Sunday, November 30, 2008

It doesn't speak well for it, does it?

Spot saw the link to this NYT interview - with Jamie Galbraith - at A Tiny Revolution:

Do you find it odd that so few economists foresaw the current credit disaster? Some did. The person with the most serious claim for seeing it coming is Dean Baker, the Washington economist. I saw it coming in general terms.

But there are at least 15,000 professional economists in this country, and you’re saying only two or three of them foresaw the mortgage crisis? Ten or 12 would be closer than two or three.

What does that say about the field of economics, which claims to be a science? It’s an enormous blot on the reputation of the profession. There are thousands of economists. Most of them teach. And most of them teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. [italics are Spot's]

You’re referring to the Washington-based conservative philosophy that rejects government regulation in favor of free-market worship? Reagan’s economists worshiped the market, but Bush didn’t worship the market. Bush simply turned over regulatory authority to his friends. It enabled all the shady operators and card sharks in the system to come to dominate how we finance.

Or, as Kevin Phillips, Spot's personal oracle says, "Bad capitalism drives out good capitalism."

Clearly, economics, is more, well, something than science. It's complete with its own holy spirit, called the Invisible Hand. Spot wishes he had a dime every time Craig Westover, David Strom, or King Banaian, just to name three of its confidence men, pledged undying faith in the market. Why, Spot could bail out a bank!

None of Milton Friedman's circumjovialists has had much to say about market fundamentalism recently, come to think of it.

Avidor sent Spot a link to a video of Paul Krugman - make that the Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman - doing a little stand-up comedy on the real estate bubble:

Pretty funny, but the whole thing is going to leave a mark, boys and girls.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Money rat hole status confirmed

Charter schools, that is. Here's the lede from a Strib front pager last Tuesday:

When charter schools started in Minnesota in the early 1990s, they were touted as a higher-quality alternative for parents, particularly poor and minority families, looking to escape underperforming district schools.

But a study released today by the University of Minnesota's Institute on Race and Poverty finds that most charter schools have fallen short of that promise and perform worse than comparable district schools on state tests. In the process, it said, charters also intensify racial and economic segregation and compound the problem by encouraging districts to compete by creating ethnic niche programs.

"So many people are seeing charter schools as a solution to poor, segregated neighborhoods," said Myron Orfield, the institute's executive director. "The sad part is, they're getting these kids to switch schools and then they're doing worse" than district schools.

Not to mention sucking the public district's budget dry, too. The bad news is coming pretty regularly for the charter school aficionados. Here's a quote from July about another report on substandard charter school performance:

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) made news when it released a new report on charter schools in Minnesota. (The June 2008 report, simply titled “Charter Schools,” is available at

The finding that got pundits and journalists talking is the conclusion that students in charter schools “generally did not perform as well on standardized academic measures as students in Minnesota district schools.”

So where do we go from here?

If you believe that poverty is the fundamental obstacle to educational performance, you might use this as an occasion to dismiss the role of charter schools, call for a new “war on poverty” that also includes yet more increases in funding for district schools.

Yes, John La Plante of the Minnesota Free Market Institute, that's what Spot would say! Spot says get rid of these school district parasites and the public schools would have more money to do more and better things.

But you see, boys and girls, that wouldn't further the right wing's effort to defund public education and one of its stakeholders: teachers. Specifically, organized teachers: Education Minnesota. King Banaian even had a post recently (Spot's not going to look it up; you can find it if you really want, boys and girls) denouncing the fact that public school teachers (organized) make more money than private school teachers (not so much).

Those public school teachers; they really get conservatives' goat. Overpaid and out of control: they want to teach stuff like tolerance and environmentalism, and don't want to teach intelligent design and creationism. No wonder conservatives hate 'em. Not nice and tractable like private school teachers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Committing economic murder

Charlie and Driftglass both beat Spot to this one. That's to be expected, of course, especially Driftglass, since the subject matter is Tom Friedman of the New York Times. Friedman's latest navel gazing involves Assigning Moral Responsibility for the economic crack up we're experiencing. Here's the money quote:

So many people were in on it: People who had no business buying a home, with nothing down and nothing to pay for two years; people who had no business pushing such mortgages, but made fortunes doing so; people who had no business bundling those loans into securities and selling them to third parties, as if they were AAA bonds, but made fortunes doing so; people who had no business rating those loans as AAA, but made a fortunes doing so; and people who had no business buying those bonds and putting them on their balance sheets so they could earn a little better yield, but made fortunes doing so. [italics are Spot's]

Looking down from Mt. Olumpus*, Tom, it's probably hard to tell all these economic murderers apart. Let Spot help. Refer to your own words that Spot has italicized.

If "[p]eople who had no business buying a home" were "in on it" as you say, theirs was a crime of passion: wanting to own a home. The brokers said they were qualified, after all. And haven't we all been taught that home ownership, like cleanliness, is next to godliness? It's interesting that Tom puts these people first on the list. Maybe he was just thinking chronologically.

But if these people committed crimes of passion, the rest of the suspects on Tom's list are serial killers. For profit. They're the ones who made fortunes doing so.

Maybe Tom is right. But to Spot there is a qualitative difference between the person who just wanted to be a homeowner and the string of jackals who cashed in on the desire.

* Spot does know how to spell Olympus.

