“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, January 30, 2009

The US Cannot Afford to Retreat to Protectionism

Now gentleman and ladies, ask yourself, what trade can the US afford to lose? We need Midddle East oil and Venezuelan oil, We need the Chinese to buy our debt so that we can purchase their goods, which we need for many reasons. We need people to buy Caterpillar tractors, Apple computers and Boeing aircraft. 

Good trade creates wealth. Inexpensive goods helps to increase the quality of life.

All along, we should have favored trade within the Americas.We can still do that and not exclude those who trade fairly with us. At this time, we cannot afford to further fracture world trade and commerce. 

As for the relevance of the young Latina, it's Friday night. Enjoy it.

Obama Will Review Buy American Provision in Stimulus

By Roger Runningen and Hans Nichols

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s administration will examine a “buy American” requirement in economic stimulus legislation that has raised concern among U.S. trading partners, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

The administration “will review that particular provision,” Gibbs said today at his regular briefing. The president’s advisers understand “all of the concerns that have been heard, not only in this room, but in newspapers produced both up north and down south.”

He refused to say whether the administration supported or opposed keeping that part of the legislation intact. Nor did he say what the president would do if the provision remains once the bill clears the House and the Senate.

The issue may cloud Obama’s trip to Canada on Feb. 19, his first journey outside U.S. borders as president. Officials in Canada, the top U.S. trade partner, are criticizing a part of legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives Jan. 28 that requires the use of U.S.-made iron and steel in infrastructure projects.

“U.S. protectionism is about to make Canada’s recession a lot worse,” Ralph Goodale, house leader for the opposition Liberal Party, said today in Parliament.

‘Serious Matter’

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday that he will complain to U.S. officials over the “buy American” measure. “This is obviously a serious matter,” he said.

The provision also is opposed by U.S. companies with significant sales overseas such as General Electric Co. and Caterpillar Inc., which warn it may spark other countries to retaliate by restricting U.S. products.

The Senate is working on its own version of the stimulus legislation.

The U.S. provision is “clearly against trade agreements,” and Canada would be able to file a complaint under either the North American Free Trade Agreement or with the World Trade Organization, said Simon Potter, an international trade lawyer with McCarthy Tetrault in Montreal.

Harper is proposing a C$40 billion ($32.6 billion) plan to boost Canada’s economy, which like the U.S. is being gripped by a recession. Canada ships about three-quarters of its goods to the U.S. and is being squeezed by plunging demand here.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that trade is going to be on an agenda for a bilateral meeting between the United States and Canada,” Gibbs said.


  1. Read all the beer stuff a couple threads back. Interesting stuff.

    Coopers is the most popular beer in South Australia. And possibly the whole of Australia. It is a local Adelaide beer. Really good.

  2. Rufus persists in maintaining his record of being 100% wrong.
    But, almost always optimistic.

    "Well, at least I'm not bickering, interminably, about the Joos and the Palis." :)

    AMEN, Bro!

    "I don't know, the economy grew at a 1.3% rate in 2008, and, I predict, will more or less flatline this year. Maybe down a touch, maybe up a touch.

    Unemployment, the last I looked was 6.7%, not great, but not nearly as bad as the eighties."

    My point isn't about the present state of the economy, but the shape we'll be in after this dumbed-down, thoroughly socialist team of immature radicals gets through with it.
    ...and spineless GOP Senate, led by you know who.

  3. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale,
    "Their famous Reinheitsgebot purity law that used to limit the potential ingredients has kept nearly all imported beers out of the country, even long after the EU made them give that up in 1987."

  4. Sposed to be a big heat spell down there, Sam.
    I forgot, what part of that tiny island do you call home?

  5. Harper should worry more about Canadians being able to buy Canadian. American and other multinationals should be taxed out of Canada, instead of being given billions and billions of Canadian tax money. These multinationals have no business in Canada and should be kicked out immediately.

  6. The Business of America is Business.

  7. The Business of America is Business.

    Canada is not America, and America is not Canada.

    Canada should have its own industries to serve its markets, and American/Multinationals should not be receiving any aid from taxpayers. Just the opposite, these foreign entities should be levied a 50% tax for the privilege of operating in Canada.

  8. Just so long as "undocumented workers" who seek to become middle class get their stimulus check...


    redistribute the wealth so says Comrade Obama...



  9. That'll create JOBS, WIO, when these Nouveau Rich Illegals start hirin toilet cleaners from the ranks of the Newly Unemployed Citizens.

    ...and that 4 Billion to ACORN will see to it that it all gets properly ORGANIZED.

  10. Don't you mean foreign nationals, in Canada, like you, mat?

  11. Or are you a multi-national, living in Canada?

  12. Don't you mean foreign nationals, in Canada, like you, mat?

    I'm not a foreign national.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Further,

    Corporations are not citizens. It's only in the fscked up corporate world America created that the corporations are awarded citizen's rights and privileges, or more accurately, super citizen rights and privileges.

  15. Blogger Doug said...

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale,

    First always tastes green to me, second always gives me a headache, and Bitburger is always welcome, but seldom seen. Germany has some of the world's best brews, and ironically, some of the worst. Kirner Pils, the local brew where I was stationed, tasted like it was made with the influent to the local sewage treatment plant.

    Shiner Bock from Texas is a favorite on my trips to the Ozarks. St Pauli Girl is always refreshing, light or dark. Portland, OR has some of the best micro- and mid-sized breweries in the country, imo, Widmer, Terminator Ale, etc.

    My daughter is the beer connoisseur in my family. I usually wait for her to order, and then just say, "Make that two."

  16. I'm not a foreign national.

    So, are you a multi-national?



    Corporations are not citizens. It's only in the fscked up corporate world America created that the corporations are awarded citizen's rights and privileges, or more accurately, super citizen rights and privileges.

    Hit the turntable. The needle's stuck again.

  17. Damn! That's one hell of a workout.

  18. Just for you, LT:

    Could 42nd Street Get a Light Rail and Go Car-Free?

    Looks beautiful!

  19. And here's one just for you, mat.

    Last year was challenging, businesswise, but this year is going great! We are so fortunate to have positioned ourselves as Green Building leaders in this area five years ago. It's really been good for us, and we are still getting leads for some really great projects, and have signed a couple projects since the first of the year. We have lots of projects in design & our Spring & Summer look really promising for construction starts.

    From an e-mail from my cousin. I've always been the black sheep of the family it seems. It started in the 60's.

  20. I've always been the black sheep of the family it seems.

    I'm glad your cousin is doing well (or better) in these very challenging times. And it's good that you two are still on speaking terms. :)

  21. Save An Elk, Kill A Wolf

    I'm on this topic, as my CWP professor and class got on the topic tonight. He's half Chippewa, so's you can't say he's a white hypocrite, or a Native American naturalist, either one.
    We had the wolves off the endangered species list, and the f**king judge put 'em back on.

