“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, February 22, 2010

Gold, Gold, Gold

George Soros doubles gold investment

Mr Soros has doubled his bet on the price of gold

US billionaire George Soros has more than doubled his investment in gold, despite calling it the "ultimate bubble" just weeks ago.

Mr Soros' investment vehicle Soros Fund Management increased its holding in SPDR Gold Trust to 6.2 million shares, worth $663m (£425m) at the end of 2009.

It had held 2.5 million shares at the end of the third quarter of 2009.

The gold price hit a record high of $1,226.56 an ounce in December, but has since fallen back to about $1,100.
Mr Soros himself has suggested that gold may not be a good investment.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, he said: "The ultimate asset bubble is gold." However, he did not say whether he was investing in the precious metal.

But he also said that when he sees a bubble, "I rush out and buy".

Mark Heyhoe, senior mining analyst at Westhouse Securities, said: "He has previously said that gold is the ultimate hedge against inflation - if you think inflation's going to rise, then I'm not surprised he bought into gold.

"A lot of people were starting to look at gold, and a lot of people follow what he does," he added. "But you need to buy a lot of gold to shift the price."

As well as raising its stake in SPDR, Soros Fund Management also increased its holding in Canadian gold producer Yamana Gold.

The company also bought more shares in seed producer Monsanto, Brazilian oil producer Petrobras, and Wall Street bank Citigroup.


  1. I can just imagine old man Soros declaring "gold a bubble" in order to drive the price down enough for him to purchase more of it.

    Why would Soros be buying gold at the top of the market? He has nowhere else to go and needs to move assets out of a devalued dollar.

    Oil, the dollar, gold and China. Those are words on everyone's lips these days. What will they do?

    Now, it seems that international shipping will get a boost from China
    China's Crude Oil Import to Drive Tanker Market

  2. China, China, China.

  3. Oil, Oil, Oil.

    I remember when the US used to produce wheat and oil enough to feed the world (it seemed anyway). We need to grow whatever it takes to produce the ethanol to become energy independent. After we're no longer hooked on crude, we can begin to export ethanol and if the world now needs more large tankers, we can be the ones to produce them?

    It's time for America to get off it's ass and go to work.

  4. "...wheat and corn enough to feed the world."

    And yes, we got our share out of oil production, too. We knew how to make a dollar then. We still do.

  5. A great country needs more than a niche industrial base. It needs manufacturers of boiler plate and nuts and bolts as well as computer chips. It needs yards to assemble ships as well as planes.

    It needs industrial parks instead of warehouse parks.

    The other day driving through an old Pennsylvania town I stopped at a traffic light. On the corner, I noticed an ornate granite entablature on what was once a nineteenth century bank building.

    In Roman text, proudly carved into the stone was the name "Farmer's and Mechanic's Bank".

    "Mechanic" was once a term to signify competence and skill in your work. Work was making things. A carpenter, called a mechanic, was a highly skilled worker who built things, a worker that made things and not just someone that repaired things made by others.

    Traders of currency and financial derivatives are not workers.

    I want to see the day when American workers snatch back the power usurped by the money changers, a day when "Made in USA" is found in stores and machinery instead of equipment in the Smithsonian.

    We will all be better off when that happens, despite what my good friend Rufus will have to say about it.

  6. On the video, Mr. Takai says that the demand in gold is coming from a weak Euro and weak sterling and should continue for the rest of the year.

  7. I don't disagree with any of that.

    Whatever did I say to make you think I do?

  8. I'm just saying we have to be more productive than the others. That means we have to utilize more, and better, technology.

    If our assemblyline worker is going to be paid 25 times the wage of a Chinaman, he's going to have to produce 25 times the Work of a Chinaman.

    He can't do it with brawn. He's gotta do it with brains. Mastering advanced technologies.

  9. Our system is "Capitalism."

    Capitalism Uses Capital. We have an advantage in that we have the Most Capital, right now. But, we've got to get to investing it in our factories, AND our People.

    THAT'S the problem with Gov. spending. It robs the productive sector of Capital. I think I'm being misunderstood, there, too; but that's a subject for another day.

  10. Look, every industry is diffrent. We could build the most advanced auto facories in the world with the lowest cost of production, and we still couldn't export many cars. At least, we couldn't export the cars we build now.

    The EPA, and other various agencies require too many expensive (and, heavy) safety, and environmental add-ons.)

    But, we Can export other things (or, we could build cars strictly for export.) We build many of the finest, high value-added products in the world. But we need to build more of them.

    I'm not saying we should build the same amount with fewer workers; I'm saying we should build 4 times as much with twice as many workers.

  11. I was watching tv the other day, and there was this big, burly guy working on the assembly line. His job was to take the tire, put it on the car, and I suppose, tighten the lug nuts.

    Now, I'm pulling for that guy. He's working, probably supporting a family, and producing a product we want, and need. But, he's gotta lose that job. That job has Got to be done by a machine.

