“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Shoot Straight You Bastards. Don't Make a Mess of it."


  1. Harry Morant:

    It really ain't the place nor time to reel off rhyming diction,

    but yet we'll write a final rhyme while waiting crucifixion.

    For we bequeath a parting tip of sound advice for such men...

    who come in transport ships to polish off the Dutchman.

    If you encounter any Boers, you really must not loot 'em,

    and if you wish to leave these shores, for pity's sake, don't shoot 'em.

    Let's toss a bumper down our throat before we pass to Heaven,

    and toast a trim-set petticoat we leave behind in Devon.

  2. By strange coincidence, Bob's link to Peter Fenwick from last thread takes me to:

    The Art of Dying

  3. A Human Being
    Not A Human Thinking
    Not A Human Doing
    A Human Being


  5. If it hasn't been said earlier, you ought to visit j willie's BigDog link from last thread.

    That's an awesome machine. I'd fear for that boy who tries to kick it off balance in the video if it had a personality like mine.

    Gotta have one quibble though.

    From the BigDog promo:

    BigDog is being developed by Boston Dynamics with the goal of creating robots that have rough-terrain mobility that can take them anywhere on Earth that people and animals can go. The program is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).

    The US Forest Service won't let motorized equipment in any of their wilderness areas, far as I know. Their trail crews still use misery-whips in lieu of chainsaws, right up to the National Park boundaries, where you may hear the Park Service crews merrily buzzing away at about 5 times or more the production rate.

    Awhile back during the acid rain hue-and-cry, the alpine lake samples had to be collected by pack train and ridden out to the boundary trailheads to be met by helicopters for shuttling to the lab.

    When I suggested they should open the Pacific Crest Trail to motocross riders, you'd a thought I farted in church.

  6. But when the housing market went bust, home prices plummeted. Foreclosures spiked as people were left owing more on their mortgage than their homes were worth.

    Rising mortgage rates also clobbered some homeowners.

    As financial companies racked up multibillion-dollar losses on soured mortgage investments, and credit problems spread globally, firms hoarded cash and clamped down on lending. That crimped consumer and business spending, dragging down the national economy — a vicious cycle policymakers have been trying to break.

    Conservatives in Congress

  7. I look forward to working with Congress to pass necessary legislation to remove these troubled assets from our financial system. When we get through this difficult period, which we will, our next task must be to improve the financial regulatory structure so that these past excesses do not recur.

    This crisis demonstrates in vivid terms that our financial regulatory structure is sub-optimal, duplicative and outdated. I have put forward my ideas for a modernized financial oversight structure that matches our modern economy, and more closely links the regulatory structure to the reasons why we regulate.

    That is a critical debate for another day.


  8. McCain has a trickier task Friday night. He'll be tempted to tout his foreign policy experience.

    But claims of wisdom based on experience alone tend not to impress the American people--(viz. Al Gore in 2000, George H. W. Bush in 1992, Jimmy Carter in 1980, passim). Instead, McCain needs to alarm voters about Obama's dovishness--reminding them of his opponent's misjudgment of the surge, for example--and tie around his neck all the stupidities of the woolly-minded Democratic party.

    He might want to mention in this context Biden's rich career of misjudgments on foreign policy (against Reagan's defense buildup, against the first Gulf war, flip-flopping on Iraq, silly talk on Iran--and more!), and cite the tough words uttered not so long ago about Obama's naïveté and weakness by the woman Obama passed
    over as his running mate.


  9. Seen it already. Good movie.

  10. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has sketched out the sweeping outlines of what could be the biggest bailout in United States history. He said Friday that the Treasury Department would present a plan to Congress over the weekend that would relieve banks of their bad debts and breathe new life into ailing credit markets.


    President Bush, speaking from the Rose Garden, admitted that "this action does entail risk but we expect this money will be paid back." He said that the program would help bolster investor confidence, which has been shaken in recent weeks.


    Those announcements came after Thursday's high-level, closed-door meetings on how to stem the economic crisis. Congress will be asked to support legislation that will give the government authority to buy distressed mortgages.

    Cost Hundreds of Billions

  11. The malignant aspect of this is that Mr. Obama and his advisers know exactly what they are doing. They had to listen to both monologues or read the transcripts.