    I have reported they are decimating the elk, like the old timers said they would, and it is getting bad now.

    There is a bumper sticker that says, "Shoot, Shovel, Shut-Up" which is the course of action my guy advocates, personally, he says.

    He says the wolves we had here before, called lobos, have all been killed by the planted newcomers. Lobos were smaller, these new fellers get up to over 200 pounds, and killed all the native wolves off. They are not the same wolves. In govmint speak, it's called saving an endangered species.

    Interesting guy, and really knows his guns. Had a magnificent 30.06 single shot pistol, among dozens and dozens of other armaments.

    He said there was a great hour long video of Idaho wolves killing elk and raising hell but I can't find it on you tube. I'l try to get the name of the video.

  22. "In the western U.S., you really need to be at 87 percent survival or better to have any chance of population stability or growth," said state wildlife biologist George Pauley at Kamiah. "When you are down in the 70s or low 80s, that is not good. We are not going to maintain a population. It will decline under those conditions."

    He and others have established that wolf predation is the chief cause of death among radio-collared elk in the Lolo zone.

    "Of the known causes of death, 75 percent are wolves," Pauley said. "Wolves appear to be driving low cow survival."

    There in the farmland too, around Deary, Troy.

    F**king dumb bastards, the Sierra Club, the Feds, the judges.

    We could have told 'em so, and did.

  23. Pauley said in theory, robust survival of calves could compensate for the low cow survival. But calves are also having problems. He said the survival of calves from the June to December, their first six months of life, is reasonable. But during their second six months of life, only 75 percent are surviving. Of those older calves that don't make it, wolves kill about two-thirds.

    "We have reasonable recruitment to midwinter, but during their second six months of life, survival is only 75 percent and 65 percent of the known cause of death (among older calves) is wolves," said Pauley.

  24. Where does Daschle rank, money-wise @ $140,000?
    ...he just naively thot it was a gift.
    Everybody should set up that kind of relationship with their employers.
    The whole damned Economy could run on Goodwill and Good Vibes.

  25. Some genius Biologist should figure out a way to wipe out the whole damn population of Wolves, unless they could be converted into Sierra Club Predators.

    Keep that population under control!

    Shoot a Judge, Save the Elk!

  26. Pale Ale IS Green, Linear!
    The Hops are the haps.
    I was gonna put down Pauli Girl, but it's been a long time since I've had a taste.

  27. A foreign multi-national, should have known.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. What, bob, decided we all do not need $100,000 per family?

  30. Could 42nd Street Get a Light Rail and Go Car-Free?

    Rosy financial projections like those always bring a smile.

    Show me one light rail that's come in with less than a 100% budget overrun. Anywhere. It could be a good solution. I just never trust the costs/benefits your sources project.

    I hope it works. The happier they are in Manhattan, the less likely they are to move to my neighborhood.

  31. I hope it works. The happier they are in Manhattan, the less likely they are to move to my neighborhood.

    No shit, my sentiments, exactly. I'm all for 'keepin' 'em down in the city'.


    Guys figures didn't figure up Rat, so, not wanting to get you excited, I took it down. He was off by about 7 times, or something.

  32. That cross-town loop proposed in the article might actually be a good solution. Manhattan would seem to have the density of riders, traffic problems, and an established mix of destinations/origins to make it practical. Unlike the laying down of a superimposed light rail system over a dispersed transit problem, as is usually the case. In Portland it just made mugging and gang-banging more efficient.

    Just keep the numbers honest.

    Let us know how it works out, mat.

  33. I've been wondering if there is any event or series of events, or price of fuel, high or low, that will finally put an end to our experiment with a city bus in Moscow. This was the brain hemorrhage of a former city council, and I had hoped with the new boys, it would be gone. The U of I dropped out of the program as a big waste of money. Maybe the city has gotten some more money from Uncle Sam. Anyway, it's riderless, as always.

    It's about as smart as trying to fix up the old junior high school for an old folks center, to play cards and shuffleboard in, when the old folks don't use it, and would really rather have a big screen tv at home, if money is going to be spent on them.

    As expected, the figures in the paper today have the enrollment at U of I up this spring semester. I imagine it is the same all around the country. Bad times, good for the educational game.

    Which almost makes one wonder if all this isn't a professor's plot.

    Maybe if we have an out and out depression, long lasting, we'll become a highly literate and skilled society, with everyone knowing three or four skills, and speaking three or four languages, as President Obama said we must, so he will not be ashamed of us any longer.

    He speaks three languages himself, American, Chicago, and, as Doug says, Jive-Ass.

    So we can be proud of our President.

  34. January 20, 2009, 4:28 p.m.
    The Associated Press

    MEXICO CITY - Mexican federal police have found three suspected drug tunnels under construction in the city of Nogales near the Arizona border.

    Mexico's Public Security Department says two of the tunnels ran beneath the U.S.-Mexico border. One of those still had wood boards and the other was lined with cement.

    Officials say the third was about 7 meters long and appeared to have no exit.

    The department on Tuesday did not say when the tunnels were found.

    Dozens of tunnels believed built by Mexican drug cartels have been found along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years, many of them incomplete.

    Dozens, in this case means about 36.

    Ninth border tunnel in 3 months found

    Tuesday, December 30, 2008

    Associated Press

    NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) -- A clandestine tunnel along the Arizona-Mexican border has been found near downtown Nogales.

    That makes nine tunnels found in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector since October.

    Agents found the newest tunnel Monday night during routine patrol. It was hidden with clumps of grass about 50 yards north of the border and 100 yards northwest of the port of entry

    Agents found the origin of the tunnel using technology. Mexican authorities found the tunnel was carved out of a storm drain.

    The Border Patrol says 34 separate tunnels were found and filled in the Tucson Sector between the fiscal years of 2003 and 2008.

  35. "Show me one light rail that's come in with less than a 100% budget overrun. Anywhere. It could be a good solution. I just never trust the costs/benefits your sources project. "
    All they need is a good battery, and a revolutionary one is right around the corner.
    Trust Me.

  36. Rufus adds:
    "And some 100 Proof Gin!"

  37. "Officials say the third was about 7 meters long and appeared to have no exit."
    That's the one for the US Economic Recovery.

  38. Obama Smiles
    Andrew C. McCarthy

    ..."But Obama had no problem standing with 20 percent of lawmakers in opposing Roberts—just as he was content to be in a hard-Left fringe that opposed surveillance reform and, in Illinois, a ban on partial-birth abortion. Obama is a smart guy. He knew he couldn’t defeat Roberts, and he wasn’t trying to. He was trying to lead. He saw himself, quite perceptively, as the vanguard of an ideological movement, and he was doing what a vanguard does: showing the way.

