“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."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Nato saves the day. Belgium to send 35 trainers to Afghanistan

It costs more to clean this room per year than Belgium will spend with her 35 trainers in Afghanistan.

Hat tip: al-bob

It is a wonderful thing to have friends and allies when you need them. Certainly it is a tribute to past US sacrifices in Belgium, that Belgium steps in as a clutch player and offers 35 of her finest to supplement thousands of US fighting forces in Afghanistan. No, I am not talking about 35 divisions, not 35 brigades or platoons. No I said 35 trainers. Thirty five?

There are around 360 Belgian soldiers already deployed in Afghanistan, most of them maintaining security at Kabul Airport.

The total cost of the extension of the Belgian contribution to the military effort to Afghanistan was 30 million euros ($44.60 million) in 2008 from 24.5 million euros in 2007.

Wind back the clock.

In December 1944, German forces launched the Ardennes Offensive in southeastern Belgium. That was the Battle of the Bulge.

The liberation of Belgium began in September 1944 and at the end the US paid for the venture with 75,000 casualties.

It took the Belgian army less than 18 days to surrender to the Nazis in 1940.


  1. Obviously, most of Europe neither takes Afghanistan nor Nato that seriously. Why do we?

  2. Without NATO, we wouldn't have an excuse to "protect Europe." That means Europe would have to protect themselves. That means they'd have armies. That means they'd end up in "War" amongst themselves, again.

    That means we'd have to go bail Britain out, AGAIN.

    It's easier to just station some troops there, and go to a some Godawful meetings.

    Also, gives us something to bitch about.

  3. I don't think Europe believes in anything enough to go to war for it.

    With our current financial straits and leadership, I don't see a long term future for our involvement in Afghanistan or NATO.

  4. At least they have nice meeting-rooms.

  5. They'll have another Hitler come along, or a Napoleon. They always do.

  6. Whit: I don't think Europe believes in anything enough to go to war for it.

    Evolution in action. All the hotheads were either killed on the battlefield or hanged after the Nuremberg/Tokyo War Crimes Trials. The West and Far East had the fight beat out of them in the TwenCen. As usual the Middle-east lags behind.

  7. Factor in the Risk/Reward ratios, historical precedent and the probability of success and our Europeon allies tell US, seriously fellas, that in ain't their war.

    It's no war to defend Europe, which is what they signed on for. Not to defend Mr Karzai's Islamic Republic from the Islamic natives of the area.
    In a regional tribal conflict.

  8. For one thing: About the only difference between an Eyetalian, and an Iranian is Farsi.

  9. Financial Industry Paid Millions to Obama Aide
    Lawrence Summers, a top economic adviser, received payments last year from firms over which he now has influence, according to White House disclosures.

  10. 51. buddy larsen:

    Semiotics Watch: The president is speaking at the NATO meeting just now. Behind him, the NATO blue backdrop has eight huge (say 5′ tall) letters, in two lines of four letters each. All are the same size and style. The top four are NATO, and just below, aligned, are the bottom four, OTAN.

    NATO spelled backwards. WTF ? Sophomore poster class ? What ?
    Apr 4, 2009 - 7:55 am

    52. Doug:

    Obama the Almighty
    oops, that’s only 3 letters.

    Apr 4, 2009 - 7:59 am

  11. Leveraging the Future for a Short-Term Fix. FHA and GSE New Subprime Loan Breeding Ground: The Resurrection of Bad Ideas. Mortgage Markets Recreating Lax Lending Environment with Same Employees from the Previous Boom.

    The reason it is so important to be vigilant regarding the mortgage market is its sheer size: (chart)

    The government is increasingly becoming the only game in town. Unlike some of the PPIP participants that’ll be able unload toxic waste to taxpayers, these government backed loans are already ours since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for all purposes are nationalized. What happens when these properties default as we are seeing? And the problem is these agencies are projecting Pollyanna scenarios:

  12. "Whit: I don't think Europe believes in anything enough to go to war for it."
    Has anyone tried Sarko's Wife?

  13. Algore didn't invent the internet, Duke did:

    One of the early computer networking designs, the ALOHA network was created at the University of Hawaii in 1970 under the leadership of Norman Abramson and others (including N. Gaarder and N. Weldon). The idea was to use low-cost amateur radio-like systems to create a computer network linking the far-flung campuses of the University.

