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Liberal Outrage

Housing Bubble go boom?

I'm stealing this right from Cursor, links and all:

"All I have to say is: pop!" writes Paul Krugman, finding that "the speculative demand for houses has gone into reverse" with the real possibility of "both a deep and a prolonged bust."

By fnord12 | August 29, 2006, 5:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Super Plan

Wonder if i can defer my mortgage payments for a few months.

The bureaucratic brainstorm was straightforward - simple-minded is, perhaps, a more appropriate description - don't pay doctors, hospitals and their army of auxiliaries tending to indisposed old folks and the afflicted disabled for their labors in the last nine days of the current fiscal year. Instead, send them a check for what you owe them, sometime after the first of October, the start of the government's fiscal '07. In essence, those doctors, hospitals et al. are making an involuntary loan of nine days' pay without interest.

That way, point out the gleeful budgeteers and Medicare pooh-bahs, all of whom presumably are glowing with health, Uncle Sam's Medicare tab this fading fiscal year will be $5.2 billion less than it otherwise would have been. Or at least would seem to be $5.2 billion less - in Washington, as we all know, appearance and reality are not invariably the same phenomena.


Heckuva job, Georgie.

By min | August 29, 2006, 3:30 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

You Mean "Abstinence Only" Doesn't Work?

Sin running rampant in Ohio.

An Ohio school board is expanding sex education following the revelation that 13 percent of one high school's female students were pregnant last year.

There were 490 female students at Timken High School in 2005, and 65 were pregnant, WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported.

The new Canton school board program promotes abstinence but also will teach students who decide to have sex how to do so responsibly, bringing the city school district's health curriculum in line with national standards.


Tank goff they learned from their mistake, but it's a real shame that it took 65 pregnant teens to make it perfectly clear. Is it so hard to remember what being a teenager is like? They really believed you could tell teens to just not have sex and that would be the end of it? It's never been "ok" to have sex as a teen and yet throughout time, teenagers have been doing the dirty deed nonetheless. It might not make parents happy to think about it, but realism is better than self-delusion. Too bad self-delusion is so easy.

By min | August 16, 2006, 3:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

Recent Airline Scare Just A Political Ploy?

Here's a UK Ambassador's take on the recent arrests in Britain resulting in the ban on liquids and reading material on flights.

None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.

In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.

What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year - like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.

Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth.


We then have the extraordinary question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they longed for "Another 9/11". The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shovelled.

Could just be conspiracy theory stuff, but it's worth considering. Definitely any "confessions" garnered from interrogation by torture is suspect, to say the least. With the November elections coming up and all polls saying the American public thinks Bush and Co. screwed up, they could use something to get us pissing in our pants again.

And while we're speaking crazy theories, who wants to place some bets on nuclear war in the middle east?

By min | August 16, 2006, 3:19 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Mandatory voting?

Interesting. As a reaction to the Lieberman primary loss, this individual is arguing that we should have mandatory voting in elections (even in primaries, apparently!). I also wish more people would vote (although i think it would have the opposite effect as this editorialist), but i'm not sure mandatory voting is the way to go. I'd prefer to make it a lot easier for people to get to the polls by making election day a national holiday. I'd also spend money to promote elections better, and look into the possiblity of using school buses to travel through neighborhoods taking people to and from the polls.

By fnord12 | August 14, 2006, 1:54 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

We are what we search for.

AOL apparently released a list of queries their users have performed on the internet. They were meant to be anonymous, but people managed to figure out who some of them were. It's weird little story. I search from some weird things on the internet. I'd prefer if people didn't get to read through the list of things i've searched for.

By fnord12 | August 14, 2006, 1:42 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Why Wait?

If you can weed out the weak ones early on, by the time the rest make it to a real military academy or boot camp at 18, they'll be able to withstand the hazing much better.


A 13-year-old cadet at a private military academy died Saturday during an orientation camping trip, a news report said.
Lynda Brown, principal of Back to Basics Military Academy in Lauderhill, told WSVN-TV the cadets were hydrated, fed and well-cared for during the excursion. The school is a juvenile boot camp.

But, this father has a differing report on conditions:

Jusino said his sons told him they were given three meals a day after starting each morning with a long hike. But the boys were dehydrated, sunburned and had insect bites when he picked them up Saturday morning, he said.

"They were very dirty, their clothing was wet. They had been sleeping in wet clothes, and their hair had been cut," Jusino said.

The very best of care must mean different things to different people. Sunburn and insect bites are one thing. You have to expect that if your kids are outdoors for days. But dehydration and sleeping in wet clothing is much less excusable.

I want to blame the parents for sending their young children to military camp. But mebbe they just thought it would be like the Boy Scouts. Some camping, some instruction on nature, hanging out with kids your own age, etc. Unfortunately, i'm sure some parents knew what they were sending their kids to. That's not right.