    For Obama, Roberts represented the adversary in countless ways: He embodied judicial restraint, hostility to Roe v. Wade, rejection of Obama’s theory that “positive rights” (i.e., welfare rights) may be discovered in the Constitution, deafness to claims that the Constitution may be read to ban that which it explicitly permits (e.g., the death penalty) and to permit that which it explicitly bans (e.g., race-conscious unequal protection), and so on. For what little it’s worth, I don’t agree with any of the now-president’s views on these matters. One needn’t agree, however, in order to admire his skill.

    Opposing the Roberts nomination was not about beating a nominee. It was about making a point—or, rather, several points. It was about fighting, which is what vibrant movements do when high-stakes moments arise. It was about defining Obama by defining what he was against. It was about setting a bar to lead the opposition against future nominees. It was about putting down a marker for future elections: This is who we are, and this is who they are. It was about proving that Obama had the self-confidence to fight and the brains to know that fighting and losing often makes the team stronger in the fights to come.

    The fight, the principled stand, is what stirs and catalyzes an ideological movement’s supporters. President Obama insists he is a pragmatist, not an ideologue, but that is a feint. Governing is an unavoidably pragmatic exercise, a choice between concrete, available possibilities. But those possibilities are not arrived at by pragmatism. They are driven by ideologies, by how elections define competing points of view and apparently resolve them.

    The president has a winning political formula. Show up for all the big fights and get the rhetoric right, because the base needs the big fights and the rhetoric, even when pragmatism limits action’s ability to achieve rhetoric’s ambitions. Vote “present” if you have to, but resist voting for what you’re against because the precedent will kill you down the road; and, at all times, keep pushing the ball up the field—with the occasional long pass when the other side falls asleep, but otherwise with three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, a strategy tailor-made for the Leviathan of a field we’re playing on.
    So what are Republicans doing? Why, they’re rallying behind Holder, of course. The Judiciary Committee overwhelming approved his nomination, 17–2, with six of the eight Republicans joining Democrats who’ve never seen a Republican nominee they couldn’t bruise, block, or bury. The nominee now moves on to the full Senate, where confirmation, with solid Republican backing, is assured.

    In a radio appearance last week, Michael Steele, a Holder supporter who is a candidate to become head of the Republican National Committee, explained this, er, strategy. We have to be smart about picking our battles, he told a disgruntled conservative caller. Steele asked, is there any real chance of beating Holder? When she conceded there was not, he replied, with evident self-satisfaction: Why would I want to get into a fight we can’t win? He then spoke vapidly about how it was more important to get Holder in power: that, you see, is when we really get to confront him on issues.

    Somewhere, President Obama was smiling."

  39. As the world economic slowdown begins to really bite, it looks as though the credit crisis is this century's Smoot Hawley. It's possible that short term calls for more tariffs might play well in the hustings but have no practical effect. No goods crossing borders equals no tariffs.

    Economic recovery? Not yet and maybe not anytime soon. Maybe we haven't seen the bottom yet... No one knows. That's the problem, no one seems to know much of anything like what is the actual size of the GDP these days. Hmm...I bet a trillion dollars is a much larger percentage of GDP than it was 16 months ago.

    The whirled however has been given hope by the election of the new President. We all know that it's time for change and we're waiting for the wise men. Never mind their ethics and integrity, we're desparate for change. Let's Ask Pig Pen, Ken Kesey, and Tim Leary for their ideas on a sustainable, alternative economic model. More likely though, Gens X and Y would relate to the young Tech Turks such as the Google boys.

    As usual, the next few years are going to be very interesting as the whirl does "the shake, rattle and roll."

    My advice -
    Be prepared. To meet you maker if nothin else. Keep on the sunny side. Laugh at everything. Period.

    Be watchful.
    Don't let the punks sneak up on you. Remember, just as your getting ready to harvest your crop, someone else may be also.

    Be nimble.
    Shift paradigms with the best of them. Never mind what it means, just be ready to turn a dime. If the whole whirled is wearing bib overalls one day and coveralls the next, lose your bibs, baby!

    Be creative. Eat more sardines (brain food) and stay away from drive throughs.

    BTW- Which author wrote "sour dines" in the southern dialect?

    Be inventive.
    It's time for a new Whole Earth Catalog maybe delivered on-line and dead tree.

    Be reinventive.
    Reinvent yourself as many time as it takes. While you're waiting for your WholeEarth to go viral, you can market yourself as an expert on sustainable living in a new urban environment. Or perhaps your a spokesman for the New Back to the Earth movement. Happy Birkenstocks.

    Just remember being 35 miles away from home with a briefcase might no longer be sufficient "expert" credentials.

    Whatever you do, just keep laughing.

  40. That belongs topside partner. good stuff!

  41. Good advice there, Whit.

    Change is coming all around. Some of it overdue, some just needing a little 'stimulus'.

    The market for things like being an expert on sustainable living in the new urban environment may be one of the casualties of the bigger changes, though. Not much budget left for expert consultants when the cupboards are bare, both the public and private cupboards.

    La trompette offre la possibilité d'obtenir des sons variés en utilisant les diverses sourdines, accessoires que l'on place sur ou dans le pavillon. ...

  42. That's to bad, that Mr Ferguson knows what he's talking about.

    Stagnation in 2009,
    1% growth in 2010.

    Flight from the dollar

  43. Nial knows we'll be printing not borowing, and with Geithner in charge, how bad will it get?


  44. Exit from the US Bond Market,


    an Exit from the Dollar!

    ...let's see 'Ruf spin a positive tale from that!
    (Ethanol Powered, of course.)

  45. "You either crowd out other borrowers or you print money," ... "There is no way you can have $2.2 trillion in borrowing without influencing interest rates or inflation in the long-term" -Ferguson

  46. F...... Chi-Coms won't invest in a sure loser!
    I told you, you caint trust em!

  47. A smart bet may be to invest in farmland with a low fixed rate mortgage.

  48. Son's Guns have appreciated nicely.
    Invest in Firepower!
    (Mat's on Nitrous)

  49. If there's no air in the balloon, there's room to inflate it but you need to know when to stop blowing.

    Conventional Wisdom:
    With the economy dead in the water (according to some)inflation is not the immediate problem.

  50. Yeah,
    Obama the Pragmatist:
    "We're just rescuing the economy!"
    ...while re-distributing wealth, and ringing in Socialism.

    ...spreading it, as it were.

  51. That belongs topside partner. good stuff!

    'Fraid not. It's pure fluff.

    I don't have much to say these days. I'm just watching and listening and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Looking to see how to quit the rat race. Seems to me that the best thing one can do in the coming years is to "deleverage" which is what many of us tried to do back in the day of the Back to the Earth movement. I have friends in the mountains who have lived that life all these years and by golly that lifestyle looks pretty good right about now.