    They then had to pick the particular excerpts they used in order to create a commercial of distortions. Their hoped-for result is to inflame racial tensions.

    In doing this, Mr. Obama and his advisers have demonstrated a pernicious contempt for American society.


  12. When government officials surveyed the flailing American financial system this week, they didn't see only a collapsed investment bank or the surrender of a giant insurance firm. They saw the circulatory system of the U.S. economy -- credit markets -- starting to fail.


    The panic had formed quickly. On Monday morning, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection.


    "The market was signaling that the stand-alone investment banking model doesn't work," says Tad Rivelle, chief investment officer at Metropolitan West Asset Management, which manages $26 billion in fixed-income assets. "We were on the verge of putting every Wall Street firm out of business."

    Shock Forced Paulson's Hand

  13. As the political campaigns dominate the headlines, the Administration is taking decisions that will shape US foreign policy for the foreseeable future. The most important of these concerns Pakistan.


    As we have emphasized, there is now deep concern in the Pentagon that, unless Taliban forces now using Pakistan as a safe haven can be effectively countered, the international coalition faces defeat in Afghanistan. As a result, senior Administration officials have told us that: “for practical purposes we are treating Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single theater.”

    This means that US attacks in Pakistan will increase, both in the form of Special Operations raids and of missile strikes. Officials realize that this will generate tensions with the Pakistani leadership.

    Washington's World

  14. Ask the common people of all politics and persuasions aboard Flight 93 whether greatness and courage has deserted America. Through this magical crystal ball — the one we are using right now — we common people can speak to one another.

    And by reminding ourselves and those around us of who we are, where we came from, what we have achieved together and of the marvels we have yet to achieve, we may laugh in the face of despair and mock those people that think a man with an MBA from Harvard knows more about running a gas station than the man that actually runs the gas station.

    It is the small-town virtues of self-reliance, hard work, personal responsibility, and common-sense ingenuity — and not those of the preening cosmopolitans that gape at them in mixed contempt and bafflement — that have made us the inheritors of the most magnificent, noble, decent and free society ever to appear on this earth. This Western Civilization… this American City… has earned the right to greet each sunrise with a blast of silver trumpets that can bring down mountains.

    The Undefended City

  15. That result illustrates the limits of Moscow’s power. Russia may be capable of establishing a modest sphere of influence along its perimeter, but it does not have the strength to reconstitute the Soviet empire—much less pose an expansionist threat to the heart of Europe as the USSR did during the Cold War.

    American opinion leaders need to curb their alarmism. Moscow’s conduct in Georgia may have been brutal, but it is not out of the norm for a great power to discipline an upstart small neighbor.

    There is no credible evidence that Moscow has massive expansionist impulses. And even if it did, Russia lacks the power to achieve such goals.

    What Russia Wants

  16. US Special Operations Forces have stepped up attacks inside Pakistan's lawless tribal agencies in part of an effort to prevent the next major attack inside the United States, senior military and intelligence sources told The Long War Journal.


    The US military has launched 18 cross-border strikes inside Pakistan this year, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Attacks have skyrocketed over the past three weeks.


    Of the fifteen other strikes, most can be directly traced back to the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan and Taliban forces run either by Mullah Nazir or Baitullah Mehsud.

    Stopping the Next 9/11 Attack

    Map of the Tribal Areas

  17. On Sept. 20, 1519, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships on a voyage to find a western passage to the Spice Islands in Indonesia.

    In 1870, Italian troops took control of the Papal States, leading to the unification of Italy.

    In 1873, panic swept the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the wake of railroad bond defaults and bank failures.

    Today in History

  18. The Dick Morris Electoral Map

    He sees things shifting Palin's way. I call it that because she's mainly responsible.

    Big Shift to McCain

    There was a gigantic turn toward John McCain in the two weeks immediately after the GOP convention. In large part this was due to the Sarah Palin nomination, and the tremendous miscalculation by the Democrats in attacking Palin — particularly on issues important to women, such as her caring for her children. That backfired massively. The anti-Palin attack by the Democrats showed a cultural disconnect with America that is remarkable.

    Now, the contest is transitioning from post-convention issues to a race dominated by the economy. The key to that for Barack Obama is to stress the liability of the incumbent party for the mess that we're in economically. For McCain, it will be stressing that Obama's tax proposals will make the situation worse.