If what you're looking for was something to "teach" your kids discipline, you don't know what parenting is. You don't have kids and expect them to be disciplined, unquestioning machines. They're people. If you want an unthinking, unquestioning thing that never disagrees and always does exactly as its told, get a robot. Don't have kids. You don't deserve that responsibility.

By min | August 14, 2006, 11:53 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Killoligy - Make Your Very Own Psychopath

Zembla has a post excerpting from a former Army ranger and West Point professor that goes into how the Pentagon brainwashes soldiers into feeling ok about killing.

The reality is that the brains of human beings -- unless they fall within the demographic sliver we call psychopaths -- are hardwired not to kill other humans.
The only thing that has any hope of silencing the midbrain, he argues, is what influenced Pavlov's dogs: conditioning.

The need for new drills became apparent once researchers noted that a majority who had been trained in other ways to kill, surreptitiously refused to do it.


In World War II, when U.S. soldiers got a clear shot at the enemy, only about 1 in 5 actually fired, according to sensational and controversial research by Army historian Brig. Gen. S.L.A. Marshall. It wasn't that they were cowards: On the contrary, they performed other perilous feats, including running onto the battlefield to rescue fellow soldiers, and sometimes they even placed themselves in greater personal danger by refusing to fire. And yet at the moment of truth, they just couldn't kill . . . .

The Pentagon improved firing rates. Research suggests that 55 percent of U.S. soldiers fired on the enemy in the Korean War. By Vietnam that rate had climbed to more than 90 percent. Police studies document similar changes in recent decades . . . .

Er...go Pentagon? Thanks for turning people into crazy killing machines so that you could remain relevant and keep your stinking jobs.

By min | August 14, 2006, 11:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Republican kicked out of the Democratic party

On Tuesday, Lamont beat Lieberman and won the nomination to run as the Democratic Senator in CT. For me, this is an amazing victory. When Lamont first announced his candicy, i saw him as basically a protest candidate who had no chance of winning but i was willing to support him to send a message. Instead, he won 51% to 48%, in a primary that had a record turnout of 50%, which is as high as a national election. Very cool.

Back in the 70s, hardcore rightwing christians and other conservatives started a movement to move the country to the right. They started by supporting candidates on a local level and in primaries. They were very successful and their candidates now dominate politics on a national level. Lamont's candidacy was and will continue to be supported by liberal and Democratic blogs, and my hope is that this sort of grassroots support will work as a counter to the right wing movement, and hopefully make its effect known a lot faster. We'll see how it goes.

But of course Lieberman is like a monster in a bad horror movie that keeps turning up after he's been defeated. He's announced that he will run as an independent. Originally, he said he would do this if he lost because primary elections in the summer generally have very low turnout so if he lost, it would have really been the will of the people. With a 50% turnout rate, he doesn't have that excuse, but he's still running. Prior polls have shown Lieberman winning in a 3 way race, but i expect that to change now that he has actually lost. Early polls generally aren't very reliable. But he still has a good chance of winning. Nonetheless, kicking him out of the party, saying he doesn't represent Democrats is a great first step.

By fnord12 | August 10, 2006, 12:56 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3)| Link

A thought experiment

Go read Juan Cole's thought experiment/conspiracy theory on the Isreal/Hezbollah war and how it relates to Peak Oil, and then let me know what you think. I don't know anymore. Our "leaders" all act so irrationally i'm ready to believe almost any explanation.

By fnord12 | August 8, 2006, 1:40 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia rejected a request from Texas Republicans on Monday to allow the GOP to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on the general election ballot.

"In terms of legal options, they are exhausted," Republican lawyer James Bopp Jr. said. "The order will stand requiring Tom DeLay to stay on the ballot."


By min | August 8, 2006, 11:21 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

Hating Hillary

Found on Kos:

Dick Bennett has been polling New Hampshire voters for 30 years. And he's never seen anything like it.

"Lying b** . . . shrew . . . Machiavellian . . . evil, power-mad witch . . . the ultimate self-serving politician."

No prizes for guessing which presidential front-runner drew these remarks in focus groups.

But these weren't Republicans talking about Hillary Clinton. They weren't even independents.

These were ordinary, grass-roots Democrats. People who identified themselves as "likely" voters in the pivotal state's Democratic primary. And, behind closed doors, this is what nearly half of them are saying.

"I was amazed," says Bennett. "I thought there might be some negatives, but I didn't know it would be as strong as this. It's stunning, the similarities between the Republicans and the Democrats, the comments they have about her."

Part of it is the success of the right-wing spin machine. Part of it is sexism. But at least some of it is the fact that she has been somewhere between negligent and detrimental when it comes to the rightward direction of this country. She hasn't fought the Republicans hard on any issues that i'm aware of. She supported the war. And she's from one of the "safest" blue states in the country. She's as unacceptable as a Democratic politician as Lieberman.

By fnord12 | August 7, 2006, 4:48 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Israel wants to quit but the US won't let them?

