“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."

Monday, April 06, 2009

Am I alone in finding Obama increasingly to be something of a bore?

Barack Obama really does go on a bit
Posted By: Iain Martin at Apr 5, 2009 at 18:26:40

Isn't it time for him to go home yet? It is good, in theory, that the new President of the United States is taking so much time to tour Europe. He arrived in London last Tuesday, has been to Strasbourg, Prague yesterday and now he's off to Turkey. It shows, I suppose, that he cares about the outside world and that is 'A Good Thing'. But his long stay means that we are hearing rather a lot from him, way too much in fact.

His speeches have long under-delivered, usually leaving a faintly empty sensation in this listener even though I welcomed, moderately, his victory last year as offering the possibility of a fresh start and a boost to confidence.

Yet, we are told that he is a great orator and in one way he certainly is. He does have a preternatural calm in the spotlight and a mastery of the cadences we associate with the notable speakers in US history - such as JFK and MLK. But beyond that, am I alone in finding him increasingly to be something of a bore?

His performance at the first press conference in London with Gordon Brown featured moments in which he sparkled - his riff on loving the Queen was a high-point. But most of the serious answers that I listened to were interminable, windy and not very impressive. At points there were pauses so long that it appeared he had simply lost his train of thought.

Today, we were treated to another set-piece Obama speech, and my didn't he go on a bit? The crowd in Prague was huge, and initially wildly enthusiastic, but what he served up was not any more impressive than his damp squib in Berlin last year. Is there a computer which churns this stuff out for him?

"For over a thousand years, Prague has set itself apart from any other city in any other place. You have known war and peace. You have seen empires rise and fall. You have led revolutions in the arts and science, in politics and poetry. Through it all, the people of Prague have insisted on pursuing their own path, and defining their own destiny. And this city - this Golden City which is both ancient and youthful - stands as a living monument to your unconquerable spirit."

Empires rising and falling, destinies being defined and a Golden City standing as a monument to unconquerable spirit... goodness, what a ham. When he really gets going he's worse than Tony Blair.

But Obama was only warming up. "When I was born," (Everything usually leads back to him, you'll notice)... "the world was divided, and our nations were faced with very different circumstances. Few people would have predicted that someone like me would one day become an American President." (Him again)...

"Few people would have predicted that an American President would one day be permitted to speak to an audience like this in Prague. And few would have imagined that the Czech Republic would become a free nation, a member of NATO, and a leader of a united Europe. Those ideas would have been dismissed as dreams". (Not by Ronald Reagan they wouldn't have been, when most of Obama's Democrat friends thought the then US President's robust approach to the Cold War made him a loony on the loose).

"We are here today because enough people ignored the voices who told them that the world could not change. We are here today because of the courage of those who stood up - and took risks - to say that freedom is a right for all people, no matter what side of a wall they live on, and no matter what they look like... (subtly this time, but right at the end the sentence leads back to him again).

The Obamas have handled their trip well and in their public appearances have been a credit to their country. But I'll wager that within a year or so he'll be marked down as a wind-bag.


  1. Boring as a rotting fish is Obumble.

    In American literature--and film too--there are a good many scenes where One Man Alone fends off the mob. Here is that scene in "To Kill A Mockingbird", although here, the One Man Alone gets some help from his heroine daughter, called Scout, who has the insight to try to deflate the lynch mob by making personal contact with the only person she knows in it. Jem is her older brother, Dill, a younger friend, and Atticus the father and lawyer. In the jail is Tom, a black man accused of raping a white woman.

    In ones and twos, men got out of the cars. Shadows became substance as lights revealed solid shapes moving toward the jail door. Atticus remained where he was. The men hid him from view.

    "He in there, Mr. Finch?" a man said.

    "He is," we heard Atticus answer, "and he's asleep. Don't wake him up."

    In obedience to my father, there followed what I later realized was a sickening comic aspect of an unfunny situation: the men talked in near whispers.

    "You know what we want," another man said. "Get aside from the door, Mr. Finch."

    "You can turn around and go home, Walter," Atticus said pleasantly. "Heck Tate's around here somewhere."

    "The hell he is," another man said. "Heck's bunch's so deep in the woods they won't get out unti mornin'."

    "Indeed? Why so?"

    "Called 'em off on a snipe hunt," was the succinct answer. "Didn't you think a'that, Mr. Finch?"

    "Though about it, but didn't believe it. Well then," my father's voice was still the same, "that changes things, doesn't it?"

    "It do," another deep voice said. Its owner was a shadow.

    "Do you really think so?"

    This was the second time I heard Atticus ask that question in two days, and it meant somebody's man would get jumped. This was too good to miss. I broke away from Jem and ran as fast as I could to Atticus.

    Jem shrieked and tried to catch me, but I had a lead on him and Dill. I pushed my way through dark smelly bodies and burst into the circle of light.

    "H-ey. Atticus!"

    I though he would have a fine surprise, but his face killed my joy. A flash of plain fear was going out of his eyes, but returned when Dill and Jem wriggled into the light.

    There was a smell of stale whiskey and pigpen about, and when I glanced around I discovered that these men were strangers. They were not the people I saw last night. Hot embarrassment shot through me: I had leaped triumphantly into a ring of people I had never seen before.

