“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

Friday, November 23, 2007

Start Spreading the News!

Start Spreading the news.

These little town blues, are melting away...

The pessimism in the media and on the street lately has been almost unbearable. The medias' unrelenting onslaught of bad news seems to be taking a toll on everyone, regardless of political persuasion. People seem to be running scared so here's my feeble attempt to calm some fears. Call me a starry-eyed optimist but here's how I see America's current economic situation and outlook for the future:

Energy costs. High energy costs are a real problem with a real financial impact on America's household budgets for heating and air conditioning, travel and food. There is little that the government can do in the short term about energy costs. Individuals can adjust thermostats and driving and dining habits but unlike years past, oil prices are not expected to drop significantly due to demand in India and China. The silver lining is that higher oil prices accelerate research and development of alternative energy. The outlook is short term pain but long term will be a huge gain as the U.S. moves away from its dependency on oil. The big winner will be the Nuclear Industry which increasingly is being seen by both the left and right as a safe, efficient, and cost effective source of electricity. The increased use of nuclear energy will get the the carbon hysterics off our backs but the respite will be short lived as they find new crises to beat us with.

Housing. A real estate boom followed by a contraction and a perceived crisis in financial markets are creating uncertainty, however bank loans have been rising at the same rate as before the crisis. Banks do not face a liquidity problem but the exact extent of bank losses is not yet known and rules and regulations require that losses must be written down possibly more than will be actually required. The actual number of non-performing subprime loans may be statistically insignificant.

But...
I heard a Wall Street Hedge Fund Manager claim that the losses would be around $1 trillion. He expects this to drag the world economy to go into a "moderate depression" which would idle even the factories of China. Most experts are not this pessimistic.

There is an excess of housing stocks which must be reduced by the system and until that happens, the traditionally "boom and bust" housing industry will suffer. Some experts say that real estate prices could see a 20% downward adjustment. This is seen as a reduction in wealth but in most cases, these are paper losses. If the adjustment is against the inflated evaluations of the bubble years, the good news is that housing will approach more affordable levels. Although it's just a hunch, I think the current housing crisis is more of a crisis of confidence rather than an actual economic disaster. It's a buyers' market.

"Weak dollar." Some experts say that the "competitive dollar" shouldn't be seen as a "weak dollar." They say a "competitive dollar" will serve the useful purpose of correcting our trade imbalance by making our exports more competitive and imports more expensive. Reduced consumer spending could increase the savings rate or offset the increased energy costs. Of course, reduced consumer spending could lead to a recession - a risk some experts say is 30% - 40% for next year. Other experts say that while they expect a weak economy through '08 they see a GDP growth rate of 2.0+%. A weak dollar may cause a temporary rise in prices but the risk of inflation is seen as very low. Ignore the doomsayers.

Long Term Outlook:

Remember, this is America. As bad as it may seem here, there are few places in the world which are as safe and stable as the US. Money seeks not only the highest return but also security and in that regard, America is Fort Knox to the world. Continuing chaos in the world will benefit the US economy as capital seeks safe harbor.

A competitive dollar means a revitalized, state-of-the-art U.S. manufacturing industry. This new American manufacturing will enjoy operating costs which enable it to compete in the International Market.

China, Russia, Japan and Europe are aging. Their low birth rates mean that long term, they will become less vibrant and productive. China may have more time than the others but whether they have enough time to realize the "Chinese Century" is questionable. India, the quiet overlooked sleeper is moving into the modern world but has a tremendous burden with its huge, abjectly poor and illiterate population.

Capitalism is alive and thriving. Communism has been exposed as an idealistic fraud and socialism is in the autumn of its years. Finally, even Democrats are acknowledging the dangers of unfunded liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare. Only the most rigid ideologues argue for the discredited Keynesian economics of higher taxes or the dying systems of socialist health care. Repeatedly, we have seen that reducing taxes leads to increased Federal revenues and reduced deficits. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Democrats to make their traditional arguments for a big government, nanny state.

"Go long" on the USA. It won't be a bed of roses and there will be pain but as long as we can maintain our "can do" American spirit and keep the transnationals out of our pockets and our heads, we'll be "king of the hill - top of the heap."
Start spreading the news,
we're leaving today.