    The original version of ALOHA used two distinct frequencies in a hub/star configuration, with the hub machine broadcasting packets to everyone on the "outbound" channel, and the various client machines sending data to the hub on the "inbound" channel. Data received was immediately re-sent, allowing clients to determine whether or not their data had been received properly. Any machine noticing corrupted data would wait a short time and then re-send the packet. This mechanism was also used to detect and correct for "collisions" created when two client machines both attempted to send a packet at the same time.

    Like the ARPANET group, ALOHA was important because it used a shared medium for transmission. This revealed the need for more modern medium access control schemes such as CSMA/CD, used by Ethernet. Unlike the ARPANET where each node could only talk to a node on the other end of the wire, in ALOHA all nodes were communicating on the same frequency. This meant that some sort of system was needed to control who could talk at what time. ALOHA's situation was similar to issues faced by Ethernet (non-switched) and Wi-Fi networks.

    This shared transmission medium system generated interest by others. ALOHA's scheme was very simple. Because data was sent via a teletype the data rate usually did not go beyond 80 characters per second. When two stations tried to talk at the same time, both transmissions were garbled. Then data had to be manually resent.

    ALOHA proved that it was possible to have a useful network without solving this problem, and this sparked interest in others, most significantly Bob Metcalfe and other researchers working at Xerox PARC. This team went on to create the Ethernet protocol.

    The ALOHA protocol...

  14. 1970
    ALOHAnet, the first packet radio network, developed by Norman Abramson, Univ of Hawaii, becomes operational (July) (:sk2:)
    connected to the ARPANET in 1972

  15. The President has been feted in the salons of Europe as he "dazzled" them with is "charm offensive". Unfortunately, it has been to no avail. Sure as long as he was talking about nuclear disarmament, they were rapturously receptive but when it came time to commit troops, they all quietly "turned their backs" and made for the doors.

    "Belgium offered to send 35 military trainers and Spain offered 12. Mr Obama’s host, Nicolas Sarkozy, refused his request."

    How will President Obama react and what did he expect? Did he think that simply because he wasn't G.W. Bush, the whirled would suddenly and once again be our BFF?

  16. That's good reasoning, Rufus, there's some real sense in that. And, our guys spend a lot of money when they're there. They like that.

    OTAN forever! (Oust The American Never)

  17. The Telegraph is reporting a contradictory story:

    Robert Gibbs, Mr Obama's spokesman, said that the new forces comprised 3,000 to secure the forthcoming Afghan elections, including 900 from Britain, 600 from Germany and 600 from Spain.

    In addition, between 1,400 and 2,000 troops from 11 countries would be formed into 70 "operational mentoring liaison teams" to train Afghanistan's national army and 300 mentors and trainers - led by the French - would assist the Afghan police.

    Mr Obama also said that extra funding had been secured, to the tune of $100 million (£70 million), with $57 million of it from Germany, for the Afghan National Army Trust Fund and $500 million in civilian aid.

    The US president was hailed as the man who broke a potentially damaging deadlock over appointing Anders Fogh Rasmussen as Nato's next secretary-general on Saturday.

    Not only has the President secured European support for Afghanistan, he also broke a dead lock with Turkey over the next SecGen of NATO.

  18. Those are some of the fanciest chandeliers I've ever seen. Powered by French nuclear reactors.

  19. Joseph diGenova, a former federal prosecutor, said federal prosecutors suffer from "a lack of supervision."

    "I'm a great fan of prosecutors, but the department and the U.S. attorneys offices in my opinion have been out of control," diGenova said.

    "This was, in essence, a framing of a senator.

    Enough Guilt To Go Around In The Justice Department

    Seems a tough problem. If they're 'supervised' too much, the allegations of political favoritism arise, if they are 'supervised' too little, the allegations of political favoritism arise

    We need of course, Divine Justice, but we're unlikely to get it here in the Great Below.

  20. The Presidents' job is to supervise them, bob.
    If he cannot stand the heat of the job, he should resign.

    Unsupervised for the past 8 years, by Mr Bush and Gonzo, like you've said, they just let it slide.
    Did that ol' Texican manana thing, in so far as Justice was concerned.

    The Republican management style of the 21st Century, slip slidin' away.

