Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Traveling Eternity Road

There are two primary ways to experience eternity while shopping for groceries.
1) You find yourself behind a modern-day Noah with 2 of everything in the store who selfishly decides to use the express lane.

2) You find yourself behind someone that doesn't know how the touch-screen and laser scanner work. Here's a tip - the scanner won't read the bumps on that cucumber no matter how many times you run it past the coin return.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Joan Baez - A Song for Today

Saturday, January 26, 2008

GOP Protects Predatory Lending Industry

Stimulant or Hallucinogen
Reason Online, Jan 25, 2008
[B]anks had basically stopped writing jumbo loans in some markets because they have no idea what the actual value of real estate might be at the moment. This is a rational response to market uncertainty and can only speed along the necessary real estate correction along with encouraging banks to take losses on their books and move forward.

Sticking government-backed enterprises in the middle of this process removes market discipline from the mix. Even the federal regulator charged with oversight of Fannie and Freddie says bumping the conforming loan limit to $700K (!) is a bad idea. But one look at Nancy Pelosi's rictus grin and it is clear Uncle Sam will permanently support California's real estate bubble.

To recap, in a matter of months we've gotten the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee up to 100 percent of loans up to $367,000, a federal fiat that adjustable rate mortgages will no longer adjust, and now federal GSE guarantees for mortgages of almost three-quarters of a million dollars. No wonder the mighty brain of Bill Kristol looks at the process and calls it a "win-win." We've nationalized the mortgage industry, surely a great thing of National Greatness.

It's funny how conservatives want to reduce or eliminate government's role in regulating worker safety, health care, water purity, education, and retirement security but fervently endorse government's underwriting of the predatory lending industry. To paraphrase Tennessee Williams' Big Daddy, "There a powerful and obnoxious odor of hypocrisy in this room."

Mississippi's Shame

$600 million from housing program approved for huge port expansion
While thousands of Mississippians who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina remain in FEMA trailers, the federal government on Friday approved a state plan to spend $600 million in grants earmarked for housing on a major expansion of the state-owned port — a project that could eventually include casino and resort facilities.

Mississippi, with the highest poverty rate of any state by several measures, already had won HUD waivers of rules that require the funds to benefit low- and moderate-income residents. Critics see the waivers as a product of the unparalleled influence with the Bush administration enjoyed by (Gov.) Barbour, a former Reagan White House political director, Republican National Committee chairman and legendary fixer who continues to receive checks from the Washington lobbying shop that still bears his name. More...

Within hours of Hurricane Katrina's destruction of thousands of Mississippi homes, most in low and medium-income areas, developers were preparing plans to replace these historical communities with upscale resorts and casinos. Southern politicians and their wealthy backers used Katrina as cover to rob citizens of their property for pennies on the dollar. One can only hope that Mississippians remember this GOP supported scam when they enter the voting booth next November.
What has been happening to working people is not the result of Adam Smith's invisible hand but the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious literalism opposed to any civil and human right that threaten its paternalism, and a string of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us.
Bill Moyers, A Time for Anger (Occidental College speech 2007)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Evolution of the Multi-blade Razor

Why there aren't more vegetarians

Gustav Klimt: His Life and Work (Multimedia)

Klimt's work is distinguished by the elegant gold or coloured decoration, often of a phallic shape that conceals the more erotic positions of the drawings upon which many of his paintings are based. This can be seen in Judith I (1901), and in The Kiss (1907–1908), and especially in Danaë (1907). One of the most common themes Klimt utilized was that of the dominant woman, the femme fatale. Art historians note an eclectic range of influences contributing to Klimt's distinct style, including Egyptian, Minoan, Classical Greek, and Byzantine inspirations. Klimt was also inspired by the engravings of Albrecht Dürer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Rimpa school. His mature works are characterized by a rejection of earlier naturalistic styles, and make use of symbols or symbolic elements to convey psychological ideas and emphasize the "freedom" of art from traditional culture. (Wikipedia entry).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

To suggest that HRC is unfit for the highest office because she showed signs of emotion is just bullshit. With the power to send Americans into harms way and quite possibly to their deaths, I want a Commander-in-Chief that understands the human costs of armed conflict. I'm sure President Lincoln, on the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg and in the solitude of his study, struggled with the knowledge that tens of thousands of young men on both sides of the battle would not survive the day. Only madmen or fools are immune to the sacrifice of others.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bush's Drug Policy: Just Say No - or Die

Overdose Rescue Kits Save Lives
Richard Knox of National Public Radio
Every year, overdoses of heroin and opiates, such as Oxycontin, kill more drug users than AIDS, hepatitis or homicide. And the number of overdoses has gone up dramatically over the past decade.

But now, public health workers from New York to Los Angeles, North Carolina to New Mexico, are preventing thousands of deaths by giving $9.50 rescue kits to drug users. The kits turn drug users into first responders by giving them the tools to save a life.

Dr. Bertha Madras, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, opposes the use of Narcan in overdose-rescue programs. More ...
Dr. Madras’ opposition to the use of Narcan in overdose-rescue programs clearly indicates the administration’s callous disregard for the politically powerless, economically-disadvantaged underclass whose lives are directly impacted by the fiasco we call the War on Drugs. Until we recognize that drug abuse is a medical problem – and not a criminal problem – we’ll continue wasting millions of dollars, and countless lives, in a fear-driven frenzy to incarcerate generations of poor Americans whose only crime was in their attempt to escape, albeit momentarily, the pain of a future with little hope.