Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Everyone try to cheer up

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It was hurt feelings!!!!

Despite what the GOP is now saying NO they are not grown ups, hurt feelings and political bitterness on the part of the GOP had a serious impact.

Watching TV today

It has become clear why the bailout failed.

Since Reagan a idealogical GOP has developed more fixed in its views than almost any Marxist in the age of Stalin.  They were the winners, in their world of history.  It was clear from the laws of economics that their views would always work and more power to them would always make things better.  Decades spent as the minority in Congress had built a purely theoretical view of the world not impacted by any reality.  In taking power this self confidence was questioned, originally by their poor performance against Clinton and now by the terrible shape of the US.

In response these ideologist have drifted further and further in to a dream world.  Certainly each GOP member of Congress has their own mix of either religion, drugs, sex, booze or what ever has helped them drift from reality.

Watching TV this morning one after another republican comes up talking about why they killed the bill and they are all just a bunch of hacks.  Its clear that the average GOP member of the House does not even have average intelligence.  These people are just of very low quality, they have shit and they get shit.

The ideological obsession allowed them to move people like Bush, Palin and others who were risen up because of their faith and not their fitness.

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BBC NEWS | Business | Viewpoint: Why the bail-out would not work

That means, first, dumping the orthodox free market zealots responsible for the policies that got us into this mess. Frederick Hayek's and Milton Friedman's deregulation policies have already been discredited, with Republicans obliged to disown Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan's contempt for government.
BBC NEWS | Business | Viewpoint: Why the bail-out would not work
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Jonathan Martin's Blog: In reintroduction, Palin to do more interviews and "tell her story" - Politico.com

Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.

The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.

After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.

There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.
Jonathan Martin's Blog: In reintroduction, Palin to do more interviews and "tell her story" - Politico.com
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Palin Claimed Dinosaurs And People Coexisted

Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago -- about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct -- the teacher said.After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.

Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks," recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.

The idea of a "young Earth" -- that God created the Earth about 6,000 years ago, and dinosaurs and humans coexisted early on -- is a popular strain of creationism.Though in her race for governor she called for faith-based "intelligent design" to be taught along with evolution in Alaska's schools, Gov. Palin has not sought to require it, state educators say.
Palin Claimed Dinosaurs And People Coexisted
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Debate on SNL

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I can see Russia from my house......

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Sarah Fey Palin

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McCain and Palin

Watch CBS Videos Online



What would financial Armageddon look like? From BBC

By Anthony Reuben
Business reporter, BBC News

The US government's $700bn (£376bn) bail-out package is designed to avert a complete financial meltdown.

A hole in the ground caused by a meteorite
The US government is going to great lengths to avoid financial Armageddon

Many people have compared the current financial crisis with the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s that followed it.

Yet current events are clearly not in the same league.

"I don't think so, considering that the Great Depression had thousands of banks failing and people losing their life savings, 25% unemployment and social unrest and tent cities of the poor," says Allan Sloan, Washington Post and Fortune magazine columnist.

Could be worse

The US government may end up spending trillions of dollars dealing with the problems, but so far, with unemployment at about 6% and arguments going on about whether the US economy is even in recession, it seems frivolous to mention the current crisis in the same sentence as the Great Depression.

However bad things seem at the moment, they could be a great deal worse.

The Financial Times referred to last Friday's stock market recoveries as marking the end of the "Armageddon discount", and yet markets fell again on Monday, suggesting that investors may not be discounting Armageddon.

So what would it look like?

"It would be like an exaggerated version of last week," says stock market historian David Schwartz.

"There will be frightening news, frightened investors and news stories suggesting the end of the world has come."

Going bust

There would also be a widening of the types of companies going under.

So far, many of the firms going bust have been in the financial sector, but if things get worse there are many other vulnerable sectors.

In the 1930s, people would hoard money rather than keep it in the banking system
Edward Chancellor, financial historian

Analysts are looking carefully for the most heavily indebted companies, because there is concern that if banks do not resume lending to each other, then those are the firms that will fold.

Of course, more companies going under would mean hefty job losses.

Insurance problems

The other threat to non-financial companies was the danger that prompted the Federal Reserve to bail out the giant insurer AIG.

"What AIG threatened was a non-functioning derivatives market," says financial historian Edward Chancellor.

Many non-financial companies use the derivatives market as a sort of insurance policy.

Airlines use it to protect themselves against the price of aviation fuel rising while exporters may use it to offset movements in currencies.

Local currencies

In the current crisis, there is still relatively strong confidence in the banks and financial system as a whole.

"In the 1930s, people would hoard money rather than keep it in the banking system," Mr Chancellor says.

"They started coming up with local currencies instead of using dollars."

