want 99.9% of the pie and Obama is helping them to achieve that.

  12. cometman permalink*
    June 16, 2009 8:16 am

    Where’s the transparency Status Quobama promised? Now he’s fighting to keep the list of visitors to the White House secret.

    The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn’t have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions.

    Despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to introduce a new era of transparency to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge that the records are public, the Secret Service has denied msnbc.com’s request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the present. It also denied a narrower request by the nonpartisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which sought logs of visits by executives of coal companies.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 16, 2009 8:40 am

      Wow, How very Cheneyesque!

      If I may quote you, Jesus fucking lapdancing Xrist@!(!#@*$ !!!!

      That is the work of Rhambo, I would almost guar-an-tee it

  13. cometman permalink*
    June 16, 2009 8:51 am

    For a long time biologists assumed that evolution takes place in incremental stages over long periods of time for species bigger than a microbe at least. But in recent years they’ve taken a closer look and found that evolution can occur pretty rapidly. Here’s a recent study on guppies:

    How fast can evolution take place? In just a few years, according to a new study on guppies led by UC Riverside’s Swanne Gordon, a graduate student in biology.

    Gordon and her colleagues studied guppies — small fresh-water fish biologists have studied for long — from the Yarra River, Trinidad. They introduced the guppies into the nearby Damier River, in a section above a barrier waterfall that excluded all predators. The guppies and their descendents also colonized the lower portion of the stream, below the barrier waterfall, that contained natural predators.

    Eight years later (less than 30 guppy generations), the researchers found that the guppies in the low-predation environment above the barrier waterfall had adapted to their new environment by producing larger and fewer offspring with each reproductive cycle. No such adaptation was seen in the guppies that colonized the high-predation environment below the barrier waterfall.

    It would be interesting to run experiments like these for 50 or 100 years and see how long it takes before they become different species entirely.

    Saw a program a few months ago about some very small human-looking skeletons that were found on a Pacific island [IIRC this was not the Hobbit skeletons but something different]. The skeletons weren’t that old, just a few thousand years. The teeth were very large though in comparison to the rest of their bodies and on the program some scientists mentioned that teeth evolve more slowly than other traits. So the speculation was that these were humans who moved to an island and then shrank rapidly over a pretty short time period to compensate for there not being a great food supply in their new home. Just found this link from PLoS ONE which I think is describing the program I saw.

    Based on the evidence from Palau, we hypothesize that reduction in the size of the face and chin, large dental size and other features noted here may in some cases be correlates of extreme body size reduction in H. sapiens.

    For some reason I find stuff like this very hopeful, because no matter how bad human beings screw this world up, life will still go on.

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