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

Friday, April 30, 2010


The US Dept of Interior Has SWAT Teams Going to Oil Rigs?

Why is Obama Sending SWAT teams to inspect oil rigs?

Has that oil rig been attacked by terrorists? Is there information that other rigs are at risk?

President Obama: All available resources will be used to respond to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill
April 29, 7:08 PMFirst Families ExaminerMarilyn Crain

Today, President Barack Obama promised to use every available government resource to respond to the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, fire and subsequent sinking.

As 5,000 barrels of oil (more than five times earlier estimates) flow each day from three ruptures, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that this is an incident of national significance.

The Department of Interior is sending SWAT teams to the gulf to inspect all oil drilling platforms and rigs.

Meanwhile, the potentially catastrophic spill moves closer to the environmentally fragile coastline of the Gulf. With winds blowing from the southeast, landfall is possible within hours.

The Deepwater Horizon Response Unified Command says, "On April 28 at approximately 4:45 p.m. (CDT), the response team conducted a successful controlled burn and is evaluating conducting additional burns."

With wildlife refuges such as Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area and national park sites like Gulf Islands National Seashore strung out along the coast from Louisiana to Florida, this oil spill has a the potential to be an environmental disaster. Residents and officials of the coastal areas of Texas are also keeping a watchful eye on the developing situation.


BY THE WAY. How has President Barrack Obama been reacting to this enviornmental disaster off the coast of Louisiana?

The well blew out of control April 20, when an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, killing 11 workers and eventually sinking in 5,000 feet of water.

April 21 President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met members of the U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey team in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.

April 22 "Take Your Child To Work Day" event in the East Room of the White House.

April 23 President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hiked along a trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Asheville, N.C.

April 24 President Barack Obama golfed on his weekend break in Asheville, N.C.

April 25 President Barack Obama attended a memorial service in Beckley, W.V.

April 26 President welcomed the World Series Champion New York Yankees to the White House to honor their 2009 season.

April 27 President Barack Obama went to Jerry's Family Restaurant, a diner in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

April 28 President Barack Obama toured a farm with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Marcia Schachtsiek in Palmyra, Mo.

April 29 President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attended the funeral for Dr. Dorothy Height at Washington National Cathedral in Washington. Dorothy who?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Screw the Greeks

In 2007 The BBC did a poll to get a view as to how certain countries viewed the US and Israel. When I see these things, I always pay attention to how the polls go in certain countries.

One of my favorites over the years has been Greece.

I worked for an agency of the US Government and served in an official capacity in Greece in late 1967. Through a bizarre set of circumstances I was on the wrong side of King Constantine's aborted and incompetent counter-coup in January of 1968 and I was declared "persona non grata" and given 48 hours to get out of the country.

That did not particularly bother me, because the January weather of 1968 was quite unpleasant and I was personally appalled at the degree of anti-Americanism in Greece especially from the intellectuals and elite. I was pleased to leave.

That anti-Americansism led to the assasination of CIA station chief, Richard Welch in 1967, and many other terrorist incidents since that time. Not much changed over the years and in 2007 a BBC poll showed that Greece had an 11% positive opinion and a a 68% negative view of the USA.

The USA owes nothing to Greece. If the socialists in Greece go broke, that is their doing and their problem. The US public should know that Greece is no friend of the US and has never been.

US taxpayers should do nothing for Greece. Give them nothing. They deserve even less.

Understanding the Concept of Military FUBAR




Obama Raw and Articulate, "Heads They Tail You Lose."

Say What?

April 27, 2010 7:15 PM
Obama Again Hits Arizona Immigration Bill

President Obama said at an Iowa town hall meeting today that the controversial immigration legislation signed into law Friday could lead to racial profiling.

"You know, you can try to make it really tough on people who look like they, quote, might be illegal immigrants," he said.

The president added that a Hispanic American whose family had been in the United States for generations faced a situation in which "now suddenly if you don't have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you can be harassed, that's something that could potentially happen."

"That's not the right way to go," the president said, calling the law "poorly conceived."

The president had previously criticized the law as "misguided."

At the town hall meeting, Mr. Obama said that Republicans must join Democrats in working to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He said the fact that the issue was so fraught meant that a bipartisan approach was essential.

"The only way it's going to happen if Democrats and Republicans come together and do this because this is such a volatile issue," he said. "I will bring the majority of Democrats to the table, but we have to have help from the other side."

Republican Jeb Bush, who supports reform at the national level, became the first from his party to speak out against the Arizona law Tuesday. In an interview with Politico, the former Florida governor said the state has the wrong approach.

"It's difficult for me to imagine how you're going to enforce this law. It places a significant burden on local law enforcement and you have civil liberties issues that are significant as well," he said in the interview.

He said his administration had already made progress on securing the borders and that more should be done, and that that there should be more punishment for employers who hire illegal workers.

The president added that he supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but that they should be made to learn English, pay a fine and "get in the back of the line" when it comes to attaining legal status.

The Arizona law, which would go into effect in July, includes in its provisions a requirement for law enforcement officers to question a person about his or her immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that person may be illegally in the country.

Attorney General Eric Holder indicated today that he believes "the law is an unfortunate one that will be subject to potential abuse" and said that the Justice Department is "considering a court challenge."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lehmanopolis? Greece Bans Short-selling. Panic Spreads.

ECB may have to turn to 'nuclear option' to prevent Southern European debt collapse

The European Central Bank may soon have to invoke emergency powers to prevent the disintegration of southern European bond markets, with ominous signs of investor flight from Spain and Italy.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor Telegraph
Published: 7:09PM BST 27 Apr 2010

Greece’s fortunes were dealt yet another blow as Standard & Poor’s slashed its credit rating to junk status - BB+ - the first time that has happened to a euro member since the single currency was created, pushing yields on 10-year Greek bonds up to a record 9.73pc.

The credit-rating agency also cut Portugal’s sovereign debt ratings by two notches to A-, as the swirling storm hit the country with full-force.

“We have gone past the point of no return,” said Jacques Cailloux, chief Europe economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland.“There is a complete loss of confidence. The bond markets are in disintegration and it is getting worse every day.

“The ECB has been side-lined in the Greek crisis so far but do you allow a bond crash in your region if you are the lender-of-last resort? They may have to act as contagion spreads to larger countries such as Italy. We started to see the first glimpse of that today.”

Mr Cailloux said the ECB should resort to its “nuclear option” of intervening directly in the markets to purchase government bonds.

This is prohibited in normal times under the EU Treaties but the bank can buy a wide range of assets under its “structural operations” mandate in times of systemic crisis, theoretically in unlimited quantities.

Mr Cailloux added: “This feels like the banking crisis in late 2008 post-Lehman, though it has not yet spread to other asset classes. The ECB will have to act it if does.”

Yields on 10-year Portuguese bonds spiked 48 basis points to 5.67pc, replicating the pattern seen as the Greek crisis started.

Portugal’s public debt will be just 84pc of GDP by the end of this year, far lower than that of Greece, at 124pc. However, its private debt is much higher and data from the IMF shows that its external debt position is worse.

Interest payments on foreign debt will be 8pc of GDP this year. Portugal’s net international investment position is minus 100pc of GDP, the worst in the eurozone.

The interest rate on a €9.5bn (£8.2bn) issue of Italian notes jumped to 0.814pc, up from 0.568pc in March. The bid-to-cover ratio was wafer-thin, falling to 1.02. Italy has the world’s third biggest debt in absolute terms.