    Atticus got up from his chair, but he was moving slowly, like an old man. He put the newspaper down very carefully, adjusting it creases with lingering fingers. They were trembling a little.

    "Go home, Jem," he said. "Take Scout and Dill home."

    We were accustomed to prompt, if not always cheerful acquiescence to Atticus's instructions, but from the way he stood Jem was not thinking of budging.

    "Go home, I said."

    Jem shook his head. As Atticus's fists went to his hips, so did Jem's, and as they faced each other I could see little resemblance between them: Jem's soft brown hair and eyes, his oval face and snug-fitting ears were our mother's, contrasting oddly with Atticus's graying black hair and square-cut features, but they were somehow alike. Mutual defiance made them alike.

    "Son, I said go home."

    Jem shook his head.

    "I'll send him home," a burly man said, and grabbed Jem roughly by the collar. He yanked Jem nearly off his feet.

    "Don't you touch him!" I kicked the man swiftly. Barefooted, I was surprised to see him fall back in real pain. I intended to kick his shin, but aimed too high.

    "That'll do, Scout." Atticus put his hand on my shoulder. "Don't kick folks. No--" he said, as I was pleading justification.

    "Ain't nobody gonna do Jem that way," I said.

    "All right, Mr. Finch, get 'em outa here," someone growled. "You got fifteen seconds to get 'em outa here."

    In the midst of this strange assembly, Atticus stood trying to make Jem mind him. "I ain't going," was his steady answer to Atticus's threats, requests, and finally, "Please Jem, take them home."

    I was gettin a bit tired of that, but felt Jem had his own reasons for doing as he did, in view of his prospects once Atticus did get him home. I looked around the crowd. It was a summer's night, but the men were dressed, most of them, in overalls and denim shirts buttoned up to the collars. I thought they must be cold-natured, as their sleeves were unrolled and buttoned at the cuffs. Some wore hats pulled firmly down over their eyes. They were sullen-looking, sleepy-eyed men who seemed unused to late hours. I sought once more for a familiar face, and at the center of the semi-circle I found one.

    "Hey, Mr. Cunningham."

    The man did not hear me, it seemed.

    "Hey, Mr. Cunningham. How's your entailment gettin' along?"

    Mr. Walter Cunningham's legal affairs were well know to me; Atticus had once described them at length. The big man blinked and hooked his thumbs in his overall straps. He seemed uncomfortable; he cleared his throat and looked away. My friendly overture had fallen flat.

    Mr. Cunningham wore no hat, and the top half of his forehead was white in contrast to his sunscorched face, which led me to believe that he wore one most days. He shifted his feet, clad in heavy work shoes.

    "Don't you remember me, Mr. Cunningham? I'm Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one time, remember?" I began to sense the futility one feels when unacknowledged by a chance acquaintance.

    "I go to school with Walter," I began again. "He's your boy, ain't he? Ain't he, sir?"

    Mr. Cunningham was moved to a faint nod. He did know me, after all.

    "He's in my grade," I said, "and he does right well. He's a good boy," I added, "a real nice boy. We brought him home for dinner one time. Maybe he told you about me, I beat him up one time but he was real nice about it. Tell him hey for me, won't you?"

    Atticus had said it was the polite thing to do to talk to people about what they were interested in. Mr. Cunningham displayed no interest in his son, so I tackled his entailment once more in a last-ditch effort to make him feel at home.

    "Entailments are bad," I was advising him, when I slowly awoke to the fact that I was addressing the entire aggregation. The men were all looking at me, some had their mouths half-open. Atticus had stopped poking at Jem: they were standing together beside Dill. Their attntion amounted to fascination. Atticus's mouth, even, was half-open, an attitude he had once described as uncouth. Our eyes met and he shut it.

    "Well, Atticus, I was just sayin' to Mr. Cunningham that entailments are bad an' all that, but you said not to worry, it takes a long time sometimes...that you all'd ride it out together..." I was slowly drying up, wondering what idiocy I had committed. Entailments seemed all right enough for the livingroom talk.

    I began to fell sweat gathering at the edges of my hair; I could stand anything but a bunch of people looking at me. They were quite sitll.

    "What's the matter?" I asked.

    Atticus said nothing. I looked around and up at Mr. Cunningham, whose face was equally impassive. The he did a peculiar thing. He squatted down and took me by both shoulders.

    "I'll tell him you said hey, little lady," he said.

    Then he straightened up and waved a big paw. "Let's clear out," he called. "Let's get going, boys."

    As they had come, in ones and twos the men shuffled back to their ramshackle cars. Doors slammed, engines coughed, and they were gone.

    I turned to Atticus, but Atticus had gone to the jail and was leaning against it with his face to the wall. I went to him and pulled his sleeve. "Can we go home now?" He nodded, produced his handkerchief, gave his face a going-over and blew his nose violently.

    "Mr. Finch?"

    A soft husky voice came from the darkness above: "They gone?"

    Atticus stepped back and looked up. "They've gone." he said. "Get some sleep Tom. They won't bother you any more."

    From a different direction, another voice cut crisply through the night: "You're damn tootin' they won't. Had you covered all the time, Atticus."

    Mr. Underwood and a double-barrled shotgun were leaning out his window above The Maycomb Tribune office.