  52. If it smells,
    Spread It!
    ...I always say.

  53. " I have friends in the mountains who have lived that life all these years and by golly that lifestyle looks pretty good right about now."
    Funniest thing:
    I keep having wet-dreams about the Hippy Chick that bought our farm!
    ...glad I'm not Swedish.
    (She is)

  54. "Green Acres is the place to be..." :)

  55. (the fear is, what does this old bod do when it is really cold?)
    Linear would know.

  56. Yeah right, you old codger. In your dreams.

  57. Trish and Doug.

    Despite what it looks like, I do know the difference between "your" and "you're."

    Gotta go beat the crowd to the barber shop...

    Keep on truckin'!

  58. I'm back already. My barber took off for a golfing weekend. I should have gone to barber school.

    Not much budget left for expert consultants when the cupboards are bare, both the public and private cupoards.

    I know, but the point is: you gotta stay current, know the buzzwords, be hip, go with the flow, roll with the punches, play the game. Don't take anything too seriously and remember it's all too ephemeral.

  59. I know what you mean about sitting back. I am still trying to understand if Obama has a comprehensive plan or just bewildered by a blizzard of ideas. If he does not and is being whip-lashed by the best and brightest, he and we have a problem.

    If he sets a clear strategy, I will simply adjust to adapt and survive the consequences.

  60. In your dreams

    Find her song "Don't" from her Pieces of Youalbum.

    Put on the earphones, crank up the volume and dream...

  61. Here's a version online but the CD version or mp3 are much better audibly.

  62. Miller had some selection and comment that made me realize that Cher actually had something to contribute.

  63. Lot's of excellent advice at the Bar this morning. Particularily Whit at 7:15.

    You can still get a haircut here for $6, if you go to the Beauty School.

    Doug, all the lawsuits are DOA.

    Except, maybe down the road a piece, there will be---and there will be---some military fellow(lots of people in the military seems ticked off about this) that refuses to obey orders on the grounds the Commander in Chief isn't qualified to be giving them. When this fellow gets prosecuted by the military, he asks to see proof that the big O is a natural born citizen, which he has a right to do under the evidence laws, so the theory is. I think he probably wouild, too. So O can either produce the evidence, or not prosecute. Or maybe the judge rules O is C in C anyways. In which case the appeals go I know not where, back to the SC I quess. That's the latest speculation. The best case was the Donofrio theory, which the SC punted. The SC should have taken that case, as it's clear his father--or so he claims himself--was a Kenyan and British citizen. By not taking the case, the SC has said, that's ok dokey, for now.

    There's 15 or so other cases out there milling in one state of being or other, but they don't look fruitful.

    Another thing is, some of the state, Oklahoma comes to mind, are passing legislation mandating that next election season 4 years from now, their delegates to the Electoral College got to have REAL PROOF that the candidate is qualified, or no votes for you, sonny buck. This is a good idea, and should cause some real trouble down the line. Or rather, avoid real trouble down the line. I hope this catches on, among the states.

  64. On top of all the other shit hitting the fan, there's a real chance Israel may take on Iran in the near future.

    One fellows advice on another site was, 'short the market if Netanyehu gets elected'.

    Not one to give stock market advice,I'd add though, buy gas now.

    Or get one of Mat's electric cars or scooters.



    Electric transport







    Or, an urban bunker.

  65. Good lookin young feller, ain't he? Wrote a book, too, I hear.

    He's just babbling. He might end up, short-term, right about GDP. Probably wrong about the Dollar (thing is, all other currencies are in the same shape, if not worse.)

    The booger-bear is Energy, specifically, oil. What I expect is that as soon as we start to come out of recession a rising oil price will knock us right back in. I kind of expect this cycle (of diminishing oil supplies/higher prices continuing to put us back into recession as quick as we can crawl out) to last a decade, or so.

    I think we'll have to go through a couple of these smackdowns before we get pissed enough to get serious about a comprehensive solution.

    We'll see. As for Obama. I think he's probably completely lost right now. We've never in our history elected someone so, completly, utterly unprepared to hold the office. I expect (hope for) him to find his footing in a year, or so; but I'm afraid we're in for a pretty aimless drift in the meantime.

    I think the next year will be the worst of Carter, and Clinton, magnified at least twice.

    Deuce, and Whit are right. Be nimble, and keep a sense of humor. If you take it too seriously it'll take you around the bend, big time.

    We've got a big, strong country. He can "nick" it pretty good; but he can't break it. Us old dinosaurs, however, we're a different story. He, Pelosi, and Reid could have us jumping out of windows if we're not careful.

    If you just gotta jump, make sure you're no higher than the first floor (and, try to pick a window that has some nice shrubbery underneath. Remember, this is a "Small" bar. If you don't come in every day your Buds will miss you.

  66. open question...

    they are stating that the GNP has dropped for the 4th quarter...


    Now how did the cost of oil dropping from 140 a barrel to 40 a barrel effect the actual dollars generated

    did not this actual drop in costs effect the gross revenues of the GNP

    since house prices in california have dropped 30% (and sales of existing homes are U 6.5%) each unit sold is only 70% of the dollars "booked" from a year ago...

    Is this reflective in the "3.8%" decline in gnp?

    or does the GNP only really work in a growing up market?

    deflation DOES impact measurements....

    so really since the costs of foods, durable goods, homes and much more are actually going down, is our gdp decline actually real?

  67. A belated (repeated) note on beer: Whatever defects the Belgians possess as a people (and they are legion) they make the world's finest beer walking away. And the finest of the finest is sadly unavailable more than 15 km from its source.

    They also gave us Tintin, without which (alongside Calvin and Hobbes) my son would consider his early childhood woefully incomplete.

    For these two exceptional contributions, we may forgive them much else.

  68. Fox News is reporting some good news. The FBI is cutting its ties with CAIR.

  69. WIO, that 3.8 is an annualized number. For the quarter it only dropped .95 of 1%.

    It's, also, a Real number. That means it takes the Deflation that occurred in the 4th quarter into consideration.

  70. Whit

    Jewell is playing at this giant Indian Casino tonite on the Texas/Oklahoma line (Winnstar). I have half a mind to make the drive.

    I know, half a mind...

  71. Man cited for "Public Drunkeness." Caught Riding White Horse during Snowstorm

    Country's going "straight to hell;" no doubt about it.


    What is Political Capitalism?

    Political capitalism is a private-property, market-oriented system that is compromised by business-sponsored government intervention. It is a socioeconomic system in which many or most regulations, subsidies, and tax-code provisions result from the lobbying efforts of directly affected businesses and their allies.