    We've got to find anothr job for him; but That job just can't be his any longer. His company just can't afford him.

    If he can learn to operate the computer that will operate the robots that will replace himself, and several others, great. He'll make More money, and add more value. Maybe he can learn to maintain, and repair the robots.

    Maybe, he can get a job "building" robots. I don't know. We've gotta find something. But, it can't be putting tires on cars all day. I'm sorry, but you just can't have it both ways.

  12. You can't say, "we're going to regain our 1950's manufacturing dominance, and we're going to do it with 1950's technology. Cause the Japs are using 1990's technology. We've gotta use 2015 technology.

    When we set out to replace the F15 (1960's technology) we didn't do it with 1970's technology.) We invented 2000's technology. If we can do it with defense systems we can do it with domestic systems.

    Or, we can struggle.

  13. I'm taking my technology-deficient ass to bed. G'nite.

    You're right about the ethanol. We're getting so close, but the powers that be are mounting a monstrous push, as we speak, to kill it once, and for all. They might succeed. Unlikely, but possble. It'd be a shame.


  14. I knew you would rise to the challenge.

  15. Mr Soros or the Hunt brothers, all smart guys, who in the end were not smart enough to beat the US marketplace.

  16. The dollar, whit, is no longer a devalued currency. What with the Europeon Euro meltdown just getting started in Greece, spreading westward along the coast of the Med.

    No, the dollar and the US economy is still the safe haven in the whirled economy.

    While by many standards the Chinese are coming on strong, there is neither transparency nor great liquidity in their economy.

    Their per capita GDP is the most telling number, with regards their relative international position and hopes for internal growth.

    From the CIA
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $6,500 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127

  17. Peace is breaking out in the Palestinian occupied west bank: The Palestinian Authority (PA) is trying merchants on criminal charges for selling goods made in the Barkan industrial area of western Samaria, according to a Sunday report by the PA's WAFA news agency. WAFA says officials of the PA customs and consumer offices confiscated 13.5 tons of merchandise manufactured in Jewish communities.

    The PA Economic Office issued a statement saying that plastic and chemical materials from Barkan were seized in Ramallah and Hevron.


    Look forward to the Obumbler's peace push this year...

  18. I'm the girl that fixes the robot brain when a power surge fries a circuit board. I use a robot to find out where the bad chip is, but they can't get a robot to remove the surface mount IC and put a new one on. New manufacture, sure, but if consumer electronics breaks they just throw it away. Can't just throw away parts for a $14 million weapon, and you can't just throw away parts for a robot. You gotta fix them. And they can't get a man to do it either. Nine hours a day looking through a microscope drives men bugfuck.

  19. Let's get back to talkin' bout Twain, and the river.

    Cause you and I both know about that.

  20. Last night's deplorable example of what's wrong with Bob has been incubating for months.

    In this matter there have been crimes of commission and crimes of ommission.

    Enable. It's a verb. If a certain someone owns a dictionary they should look it up.

    And then there are those who have enabled the enabler.

    There are those who have turned a blind eye.

    Question: At the EB, where does the buck stop?

  21. I suppose that I am the blind eye, although yesterday, I deleted comments that I deplored and deleted my own offer of condolence.

    I am neither a hall proctor nor a cop. I do this for my own amusement.

    Bob has changed is a way that is not pleasant. That is too bad and I am not sure that he sees it. Now he has heard it. I repeat.

    Bob has changed in a way that is not pleasant.

    I am not going to ban anyone but from here on out, Bob will straighten up his act, get help which is clearly needed and be subject to a vigorous use of administrative delete.

  22. Reason Soros buying gold now it because he probably doesn't view this as the top of the market.

  23. "I am not going to ban anyone..."

    The alternative unfortunately comes very close to appointing the Bar to a bizarre online guardianship of a progressively troubled individual - and its participants, frustrated, angry, and ultimately helpless witness when not directly objects of same.

    My pity goes out to him (and the more so due to the gratuitous torment he's been subject to) but this establishment cannot be anyone's keeper and I fear that's what it is being gradually drawn into.

    There's more than one way to enable, viktor's right about that.

  24. Bob: Thank you, Miss T. Let's get back to talkin' bout Twain, and the river. Cause you and I both know about that.

    And then I went on and told her all what I told Uncle Silas before; and then she said she'd forgive us, and maybe it was all right enough anyway, and about what a body might expect of boys, for all boys was a pretty harum-scarum lot as fur as she could see; and so, as long as no harm hadn't come of it, she judged she better put in her time being grateful we was alive and well and she had us still, stead of fretting over what was past and done. So then she kissed me, and patted.

  25. "There's more than one way to enable, viktor's right about that."

    You people are hilarious.

    Anyone watching Bob over the past few months shouldn’t be surprised by the latest kerfuffle.

    He’s like that homeless guy you see when parked at a stop light in any major city, wandering aimlessly across the street, swinging at things that aren’t there, yelling at anyone who comes near. You know, the guy you instinctively avoid eye contact with.