  21. Any bets that President Obama manages Justice differently?

  22. Obumble Administratin To OK Iranian Enrichment

    How'd I know you come back with that, Rat?:)

    If the President supervises too much he gets criticized, if too little the same, if not at all the same, and how is the President to know the details of all these cases? How can he know what some prosecutor may be witholding or not? Or all the varying testimony of what may or may not have happened?
    Tis an imperfect world. Easy to criticise.

  23. I'd think Obama will be more active in favor of his pals. Don't expect him to crack down on ACORN. Bush was a hands off guy, when the comparisons are done, would be my quess.

    Think Obama will instigate a sweeping investigation of ACORN?

  24. The search for the responsible authority continues, bob keeps trying to explain why the buck did not stop at the Resolute desk, from 20 Jan 2001 to 20 Jan 2009.

    He still has not made the case.

    The West's Fatal Overdose
    By Gabor Steingart in Washington D.C.

    writing in SPIEGEL ONLINE

    The search for an answer would have revealed that the failure of the markets was preceded by a failure on the part of the state. Wall Street and the banks -- the greedy players of the financial industry -- played an important, but not decisive, role. The bank manager was the dealer that distributed the hot, speculation-based money throughout the nation.

    But the poppy farmer sits in the White House. And during his time in office, US President George W. Bush enormously expanded the acreage under cultivation. The chief crop on his farm was the cheap dollar, which eventually flooded the entire world, artificially bloating the banks' balance sheets, creating sham growth and causing a speculative bubble in the US real estate market. The lack of transparency in the financial markets ensured that the poison could spread all around the world.

    There are -- even in the modern world -- two things that no private company can do on its own: wage war and print money. Both of those things, however, formed Bush's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Many column inches have already been devoted to Bush's first mistake, the invasion of Baghdad. But his second error -- flooding the global economy with trillions of dollars of cheap money -- has barely been acknowledged.

  25. I'd say, bob, that the Aobama White House will in up to its' eyeballs in any political prosecution the Justice Dept may bring.

    Manage it from the Thunders' office, would be my guess.

    The President is the top Law Enforcer, those attorneys, merely at will employees. If Mr Bush was to balless to excercise his Constitutional authority and fulfill his responsibilities, that's a demerit on him, no one else. Well, maybe Gonzo, but even that reflects upon Mr Bushs' performance, or lack there of.

  26. ACORN, no.

    From what I have read, those allegations that were made violated State laws, not Federal ones.
    I have not heard of ANY prosecutions of ACORN, anywhere, especially not from Nevada where the GOP prosecuters made such a fuss, just days before the Caucus, there.

  27. those attorneys, merely at will employees

    Didn't Bush the Bad try to fire some of those attorneys, and caught living holy hell for it? Seems I recall something like that.

  28. "He still has not made the case."
    He's convinced me:
    He's hopeless.

  29. Bush was the worst thing to happen to Justice in living memory.

  30. Prosecute VN Aces, let Pants Bergler Slide.

  31. ...and Duke's take, miniscule compared to all the heroes of Wall Street getting bailed out.
    Duke woulda been better off bailing out.

  32. Yeah, Bob:
    After six years of feclessness, hard to command respect.
    Clinton did it on day 1, like a real president would.

  33. "feckless"
    Fits W to a T.
    Shoulda had Mr. T.

  34. I’m Happy I Lost My Job

    After I got laid off, I found a easy way to make $7k a month online...

  35. Mall Owners Test Waters to Fill Vacancies
    Retailers are closing stores, leaving malls scrambling to find ways to fill vacancies — like offering indoor surfing.
    Room for Debate: 101 Uses for a Deserted Mall

  36. If all else fails, there's always Kool Aid

  37. Ho Che Anderson was born in London in 1969 and named after the Vietnamese and Cuban revolutionaries Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara. He is primarily known for his comic books King, I Want to Be Your Dog, Wise Son, and Scream Queen.

  38. Tax Day Protests


    You've no excuse, al-Doug, there are three in Hawaii. Honolulu, Hilo, and Maui.

  39. Yes, bob, Mr Bush did fire some of the Attorneys that did not fill the bill, that he was so unpopular and unwilling to defend his authority, just another demerit on him, not his political opponents. It was their guys ox getting gored, and they bellowed.