    It was long past my bedtime and I was growing quite tired; it seemed that Atticus and Mr. Underwood would talk the rest of the night, Mr. Underwood out the window and Atticus up at him. Finally Atticus returned, switched off the light above the jail door, and picked up his chair.

    "Can I carry it for you, Mr. Finch" asked Dill. He had not said a word the whole time.

    "Why, thank you, son."

    Walking toward the office, Dill and I fell into step behind Atticus and Jem. Dill was encumbered by the chair, and his pace was slower. Atticus and Jem were well ahead of us, and I assumed that Atticus was giving him hell for not going home, but I was wrong. As they passed under a streetligh, Atticus reached out and massaged Jem's hair, his one gesture of affection.

    "Huck Finn" has a mob scene too. Twain would not have had his narrator hero Huck using the big descriptive words that Harper Lee puts down as coming from her heroine.

    150 pages to go, Trish. How you comin'?

  2. 19 Worst Drive-Thru Foods In America

    Beats listening to Obumble.

    Not sure I agree with all this list. And some items aren't to be had out this way.

  3. 1. Delia:

    We have a self-serving, self-loving, selfish megalomaniacal turd who thinks he doesn’t ’stink’ in office.

    Obama Is The Arrogant, Dismissive and Derisive One

    And boring too.

  4. I don't have the book, bob. This is your assignment. So to speak.

    I will be the one channeling bob at the meeting. For some reason, that just tickles me to death.

    Enjoyable passage. Would it appear differently in my mind's eye had I not seen the movie a hundred times? Undoubtedly. But the movie conveys it astonishingly well. Though Mr. Cunningham does not kneel and place his hands on Scout's shoulders in the movie. He is too abashed.

  5. There's much missing in the movie. But the parts that are there very closely follow the book, from what I can tell so far.

    Lot's of us Coast to Coasters are into channeling, so we ought to make contact. (unless of course one believes one can only channel the dead)

    Just to be safe, let's just trade ideas here.

  6. And Mr. Underwood does not appear in the film scene.

    So the scene in two ways was altered - both alterations leaving the viewer with less relief from the sinister circumstances.

  7. Not many top-notch, or even merely popular, works of literature have been turned into equally top-notch, or even merely popular, movies. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the successes.

    My children used to loudly complain about the hash made of novels-turned-movies, but the general rule for both now is: If you see a good movie adapted from a book, run, run, run to put your hands on that book. And a number of favorite authors have been discovered that way.

    Only barely related: My daughter interned at this year's French Film Festival in Richmond, VA. And now appears to be absolutely dead-set on film school in Paris come fall.

    Econ/French grad goes to film school in Paris.

    As she puts it, "I've been poor for twenty-one years. No point in changing now!"

  8. Well film school sure does sound more exciting than economics to me, too.

  9. That it does, bob.

    It's that or postponing graduation to do Semester at Sea - cruising from port to port for five months, at a cost of 25K, for an added minor in World Studies. The added minor being merely incidental, of course.

    But Paris now beckons.

    I've two children who are determined never to plant themselves anywhere. The idea horrifies them.

    Good grief. I like to think it'll sit well with me, when I finally do.

  10. Our greatest orator since the Great Communicator. The most sophisticated and handsome couple since John and Jackie. And here, not even three months into his administration, he's disparaged as a bore. ;)

    I feel so provincial.

  11. "As she puts it, 'I've been poor for twenty-one years. No point in changing now!"

    Do it, you'll be richer.

  12. Speaking of country, last night:
    LAS VEGAS — Carrie Underwood captured the entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, the first female act to win the honor since the Dixie Chicks did it back in 2000 and only the seventh to do so in the show's nearly four-decade existence.

    "I've had a lot of good moments in the past four years. This one takes the cake," the tearful former "American Idol" champ said. "Thank you God, thank you fans, thank you to ACM for nominating me in the first place. I never thought I'd be nominated and never thought I'd win. I'm shaking. I don't know what to say."

    The little country girl from Oklahoma can sing like a nightingale. She performed this song last night

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Iain Martin does not label Mr Obama as a wind bag, himself, just thinks that'll be the general appraisal, in a year.

    What a pussy!

    As to our Prsident going on and on, why, when Obama speaks it is but a moment in time, especially when compared to the Lincoln/Douglas debates which were all day affairs.

  15. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of U.S. voters nationwide favor a military response to eliminate North Korea’s missile launching capability. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 15% of voters oppose a military response while 28% are not sure.

    North Korea defied international pressure and launched a missile last night. Officials from that country claim a satellite was placed in orbit. U.S. defense officials confirm that a missile was launched but that no object was placed in orbit.

    "With this provocative act, North Korea has ignored its international obligations, rejected unequivocal calls for restraint, and further isolated itself from the community of nations,” President Obama said.

    The telephone survey was conducted Friday and Saturday, April 3-4, the two days immediately prior to North Korea’s launch. The question asked about a military response if North Korea actually did launch a long-range missile.

    Support for a military response comes from 66% of Republicans, 52% of Democrats and 54% of those not affiliated with either major political party. There is no gender gap on the issue as a military response is favored by 57% of men and 57% of women.

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls.) Rasmussen Reports updates also available on Twitter.

