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August 31st Presidential Speech

September 1, 2010

I hear Barry gave a speech last night.

Regarding the “Ground Zero mosque” controversy:

I do not speak of this struggle of the past merely from the historic standpoint. Our interest is primarily in the application to-day of the lessons taught by the contest of half a century ago. It is of little use for us to pay lip-loyalty to the mighty men of the past unless we sincerely endeavor to apply to the problems of the present precisely the qualities which in other crises enable the men of that day to meet those crises. It is half melancholy and half amusing to see the way in which well-meaning people gather to do honor to the man who, in company with John Brown, and under the lead of Abraham Lincoln, faced and solved the great problems of the nineteenth century, while, at the same time, these same good people nervously shrink from, or frantically denounce, those who are trying to meet the problems of the twentieth century in the spirit which was accountable for the successful solution of the problems of Lincoln’s time.

Regarding labor and the Employee Free Choice Act:

Of that generation of men to whom we owe so much, the man to whom we owe most is, of course, Lincoln. Part of our debt to him is because he forecast our present struggle and saw the way out. He said:

“I hold that while man exists it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind.”

And again:

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
If that remark was original with me, I should be even more strongly denounced as a Communist agitator than I shall be anyhow. It is Lincoln’s. I am only quoting it; and that is one side; that is the side the capitalist should hear. Now, let the working man hear his side.

“Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights…. Nor should this lead to a war upon the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; . . . property is desirable; is a positive good in the world.”

And then comes a thoroughly Lincolnlike sentence:

“Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”

It seems to me that, in these words, Lincoln took substantially the attitude that we ought to take; he showed the proper sense of proportion in his relative estimates of capital and labor, of human rights and property rights. Above all, in this speech, as in many others, he taught a lesson in wise kindliness and charity; an indispensable lesson to us of today. But this wise kindliness and charity never weakened his arm or numbed his heart. We cannot afford weakly to blind ourselves to the actual conflict which faces us to-day. The issue is joined, and we must fight or fail.

I stand for the square deal. But when I say that I am for the square deal, I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the games, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity and of reward for equally good service.

Regarding the need for campaign finance reforms:

Now, this means that our government, national and State, must be freed from the sinister influence or control of special interests. Exactly as the special interests of cotton and slavery threatened our political integrity before the Civil War, so now the great special business interests too often control and corrupt the men and methods of government for their own profit. We must drive the special interests out of politics. That is one of our tasks to-day. Every special interest is entitled to justice – full, fair, and complete – and, now, mind you, if there were any attempt by mob-violence to plunder and work harm to the special interest, whatever it may be, and I most dislike and the wealthy man, whomsoever he may be, for whom I have the greatest contempt, I would fight for him, and you would if you were worth your salt. He should have justice. For every special interest is entitled to justice, but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench, or to representation in any public office. The Constitution guarantees protections to property, and we must make that promise good But it does not give the right of suffrage to any corporation. The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man’s making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being.

There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done.

We must have complete and effective publicity of corporate affairs, so that people may know beyond peradventure whether the corporations obey the law and whether their management entitles them to the confidence of the public. It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public-service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs.

Regarding the need for regulation and taxation of corporations and the wealthy:

The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise. We grudge no man a fortune which represents his own power and sagacity, when exercised with entire regard to the welfare of his fellows. Again, comrades over there, take the lesson from your own experience. Not only did you not grudge, but you gloried in the promotion of the great generals who gained their promotion by leading the army to victory. So it is with us. We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.

No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered – not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective – a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.

The people of the United States suffer from periodical financial panics to a degree substantially unknown among the other nations which approach us in financial strength. There is no reason why we should suffer what they escape. It is of profound importance that our financial system should be promptly investigated, and so thoroughly and effectively revised as to make it certain that hereafter our currency will no longer fail at critical times to meet our needs.

Regarding the need to preserve the environment:

I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. I ask nothing of the nation except that it so behave as each farmer here behaves with reference to his own children. That farmer is a poor creature who skins the land and leaves it worthless to his children. The farmer is a good farmer who, having enabled the land to support himself and to provide for the education of his children leaves it to them a little better than he found it himself. I believe the same thing of a nation. Moreover, I believe that the natural resources must be used for the benefit of all our people, and not monopolized for the benefit of the few, and here again is another case in which I am accused of taking a revolutionary attitude. People forget now that one hundred years ago there were public men of good character who advocated the nation selling its public lands in great quantities, so that the nation could get the most money out of it, and giving it to the men who could cultivate it for their own uses. We took the proper democratic ground that the land should be granted in small sections to the men who were actually to till it and live on it. Now, with the water-power with the forests, with the mines, we are brought face to face with the fact that there are many people who will go with us in conserving the resources only if they are to be allowed to exploit them for their benefit. That is one of the fundamental reasons why the special interest should be driven out of politics. Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us, and training them into a better race to inhabit the land and pass it on. Conservation is a great moral issue for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation. Let me add that the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear a most important part.

Regarding the role of government and the need to fight for what is right:

The national government belongs to the whole American people, and where the whole American people are interested, that interest can be guarded effectively only by the national government. The betterment which we seek must be accomplished, I believe, mainly through the national government.

I believe in shaping the ends of government to protect property as well as human welfare. Normally, and in the long run, the ends are the same; but whenever the alternative must be faced, I am for men and not for property, as you were in the Civil War. I am far from underestimating the importance of dividends; but I rank dividends below human character. Again, I do not have any sympathy with the reformer who says he does not care for dividends. Of course, economic welfare is necessary, for a man must pull his own weight and be able to support his family. I know well that the reformers must not bring upon the people economic ruin, or the reforms themselves will go down in the ruin. But we must be ready to face temporary disaster, whether or not brought on by those who will war against us to the knife.