    Look back to the Air Traffic Controllers strike and Ronald Wilson Reagan to see how a President with some cajones handles a hostile MSM and members of Congress.

    Using the authority of the office to fulfill its responsibilities.

    A President that "Lets things slide" is not what the people were looking for. They wanted change after 8 years of aimlessness wondering in the wilderness.

    The election of Barack Obama, just another demerit on Mr Bush's permanent record.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. As long as the people of Pakistan allow those Taliban guys to run rampent, they will. As long as the people of Pakistan allow the ISI to fund and support the Taliban, they will.

    That the US paid the Pakistani General President while he suppressed the civil society required to win a counter-insugency, just another demerit.

    The lawyers, judges and journalists politically opposed to the perps of the coup d etat were harassed while Dr Khan was feted and the ISI supported the infrastructure used by the terrorists that struck in both Bombay and Kabul.

    Taliban spokesman defended the punishment to the Geo Television Network but said it should not have been done in public.

    Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister of North-West Frontier Province, where Swat is located, also tried to play down the flogging by claiming that the video was recorded in January, before the peace agreement. He called it an attempt to sabotage the peace agreement.

    Not many seemed willing to countenance the argument.

    “This is absurd,” Athar Minallah, a lawyer who campaigned for the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, said in a telephone interview. “No one can give justification for such an act. These handful of people have taken the population hostage, and the government is trying to patronize them. If the state surrenders, what will happen next?”

    Asma Jahangir, one of the country’s leading rights activists, condemned the flogging as “intolerable.”

    “This is an eye-opener,” she said in a televised news briefing in Lahore. “Terrorism has seeped into every corner of the country. It is time that every patriotic Pakistani should raise a voice against such atrocities.”

    She said she would join other rights activists and citizens in a rally against terrorism on Saturday in Lahore, where militants stormed a police academy this week.

    “It will be a peaceful march to show that the people of Lahore will not stay silent,” she said.

  42. And some one could wonder why the Europeons do not want to "buy in"?

  43. While the Pakistani exported $5 million USD worth of ethanol to the US.

    Global trade, indeed.

  44. Now I recall writing of this, as the Tarp proposal was being launched, and being told that it was not a "Nationalization" of the banking industry.

    Now it's common fodder in the WSJ.

    Obama Wants to Control the Banks

    There's a reason he refuses to accept repayment of TARP money.

    I must be naive. I really thought the administration would welcome the return of bank bailout money. Some $340 million in TARP cash flowed back this week from four small banks in Louisiana, New York, Indiana and California. This isn't much when we routinely talk in trillions, but clearly that money has not been wasted or otherwise sunk down Wall Street's black hole. So why no cheering as the cash comes back?

    My answer: The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. Keeping them TARP-stuffed is the key to control. And for this intensely political president, mere influence is not enough. The White House wants to tell 'em what to do. Control. Direct. Command.

    The paranoia is spreading.

    But I'd wager that if Mr Paulson were still Treasury Sec, or even Mr Gramm, it'd be goin' the same way. "Maverick" not being one to let stuff slide, either.

  45. heh--according to "To Kill A Mockingbird", since the seasons hardly ever change in Alabama, if the weather goes bad, it's the children being bad that's caused it. And, it snowed.

    In Hawaii everyone must be an angel, old and young alike.

  46. Here's a true story first reported by my Fox News colleague Andrew Napolitano (with the names and some details obscured to prevent retaliation). Under the Bush team a prominent and profitable bank, under threat of a damaging public audit, was forced to accept less than $1 billion of TARP money. The government insisted on buying a new class of preferred stock which gave it a tiny, minority position. The money flowed to the bank. Arguably, back then, the Bush administration was acting for purely economic reasons. It wanted to recapitalize the banks to halt a financial panic.

    Fast forward to today, and that same bank is begging to give the money back. The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest. He's been sitting on the cash for months and has felt the dead hand of government threatening to run his business and dictate pay scales. He sees the writing on the wall and he wants out. But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with "adverse" consequences if its chairman persists. That's politics talking, not economics.

    Who'd have ever thought the Federals would benave in such a manner?

