Month: August 2008

Georgia: Can We Just Say that Russia Won, and Be Done with It?

We have NATO demanding that Russia rescind its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia without explaining why Kosovo is legal, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not.

Because I said so is not a good argument in foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Medvedev is talking to the China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan about their recognizing the break away provinces.

I think that China will wait, but that one or two of the FSU central Asian naations will go along.

Kosovo is refusing to back sovereignty, which is not surprising.

In terms of the purely legal aspects of the situation, they are very similarly, but the Kosovars were targeted with an organized campaign of Genocide, while the Georgians went with a brutal program of imperialism, and there is a difference morally.

In any case, the independence of Kosovo, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia are really more about the “great game” between the US and Nato and Russia than they are about concern for the people in those regions….on both sides.

Meanwhile, Serbia said, I told you so,” which is not unexpected.

Talk Harriet, Talk

A federal judge has denied a stay on the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena to Harriet Miers.

I still say that they should send out the House sergeant at arms, and take her to the House basement prison cell in handcuffs, and let her sit there until she testifies.

Truth be told, there is a part of me that wouldn’t be averse to water boarding, temperature extremes, stress positions, and sleep deprivation either, but that would be wrong, that’s for sure.

Bush and His Evil Minions&trade Frack it Up Again: DPRK Nukes Edition

Because Bush/Cheney is unwilling to take the DPRK off a terror watch list, as it has promised, they have stopped dismantling their facilities, and are threatening to reconstitute them.

Because Cheney wants to swing his dick around*, about the only thing remotely like a positive foreign policy accomplishment is about to go down the drain.

It’s behavior like this which make North Korea a paranoid nuclear power. It makes them believe that the US is just waiting to attack them.

*Sorry for that image.

It’s Always Florida Isn’t It?

Yes, it’s a story from February, but once again, the state of Florida is f$#@ing with the right to vote.

A little-known legal opinion issued days before Florida’s presidential primary has slammed the door on public oversight of the final vote tally in Florida elections.

The closure comes because of questions posed by Sarasota County Election Supervisor Kathy Dent, whose controversial District 13 congressional race drew national scrutiny in 2006.

Attorneys for the Florida Department of State say county election supervisors can eject outside observers from central computer rooms as they receive and add precinct results.

Their ruling hinges on where votes are actually counted, a process that state law requires be open to observers. They contend that “tabulation” occurs at individual precincts and that computers in the central room are merely “accumulating” those results.

What is more, the opinion states, observers and the public can be excluded from watching the local canvassing boards that must certify those vote counts — as long as there is alternative access, such as listening over a speaker system.

Florida: still a banana republic.

Maliki Says Hard and Fast Deadline in Iraq

And it appears that there will be no “they aren’t permanent, the US will leave before the sun dies” superbases” either:

“It is not possible for any agreement to conclude unless it is on the basis of full sovereignty and the national interest, and that no foreign soldiers remain in Iraqi soil after a defined time ceiling,” Mr. Maliki said in a speech to Shiite tribal leaders in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

George W. Bush, you are completely Pwn3d. Targets Ron Fournier for Bias

He’s head of the AP’s Washington bureau.

He previously interviewed for a job with McCain, and he’s thoroughly in the tank for him, and he’s been in the tank for the ‘Phants for years.

He wrote a mash note to Karl Rove over the Pat Tillman phoney story, when he had done no stories on either Tillman nor Rove.

More details here.

Here’s hoping that he finds a new line of work, because he ain’t a journalist, he’s a PR flack.

Economics Update

Well, once again, we have the financial press, trumpeting so called good news, that US home prices did not fall as fast as the previous month, even though the year over year decline was 15.4%.

They are noting that home sales are up a bit, but they neglect to note how many of these sales are short sales and REO (foreclosure, basically) sales.

The numbers that I’ve seen are around 20-30%, and no one notes that inventory is still at historical highs.

On the brighter side, consumer confidence is up, largely on the fact that Gasoline has fallen over 10% over the past few weeks, as it did again today, though oil is up over concerns regarding hurricane Gustav.

Everyone is expecting a fully coupled worldwide slowdown, and so the Dollar is now at a 6 month high, even though we are seeing signs of commodities bouncing back, at least that’s what the market in copper is showing, with contracts for immediate delivery being rather higher than those for 3 months delivery.

I would also note that Fannie and Freddie are slowing the rate of mortgage purchases for their portfolio, which means two things, that mortgages will be harder to get and more expensive, and that they are “deleveraging”, which is finance speak for trying to get themselves out of the hole that they have dug.

I Agree with John Stewart

Basically, he is calling the political reporters a bunch of wankers:

As Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” descends on Denver for four days of coverage, Jon Stewart took after the “established” media for getting too cozy with candidates and regurgitating campaign spin when it comes to political coverage.

In a breakfast with reporters, Stewart directed most of his ire at the 24-hour cable news networks, which he called “gerbil wheels,” and said the media at-large had “abdicated” to what he called the “slow-witted beast.”

He said the never-ending television news cycle creates a “false sense of urgency” and forces reporters to “follow the veins that have been mined,” instead of pursuing serious and in-depth reporting.

Seriously, I get to a point where I can’t take it any more, and use the mute button too much, and then I can’t stand their faces, and I change the channel watch Alton Brown on Food Network, and check in with the blogs.

Yesterday, I did keep checking in because I felt that Kennedy deserved the eyeballs, but during political coverage, even Maddow and Olbermann get on my nerves, because they spend so much time repeating themselves.

And Now Phil “You’re All Whiners” Gramm Will Bankrupt the FDIC

It appears that Gramm-Leach-Bliley created an instrument called a Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) that allows you to deposit money in a one bank, and the CD is divided across a network, allowing for, “FDIC insurance on deposits of up to $50 million.”

Yet another way that Phill Gramm is a cancer on the body politic and the economic fabric of America.

Funny Strange, Not Funny Ha Ha

Mithras notes:

Know What’s Funny?
Upper middle class white liberal bloggers who think that their political opinions matter to people trying to win an election. That is really funny.

Actually, I’ve now thought of something even funnier (again, funny strange, not funny ha ha): Why upper class white conservative pundits keep trying to give electoral advice to Democrats.

As to my giving advice to anyone, this upper middle class Jewish blogger’s opinions don’t even matter to my Sharon*….And they matter to my 11 year old daughter even less, but she takes after her mother at her age.

My almost 9 year old son though, he cares what I think….but we are both science geeks, and we talk science, and I am an engineer…..But he keeps asking me about things like quantum entanglement (really), and I have to tell him, “call uncle Stephen, he’s the physicist.”

Actually, they all respect my cooking skills though, which is some consolation.

*Love of my life, light of the cosmos, she who must be obeyed, my wife.