Those who oppose all reform will do well to remember that ruin in its worst form is inevitable if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few and the triumph in both politics and business of a sordid and selfish materialism.

Can’t say that I really give a rat’s ass what the equivocator-in-chief had to say last night and of course the words above didn’t come from him. They were excerpted from a speech Teddy Roosevelt gave 100 years ago on August 31st in Osawatomie, Kansas at John Brown Memorial Park. Yes, that John Brown, a man who today would likely be labeled a “terrorist”, and just making the speech there considering the Civil War was not a distant memory at the time showed more than a little courage all by itself. Teddy was certainly no saint and like just about every president, he reserved the right to whack just about anybody with a big stick and reveled in his share of military massacres. And the speech was given shortly after he’d left office so he wasn’t facing any political backlash. But while he was in office, he walked the walk. He battled the bankers and enforced the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, he created the National Parks System, he passed laws and regulations for food safety. And as this article notes, the speech he gave after leaving office led to several important reforms in the ensuing years:

Three years after TR’s Osawatomie speech, we would have an income tax in the United States. Six years later after Osawatomie, we would have an estate tax. By the middle of the 20th century, many of the corporate regulatory reforms that Roosevelt demanded on that August day a century ago would be the law of the land.

By that mid century, the plutocracy that Roosevelt decried had essentially disappeared. The United States had become a middle class nation where average workers, as TR envisioned in 1910, had “a wage more than sufficient to cover the bare cost of living, and hours of labor short enough” to leave them “time and energy” to bear their “share in the management of the community.”

And maybe more important than any of the reforms Roosevelt accomplished, he let the people of this nation know that one of their most popular leaders had their backs and gave them the courage to fight against the vested interests for a better life for themselves, something that is sorely lacking from current “leadership”.

If you haven’t seen Barry’s speech from last night yet and are for some reason still tempted to watch it, do your self a favor and read Roosevelt’s speech instead.

Then tell Barry to either get out the big stick or stop wasting all of our time.

50 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    September 1, 2010 9:07 am

    Interesting that Roosevelt knew that the Powers that be would call him a Communist and worse – he just didn’t give a damn and dropped the gloves anyway. This from that same speech was interesting too:

    Here in Kansas there is one paper which habitually denounces me as the tool of Wall Street, and at the same time frantically repudiates the statement that I am a Socialist on the ground that is an unwarranted slander of the Socialists.

  2. cometman permalink*
    September 1, 2010 9:13 am

    Regarding the protests against Royal Bank of Scotland we were talking about a few days ago, this NYT article mentions them specifically in discussing how many banks are starting to shy away from financing environmentally damaging enterprises due to all the bad PR.

    After years of legal entanglements arising from environmental messes and increased scrutiny of banks that finance the dirtiest industries, several large commercial lenders are taking a stand on industry practices that they regard as risky to their reputations and bottom lines.

    In the most recent example, the banking giant Wells Fargo noted last month what it called “considerable attention and controversy” surrounding mountaintop removal mining, and said that its involvement with companies engaged in it was “limited and declining.”

    The bank was a small player in the sector, representing about $78 million in bonds and loan financing for such companies from 2008 to April of this year, according to data compiled by the Rainforest Action Network, an environmental group tracking the issue.

    But the policy shift by Wells Fargo follows others over the last two years, including moves by Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citibank, to increase scrutiny of lending to companies involved in mountaintop removal — or to end the lending altogether.

    HSBC, which is based in London, has curtailed its relationships with some producers of palm oil, which is often linked to deforestation in developing countries. The Dutch lender Rabobank has applied a nine-point checklist of conditions for would-be oil and gas borrowers that includes commitments to improve environmental performance and protect water quality.


    Ms. Litvack, of F&C Investments, pointed to large protests last week by many climate activists outside the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh. At least a dozen protesters have been arrested in demonstrations against the bank’s financing of oil sands development in Canada.

    I have no illusions that this is some permanent change, if the banks can figure out how to stop the bad PR, they’ll probably go right back to financing full on rape and pillage. But it’s a start.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    September 1, 2010 9:47 am

    Bravo! To you and TR.

    TR’s remarks at the Grand Canyon:

    In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country – to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.

    I was delighted to learn of the wisdom of the Santa Fe railroad people in deciding not to build their hotel on the brink of the canyon. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel, or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon.

    Leave it as it is. You can not improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American if he can travel at all should see.

    We have gotten past the stage, my fellow citizens, when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as something to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation, whether it is the forest, the water, the scenery. Whatever it is, handle it so that your children’s children will get the benefit of it.

    Imagine Obama’s version. More jobs! New investment opportunities! An oversight commission for balanced development co-chaired by the CEO of BP, balanced by the CEO of ExxonMobil! In fairness, it would be the big box “conservation” organizations’ version too, with a little corner, 5% maybe, preserved in its original state.

    btw, am about to crack open Wilderness Warrior, Brinkley’s bio of TR from the conservation angle. Also just got Windup Girl, but she has to wait a couple days.

    This may interest you, c-man: A Rocha International Review 2009/2010. They are rather sporadic – at times seemingly almost indifferent – about blaring their accomplishments to non members via the web.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 1, 2010 11:28 am

      TR wasn’t perfect but he actually improved the quality of life for more people than any jackass president in the last 40 years or so at least. I’d go further back but I’m feeling generous to LBJ today, a guy who knew how to twist some arms and get things done himself. Really liked how he doesn’t necessarily begrudge the wealthy what they have (not surprising considering he was from a wealthy family) but in no uncertain terms makes it clear that one person can have too much and that simply should not be allowed in an equitable society.