  47. Which brings me to the Pay for Performance Act, just passed by the House. This is an outstanding example of class warfare. I'm an Englishman. We invented class warfare, and I know it when I see it. This legislation allows the administration to dictate pay for anyone working in any company that takes a dime of TARP money. This is a whip with which to thrash the unpopular bankers, a tool to advance the Obama administration's goal of controlling the financial system.

    After 35 years in America, I never thought I would see this. I still can't quite believe we will sit by as this crisis is used to hand control of our economy over to government. But here we are, on the brink. Clearly, I have been naive

    Indeed, Mr Varney and many others have been more than naive, they've been willfully ignorant. The mechanics of the power grab were never clear, to me, but that it was coming, that was crystal.

  48. "This is a whip with which to thrash the unpopular bankers, "
    The ones that made off with the loot were well rewarded by Timmy and Co.
    Those tasked with cleaning up the mess must pay.
    Like our kids.

  49. We sweeten with age in the Tropical Breeze, al-Bob.

  50. At least there were a multitude of alternative explanations as to why it was not nationalization, 'Rat.
    Some proffered right here.
    Avoids the boredom of certainty.

  51. Big news locally is Washington State University is looking at a 20% cut in its budgeting. A real shocker. This is due to irresponsible spending in Olympia. And at a time when more students want to come back to school. Whole programs and degrees are on the chopping block.

    Where's the stimulus money for WSU?

  52. That is the scenario, everywhere, bob.

    AZ is $3 bn behind, at least.
    Big cuts everywhere in tax eater land.

    They're going to hold a special election for a tax increse, here.

    I'll just hafta vote no.

  53. You gotta stop them Raiders comin in from Spokane ripping off all your dishwashing detergent, Bob!

    That shit's Contraband there:

    Your enabling a life of crime and degradation of the Bioshpere!

  54. 1. NahnCee:

    WHile the rest of America has been reading about 13 slaughtered immigrants in New York (and whether or not their death is a greater disaster than 3,000 slaughtered Americans in the same state), I’ve been following a crime in Los Angeles.

    Two college students were walking home at 3:00 in the morning. While crossing the street on a green light they were struck by a car running a red light. One of them was thrown to one side and killed, the other was embedded in the car’s windshield while it continued on for another 400-500 feet. The car then stopped, a passenger got out and removed the injured pedestrian from the windshield, threw him to the ground, and the car continued on its merry murderous way.

    For the first time ever, I find myself wondering how we will know about or track stories like this once the LA Times dies and goes away. Granted the LAT doesn’t do a very good job of investigating these sorts of stories any more, who the perps were, eye-witness interviews, and like that. But at least they serve as a conduit for the police to release information like there was a $235,000 reward, what the car looked like, and now the perp’s names and what the missing passenger looks like.

    Really, I get all my news from the internet any more, so will not miss the demise of the lying LA Times. But how will we keep track of these sorts of stories which are so over the top that they pique interest and curiosity and you want to know more. I don’t suppose the police will step into the void and start putting out a daily newsletter to let citizens know which of their neighbors have been misbehaving and what we can do about it.

    The tree-huggers will probably say we don’t NEED to know about drivers with Hispanic names and suspended driver’s licenses driving around at 3:00 in the morning with college students impaled in their windshield — that it’s just base curiosity and it would be better for everyone if we went blithely about our business while tithing all our money to various charities and churches to help out those very same poor people who don’t understand that what they’re doing is wrong and desperately need our help … and free gas and to pay their mortgages.

  55. 7. Doug:

    Last time I checked, Chief Bratton was being sued by the Police Union for his new policy requiring no helmets be worn in Crowd Control (mob) situations.

    This after a score of Police in Swat gear were sent to the hospital with injuries sustained at the hands of a mob of illegal demonstrators.

    Followed by Bratton and Tony Villar marching with the illegals to protest police brutality.

    Followed, inevitably by a payment in the Millions to the aggrieved, anonymous illegals and their legal teams.

  56. "I'll just hafta vote no."
    ...kin Greedy ...turd.

  57. Piss on the fucking englishman, and piss on the wall street bankers. They ran the bus into the ditch; then they begged for help. Now they're crying because they can't get as rich this year as they did last year while they were putting us into critical care.

    Fuck'em, and their cheerleaders, and the horses they rode in on.

    I hope Obama takes'em over and fires the whole damned bunch.