    Bobbo has some problems. But you people play into his hands by even commenting on his latest solipsistic musings. It should be obvious that he is loving this latest attention.

    The man is a somatic narcissist. You play into his hands by even commenting on him. If there are enablers here, it's a co-dependant relationship.

    If you don't lke what he is saying, "avoid eye contact." Don't say it (as many have before). Do it. He will eventually wander off and look for someone else to abuse.

    If you don't want to do that, quit whining.


  26. Technically, there is no way to ban anyone on blogger without moderating comments, which I will not do because it is boring.

    You will recall that Bob led a campaign to ban DR. How ironic is that?

    I clipped at least seven of his comments last night. Whit has as well. Q gives the best advise. Do not engage him. It only encourages the downward spiral.

  27. Ole Bob can be quite lucid and rational at times but then he flips out. My theory is there is a physical/mental thing setting in. I wonder how his wife is coping...

  28. "If you don't want to do that, quit whining."

    We've been through all this before. With Habu.

    Took him for fucking ever to leave when he was finally, assiduously ignored.

    And we're supposed to sit through that again?

    This is one of those times when I find dear host's no-ban preference counterproductive.

  29. Well. I guess Blogger has answered for dear host.

    Yes. We are supposed to sit through that again.

  30. Quirk

    I take your point. But you sweep with a wide broom.

    The majority have tried ignoring the crazy man, then they openly criticized him hoping to shame him, not knowing he was incapable of shame, then, when the man became intolerable they wanted the cops to take the crazy guy away.

    If they had your professional credentials, Quirk, and knew he was a, what was your dignosis: somatic narcissist? they would have called the cop earlier.

    And not all of us are ignorant of the fact that someone has been feeding the crazy man and, thus, out of misguided pity or whatever motive, has encouraged him to hang around.

    Everyone will have to examine their own conscience to acertain their own role in this debacle.

    BTW, Quirk, why haven't you given us your wisdom of your professional training before this?

    If I have missed it, I apologize in advance.

  31. There is one way to do it and that is to delete everything he says every time.

  32. [Following note has been somewhat overcome by events while I was drafting it. I'm submitting it anyhow. Make of it what you will.]

    FWIW: Why turn the Elephant into a rec room for an insane asylum?

    I think Bob's future comments should all be deleted. Let him talk to himself.
    Spare us the necessity of scrolling past his gibberish and obscene rants.

    Anything short of total banning will not be effective. He's already demonstrated massive denial, transference, aggressive displacement, narcissim, and down right lying. Hoping Bob will reform his behavior is itself a form of wishful insanity.

    Anyone predisposed to offer sympathy and amateur psychotherapy to Bob may do so with the proper privacy of emails.

    A further bonus from banning Bob: Our more sensitive and caring patrons would then not be subjected to the vulgarity of gratuitous tormenting which his guaranteed continued presence will assure.

  33. Trish and Victor,

    I suggest you go to and look under the word scroll.

    Check under verb as it applies to computers.

    With regard to my diagnostic abilities, Victor, you too can become a clinical psychologist in as little as six months.

    Go to and sign up.


  34. Clearly this has been a very sad fall from grace.

    I once made the observation that "Doug made me laugh and Bob made me smile." That is no longer so.

    If that is the wish of the majority, we will delete all comments made by Bob.

  35. It isn't my wish to see his stuff deleted. Mind you I missed what he posted that so upset all of you. I've had my problems with Bob for a looooooong time but he certainly had his supporters. I tend to scroll on by his more 'heartfelt' posts (poetry, pining ect) but he certainly has made me smile at times, usually with derision though.

  36. "I think Bob's future comments should all be deleted."

    I doubt the majority here would agree with you.

    I scroll through most of Bob's posts, especially those on his latest fixation (Weiss) and all of them involving MLD. However, as Ash pointed out, he occasionally comes up with something lucid, even if of little value in itself, at least as a launching point for further discussion.

    (Plus, he can often get the post total up near 200 almost entirely by himself.)

    More importantly, I doubt there are many at the EB who would vote to have anyone blackballed. There might be many who would want someone to leave on their own. But I doubt many, with the exception of Bob and a few others, that would actually ask that someone be banned.


  37. By the way, I'm embarrassed to have to vote at all.


  38. (Plus, he can often get the post total up near 200 almost entirely by himself.)

    Playing that game is like little boys in a locker room playing whose is biggest.


    As for the rest of your opinion, I'll wait for the outcomes.

  39. By the way, I'm embarrassed to have to vote at all.

    Not surprising, Q.

    Sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted.

  40. No - 2
    Yes- 2

    I know how I will vote, but will not do so till all are in.

  41. "Sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted."

    You fuckin moron, you saw my vote.


  42. Viktor, Trish and I all vote Yes. I thought my comment counted for my vote.

    That's 3 to 2.

    Just for the record.