  16. But then again, one can never go wrong if they underestimate the intelligence of the US public.

    Just three percent (3%) of voters view North Korea as an ally while 46% say it’s an enemy. Surprisingly, the latter number is down 14 points from a survey in mid-February despite North Korea's belligerent talk before the missile launch.

    Forty-four percent (44%) now say North Korea is somewhere between an ally and an enemy, while eight percent (8%) are not sure.

    So, 52% of the people are not sure that the NorKs are the enemy, but for 57% to favor military action, some of those "Not Sures" want to attack, regardless.

    Fuckin' idiots, willing to sacrifice a million folk in Seoul, because of hysteria, here.

    The same hysteria that cost three Pittsburg policemen their lives.

  17. You travel to Korea, on occassion, doug.
    Is the 8th Army HQ still in Seoul?

    If so, it is the perfect military target, like an island in a sea of civilians, for the NorKs to target, in retaliation for any attack on their launch facilities.

  18. "The same hysteria that cost three Pittsburg policemen their lives"

    thanks for the perspective desert kos

    and the hysteria that cost Oakland officers their life?

  19. USA = ENRON 2.0

    And the clusterfsck nation is preoccupied with? Right.

  20. Financial Nostalgia

  21. Clusterfuck Nation by Jim Kunstler : Strange Days

    Even while a wave of reflex nausea washed over America last week, and the unemployment rolls swelled by much more than another half million, the greatest stock market suckers' rally in seventy years pulled in the last of the credulous. These are strange days. The earth is heaving and the buds swelling again -- at least north of the equator, where most of the action is -- and the global economy, which was supposed to be a permanent new add-on to the human condition, is sloughing away in big horrid gobs. But no one in charge of anything can believe it. The banking fiasco has introduced so much noise into the system that world leadership can't think straight.
    What they're missing is real simple: peak oil means no more ability to service debt at all levels, personal, corporate, and government. End of story. All the other exertions being performed in opposition to this basic fact-of-life amount to a spastic soft-shoe performed before a smokescreen concealing a world of hurt. If the "quantitative easing" (money creation) and fiscal legerdemain (TARPs, TARFs, et cetera) happen to jack up the "velocity" of the new funny-money, and the world resumes its previous level of oil use, the price of oil would rise again -- this time astronomically because the previous crash of oil prices crushed the development of new oil projects to offset depletion -- and the global economy will crash again. Only the next phase of the disease is liable to move beyond the financial and into the social and political realms. Disorder of various kinds will rule -- toppled governments, civil unrest, international tension and conflict.
    The US is doing everything possible to avoid these awful realities, but probably the worst self-deception is the idea that everything would be okay if we could just "re-start lending." That's just not going to happen. There is no more capacity to service the debt we've already piled on. Americans borrowed too much, and the bankers who made obscene fortunes in fees and bonuses in fraudulent lending managed to leverage this unpayable debt into the greatest collective swindle the world has ever known. The swindle has sent poison into every cell of the macro socio-economic organism, and further swindles are unlikely to revive it.
    The rally in stocks, the financials in particular, could go on for another month or two. In the meantime, banks are striving desperately to avoid calling in more bad loans -- especially in commercial real estate, malls, strip malls, Big Box power centers -- because they don't want any more losses on their balance sheets. That can only go on for so long, too. Sooner or later the daisy chain of credibility in the fundamental transactions of business lose legitimacy and something's got to give.
    My guess is it will first take the form, sometime after Memorial Day (but maybe sooner) of wholesale liquidations of everything under the North American sun: companies, households, chattels, US Treasury paper of all kinds, and, of course, the S & P 500. We'll soon find out whether an organism the size of the United States can run an economy based on one family selling the contents of its garage to the family next door. My guess is that this type of economy won't support the standards of living previously enjoyed in places like Dallas and Minneapolis.
    The socio-political fallout from the inherent anger and disappointment in all this is liable to be severe. The public is already warming up for it, with cheerleaders such as Glen Beck on Fox TV News calling for the formation of militias, and gun sales moving out-of-sight. One mistake that the banking elite and their lawyer paladins made the past decade was their show of conspicuous acquisition -- of houses especially -- in easy-to-get-to places where anyone can see them, for instance an angry mob in Fairfield County, Connecticut, or Easthampton, New York. Unlike the beleaguered elites of South Africa (where I visited recently), who live behind layers of fortification, the executives of Citibank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and a long list of hedge funds, will be found cringing in their wine-lockers behind a measly layer of privet hedge when the tattooed minions of Glen Beck come a'calling.
    This could perhaps be avoided if someone in authority like US Attorney General Eric Holder took an aggressive interest in the multiple swindles of the decade past, and commenced some prosecutions. But the window of opportunity for this sort of meliorating action may close sooner than the government and the mainstream media believe. Social phase-change, as in the formations of mobs, is nothing to screw around with. Once the first window is broken, all bets are off for social stability. My guess is that the various bail-out gifts to the bankers are long past having gone too far in the eyes of this increasingly flammable public.
    We have no previous experience with this type of social unrest. The violence of the Vietnam era will look very limited and reasonable in comparison -- in the sense that it was an uprising on the grounds of principle, not survival. And the Civil War was a wholly regimented affair between two rival factions. This time, people with little interest in principle beyond some dim idea of economic fairness, will be hoisting the flaming brands out of sheer grievance and malice. By the time Lloyd Blankfein sees the torches flickering through his privet, it will be too late to defend the honor of his cappuccino machine.
    President Obama will have to starkly change his current game plan if this outcome is to be avoided. I think he's capable of turning off the mob -- of preventing the grasshoppers from turning into ravening locusts -- but it may take an extraordinary exercise in authority to do it, such as the true (not pretend) nationalization of the big banks, engineering the exit of Ben Bernanke from the Federal Reserve, sucking up the ignominy of having to replace failed regulator Tim Geithner in the Treasury Department, and calling out the dogs on the swindlers who had the gall to play their country for a sucker.
    As I've averred more than a few times in this space before, the standard of living in America has got to come way down. We mortgaged our future and the future has now begun. Tough noogies for us. But the broad public won't accept the reality of this as long as the grandees of finance and their myrmidons appear to still enjoy the high life. They've got to be brought down hard, perhaps even disgraced and humiliated in the courts, and certainly parted from some of their fortunes -- if only in lawyer's fees. Mr. Obama pretty much served notice to this effect last week, telling a delegation of bankers in the White House that he was the only thing standing between them and "the pitchforks." It's possible he understands the situation.