    Today in the United States, there is greater political transparency and competition between political elites than was evident in the business-dominated past (the 19th and most of the 20th centuries). Interventions routinely result from non-business special interests representing education, the environment, labor, minorities, religion, retirees, science, and taxpayers, among others. Still, business interests—unified or in opposition—are arguably the most important of the elites that compete for special government favor in American politics today.

    There are two avenues to business success under a private-property, profit-and-loss system. When using the economic means, or free-market means, businessmen provide goods or services in an open market and rely on voluntary consumer patronage. When using the political means, businessmen obtain a governmental restriction or favor that provides the margin of success beyond what consumer preference alone would give. Market entrepreneurship is the way of capitalism; political entrepreneurship, or rent-seeking as it is known in the economics literature, is the way of political capitalism.

    Business interests welcome competition for the things they buy (to minimize costs) far more than for things they sell. They may profess support for free enterprise in general but not in their particular area. There, competition is disparaged as "unbridled," "cut-throat," "excessive," or "unfair," and calls are made to constrain the free market.

    Historian Gabriel Kolko has defined political capitalism as "the utilization of political outlets to attain conditions of stability, predictability, and security—to attain rationalization—in the economy." Much of the intervention that he and other historians documented in U.S. history was for business, by business to "allow corporations to function in a predictable and secure environment permitting reasonable profits over the long run."

    Mercantilism in Adam Smith's day was a prominent form of political capitalism. Under this doctrine, the wealth of nations was perceived to result from the inflow of monetary species (primarily gold) from international trade. Business and political elites worked together to restrict competition from imported products to reserve home markets for home products and to keep specie at home. Adam Smith and other free-trade proponents argued that the wealth of nations resulted from capital accumulation and a global division of labor, not protectionism.


  73. Cont.

    For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, American business capitalism was political capitalism. (Non-business government intervention—the welfare state, public education, legislated morality, etc.—was more reformer- than business-driven.) Thus, major programs such as the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, public utility regulation by the states and then the federal government, wartime planning during the world wars, and 1930s New Deal planning were driven more by the for-profit businesses than by any other constituency. Business participation in foreign-policy decision making coupled "domestic intervention (corporatism) with overseas intervention (empire)."

    The following constraints on rivalry have characterized political capitalism, particularly from the mid-19th century until today:

    * Import restrictions. A tariff or quota on foreign goods that can raise prices and increase market share for domestic industry

    * Price supports. A price floor, as for an agricultural product, that allows a firm or firms to have greater and more predictable revenue

    * Grant protection. A government permit, franchise, or license to enter into a line of commerce that reduces the number of competitors in order to advantage the established firm(s). Under "natural monopoly" public utility regulation, franchise protection is accompanied by rate regulation (the so-called regulatory covenant).

    * Loan guarantees. Taxpayer-backed obligations that reduce or eliminate risky business investments such as those undertaken in a developing country.

    * Antitrust laws. The spectrum of laws against charging more, the same, or less than one's rivals—called "monopolistic," "collusive," or "predatory" pricing respectively—which result in many more private than government antitrust lawsuits.

    * Subsidies. Grants for research and development that are made in areas considered to be in the public interest, such as non-polluting energy technologies.

    * Quality standards. Minimum standards that advantage larger firms or firms at the high end of the quality range at the expense of lower-end competitors.

    These interventions alter the production of goods and services compared to what would exist from consumer demand alone.

    Political capitalism is closer to capitalism than socialism because private property and profit-and-loss accounting are at work. Political capitalism is also different from the macroeconomic planning of the so-called mixed economy. Activist fiscal and monetary policy are broader than policies enacted on behalf of particular firms or industries, although the major institutions of intervention (the Federal Reserve Bank, for one) can be established and influenced by national business organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Political capitalism is the unplanned, opportunistic result of transient interest-group coalitions and temporary political majorities. It is not the work of a central plan in part or whole, although elements of central planning can coexist and, indeed, inspire dispersed special-interest politicking.

    "Follow the money" has led many historians studying political capitalism from effect to cause, from intention to result. In an economic system in which the use of the political means is accepted and common, the entrepreneur weighs whether the benefits of government lobbying are greater than the costs ex ante. If so, a firm or trade association is likely to pursue government favor. Such decisions to proceed often prevail over the interests of the less organized opposition because the benefits are concentrated in the involved firm(s) and the cost is spread out over all taxpayers and/or consumers, making the per capita burden negligible. But this disparity has closed over time as taxpayer, consumer, and other "common good" groups have been formed to lobby alongside other interests.

    Political capitalism has aroused strong criticism and calls for reform. Marxists and socialists have sought to break the link between politics and capitalism through a government takeover of the economy. However, this radical coercion would make all life, not just business, political. The real problem is the "political" side of the political capitalism equation, where businesses turn into foes of capitalism, and private-public "government" causes distortions in the economy and a loss of public support for capitalism proper. Some defenders of political capitalism may view competing elites as democracy in action, but the ideal of a transparent, free society points toward a limited role for government and the need to minimize politics in business.

    "...a loss of public support for capitalism proper."

  74. This is the most amazing/surprising number I've seen recently. Housing Affordability Index hits ALL-TIME HIGH!

  75. It's, also, a Real number. That means it takes the Deflation that occurred in the 4th quarter into consideration.

    Then that is my point...

    if it's a real number than did the actual economy really contract?

    if costs of goods and services are in fact lowered the is there a better way to express it than gross dollars?

    for me it seems to say, that IF you fuel costs drop by 60% you dont spend as much to buy it.

  76. At

    Reader Tim C pointed us to a post on Tim Price's blog, "The Price of Everything," which provides astute financial and sometimes social commentary. Below is an excerpt:

    Dear Western banking establishment,

    I notice that your unauthorised credit facility from international lenders of last resort now totals approximately $10 trillion. As a taxpayer and therefore your largest shareholder I would be grateful if you could repay this facility at your earliest convenience. I have charged you an additional £30 for this letter and a monthly unauthorised overdraft fee of £28. If you do not repay this facility shortly I will have no choice but to become further massively impoverished along with legions of fellow taxpayers for multiple generations to come.

    I would also be grateful if the strategists and economists who work for you could abstain from publishing their unsolicited opinions about resolving the banking crisis within the financial media. I am sure you will agree that hearing from the same strategists who worked for the architects of such widespread financial destruction is likely to irritate those of us who were not actually complicit in the extraordinary and venal credit boom of the last several decades. There is an expression that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Those of your employees who were the public face of the problem are, I think you will agree, unlikely to represent the solution, unless perhaps they are fired – en masse, from a giant howitzer, into an area where they can do no further harm. Alaska, perhaps. I would further suggest that the high profile commentators who work for you and who have implicitly played their part in marketing and then amplifying this catastrophe might consider quietly entering another field with superior ethics and enhanced value to society at large: perhaps as piano players in brothels. This note has been copied to the letters editors of The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal (which I understand is shortly to be renamed simply The Journal on the basis that Wall Street no longer actually exists – as was noted this week by Messrs Wen Jiabao and Vladimir Putin at Davos. Don’t worry about not being there – you weren’t missed).