      If I’m thinking of the same book, I’ve heard that TR bio is pretty good. And let me know what you think of Windup Girl when you get to it. Considering what’s going on with that Russian seed bank, you may really like the end :) Not great literature by a long shot, but a pretty well written story with lots of food for thought so to speak.

      I liked this from that A Rocha link:

      A Rocha USA has set up community gardens at six locations
      around the country, and has plans for more. Gardening may
      not be an obvious priority for a conservation organisation, so
      we asked Tom Rowley, the Director of A Rocha USA, to
      explain his reasons.
      Tom says, ‘Gardens do connect to our conservation goals – if
      indirectly, at first. They provide an easy way to engage
      people in hands-on work and conversation, which often leads
      to greater environmental awareness. Gardens are an especially
      good way to broach the subject of creation care with churches,
      as they often have land available and begin with the aim of
      providing fresh organic produce for people in need. By adding
      on activities such as pollinator studies, water quality, wildlife
      monitoring and native plantings, gardens introduce people to
      practical conservation issues.’

      Glad they recognize that, because I really think it’s true. So many people are really disconnected about where food comes from these days. I joke about it people starving if Mickey D’s were to suddenly disappear, but a lot of people are just clueless. Apologies if you’ve heard me relate this story before – I lived in a duplex a few years back in Seattle and dug a small garden in the back yard. I’d been working it for two or three summers, adding manure to the soil, etc trying to make it grow better. New guy moved in downstairs and in the spring I offered to let him grow some stuff as I was going to start planting the next day and he’d never gardened before. He was quite anxious to get started and couldn’t wait for my hung over ass to get out of bed. By the time I woke up he was outside digging and had removed about a foot and a half of soil from the entire area of the garden (hundreds of cubic feet), for what reason I’ve never been able to fathom, and threw the dirt over the chain link fence surrounding the yard so I couldn’t even get the dirt back. All I could think of were the anecdotal stories you hear in the Northeast (and probably everywhere) about the old farmer laughing as they watch the crazy flatlanders new to the area tear apart a field with no idea what the hell they’re doing but too afraid to ask for help from somebody who does.

      • artemis54 permalink
        September 1, 2010 11:43 am

        I live on “church street”. Down a little ways, it features the two laregst by far of the 18 churches in town: Catholic and LDS. Both feature huge golf course type front, back and side lawns with only the saddest most unfortunate gesture at any type of landscaping at all. Of course they pay to water all this mess. The land could provide food for the local poor – hell, for the local well off – and a conversion would no doubt generate a lot of good pr.

        I have been thinking about how to approach them. There is the possiblity of just carpet bombing with leaflets from A Rocha, etc – after all, they do the same to me and worse, waking my ass up at all hours. But perhaps it might be better to try to speak to the churches directly in the persons of whomever is responsible for such things. Oddly, considering that I am well known around here as an atheist – not to mention all the rest of it – I am pretty good friends with some “high profile” folks in both local churches.

        It requires a little more thought.

        • cometman permalink*
          September 1, 2010 12:00 pm

          I’ve got a church right across the street from me and the wife and husband co-pastors are my neighbors. I think they’ve given up trying to proselytize us since I’ve politely declined a few invitations to attend. Did give the guy some tomatoes last night though to keep on his good side :) Couple years ago I gave them a huge bag of tomatoes I’d grown which they told me they would add to their food bank donations.

          I doubt they’d like my political views much but fresh veggies can be a good icebreaker. Couldn’t hurt to ask your neighboring churches if they’re interested.

  4. artemis54 permalink
    September 1, 2010 10:20 am

    Mild, temporary freakout last night. I was awakened by a semi trailer truck combo that I guess had gotten lost and was very slowly backing down the street in front of my house and trying to back around the corner. Lots of lights and beeping.

    For a moment in my stupor I thought it was the end of me, a response to me email to Harry Reid the other day in which the words “whore”, “pander”, “disgrace”, and a few others figured prominently.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 1, 2010 11:32 am


  5. cometman permalink*
    September 1, 2010 11:54 am

    Sweden does an about face –reopens investigation of rape charges against Assange. Anybody got a clue yet what’s going on here? Bueller?

  6. cometman permalink*
    September 2, 2010 9:21 am

    Kablooie! Another gulf oil rig up in flames. In the initial reports nobody knows if there is any oil leak or not but supposedly the well wasn’t currently producing. More to come I’m sure.

  7. cometman permalink*
    September 2, 2010 12:09 pm

    Always find a good art heist very entertaining. This one was especially good – Man Lost $1.4 Million Corot Painting After Boozing, Suit Says.

    Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s 1857-58 “Portrait of a Girl” is missing, according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court. And the last man with possession can’t recall where it is after a night of heavy drinking, the suit says.

    The complaint, filed on Aug. 30, details a Manhattan misadventure redolent of a situation comedy: Kristyn Trudgeon and Tom Doyle co-owned the Corot and enlisted James Carl Haggerty — her acquaintance, his friend — as an agent to help sell it. Haggerty was to be paid $25,000 upon the sale. The suit doesn’t disclose what Trudgeon or Doyle originally paid for the picture, or where they work.

    On July 28, according to the complaint, Doyle learned that a London dealer, Offer Waterman, was interested in buying the piece, valued at $1.35 million. Doyle retrieved from storage the 12 ¾-inch by 9 ½-inch portrait, depicting a young woman with a steady gaze, wide forehead and white lace collar. That afternoon he, Waterman and Haggerty met at Doyle’s office in the Empire State Building.