Disclaimer: This advice and three dollars may buy you a cup of coffee and two donuts at Krispy Kreme.

56 comments:

  1. Just listened to the Portland price report for the day. Wheat $10.30/ bushel; barley $250/ton. Even factoring in the higher prices for all the imputs, this is great news for the farmers, at least. Alas, I'm no longer an active farmer :-(

    'These little towns, are melting away...'

    Even hay is way up.

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  2. Sarkozy, Strike Breaker

    jees--'These little town blues, are melting away...'

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  3. "But the bad is that quantum theory says that whenever we observe or measure something, we could stop it decaying due what is what is called the "quantum Zeno effect," which suggests that if an "observer" makes repeated, quick observations of a microscopic object undergoing change, the object can stop changing - just as a watched kettle never boils."

    Despite Zeno, I've watched my kettle boil.

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  4. So, tell me, now that Chuck Norris has come out as Mr Huckabee's answer to open borders, does that make Honda, which uses Mr Norris in commercials for one of its' trucks, a contributor to the Huckabee campaign?

    Or was that just limited to Steve Colbert and Doritos ...

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  5. Everytime I see Mr Norris in that commercial, I think of Huckabee.

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  6. WE ARE UP 40% OVER LAST YEAR!

    EVEN after higher shipping costs, we are seeing actual costs shrink due to better purchasing, better infrastructure, better training & yes just getting down right smarter...

    Just shipped 5 cases of a "product" to CHINA.....

    Aint wealth GREAT, they seem to WANT our AMERICAN goods....

    I am going to hire another employee this month, NOT just for the season but in order to really grow..

    I can ship to ANYWHERE in the world from my little ole warehouse!

    I can take paypal, amex, visa, mastercard & discover...

    Yep, America! G-d I love it!

    AND yes, I LOVE exporting my over priced crap to most nations of the world...

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  7. bobalharb said: "Spread the News--The Universe May Be Melting Away"


    Quarantine (novel by Greg Egan):

    The novel is set in the near future (2034-2080), after the solar system has been surrounded by an impenetrable shield (constructed by either aliens or extra-solar humans) known as the Bubble. The Bubble permits no light to enter the solar system, and as a consequence the stars can no longer be seen. This seems to be mere background at first, but in fact it is central to the plot.

    In the novel a physical process in the human brain is responsible for all causality, by collapsing wavefunctions representing systems into particular eigenstates. Human observations of the universe were reducing its diversity and potentiality (for instance, by rendering it uninhabitable to beings that relied on stars being something other than the enormous nuclear fusion-powered furnaces human astronomers have observed them to be). Hence it is suggested that the Bubble was constructed to prevent humanity from wreaking massive destruction on the rest of the universe through the process of mere observation.


    Collapsing wave functions are the new global warming.

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  8. I quess I understand that. It means, the next time I'm in the Puget Sound area, there will be fields of golden grain, and you'll be wearing coveralls, T. And pigtails, in my eigenstate. :)

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  9. I don't know. I've been staring at my credit card bill all afternoon; but, it won't "Go Away." Are they sure about this?

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  10. PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH SUPPORTS HILLARY CLINTON?

    By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN

    Published on FoxNews.com on November 21, 2007.

    Printer-Friendly Version

    Just when every poll has Hillary slipping, she has gotten a shot in the arm from a very unlikely source: President George W. Bush.

    In an interview on Tuesday featuring the first couple and Charles Gibson, the president said of Mrs. Clinton "No question, there is no question that Sen. Clinton understands pressure better than any of the candidates, you know, in the race because she lived in the White House and sees it first — could see it first-hand."

    By saying that she “understands the klieg lights,” Bush lent credence to Hillary’s campaign assertion that she could “hit the ground running” if she were elected president.

    Would somebody please explain to us what Bush is doing, touting Hillary just as the rest of America is finally catching on to her artificial, evasive and contrived campaigning style?

    This is not the first time Bush has rescued the Clintons. After they left the White House, both the former president and the new senator had low ratings in the polls. Beset by scandal — the White House gifts, the pardons-for-sale, the payments to Hillary’s brothers for pardons, the Hasidic vote-for-pardon scandal, and Bill’s nolo contender plea to obstructing justice — Bill and Hillary were sucking wind.