    Since the start of the year is always a time for slimming and working off the excesses of the festive period, I wonder whether your industry would consider operating along similar lines. Just as there is no real need to have 18 different coffee bars all touting their wares along my High Street, there is probably no real need to have 18 different banks, not all of which are subsidiaries of Santander, clogging the High Street and busily not wanting to extend me back any of my own money so generously lent to them.

    I would also be interested in your views as to the wisdom and efficacy of the monstrous pile of credit being shovelled at you and your peers by governments when it was overmuch credit creation that precipitated this crisis. I do not, of course, expect anything other than a self-interested response. But you may find the following observations pertinent. If they seem acutely relevant today it is because they were written in the early 1930s, by one Garet Garrett (and a grateful hat tip to M. Gandon):

    “The general shape of this universal delusion [that is, credit] may be indicated by three of its familiar features.. First, the idea that the panacea for debt is credit.. The burden of Europe’s private debt to this country now is greater than the burden of her war debt; and the war debt, with arrears of interest, is greater than it was the day the peace was signed.. Debt was the economic terror of the world when the war ended. How to pay it was the colossal problem. Yet you will hardly find a nation, state, city, town or region that has not multiplied its debt since the war. The aggregate of this increase is prodigious, and a very high proportion of it represents recourse to credit to avoid payment of debt.

    “Second, a social and political doctrine, now widely accepted, beginning with the premise that people are entitled to certain betterments of life. If they cannot immediately afford them.. nevertheless people are entitled to them, and credit must provide them.. Result: Probably one half of all government, national and civic, in the area of western civilization is either bankrupt or in acute distress from having over-borrowed according to this doctrine.. Now as credit fails and the standards of living tend to fall from the planes on which credit for a while sustained them, there is political dismay.. When [people] have been living on credit beyond their means the debt overtakes them. If they tax themselves to pay it, that means going back a little. If they repudiate their debt, that is the end of their credit. In this dilemma the ideal solution, so recommended even to the creditor, is more credit, more debt.

    “Third, the argument that prosperity is a product of credit, whereas from the beginning of economic thought it had been supposed that prosperity was from the increase and exchange of wealth, and credit was its product.”

    [Cont. at]

  77. Theme from Amelie:

    We listened to this while driving the gloriously unpaved tracks in and around the Huachuca Mtns and other areas of the Coronado Natl Forest some years back, in an otherwise unimpressive-looking Ford Probe rental - for which we could have made a very nice performance ad, if we'd given it any thought.

    In a couple of years, we'll be moving back. Or. So. I. Am. Promised.

  78. What I'm worried about, among all the other things, is the Obama Administration fast tracking EPA endangered species protection for The Giant Palouse Earthworm, which smells like a lily, spits at you, and lives so deep nobody ever sees one.

    We'll be back to pissin' in the river.

  79. You can still get a haircut here for $6, if you go to the Beauty School.

    I figger my haircuts cost about 6 cents.


    I could be stylin' if I'd followup a trim with a shave.

    Gotta disagree, Whit. My old khakis ain't gone outta style since the 50's, and it's just not worth the trouble to keep up with the other nonsense. Up where I live, all that would get me is stranger looks than I gather already. Late in the 70's I looked in a mirror, and decided enough of that shit.

  80. I think we'll have to go through a couple of these smackdowns before we get pissed enough to get serious about a comprehensive solution.


    And part of getting serious will be waking up to the reality that the primrose path that the warmers, enviros, and greenies have led us down is a prime factor in the faltering recovery.

    Coal, domestic petroleum reserves, the marginal oil deposits of today, all will be needed to weather the storm until the next generation of nukes and practical renewables are available.

    That's your comprehensive solution. A mix of proven available energy tiding us over until the transition(s) can occur.

    I only hope that not too many folks have to freeze or starve before the reality sinks in.

    Watch the savvy players convert from greenists to transitionists. Maybe this is what Whit was alluding to. We've already seen the warmers becoming climate change advocates. When they stop blaming their own exhalations for doomsday a'coming we'll have made progress.

    The politicians will either change their tunes or be left behind. The just desserts of lining them up against a wall and shooting them is a solution I fear we've lost.

  81. Coal, domestic petroleum reserves, the marginal oil deposits of today, all will be needed to weather the storm until the next generation of nukes and practical renewables are available.

    You're living in lala-land. There are no domestic petroleum reserves. Get that fantasy out of your head. The oil companies know this, and that is why they have not invested in new rigs for decades now. As far nukes go, that is also a fantasy. These things are expensive, messy, and unreliable. Renewables are THE ONLY practical solution. Spending trillions on the defense of jihadi oil will bankrupt the US as it has the Soviets. This is apart from the moral and geopolitical bankruptcy involved in such idiocy.

  82. I am not aware of any instance where, in the United States, failed politicos were taken 'to the wall'.

    So, in that regard it is not something that we've
    lost, it is a consequence of failed leadership that we've never had.

    No matter how deserving the miscreants may be.

  83. Mattie hasn't heard of all the Millionaire Farmers East of Al-Bob.
    (the geographic center of gravity of Area 51)
    ...and he weren't around my home town when Haliburton sealed off producing wells and headed off for the more profitable Sands of the Sauds.

  84. ...and the Gulf really has no Oil, it's just an excuse for the Chi-coms to masturbate Castro.

  85. And the Great East Pacific Basin is GWB's Natural Wildlife Refuge, I do believe.
    What a great guy.

  86. "The first thing that becomes clear is that the CPI is built to measure the out-of-pocket expenses of Americans. In other words, the fact that a housing in your area has risen 20% per year for the last five years doesn't mean to the CPI that housing has inflated by 100%. The CPI only cares about how much the average out-of-pocket housing expense has gone up. This means is everybody changed their mortgages to interest only mortgages to lower their monthly payments, that part (owner's equivalent rent of primary residence) of the CPI housing component would fall, even as home prices doubled. "

  87. 29. slade:
    The key to serious corruption is anonymity. I had never heard of Maurice Strong so I googled. This guy makes John Kerry look like a rank amateur. Remember the U.S. funds 25% of the UN general budget.
    Maurice Strong
    Meanwhile, on the southern front:
    By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAYUpdated 15h 20m ago

    Criminal gangs in the USA have swelled to an estimated 1 million members responsible for up to 80% of crimes in communities across the nation, according to a gang threat assessment compiled by federal officials….
    “A rising number of U.S.-based gangs are seemingly intent on developing working relationships” with U.S. and foreign drug-trafficking organizations and other criminal groups to “gain direct access to foreign sources of illicit drugs,” the report concludes.