The issue of the ECB buying bonds is a political minefield. Any such action would inevitably be viewed in Germany as a form of printing money to bail out Club Med debtors, and the start of a slippery slope towards in an “inflation union”.

But the ECB may no longer have any choice. There is a growing view that nothing short of a monetary blitz — or “shock and awe” on the bonds markets — can halt the spiral under way.

The markets are already looking beyond the €40bn to €45bn joint rescue for Greece by the IMF and the EU, questioning whether some form of debt restructuring or managed default can be avoided over the next year or two, or even whether the rescue plan can work at all in a country trapped in debt deflation with no way out through devaluation.

Professor Willem Buiter, a former member of Britain’s Monetary Policy Committee and now global economist for Citigroup, said there may need to be a “voluntary restructuring” of debt.

“It is quite likely that a haircut of, say, 20pc to 25pc will be imposed on creditors as parts of the deal,” he said.
The bond markets are already “pricing in” a default of some kind in Greece, where rates on 2-year debt spiked close to 15pc in panic trading yesterday.

The European Commission and the International Monetary Fund both insist that restructuring is out of the question but investors have become cynical after months of EU rhetoric and foot-dragging by Berlin.

The ECB cannot lightly risk a second sovereign crisis erupting, with dangers of a spillover into Spain.
The exposure of Spanish-based banks to Portuguese debt exceeds $80bn, according to the Bank for International Settlements. There were early signs of strain in the Spanish banking system yesterday.

Banks were forced to pay a premium in the domestic “repo” market on fears of counterparty risk, although the Bank of Spain has so far won plaudits for ensuring that banks have large safety buffers.

It is unclear why the markets are becoming skittish over Italian bonds. Public debt is 115pc of GDP but this is offset by very low household debt.

Italian citizens are among the most frugal savers in the OECD club of rich states. Moreover, the government has weathered the financial crisis with a budget deficit in remarkable good health.

Beware of Greeks Looking for Gifts

Euro dithering of the first order. German angst as to what to do. Greek labor intransigence. The Russians and Chinese bailing Greece out, and now talk of shifting it to the IMF which means more US bailouts.

Folks, forget the nonsense you hear about the Greeks being the birthplace of democracy. They may have invented it but have rarely practiced it and then only in short spurts. Greece has been ruled by tyrants and Turks and since the early seventies, socialists under the dreadful Papandreou family.

The current Papandreou has been a lifelong Socialist and is the president of Socialist International, a grouping of national Socialist parties.

His father, the late Andreas Papandreou, founded the Pasok party. His grandfather was prime minister in the 1960s before he was thrown out by a military coup.

They have been ardent anti-Americans. Greek intellectuals are the worst of the US haters.

Greece has yet to learn the lesson about socialism and the US may not be far behind, but this is a European and Greek problem of their own causing.

No gifts to Greece.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Arizona Under Siege by Illegals, Drug Cartels, Liberals and Federal Inaction

American citizens support the law that was signed in Arizona last Friday.

Of course the contemptible Barack Hussein Obama does not. Today, President Obama released a new video calling on “young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women” to help the Democrats in 2010.

A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows 60 percent of Americans favor the law. In Arizona, where so many people cross the border, the approval is 70 percent.

In Tucson, those opposed to the new law protested, saying their civil liberties will be violated when police check the immigration status of suspects.

There are currently an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona.

Al Sharpton is Unhappy

Al Sharpton promised to bring "freedom walkers" to Arizona to challenge the new law and force arrests, invoking the memory of the freedom riders who challenged segregation on interstate buses during the 1960s.

"The Arizona Immigration Bill is an affront to the civil rights of all Americans and an attempt to legalize racial profiling," said Sharpton, an asshole of impeccable credentials.

The Mexican President is Unhappy

The Mexican government will act against a new law targeting immigrants in the U.S. state of Arizona, which borders the Mexican state of Sonora, President Felipe Calderon told a broadcast public event on Monday.

"We are going to act, we have begun and we will do more," Calderon said.

"No one can sit on their hands faced with decisions that affect compatriots so clearly, including those that have contributed to the U.S. growth for generations, not only new arrivals," he said.

"The Mexican government will use all the resources within its reach to defend the rights of those Mexicans who will be affected by this legislation," Calderon said.

Say what? "defend the rights of those Mexicans who will be affected by this legislation."

Manuel Noriega, once Panamanian Strong Man, is Going to France

Does this affect US military Personnel?

Panama's Noriega extradition order signed by US

The US has cleared the way for former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega to be extradited to France, say US officials.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the warrant allowing the extradition to go ahead, they said.

Noriega finished a US jail sentence for drugs offences two years ago but has stayed in a Florida prison while fighting his extradition.

France convicted the former dictator on money-laundering charges in his absence in 1999.
Noriega had wanted to be sent back to Panama after finishing his 17-year jail sentence, but in April a US court ruled he could be extradited to France.

Four countries -- Morocco, China, South Africa and Jordan -- control 80 percent of the world's reserves of usable phosphate. So what?

The element phosphorus is essential to human life and the most important ingredient in fertilizer. But experts warn that the world's reserves of phosphate rock are becoming depleted. Is recycling sewage the answer?

They sift the powder through their fingers, smell it and admire its soft, brownish shimmer. The members of the delegation from Japan, dressed in black suits and yellow helmets, stand attentively in a factory building in Leoben, Austria, marveling at a seemingly miraculous transformation, as stinking sewage sludge is turned into valuable ash.

Nothing suggests that the brown dust comes from a cesspool. It doesn't smell, is hygienic and is as safe as sand in a children's sandbox. It's also valuable. The powder has a phosphate content of around 16 percent. Phosphate, the most important base material in mineral fertilizer, is currently trading at about €250 ($335) a ton.
Untreated sewage sludge was once dumped onto fields as liquid manure, until it became apparent how toxic it is. Human excretions are full of heavy metals, hormones, biphenyls -- and drugs. New processing plants are designed to remove these toxins far more effectively than before, thereby paving the way for the use of sewage sludge in safe, human fertilizer. Ash Dec, the company that operates the pilot plant in Leoben, has dubbed the program "Ash to Cash."

This unconventional approach could be important for all of mankind. While the term "peak oil" -- the point at which production capacity will peak before oil wells gradually begin to run dry -- is well known, fewer people know that phosphate reserves could also be running out. Experts refer to this scenario as "peak phosphorus."

"While the exact timing may be disputed, it is clear that already the quality of remaining phosphate rock reserves is decreasing and cheap fertilizers will be a thing of the past," warns Dana Cordell of the Institute for Sustainable Futures in Sydney. A phosphate crisis would be at least as serious as an oil crisis. While oil can be replaced as a source of energy -- by nuclear, wind or solar energy --, there is no alternative to phosphorus. It is a basic element of all life, and without it human beings, animals and plants could not survive.

Life-Giving and Lethal

The element phosphorus seeks to bond with oxygen, which gives it its dual role as both a life-giving and lethal element. Because it bonds so easily, phosphorus is highly flammable, which is why it is used in incendiary bombs. On the other hand, phosphorus is an essential part of biomolecules.

The chemical known as phosphate, which consists of one phosphorus atom surrounded by a safety cordon of oxygen atoms, is a building block of life. The human body, for example, contains about 700 grams (25 ounces) of phosphorus. Our teeth and bones owe their strength to a phosphate mineral, but nerve cells and muscles are also dependent on the chemical. Even DNA molecules are held together by phosphorus.