All these are bleak prospects, but there always comes a point at which the economy hits the bottom and things start improving.

"The problem with stock market bottoms is that very few people see them - there is no announcement," Mr Schwartz says.

"Everybody who has shares that they want to liquidate has done so and shares start rising because there are no sellers left."

At that point, people start piling into the market and the recovery is underway.


Dow Jones
-777.68 -6.98%

Markets in mayhem

Markets in mayhem

Its chaos from Washington. 
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Singapore Opposition Leader Dies

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Joshua B. Jeyaretnam, Singapore's best known and most dogged opposition leader, who fought a lone battle against the powerful ruling establishment despite being driven to bankruptcy, died Tuesday. He was 82.

Joshua B. Jeyaretnam had planned to run in the 2011 parliament election.

Joshua B. Jeyaretnam had planned to run in the 2011 parliament election.

Jeyaretnam, often referred to as J.B.J, died at a local hospital of heart failure, his assistant Ng Teck Siong told The Associated Press.

"It's a great loss for the country. He really believed in democracy and never stopped fighting for Singapore," he said.

In recent years, Jeyaretnam -- once a wealthy, flamboyant and high-profile lawyer -- had stood on street corners and outside subway stations to peddle his own books about Singapore politics, because no retailer would stock them.

Jeyaretnam's one-man street sales were a striking commentary on the iron-fisted control that the ruling People's Action Party wields over Singapore.

The book sales were also meant to raise money to help pay off damages stemming from defamation suits Jeyaretnam lost to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lee's father and Singapore's founding leader Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime ministers Goh Chok Tong, and others.

"It's a very heavy price I have paid" for taking on the government, Jeyaretnam, the first opposition member to be elected to Parliament, told The Associated Press recently.

The government did not immediately respond to Jeyaretnam's death.

Jeyaretnam served as a member of parliament from 1981 to 1986 and from 1997 to 2001 for the Workers' Party, which he founded. He left the party in 2001 and helped form the Reform Party this year. He was planning to run in the next parliament election, due by 2011.

Jeyaretnam, whose thick white whiskers and misty eyes made him instantly recognizable, often faced jeers and catcalls in Parliament from the ruling People's Action Party, whose members have always vastly outnumbered the opposition.

At present, the opposition holds two out of 84 elected seats in Parliament.

The PAP has ruled Singapore since independence from Malaysia in 1965. Although it has provided a high standard of living and prosperity to Singapore's 4.5 million people, the government is often accused of stifling civil liberties, freedom of speech and political space.

A socialist at heart, Jeyaretnam contended that the government's economic policies created a wealthy upper class and an underbelly of poor citizens who have to work twice as hard to survive. He also often railed against what he called the "Lee dynasty," a reference to Lee Kuan Yew and his prime minister son.

Jeyaretnam's views inevitably got him into trouble with the Lees and other government leaders, who frequently sued him for defamation. He said he had lost count of how many times he had been sued -- and lost.

He estimated that he paid out more than S$1.6 million ($925,000) in damages and court costs over the years.

After losing the last defamation case, Jeyaretnam declared bankruptcy in 2001, unable to pay the fine of about $367,000 in damages stemming from defamation lawsuits brought by the two Lees and Goh.

He was found guilty of defaming them at a 1997 election rally, when he said a colleague had filed a police report accusing the ruling party leaders of defamation. Jeyaretnam emerged from bankruptcy last year.

"Outside of Singapore ... Jeyaretnam's allegedly defamatory words would not have excited comment -- let alone prompted actions of this kind," Amnesty International said at the time.

The government argues that such defamation suits are necessary to uphold the integrity of its leaders, saying any aspersions on their character would reduce the respect they command and hence compromise their ability to govern the fragile multiracial society properly.

An Anglican Christian of Sri Lankan Tamil decent, Jeyaretnam attended Saint Andrew's School in Singapore and University College London where he earned a bachelor's degree in law.

His wife, Margaret, whom he had met when they were law students in Britain, died of breast cancer a year before he was elected to Parliament in 1981.

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BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Somali pirate 'shoot-out' on ship

"One clan is radical the other is moderate," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

It seems the radicals wanted to take hold of the shipment of 33 72-T tanks and other weapons, while the moderates wanted "to backpedal on the ransom issue", he said.
BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Somali pirate 'shoot-out' on ship

Does this sound familiar? Washington bailout failure?
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BBC NEWS | UK | Mapping child poverty

BBC NEWS | UK | Mapping child poverty
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BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Robert Peston

We've got to sit, wait and hope."

That sentiment was expressed to me in the past 12 hours by bankers, fund managers, regulators and politicians.