  22. He's not putting anything over on my friend Dale--





    Sing praises to the new found king

    The king is coming in a color of communist red

    The Big o true Chicago trash
    A person without virtue like the living dead

    He is known to live on others cash

    Now hear this you friends of that phony thing

    He is fixin to take your freedoms away

    A spoksman for the communist evil on the wing

    Don't you cry; you voted him in that day

    This Big o thing is playing Americans as the fool

    Promoted as the answer to Americas wows

    When will you realize that he is not the top shelf jewel

    That thing is in power to wrap us up in red bows






    Dale just had open heart surgery at the VA hospital in Seattle, didn't keep him away from the free drawings at the Casino for long, tho.:)

  23. BHO is?

    What is the meaning of is?

    Do we think we actually KNOW what this BHO thingy is all about?

  24. 18. Stewart:

    I just luves Obama. He the best. So smart. So Hansome. So wonderful. Did you see him at the beach? Who would’nt vote for that???

    He so smart. Amerika sucks and he the first president to say so. I hope he wrecks this country to save it from the evil conservatives.

    I love Barrak. He my man. Anybody say not, I hope Barrak gets after you and whoops yo a$$.

    Hey dummys, what about this? Country out of money. Barrak gives money to the poor. What wrong with that??

    Europe 1, America 0

    Obama, Officials May OK Iran's Nuclear Program

  25. After apologising to the French, starting the nuclear disarmament process with Russia and surrendering our enrichment mitigation policy to Iran, I believe I'll buy the stock of white flag manufacturers. This could be big! comment

    Obama Capitulates On Enrichment Program

  26. I do not know, elijah, was the shooter in Oakland, Lovell Mixon, afraid that the Federals were coming for his guns, too?

    Had the anti-Obama hysteria driven him ovr the edge, as well?
    I have not read what motived Lovell Mixon to take on the Oakland Police, but Marvin X thinks it may well have been an Islamicly motivated killing.

    In which case the police may have come to their bitter end, not because there there is hysteria about gangs controlling swathes of US cities, but because there is not even much visable concern.

  27. The fact that Mixon took refuse in an apartment in that territory is clearly of significance.

    Well, Rat, we certainly can't argue with Marvin X's logic concerning Mixon X on that score.

    Obama Expressed Deep Appreciation Of muslim Faith

    Lord, get the cane and pull him off the stage. Send him to Camp David for awhile.

  28. A little bit more info about Lovell Mixon.

    I'd say, elijah that Lovell had no fear of the police coming for his weapons. As a parolee he was already breaking the law by pocessing the AK varient that he shot the 3rd and 4th officer with. Let alone the handgun he used in the street, against the 2 motorcycle cops that he started his killing spree with.

    Note: Lovell Mixon was suspected of murder and child rape within the past 12 months, but both cases lacked sufficient evidence for a warrant. Prior to this he had a long history of violence and he was on parole. Three days ago during a traffic stop he killed two police officers, point blank range, in cold blood while they were writing a ticket and then he killed 2 more officers with an AK-47 after he barricaded himself in his apartmenta and they attempted entry. They were caught in what is known as the fatal funnel. Mixon went for head shots.

  29. So, if one lived in the area and was curious as to the cause of Lovells' rampage, first thing would to see about his religious convictions and, importantly, who he hung with in prison.

    Had Lovell Mixon been Islamoified in California prisons?

  30. My sis was darned happy when they finally moved out of Oakland, I recall that. Seems like it's gotten worse since. In addition to all the chaos, they lived right on top of an earthquake fault line.

  31. Marvin X is a confused fellow. He's got islam all mixed up with the Egyptians and has stirred in African traditions, as he thinks he understands them, as well.

    What a stew.

    Thankfully, I got to go earn a living the rest of the day.

  32. | Tech Blog | Real-time web is for real on FriendFeed

    Facebook talks about it, Twitter feels like it, but only FriendFeed has managed to pull it off.

