Monday, October 13, 2008

Wall Street Journal Doesn't Get Redistributing Wealth Which Is The Problem

The Wall Street Journal's opinion section is at times not the best place for intelligent pondering.  I know that's a terrible remark, but I write that for a reason: the lack of circular, systemic thinking.   The WSJ writes that having a non-refundable tax credit, which is something that can't be taken back -- it's a grant of sorts (I prefer an outright subsidy check) -- is bad thing.

Here's what the rest of us are thinking.

We just have AIG Insurance $120 billion (not million) to save it's corporate hide and several of its execs go out on a retreat at a luxury resort valued at over $400,000!   What's that?  It came from our government!

That opinion "work" is a piece of work, and shows why the rest of America is so angry with Wall Street.  The WSJ is not helping the political needs of the Street and should just back off on the rhetoric, at least untill we're way out of this mess.

Rachel Maddow Makes David Frum Look..Not Smart

You've got to see this, because it's a great example of basically running intellectual rings around a person.  In this case, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow had former GOP Speechwriter David Frum on her show today.

 David Frum came on with the idea of bashing Maddow on her way of reporting the news on politics and Maddow essentially forced him into a trap:  he says she's being nasty, but he's basically being nasty in saying she's nasty, but if he agrees with her, it obliterates his argument. 


The problem, again, is that the person who's idologically biased runs the risk of falling into such traps again and again -- Frum could have gotten out of this by just agreeing with her and not insulting, ie: "If you took it seriously" or "If it were important" , otherwise Frum came off looking just like the party he claims he's at odds with.

Frum could have then said "I think you're totally right Rachel."  then proceeded to focus on whatever Democratic example that was not the host but equally as bad as calling someone a terrorist he could find.  For example, he could point to my blog for examples of how Dems accuse McCain of being racist and sexist, but he didn't do that. Indeed, he'd have a hard time looking for it at Obama rallies.  Not the same kind of folks.  

Instead, consumed by a weird combination of conservativism, ego, and anger, he started throwing haymakers, and missed.  


Nice work Rachel!  

Drudge Report Getting More Partisan And Racist As Election Nears

I've been a big fan of the Drudge Report, the website which is just a collection of links to different stories, but this blog post is one Matt Drudge, the founder and editor, will not be linking to. Why?

Because I'm accusing Matt of being a big, fat, race-batting website Republican who can't stand the fact that his candidate John McCain's going to lose to an African American man, Barack Obama. He -- Drudge -- is so upset about this that he found a photo of Obama giving a cheek-based kiss to a Blonde woman and posted that photo rather than the standard handshake.

When I saw that, I wrote this to Matt:

So showing Obama kissing a Blonde Is...What? A good way to show how racist you are; you would not have shown it if he kissed, say, Ellen De Generis, or Oprah Winfrey?

What's up with that? I liked your publication until I saw that, now I
think less of you. I'm Black, my girlfriend is Irish. Perhaps you
should date Black women and discover who people are as individuals?

Geez, Matt. Geez.

And I stand by that. Matt's site today was a trip into the world of the pathetic, not unlike the scene at some of the McCain / Palin rallies.

Obama v. McCain - Energy Comparison - Text Here

If you've always wondered how the energy plans of Barack Obama and John McCain compare, you've come to the right place. The Obama for America Campaign has produced this comparison of the two plans. Yes, it's from the Obama campaign, but it's a good comparison still:


Today, Democratic Presidential Nominee Senator Barack Obama and his running mate Senator Joe Biden issued their "Economic Plan For The Middle Class".

Senator Obama talks about the plan here:

Rather than explain it, you can read the actual plan and it's words here:

height="500" width="100%"> value="">    

Paul Krugman wins Nobel prize

Paul Krugman, economist and NY Times columnist, has won a Nobel prize. From Bloomberg:

President George W. Bush, whose approval ratings are at historic lows as the U.S. veers toward a recession or worse, got yet another thumb in the eye when one of his most vociferous critics was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics.

While Princeton University Professor Paul Krugman was honored ``for his analysis of trade patterns of and locations of economic activity,'' he's more widely known for twice-weekly columns in the New York Times and appearances on television, in which he regularly attacks the president on the war in Iraq, his tax cuts and other issues.

Krugman, 55, doesn't mince words. He has accused Bush of leading the country into ``strategic disaster and moral squalor,'' and his columns and Times blog entries carry headlines with such blunt entreaties as ``Please Go Away.''

Even though Krugman's award was for his economic theories and not his criticism of Bush, the prize elevates the profile of an already-prominent Bush critic, said Jim Davis, a political science professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

``People will just see that a well-informed economist who has been critical of the Bush administration got the Nobel Prize, that's the take-away here,'' Davis said.