Traders watching a screenWhat it reflects is a sense of powerless to direct events in global markets, following the rejection by the US House of Representatives of the Whitehouse's $700bn plan to extract poison from US banks.There are two big fears driving markets: first that the risk of a serious recession in the US and in Europe has risen sharply; second, and more immediately, that the danger of a domino-effect collapse of a series of financial firms is also much more real than it was.Both of these anxieties has prompted a massive reallocation of investors' cash, away from shares perceived as risky and commodities that are vulnerable to lower global demand as economies slow.
BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Robert Peston
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BBC NEWS | Business | Why did the bail-out bill fail?

George W Bush, his authority sapped anyway by his abiding unpopularity, is very much in the Lame Duck phase of the closing days of his presidency.He simply did not have the clout to get the job done.
BBC NEWS | Business | Why did the bail-out bill fail?

I would have done almost anything from Clinton up to the end. Pathetic, Bush is beyond failure.
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Markets in mayhem

Markets in mayhem

Its chaos from Washington. 
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Markets in mayhem

Markets in mayhem

Its chaos from Washington. 
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Monday, September 29, 2008

How they voted

  FACT FILEHow the House voted


The GOP clearly are the one whom killed this?  Why?  Because of hurt feelings?  Because Pelosi is a blow hard?

This is disgusting, clearly the remaining GOP seats need to be cleaned out a bit, more democrats would have mean a passed bill.

Given these rations lets do the math of what the nations needs


The direction of the two votes perfectly mirror each other in a strange way.

Now this was not popular and it would be easy for someone in trouble back home to vote no and say they did not support bailing out Wall Street.  But are 67.3% of Republicans in that kind of trouble.

This vote really can be a measure of willingness to lead vs. inability to escape pandering.  Voting against this would be easy politically but ethically it was the wrong thing.

So a democrat member of the house is 26.9% more likely to do the right thing.  So every democrat who take the seat of a republican pays a improved odds of social responsibility of 27%

If cooler heads take over and the majority emerges to save the economy vs the knee jerks who are very verbal then it will be pretty obvious the rational way to vote.  It is simply a matter of good game theory right now to vote democrat over republican, and in the long term rationality molds social conduct.

See you in November and happy new year.
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Googles phony promise

Okay, so Google has a pack that includes StarOffice. Cool, only it runs in XP and Vista, like lively and Picasa and most of Google's stuff.

Googles failure to really support non-Windows OS solutions, especially Open Source projects is pretty obvious. In giving away StarOffice on Windows and not including it in the openSolaris distro Sun and Google both accept that the Windows world and clearly their behavior is just market driven. Google is really no different, its a company after all.

The thing is I don't need StarOffice on my Windows machines. Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 are good products. I need an Office distro for my openSolaris distro to make it my primary machine.

openSolaris, nice and clean os

If I can get an Office distro for this thing I will marry it.

Confessions of a bi-polar geek

I find myself in a situation and I wonder how many other people in IT feel this way.

I am deeply in the world of Microsoft.  My job is to help companies make use of SharePoint.  My day to day life is in firms and government organisations that fully go Microsoft.

And as a user I am pretty heavy with Microsoft.  I have 2 windows mobile pdas.  I have an active Windows Live account and use hotmail as my base email. I have 3 windows machine use and 2 I have set up for my wife.  Beyond that I run VirtualPC with dozens of images of Windows Server with SharePoint and BizTalk.

Beyond this I have been very actively using Microsft PopFly and Photosynth.  I have created a series of PhotoSynth images of Second Life and won PopFly medal for the 4,000+ views one of my PopFly mashups have gotten.  Again this is new Windows only technology.

Though I have not gone to Vista myself I use IE 8 and both Office 2003 and Office 2007.  And at my last job at a massive IT firm I was sometimes called Mr Microsoft or Mr SharePoint.

Okay I am a SharePoint person.

But when I am using IE I miss Flock, the social network browser based on Open Sour free distro of FireFox.  I stopped developing massups in PopFly and went to Yahoo Pipes because I wanted to work on them in Linux.  When I am on IE I miss Flock and when I am in Windows I miss Linux.

I even have two seperate email accounts.  Hotmail and gmail. The gmail I think is to mee the Open Source Linux guy and Hotmail is to me the Microsoft guy.  I have right now an Ubuntu Machine, a SUSE machine and an openSolaris VM image I use all the time.  I have VM images of Debian, Fedora, Knoppix, DSL and will continue to collect VM images. 

My heart is in to Linux but I can still do more in Microsoft.  I can easily create VM images in VMWare Server and Virtual PC on the Windows but I can't set of VMWare Server on Linux yet.    I can configure IIS but I don't know how to install Apache on Linux.  I can create LDAP identites in Active Directory but have not idea how to do it in Linux.

I could not get a job in Linux technology, I could probably (though I am an old man by their standards) work in Windows IT support. 