    After inspecting the painting, Waterman, the dealer, asked to examine it further with ultraviolet black light, often used for authentication, the suit said. That evening Doyle carried the painting to the midtown bistro Rue 57, where he met Haggerty. Doyle told Haggerty to deliver the artwork to Waterman at the Upper East Side Mark Hotel.

    Haggerty meets the guy at the hotel who then decides he doesn’t want to buy the painting. Haggerty returns to his apartment without the painting and later claims he was drunk and doesn’t remember what happened to it.

    “Haggerty’s explanation is unacceptable,” [Trudgeon’s lawyer] DiFabio said in an interview.

    Looks like it wasn’t just unacceptable, but likely extremely mendacious as well. Here’s another article from the next day.

    A lawsuit over a missing $1.4 million Corot painting will be dropped after the New York woman who filed it identified a prison mug shot as that of the portrait’s co-owner, her lawyer said.

    The lawyer, Max DiFabio, said in an interview that he showed a mug shot of a Thomas Doyle to his client, Kristyn Trudgeon. Trudgeon filed the suit Aug. 30 in New York state Supreme Court over Corot’s missing 1857-58 “Portrait of a Girl.” Doyle owned the Corot with Trudgeon, according to her complaint.


    “A photograph was provided to us by a member of the press,” DiFabio, the lawyer, said. “I asked my client to determine whether it was the same Tom Doyle. She answered in the affirmative.”

    A person named Thomas Doyle pleaded guilty in February 2007 to grand larceny in the third degree in connection with the theft of a Degas bronze, according to Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He was sentenced to serve a maximum of five years in state prison, she said.

    Doyle was paroled on Dec. 7, state Department of Correctional Services records show.

    All I know is that anybody paying big money for a portrait of a butt ugly little girl they don’t even know deserves to get ripped off. Ha!

  8. cometman permalink*
    September 2, 2010 12:18 pm

    Some unrelated links –

    Fascinating – ‘Charitable’ Behavior Found in Bacteria.

    In studying the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, the researchers found that the populations most adept at withstanding doses of antibiotics are those in which a few highly resistant isolates sacrifice their own well being to improve the group’s overall chance of survival.

    This bacterial altruism results when the most resistant isolates produce a small molecule called indole.

    Indole acts as something of a steroid, helping the strain’s more vulnerable members bulk up enough to fight off the antibiotic onslaught. But while indole may save the group, its production takes a toll on the fitness level of the individual isolates that produce it.

    Leaked documents show that the German government is concerned that peak oil may cause democracy itself to disappear. Guess I hadn’t realized we still had one, awfully hard to tell lately.

    Maybe I just need to get back to VT where secessionists – the good kind! – are making a run to call the shots.

    The most radical antiwar candidate in the US is not Dennis Kucinich or Rand or Ron Paul or any of the usual suspects. It’s a 42-year-old Vermonter named Dennis Steele, who is running for governor of his state as an open secessionist. From what I can tell, Steele is just an average dude. He wears Carhartts and a baseball cap and drives a pickup truck and lives with his wife and two kids in a little Vermont village called Kirby (pop. 500), off in the wild hills of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. On occasion, he feeds his family by hunting deer and butchering the meat himself. He served three years in the US Army – working for “the Empire,” as he puts it – and he tells me his main reason for running is that he doesn’t want his kids serving in the Army. Or any other branch of the Empire. He wants the Empire to drop dead. And he thinks the best way to start that process is by getting Vermont to secede from the union. Destroy the empire by undermining it from within. That’s the goal.

    Third parties have had quite a bit of success in VT and not too many years pass before some segment of the population there starts advocating for secession. Go get ’em!

    • artemis54 permalink
      September 2, 2010 1:58 pm

      Trofim Lysenko to the white courtesy phone – Glenn Beck mightwant to listen in too. That bacteria article had me in a bit of a spin, it so closely resembles Lysenko’s theories of birch trees sacrfificing themselves for the good of the collective grove.

      • cometman permalink*
        September 3, 2010 8:30 am

        Hadn’t heard of Lysenko before. Looked him up and it sounds like he’s the kind of scientist that would do quite well working with the US government today.

        I was skeptical seeing the headline myself and thought it might be another clunker, but the research is being published in Nature so the researchers must have some credibility. We’ll see if others can duplicate what they found.

        • artemis54 permalink
          September 3, 2010 10:20 am

          He followed Lamarck rather than Darwin, and convinced the ignoramus Stalin that Mendelian genetics was “bourgeois” science unfit for true socialism. Directly responsible for the imprisonment and death of Vavilov, one of history’s great scientists, whom he hated.

          It took Soviet agriculture years to recover from the blight of Lysenko. There’s definitely a lesson in directing sceience according to ideological precepts rather than observation.
          Several people have noted that even Stalin wasn’t crazy enough to put ideologues in charge of his nuclear physics program.

          • cometman permalink*
            September 3, 2010 11:11 am

            There’s a lesson there all right, unfortunately one that seems to have been forgotten.

  9. artemis54 permalink
    September 2, 2010 2:12 pm

    RIP Cedric


    Cedric was once believed to be immune to Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease. That imunity proved to be an illusion, and he was euthanized after the cancer spread to his lungs.

    Still I wonder about the original resistance, if there really was any. Even a partial resistance that slowed onset would be something – considering that right now there is basically nothing but the hopes of a doomsday population, with its obvious drawbacks; a lack of genetic diversity may be part of the problem already. Cedric died at six, but that is old age. Devils are surprisingly shortlived and, as a commenter pointed out at the Nature link above, often succumb to some cancer or another in their sixth or seventh year.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 3, 2010 8:37 am

      No expert here, but I’m thinking there probably wasn’t a real resistance either. That genetically distinct colony they mention could be promising though. Wonder if they could take a small number of those individuals, breed them, and mix them with the more susceptible populations and see if it has any effect. Even without the cancer it might not be a bad idea, just to increase the genetic diversity.