  43. I vote no blackball on Bob, because I was once blackballed from a Calvinist blog just because if you clicked on the blue link with my name, it led you to a personal profile with more blue links to blogs about women who like U-Hauls and Indigo Girls music.

  44. It's the principle of the thing to me, LT.

    My comments on the volume of Bob's postings was a mild, albeit evidently unsuccessful attempt at humor. The boy does take up a lot of space at the bar. I frankly could care less if he posts here again.

    However, I'm against banning anyone from the blog, even if it inconveniences me by forcing me to scroll past the garbage.


  45. Quirk said to Linear:

    "You fuckin moron, you saw my vote."

    I like Quirk. He brings energy to any debate.

    His bulbs may be dim but he brings ample heat.

  46. I vote No Ban...

    However I also chide those that feed the issue...

    geo-politics, with a dash of world history, with a dash of different cultures, with a speck of religion, with a open mind to WORLD & American issues that are of import...

    Stay on topic and if you cant stay on topic stay on anyone of the 3 dozen issues that the people here discuss, argue and spit about...

    romance, snatch, shaving, panties, love poetry, suicides on one'sself, fake dying of ones family need not be tolerated...

    talk about global warming, jihad, economy, war, history, imperialism, occupation, trade, labor, inventions, innovations, scotch (other liquors), a good joke, politics, weather and other such subjects...

    It's a bar, not a confessional....

  47. Quirk, Ash, Teresita: For the record, is there any thing that Bob could do that would justify, to you, his banning from this site?

    I ask this because the position you have taken seems without moral justification. That is to say: it seems amoral.

    And do you make any distinction between censorship and editorship?

  48. I didn't see what he posted that was deleted.

    "Sticks and stones may break my bones but..."

    Bob is like family, he says stuff - so do all of you. I find scrolling tiresome but not much of a problem. When I scroll I also skim so I usually get the gist of it. What I think should be deleted from this blog are comments which are blatant advertisements, an attack of copious posting would be another reason to delete in my books but because someone wrote something that OFFENDED me, well, many others here would be the subject of the delete key because we all have the capacity to offend...

    ...even me ;)

  49. Bob is insane. He shouldn't be writing on a blog; he should be "resting" in a quiet place, somewhere.

    He will, eventually, drive other people insane. I'm not going to interact with him. Others, however, no matter how despicable his behavior, will.

    I would like to see him gone. But, voting against someone else's right to blather on with him goes against every grain of my being.

    I'm taking the chickenshit way out, and giving Deuce my proxy. After all, Deuce, and Whit are the ones that have to clean up after his mess - I can just scroll through.

    This is your blog, Deuce. You put in all the work. Excellent, thoughtful posts every day. If you want to put up with him I'll grimmace, and bear it. If you choose not to put up with it, I support you. Don't Agonize over it too much. It isn't worth it.

  50. For the record, is there any thing that Bob could do that would justify, to you, his banning from this site?

    Viktor, it's just a stream of little 8-bit blocks called "bytes" that are displayed as alphanumeric characters, see? It can only hurt you to the extent that you volunteer to submerge your own ego into the Bar. We all say we're "in" the Elephant Bar, but we're really at home (or at work taking a lunch break, as the case might be).

  51. Your vote and most of your explanation are well stated and clear, WiO.

    One item puzzles me.

    romance, snatch, shaving, panties, love poetry, suicides on one'sself, fake dying of ones family need not be tolerated...

    How do you propose to "not tolerate" them if you vote to continue their enablement, because that's exactly what a NO vote means?

  52. "Quirk, Ash, Teresita: For the record, is there any thing that Bob could do that would justify, to you, his banning from this site?"

    Speaking strictly for myself, the answer is no.

    Of course, Duece and Whit make up the rules. If they say there is to be no profanity on the blog then anyone who ignores the rule can be banned. The same for personal attacks or whatever. However, up to this point that has not been the case.

    This is a blog. Nothing Bob says here affects you personally unless you let it. This is a blog.

    Some of you people act as if you are cats mesmerized by some moving ball on a string, that you have to read everything posted here.

    There is no rule that says you have to read anything Bob posts much less respond to it.

    The thing Bob hates the most is to be ignored; yet the EB has talked about nothing else for two days.


  53. Despite knowing that he would offend pretentiously, I seconded the motion to have Quirk added to our little family. He has not disappointed. He has added nothing of substance to any discussion of which I am aware. Nevertheless if asked again, my vote would be the same.

    Bob has done something for which I can find no adequate word of censure. Moreover, his suicidal ideation is frightening. Should he be outcast? No!

    He once had my friendship. His curiosity and mystical inclinations were refreshing in a forum often dominated by mean-spirited, ignorant snark.

    He now has my sympathy. With that I wish him well, and hope he will talk to someone clinically competent.

    Quirk, if you must pretend awareness, try the DSM IV. Who knows, you might stumble upon something personally therapeutic.

  54. It's a bar, not a confessional....


    It's not an outpatient mental clinic either, and that's what Bob needs.