I wonder how many other people out there are in my situation?

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McCain now finished.

Clearly the bigger question here surrounds McCain, given his hijinx last week. I think McCain would still like to be able to skip out on it. But whereas this time last week I thought that would amount to a political plus for him, that's a lot less clear now. After he flew back to Washington "to help seal a deal," and after he allegedly spent Saturday and Sunday working the phones trying to help iron out a compromise and get the House Republicans on board, it's kind of hard to see how he can just punt.

Michael Tomasky: Can McCain vote against the bailout? | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Perhaps the GOP canidate for President should have just gone around with Palin making reform speeches.

Clearly McCain has shown he has no influence at all in his own party, and he was unable to even secure anything near an agreement by House Republicans.

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Republicans wanted to vote against it and have democrats pass it

Markets plunge as bailout plan rejected

This was a measure coming initally from a Republican President, with GOP leadership support.  It mean $700 billion would go to Wall Street.  The democrats would be under pressure becaue it was a bailout of Wall Street, the republicans becaue it was big government.  It was necessary for both party to over come these and both to produce majorities.

The democrats did.  This failrue lets hope is the final massive failure of the Bush administration.

But there is a bigger question, does democracy no longer work in the US.  You have a President here who did not win a majority of votes.  Many of the Republicans here who could not back the President were more than happy to charge in to Iraq over weapons of massive distruction.

A democracy that can create war from lies and dreams and yet can not bailout its own economy is not a working democracy at all.  In these events democracy is at stake.

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GOP claims hurt feelings forced them to kill Bailout

House Republicans on Monday blamed a partisan speech from Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the failure of a massive Wall Street bailout measure.

“I do believe that we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said, adding that Pelosi “poisoned” the GOP conference.

Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) held up a copy of Pelosi’s floor speech at a press conference and said she had “failed to listen and to lead” on the issue.

TheHill.com - Republicans fault Pelosi speech for bailout’s failure

These shits were only to happy to vote to invade Iraq.  This is the end of the GOP and conservativism.

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The GOP instanity, rush to war in Iraq, but let the economy sink

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Try to cheer you up on a bad day

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GOP kills bailout

The measure needs 218 votes for passage, but it came up 13 votes short of that target, as the final vote was 228 to 205 against. About 60% of Democrats voted for the measure, but less than a third of Republicans backed it.

President Bush is "very disappointed" by the House vote, his spokesman Tony Fratto said.

Bailout moves towards congressional approval - Sep. 29, 2008

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Right and left against the center, GOP mosly kills bailout

A total of 132 out of 199 Republicans voted against their whips and against their president despite a morning appearance by George W Bush urging them to approve the bill for the good of the nation.

With just a simple majority needed to pass the bill, 94 Democrats joined the rebellion, defeating the bill by 228 to 205. Party whips attempted to twist arms, to no avail. The bill will now have to be reintroduced at a later date.

The bill was defeated by an unlikely alliance of conservative Republicans who viewed the bill as “socialism” and left-wing Democrats who resented the fact that the bill did not contain more provisions to help struggling homeowners.

The Dow Jones industrials dropped suddenly as news of the rejection hit Wall Street. The Dow had already dropped by about 300 points, and then fell a further 300 points in a matter of minutes, before recovering slightly.

US economy: 'Toxic' Wall Street $700 billion bailout rejected - Telegraph

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Oh My God


9-11 was NOT the worst day of the Bush administration. 

These fucks were happy to pass a war in Iraq, but not save the world economy.  I am ashamed to be an American, ASHAMED!!!!

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San Francisco Bay Guardian : Article : Kink dreams

In the spirit of community and BDSM as a lifestyle, Acworth wants to transform the armory's top floor into a series of Victorian/Georgian-inspired rooms where couples will live and fuck on camera 24-7. Participants will be given hierarchical positions — from maid to master of the house — and live according to the rules of domination and submission. Acworth's already started designing the grand dining room, inspired by the sets in Remains of the Day, including candelabras, elaborate draperies, and, of course, a long, long table. "I consider it the pinnacle of where everything comes together," he says.
San Francisco Bay Guardian : Article : Kink dreams
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228 NAY, 205 YEA...

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A shame

openSolaris sadly does not come with anything other than a connection to the Intenret and GIMP, not even a Office despite Sun owning StarOffice. I got StarOffice free from Google for Windows and if Sun could give me StarOffice on Windows they can give me it on openSolaris.

Well look when you kick utter ass on performance maybe you can give up on some other things. openSolaris has a cleanness and perform tickles a geeks happy bone. This is a real OS, in a different scale from Windows, the Apple cats or even Linux. Here is what software could have been if only Capitalism didn't dominate it. Markets took OS out of the hands of the geeks and in to the hands of marketing departments. That produced a generation of people addicted to poor quality installations of Windows and Mac, driven by FUD and happy to leave it. This is the basis of IE, Winodows, Word and all the other things that just don't work.