      • artemis54 permalink
        September 3, 2010 10:06 am

        There are more problems. Lately they’ve figured out that the cancer begins its attack on peripheral nerve cells, that just don’t mount an immune response.

  10. cometman permalink*
    September 3, 2010 10:37 am

    Perused several articles today about the general malaise among voters and the dimming prospects for the Dems and son of a rat fucking bitch I am going to strangle (virtually of course) the next pom-pom girl I see making excuses for Bushwa Barry and the Doddering Dems. He’s really trying but the republicans blah blah blah, he’s not really a corporate shill blah blah blah, he told you he was a centrist during the campaign blah blah blah, imagine how bad president Palin would be blah blah blabbity blah. What planet are these idiots on? If he gave a rat’s ass he would use the bully pulpit to at least try, and if he really tried and still failed I don’t think too many liberals would blame him nearly as much as they are. And voters would know where to focus their anger. But that isn’t remotely close to the reality. He uses the bully pulpit to lie through his teeth and tell us the Gulf is OK, to lie about combat operations being over in Iraq, to pat W on the back for his patriotism or some such nonsense and on and on and on. Jesus H Cognitively Dissonant Key-Riced I can’t take much more of these idiots with their heads willfully in the sand.

    Just had to get that off my chest today :)

  11. sisdevore permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:05 pm


  12. cometman permalink*
    September 3, 2010 12:23 pm

    Some links-

    Evidently those leaked German docs about peak oil mentioned above are making the rounds. Excellent article about peak oil here – PEAK DENIAL ABOUT PEAK OIL.

    Bushwa Barry tasks former spook to head UNICEF. Evidently we need to make sure we aren’t handing out food and medicine willy nilly to potential anchor baby terrorists.

    The AP refuses to catapult the latest round of propaganda about combat missions being over in Iraq. We’ll see how long that lasts seeing as the AP hasn’t necessarily been unwilling to load up the trebuchet when called on in the past.

    The Financial Crisis inquiry Commission which for some reason I once thought might actually do something is shaping up to be just another whitewash with all involved being very reluctant to use the f-word, namely FRAUD.

    Defenders of Wall Street insist that there was no alternative. And the committee hearings are carefully only listening to such people, because these are very respectable hearings. They are writing mythology, almost as if they are crafting a new religion. In this new ethic, Wall Street financial institutions – “credit creators,” that is, debt creators – are supposed to fund industry, not strip assets or make bad loans. Without rich people, who would “create jobs”? Such is the self-serving logic of Wall Street. For them, Wall Street is the economy. The wealth of a nation is worth whatever banks will lend, by collateralizing the economic surplus for debt service.

    Larry the Cane Toad loves him some porn. Hahahaha!

    Jan Brewer goes out of her way to prove she’s a retard –

    Abe Lincoln is a lot more rotund than I’d remembered.

    • artemis54 permalink
      September 3, 2010 1:34 pm

      Off with her head!

  13. cometman permalink*
    September 3, 2010 12:49 pm

    Read this article on James Lee. Obviously the guy had a lot of issues. The article mentions he was involved with smuggling people across the border in the past and with a pretty sketchy backstory as to why he did it. Also sounds like he was looking for “suicide by cop”. Reading the whole thing made me think I’d been a little harsh in my condemnation of trigger happy cops in general in my comments at FSZ.

    But then I saw this.

    News that a talented aboriginal Vancouver Island wood carver was shot dead by police in Seattle has shocked the man’s friends and family.

    John T. Williams was crossing a downtown Seattle street Monday afternoon carrying a knife and a piece of wood when a police officer saw him and deemed him a potential threat, said Seattle police. The officer pulled over with his lights flashing, stepped out and told Williams to stop.

    Police said an audio recording from the patrol car’s camera shows that the officer told Williams three times to drop the knife, then fired four shots.

    Pretty sure I’ve met this guy before although I’m not certain since it was probably over a decade ago. But I definitely remember meeting a guy who at least looked a lot like him who was definitely a native wood carver. I remember the guy because I made the mistake of casting judgment on him myself. He came in to a restaurant I worked at by himself, fairly shabbily dressed and I thought I needed to keep a close eye on him to make sure he didn’t walk out without paying. But after bringing his food I struck up a conversation and he told me that he carved totems for a living and had whittling supplies with him. Can’t remember if it was a small totem or what, but he gave me something before he left (after paying in full). The guy I remember seemed to me like he was maybe younger than the shooting victim. Hadn’t thought of him in years until reading the article. This is really bugging me because the photo of John Williams looks very very familiar to me.

  14. artemis54 permalink
    September 3, 2010 1:28 pm

    Discussed here before the various issues on which BC First Nations have had about enough.

    In the case of the Prosperity mine, every First Nation in Canada is now rallying behind the Tsilhqot’in Nation in opposition. The project would turn land and lakes considered sacred by the Tsilhqot’in into toxic mine tailings dumps in return for all sorts of theoretical monetary benefits in the future.

    Heated opposition:

    “Our people are willing and ready to defend our lands,” Tsilhqot’in Nation Chief Marilyn Baptiste said Thursday at a news conference in Ottawa. “As one of my elders had said when we were going through the panel hearings – she will be there on the road in her wheelchair. She will have her shotguns and she will not move.”

    . . .

    “We are willing to sacrifice our lives,” Ms. Baptiste said. “I am willing to sacrifice my life for the sake of saving our lands and our future generations. Through the panel hearings, there were several people who made the same statement.”