    But, Bush swept in for the rescue, picking the former president off the ash heap of history and elevating him to parity with his father in a two-former-president effort to raise funds for the tsunami victims. By giving him a respected place alongside a former president of unquestioned integrity, Bush gave Clinton a tremendous way to climb out of disgrace and into the limelight.


    Then, when the tsunami relief effort was winding down, he re-enlisted former president Clinton to work with his father again on helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

    Not only did Bush help the Clintons in positive ways, but he let his justice department drop the investigations of the pardons, the gifts, the payments to Hillary’s brothers and the Hasidic vote scandal with no prosecution or plea dealings.

    Then Bush let Clinton off the hook another time when the former president’s former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was caught smuggling classified documents relating to 9/11 and the war on terror out of the National Archives in his pockets and socks. The Bush Justice Department accepted a plea deal with Berger which did not require him to say what documents he had taken and why he had swiped them. As a result, we never knew what aspect of the Clinton record on terrorism Berger was so anxious to cover up.

    All of this kid glove treatment of the former first couple led to jokes about how George W and Bill are the two children of President George H.W. Now the president is going easy on his putative sister-in-law, Hillary.

    The fact is that Hillary has no idea what it is like to be president. Unlike Bill, she did not have to face the media daily and could keep them at arms length as she toured the world, acting like a tourist, in carefully contrived photo opportunities. When she was really involved in public policy — during the health reform debate — her insistence on the secrecy of the proceedings led to a federal court order and judgment against her.

    Is President Bush deliberately helping Hillary to win the nomination because he feels she would be the easiest one of the Democrats to beat? If he is, he’s making a serious mistake. She is the only Democrat who can bring 10 million new single female voters out of the woodwork to sway the election.

    Or, is it an ex-president thing? A kind of exclusive club of former chiefs who treat one another with kindness, civility and bend over backwards to show respect? Whether it is through political miscalculation or elitism that Bush caters to Hillary Clinton, he should stop it. Every day, she bashes him full time on the campaign trail. His kind words for her are so out of place, they are jarring.

    President George W. Bush has done quite enough to aid the election of Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States already, thank you. Without his generosity to Bill and his refusal to prosecute matters that could embarrass the Clintons, he bears a great deal of responsibility already for Hillary’s rise to front runner status in the Democratic primary.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Rufus, put your kettle on the stove, fill with water of course, turn up the heat, and see if it boils. Do not take your eye off it. This will give some evidence we can work with.

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  11. So a neutron walks into a bar and says, "How much for a shot of whiskey?"
    And the bartender says, "For you, no charge!"

    Peter Grynch, BC

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  12. I suddenly had the thought that years from now I will think of George Bush the same way I think of Jimmy Carter.

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  13. From IBD, here's a sad commentary on our world:

    Environmentalism's Outer Limits

    By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, November 23, 2007 4:20 PM PT

    Man And Nature: Enviro-fanatics are sterilizing themselves to reduce their "carbon footprint." We dread where their nihilistic ideology — that mankind is an evil planetary force — will lead next.

    Related Topics: Europe & Central Asia

    The U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper last week featured the beaming face of one Toni Vernelli, a British environmental activist who had sterilization surgery at the age of 27 because she considers children "a sinister threat to the future."

    It was no Monty Pythonesque spoof. Two years earlier, despite being on birth-control pills, Vernelli got pregnant and had an abortion because "it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world."

    "Having children is selfish," the now-35-year-old says.

    A vegetarian by age 15, Vernelli met her husband at an animal rights demo; on the morning of her sterilization, he gave her a "Congratulations" card.

    Read the rest

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  14. Man And Nature: Enviro-fanatics are sterilizing themselves to reduce their "carbon footprint."

    I can't help but see this as a good sign, Whit. After all, it's these people that are making the big stink about the Giant Palouse Earthworm, a cause far from my heart.

    So far, no farmer has written in response to my letter in the paper, asking for a sighting of The Worm.

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  15. Just now coming to that realization, aye?

    Should you have lived on the migration route, you'd be further ahead on that curve.

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  16. No Shiite, Senor!
    His obdurate refusal to enforce, nay, insistence on using all means necessary to subvert the law, is traitorous, pure and simple.