    This situation has been deteriorating for months. No one's calling for censoring of Bob's inane commentary, but anyone who'll deny that he's crossed the line of acceptable behavior is blind. Last night wasn't the first.

    "We encourage free wheeling conversation, keep it civil and interesting."

    Or what?

  55. linearthinker = civil????

    I don't think so!

  56. Thanks for the advise, Dr. Allen. I will treat it will all the consideration it deserves.


    This from the man who starts his arguments off with statements like "Assume I am Jack Bauer..", and "We can assume the Egyptian called the Jewish slave a kike..."

    Good lord, man, get a mirror.


  57. Wal-Mart Is Said to Be Buying Vudu Movie Service

  58. Is climate change regulations the next healthcare battle?

    EPA Budget Request Hearings


  59. Usually the solution to a problem is to take out part of the equation that causes the problem. It seems to me that I am part of that problem. If he’s not reciting poems then he’s talking about something else to get my attention. If I don’t respond to him or I respond to someone else or someone else responds to me either in a positive or negative way that’s when he flies off the handle.

    It’s everything that I don't stand for because I don’t quit anything and I sure as hell don’t let anyone run me out of town, for any reason. If anything it makes me a stronger person. I’m willing take myself out of the equation and let Bob be himself. Maybe if I’m not around there won’t be anything pressuring him into his obsessive ways.

    With the exception of a couple of people I don’t think I’ll be missed much.

  60. And this is not a confession of being the enabler. With the exception of way over a year ago when I campaigned for him to come back after leaving for a couple of months, I believe I have done my best not to provoke any physical contact on this blog. I may have stuck up for him a few times but never encouraged any of this.

  61. The EPA seems to have backed itself into a legal bind with the new regulatory authority it has assumed.

    "The EPA is well aware of the potential regulatory nightmare—and political backlash—that enforcement of Section 165 could create, so the agency has offered to modify its carbon rules. In September, shortly after proposing the new regulations for cars and trucks, the EPA proposed a dramatically higher new threshold of 25,000 tons per year before the new greenhouse gas requirements are imposed, even though the statute expressly sets a limit of 250.

    The EPA estimates that the new threshold, if adopted, would force fewer than 15,000 facilities to obtain carbon permits, and most of those are already subject to other environmental regulations. “This is a common-sense rule that is carefully tailored to apply to only the largest sources,” the EPA’s Jackson explained.

    However sensible it may be, the proposal directly conflicts with the act’s explicit text. Section 165 applies to “any…source with the potential to emit two hundred and fifty tons per year or more of any pollutant” (emphasis added). The EPA justified its elastic reading of the law on grounds that a lower threshold is “not feasible” for greenhouse gases. Without any statutory text to support this decision, the EPA relied on the doctrines of “administrative necessity” and avoiding “absurd results.”

    Legal Justification for EPA's Clean Air Rules


  62. Melody, that's ridiculous. Bob is Bob and you were unfortunate to become the object of his desire. Sure isn't your fault.

  63. Teresita said:

    "Viktor, it's just a stream of little 8-bit blocks called "bytes" that are displayed as alphanumeric characters, see? It can only hurt you to the extent that you volunteer to submerge your own ego into the Bar."

    Teresita, how can you say that with a straight (?) face. How many times have you quit The Bar because your knickers were in a knot over some real or imagined slight?

    If you want to play the stoic on this matter, then be my guest. But your theoretical position seems anti-thetical to your actions.

    But, knee-slapping humor aside, let's talk about Bob's worst transgression:

    He has potentially outed his daughter.

    He informs us that his daughter was raped. She did not report it. I assume this was because she did not want the tribulations of a trial and wanted the matter to kept private, not wanting any public embarrassment?

    Bob, informing us of the facts, brings no harm as long as he remains anonymous.

    But what did Bob do? Over time he revealed his full name, his email address, the town he lived in and legal details which would positively identify himself and his family.

    Now, possibly, no one in his home town reads this blog and, so, his daughter's privacy may still be intact. But the danger that what happened to her could become public knowledge is still real. For that alone, I thought that he should be tied to a lamp post and horsewhipped.

    And then there is the matter of his disgraceful conduct with Melody. He may not have actually committed adultery but it was not for lack of trying.

    And, so, what I said about the daughter's potential public embarrassment goes for Bob's wife also.

    If we are to let this behavior go unpunished then who are we to complain about the decline of public morals or the lack of the advancement of western civilization?

  64. I'm not taking blame trust me. I always own up to my mistakes and when I'm wrong but if you look at the whole picture he started this when I came in to the bar and it escalated from there. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe if I was gone he would still be the same, I don't know.

    I don't care what, WiO, thinks about nonsense talk,I'm gonna say what I want but on the other hand I don't want to disrupt the bar like this. It's not fair to the ones that are here to talk geopolitical nonsense.

  65. This is like the third time this has happened and good Lord putting global warming on the back burner for even a half a day will set us back...well a half a day.