    The interior tribes of BC and WA have heard all the happy talk bullshit before, going back to Grand Coulee dam and before, and may have noticed that the benefits promised them never seem to materialize, but the fish are still gone.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 7, 2010 6:37 am

      Sounds like they are done fucking around, and justifiably so. Good for them.

      Few years back some of the tribes here were working with Las Vegas developers to try to get a casino built. The tribal leaders touted all the promises about improved conditions and financial benefits for the tribes the developers had given them. I asked the chief if they had any of this in writing and he said they trusted the developers. Have to say I was more than a little taken aback that a people who have been crapped all over for centuries by white guys offering a deal would still be trusting of the next snake oil salesman that came along. Thankfully the voters torpedoes the casino proposal.

      The local tribes seem to have wised up the the LNG terminal proposals developers were trying to foist on them too.

      Xrist, I don’t trust these clowns one fucking bit and the Native peoples have a lot less reason to trust them than me.

  15. artemis54 permalink
    September 5, 2010 12:26 pm

    Finally made it down to Sacajawea park and its Confluence Project piece yesterday. Camera went on fritz, however I was with a friend who took some – she is a much better photographer anyway – so will get them up soon.

    Quick observations:

    No surprise from Lin: you don’t even see the piece until you are standing in the middle of it. Four basalt circles buried a foot in the ground – one is really not a circle, it is stretched out into an oblong – with gravel in the bottom. They resemble fire circles (fires are banned in the park) Then three raised a foot above ground and filled with dirt and native grasses. There is a very modest stab at relandscaping along one side. I believe that portion fell victim to budget problems. That’s a shame, because it’s not so hard to do, as the tiny little Sacajawea museum a few feet away shows. Its rabbitbrush and other basin native landscaping is perfection, and requires no watering.

    The most effective to me are the two (buried) circles inscribed with the names of signigicant animals an plants. One in english describing all sorts of things, another concentrtating on salmon species and runs through the seasonal year and listing the indian terms for each.

    A stone wall, inscribed with the names of the missing, buried in the ground. The whol CP is a tangle of confluences. Past, present, future. Lewis and Clark and the indigenous people they met (including a number who made the conscious decision to save their lives with gifts of food and supplies). And only at this site, the confluence of the Snake, the Columbia and the Yakima and all their salmon runs, most of course now gone or moribund. It’s hard not to think about Lin’s own confluences: the echoes of the Vietnam memorial and of her What is Missing? project.

    The siting was the genius stroke here. On a point that sticks out into the water and catches the wind, both of which become players.

    I noticed some older couples preoccupied with the salmon names. I also noticed that kids loved the sunken circles. They are the perfect proportion for them to sit on.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 7, 2010 6:38 am

      Sounds like a really nice spot. Looking forward to the pics when you get them.

      • artemis54 permalink
        September 7, 2010 8:29 am

        Ha. Soon I hope. We have both been bedevilled with kid problems this weekend. Nothing serious to us at least. God it never gets over does it?

  16. cometman permalink*
    September 7, 2010 10:47 am

    The European bank “stress tests” have been completed and much like in the US the consensus seems to be they were a complete joke. Mike Whitney discusses the problems here – European Banks Still on the Brink – mentioning that much like in the US, the European oligarchs are trying to impose austerity measures on their populations in a desperate attempt to prop up the banks and make it look like the Emperor’s family jewels aren’t flapping in the breeze.

    Unlike in the US, European people aren’t sitting around with their thumbs up their asses hoping that a redneck moron with a Jeebus complex will save them as their livelihoods are stolen. The most recent example from France – French unions test Sarkozy in pensions strike.

    As a large Paris march started, union leaders said that they had already mustered a nationwide turnout that topped a previous benchmark protest of 2 million people in June, tapping mounting unease over government austerity measures across Europe.

    Government estimates also suggested higher participation, although police figures are always lower than the organizers’. The official estimate of June’s turnout was 800,000.

    Francois Chereque, leader of the large CFDT union, told RTL radio the government would be ill-advised to ignore what he called “the biggest turnout in recent years.”

    Bernard Thibault, leader of the other major trade union confederation, the CGT, warned ministers: “If they don’t respond and they don’t pay heed, there will be a follow-up and nothing is ruled out at this stage.”

    Nice to hear somebody other than an oppressive government saying “All options are on the table”.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:04 pm

    The catfight rages on between Sean Penn and Wyclef Jean.

    This is a pitiful state of affairs. Come on girls, you’re both pretty.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 7, 2010 12:39 pm

      Ha! To which Penn later added –

  18. artemis54 permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:48 pm

    A tube strike in London sounds like an utter nightmare to one like me who doesn’t really have any idea how else to get around town.

    However, it was a nice day, and a lot of working Londoners commenting on it – like these – seem to be enjoying it. I suspect the response would be a bit different in midwinter.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 7, 2010 1:02 pm

      I liked this comment:

      So nice seeing loads of people out cycling and walking along my route!! Plus a lovely sunny morning to boot.

      And, as has been mentioned, the queues at the bus, cattle in the bus, and, best of all, zooming past miserable looking types around battersea bridge in their 4x4s stuck in massive jams.

      Think they should strike at least once a month!

  19. cometman permalink*
    September 7, 2010 12:57 pm

    Some links-

    Primate researchers discover that male bononbos are mama’s boys.

    Via Pharyngula, a Mayan “psychic” told locals in Belize that two missing children had been fed to crocodiles and the locals destroyed a crocodile sanctuary and the life’s work of the researchers involved.

    Bill Black notes that the next big bank bailout by the US government will be for Kabul Bank because warlords and drug runners need to make change too.

    Saw a truck with a memorial for a veteran in the back go down the street here a week or so ago and didn’t know what it was all about. Chris Hedges latest column has the answer.