Of the more than 800 Krugman pieces listed on the Times Web site since he
became a columnist in 1999, almost 600 of them mention ``Bush,'' a search of the
site shows.

`Takes the Food'
On Feb. 11, 2005, he referred to Bush as someone who takes food from the mouth of babes and gives the proceeds to his millionaire friends.'' On Jan. 22, 2007, Bush, with his plan to use tax credits to buy health insurance, is ``not even trying to hide his fundamental indifference to the plight of the less- fortunate,'' Krugman wrote.

Krugman is a fierce critic of Bush's foreign policy and was an early opponent of the war in Iraq. Of the president's case for removing Saddam Hussein, Krugman
wrote on Feb. 11, 2003, ``Mr. Bush's America does not look like a regime whose
promises you can trust.''

``People claim to be shocked by the Bush administration's general incompetence,'' Krugman wrote on Oct. 8 last year. ``But disinterest in good government has long been a principle of modern conservatism.''

Krugman is not the first Bush critic to win a Nobel Prize. Former President Jimmy Carter's Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 ``was more of a slap in the face,'' said Stephen Hess, a political scientist at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Krugman's award could bring Bush face-to-face with his antagonist. The president typically invites Nobel Prize winners to the White House in November or December.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino declined to comment on the award.

“The Express” Is Right On Time

“The Express” Is Right On Time

By Michael – Louis Ingram for Football Reporters Online

“From the time I started in sports, I was always the player who got the limelight, who had the nice stories written about him; all this I gained merely by doing what I liked to do most.”

--Ernie Davis, the first African – American to win the Heisman Award; from an article entitled “I’m Not Unlucky” in the Saturday Evening Post, March 30, 1963 (with Bob August).

It has long been something most people take for granted, especially in the era of self – promotion and media commotion; to be able to translate their talents into real – world affectation, benefitting not only themselves, but mankind as well.

If you were a Black person living in 1950s America, those opportunities to do something you loved and prosper from it were few and far between; and as prior generations of Black people sought to channel their frustration into realization, waiting for that one source which could not only burn, but illuminate.

In 1959, Syracuse University would produce such a source in Ernie Davis.

The life of tailback Ernie Davis is put on display in a new film, “The Express,” to be released nationwide today. As the first African – American to receive college football’s highest honor, the Heisman Trophy, Davis, who was nicknamed “the Elmira Express” for his community in Elmira, New York, would do the thing he loved; while transforming into a conduit for the aspirations of civility and humanity for Black people during the Civil Rights era.

As herculean a task as Davis had thrust upon him, there was one who had previously blazed a trail for him. The great Jim Brown, first to wear the now mythic #44 for the Orangemen of Syracuse, revealed that Davis was made of the right stuff. “Ernie Davis was a quiet storm of courage and self – awareness,” assesses Brown. On the field, he was everything you could want in a talent – big, quick and powerful.

“But off the field, with the eyes of the world on him, he stared perception in the face with his reality of knowing who he was and knowing what he did and what it meant to everyone at that time.

“You have to remember cats like Davis saw the big picture; they didn’t come out of school with no degree and little life experience. If anything, Syracuse kept its word in guaranteeing an education to us.

“Out of the Black men who would go on to play professional ball in that era, over 90 per cent of these men had their degrees – real degrees -- and knew there were more things than football we had to contend with.”

Syracuse head football coach Ben Schwartzwalder was one of those things; a hard, focused man who was tough but fair – and Davis’ enduring spirit endeared himself to Schwartzwalder, helping him and the program to become one of the strongest in the country during a time resistant to change and more sensitive to transition.

Davis’ story is a lightning rod for the growing civil rights movement that would take the country to task in the 1960s. The covert and overt racism Davis would run over around and through would change the face of college athletics; but Davis, unlike many after him, didn’t have the luxury of opting out of the challenge and ignoring the unspoken calling for commercial gain.

Brown cites this as the quintessential difference between then and now. “You take a Michael Jordan,” pauses Brown,”…and all you can really say about him is that he was a great basketball player – but that’s all. Jordan is no hero to me.

“There were cats like Jordan back in our time, too – and whatever motivations sparked them to do what they did was just something unsaid; but we knew (who they were), and they were far in the minority in our overall approach of what we collectively had to do.

“Ernie Davis never gave his manhood up – and still managed to sign what was at that time the largest pro contract at the end of his college career.

“There is no question Davis would’ve been a great pro player; that he never got the chance to fulfill it pales in comparison to the commitment he made in earning it and making things better for those who came after him,” Brown said.

In addition to being the first Black player to be awarded the Heisman, Davis would become the first Black player to be selected as first overall in any NFL draft in 1962.