    [h/t Elephant Bar]

    ...good to be appreciated.
    Anybody know specifically what she might be refering to that I many have missed?

  88. Kewl:

  89. I knew we'd get you to admit your own self-interest sooner or later Mat!
    ...followed by FILL, FILL FILL!

  90. And, finally:
    Bill, Bill, BILL!

  91. ...then off to the Bar to
    Swill, Swill, SWILL!

  92. Yes, doug, I know exactly what she was referring to.

    What more would you like to know?

  93. US Military Warns of Sudden Collapse of Mexico
    Calderon Stresses "Security Needs" as Military Report Warns of "Rapid and Sudden Collapse"

    An interesting aside to this report becoming public is that Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been visiting the United States this week, hoping to impress upon outgoing President Bush and incoming President-elect Obama the seriousness of the security situation in Mexico.

  94. Taking lessons from Trish, I see!
    ...any hints will be appreciated!

  95. Earliest chemical warfare felled Roman fort

  96. The U.S.-Mexico relationship, however, has come under considerable strain during the Bush administration.

    Calderon and his predecessor, Vicente Fox, have urged the Bush administration, without success, to change U.S. immigration policies, which they say unfairly keep out Mexicans hoping to work in the U.S. Fox also resisted Bush's pleas to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Such concerns were brushed aside this week, however, as Mexico suffers a bloody drug-fueled organized crime wave that was responsible for more than 5,700 homicides last year, more than double the record set in 2007.

    In its 2009 National Drug Threat Assessment, the U.S. Justice Department said that Mexican drug traffickers "represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States."

  97. Sad to hear Bush unfairly kept out Mexicans!

  98. Look to the poodle, doug, start at the top, read to the bottom, of the comments.

  99. 35. geoffgo:

    Slade @ 29,

    Sickening…the fench on the southern border remains umfinished. So, if one needs a 3 to 1 advantage to take the offensive (the cop-reality TV is 6-10 per raid, then we need >3 million SWAT members attending to this problem. How do we fund that? At $45K per SWAT member (we wish) = $135,000,000,000 per year. And if they do actually finish the job, would they become brownshirts?

    And, how are our gangs different than jihadis in Anbar, Hamas in Gaza, Hez in Lebanon, Talibanis in Afganland, the no-go zones in France, all embedded amongst the citizenry? How can we possibly avoid collateral damage, if we intend to clean this up?

    And here at home, we must have solid evidence before we move against the threat; it’s generational police work.

    And, if we’re only half effective, capturing 50% with no KIAs, that would mean 500,000 criminal trials. At $250,000 per trial (we wish) = $12,500,000,000,000 with the other half still at large.

    Add in the aggregate cost of their criminal activities and we get some very large numbers.

  100. Yeah, I skipped the Poodle.
    ever since Chirac got mauled by his I've been afraid of em.

  101. Hey Deuce:
    Here's a Photoshop Challenge:
    Turn that Poodle Brown, insert Barry's Face and Big Ears, and Post the Result!

  102. (it's Afro gave me the idea)

  103. Legally, he kept them out, doug. He never legitimized them, so they are not really here.

    That was what you campaigned for, killing the Bush/McCain Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal, you and that reactionary and grass roots Republican leader, Rush Limbaugh, maintaining the status que of criminality.

    Letting them stay, while legally denying that they are here.

  104. Don't it just give you a good warm feeling to know that This Asshole is the first guy Obama calls in the morning?

  105. This comment has been removed by the author.

  106. Here is the most interesting of the Bush quotes in that story:

    While meeting with Calderon, Bush said, "Americans are concerned about the battle that's taking place in Mexico, and I want our fellow citizens to understand that (Calderon) understands the responsibilities of government to provide security."

    "The United States of America wants to share and help deal with the issue on both sides of the border."

    Then, the quoted deconstructed

    While meeting with Calderon, Bush said, "Americans

    (Here he is speaking to and about both US residents and Mexicans)

    are concerned about the battle that's taking place in Mexico,
    and I want our fellow citizens

    (Here he is speaking to both Mexicans and US, as he is speaking collectively for himself and Calderon to "our" fellow citizens", of America.)

    to understand that (Calderon) understands the responsibilities of government to provide security."

    (Here Mr Bush does not differentiate between the governments of Mexico and US, but speaks of shared authority and responsibilities of both, together)

    "The United States of America wants to share and help deal with the issue on both sides of the border."

    (Read that one, anyway you please.)

  107. Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America

    The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) was launched in March of 2005 as a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the United States, Canada and Mexico through greater cooperation and information sharing.

  108. 106. buddy larsen:

    yuk yuk –funny stuff youz guyz–

    news, Kent Conrad (D), one of the two senators (fellow Democrat Chris Dodd the other) known to’ve taken bribes from Countrywide in the subprime fannie freddie countrywide ninja loan racket is the newly-appointed chairman of the investigative committee forming to investigate the subprime fannie freddie countrywide ninja loan racket fallout.

    You can’t make this stuff up, and there’s no need to anyway.

    Poor dumb Al Capone –all he needed was to bribe someone to get him Elliot Ness’s job. Elliot Ness would’ve then stayed a data clerk back at HQ, and Al Capone could’ve sent him a report from time to time saying “nope, no crime going on here in Chicago as far as i can tell.”

    Then he coulda moseyed on down to the garage and drilled him some more mugs with his chopper.

  109. With more than 2,000 Canadian businesses in Mexico, wonder why it is mat calls for excessive taxation of multi-national business in the US, but not in Canada where he, amongst other multi-mational Canadian interests try to thrive

    Mexico's drug problem will soon hit closer to home


    From Monday's Globe and Mail

    January 26, 2009 at 12:00 AM EST

    When U.S. President Barack Obama comes to Canada on his first foreign visit, he will likely raise an issue that would take most Canadians by surprise - the conflict between the drug cartels and the Mexican government.

    Escalating violence and an increase in kidnappings has led some Mexicans to flee the country and join relatives in the United States. The discovery of $207-million (U.S.) in cash in a single Mexico City drug bust last year highlights the other side of the problem: the seemingly unlimited resources available to the drug cartels to corrupt public officials and democratic institutions on both sides of the border.

    While presidents change, this North American problem remains and is important to Canada. There are more than 2,000 Canadian businesses operating in Mexico and more than one million Canadians visit annually. Our relationship with Mexico is also seen in the hemisphere as an important indicator of our willingness to reach beyond the United States and the English-speaking Caribbean.

    Of more immediate concern, however, is that the fallout from the hemispheric drug trade is spreading inexorably northward, including growing connections between Latin American and Canadian gangs.

  110. Looks like a Ruskie Punching out a Lady?
    ...probly one of Mat's relatives "Druming" up business for Uncle Kozinski, DDS.