    His Buddy Johnny Sutton went all over saying he could not comment on the second bust of the Drug runner that put Ramos and Campeon? in jail, because the records were sealed:
    ...neglecting to tell us it was his office that sealed them.

    Just like his boss, who LIES every time he opens his mouth wrt to "immigration."

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  17. So in the New Yorker there is an interesting piece:
    Sovereign Wealth World
    by James Surowiecki
    link here

    While these funds are not new—they first rose to prominence in the seventies, as a way for Arab states to reinvest their oil money—of late they’ve become major players in global markets, thanks to the precipitous rise in oil prices and the booming Chinese economy. China’s new sovereign fund alone has two hundred billion dollars to invest, while sovereign wealth funds all together control more than two and a half trillion dollars—and could control as much as twelve trillion by 2015. These funds now have the buying power to shape market prices and acquire assets throughout the developed world. Were China’s fund so inclined, it could buy Ford, G.M., Volkswagen, and Honda, and still have a little money left over for ice cream.

    Not surprisingly, Western politicians aren’t thrilled by this prospect. ...


    A pretty good read, until the end, where the "blame" is placed upon US

    The prospect of American companies being sold to foreign states is, to be sure, disconcerting. But it’s a problem of our own making. The reason that sovereign wealth funds are so flush with cash is all the dollars we spend on oil and Asian consumer goods. If we want to consume far beyond our means, then, one way or another we’re going to end up selling off assets to pay for it. Passing laws barring foreign states from acquiring American companies may help treat the symptom. But it’s not going to do much to cure the disease.

    The problem is not the spending, or even the borrowing, but that the profits of the country's efforts are centrally controlled, not doled out in dividends.

    The per capita surplus in those funds from China is very low, with 1.3 billion Chinese, $154 per Chinaman.

    The US could match 'em, all 300 million of US at just $666 per head.

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  18. Which for a country with a per capita GDP of:
    China - Per Capita (PPP) $7,700 / $154=2%
    USA United States — GDP - Per Capita (PPP): $44,000 / $666=1.5%

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  19. Do they have surf, in Azerbaijan?
    Wonder how the diving is, in the Caspian Sea?

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  20. The Sauds, on the other hand, they can spend what ever it takes to stay on the throne.

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  21. Rat, if you're going swimming in the Caspian, you might want to buy a dry suit and diving bell. Caspian Sea Pollution Also low level radio-activity, I read elsewhere. Much of this is due to Soviet era advanced humanistic socialist science.

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  22. Boise State leads Warriors, 14-13The Warriors are playing Boise State in a game that will decide the Western Athletic Conference football championship. Click here for the latest update on the game. [more] - Updated at 5:15

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  23. I get it Warriors up 19-17.

    I'm going to the Idaho game tomorrow, don't ask why.

    Idaho (1-10) plays Utah State (1-10) for the suck ass trophy of the year. :)

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  24. The WAC, back in the day, we started the Fiesta Bowl, for the WAC, as no one would invite ASU, pre PAC-10, to a Bowl Game.

    So we started our own.
    Grew to be #1, if we believe our own hype.

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  25. Guess retirement to the Caspian is out of the question, then.

    But then again, so is ...

    New Trump Baja Resort to Be Built on Mexico's Most Polluted Beach
    December 8, 2006
    Donald Trump's newest Beachfront Resort will be built just north of Baja's Punta Bandera, where 30 million gallons of sewage are discharged daily on the beach. Prospective buyers should be informed, so they can ask developers about health risks and sewage collection. This discharge is the same one that closes beaches in Imperial Beach and Coronado during the summer months, when swells take it north.

    "We want to warn prospective buyers about the sewage crisis. All condo buyers in the Tijuana-Ensenada corridor should be worried that their new properties will be surrounded by raw sewage", says Serge Dedina, executive director of WiLDCOAST, a non-profit organization that protects costal ecosystems and wildlife. WiLDCOAST organized a protest with surfers today at a Trump Baja Sales Event in San Diego to ask prospective condo buyers to avoid real estate investments that front sewage polluted beaches. The sewage that will pollute Trump's condos also pollutes Baja Malibu, one of Baja's best beach breaks.