In the end Microsoft strategy failed it though, and it should not be surprised that users whoes fear and conservativism in computers was reinforced and promoted by it will turn against products like Vista and Office 2007. Then again if those products works.

Returning to openSolaris, here you see what it all could have been like if the computer world never caught the attention of big business.

A message to Sun, you expand the userland of this distro, I will drop Ubuntu and openSuse in a heart beat.

Sarah Palin's only qualification to be vice-president is that John McCain likes her. She will do nothing to break the glass ceiling

Or ask Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Condoleezza Rice, Hawaii governor Linda Lingle or the many other Republican women McCain could have chosen had he cared about governing. As has been known to happen in less exalted workplaces, Palin got the promotion because the boss just liked her. She will do no more to shatter the glass ceiling for other women as a group than such women usually do.

Katha Pollitt
Monday September 29 2008

The Existence Machine: Technological Fundamentalism

Robert Jensen, in CounterPunch:

 [I]t may well turn out that the gravest threat to a just and sustainable human presence on the planet is technological fundamentalism -- the notion that the increasing use of increasingly more sophisticated high-energy advanced technology is always a good thing and that any problems caused by the unintended consequences of such technology eventually can be remedied by more technology. . . .
The Existence Machine: Technological Fundamentalism
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Defaming Milton Friedman: Naomi Klein's disastrous yet popular polemic against the great free market economist - Reason Magazine

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein, New York: Metropolitan Books, 576 pages, $28.

In the future, if you tell a student or a journalist that you favor free markets and limited government, there is a risk that they will ask you why you support dictatorships, torture, and corporate welfare. The reason for the confusion will be Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

In a very short time, the book has become a 21st-century bible for anticapitalists. It has also drawn praise from mainstream reviewers: "There are very few books that really help us understand the present," gushed The Guardian. "The Shock Doctrine is one of those books." Writing in The New York Times, the Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz called it "a rich description of the political machinations required to force unsavory economic policies on resisting countries."

Klein's basic argument is that economic liberalization is so unpopular that it can only win through deception or coercion. In particular, it relies on crises. During a natural disaster, a war, or a military coup, people are disoriented, confused, and preoccupied with their own immediate survival, allowing regimes to liberal-ize trade, to privatize, and to reduce public spending with little opposition. According to Klein, "neoliberal" economists have welcomed Hurricane Katrina, the Southeast Asian tsunami, the Iraq war, and the South American military coups of the 1970s as opportunities to introduce radical free market policies. The chief villain in her story is Milton Friedman, the economist who did more than anyone in the 20th century to popularize free market ideas.
Defaming Milton Friedman: Naomi Klein's disastrous yet popular polemic against the great free market economist - Reason Magazine
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Technogeeks Save America: The libertarian lessons of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother - Reason Magazine

We know what happened to our civil liberties after the terrorist atrocities on September 11th. Imagine what would happen to our civil liberties if another major terrorist attack occurred. That's the premise of the new young adult novel Little Brother by Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow.
Technogeeks Save America: The libertarian lessons of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother - Reason Magazine
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A can of whop ass on you....

See also:  Daily tracking polls McCain Obama   Margin

    % %   McCain Obama
  Democracy Corps (D) 9/22-24 44 47     3
  CBS/New York Times 9/21-24 43 48     5
  FOX/Opinion Dynamics 9/22-23 39 45     6
  Marist College 9/22-23 44 49     5
  American Research Group 9/20-22 46 48     2
  ABC/Washington Post 9/19-22 43 52     9
  LAT/Bloomberg 9/19-22 45 49     4
  NBC/Wall Street Journal 9/19-22 46 48     2
  CNN/Opinion Research 9/19-21 47 51     4

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Look she is not a monkey!!!!

Coupled with the fact that it will be viewed as a huge victory that she can just pronounce the name of Waziristan, it looks like Sarah Palin will be declared the winner just by showing up.

Sarah Palin wins the lowered expectations game - Capitol Chronicles - Susan Demas - MLive.com

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Status of Iraq


Politically, the surge was intended to provide a breathing space for Iraq's diverse factions to come together on a program of national reconciliation. This was to include revision of a law excluding Baathists from public service, new provincial elections so that Sunnis might be fully represented on the local level, a law for the equitable sharing of oil revenues, and revisions of the Iraqi constitution to create a more powerful central government. Except for a flawed law on de-Baathification, these goals have not been achieved, although the parliament recently passed a law to allow elections in parts of the country. Militarily, however, the surge worked as General Petraeus intended. In Baghdad and other places wracked by sectarian violence, Sunnis and Shiites welcomed the increased presence of US troops.