"Life can multiply until all the phosphorus is gone, and then there is an inexorable halt which nothing can prevent," the science fiction author and biochemist Isaac Asimov once wrote. People who do not consume at least 0.7 grams of phosphorus a day with their food are likely to suffer from deficiency symptoms.

The demand for fertilizer to grow animal feed has grown as a result of wealthy countries' hunger for meat. Growing prosperity in China and the cultivation of plants to produce biofuel are currently boosting demand even further, which fuels speculation in global markets. Two years ago, the price of phosphate rock skyrocketed by 700 percent before declining slightly again. The markets are nervous.

'A Ticking Time Bomb'

Just four countries -- Morocco, China, South Africa and Jordan -- control 80 percent of the world's reserves of usable phosphate. Morocco is a particularly important exporter, the Saudi Arabia of phosphorus, if you will. Its reserves were formed millions of years ago, when animal and plankton remains were deposited as sediments on the floor of a shallow, warm sea. Morocco's fossil treasure makes up about 37 percent of world reserves.

Europe, on the other hand, has almost no reserves of its own, and it depends on imports to satisfy 90 percent of its demand. Phosphorus is a "geostrategic ticking time bomb," warns David Vaccari, a professor of environmental engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. "We may eventually be driven to implement a high degree of recycling as resources become depleted," he says. "The sooner we implement recycling technologies, the longer the current resources will last to ease the transition to the period when intense recycling may become imperative."

Even the French writer Victor Hugo recognized the problem, interrupting his successful novel "Les Misérables" to devote several pages to a fiery plea in favor of using human fecal matter as fertilizer. "There is no guano comparable in fertility to the detritus of a capital," he raved.
And now the novelist's dream could finally come true. The industry is called "urban mining," and in addition to recycling metal, glass and plastic, it could soon turn urban sewers into fertilizer mines. Sewage treatment plants accumulate almost 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of phosphate a year per resident.

In today's sewage treatment plants, the phosphates end up in the sludge, which is then heated in mono-combustion plants and is often buried in landfills as ash or baked into concrete -- together with its valuable fertilizer component.

Part 2: Consumed, Digested, Excreted and Flushed Away

But that could soon change, as the Japanese delegation found out during its tour of the Leoben pilot plant. The surrounding region was once the heart of Austria's proud mining industry, which has since gone into visible decline. Many houses in Leoben stand empty today.

Now urban mining could give the region a new lease on life. The ash is delivered to the plant by truck from sewage treatment plants in Vienna, about 150 kilometers (94 miles) away. The light brown, fine dust is stored in large plastic bags, and nothing about it suggests that its particles may recently have been part of a delicious meal, before it was consumed, digested, excreted and flushed away through the city's sewer system.

When it is delivered to the pilot plant, the sewage sludge ash is unfit for use as a fertilizer, because it contains excessively high levels of heavy metals like cadmium. As gears groan and conveyor belts squeak, the ash, combined with chemical additives, is moved into a rotary kiln, where a hissing natural gas flame heats it to 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). After half an hour in the rotary kiln, the ash, which has now passed through two purification steps, has a phosphate content of about 16 percent. It is then enriched with other plant nutrients, like potassium and nitrogen, to yield the final product: urban fertilizer.

"After recycling, the heavy metal content is even significantly lower than in most conventional fertilizers," says Ludwig Hermann, co-founder of Ash Dec. "At the beginning, everything went wrong that could possibly go wrong," he says, referring to the €2 million ($2.7 million) pilot plant. "The furnaces gummed up and the dust was baked into hard pieces." The machine that Hermann now uses for urban mining was once used to process aluminum.

'Miraculous Bearer of Light'

His experiences are typical of the nascent phosphate recycling industry, where there is much speculation and trial-and-error -- almost the way it was 340 years ago, when phosphorus was discovered. It was Hamburg alchemist Hennig Brand who, while searching for the "philosopher's stone" in 1669, discovered a promising substance that glowed mysteriously in the dark.

The alchemist's recipe was somewhat idiosyncratic: Take "golden yellow" urine, distill it and heat the residue. Using this crude method, he obtained a few grams of phosphorus from several hundred liters of urine. He then sold the glowing crumbs to other scientists for large sums of money. German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was also keenly interested in the secret of the "phosphorus mirabilis" ("miraculous bearer of light").

The prosaic use of phosphate as a fertilizer was discovered by accident more than 200 years later. The material was a by-product of steel production in England and was known as Thomas meal. This industrial waste proved to be an outstanding fertilizer.

After that, phosphorus came to be used in many different applications: to promote growth in plants, in animal feed, on the strike surface of matchboxes and in weapons. Ironically, the Allies used phosphorus incendiary bombs in World War II to destroy Hamburg, the place where the "miraculous bearer of light" was first discovered.

Salvation from the Sewers

With the advent of urban mining, a new source of the coveted element is now being tapped. Many methods of deriving raw materials from sewage are being tested in the process. In the Netherlands, for example, the company Thermphos is producing high-quality white phosphorus for use in industry from vast amounts of sewage sludge ash. Germany, too, could soon assume a pioneering role with an innovative research center for phosphate recycling.

By 2012 at the latest, Hermann plans to build a circa €12 million reclamation plant in the context of a joint research project with the Berlin-based Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing. A site in the eastern state of Brandenburg is under consideration.

"With our technology, recycling could satisfy a third of German fertilizer demand," says Hermann. His first industrial-scale plant is expected to be seven times as large as the pilot plant in Austria, and would produce 29,000 tons of fertilizer a year. He plans to obtain the raw material from sewage treatment plants within a radius of 300 kilometers. But the bulk of it will come from what is potentially Germany's most important phosphate mine: Berlin's sewers.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan der Spiegel

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Christopher Columbus was bad for American Indians. Alien life could be far worse for Earthlings.

In the summer of 2005 funding was withdrawn from The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO).

It was a proposed mission to orbit three of the Galilean satellites, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, all or any which may have subsurface oceans and possibly the ingredients for life.

The spacecraft was to have been launched by a conventional chemical rocket, but once in space would have been driven by an ion propulsion system, electric thrusters powered by a small nuclear reactor.

Too bad that.

The more we learn about space, the more likely it is that life exists in many places and in ways both strange and familiar. There is compelling evidence that life on earth was introduced from space. Where did that come from?

To the surprise of some and no surprise to others, it may all have come from the hand of God or stranger yet from no one.


Stephen Hawking: alien life is out there, scientist warns

Stephen Hawking has suggested that aliens almost certainly exist but has warned humanity not to try to contact them.

Published: 8:39AM BST 25 Apr 2010 Telegraph

One of the world's leading scientists makes the claim in a new television documentary series, beginning on the Discovery Channel next month.

Hawking says that in a universe with 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars, it is unlikely that earth is the only place where life has evolved.

"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," he said, according to The Sunday Times.

"The real challenge is working out what aliens might actually be like."

Hawking says that they could be microbes – basic animals such as worms which have been on Earth for millions of years, but suggests that extraterrestrial life could develop much further.

"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet," Hawking said.

"I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."

The scientist, who is paralysed by motor neurone disease, warned that contact with alien life could spell disaster for the human race.

"If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the American Indians."

Past Time to Throttle Google

Google Street View logs WiFi networks, Mac addresses

Why are you doing this?, ask Germans
By Andrew Orlowski The Register UK

Posted in Government, 22nd April 2010 15:46 GMT

Google's roving Street View spycam may blur your face, but it's got your number. The Street View service is under fire in Germany for scanning private WLAN networks, and recording users' unique Mac (Media Access Control) addresses, as the car trundles along.

Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar says he's "horrified" by the discovery.

"I am appalled… I call upon Google to delete previously unlawfully collected personal data on the wireless network immediately and stop the rides for Street View," according to German broadcaster ARD.

Spooks have long desired the ability to cross reference the Mac address of a user's connection with their real identity and virtual identity, such as their Gmail or Facebook account.

Other companies have logged broadcasting WLAN networks and published the information. By contrast Google has not published the WLAN map, or Street View in Germany; Google hopes to launch the service by the end of the year.

But Google's uniquely cavalier approach to privacy, and its potential ability to cross reference the information raises additional concerns. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide. And when there's nowhere left to hide...?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kill Whitey

April 24, 2010
New hit song in South Africa: 'Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer !'
Jeremy Schaffner American Thinker

When arriving for The Football World Cup in South Africa in June 2010, do not forget to pick up your T-shirt at customs. Rumor has it that the ANC Youth League will be supplying them free of charge. Not wishing to scare off tourists, they only want to get rid of the local white population.

Seriously: this was part of a peaceful protest carried out recently. Now some people in government want to know who the protesters were, presumably to tick them off for casting South Africa in a bad light. It somehow didn't occur to them that they need to take serious steps against the main perpetrator,

Julius Malema is the head of the ANC (African National Congress) Youth League, and delights in singing the "Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer" song at public gatherings. They failed to rope him in, so a civil case was brought by an N.G.O. to stop him singing the song. He ignored a court ruling in favour of the plaintiff, and sang it while visiting Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

He had gone there to study their "success;" a country all but destroyed by that socialist dictator. A few days later the National Union of Mineworkers sang it at one of their meetings, taking their cue from Malema. We heard this morning that the disciplinary charges against Malema brought internally by the ANC, are to be dropped. They are powerless to stop him. He and his Youth League are the president's power base. It was they who orchestrated the coup at Polekwane in 2007, putting Jacob Zuma and the radical left in power. If they remove him, they remove themselves. It is out of control.

In the meantime, farm and urban killings continue, as some carry out Malema's instructions. The police try to convince the public that it is just random crime, but this is just an insult to our intelligence. The world will watch with folded arms as South Africa is destroyed, like they watched as Zimbabwe went down the tubes. If it were not for South Africa propping up Zimbabwe economically, and giving work to millions of Zim refugees, legal and illegal, (who are then able to feed their families back home) we would be seeing starvation on a massive scale.

Julius Malema is now on a trip to to see Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, to study their nationalisation model. No doubt he will pick up more than that from Hugo. Can it get worse?

Forgot How a Star Is Formed?

Click Photo to Enlarge and View in Awe!

The new image, captured earlier this year by Hubble's brand-new Wide Field Camera 3, shows a cosmic pillar of gas and dust piled high in the Carina Nebula.

Located about 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina, it shows a craggy mountaintop that is enshrouded by wispy clouds which would not look out of place in JRR Tolkien's epic fantasy or even a Dr Seuss book.

It captures in amazing detail the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars.

Nasa scientists say the scorching radiation and streams of charged particles from super-hot newborn stars shape and compress the pillar, which in turn causes more new stars to form within it.

They say the colours in the image reflect the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulphur (red).

The image was captured in February but released on Friday by the agency to mark the Hubble’s anniversary after it launched into space on April 24 1990 from the shuttle Discovery. -Telegraph

How a Star Is Formed

A star is formed out of cloud of cool, dense molecular gas. In order for it to become a potential star, the cloud needs to collapse and increase in density.

There are two common ways this can happen: it can either collide with another dense molecular cloud or it can be near enough to encounter the pressure caused by a giant supernova. Several stars can be born at once with the collision of two galaxies. In both cases, heat is needed to fuel this reaction, which comes from the mutual gravity pulling all the material inward.

What happens next is dependent upon the size of the newborn star; called a protostar. Small protostars will never have enough energy to become anything but a brown dwarf (think of a really massive Jupiter). A brown dwarf is sub-stellar object that cannot maintain high enough temperatures to perpetuate hydrogen fusion to helium. Some brown dwarfs can technically be called stars depending upon their chemical composition, but the end result is the same; it will cool slowly over billions of years to become the background temperature of the universe.

Medium to large protostars can take one of two paths depending upon their size: if they are smaller than the sun, they undergo a proton-proton chain reaction to convert hydrogen to helium. If they are larger than the sun, they undergo a carbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle to convert hydrogen to helium. The difference is the amount of heat involved. The CNO cycle happens at a much, much higher temperature than the p-p chain cycle.
Whatever the route – a new star has formed.

The life cycle of a star is dependent upon how quickly it consumes hydrogen. For example, small, red dwarf stars can last hundreds of billions of years, while large supergiants can consume most of their hydrogen with a comparably short few million years. Once the star has consumed most of its hydrogen, it has reached its mature state. This is how a star forms.
-Universe Today

ObamaCare takes a dysfunctional mess and makes it even more dysfunctional, and at greater cost.

ObamaCare to Cost More Than Expected? Where Have I Heard This Before?
Peter Suderman | April 23, 2010 Reason

Today, as Nick Gillespie noted earlier, Washington is shocked, SHOCKED to learn that the Affordable Care Act might not be as easy to pay for as promised. According to an AP summary, a new report "found that the law falls short of the president's twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the report warned."

But didn't budget-hottie Peter Orszag warn us not to be swayed by such obviously false charges? After all, ObamaCare is fiscally responsible! What clan of knee-jerk critics could have produced such a report? The libertarians at Cato? The conservatives at Heritage? The neocons at AEI? The socialists at Physicians for a National Health Plan?

Try again: This is the word straight from the Obama administration's Health and Human Services Department, the agency assigned to manage the reforms at the federal level.

Nor did the report's bad news stop there. It also "projected that Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, 'possibly jeopardizing access' to care for seniors." So when the President told AARP members that "nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits," presumably he meant nobody but, um, Medicare's chief actuary. But that doesn't really count, does it?

Of course, at this point, if we discount the claims of any agency or news organization that has expressed caution or concern that the law might not work as promised, we have to throw out the Congressional Research Service, the Joint Committee on Taxation, the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and The Hill, just to name a few. In the days since the Affordable Care Act's passage, reports from government agencies and mainstream news organizations have started to ask many of the same questions—and come to many of the same conclusions—that were asked by critics of the law in the year before it was passed.

Just look at the New York Times. Since the law's passage, the Grey Lady has reported that New York state's efforts to regulate insurance companies drove premiums through the roof and destroyed the market—and an individual mandate, which the state lacked, is a theoretical fix at best. The paper of record also reported that the law may not actually bring down costs for the sick, that the law was hastily and confusingly written (enough that it may deprive Congressional representatives and their staffs of health care coverage), that it may not help all the tough-luck cases it was supposed to resolve, and that health insurers may soon be turned into de facto public utilities.

The details vary somewhat, but cumulative picture is one that's broadly in line with what critics have been arguing since the first legislative drafts became available (at least). Rather than offer true reform for our country's health care system, ObamaCare takes a dysfunctional mess and makes it even more dysfunctional, and at greater cost.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Everyone Get on Your Feet For This Girl

South Koreans to Turn the Other Cheek to North Korean Attack?

US sailors showing the North Koreans what they really think.