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  26. Surfers warn of armed robberies while camping on Mexican coast
    By Terry Rodgers and Anna Cearley
    UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS

    November 14, 2007

    The fear is growing.
    Southern California surfers have reason to be especially wary about venturing to Baja California after a spate of armed robberies by paramilitary-style criminals.

    About a half-dozen robberies and carjackings that targeted U.S. surfers en route to camping spots along the 780-mile Baja California peninsula have occurred since June, accordingng to unconfirmed tallies reported via the Internet.

    Mexican authorities said they've heard of few such crimes since August, but concede that American tourists may not be stopping to report the incidents before returning to the United States.

    In addition to the buzz created by online postings, members of the Swamis Surfing Association heard from one of their own last night about the heightened crime risk.

    Pat Weber of Encinitas talked during the club's meeting about his traumatic experience last month at Cuatro Casas, a popular but remote surfing spot about 200 miles south of the border.

    Weber said he and his girlfriend had gone to Baja to escape the foul air caused by the wildfires in San Diego County. Just after sundown Oct. 23, two men wearing military clothing and ski masks confronted the couple. Weber said he initially refused to come out of his motor home, but surrendered after the robbers fired a shot into the vehicle.

    “They made us get down on all fours – execution position – and put guns to our heads,” said Weber, who owns the San Diego Surfing Academy in Carlsbad.

    The gunmen sexually assaulted his girlfriend before stealing $10,000 worth of computers, video cameras and other gear, he said.

    Weber had logged more than 500 days in Baja and taken dozens of students there over the past 10 years. He now considers it hazardous territory.

    “My career guiding surfing tours into Mexico is over,” he said. “I'm cutting it off. I'm urging everyone else for their safety to do the same.”

    Unlike many other victims, Weber stopped in Ensenada to report the robbery and assault to police. He wasn't the only recent victim at Cuatro Casas.

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  27. Colt Brennan breaks major college career TD mark
    Colt Brennan passed for 241 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score as Hawai'i took a 19-17 lead over Boise State at halftime in a game that will decide the Western Athletic Conference championship today at Aloha Stadium.
    3 TD's and 241 yards in a half ain't half-bad!

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  28. Gee, in 1970, my girlfriend and I slept out in the open, alone in Mexico!
    This is NOT Progress!
    That sucking sound is the sound of humanity going down the drain.

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  29. Islands of civilization built out around airports and marinas?

    The rest of the countryside left to the bad guys?

    Not to mention the pirates of the South Caribbe.

    Let alone off the Somalian Gold Coast

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  30. I just don't Get It. Mexico is a dirt poor country, and that "Shit" is a valuable source of Cheap Energy. "Why are they Wasting it?"

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  31. Makes you think legalization of Drugs might be worth a try, esp when you add Afghanistan to the list of drug-fueled terror.

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  32. 2 interceptions already, AlBob.
    Don't think he's ever done that.
    Boise State leads Warriors, 27-26

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  33. A hydrogen atom walks into a bar and says to the barman "have you seen my electron? I lost it here last night." "Are you sure" asks the Barman?

    "I'm positive" replies the atom.

    docmike 1484, BC

    xxxxxxxxxxxx

    Back in the glory days, long ago, we used to be in the Pacific Coast Conference--USC, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Idaho. Them were the days.

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  34. Atom said to Eve, wanna make fusion?

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  35. I like the Neutron best so far at the bar.

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  36. Gated communities, Rat, with guards, golf course, home swimming pools, like in Vegas, best that can be done. Security cameras everywhere.

    Or go about incognito, like me. I most always feel safe.

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  37. "The first generations of New England Puritans relied on shame to preserve civility. Punishments were usually public affairs in which the offender was whipped or put in a stock in a location visible to all in the village. Moreover, fines, which were used as punishments, were larger for slandering a person's reputation than for a physical assault."

    from 'What Is Emotion', Jerome Kagan

    'Shame on you, sir', probably isn't going to do it in this day and age, to preserve civility, or safety.

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  38. It's cool when you can affect being a low-class Okie without even trying.
    ...just have to be raised in my hometown.

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  39. 35 killed near Paki Pentagon.

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  40. 39-27 Warriors, at last count, Doug, 5 TD passes by your guy

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  41. Hawaii wins, undefeated season. Bowl time.