    Carlos Arredondo, a native Costa Rican, stands in a parking lot of a Holiday Inn in Portland, Maine, next to his green Nissan pickup truck. The truck, its tailgate folded down, carries a flag-draped coffin and is adorned with pictures of his son, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, 20, a Marine killed in Iraq in 2004. The truck and a trailer he pulls with it have become a mobile shrine to his boy. He drives around the country, with the aid of donations, evoking a mixture of sympathy and hostility. There are white crosses with the names of other boys killed in the war. Combat boots are nailed to the side of the display. There is a wheelchair, covered in colored ribbons, fixed to the roof of the cab. There is Alex’s military uniform and boots, poster-size pictures of the young Marine shown on the streets of Najaf, in his formal Marine portrait, and then lying, his hands folded in white gloves, in his coffin. A metal sign on the back of the truck bears a gold star and reads: “USMC L/CPL ALEXANDER S. ARREDONDO.”

    “This is what happens every week to some family in America,” says Carlos. “This is what war does. And this is the grief and pain the government does not want people to see.”

    And finally, I’m typing in this link to a fascinating article on the implications of quantum mechanics but I might not have if my future self hadn’t made me.

    Tollaksen’s group is looking into the notion that time might flow backward, allowing the future to influence the past. By extension, the universe might have a destiny that reaches back and conspires with the past to bring the present into view. On a cosmic scale, this idea could help explain how life arose in the universe against tremendous odds. On a personal scale, it may make us question whether fate is pulling us forward and whether we have free will.


    …this notion of reverse causality is gaining ground. A succession of quantum experiments confirm its predictions—showing, bafflingly, that measurements performed in the future can influence results that happened before those measurements were ever made.

    Interesting to note that Tollaksen decided to make this his life’s work after skipping his senior year of high school to watch cephaloblog favorite Richard Feynman lecture instead.

    • artemis54 permalink
      September 7, 2010 2:05 pm

      Saw The Time Traveler’s Wife a couple nights ago and recommend it. But then this is my zone. Some time back I took to broadcasting advice to my ten year old self.

    • artemis54 permalink
      September 7, 2010 2:09 pm

      Behold the Man

      • cometman permalink*
        September 7, 2010 3:53 pm

        That looks good. And also out of print. Dammit! You’ve mentioned a few older scifi books now that I’ve tried to buy and I can’t find any of them. I checked online and it looked like you could get a new copy of Stand on Zanzibar. Went to order it at the local bookstore and it cost $275.00! Evidently the prices i saw were all for UK editions and it isn’t in print in the US. Been finding that a lot of the newer scifi writers I want to read are also British or Australian and their books aren’t available here.

        If I weren’t so anal about my books I’d just order a used copy. I do buy a lot of used books but only at used bookstores where I can see them first. I get really ornery about folded covers and crinkled pages :)

        I’ve been checking out Abe books a lot lately and they have a lot of used ones really cheap (some are listed at 1 cent plus shipping). They do have both the Brunner books you mentioned used plus some by out of print ones by Stephen Baxter and Greg Egan that I’ve been looking for. I need to get over my fear of the dog ear and just order from them.

  20. cometman permalink*
    September 8, 2010 10:54 am

    Must read for today, Michael Lewis’ latest – Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds.

    Lewis can definitely spin a yarn and of all those I’ve read by him, this may be the best. To hear him tell it, what may ultimately bring down the entire world financial system are a couple of monks from Mt. Athos who wanted to spruce up their monastery and used a scheme worthy of Gaddis’ JR to do so.

    From an ancient deed to a worthless lake the two monks had spun what the Greek newspapers were claiming, depending on the newspaper, to be a fortune of anywhere from tens of millions to many billions of dollars.

    This led to scandal which brought the last government down. The new government took power in the midst of the scandal which led to them having to do some accounting of past debts. Turned out Greece had no money. Now if they don’t pay back what they owe, banks all over Europe will go under (and likely US banks too). And the Greek people aren’t real interested in paying anybody back.

    Lewis’ description of the way Greeks in general operate matches pretty well with what I’ve seen. Ask a Greek when they can get around to doing something for you, even something you’re willing to pay them for, and the answer you’ll get more often than not is αύριο or, tomorrow.

    From what I can tell, most Greeks really aren’t all that interested in the traditional capitalist system. They’re interested in flashing the big wad of cash they always keep in their pockets (it’s there because there’s none in the bank) and making it look like they’re high rollers even though there’s nothing backing it up. So I guess maybe they are interested in the capitalist system currently practiced in the US.

    I think it would be absolutely hilarious if what brings the system to it’s knees is a couple monks with a scheme and a country full of cranky Greeks telling the rest of the world to go screw.

  21. cometman permalink*
    September 8, 2010 1:21 pm

    Here’s something of note I’ve seen mentioned a few times lately, most recently in this Dean Baker article.

    However there is no reason whatsoever why this deficit should place any burden on the long-term federal budget. A responsible Fed chairman would announce his intention to simply buy and hold the government debt used to finance the deficit. This would prevent the debt from placing any future burden on the public budget since the interest payments on the debt would go to the Fed. The Fed would in turn refund the interest to the Treasury each year, leaving no net interest burden on the government.

    Not sure what to make of that. It’s so simple it sounds too good to be true. I suppose the private Fed could simply refund the interest to the government but whether they would or not is another story. And how would countries like China and other large holders of Treasuries react if this were to occur? They certainly expect to be paid interest.

    Hard to tell what with all the secrecy, but there have certainly been rumors if not documented accounts that the Fed is already buying up Treasuries as the demand for them by other parties is on the wane. And when exactly do we get to see the results of the Fed audit passed in the financial “reform” legislation so we have any idea of what the Fed is currently holding?