On January 23, 1968 the USS Pueblo, a US Navy intelligence ship, was boarded and captured by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The North Koreans held the ship and crew for almost a year.

The ship's captain, Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, Commanding Officer of the Pueblo, was tortured and put through a mock firing squad in an effort to make him confess to crimes against the North Koreans.

The Koreans threatened to execute Bucher's crew in front of him. Bucher decided to confess, however the Koreans did not know enough English to write the confession, so they had Bucher write it.

The Koreans verified the meaning of his words using a dictionary, but failed to catch the pun and nuance when Bucher wrote, "We paean the DPRK. We paean the Korean people. We paean their great leader Kim Il Sung". (The word "paean" sounds identical to the term pee on. It is rarely used and means to praise. It is hard to imagine that level of literacy today!).

The Koreans also took and published a photo of the ship's crewmen. It was published worldwide. The Koreans did not notice the crew members in the front row giving them the finger.

Today the Telegraph reports this:

South Korean ship sunk by crack squad of 'human torpedoes'

A South Korean warship was destroyed by an elite North Korean suicide squad of 'human torpedoes' on the express orders of the regime's leader, Kim Jong-il, according to military intelligence reports.

Julian Ryall in Tokyo Telegraph
Published: 7:12PM BST 22 Apr 2010

The attack on the 1,220-ton Cheonan, which sank on March 26 with the loss of 46 of its 104 crew, was carried out in retaliation for a skirmish between warships of the two nations' navies in November of last year, South Korea claims.

The South Korean government has refused to comment officially on the reports but Defence Minister Kim Tae Young told a parliamentary session that the military believed that the sinking was a deliberate act by North Korea.

Officials in military intelligence say they warned the government earlier this year that North Korea was preparing a suicide-squad submarine attack on a South Korean ship.

"Military intelligence made the report to the Blue House [the presidential office] and to the Defence Ministry immediately after the sinking of the Cheonan that it was clearly the work of North Korea's military," a military source said.

"North Korean submarines are all armed with heavy torpedoes with 200kg warheads," the source said.
Experts who examined the ship, which sank in the Yellow Sea, say that the blast happened outside the vessel's hull, ruling out the possibility of an accident.

North Korean officials who have defected to South Korea but still have contact with North Korean military sources say they have been told that the attack was carried out on the orders of Mr Kim and involved a unit of 13 specially trained commandos and modified midget submarines.

The submarines were manoeuvred close to their target before being detonated, probably along with their crews. Alternatively, the attackers may have used timed charges.

If North Korea was behind the attack, it would be the bloodiest single incident since an uneasy truce brought the Korean War to an end in 1953.

It also leaves Lee Myung Bak, the South Korean president, with a decision to make on retaliation or ignoring the provocation according to analysts.

"This puts Lee in a very difficult situation, but I do not think that an Israeli-style, targeted response is likely," said Aidan Foster-Carter, an expert on Korean affairs at Leeds University. "That is because the United States won't have it and there is the danger that any retaliation will descend into a horrible war."

Describing the attack as "calibrated and deniable," South Korea has little choice but to take its complaint to the United Nations, he said, although that is unlikely to have any impact on the North Korean regime and will not assuage public anger in the South.

The reports come a day after two North Korean agents posing as defectors were arrested for plotting to assassinate Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking member of the North Korean Workers' Party to defect to the South.

Commenting on the sinking of the Cheonan, Mr Hwang said: "It's obvious that Kim Jong-il did it. We know that he has been preparing for this kind of incident."

The North has denied involvement in the sinking, saying the government in Seoul is using the incident to whip up support ahead of elections in June.

However, following the skirmish with South Korea in November, in which a North Korean ship was set on fire and three sailors killed, The National Defence Commission, North Korea's most powerful military body, threatened a "holy retaliatory war".

The Human Condition of Fucked Up Shit

"Enjoy every sandwich." - Warren William Zevon

Hat Tip: Desert Rat and inspiration from Wiggy

Warren William Zevon (January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003)
was an American rock singer-songwriter and musician noted for including his strange, sardonic opinions of life in his musical lyrics, composing songs that were sometimes humorous and often had political or historical themes.

Although his was a cult success, Zevon's work has often been complimented by well-known musicians. His best-known compositions include "Werewolves of London", "Lawyers, Guns and Money", "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Johnny Strikes Up The Band", all of which are featured on his 1978 release, Excitable Boy. Other well-known songs written by Zevon have been recorded by other artists include "Accidentally Like a Martyr", "Mohammed's Radio", "Carmelita", and "Hasten Down the WInd".

Along with his own compositions Zevon recorded or performed occasional covers, including Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan". He was a frequent guest on Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman later performed guest vocals on "Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)" with Paul Shaffer and members of the CBS Orchestra.

Early life and times

Zevon was born in Chicago, Illinois to William "Stumpy" Zevon (formerly "Zivotovsky") and Beverly Cope Simmons, a Mormon from Salt Lake City, Utah. "Stumpy" Zevon was a boxer, small-time criminal and Mickey Cohen associate of Russian Jewish origin and a relative of folk/blues-singer, Jedaiah Zivotovsky, They soon moved to California. By the age of 13, Zevon was an occasional visitor to the home of Igor Stravinsky where he, alongside Robert Craft, briefly studied modern classical music. Zevon's parents divorced when he was 16 years old and he soon quit high school and moved from Los Angeles to New York to become a folk singer.

Zevon turned to a musical career early, including a stretch with high school friend Violet Santangelo as part of a Sonny and Cher-type male/female duo called lyme & cybelle (exercising artistic license, the band name eschewed capitalization). He spent time as a session musician and jingle composer. He wrote several songs for his White Whale label-mates the Turtles ("Like the Seasons" and "Outside Chance"), though his participation in their recording is unknown. Another early composition ("She Quit Me") was included in the soundtrack for the film Midnight Cowboy (1969). Zevon's first attempt at a solo album, Wanted Dead or Alive (1969), was produced by 1960s cult figure Kim Fowley but did not sell well. Flashes of Zevon's later writing preoccupations of romantic loss and noir-ish violence are present in songs like "Tule's Blues" and "A Bullet for Ramona". Zevon's second effort, Leaf in the Wind, was scrapped (though a belated release was contemplated just prior to his death). During the early 1970s, Zevon toured regularly with the Everly Brothers as keyboard player and band leader/musical coordinator.

Later during the same decade he toured and recorded with Don Everly and Phil Everly, separately, as they tried to launch solo careers after their break-up. His dissatisfaction with his career (and a lack of funds) led him to move to Spain during the summer of 1975, where he lived and played in a small tavern in Sitges near Barcelona owned by David Lindell, a former mercenary. Together they composed Zevon's classic "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner".

Return to L.A. and major-label debut

By September 1975, Zevon had returned to Los Angeles, where he roomed with then-unknown Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. There, he collaborated with Jackson Browne, who during 1976 would produce and promote Zevon's self-titled major-company debut. Contributors to this album included Nicks, Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, members of the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Bonnie Raitt. Ronstadt elected to record many of his songs, including "Hasten Down the Wind," "Carmelita," "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," and "Mohammed's Radio." Zevon's first tour during 1977 included guest appearances in the middle of Jackson Browne concerts, one of which is documented on a widely circulated bootleg recording of a Dutch radio program under the title The Offender meets the Pretender.