When his rights were traded from the Washington Redskins and their racist owner George Preston Marshall (in part because Davis refused to play for him), Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell laid the foundation for a dream backfield of Brown and Davis. Although leukemia would end Davis’ life at age 23, the Browns retired #45 in honor of him.

The ‘one who came after’ Davis at Syracuse was Floyd Little, who, compared to Brown and the 6’2” 220 pound Davis, was the smallest of the titanic triumvirate (5’ 10”, 190) and Little still smiles in recalling the day he committed to Syracuse. “We were all at home, watching ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’” laughs Little. The door was answered and here’s Ernie and Ben Schwartzwalder. Ernie had on this camel hair coat and this huge smile on his face as he said hello and my sisters are all goo – goo eyed, staring holes through him.

“We then went to dinner and what I remember most was the university promising that they would ensure me that if I played for Syracuse, I would leave with an education and something else besides Saturday afternoons in the fall – and they kept their word.”

While Little may have been the runt of the litter, his heart was huge. As the sixth player in the AFL – NFL common draft in 1967 after an All – American career as an Orangeman, he singlehandedly saved the Denver Broncos with his efforts at Mile High Stadium.

In Denver, Little was merely “The Franchise” – but suggests Davis was of even greater stature. “I would have to say this movie about Ernie has been in the works for over 40 years. In terms of scope and its effect on our society, it has to rank right up there with Jackie Robinson’s story in baseball.”

What is clear about “The Express” is this is not a football movie, a sentiment Little echoes. “This is a story of a young man who knew he was sick; who should’ve had everything to look forward to after overcoming so much refusing to dwell on ‘what if’ or ‘why me?’ – and doing it with a desire to live and class that I sincerely hope will give some of these young men out here pause to start thinking again.”

I see “The Express” as an “Old School” primer in knowing what to do and how to do it; and as these great men have stated, will hopefully serve as a wakeup call to many athletes and non – athletes to reconsider the unspoken covenant made between those who came before and the expectations in holding down those values intrinsic to all cultures.

This flick is worth more than a bucket of popcorn, and seems to be pulling into the station of self - awareness – right on time.

Mike is F.R.O's Director of scouting and Also hosts a Weekly show on's website. You can e-mail him your comments at the address below

Ecuador's Correa Names Fourth Finance Minister; Correa Says "Mafia" Runs Finance Ministry

This is interesting to me, because I hold that the cover-up of Petroecuador's involvement in oil spills in the Amazon is directly connected to Ecuadorian Government corruption.  Here's Ecuador's own governor talking about such problems in his own government...

Ecuador president names fourth finance minister, slams predecessors for low public spending
Associated Press Newswires, September 17, 2008
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) - Ecuador has a new finance minister after the unexpected resignation of Wilma Salgado.
President Rafael Correa criticized Salgado Tuesday, accusing her of blocking his efforts to boost government spending on roads, hydroelectric and oil projects during her 10 weeks in office.

Correa said a "mafia" has run the finance ministry, "demonizing" public spending in order to use Ecuador's cash to service its foreign debt.

Ecuador has US$6 billion in foreign currency reserves, and Correa wants new finance minister Maria Elsa Viteri to tap that cash to triple public spending to US$300 million a month.

Viteri is Ecuador's fourth finance minister since Correa took office 20 months ago.

Chevron v. Ecuador - Chevron Files Response To "Fraudulent" Court Report

I'm just updating you on news related to the ongoing legal battle between Chevron and Ecuador:

California-based oil major Chevron (NYSE: CVX) has filed a written response to a court-ordered report in a trial related to alleged environmental damage in Ecuador.

The superior court in Nueva Loja, Ecuador, asked Richard Cabrera to write the report after the plaintiffs aborted a judicial inspection process of the alleged pollution in Ecuador, Chevron said in a statement.

"The findings of the Cabrera report are clearly fraudulent and intended to cause damage to this US company and its shareholders," Chevron general counsel Charles James told reporters in a conference call.

"This report would not withstand scrutiny - be it technical, scientific or legal - in any responsible independent court anywhere in the world," he said.

Chevron believes Cabrera, helped by the plaintiffs, "manipulated" findings to justify false conclusions. Cabrera failed to present evidence for a number of claims and did not look at drinking water samples to prove contamination, according to the Chevron statement.

"It is hard to read Mr Cabrera's report and find a single table, page, assertion or data point that we wouldn't take issue with," James said when asked whether there was any truth to the Cabrera report. "He did put his name on the report and I presume that's correct."