    There has been a huge change among unmarried women, particularly, due in part to the hostile reaction of the Democrats to Palin. There are indications that the momentum of the race may be reversing itself again, however, as a result of the economy.

  19. In truth, and in direct opposition to the drumbeat, each human being must be accorded his or her natural rights, individual sovereignty, and self responsibility to be in harmony with human nature. Each of us must have the freedom to succeed or to fail.

    Western culture, culminating in the great American experiment, has been perverted. Due to these perversions, many failures have already occurred, which have then, ironically, been used to justify further perversions of the same sort as those which caused the problems to begin with.

    Generally, these perversions are manifested in bigger government, more laws, more bureaucracy, more regulations, more taxes, and government controlled redistribution of wealth, more collectivism, less individualism, and less freedom. We all hear it constantly from leftist politicians as they add their part to the drumbeat: government must do more to ensure Americans avoid the consequences of their choices.

    The Drumbeat

  20. Don't attack a grizzly bear's cubs. Ticks the momma bear off, and all the other momma bears too.

  21. RCP's got Obama +8 in delegates when you factor in the way the toss-ups are leaning.

  22. I've come up with another theory recently.

    Mat's Swedish.

    My line of argument is thus:

    1) The Sumerians were a mysterious race, coming early down from the northland, near as anyone can tell. Their language was different than the others in the area. They may have been a very early wave of the Aryan migrations.

    2) Father Abram left from Ur, towards the Promised Land, to the north and west. He might have been a Sumerian.

    3) The Aryan peoples have the 'wandering gene'. And seem to prefer colder climes.

    4) Mat's in Canada.

    5) Canada is to the north and west of the Promised Land.

    6) The Sumerian migration to the south was an anomaly. The usual path of such peoples is to the north and west.

    6) Mat's a Swede like me, rather than me being a Jew like Mat.


  23. Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke have saved us, for now, from a market meltdown - but at the cost of allowing the folks who caused the current crisis to keep ducking reality.


    Though the free fall in financial shares over recent weeks wasn't pretty to watch, it had the sanguine effect of forcing businesses with questionable fundamentals to confront an uncertain future. Take the case of Merrill Lynch (MER, Fortune 500) chief John Thain.


    Thain's rivals seem to be reaping the rewards of expanded federal largesse. Morgan Stanley, after plunging as low as $16 a share in panicked trading Wednesday afternoon, has recovered to the low $30s, possibly forestalling the need for the firm to find a merger partner such as Wachovia (WB, Fortune 500).

    Bailout Cost

  24. So far, none of my theories have been accepted by peer reviewed scientific journals.

  25. Expected Electoral Vote
    Obama: 264.9
    McCain; 273.1

    Last update of the model, 9-18-08.

  26. Linear, you got to be an amigo to get into the Frank Church Wilderness Area without a permit. It's tied up tighter than the southern border. And don't think to leave any garbage behind. The fine is massive.

    I'm ok with the non motorized part. But it makes it hard for the older folks. A mountain bike, what's the harm?

    Or one of Mat's electric bikes, modified to solar, so you don't have to peddle it downhill to charge it up.

  27. Correlation is not causation, or words to that effect.

    Mat might be Finnish. That could explain a lot.

  28. About a month ago, I was asked to deliver a short presentation to the Canadian Army on tactical counterinsurgency lessons learned over the past years in Iraq. What initially seemed like an easy task quickly became difficult as I synthesized the complex and varied experiences of US Army units into relevant and concise points transferrable to a foreign army.

    After a long night, I produced ten observations that reflect enduring lessons from Iraq that would resonate with military audiences. They are:

    • Learn from the past.

    • Learn to ask understanding questions.

    • Data is not understanding.

    • Mass all of your resources to achieve the objective.

    • Security matters.

    • Population control is critical for success.

    • Build human infrastructure alongside the physical.

    • Understand perceptions matter far more than truth

    • Communicate effectively.

    Sisyphus and COIN

  29. Dr. Peter Fenwick is a reputable and ingenious guy. I've read his books, most anyway. He might be worth a listen tomorrow night.