Though a much darker and more ironic songwriter than Browne and other leading figures of the era's L.A.-based singer-songwriter movement, Zevon shared with his 1970s L.A. peers a grounding in earlier folk and country influences and a commitment to a writerly style of songcraft with roots in the work of artists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Though only a modest commercial success, the Browne-produced Warren Zevon (1976) would later be termed a masterpiece in the first edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide and is cited in the book's most recently revised (November 2004) edition as Zevon's most realized work. Representative tracks include the junkie's lament "Carmelita," the Copland-esque outlaw ballad "Frank and Jesse James," "The French Inhaler," a scathing insider's look at life and lust in the L.A. music business and "Desperados Under the Eaves," a chronicle of Zevon's increasing alcoholism. It was during this period that Zevon's excessive vodka consumption earned him the nickname "F. Scott Fitzevon," a reference to the American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose early, alcohol-related death Zevon seemed bent on repeating.


During 1978, Zevon released his first major album, Excitable Boy (produced by Jackson Browne and guitarist Waddy Wachtel), to critical acclaim and popular success. The title tune (about a juvenile sociopath's murderous prom night) name-checked "Little Susie", the heroine of former employers the Everly Brothers' tune "Wake Up Little Susie", while songs such as "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Lawyers, Guns and Money" used deadpan humor to wed geopolitical subtexts to hard-boiled narratives.

Tracks from this album received heavy FM airplay and the single release "Werewolves of London", which featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, was a relatively lighthearted version of Zevon's signature macabre outlook and a Top 30 success. Rolling Stone called the album one of the most significant releases of the 1970s and placed Zevon alongside Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and Bruce Springsteen as one of the four most important new artists to become well known during the decade.

Zevon followed Excitable Boy with 1980's Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School. This album was dedicated to Ken Millar, better known under his nom-de-plume as detective novelist Ross Macdonald. Millar was a literary hero of Zevon's who met the singer for the first time while participating in an intervention organized by Rolling Stone journalist Paul Nelson that helped Zevon temporarily curtail his addictions.

Featuring a modest novelty success with the single "A Certain Girl" (Zevon's cover of an old R&B novelty record by Ernie K-Doe scored #45 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart), the album sold briskly but was uneven, and represented a decline rather than commercial and critical consistency. It contained a collaboration with Bruce Springsteen called "Jeannie Needs a Shooter", and the ballad "Empty-Handed Heart" featuring a descant sung by Linda Ronstadt, which dealt with Zevon's divorce from wife Crystal (Crystal is the only woman he married legally although she is often listed erroneously as his "second wife". Marilyn "Tule" Livingston, the mother of his son Jordan, and Zevon were in long-term relationship but never married.) Later during 1980, he released the live album Stand in the Fire (dedicated to Martin Scorsese), recorded over five nights at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles.

Personal crisis and first comeback

Zevon's 1982 release The Envoy returned to the high standard of Excitable Boy but was not a commercial success. It was an eclectic but characteristic set that included such compositions as "Ain't That Pretty at All," "Charlie's Medicine" and "Jesus Mentioned," the first of Zevon's two musical reactions to the death of Elvis Presley (the other is the song "Porcelain Monkey" on Life'll Kill Ya in 2000). The title track was dedicated to Philip Habib, US special envoy to the Middle East during the early 1980s. In the liner notes for the 1996 I'll Sleep When I'm Dead anthology, Zevon stated that after the song came out, Habib sent him "a very nice letter of appreciation on State Department stationery".

The lyrics from another track, "The Hula Hula Boys," were excerpted in Hunter S. Thompson's 1983 book, The Curse of Lono. An indication of the limited commercial success combined with fan dedication is the fact that The Envoy was not available on compact disc until 2007, nearly four years after his death, but was widely available from fans using LP to digital conversion software.

In 1983, the recently divorced Zevon became engaged to Philadelphia DJ Anita Gevinson and moved to the East Coast. After the disappointing reception for The Envoy, Zevon's distributor Asylum Records ended their business relationship, which Zevon discovered only when he read about it in the Random Notes gossip column of Rolling Stone. The trauma allegedly caused him to relapse into serious alcoholism and he voluntarily checked himself into an unnamed rehab clinic somewhere in Minnesota in 1984. His relationship with Gevinson ended shortly thereafter.Zevon retreated from the music business for several years, during which he finally overcame severe alcohol and drug addictions.

During this interim period, Zevon collaborated with Bill Berry, Peter Buck and Mike Mills (all of R.E.M.), along with backup vocalist Bryan Cook to form a minor project called Hindu Love Gods. The group released the non-charting single "Narrator" on the IRS company during 1984, then went into abeyance for several years.

Berry, Buck and Mills served as the core of Zevon's next studio band when he re-emerged in 1987 by signing with Virgin Records and recording the album Sentimental Hygiene. The release, hailed as his best since Excitable Boy, featured a thicker rock sound and taut, often humorous songs like "Detox Mansion," "Bad Karma" (which featured R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe on backup vocals), and "Reconsider Me." Included were contributions from Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Flea, Brian Setzer, George Clinton, as well as Berry, Buck, and Mills. Also on hand were longtime collaborators Jorge Calderón and Waddy Wachtel.

During the Sentimental Hygiene sessions, Zevon also participated in an all-night jam session with Berry, Buck and Mills, as they worked their way through rock and blues numbers by the likes of Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Prince. Though the sessions were not initially intended for release, they would eventually see the light of day as a Hindu Love Gods album.

The immediate follow-up to Sentimental Hygiene was 1989's Transverse City, a futuristic concept album inspired by Zevon's interest in the work of cyberpunk science fiction author William Gibson. It featured guests including Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward, Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady, keyboard player Chick Corea and guitarists Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and Neil Young. Key tracks include the title song, "Splendid Isolation," "Run Straight Down" (which had a promotional video that featured Zevon singing in a factory while Gilmour played his guitar solos) and "They Moved the Moon," the latter among Zevon's eerier ballads.

Cancer, death and The Wind

During interviews, Zevon described a lifelong phobia of doctors and said he seldom received medical assessment. Shortly before playing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2002, he started feeling dizzy and developed a chronic cough. After a long period of untreated illness and pain, Zevon was encouraged by his dentist to see a physician; when he did so he was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma (a form of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos). Refusing treatments he believed might incapacitate him, Zevon instead began recording his final album. The album, The Wind, includes guest appearances by close friends including Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh, David Lindley, Billy Bob Thornton, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty, Dwight Yoakam, and others. It has been said that the decision to include "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" was his, much to the dismay of the others in the project, and his recording performance reduced the studio to tears. At the request of the music television channel VH1, documentarian Nick Read was given access to the sessions; his cameras documented a man who retained his mordant sense of humor, even as his health was deteriorating over time.

On October 30, 2002, Zevon was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman as the only guest for the entire hour. The band played "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" as his introduction. Zevon performed several songs and spoke at length about his illness. Zevon was a frequent guest and occasional substitute bandleader on Letterman's television shows since Late Night first broadcast during 1982. He noted, "I may have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years." It was during this broadcast that, when asked by Letterman if he knew something more about life and death now, he first offered his oft-quoted insight on dying: "Enjoy every sandwich." He also took time to thank Letterman for his years of help, calling him "the best friend my music's ever had". For his final song of the evening, and his final public performance, Zevon performed "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" at Letterman's request. In the green room after the show, Zevon presented Letterman with the guitar that he always used on the show, with a single request: "Here, I want you to have this, take good care of it."