  58. You know, Doug, what I think'll happen is one of the "shopper" papers will suddenly become a "real" newspaper.

    There's a place in every town for a "real" newspaper. It's just that the latimes, and the rest forgot what business they were in. And, forgot why people buy papers. The little shopper paper is owned by a guy, or gal, that knows.

  59. I just heard that The Messiah did not send transportation to the Airport for Brown.
    …and instead of staying in the Big House, like Old Tymes, he had to get a hotel room.
    …meanwhile, illustrious pop figure/groupies get their own private 747 round trip to Strasburg.

  60. I think what the english queer is missing is that "That's MY GODDAMNED MONEY we're giving those motherfuckers." I WANT THEIR ASSES BROKE, AND FIRED, AND IN PRISON IF POSSIBLE!

    But, I'm sure I'm the only one.

  61. Newspapers are, for the readers, all about the ads.

  62. That's what we have here, Rufus.
    The Entrepreneur that started it sold it a few years back, and it seems to still be doing better than ever.
    I imagine they'll have a little less material when the Maui News goes outta business, but that's not in the cards for them, as yet.

    Pretty rich advertising Market, tho.

  63. The ads, a little local news (scandal,) and keep your fucking libeal-assed opinions, and talking points to yourself.

  64. Gays killed in Baghdad as clerics urge clampdown

    They're finally making progress.

  65. I picked up the latimes once back in the days that we made a couple of trips/year out west. The front page was like another paper's editorial page. I never bought another one.

  66. "fucking libeal-assed opinions, and talking points to yourself."
    Here, those are plentiful, as are al-Bob-Late Nite Fare and Fantasys.

    New Age, ya know.

    Can't wait to jump into one of them new hot filtered oil baths right after the Fat Lady sings her song there.

    Good for the Soul.

  67. Meanwhile our Islamic Republic in Afghanistan is becoming more Islamic than Republican.

    So much for any 1st Amendment Rights in Afghanistan, guess support of those inalienable rights aren't the reason we're in Assghanistan, either.

    Afghanistan's U-turn on women's rights
    A new law severely restricts the rights of Shiite women.

    April 4, 2009

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has turned back the clock to the days of the Taliban, signing a law that strips women of basic rights protected by most civilized nations. The new Shiite Personal Status Law, which applies to the country's Shiite minority, is a disastrous step backward for millions of women, who suffered most under the Taliban's Islamic fundamentalism. It severely restricts their rights in every area of life: A Shiite woman would need her husband's or father's permission to leave the house, pursue an education, hold a job or even go to a doctor's appointment. Only fathers and grandfathers would have child-custody rights, and by stipulating how often a husband is entitled to sex, the law permits marital rape.

    Shiites make up 10% to 20% of the country's population, but they are politically important to the president. Critics say Karzai pushed the lawthrough parliament to curry favor with Islamic fundamentalists before the August election, sacrificing women's rights for his political gain. Although the law covers women in one sect, now there is legal precedent to revoke the rights of others. "We are worried that similar laws, including the family laws for Sunnis, could meet the same fate," said Soraya Sobrang of the country's Independent Human Rights Commission, according to news reports.

  68. By Amit R. Paley and David Cho
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Saturday, April 4, 2009; Page A01

    The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials.

    Administration officials have concluded that this approach is vital for persuading firms to participate in programs funded by the $700 billion financial rescue package.

    The administration believes it can sidestep the rules because, in many cases, it has decided not to provide federal aid directly to financial companies, the sources said. Instead, the government has set up special entities that act as middlemen, channeling the bailout funds to the firms and, via this two-step process, stripping away the requirement that the restrictions be imposed, according to officials.

    Although some experts are questioning the legality of this strategy, the officials said it gives them latitude to determine whether firms should be subject to the congressional restrictions, which would require recipients to turn over ownership stakes to the government, as well as curb executive pay.

    The administration has decided that the conditions should not apply in at least three of the five initiatives funded by the rescue package.

  69. Just thinking about it all is making me thirsty. Gotta make a beer run (that's right, I'm sober. Just think what I'm gonna be like in a couple of hours.) Pretty damned witty, and intelektal, I'll bettcha.


  70. I needed that.


    Always happy to oblige.