  30. Drat, I knew there must be a flaw in my reasoning somewhere.

    Finnish, that's possible. They have a rare, really unique language too, like the Sumerians.

  31. This approach has carried over to the general election, where his campaign can look innovative or deeply conventional, depending on which day it is and which issue he’s addressing. This straddle may win him the White House.

    But if he loses, the approach he has taken will offer fodder for both interpretations of the GOP’s current plight. Advocates of retrenchment will argue that McCain’s heterodoxies cost him the loyalty of the base and thus the presidency, while advocates of renovation and reform will argue that he hewed too closely to party orthodoxy to win over independent voters.

    And the question of whether the GOP is stuck in the Democrats’ 2004 or in their 1980 will be left unresolved—that is, at least until 2012 rolls round.

    Groundhog Day

  32. Not to take anything away from Sisyphus, but it strikes me his nine points could have served the US Forest Service well if they'd have been available around 1975, or so.

    What seems like common sense often isn't.


  33. It would explain his always talking about Santa's Reindeer, too.

  34. Or, heaven forbid, one of them Lapps. It's said they honor no boundaries.

    I chased a reindeer once on a motorcycle through the Norwegian tundra. Betcha couldn't do that now.

  35. Really Nifty Pic Of Solar Eclipse

    Do the Finns play a lot of chess, and take their good time about it?

  36. Yep, the good Major's observations could apply to a lot of things.

    Take sex for instance.

  37. Finnish Women.

    Heard of a guy who picked up a stunning blonde. Wound up with her in his hotel room.

    The rest of the story revolves around the question, "Are you Finnish?"

    Can't remember it all, dammit.

    I think he wore himself out, and then she told him she was Norwegian, or something like that.

  38. “I Pray Heaven to Bestow The Best of Blessing on THIS HOUSE, and on ALL that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof!”

    -John Adams

  39. Guy says, 'Are you finnish'?

    She says, 'No, just shtarting.'

  40. Take sex for instance.

    :) hahahaha

    Excellent Sam.


    You know we must really be living in an interdependent world. We have some trouble here, things go haywire from England to Russia to Japan, we stabalize and they all have big upswings too.

    Russia, having closed its markets because of a fall, now closes them because of a big rise.

    And I don't really see how Russians markets are entwined with theirs. England and Japan, yes.

  41. Do the Finns play a lot of chess, and take their good time about it?

    So I've heard. And speak in riddles.

  42. Well that settles it then. Mat hasn't moved that chess piece in ages. And he speaks in riddles much of the time.

    He's Finnish, alright.

    And I'm finnished for the night. Night.

  43. Bob: I'm ok with the non motorized part.

    There's an enormous backlog of trail maintenance. The uber-enviros in charge of FS wilderness mgt policy are such purists they cut off their nose to spite their face.

    They sit around and whine about lack of budget, and deny the worker bees the tools to do a decent job.

    I enjoyed watching Navy attack jets screaming up the Mono Creek canyon, skimming the Sierra crest just a bit above my head. Because they could. Thought no one was watching.

  44. I bet the nervous type might think that this big fed take over could be a financail realignment for something big. nk, iran coming to a head soon w/russ maybe jumping in. gov has control of a lot more $ all at once.
    i got to stick to tea, coffee always does this to me.

  45. M.Simon on Global Temperatures, Lehman Bros, Gore and Hansen.

    Gains Of 30 Years Wiped Out

    Temperatures In Decline
    click for larger image

    It looks like the era of Global Warming is Over. Icecap reports:

    Many scary stories have been written about the dangers of catastrophic global warming, allegedly due to increased atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the combustion of fossil fuels. But is the world really catastrophically warming? NO. And is the warming primarily caused by humans? NO.

    Since just January 2007, the world has cooled so much that ALL the global warming over the past three decades has disappeared! This is confirmed by a plot of actual global average temperatures from the best available source, weather satellite data that shows there has been NO net global warming since the satellites were first launched in 1979.

    Since there was global cooling from ~1940 to ~1979, this means there has been no net warming since ~1940, is spite of an ~800% increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide. This indicates that the recent warming trend was natural, and CO2 is an insignificant driver of global warming.