  66. Maybe if I was gone he would still be the same, I don't know.

    He would.

    If it weren't you, he'd obsess about someone or something else. There'd be more of his fucking poetry for sure.

    You would disappoint me if you withdrew over this. You and I really don't get along, so take that as a sincere request not to leave.

    The innocent should not be punished because he has the emotional maturity of an eleven year old and can't control his impulses.

  67. "A truce between Darfur's most powerful rebel group and the government of Sudan could pave the way for finally bringing peace to the war-ravaged region weeks ahead of the first national elections in decades.

    Numerous cease-fires and peace deals in this seven-year-old conflict have been short-lived, but this time around increased international pressure and impending elections give this latest initiative a better chance for survival.

    Despite the ebbing of violence in the last year, the U.N. estimates that some 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million been displaced since ethnic African tribesman in the vast arid western Darfur region took up arms against the Arab-dominated central government.

    The truce set to be signed Tuesday in Doha, Qatar between the government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, was bolstered by the dramatic improvement in relations between Sudan and Chad — who once exchanged bitter accusations of supporting each other's rebels.

    Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is also facing war crimes accusations abroad and an election April, making him eager for some kind of breakthrough to improve his image abroad and at home.

    The signing of the framework agreement will be attended by the U.S., the U.N. and Arab representatives as well as by the president of Chad."

    Darfur Cease Fire?


  68. WASHINGTON —NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has asked him to “find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries” as the White House pushes the space agency to become a tool of international diplomacy.

    “In addition to the nations that most of you usually hear about when you think about the International Space Station, we now have expanded our efforts to reach out to non-traditional partners,” said Bolden, speaking to a lecture hall of young engineering students.

    Specifically, he talked about connecting with countries that do not have an established space program and helping them conduct science missions. He mentioned new opportunities with Indonesia, including an educational program that examines global climate change.

  69. Thanks, LT, I will. It was just a thought, a really long one, but just a thought. And why don't we get along? For the same reasons as WiO or did we have words? Just curious.

    And for all you peepers out there this wasn't a ploy to get attention, I was truly being sincere.

  70. Not that I would have a vote, but if I did I would vote no also. I didn't see what was written last night, but perhaps an adult beverage or two was involved? I say let he/she who has never written a drunken email late at night cast the first aye.

  71. And why don't we get along?

    If you don't mind, drop me a quick note at:

    randomtraverse @

    We can discuss this off thread.

  72. Not that I would have a vote, but if I did I would vote no also. I didn't see what was written last night, but perhaps an adult beverage or two was involved?

    Therein lies a grievous failing of a pure democracy. Votes cast in ignorance have consequences.

  73. "Therein lies a grievous failing of a pure democracy. Votes cast in ignorance have consequences."

    Amen to that LT, Just my 2 cents.

  74. "Therein lies a grievous failing of a pure democracy. Votes cast in ignorance have consequences."

    Especially when they are different than mine?



  75. Democracy is over rated...

    A Republic is a much better system...

    Please someone tell the Dictator wannabee in Washington DC that is how our system works...

    It's not, one man one vote, one time...

  76. "An Israeli archaeologist said Monday that ancient fortifications recently excavated in Jerusalem date back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon and support the biblical narrative about the era.
    If the age of the wall is correct, the finding would be an indication that Jerusalem was home to a strong central government that had the resources and manpower needed to build massive fortifications in the 10th century B.C.

    That's a key point of dispute among scholars, because it would match the Bible's account that the Hebrew kings David and Solomon ruled from Jerusalem around that time.

    While some Holy Land archaeologists support that version of history — including the archaeologist behind the dig, Eilat Mazar — others posit that David's monarchy was largely mythical and that there was no strong government to speak of in that era."

    Archeological Dig May Help Confirm Bible History


  77. WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is putting forward a nearly $1 trillion, 10-year health care plan that would allow the government to deny or roll back egregious insurance premium increases that infuriated consumers.
    Posted Monday morning on the White House Web site, the plan would provide coverage to more than 31 million Americans now uninsured without adding to the federal deficit.
    It conspicuously omits a government insurance plan sought by liberals.
    But it's uncertain that such an ambitions plan can pass, since Republicans are virtually all opposed and some Democrats who last year supported sweeping health care changes are having second thoughts. After a year in pursuit of his top domestic priority, Obama may have to settle for a modest fallback.

    someone ought to inform the messiah that if the government set prices then shortages will occur...

    price fixing...


    We now have 5 year plans and Stalin.

  78. .... others posit that David's monarchy was largely mythical and that there was no strong government to speak of in that era."

    Uncle David was quite the over the top Uncle but HE did exist....

  79. "Toyota officials said they saved $100 million by successfully negotiating with the U.S. government on a limited recall of floor mats in some Toyota and Lexus vehicles, according to new documents shared with congressional investigators.