    The web is moving to another gear, with the lifestreaming site founded by former Google workers launching the first truly real-time social media service today.

    A new interface - offering a constantly scrolling live stream of entries and comments on a web page - has provoked a stream of comments itself from users on the changes , with many alarmed at the speed of web life passing them by.

    But the new look is a true reflection of how the web has been changing. The real-time web has become a reality as users constantly update their lives on internet-enabled devices and turn to the tweets of others for breaking news.

    Rather than staying on and constantly reloading Twitter's web page, followers have adopted desktop software such as Tweetdeck and Twhirl that offer streams of continuous updates of the latest tweets.


  33. April 6, 2009

    ATLANTIC CITY: Wind power can replace 3,000 coal plants

    Associated Press Writer

    ATLANTIC CITY — Windmills off the East Coast could generate enough electricity to replace most, if not all, the coal-fired power plants in the United States, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday.

    The secretary spoke at a public hearing in Atlantic City on how the nation's offshore areas can be tapped to meet America's energy needs.

    ``The idea that wind energy has the potential to replace most of our coal-burning power today is a very real possibility,'' he said. ``It is not technology that is pie-in-the sky; it is here and now.''


  34. You can't even get cell phone towers in most places, don't expect people to accept wind towers. Nice idea, but it will never happen.

  35. You want to save energy, use residential heat exchangers in energy efficient houses, nuclear power, natural gas and cellulose based nuclear fuels.

    Everything else is wishful thinking.

  36. This fellow hits the right tone, vis a vie the NorKs

    The temptation is either to thwack this pint-size tyrant on the side of his head—impose fierce sanctions, deploy the gunboats, send out some mind-messing agit-prop that undermines his rule—or, better still, to ignore him, to start treating his threats and bluster as the empty antics of a desperate thug.

    This was, after all, North Korea's third failed test of a long-range missile—out of three attempts—in the last 11 years. And yet the world continues to speak of its military prowess in the gravest of tones.

    The catch, of course, is that the last time one of his missiles went poof—on the Fourth of July, 2006, an event of much fanfare, when the rocket fizzled and crashed a mere 35 seconds after blastoff—Kim Jong-il recaptured the world's attention three months later by successfully testing an atom bomb. As far as nukes go, it produced a teeny explosion—a half-kiloton, much less than the (already less than mighty) 3 or 4 kilotons that his scientists had predicted—but, by any measure, North Korea had to be regarded as a nuclear-armed state. That colors our perceptions, and properly so.

    However, it will be years, probably many years, before Kim can translate this status into real military power—that is, before he can miniaturize a bomb to fit inside a missile's nosecone, a much more challenging feat than the one, which he has yet to achieve, of merely getting the missile to fly from launch pad to target.

    Stop playing his game.
    By Fred Kaplan

  37. You can't even get cell phone towers in most places, don't expect people to accept wind towers.


    "The secretary spoke at a public hearing in Atlantic City on how the nation's offshore areas can be tapped to meet America's energy needs."

  38. JANUARY 13, 2009 First Offshore Wind Farm is Meeting Stiff Resistance

    WASHINGTON -- The fate of what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm is calling attention to the political obstacles facing renewable power, despite President-elect Barack Obama's determination to greatly expand its use.

    The project, called Cape Wind, is a Boston firm's plan to build 130 windmills across 25 square miles of federal waters off Cape Cod.

    Supporters say it will deliver annual reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to taking 175,000 cars off the road. Opponents warn it will industrialize Nantucket Sound, a popular summer playground, and interfere with fishing and recreation. Some time before Mr. Obama is inaugurated Jan. 20, the Bush administration is expected to publish a review of the expected environmental impact of the project, resolving the last major regulatory hurdle blocking the project in Washington.

    The conflict over Cape Wind illustrates a persistent problem for renewable power. Policy makers and environmentalists love the idea of generating clean power from the sun, wind, water and geothermal sources to displace imported oil. But at the local level, there is often opposition to the hardware needed to make renewable power work: big windmills, acres of solar panels and large-scale transmission lines.


  39. The Army had ordered 500 air to ground combat capable Predator upgrades, looks like they'll be delivered.
    The F-22 halts production at 185 planes, that'd be 183 still operational.

    The Tale Told by the NYTimes extra $2 billion for intelligence and surveillance equipment, including more spending on special forces units and new Predator and Reaper drones, the unmanned vehicles that are currently used in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq for strikes against militants.
    While he capped the number of the latest combat planes, the Air Force’s F-22s, that would be bought, he increased the numbers for its planned successor, the F-35, promising to spend billions more on it.

    A promise is such a fragile thing.

  40. JANUARY 13, 2009 First Offshore Wind Farm is Meeting Stiff Resistance

    So damn predictable with that no can do attitude. It's going to happen dRat, as sure as uncle Ted will soon be be dead and buried.

  41. Teddy is just a figurehead, mat.

    The positions he represented are not out of the norm, for his locale. Those that will stand in his stead are cut from the same cloth.

    To think that the "Lyin' of the Senate" is the sole speed bump, naive.

    More than likely to turn that piece of ocean into the Teddy Memorial Ocean Preserve, than to have those windmills spinnin'.