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  42. Vandals Headed for Toilet Bowl!

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  43. The Idaho Shitters--:)ain't that the truth, revoltin'

    They ought to be giving those tickets away tomorrow.

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  44. The kid was at the game, when I mailed that they'd get a Bowl Berth if they won, he wrote back: What?
    I wrote:

    "It's when one of those hippy chicks thinks the kid should be born in
    water, and she drops it into the toilet.
    I thought you knew!"
    ---
    Don't know why he thinks I'm a Maroon.

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  45. :)
    grrnite--got to listen to Richard Hoagland talk about alien structures on the moon. You can't handle the truth, Doug.:)

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  46. Bush Admin now trying to break H2a temporary work visa rules, the better to hire foreign workers before offering job to American Citizens.

    George Miller, of all people, a wild-ass Calif Dem, is trying to stop them.
    Go George!
    ...and I don't mean W.

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  47. Doug, it's going to get bad. Our secret government has anti-gravity craft, and it's likely that they soon will use them in a false-flag operation against us, forcing us to give up our remaining American rights, in an induced search for security. This is the stuff nightmares are made of, but I try to be a strong Vandal, and carry the whole burden by myself.

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  48. We Have Very Smart People Leading Our City
    Uh-Oh
    A Los Angeles City Council member apologized Wednesday to a handful of San Fernando Valley residents, saying a phone message left by a Planning Department employee -- suggesting the fix was in for a controversial Valley Village condominium project -- was not "business as usual" at City Hall.
    Mayor Sam's Blog

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  49. Maybe they'll take away our "right" to have GWB as POTUS?
    ...Can always hope!

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  50. Critics decry Bush's inaction on pardons for border agents

    WASHINGTON -- Conservatives expressed bitter disappointment Friday that President Bush did not use the Thanksgiving holiday to pardon two U.S. border agents who have been imprisoned for a year for shooting and injuring an accused drug smuggler at the border.

    "We had hoped that President Bush, who was compassionate enough to pardon two turkeys in the Rose Garden, might also have had enough compassion to pardon two law enforcement officers who spent their lives defending us at the border," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

    A group of Christian and evangelical leaders -- including Paul M. Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition and David A. Keene of the American Conservative Union -- excoriated Bush for a moral lapse in the case, saying inaction runs counter to compassionate conservatism and Christian values.


    Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have weighed in, saying the case highlights the difficulties of securing the border amid an intense national debate about immigration. After a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing in July, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called on the president to commute the 11- and 12-year sentences of the two agents.

    "The sentence does not match the crime," she said in a statement, calling the case an example of "prosecutorial overreach" and "a serious miscarriage of justice."

    A recent development in the case could further increase pressure on the White House to intervene. The suspected smuggler shot by the officers in February 2005 has been indicted for bringing marijuana into the United States during September and October 2005 -- the very period when he was in the country on a humanitarian visa so he could testify against the agents.

    "The latest disclosures show that the government knew the alleged drug smuggler was a career criminal," said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing over 12,000 border agents. "He was their star witness. They portrayed him as a down-on-his-luck kid looking for $1,000 to pay for his mother's medical care."

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  51. Hail el Presidente Bush!
    We don't need no stinking borders!

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  52. You Take the High Road, I'll Take the Low Road
    Tigerhawk notices an article in the Washington Post.

    More than 300,000 Shiite Muslims from southern Iraq have signed a petition condemning Iran for fomenting violence in Iraq, according to a group of sheiks leading the campaign.

    Yes, you read that right.

    "The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of south Iraq," said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. "Their influence is everywhere."

    The unusually organized Iraqi rebuke illustrates the divisions that Iran has provoked among Iraq's majority Shiites. The prime minister and major political blocs are closely tied to Iran, but the petition organizers said many citizens are fiercely opposed to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.

    The petition, which the organizers said was signed by 600 sheiks, calls on the United Nations to send a delegation to investigate what it termed crimes committed by Iran and its proxies in southern Iraq.

    Read more! posted by Wretchard at

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  53. More Morons in Charge:
    "Mr Howard is a staunch US ally and had committed to keeping Australian troops in Iraq.

    But Mr Rudd has pledged to withdraw combat troops from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol, further isolating Washington on both issues."

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