    Toyota, in an internal presentation in July 2009 at its Washington office, said it saved $100 million or more by negotiating an "equipment recall" of floor mats involving 55,000 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES350 vehicles in September 2007.
    The savings are listed under the title, "Wins for Toyota — Safety Group."

    The document cites millions of dollars in other savings by delaying safety regulations, avoiding defect investigations and slowing down other industry requirements."

    Toyota Boasts of Saving $100M on Safety Recall

    Due to resource restrictions, NHSTA typically goes along with the carmakers when it comes to recalls, root cause, and fixes. It appears the upcoming congressional hearings with Toyota could get a bit contentious.


  80. Who was on the bubble?

    Oh, yeah, that fella, he's a tad touched.
    Senses his own mortality.
    With fear and trepidation.

    Sad old man.
    Thinks were jealous of him, his life and his possessions.
    So, so sad.

  81. I'd have voted no,
    if I had been in the room.

    I am knowledgeable.
    I'd delete anything that could be considered the least bit offensive, in the future, if it was me.

    But it is not.
    Nor will it be -
    me who decides.

  82. Since we've deleted the Board, and the multiple clusters, that's about all that there is to it, now.

  83. This comment has been removed by the author.

  84. "The Pentagon has painted a grim picture of Taiwan's air defense capabilities, saying that many of the island's 400 combat aircraft would not be available to help withstand an attack from rival China…

    By pointing out the island's shortcomings, the report could provide justification for Washington to grant a Taiwanese request for relatively advanced F-16 jet fighters, a key element in its arms procurement wish list…

    While Washington shifted its recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, it remains Taiwan's most important foreign partner, providing it with the vast majority of its imported military equipment…

    It has also left open the possibility that American forces could come to the island's aid if China invaded across the 100-mile (160-kilometer) -wide Taiwan Strait…"

    Taiwan Air Defense Picture is Grim


  85. Funny and the last I hope to say on the matter, but the fella that always wanted a vote, got one.

    Not sure whether he won or lost, though.

    Since my vote, if it had been cast in time, it would not have been about what I thought of him, not in the least.

  86. At the end of a photo essay, Yon states the obvious:

    The War in Afghanistan has truly begun. This will be a long, difficult fight that is set to eclipse anything we’ve seen in Iraq. As 2010 unfolds, my 6th year of war coverage will unfold with it. There is relatively little interest in Afghanistan by comparison to previous interest in Iraq, and so reader interest is low. Afghanistan is serious, very deadly business. Like Iraq, however, it gets pushed around as a political brawling pit while the people fighting the war are mostly forgotten. The arguments at home seem more likely to revolve around a few words from the President than the ground realities of combat here. I can bring the ground realities, but can sustain the coverage only by the graciousness of readers. Please keep that in mind. Please click…

    The temptation to outright cynicism is extraordinary.

  87. And I'm not sure what the finer alternative to outright cynicism is.

  88. (I was going to comment on the nearly epic hockey match but, fuck, this has been a sad day.)

  89. sad day??? The USA won the hockey game. Now, Canada outplayed them by a long shot so that has helped keep Canadian chins from dragging too badly but still, Canada lost - now that's sad!

  90. You know BJ had one of the best threads ever last night.

  91. Re: Olympic Hockey

    The US women also won and will be playing in the gold medal game.

    Not sure how the men's schedule for the next round will be determined so I don't know if the US will play Canada again; however, you've got to like the current standing for the US.

    With regard to Canada, I have some mixed emotions being from the Detroit area. If they don't get the gold, there will be recriminations all around including for Babcott and Yzerman.

    Still it would be sweet if both the US men and women could win gold. (Four goals in a row for the US, go Refalski.)


    What would actually be sad is if Canada doesn't start pumping out our more medals given the $100 million they put out on their Own the Podium program. China did the same thing for their games and it worked out for them. Hopefully, Canada can get back on track.

    (If Canada does lose in hockey, I can't wait to see Don Cherry on the next Hockey Night in Canada show.)


  92. Bob's got a lot of talk, more than he deserves.

    It was an email from Linear said come back, come back, Melody wants you, no one will talk to her, please, please.

    She said so herself.

    So I did. Being the superhero I was told I was.

    I do like her.

    I did mention my daughter was raped, something I should not have mentioned.

    Melody is a wonderful person.

    She did lead the old guy on a bit, I don't think she did it intentionally, and I over reacted, for which I'm sorry.

    She knows that.

  93. The apparent Israeli assassination of a Hamas operative in the United Arab Emirates turned into a bizarre event replete with numerous fraudulent passports, alleged Israeli operatives caught on videotape and international outrage (much of it feigned), more over the use of fraudulent passports than over the operative’s death. If we are to believe the media, it took nearly 20 people and an international incident to kill him.


    We should begin by defining what we mean by assassination. It is the killing of a particular individual for political purposes.


    The contemporary reality is not a battlefield on which a Yamamoto might be singled out or a charismatic political leader whose death might destroy his regime. Rather, a great deal of contemporary international politics and warfare is built around these covert capabilities.