Zevon stated previously that his illness was expected to be terminal within months after the diagnosis in the fall of 2002; however, he lived to see the birth of twin grandsons in June 2003 and the release of The Wind on August 26, 2003. Owing in part to the first VH1 broadcasts of Nick Read's documentary Warren Zevon: Keep Me In Your Heart, the album reached number 16 of the US charts, Zevon's highest since Excitable Boy. When his diagnosis became public, Zevon told the media that he just hoped to live long enough to see the next James Bond movie, a goal he accomplished. Coincidentally, the film was titled Die Another Day.

Warren Zevon died on September 7, 2003, aged 56, at his home in Los Angeles, California. The Wind was certified gold by the RIAA during December 2003 and Zevon received five posthumous Grammy nominations, including Song Of The Year for the ballad "Keep Me In Your Heart". The Wind won two Grammys, with the album itself receiving the award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, while "Disorder in the House", Zevon's duet with Bruce Springsteen, was awarded Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. These posthumous awards were the first Grammys of Zevon's more than 30-year career.

He was cremated and his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Apartments and Nuclear weapons

I'll never leave you and I'll always love you unconditionally sounds romantic coming from a lovestruck teenager but is it a sensible foreign policy statement?

Barack Obama has reassured Jewish American leaders that his administration's commitment to Israel remains "unshakable" despite recent tension between Jerusalem and Washington over a moratorium on Jewish construction in the West Bank.

Surely there must be some act or decision so in opposition to the interests of one party that it is unacceptable to the other. For instance, building apartments.

This morning, Haaretz is reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the Obama administration's demands to freeze construction in East Jerusalem. That is the right and the business of Israel.

Israel should do what is in its best interest, especially apartment construction.

The United States should do the same. Clearly, we would all be better off if we built more apartments.

The Obama Administration has also stated that no option has been taken off the table when it comes to Iran.

Iran seems more interested in nukes than apartments.

Where is this going?

Iran is determined to build a nuclear weapon system. The Russians and the Chinese are not being helpful in stopping it. Both the Russians and the Chinese have nuclear powers on their borders and they include India, Pakistan, and North Korea. They have found that to be acceptable if not desirable.

China and Russia, coincidentally, both major nuclear powers are major constructors of apartments.

The United States is in no position to be contemplating a third war in the Middle East. Iran knows that and is determined to test the United States.

Obama is not going to war over Iranian nuclear ambitions. Neither is Israel.

There is an obvious solution.

We need to go to the UN and force Iran to stop building bombs and force them to build more apartments.


U.S. President Barack Obama reassured Jewish American leaders Thursday that his administration's commitment to Israel remains "unshakable" despite recent tension between Jerusalem and Washington over a moratorium on Jewish construction in the West Bank.

In a letter from Obama to Alan Solow, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the President wrote that his administration is committed to "special relationship with Israel and that will not change.

"Our countries are bound together by shared values, deep and interwoven connections, and mutual interests," he added. "Many of the same forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States and our efforts to secure peace and stability in the Middle East. Our alliance with Israel serves our national security interests.”

“As we continue to strive for lasting peace agreements between Israel, the Palestinians, and Israel’s neighbors, all sides should understand that our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable and that no wedge will be driven between us. We will have our differences, but when we do, we will work to resolve them as close allies.”

The President added that “for over 60 years, American Presidents have believed that pursuing peace between Arabs and Israelis is in the national security interests of the United States.” He also addressed the peace negotiations, asserting that he would not impose “peace from the outside; it must be negotiated directly by the leaders who are required to make the hard choices and compromises that take on history.”
Jerusalem Post

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Venus in Control


HOROSCOPE – TAURUS (April 20 – May 20)

Origin – Second sign of the zodiac; named after Venus the goddess of love and peace. Taurus has always been represented by the bull. The bull constellation’s appearance in the night sky, usually around May Day, coincided with the spring fertility festivals in ancient times.

Controlling Planet – Venus

Lucky Day – Friday

Color – Blue

Element – Earth

Symbol – Bull

Energy Drink – Red Bull

Movie – Raging Bull

Civil War Battle -- Manassas

Compatible Signs – Scorpio, Virgo, Capricorn

Incompatible Signs – Aries, Sagittarius, Gemini

Famous Taurus – Charlotte Bronte, Immanuel Kant , Nicolai Lenin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Barbara Streisand, Karl Marx, Cher, Eva Peron, Joe Lewis, Richard Daily, Ulysses S. Grant, Shirley McClain, Catherine de Medici, Elton John, Adolph Hitler, Charles Manson

Taurus Quote (Male) – Yogi Berra “I couldn’t tell if the streaker was a man or a woman because it had a bag on its head.”

Taurus Quote (Male) – Harry Truman “You can’t get rich in politics unless you are a crook.”

Taurus Quote (Male) – Tom Snyder “If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?”

Taurus Quote (Female) – Anouk Aimee “It’s so much better to desire than to have.”

Attributes – Strong, tenacious, virile, down-to-earth, dependable, caring, sensual, stubborn, possessive, cautious, vain, patronizing, vindictive, and lord knows, pretty damn lazy. Oh, and they tend to fart a lot.

Being an earth sign the Taurus is a sensual being. They love food, comfortable clothes, constant sex, and oh yea, food. It doesn’t matter whether the Taurus is a bull-in-the-china-shop Minotaur or a peace-loving Ferdinand, he is still usually obese. He’s also easy going and indolent, at least until someone reaches for that last piece of pizza. Then look out. Taureans like watching paint dry and petting rocks.

The Taurus is usually a simple, straight forward guy who loves creature comforts. He is unlikely to be distracted by such peripheral concerns as thinking or feeling. Eating and screwing? Well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

The Taurus does not like to lead but they do make good followers. Many Taureans are performers, primarily actors and singers. They are good with their hands and like simple earth-based jobs. They make good cops, construction workers, indians, soldiers, bikers, and cowboys. Many of them run Dunkin Donut franchises.

When it comes to finances, the Taurus avoids taking risks. His portfolio is typically made up of cash and cash equivalents. The cash equivalents being things like, well, like cash. Because of his fear of banks, the Taurus tends to keep things like savings, sperm, and extra blood under his mattress.

The Taurus is earthy and strong. They are liked by both sexes and most are bisexual. Their personal relationships are often complicated. Usually they are complicated by the fact that the Taurus rarely takes baths. In love, the Taurus is marked by virility, sexuality, and passion. While not in the least romantic, they enjoy sensual love and have legendary stamina. Once they start, they can perform forever. Of course, it’s possible it may just seem that way because of their silence and typical blank stares. Taureans make excellent ex-lovers.

Appropriate Taurus Pets – A Taurus needs a pet that matches his lifestyle. Rabbits, large snakes, and giant sloths are appropriate pets for the Taurus. Turtles may be appropriate if they lack motivation and tend to sleep most of the day. Any animal that requires exercise or which likes pizza is an inappropriate pet for a Taurus.

2010 Horoscope (Taurus) –

Unfortunately, this will be a very trying year for most Taureans. Head winds will be strong.

A Taurean is not the type of man to recognize or admit to one of his own mistakes. And it takes a real man to admit a mistake. Luckily, now that you are a woman, you can blame the sex-change operation on someone else.

This month, in order to assure your reservation, you will book that “Great Chefs of Europe” themed vacation that is scheduled for October. It is something you’ve always wanted to do; however, when the time comes for you to travel, your agent will inform you that because of the atomized remains of Mt. Eyjafjallajokull now blanketing much of Europe and still falling, flights have been grounded on any destinations east of Nova Scotia and that the tour has been cancelled. In recompense, he will offer you a trip to Pamplone for next year’s “running of the bulls”.
Your finances are also destined to suffer.