"The surge, however, has not been the main reason for the decline in violence. In 2006, Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar decided that al-Qaeda and like-minded Islamic fundamentalist fighters were a greater threat than the Americans. The fundamentalists were a direct challenge to the local establishment, assassinating sheikhs and raping their daughters (sometimes under the pretext of forced marriage to jihadis). More importantly, the tribal leaders came to realize that the Americans would sooner or later want to leave while the fundamentalists intended to stay and rule. The tribal leaders obtained American money to create their own militias and, in a brief period of time, forced al-Qaeda and its allies out of most of Sunni Iraq. Denied their base in Sunni areas, the fundamentalists have been less able to stage the spectacular attacks on Shiites that helped fuel Iraq's Sunni–Shiite civil war.

"Meanwhile, the radical Shiite Moqtada al-Sadr responded to the increased US military deployments by ordering his militia, the Mahdi Army, to stand down. At the time, this seemed like a sensible tactical approach. He, too, realized that the US presence—in particular the surge in troop numbers—was a temporary phenomenon. By not fighting the Americans, he could wait out the surge, recall his troops, and eventually resume battle with the Sunnis and rival Shiite factions."


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Linux Distro Review

Photo of hot girl with "Bush is a Wanker" written on her body. Photo by Gail Orenstein. Now that I have your attention. I want to make this an easy and fun review of distros of Linux.

Okay. Let’s start, I will list them in level of my experience and keep my comments general:


Okay easy one here, it is the best desktop distro. I have it running on a piece of shit laptop and you get the full value of any computing device you own with Ubuntu. It runs very well and is stable, and gives you tunes of free stuff. The look is very cool and the story of the software and how it is growing is cool.

Got to love this distro. Five stars *****


This is my main distro. I have the most experience with this Ubuntu and Debian. So I like it a lot. I comes with lots of great stuff and it can deal with my ATI Radeon shit for nothing graphics card.

Problem is the Novell has branded the shit out of it. Open Source is kind of an idea and you don't feel the idea. I know this sounds stupid from a software features perspective but I think it matters.

Still SUSE is an excellent desktop distro which also could serve as a powerful part of a Novell infrastructure.

I am going to keep it as my main distro. Four stars ****


Used this as my main desktop for about a month. Tried to rebuild the machine but the CD was damaged and I had to take the time to figure out how to make SUSE see my fucking shit box graphics card. (Lesson: Gnome is better than KDE is talking to ATI shit).
Glad I did it.

Debian looks clean and operates well enough, but I found extending it next to impossible. I could not run the Flock browser in it which made it worse than useless for me.

But it is stable.

Bland. Two Stars **

Damn Small Linux

Okay lets say you have an old shit box machine somewhere. DSL is very small. You got to love it. They can pull this thing off. You can use it to surf the Internet in Firefox.

Got to love it Five stars *****


Knoppix is lots of fun. The desktop effects turned on my default have a lot of cool desktop effects turned on. I love it. It’s a nice clean distro. My main experience with Knoppic is building a machine without a working hard-drive. I was down a hard drive for a few weeks so I put in the Knoppic CD and plugged in an NTFS formatted Flash drive TB. Okay it all rocked and rolled by default. Loved it. Was able to install Flock browser.

Problem was the desktop effects actually got in the way. The cube desktop kept turn when I wanted to launch an application. Sometimes I even got lost to which side of the cube I was one.

Do recommend. Four Stars ****


After Ubuntu this is the Windows killer. Mandriva KDE is very user friends and bright. It’s very good.

Problems have been many. I have had problems with keyboard I/O. I also had trouble installing with GNOME. The manual http://club.mandriva.com/xwiki/documentation/2008-spring/Mastering-Manual-EN.pdf says you can select GNOME or KDE but contains only information on KDE in the body of the text. I have in running on a VM and I like it a great deal.

But it’s very good.

Three Stars ***


The new release of 9 is very nice. I had used an earlier version and found it lacking much default features, this one is better but not up to SUSE. Mandriva and Ubuntu. Can't see a reason to use this one over the others.

Two Stars **


This is not a version of Linux and am not going to grade this one because it is so different.

On the positive side this thing is something different than Linux, you can feel a kind of peer under the hood that Linux distros don't have. The Windows interface based only on Debian and it is very clean. It looks great, very clean and even running it in VMWare Server off a flash drive image the thing performs well. This is amazing performance machine with a very clean and professional look. It’s not just clean the Debian based desktop is lovely. I come to use my VM image as an internet surfing machine running on my Windows XP machine. On Solaris you can breathe a fresh air of excellence that is not present on the Windows or Mac side. Even the other Linux distros can't make the same use of resources or look just as clean.