  111. Nope, I wanted POTUS to enforce the law @ the workplace, and let the desired result eventuate. did Rush, and a Majority of US Citizens.

  112. Law enforcement unfortunately is passe as are borders, citizenship, and etc.
    We'll reap the rewards in our new Socialist Nation of the Americas.

  113. Hell of a legacy to give to our offspring, and damn the gift of our forefathers.

  114. With more than 2,000 Canadian businesses in Mexico, wonder why it is mat calls for excessive taxation of multi-national business in the US, but not in Canada where he, amongst other multi-mational Canadian interests try to thrive.

    Because these multinational have nothing to do with Canadian interests. I'd thought that much would be clear by now. These multinational have only one interest on their mind and that is their best interest. Frankly, if it was up to me, I'd make such arrangements as the multinationals currently enjoy, illegal.

  115. The fact of the matter, doug, is that they are obeying "the Law".

    Most of what you would think of as enforcement methods, are illegal.

    The "Law" that AZ passed, to strip business owners of their operating licenses if they knowingly hired an illegal. Not one prosecution, in over a year.

    The "Law" is written to allow the nonlegal resident years worth of extentions and appeals.

    The "Law" is what we have, today.

  116. You wanted a different set of Laws, to create a different type of 'Reform', but no one ever wrote them down and presented them as an alternate option.

    That Congressman, Mike Pence, had an interesting proposal, but it went no where.

    The Law favors the illegal resident, if his goal is to remain in the US, at least for a number of years.

    Obama's auntie well exemplifies that.

  117. ..but no one ever wrote them down and presented them as an alternate option..

    No one ever will, as long as you have the system you have. These things are not coincidence.

  118. Extinct Species Brought Back From The Near Beyond By Cloning

    But, only temporarily.

    This is quite something, we used to talk about it long ago, now it's come true.

    It's an unending argument whether these scientific advances are good or bad, or in between.

    Some woman in California just gave birth to eight, from in vitro I believe. Already had six, so we're looking at the state paying to raise 14 of her brooden. She lives with mom and dad, and filed bankruptcy last year. Who's she going to turn to for child support when Papa is a Petri Dish? Cousin Arnold and Uncle Sam.

  119. That's right, mat

    And there is no public demand to change 'The System'.

    Nope, there where over a million people standing on the Mall, in DC, to celebrate that over 125 million voters just ratified 'The System' last November.

  120. And there is no public demand to change 'The System'.

    You don't know that. You only know what the MSM mafia wants you to know.

  121. Today a small group of activists from an opposition youth group, We, stood near the Russian government's monolithic headquarters with blank posters and their lips sealed with tape. All were arrested.

    I like it.

    "What slogans were you shouting, Sergei?"

    "None, your Honor."

    "And what was on your signs?"

    "Nothing, sir."

    And, it would be a welcome turn of events, in Paris, London, Miami, Berkeley.

    There's a bunch of protesters one can't disagree with.

    Clashes In Putinland

  122. You only know what the MSM mafia wants you to know.

    Enjoy your Goebbels media. 1000 channels of the same shit.

  123. Without these big evil corporations we'd be farming with horses.

    The upside is, there wouldn't be nearly so many of us, and there'd be a lot more horses.

  124. The number of journalists bumped under Putin has risen to 16, at last count.

  125. In Russia, a journalist is one who writes a short story.

  126. Without these big evil corporations we'd be farming with horses.

    Maybe. But what is a fact is that the corporations are now more powerful than governments. They are unaccountable to the democratic will of the people. They have subverted democracy and national interest (which in the US was very easy to do), and that needs to change.

  127. Viruses Are Put to Work Building Superbatteries


    Engineers turn viruses into little engineers.
    by Stephen Ornes

    A team of engineers at MIT has harnessed viruses to make components for a remarkable new kind of battery, half the size of a human cell and far more efficient than your usual AAA.

    The researchers used a threadlike virus that had been genetically engineered so that electrically conductive materials, such as cobalt oxide, would bind to its surface. Because the long, thin virus has so much surface area relative to its volume, it can pack a lot of charge into a little space. The metal-coated microbe can thus be used to build energy-storage devices with a power density much higher than that of traditional batteries, says Paula Hammond, a self-assembly expert who helped develop the technique.

    Although the viruses eventually degrade, the metal structure they create [subscription required] remains behind. That structure is strong enough to be transferred and embedded into another surface. So far, the team has succeeded in creating a battery with one virus-built terminal and one conventional terminal, and it is working on a battery with both terminals virus-built.

    Microbatteries could potentially power all kinds of miniaturized electronics, including tiny medical implants. “This whole idea of building a battery being a heavy, dirty chemical process doesn’t have to exist,” Hammond says. “We can imagine printing batteries onto different surfaces.”

  128. In 1996, the Firearms Technology Branch of the federal agency determined that "a 14-inch long shoestring with a loop at each end" when attached to a rifle "caused the weapon to fire repeatedly until finger pressure was released from the string."

    "Because this item was designed and intended to convert a semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun, FTB determined that it was a machine gun…," the agency confirmed in a 2004 letter.

    However, in 2007, it followed, "Upon further review, we have determined that the string by itself is not a machine gun, whether or not there are loops tied on the ends. However, when the string is added to a semiautomatic firearm … the result is a firearm that fires automatically and consequently would be classified as a machine gun."

    Idiotic Gun Case

    At least five articles a day come along involving the government or the courts doing crap that a junior high school student would be ashamed of.

    Gonna hit the hay early, Mat. I was able to hit the paper plate with the required number of shots today, so I get my permit. Grrnite. Going to dream about fish rising in a cool mountain pool to a drifting dry fly, while an eagle rearranges itself in a towering overhanging tree, as the sun sinks slowly in the west, above the crags....

    and I'll pray and hope all the green technology comes true, too. It would be wonderful.

  129. G'nite, Bob.

    But I just can't imagine you using a gun on anybody, permit or no permit. :)

  130. Nice gallery:

  131. Linear would know.

    Linear heads for the Ozarks.


    Then comes the ice storm, 16 hours without power, overnight temp down around 10 d. We had it better than many. No complaints. This weather helps keep you from getting too complacent. Tons of hardwood treetops on the ground. Conifers seemed to fair better.

    The storm hit Monday, but after the initial surge of outages was dealt with, scattered follow up power failures continued through Thursday due to ice laden trees continuing to break and drag down wires. Bless the utility crews.

  132. Obama and Biden are rooting for the Stealers on this Super Bowl Sunday.

    Go Cardinals!

    A product of both the Arizona State University and the Arizona Cardinals, we should not forget Pat Tillman on this Super Bowl Sunday.

    An honorable fellow, a patriot and another good man gone.


    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    SAN FRANCISCO — Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

    "The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

    The doctors — whose names were blacked out — said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.