  42. You can't even get cell phone towers in most places

    Deuce, I don't often disagree with you, but here, I think the cell phones companies have us. When they were looking for a place near our church, we were informed by a lawyer in the congregation that a city couldn't deny a cell phone tower. All they got to do is find a willing property owner to accept it, and the monthly payments, not a hard job. We learned the telecommunicatins bill was, surprise, written by the cell phone people, for the most part. It says you can't even argue health hazards before a government council, when opposing a cell phone tower placement. No body of free Americans would have written this clause into the law.

    I was interested in this proceeding, as I hoped to get it on my place next door, but failed:(

    I've also noticed the church is like the government, will spend more than they take in, regardless. This cell phone deal was supposed to put the finances on a better footing, but they are back to 'congregational deficit spending' so to speak. :)

  43. Should they increase the tithe, or try to recruit new members at a lower rate?

    The Pastor and his cadre should be out there, spreading the word, for the faithful to congregate at the bobal church of the cell tower.



    Published on on April 6, 2009

    On April 2, 2009, the work of July 4, 1776 was nullified at the meeting of the G-20 in London. The joint communiqué essentially announces a global economic union with uniform regulations and bylaws for all nations, including the United States. Henceforth, our SEC, Commodities Trading Commission, Federal Reserve Board and other regulators will have to march to the beat of drums pounded by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a body of central bankers from each of the G-20 states and the European Union.

    The mandate conferred on the FSB is remarkable for its scope and open-endedness. It is to set a "framework of internationally agreed high standards that a global financial system requires." These standards are to include the extension of "regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments, and markets...[including] systemically important hedge funds."

    Note the key word: "all." If the FSB, in its international wisdom, considers an institution or company "systemically important", it may regulate and over see it. This provision extends and internationalizes the proposals of the Obama Administration to regulate all firms, in whatever sector of the economy that it deems to be "too big to fail."

    The FSB is also charged with "implementing...tough new principles on pay and compensation and to support sustainable compensation schemes and the corporate social responsibility of all firms."

    That means that the FSB will regulate how much executives are to be paid and will enforce its idea of corporate social responsibility at "all firms."

    The head of the Financial Stability Forum, the precursor to the new FSB, is Mario Draghi, Italy's central bank president. In a speech on February 21, 2009, he gave us clues to his thinking. He noted that "the progress we have made in revising the global regulatory framework...would have been unthinkable just months ago."

    He said that "every financial institution capable of creating systemic risk will be subject to supervision." He adds that "it is envisaged that, at international level, the governance of financial institutions, executive compensation, and the special duties of intermediaries to protect retail investors will be subject to explicit supervision."

    In remarks right before the London conference, Draghi said that while "I don't see the FSF [now the FSB] as a global regulator at the present should be a standard setter that coordinates national agencies."

    This "coordination of national agencies" and the "setting" of "standards" is an explicit statement of the mandate the FSB will have over our national regulatory agencies.

    Obama, perhaps feeling guilty for the US role in triggering the international crisis, has, indeed, given away the store. Now we may no longer look to presidential appointees, confirmed by the Senate, to make policy for our economy. These decisions will be made internationally.

    And Europe will dominate them. The FSF and, presumably, the FSB, is now composed of the central bankers of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States plus representatives of the World Bank, the European Union, the IMF, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

    Europe, in other words, has six of the twelve national members. The G-20 will enlarge the FSB to include all its member nations, but the pro-European bias will be clear. The United States, with a GDP three times that of the next largest G-20 member (Japan), will have one vote. So will Italy.

    The Europeans have been trying to get their hands on our financial system for decades. It is essential to them that they rein in American free enterprise so that their socialist heaven will not be polluted by vices such as the profit motive. Now, with President Obama's approval, they have done it

  45. Teddy is just a figurehead, mat.

    The only people Teddy represents is his big money contributers. The days of big oil are over. One way or another, these fscks are going down.

  46. As cell towers go, it's not so intrusive. Kind of a new spacey design. Just don't raise milk cows in the area, or go through pregnancy there.

    I think they should have negotiated some added agreement allowing them to proselytize over the cell phone tower airwaves some way.

    Weekly religious messages sent out to all cell phone users.

  47. Gates Pushes for Radical Overhaul of Pentagon Arsenal

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. Heh--would have been irony if they'd got him during the we love muslims speech--

    Plot Foiled

  50. North Carolina vs Michigan State up in an hour.

  51. Humble Student of the Markets: From crony capitalism to geopolitical mercantilism?

  52. At his blog, Fabius Maximus writes:

    We can learn much from China's evolution since WWII from rural backwater to major power.

    Mao Tse-tung, On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, 27 February 1957:

    When the rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism was overthrown by the people, many were not clear as to where China was headed–to capitalism or socialism. Facts give the answer: Only socialism can save China. The socialist system has promoted the rapid development of the productive forces of our country–this is a fact that even our enemies abroad have had to acknowledge.

    After Mao's death, Deng Xiaopeng took control in 1979 and modified this: Only capitalism can save China!

    After the fall of the Berlin in 1989 the remaining true believers said Only China can save socialism!

    It's now 2009, the western banks are burning, and everybody knows that only China can save capitalism!

    LOL. Right.

  53. China's central bank will drain 80 billion yuan ($11.7 billion) from the money market on Tuesday through 28-day bond repurchase agreements, traders said. Last week, the central bank conducted a net injecton of 23 billion yuan into the market.