    More research required.

    • artemis54 permalink
      September 9, 2010 5:06 am

      I will say it one more time.

      Repudiate the debt and brazen it out. The sun will still come up.

      • cometman permalink*
        September 9, 2010 9:39 am

        Hear Hear!

        Personally I think that is what it will ultimately come to. The ratfuckers will try to get as many pounds of flesh as they can first, but it isn’t all going to be repaid. Not a chance. Just look at the Greeks, who in my opinion are being used as guinea pigs by the oligarchs right now. They don’t pay and other countries will follow suit.

        Rain still falls and grass still grows, all without financing from Goldman Sux.

  22. cometman permalink*
    September 8, 2010 1:35 pm

    A few links.

    Good one from Tom Engelhardt – Will Our Generals Ever Shut Up? Worth reading but this tidbit stuck out:

    On October 1st, for instance, a new Cyber Command headed by a four-star general and staffed by 1,000 “elite military hackers and spies” is to hit the keyboards typing.

    Great. Because the billions we’re already spending on shit like this –

    Who would have thought that the US would allow, much less pay for, the National Security Agency to intercept and store 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other communications – every single day – and pay for 30,000 people to listen in on phone conversations in the name of fighting the fear of terrorism?

    -with no tangible results whatsoever just isn’t enough. (waves hello to all the ratfucking spooks)

    So Barry has rolled out some new jobs program to rebuild infrastructure. Whoop de doo. The amount he’s proposing to spend will be dwarfed by the latest round of massive corporate tax breaks he’s also got in the pipeline. Side note: Recently went to the local airport which is currently being torn all to hell and saw a big huge sign saying the project was being brought to us through Barry’s last round of Federal stimulus money. Having flown through the airport many times, I’ve never had to wait in line long at all and don’t remember any significant delays due to there being too many planes in the takeoff queue. Because not that many people live here. Haven’t heard of any need whatsoever for a significantly larger airport, but we’re getting one anyhow. I do think a real government stimulus is needed, but ferxrissakes, can’t we spend it on something we actually need rather than promoting more travel using fossil fuels just for the hell of it?

    And a Canadian study shows that significantly more birds are dying than previously thought in Canadian oil projects. Of course, past “studies’ were done, surprise surprise, by the oil companies.

    • artemis54 permalink
      September 9, 2010 3:38 am

      That one goes staight to the No, Duh file.

      The results add weight to arguments that depending on the industry to monitor its own environmental impacts isn’t working

      Forget Islam, it is the tar sands that are of the devil. Look at what they are doing in a wealthy, educated democracy and wonder what they will do to Madagascar.

      Notice it’s runways and overpasses instead of the much more needed water and sewer infrastructure. That is for one reason only: more people will see a sign about the James Inhofe Bridge than one on the municipal sewage plant, even though the latter does much more good.

      Infrastructure, please. How about putting electric lines underground where they belong so that regular old winter storms don’t knock out the power grid?

      • cometman permalink*
        September 9, 2010 9:49 am

        Heh. I think the James Inhofe Sewage treatment plant has a really nice ring to it. And yeah, I’ve noticed a lot of these infrastructure projects aren’t aimed at things anybody actually needs. I think I mentioned before that I’ve also seen stimulus funds being used in this area for building sidewalks on an area filled with commercial strip malls where nobody ever walks. Meanwhile the sidewalk in front of my house has been pretty much destroyed by frost heaves and is a definite hazard for those who aren’t very sure footed. The goal seems to be throw money around and hope it does some good rather than targeting projects that actually need the improvement.

        Wondered the same thing about power lines for years now. It’s hard to believe the cost of burying them would be substantially more than putting them on poles. May pose some difficulties in more urban areas, but in rural areas like New England where storms knock them down every year, it would seem to be a no brainer. There are no water or sewer or gas lines already buried along the roads to worry about. Probably cost more to fix the line if you had to dig it up for repairs, but if they’re underground they wouldn’t need repairs nearly as often to begin with.

  23. artemis54 permalink
    September 9, 2010 4:11 am

    The Hubbard Fire outside Dayton. Image 6 shows a corner of the windfarm.

    The fire received very little attention because it was entirely on farmland (and windfarm land). But according to my cousin, who lives right in the middle of it, it was a hair raising experience and much larger than 11K acres.

    It began on some grain land that was being harvested – a spark – but ran through some pea acreage that had long since been harvested. The dry pea vines are left on the land and tend to roll around and wad up into balls. These are very light and when they caught fire in the high wind they took to the air, so there were quite literally balls of fire flying over her house.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 9, 2010 10:04 am

      Yikes. Sounds like there wasn’t much damage though and the fire will probably help the crop next year. Wouldn’t have wanted to be in the middle of it though.

      And pea-balls! Familiar with this kind but those may be a first.

      • artemis54 permalink
        September 9, 2010 10:10 am

        Yeah. The concern was that the wind would shift and it would get into the Tecanon wilderness area, which has suffered enough fires in the last few years.

        Just a few farmhouses in the area involved, and all surrounded by firebreaks, green lawn, etc. Fortunately no one hurt either. My cuz’s hubby has been fighting fires for forty years. He never looks forward to it.

  24. artemis54 permalink
    September 9, 2010 4:51 am

    My local farmers market – about five blocks from the front door – came in 4th in a statewide popularity poll. Impressive considering it is quite small. But packed, it is a bit of a magnet.

  25. artemis54 permalink
    September 9, 2010 8:06 am


    Want to help Pakistan? Cancel the debt

    These are scrathes on paper. They do not serve human needs.

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