    Utility of Assassination

  94. It's almost funny, I've been the guy that has stuck up for the rights of the women, all these days, then I go fall for a girl half my age, mention my dotter was raped, and I get crucified.

    And stuck up for the Jews too, through thick and thin, and get crucified by Allen, whose books I have read.

    Thanks, Allen.

  95. It a hard thing, to fall for a younger woman.

    Try it sometime.

  96. "We should begin by defining what we mean by assassination. It is the killing of a particular individual for political purposes."

    Well, hell, that puts just about every damned killing at the direction of government and non-government agencies in a bind.

    For our shorthand purposes (and someone can check the USC) assassination refers to heads of state and their ministers.

  97. Golly Bob I thought I'd at least get a smile with that Huck Finn passage, being semi-relevant and all.

  98. You are great on Huck, Miss T

    I think the two of us are the best.

  99. The European Union said Monday that it “strongly condemns” the use of forged European passports by the suspected assassins of a Palestinian leader, but it avoided any direct criticism of Israel, which has been accused of carrying out the attack. The declaration came as foreign ministers from some of the nations whose passports were counterfeited met individually with their Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, who was in Brussels for a series of meetings.

    The police in Dubai have accused Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, of using fake European passports and credit cards to help plan the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founder of Hamas’s armed wing, in a hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in January.

    Passports Linked to Killing

  100. "For our shorthand purposes (and someone can check the USC) assassination refers to heads of state and their ministers."

    Trish, I'm kind of missing your point.

    Why the fixation on "heads of state and their ministers"?

    (By the way, why don't you check the USC and give us a reference then provide us some context at the same time.)

    The "Illustrated Oxford Dictionary"
    defines assassinate as " vt. kill for political or religious motives". gives something along the same lines.


  101. One of the primary goals of the two-day summit being held in the Caribbean beach resort of Playa del Carmen is the formation of a new regional group that would include all nations in the Americas — except the United States and Canada.

    A working summit document, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, suggests diplomats are still working on a name for the organization, with the "Latin American and Caribbean Community" being one possibility. The group is expected to be established by 2011.

    Calderon also said the nations gathered at the summit have pledged to donate $35 million to help Haiti recover from a devastating Jan. 12 earthquake that Haitian President Rene Preval says may have killed as many as 300,000 people.

    Summit Backs Argentina on Falklands

  102. OK, Maybe had one too many, but anyway.

    I was just watching Gretta Van Sus*&^%$ and she was interviewing some GOP congressman who is a doctor that was not invited to the healthcare summit. He sounded like a knowledgeable guy on the subject and it got me thinking about why we haven't had a smart American patriot run for president since ... Reagan? And, before that? This is a naive question, but, where are these people? I'm an old farm boy from Maine, so this is not my first (or last) naive question. I wonder if the Left (hopefully) has the same question. Obama was a brilliant candidate, but he brings nothing to governing.

    I know the job is tough, but is it really so difficult that brilliant people want nothing to do with it?

    I guess I see the answer to that. There are no patriots anymore. Pity.

  103. This reminds me of the Reyes strike. Everyone and their mother got up in arms - or made predictable pretense to such.

    I don't mean to be cavalier, but at the end of the day? The guy was righteously dead and Ecuador finally refinished the interior of its embassy.

  104. Maybe it's an interrogator thing.

    Definitions pertaining to the law matter.

  105. "WASHINGTON (AP) — Former vice president Dick Cheney was hospitalized after experiencing chest pains Monday, an aide said.

    Cheney assistant Peter Long issued a statement that the 69-year-old Cheney was resting comfortably and his doctors were evaluating the situation."

    Cheney Hospitalized

    At his age and given his health, Cheney should probably consider really retiring. Making the talk show circuit is probaly not the best thing for his heart.

    I understand he's writing a book too.


  106. The documents shed no new light on a dispute last year between Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and C.I.A. officials about what exactly she was told in a briefing on interrogation in the fall of 2002. Ms. Pelosi has said that while waterboarding, a tactic that simulates drowning, was describing at the briefing, she was not told that it was already in use.

    In fact, the waterboarding of Mr. Zubaydah had begun by that time, and C.I.A. officials have said they believe that was reported at the briefing with Ms. Pelosi.

    The records do show that Representative Jane Harman of California, who succeeded Ms. Pelosi as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, asked pointed questions about the value of coercive interrogation methods at a closed briefing in July 2004.

    CIA Tapes

  107. Mr. Soros knew that if he made a statement like that, it would put investors in a dilemma and they would start disinvesting from gold and this would make the price of gold go down. After the price went down he bought a huge lot of gold investments. This is really clever of him.

  108. and chachapoya, I believe you comment on rare occasions. Please accept my welcome and we look forward to hearing more from you as well.

  109. Thanks Duece. I will try to comment more often. Will surely try my best to be active on this blog. Cheers.