    ($1 = 6.83 yuan)

    28-day Repurchase

  54. North Carolina is thrumping them. Michigan State can't seem to penetrate at all, keeps missing from way outside. N. Carolina over 20 pts. ahead.

  55. Tedisco has soared to a mighty 97 vote lead in the New York congressional race. Still to come are the absentee ballots, many from the military.

  56. The weeklong extravaganza of G-20, NATO, EU, U.S. and Turkey meetings has almost ended. The spin emerging from the meetings, echoed in most of the media, sought to portray the meetings as a success and as reflecting a re-emergence of trans-Atlantic unity.


    Let’s begin with the G-20 meeting, which focused on the global financial crisis. As we said last year, there were many European positions, but the United States was reacting to Germany’s.


    But it was not simply a matter of domestic politics. It is becoming clear that Obama is playing a deeper game.

    Strategy and the Summits

  57. Posted by: clarice
    Apr 06, 12:49 PM

    These prosecutors were not US Attys who it was within the president's power to remove since they are political appointees. These were career civil service lawyers at the Department of Justice. It is difficult to remove them and to get deeply involved in that matter would have consituted improper interference by the White House. On the other hand, the Attorney General at the time (I believe it was Mukasey) could have done a more thorough job as could the head of the Criminal division and the head of the OPI (Office of Professinal Integrity), a Bush appointee who is charged with wrongdoing in this case and was cited for contempt on the very day he indicated he wished to be appointed the US Atty in Springfield, Mass.

    It Looks Like The Ted Stevens Judge Means Business

  58. "I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed"

    - Stevens

  59. The whole episode may have stirred up that volcano in Alaska. It's been belching ever since news of this fiasco came down the pike.

  60. Now I know who habu reminds me of: Ron Burgundy.

    It's time to place bets on the next meltdown. We can't be too far away.

  61. (I can even imagine him saying, "Smelly pirate hooker.")

  62. You called it first, Bob.

    Worldwide Apology Tour

  63. Interview With John Bolton

    He thinks Obama needs some schooling in history.

  64. Just heard John on Ingraham.
    Like me, he thinks Barry sounds like an 8th grade student govt candidate.

  65. Now for the SERIOUS STUFF:
    Found out I'm sposed to take
    "VERSED" For the Anal Ream Job:

    Lot's of Nurses and other professionals on the net say a SIGNIFICANT NUMBER that take that shit suffer longer term problems with their memory, some serious.

    One Nurse pooh poohed all the stories until a fellow Nurse took it two months ago, and her memory is still too fucked to work!

    What did you have, al-Bob.
    I tolerate virtually every painkiller known to man, and love Moriphine, it does just what it's sposed to do and nothing else (when in pain)
    Any info or stories would be appreciated, the big fast starts in the morning, the big shit in the evening...

  66. I'm gonna spend my time now looking for alternatives.
    Quite a few did it with no painkillers!

    WSJ is sposed to have something on that.

  67. What they like so much about VERSED is there's no waiting, you take it and a minute later they start, and your gut's relaxed and your easy to deal with.

    (Except for that minority that wake up with bruises all around from their flailing and the nurse holding you back from throttling the doc!)

    One guy said his legs started moving uncontrolably!
    ...others had heard the same.

    Back to my research!

  68. So I just look at that while they're reaming my a-hole?

  69. Why don't you suggest some laughing gas?

  70. Doug, they gave me some liquids to drink through the night before, and you sit on the can all night, by the time you go to the doc's office, you're cleaned out, let me tell you. Then they just gave me an intravenous anaesthetic which knocked me out in about 1 1/2 seconds. Never felt a thing, easy waking up, wife had to drive me home. Far as I can remember, I can still remember, but if I couldn't, I wouldn't know, so what's the worry:)

    You'll do fine. If they are not going to knock you all the way out, you might want to get another opinion or check some other docs.

    My friend, when he got one some years before me, was conscious, on his knees with his ass in the air, pretty drugged up. He said it was tolerable, but would have rather been knocked out.

    I'm glad to hear you are going. Everyone should.

  71. My husband had it done under general anesthesia at Inova. Seems rather more humane, and why it's still not the common practice for those who can be safely put under is beyond me. The night before is bad enough as is.

  72. The night before was indeed the shits.

  73. the big fast starts in the morning, the big shit in the evening...

    Didn't notice you said that. You're going in now. Ask them if it knocks you out, and if not, why can't they do that. From what they told me, it's the common practice now, for most people. You sound like a fit candidate.

  74. It costs more cause they need an anesthetist to put you to sleep, but they tell you it's cause of the risk.

    I tolerate a whole lot of painkillers, so hopeing he'll substitute.
    It's the memory problem some people have that I want to avoid.

    They say in Europe it is commonly done w/o anesthisia!

    On VERSED, quite a few folks mentioned feeling trapped and unable to do anything about their discomfort.
    ...I'd rather be in pain than to have that.
    All the reading says there are plenty of substitutes, but none of them name names!

  75. If I had an anesthesiologist I don't recall it, all's I remember is the doc saying hello and a nurse putting a tube in. Maybe she was a nurse anesthesiologist.