This is just speculation from bloggers and quotes from a Hezbollah leader, so it's hardly legitimate, but i can't help but think about it:

Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said a curious thing Saturday: Israel has recognized reality and is ready for a cease-fire in Lebanon, Nasrallah claimed, but it is the U.S. that insists that it fight on.
Listening the millenarian rubbish pouring out of the mouths of Bush and Blair last Friday about this being a fight led by the U.S. and its allies for a "new Middle East" of freedom from tyranny blah blah there was also a sense that this skirmish had been appropriated by the U.S. for its wider global war, and Iran, of course, is its prime target right now - with Hizballah being identified as an Iranian asset that could be destroyed.
I've always maintained that the "pro-Israel" position of the Bush administration, formulated and influenced by hardline American Likudniks (whom, it must be said, are hardly representative of mainstream Israeli thinking) is actually fundamentally bad for Israel. Its infantile, aggressive maximalism precludes Israel from doing what it will take to live at peace with its surroundings, instead demanding a confrontational approach in keeping with Jabotinsky's "Iron Wal" in which Israel's survival depends on crush and humiliating the Arabs.

Also similar thoughts from Talking Points Memo:

And there are other ominous indications of the US pressing for expansion the Israelis don't seem to want.

There's more here than the US not wanting a ceasefire before meaningful changes on the ground have happened in south Lebanon. Or at least I fear there is. This started because Israel doesn't want and won't tolerate a menacing militia building up on their northern border and lashing out with occasional raids or missile attacks, especially in the context of withdrawals from other areas.

The world has sat by for six years and let Hizbullah's anamolous position in south Lebanon be Israel's problem. Whether their response was wise or just, I'll set aside for the moment. It's not about totalitarianism or Afghanistan or Iraq, at least not in an operational sense, or dingbat fantasies about Freedom and Terror. But there do appear to be forces in Washington -- seemingly the stronger ones, with Rice just a facade -- who see this whole thing as an opportunity for a grand call of double or nothing to get out of the disaster they've created in the region. Go into Syria, maybe Iran. Try to roll the table once and for all. No failed war that a new war can't solve. Condi's mindless 'birth pangs' remark wasn't just a gaffe -- or perhaps it was a gaffe in the Kinsleyan sense of inopportunely saying what you really think. That seems to be the thinking -- transformation through destabilization.

By fnord12 | August 1, 2006, 1:21 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The Media Was Awake for at Least 10 Minutes

So, Republicans in the House have been refusing to approve a minimum wage hike for a while now. But the elections are coming up, so they needed to do something to cover their asses, especially since just a few months ago, they voted to give themselves a raise. Well, what they've done is lump the minimum wage increase into the same bill as the cut to estate tax. They figure the Democrats will have to go along with it in order to get the minimum wage increase thru, knowing the Dems also have their eye on November. This is not the noteworthy part. Despicable, yes. But hardly surprising. What's completely amazing is that the media nudged themselves awake long enough to actually report on it, in a non-Republican talking points way.

What does a $2.10 per hour increase in the minimum wage have to do with a $268 billion tax cut for the 8,200 wealthiest families in the U.S.? Not one thing.

The Republican House leadership yoked the two together last week as a political stunt. They've been pushing hard to make cuts in the estate tax permanent; they've just as vigorously been fighting any attempt to raise the minimum wage, which has been sitting at $5.15 an hour since 1997.

But last week, House leaders demonstrated that they want an estate tax cut more than they want to derail any minimum wage increase. By lumping the measures into one bill, they hope to convince a few Democratic senators who would otherwise oppose the estate tax cut to cross over and support their bill.


Some of the GOP leaders who brokered this deal insist that it is not blackmail but an honest compromise: Democrats get their minimum wage, and Republicans get their tax cut. But Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp, R-Chattanooga, was characteristically more candid. He was quoted by The Washington Post as saying of Democrats last week, "I know why you're mad. You've seen us really outfox you."

Unfortunately, the 6.6 million people who rely on minimum wage don't have the luxury of seeing this issue as some kind of political game. Neither can the U.S. taxpayers, who will watch as the tax cut for the super-wealthy digs the U.S. deficit even further into the red.

I think one of them must have had their head propped up on their hand and their elbow slipped just at this critical moment. That's the only explanation for this article.

By min | August 1, 2006, 11:44 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (6)| Link

The End of Castro's Cuba?

What will happen to Cuba when Castro dies? Will the U.S. finally get to move in? Will it be the end of literacy and social programs? No question, the guy's been a dictator all these years and he's done terrible things, but he's also improved the lot of many of the Cubans living there. I know that's not how many Cuban Americans may feel about Castro. And who can blame the ones who have had family wrongly imprisoned or executed by Castro. Although, those who fled because they were rich and didn't want their wealth taken away when Castro came to power have much less of a leg to stand on.

Considering the repeated attempts by the U.S. to undermine his rule, who can say for sure if Castro would have turned dictator left to his own devices of if he did so in reaction to the constant threat posed by our government.

By min | August 1, 2006, 11:33 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

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