The problem. I am going to have to download openOffice and see if it works!!!!! Second Life client does not work. The distro comes without an Office application and can not be extended. No add applications function.

It is targeted at developers and should probably stay there. But if a distro with all the userland trimmings comes out sign me up. Full Linux interoperability would be very nice.

Cheers all
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Power Shifts From N.Y. to D.C.

After Wall Street's Quake, Manhattan Braces for Financial Tsunami

By Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 28, 2008; A03

NEW YORK -- This is the town of money -- freewheeling, high-stakes, high-risk and big-spending. The home of the $20 martini, the seven-figure bonus, the multimillion-dollar condos owned by the titans of the Street.

Washington is the town of politics -- bureaucratic, stodgy, conservative. The home of cheap happy-hour beer and clean-cut young interns living in cramped quarters on the Hill, who are about making a difference, not making money.

But with Wall Street hobbled by the biggest financial crisis in generations, the culture of big money has lost some of its luster. And with the Street now looking to the U.S. Treasury for an unprecedented bailout, it's suddenly Washington that has become the center of financial action -- creating, at least for this instant, an unlikely shift of power and influence.

"The financial capital just underwent a huge downsizing," said James Parrott, chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute, which analyzes New York's tax structure and finances. "When you're drowning and at the risk of going under completely, the taxpayers as embodied by the government in Washington are the only place to turn to."

He added: "It may not be a bad thing that more decision-making rests with people in Washington rather than New York."

Besides the bailout negotiated between the White House and Capitol Hill, there was also the stunning specter this past week of Wall Street's two remaining big investment banks -- Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- asking to be transformed into more traditional banks with deposits, and subjecting themselves to greater Washington strictures.

"I've never seen anything like this," said a veteran investment banker of more than 20 years, who spoke anonymously to be able to speak candidly. "You've got two big investment banks saying, 'Please regulate me!' . . . It will be interesting to see how they implement this thing. Will the Treasury and Washington tell investment banks what to do?"

Asked whether this realignment signaled a shift in power, he paused and ruminated for a few seconds. "What does power really mean?" he replied at last.

Nicole Gelinas, an analyst with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, said: "It's kind of amazing. You had these guys who said, 'We can buy and sell companies.' . . . But suddenly when their industry is in need of consolidation and facing failures, they're very willing to take the Washington handout."

Gelinas questioned how, precisely, the Treasury plan would work, with specialists -- presumably from Wall Street -- helping the federal government manage its massive new asset-backed holdings.

"It's kind of bizarre for them to go down to Washington and work on a government contract," she said. "The fast train will be busy -- unless they make them take the regional."

This is not the first time New York has been forced to turn to Washington for a bailout in a crisis. It happened in 1980 and, most famously, in 1975, when the city was facing bankruptcy and went begging to President Gerald R. Ford for a federal rescue. Ford initially demurred, leading to the iconic New York Daily News headline "Ford to City: Drop Dead." (For the record, Ford never said that, although he later blamed the headline for costing him the election to Jimmy Carter.)

"I think it was a humbling experience," said George Artz, who was a young political reporter during the 1975 financial crisis and later press secretary to Mayor Edward I. Koch.

With the contraction on Wall Street threatening New York with a new fiscal crisis, given the city's heavy reliance on the financial sector for a large chunk of its tax revenue, Artz said, "I think people who went through '75-76 fear a recurrence and are watching it carefully . . . with a slight feeling of deja vu all over again."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) is already warning residents to brace for the worst. Anticipating a big drop in tax receipts from Wall Street, Bloomberg has ordered all city agencies to cut spending by a total of $1.5 billion over the next two years. Earlier this week, he floated the idea of a 7 percent increase in property taxes to make up for the expected shortfall.

There are signs that the sagging fortunes of the Wall Street titans are already being felt in myriad ways in the city.

Renowned defense lawyer Edward W. Hayes, a self-described night owl, long ago developed two measurements for gauging the ups and downs of Wall Street: the HEGI and the HESI, which stand for High End Girlfriend Index and High End Stripper Index. When the financial sector's business is good, he said, the traders and bankers spend huge sums on high-end girlfriends and in the VIP rooms of Manhattan's pricey strip joints.

Now, said Hayes, who represents many of the woman in the business, he is seeing evidence of the downturn.

"The strippers are getting killed -- it's terrible," he said. "It really started in the last month. What they really need are the guys who go in and spend $500."

In fact, while New York City has for years enjoyed the fruits of Wall Street's decade of dizzying success -- an estimated 10 percent of all tax revenue comes from the Street -- the highflying traders and financiers are far from loved in this city. For many, who didn't share in the spoils, there is a certain sense of schadenfreude -- enjoying the new misery of the formerly wealthy.