    Furthermore, the best fit polynomial shows a strong declining trend. Are we seeing the beginning of a natural cooling cycle? YES. Further cooling, with upward and downward variability, is expected because the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has returned to its cool phase, as announced by NASA this year.

    You know this is really terrible news for financial outfits like Lehman Brothers.

    LONDON - Lehman Brothers shut down its carbon emissions trading desk after the bank filed for bankruptcy protection, a source close to the company told Reuters on Monday.

    "Everything's stopped, blocked ... it's a bit anarchic," he said.

    Lehman declined to comment on the matter.

    Trouble ahead, trouble behind. And speaking of behind. Who was helping Lehman to make carbon trading popular?

    Al Gore’s carbon trading business GIM was banked with Lehman Bros. It will be interesting to see how this will play in the future but I suspect that this increases the risk of participating in Carbon trading. Merrill Lynch was also deeply involved in this business.

    Last year Lehman Brothers released a long and highly publicized report about climate change in which they preached about decarbonization, trying to make their investors keep getting high profits from the Kyoto carbon trade scheme and the support of huge public subventions. All that, of course, with the applause of the usual choir of politicians, the entire media and the Greens.

    Last year Lehman Brothers released a long and highly publicized report about climate change in which they preached about decarbonization, trying to make their investors keep getting high profits from the Kyoto carbon trade scheme and the support of huge public subventions. All that, of course, with the applause of the usual choir of politicians, the entire media and the Greens.

    A year ago they couldn’t predict their bankruptcy but were predicting the climate 100 years ahead. Thousands of green militants have been using the Lehman report as a proof of global warming and impending chaos. Lehman Bros said it! sacred words! Its scientific advisor is James Hansen!

    Well what do you know? Gore and Hansen. Two of the most prestigious names in the Carbon Trading and Global Warming Science business. If you have any stock in those two guys now is the time to short it, before it goes to ∅.

  46. slider, you've got more confidence in conspiracies than I do.

    Interesting perspective, though. Templars? Luminati?

    Gotta be bigger than Skull & Bones.

  47. Work getting in the way here.

    G'nite, Linear.

  48. As related at Forbes, a trusted source of information, for over thirty-five years.

    So far, the federal government's tab for propping up Fannie Mae (nyse: FNM - news - people ), Freddie Mac (nyse: FRE - news - people ), and American International Group (nyse: AIG - news - people ) is $400 billion. Add the new loan relief entity, plus a smattering of other recent initiatives, and the jumping-off point could be near $1 trillion.

    Seem high? It isn't. If history is a guide, the price tag for all this bold action will ultimately outstrip any estimate now being floated. In past bailouts, including the Resolution Trust Corp. formed in 1989 to help resolve the savings-and-loan crisis, the ultimate taxpayer cost was magnitudes larger than originally projected.

    When Congress put together the RTC, it funded it with $50 billion and tasked it with taking on the assets of failed thrifts and subsequently working them off. The RTC lasted until 1995 and required additional injections of capital along the way, ultimately totaling more than $100 billion.

    Where oh where is the US Government going to borrow a trillion dollars, this time?

    The Sauds or the Chinese?
    A mixture of both?

    No new taxes, that's the rallying cry!

  49. Can't sell the real assets of the Government, land and such.
    Need free public access to bob's favorite fishin' hole.

    Can't sell them wild horses.

    Can't sell the Navy or those fancy new jets.

    We'll be free of foreign oil, in a decade, but not free of paying interest, on the money we now borrow, that's the new addiction.

    The magic of compound interest, in reverse. mat's been right, the oil won't matter, but the finance sure will.

    The "other" is well ahead of the curve.

  50. Fortune, the financial mag I never had a fondness for

    But for the rest of us, the feds' rush to defend teetering financial firms only defers the tough decisions that will need to be made before this crisis subsides - at the expense, perhaps, of repeating Japan's so-called lost decade of economic stagnance after its property bubble collapsed around 1990.

    History shows that setting up bad banks without forcing financial firms' managers to confront their problems won't solve anything.

    "This seems to us," Bernstein writes, "to be a very Japanese approach to solving a credit crisis."

  51. 7/ Like Chaim Witz, Mat's Hai-Po mate "Gene Simmons", Mat prefers Sleepish Blondes.

  52. 8/ Mat also has an affinity to Cone Heads.