Within the next month, based on a viral rumor started by a Mississippi veteran on an obscure blog, gasoline prices will skyrocket to $4.00 plus per gallon. Because of the resulting hoarding and panic and to try to avoid a double-dip recession, the government will authorize massive subsidies for establishing local ethanol stills.

Knowing a good thing when you see it, you decide to convert the back 40 and build a still. However, when your first shipment of Novozymes is delayed from the supplier, you become enraged, sell the farm, and head west to take up bear wrangling. Only later will you find out that the riches you were told were associated with this occupation was merely part of an elaborate scheme dreamed up on a Goldman Sachs trading desk.

Avoid china shops and the color red this summer.

Next Month: Gemini (monthly personalized horoscopes available by request)

• Tarot Card readings are also available. Note: Official Wynn Casino “shoes” are used for choosing the cards and four decks of tarot cards are used at a time. This virtually guarantees that you will have four times the chance of meeting that dark, handsome stranger you have been dreaming about. (Disclaimer: Unfortunately, it also guarantees that the possibility that the dark stranger is an ax murderer is also increased by 400%)

• Private readings still available for female members of the EB.

• We no longer have a limited amount of souls (garnered through the New Zealand technique) available. The truth is due to an error in our purchasing department we are now overstocked on souls. And while they are no longer packaged in the gaily decorated Smuckers jars that everyone loved, they are now being packaged in conventional Kroger in-house jelly jars. As a promotion for our new Tarot department, we will be handing out one free soul with each new reading.

• Note: Discounts are available to fellow Rosicrucian’s. Bartering alternative available. Secret knowledge accepted

(Disclaimer: New rules are being developed as to what secret knowledge will be accepted. Some of the stuff you guys have been sending is just sick.)


Bipartisanship and Joe Biden's Judgement

Success In Iraq No Accident
By Mike Baker -

There's good news in the deaths of two top terrorists in Iraq that goes beyond simply removing murderers from the planet.

Job security isn't what it used to be for terrorists in Iraq. U.S. and Iraqi officials announced on Monday that the two top leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq were hunted down and killed in a week long operation near Tikrit. Abu Ayyub Al-Masri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq and his murdering cohort Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were discovered in a hole in the ground during a combined Iraqi-US military and intelligence operation. There's a satisfying synergy to learning that these two butchers were found in a hole in the ground.

It is especially important to note that the operation's success involved the Iraqi military and intelligence service, supported by U.S. personnel. This was not the U.S. acting on its own, or with a token level of assistance by Iraqi elements. A success story over the past couple of years has been the ability of the Iraqi military and intel organization to assume responsibility for security operations. Over the past year in particular, the Iraqis have shown an increasing ability to target and degrade the Al Qaeda in Iraq structure.

Admittedly a long time in the making, the training and building of the Iraqi forces has always been seen as a critical component of the effort to create a stable and democratic post-Hussein Iraq.
That effort has been quietly moving forward as other aspects of Iraq, notably the dysfunctional nature of its politics, have garnered more press. But all the while, with occasional frustrations and setbacks, the Iraqi forces have been gaining experience, confidence and trust.

The public has improved its perception of the home team and that has allowed further success, as the population proves more willing to work with the military in combating terrorism and violent elements. This cooperation and relative goodwill will be crucial in the comings months as continuing political discord following the recent elections will test the country's ability to not backslide into sectarian violence.

It's a work in progress to be sure. But there's good news in the deaths of two top terrorists that goes beyond simply removing murderers from the planet. Its a story of hard fought success and the promise of stability for the future when the Iraqis once again are on their own.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Did Obama and the Democrats Use the SEC Case Against Goldman for Politics?

Goldman Sachs SEC case: Is it all about politics?

The Goldman Sachs SEC case, filed Friday, comes as President Obama makes a push for Wall Street reform in Congress.

SEC Chair Mary Schapiro, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testify before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday in Washington. The Goldman Sachs SEC case comes just as Obama seeks Wall Street reform in Congress.

By Mark Trumbull, Staff writer Christian Science Monitor/ April 20, 2010

Republican lawmakers on Tuesday raised concerns that the lawsuit in the Goldman Sachs SEC case, filed on Friday, may be more about politics than securities law.

Whether or not that assertion is true, what's undeniable is that regulators have alleged fraud at Goldman just as President Obama is making what he hopes will be a final push to win passage of Wall Street reforms by Congress.

What's more, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed the case only after a 3-to-2 partisan vote, with Republican commission members opposing the action.

“The events of the past five days have fueled legitimate suspicion on the part of the American people that the Commission has attempted to assist the White House, the Democratic Party, and Congressional Democrats by timing the suit to coincide with the Senate’s consideration of financial regulatory legislation,” Rep. Darrell Issa of California wrote in a letter Tuesday to SEC chairman Mary Schapiro.

Even as Republicans sought to raise doubts about the SEC, however, Goldman itself faced new pressure Tuesday. Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) said it has launched its own investigation into Goldman Sachs International, after Prime Minister Gordon Brown lamented Goldman's "moral bankruptcy" in a weekend interview.

Mr. Issa, writing for himself and other Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Americans “have a right to know whether the Commission ... may have violated federal law by using the resources of an independent regulatory agency to promote a partisan political agenda.” He called for the SEC to release various records related to the case within a week.

Whatever the SEC's motivation, the sparring on Capitol Hill is a reminder that the stakes in the lawsuit are in many ways political. The impact on the debate over financial reform is the most obvious example.

The SEC faces its own political pressure – to prove it is on the case of protecting investor interests. The agency is under scrutiny not only because of its role as a Wall Street cop as the financial crisis emerged, but also for failure to catch Ponzi schemes such as those of Bernie Madoff and R. Allen Stanford.

SEC Chairman Schapiro said Tuesday the agency was "absolutely not" basing its decision on politics, the Associated Press said. In filing the case Friday, the commission said it was also pursuing other possible lawsuits related to the role of complex investment products in the financial crisis.

Goldman Sachs, too, has more at play than just whether the civil lawsuit results in fines or other penalties. Its reputation as the largest and most successful Wall Street investment bank could be at risk. In a business where client relationships and trust mean everything, the SEC is alleging that Goldman failed to disclose material information in one investment deal it set up for clients.

The firm reported strong earnings Tuesday morning, but chief financial officer David Viniar emphasized something much more basic than a $3.46 billion quarterly profit. "Our clients will continue to support us as long as we provide very good service to our clients," he said on a conference call with investors and stock analysts. "We're still doing that."

Goldman's ability to make profits – and to distribute large bonuses to its partners – is also heavily dependent on the regulatory climate in Washington. No Wall Street firm has stronger ties to US politics (two of its recent CEOs have served as Treasury Secretary, while another has been New Jersey governor). Now the political currents seem to be running against firm and Wall Street in general due to the financial crisis and unpopular bailouts.

The lawsuit comes as Wall Street banks including Goldman have been seeking to influence the shape of financial reforms, which Mr. Obama says are needed to prevent future financial crises.

To some financial professionals, the timing of the lawsuit appears to be no coincidence.

"The administration is trying to pass financial regulation reform before the election, and it can’t hurt to let Wall Street know that lobbying against it can be hazardous to your corporate health," Joseph Calhoun of Alhambra Investment Research wrote in a commentary over the weekend.

Goldman's stock value fell 3 percent Tuesday, following double-digit losses in the immediate wake of the SEC suit.