  71. Miller thinks after 8 or ten of them Virgins,
    Poor old Angel Ahmad will be
    wishing he had a pro.

  72. In other words, the only way they can get the motherfuckers to take MY MOTHERFUCKING MONEY is to "Bribe" them with more Billions for their own private little ratholes.

    I better walk to the store. I might start "mowing'em down" if I drive.

  73. He got that inspiration from his Organizing Days, 'Rat, when they'd spend tax paying dummies money for advertising for food stamps and such.

    ...a little bit of honey makes the Medicine go down.

  74. This comment has been removed by the author.

  75. In other words, the only way they can get the motherfuckers to take MY MOTHERFUCKING MONEY is to "Bribe" them with more Billions for their own private little ratholes.

    We need to line them up against the wall and start shooting. Nothing else will resolve this.

  76. Miller had a great Mississippi rif on Gay life there, Rufus.
    His go to Jew says a surefire giveaway is when they wear their Bib Overalls with one Strap down on the Shoulder.
    Those in Pairs Wear Alternate Sides Down.

  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

  78. I see your Sadr City and raise you Iowa

    The Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous decision striking down a state law limiting marriage to only a man and a woman continues the Iowa court's tradition of recognizing inherent rights of all persons.

  79. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion; what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787

  80. Was it the Iowa that had the Canon Explosion that took out the Gay Sailer?

  81. Yep, it twas the Iowa.

  82. when they wear their Bib Overalls with one Strap down on the Shoulder

    hay now, might be a hard working farmer.

  83. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion; what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787

    I like Jefferson a lot, but that's an idiotic statement. Particularily coming from a slaver, and big landowner.

  84. I like Jefferson a lot, but that's an idiotic statement. Particularily coming from a slaver, and big landowner.

    Did I mention that I also support the assassination of Rabin? And if that Yankee putz for a PM thinks to pull a similar move, he better think again. His time is ticking.

  85. E-1

    This may start an argument, and I hesitated posting it, but did anyway, since I'm going to a drawing at the casino, and will be out of the line of fire.

  86. :)

    Bob, you know my position. So really there can be no argument, because it's not open to discussion.

  87. Looks like Li'l Kim fired his rocket over Japan.

  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

  89. But, this guy put it ALL together. El Chucko - Maybelline

  90. Patsy Cline - Walking after Midnight

    This li'l ol bar's got a pretty good juke box, huh?

  91. Hello. Is this thing on? Is anybody out there?

    Elvis - How Great Thou Art.

  92. DALIDA "Tout au plus", 1971

  93. PEPPINO DE LUCA -"I Tre Messicani" (1971)

  94. Dayyum!

    The best Janis Joplin recording I've heard Freedom's just another word for Nothin left to lose

    I just realized, most all my heros are dead. Shit.

  95. It flew over Japan towards the Pacific, with two booster stages dropping into the ocean to the east and west of Japan, Tokyo said.

    The launch appears to have been a success, even if it never happened.

  96. Dang 9 oclock drawings, they never call my name.

    Rufus, the old Aramaic word for death, translated out,(so my teacher told me) means 'absent here, present elsewhere'.

    Think of Janis that way.

  97. Dalida got a set a pipes.

  98. Let's hope we take this non-test to the UN. All things considered, that seems about right. In the high CO2/methane atmosphere they breathe there, we can expect a glorious discussion.

  99. Mina - Wakare - Un anno d'amore (Japanese ver)

    Another great one for you, Rufus.

  100. Obumble needs to pour himself a jack and coke and listen to this Ray Charles - America

  101. Mina sings _ Giovanni D'Anzi _ 1966 Live

  102. DALIDA "parlez-moi de lui"

    So Bob doesn't feel left out. :)

  103. Bartender, a jack and coke for Obumble.

    "Hold the jack" comes a deep Presidential voice.

  104. the old Aramaic word for death

    Mət = death
    u = he
    šélaḥ = sent

  105. I'm Worn out (and slightly drunk) kiddos. G'nite.

  106. grrnite, Rufus. I still can't figure if they shot that missile, or not.

  107. Telepopmusik - Just Breathe


  109. In the past New Zealand's farmers have showed their disgust at government plans to impose an animal "flatulence tax" by sending parcels of manure to members of parliament.

    Fart Vaccine Being Developed