The Cabrera report estimates damages of US$7bn-16bn - a "reasonable" amount that actually "underestimated the number of deaths from cancer due to the oil contamination," the Amazon Defense Coalition, a NGO that supports the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

In fact, plaintiffs have submitted papers to the court asking Cabrera to calculate how much it would cost to remediate groundwater and surface water not included in the assessment.

"There is significant evidence of groundwater and surface water contamination in the record yet no damages to remediate the impacts," Pablo Fajardo, the Ecuadorian lawyer for "dozens" of Amazon communities and five indigenous groups suing Chevron, said in the NGO's statement.

The trial stems back decades, when Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador led an E&P project with partner Texaco Petroleum (Texpet), which years later merged into Chevron. The Petroecuador-Texpet partnership resulted in total crude production of 1.7Mb, with Texpet - which stopped operating in the country in 1992 - taking 5% of the financial proceeds, according to Chevron figures.

Ecuador's government in 1999 enacted a new environmental statute that allows any Ecuadorian resident to file a collective suit for environmental reparations. As a result, plaintiffs filed suit against Chevron in 2003, alleging environmental damage under the Texpet project.

Although Texpet had a minority stake in the project, plaintiffs allege it did substandard work and made major decisions about project technology and methodology.

Chevron denies the allegations and says it performed a US$40mn remediation project that gave it final immunity from claims resulting from its participation in the consortium.

Obama Arkansas Volunteers Face Racism and Threats

The reports of racism from supporters of the McCain / Palin campaign and also reports of threats to Obama supporters are on the rise as we move closer to election day.  I just got this email from an Obama volunteer in Arkansas and who's full name I will not use here:

I live in Mountain Home AR and there are many of us here that support Obama.  But you will not find a sign any where.  The reason for this is the blatant racism and threats that have occurred against Obama and his supporters.  We are all afraid of being attacked in some way for putting up a sign.  Are you hearing this around the country?  Any thoughts?  I pray for his life and safety every day.  One of my friends told me that I was not standing up for my convictions because I did not have a sign.  I told him that now was not the time to put my safety and life on the line, but after he is elected and the attacks on him begin, it will then be time to fight to protect our President.

If you have a television or radio show, make it your business to tell people not to behave in the way of violating the rights of other Americans.  Barack Obama's going to be a great president and those who are racist need to get over their hate and get professional help to do so.  

Obama Up 13 Points Nationally In Reseach 2000 Poll; Palin at All Time Low

Barack Obama's ahead of John McCain by 13 points and the lead is increasing in the Research 2000 poll.  This is  a better poll than the Gallup Daily tracking which has Obama up by 7 points but does not explain why.

Obama's Calm Key To Foreign Policy Success - Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan wrote it best:

Obama's not-so-secret weapon in an international crisis: his calm. McCain's not-so-secret liability in a tense election: his hotheadedness. This race is about policy and the times. But it is also about temperament and character. That's why, in my judgment, it has broken so clearly in Obama's direction. He actually reassures and he manages not to take the bait almost all of the time. More to the point, he gets his opponents to destroy themselves, while he glides forward...

Why Rumors Exist in Human Culture and How to Fight Them

By using the tools of evolutionary theory and new approaches to mathematical modeling, researchers are drawing a clearer picture of how and why rumors spread. As they do, they are finding that far from being merely idle or malicious gossip, rumor is deeply entwined with our history as a species.

read more | digg story

American Fundamentalist Right No Different Than Taliban

It’s hard to believe how or why, but there really exists a subculture in America that is militaristic, hateful, vengeful, irrational and ambitious. These extremists are cancerous to progressive society and similar groups have had similar effect throughout the history of civilization.

read more | digg story

How McCain Will Steal the Election from Obama

Conservatives are scared of a progressive majority. And they're going to lie, cheat and steal to prevent it from happening. But they can only be successful if we let them.

read more | digg story

Obama DID NOT ask to delay security agreement, Iraqi FM says

The statement by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari refutes a recent published report and a statement by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin that Obama tried to influence Iraqi politicians negotiating with the United States to score political points.

read more | digg story

Betty White Says Sarah Palin's A "Crazy Bitch"; Calls Obama Sexy

This is one funny video. Craig Ferguson hosts actress Betty White, who brings the house down by saying that Gov. Sarah Palin's "one crazy bitch" and then crowing that Barack Obama's one sexy man! Watch the video!

Racist Palin Supporter Holds Obama Monkey Doll At Palin Rally

Well, if you need more proof that McCain / Palin rallies are drawing sick, mentally ill people, here you are. I present this big terrible sick idiot for your ridicule and pitty.  Folks like him muddle the Republican message, but I also think some of that racist rhetoric is causing racists to feel it's ok to, well,  be racist again.  

It's not.  It's a mental illness that, in this case, all should call that person on.