"I do have a vengeful streak in me," said Rachelle Pachtman, a public relations consultant who lives in an Upper West Side building heavily populated by some of the rich and privileged financial titans.

"I know that there's going to be a glut of apartments that are going to be dumped in the multimillion-dollar range," Pachtman said. "They pay a lot for their mortgages. They've all got their children in . . . private schools. They all have a lifestyle. How are they going to keep this up?

"It's going to take their breath away, because they're going to have to deal with the reality that all the rest of us do," she added. "I think there's going to be a lot of people on the therapist's couch -- a very typical New York thing. People are going to start drinking a lot."

Douglas Muzzio, a professor of political science at the City University of New York's Baruch College, agreed that the fall from grace is likely to be hard for the formerly well-heeled.

"This mythology of the swashbuckling capitalist entrepreneur and trader, that may be damaged," he said. "They screwed up. And they're asking us to pay for their mistakes."

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Palin's Coach

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Palin's Pain

Ed Rollins, a CNN contributor and Republican strategist, said Palin has lost her confidence in recent weeks."This was a very confident woman, the first presentation she made -- she walked in the biggest crowd she ever had," Rollins said, referring to her debut as McCain's VP. "The second was the convention. She had great confidence. She's lost her confidence." Video Watch an analysis of the first presidential debate »Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN contributor, said the "public opinion is turning" on Palin, and that could affect her at the upcoming debate.

Next up: Biden and Palin debate in St. Louis - CNN.com

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Obama debate

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) -- A national poll of people who watched the first presidential debate suggests that Barack Obama came out on top, but there was overwhelming agreement that both Obama and John McCain would be able to handle the job of president if elected.Most debate watchers agreed both McCain and Obama would be able to handle the job of president if elected.Most debate watchers agreed both McCain and Obama would be able to handle the job of president if elected.more photos »The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey is not a measurement of the views of all Americans, since only people who watched the debate were questioned and the audience included more Democrats than Republicans.

Fifty-one percent of those polled thought Obama did the better job in Friday night's debate, while 38 percent said John McCain did better.

Men were nearly evenly split between the two candidates, with 46 percent giving the win to McCain and 43 percent to Obama. But women voters tended to give Obama higher marks, with 59 percent calling him the night's winner, while just 31 percent said McCain won.

Round 1 in debates goes to Obama, poll says - CNN.com

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Obama wins first debate? Yah sure, he is ahead and he did great

WASHINGTON - A pair of one-night polls gave Barack Obama a clear edge over John McCain in their first presidential debate.Fifty-one percent said Obama, the Democrat, did a better job in Friday night's faceoff while 38 percent preferred the Republican McCain, according to a CNN-Opinion Research Corp. survey of adults.

2 quick polls give Obama edge in debate - Decision '08- msnbc.com

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Interview: HTC chief Florian Seiche says Google's G1 phone will kill off the PC

Interview: HTC chief Florian Seiche says Google's G1 phone will kill off the PC

Florian Seiche, whose company designed Google's answer to the iPhone, believes the personal computer will soon join the dodo. By Rupert NeateLast Updated: 10:52PM BST 26 Sep 2008Florian Seiche believes the personal computer will soon join the dodoSeiche: 'Open source will allow the user to turn the phone into whatever they want it to be' Photo: JANE MINGAY"This is really big news for the entire mobile world," he says, after finally managing to tear himself away from the new G1 Google mobile phone.Mr Seiche claims the phone, which was launched by Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin amid a frenzy of excitement in New York this week, is set to transform the way we think about the internet – and could even make the personal computer obsolete."It is so fast, responsive and easy to navigate that you basically have the same browsing experience you would have on your desktop at home," he enthuses.In a couple of years time people will look back and remember how "awkward" it was that they could only go online when they were sat down in front of their PC, because "it will just be very natural that you can enjoy the internet wherever you are".

Interview: HTC chief Florian Seiche says Google's G1 phone will kill off the PC - Telegraph

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Parker says Sarah Palin should leave

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, admitting that until recently she was a vocal supporter of Sarah Palin, now says the vice presidential nominee should bow out:

Kathleen Parker: After Interviews, Palin Should Bow Out

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Palin as "clueless"

Radio talk show host Ed Schultz reports:

Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin. The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as "disastrous." One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, "What are we going to do?" The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is "clueless."

Report: McCain Aides Complain That Palin Is "Clueless"

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"We've been getting some emails from views out there wondering why we spent some time interviewing Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee and not Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. We would have loved to interview--we'd still love to interview Sarah Palin. Unfortunately we asked, we didn't get that interview...We're hoping that Sarah Palin will join us at some point down the road."

McCain Camp Doesn't Let Palin Spin After Debate

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