  53. Canada (/ˈkænədə/)
    kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".

    Ontario (/ˌɒnˈtɑːɹ.i.əʊ/)
    ontari:io, meaning "great lake".

  54. I doubt all these bail-outs mean much at all.

    Government taxes all commercial transactions at various stages.

    All manufacturing, extraction industries, services including all military and government programs become ordinary income which is taxed.

    The goods that flow through the various sectors are taxed.

    All profits are taxed.

    There really is such a thing as the multiplier effect where income flows from one entity to another, taxed at each exchange.

    Any money that gets into commercial or residential construction creates a fixed asset that may see 40 years or more of real estate taxes.

    Properly accounted, all of these bailouts will end up bringing in more government revenue than will be spent on the programs.

    The amount of total debt in a vibrant economy seems to defy expectations. Despite the colossus of federal debt and all the hype that foreigners will not accept more US paper, guess what we saw this week? An insatiable demand for US Government treasuries, so much so that the yield was driven down to below zero.


  55. The interesting thing will be watching what all these treasury holders will do in the following weeks with liquid assets that are yielding them nothing.

    Yesterday at the open I bought AIG, knowing nothing about the stockholders plans to try and cancel the government loans. I figured that if the US was guaranteeing it and the going to own 80%, then that left 20% of the value of a company that will never fail. I checked and saw the stock was down way more than 80% off its high and I bought.

    Surprise , surprise , it went up 43% and I think it has a long way to go on the up side.

    This is no recommendation.

  56. Ding, Ding, Ding

    We have a Winner!

    We spend some money to bail out the Masters of the Universe; and, then, we raise taxes on the Masters of the Universe to pay for it.

    In the meantime, Credit, the very Lifeblood of Western Civilization, continues to flow.

    Not bad.

  57. Good move, deuce.

    Just how does the government go about acquiring 80% of AIG? From whom, at what price?
    Optimistic Report From Afghanistan

  58. Are you interested in a pickup truck?

  59. Great Play

    on AIG, I mean.

  60. The news from Rasmussen Reports isn't so good today. Obama up by 1 nationally, and McCain only up by 2 in Indiana.

  61. I would not worry about those polls Bob, considering the week we had. It all comes down to the first debate. Everything rides on that, unless of course, something else happens.

  62. Bob, It looks like AIG has only drawn down $28B and there is some serious effort to pay the US back. I am not sure how they do it but suppose they put their 80% back on the market, after the company is fixed, the balance of the 20% goes along for the ride. It seems sorta hard not to make money at the current stock price. One would hope. Especially this one.

  63. This election could, conceivably turn on New Hampshire, for Christ's sake. Wouldn't That be a hoot.

  64. As I've stated here a few times, there just isn't enough bad paper out there to sink the system. We were just "froze up" because no one knew, exactly, who had how much.

    Once it's out in the open, it will be fairly easy to adjust to the situation.

    Capitalism was working just fine until, for some inexplicable reason, the Ratings Agencies decided that a whole bundle of b-- loans became AAA.

    Some day we've got to revisit those people (They'd better have a damned good story.)

  65. Washington Mutual might be a good buy. Or might have been. Maybe not, though. Might not have been.

    < ?:) >

    The election has a fairly good chance, as these things go, to be an electoral college tie, too, though as Rat says that means the dems win.

  66. This week features the first debate, Friday night in Oxford, Mississippi. When an incumbent is running for reelection, history suggests that, by the time of the debates, all but a few voters will have already made their minds up. This year there's no incumbent, and the debates will be watched by many voters (perhaps as many as 20 percent) who remain undecided or have only a weak preference.

    I have a feeling McCain might do pretty well. He's been cogent (except on this crisis business) on the campaign trail of late. Seems to be able to rattle off sensible sounding stuff easily.

  67. ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — A huge explosion ripped through part of the heavily guarded Marriott Hotel in Pakistan's capital on Saturday. Many people, including foreigners, were seen running out, some of them stained with blood.

    Gosh, they blocked the Americans from going after al-Qaeda in the border region, and this is how al-Qaeda pays Pakistan back? The ingrates!

  68. 2164th: It all comes down to the first debate.

    Negotiations by the Obama campaign to allow a TelePrompTer at the debate continue.