DL? Not so much

Although it's Thursday, the regular night for DL, we won't be having it per se, although a few of the denizens have expressed an intention to show up at the 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis tonight, anyway. Things probably won't get rolling until a little later than the usual six o'clock.

So, if you emerge from your tryptophan coma and are casting about for something to do, you could do worse than head over to the 331.

Enjoy Thanksgiving everybody. Here's one of Spot's posts from an earlier Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who's the dummy now?

No link, because it just annoys 'em. But somebody out there in the ether claims that liberals are lying, lying I tell you, when they say that incomes have declined during the Bush regime. Here's the lede:

I get really weary of the false information that is fed into empty liberal heads and then repeated as fact. When you ask them to back up their assertions, all you ever really get are crickets chirping. Until the next time they come into a comment thread spreading the same invalidated manure.

So as a remedy, I am going to address one such lie right here and right now. It's information that any half competent person can find on the internet in a few minutes (which is why the empty-headed liberal is unaware that they are repeating a lie).

Lie: Income went down under George Bush.

Our friend, who Spot regrets to say will probably be entrusted with a sharp knife to carve a bird tomorrow, says proof lies in the fact that per capita Gross Domestic Product has risen, risen I say, every year (well, it went down a little in 2001, but one would have expected that) during the Bush term. Here's the figures our friend quotes:


Those are the "real" numbers, not the nominal ones. If you go to the link, you will see the nominal GDP per Capita for 2007 was actually $45,707.

Spot, does he really mean that each and every person in the United States is $10,000 better off annually, in inflation-adjusted dollars, during this period? Boy for big families, that's a huge windfall!

Well, grasshopper, we will give our friend the benefit of the doubt and assume he really believes what he says. Especially since he takes such umbrage at what he calls "liars."

But, as our friend says, economics is a tricky thing!

Let's assume: Bill Gates walks into a bar.

Is this a joke, Spotty?

No, grasshopper, it's an illustration.

Also assume there are two barflies in the bar nursing beers. What happens to the average income among the bar patrons after Bill Gates enters?

It goes through the freakin' roof, Spotty!

Watch your tongue, grasshopper, but yes it does. But only the arithmetical average. Which is what our friend trumpets in his post. But what happens to the median income?

Well, it just moves to the bar fly with the higher income; it probably doesn't move much at all.

Very good, grasshopper. This is why our friend is such a complete . . . well, never mind that. And for the truly average person in the US, incomes have gone down for several years:

America's middle class is increasingly squeezed by sagging incomes and soaring expenses, experts told Congress on Wednesday.

Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped by $1,175 between 2000 and 2007, said Elizabeth Warren, professor at Harvard Law School, in written testimony before the Joint Economic Committee.

At the same time, the average family is spending $4,655 more on basic expenses, such as gas, housing, food and health insurance. Gas alone costs $2,195 more for a family making the same commute in May 2008 as it did eight years earlier.

Our friend winds up his thesis and nails it to the liberals door:

[S]top whining and for God's sake quit repeating the insipid lies that assholes in the LMSM and on the Left have been feeding you.

Our friend has quite a mouth on him, doesn't he, boys and girls? Yes, friend, GDP has risen, but like the bar flies, most people haven't seen it. Income disparity has grown significantly during the Bush years.

In fact, boys and girls, that's your homework. The gap between the rich and  poor is as great now as since when: 1946, 1952, 1963, 1970, or 1929?

Update: Spot made a minor amendment in his example that the comparison between the illustration and the real life discussion about GDP is better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

They've got great graphs

This from Calculated Risk. It plots house price to household income for the periods shown. It suggests, boys and girls, that the housing market may have some falling to do. Even though Ben Bernanke maintained, or used to, that asset bubbles were undetectable, this one should have stood out pretty clearly.

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Siggy gets a follow up question

In a comment to zis post, vell, it's the za next-to-last post, so you can just scroll down, boys and girls, za Tommy asks zis:

Siggy, it seems to me that when a corporation is allowed to become "too big to fail," the Feds were ignoring anti-trust laws.

Ach! Zat Tommy! First he wants za Siggy to be za astronomer, zen za economist, and now za anti-trust lawyer. But Ziggy will give it a zhot.

Zere have been za attempts to break up za companies as monopolies for just being big.

But it zemes to Siggy zat za dominant view is zat being big alone does not make za company a monopolist. Zere are zome tings no company is supposed to do (price fixing with other companies, for example), and zere is a bigger list of za no-nos for a company that ist dominant (zere's zat word again) in it industry.

*  *  *

Spot here. Siggy is tired, so he asked ordinary Spot to finish up.

Being a dominant player in an industry does not make you a monopolist, per se; it obviously makes it is easier for you to act like one. But both IBM and Microsoft maintained vehemently that they didn't violate the Sherman Act just by getting - make that being - really, really big. And they're almost certainly right.

The more interesting question to Spot, and it's a policy matter, not a legal one, is where laissez faire capitalism is headed. When even free-market evangelicals like Alan Greenspan, Hank Paulson, and Ben Bernanke head for the government hills, you know something is afoot.

When one looks around the world today, you can see a rise of sovereign wealth funds, state trading companies, government-controlled commodity markets (think of the wheat regimes in Canada and Australia, for example), oil cartels, and state capitalism, among other forms of mercantilism. And in some cases, the US has been pretty handily out maneuvered.

Kevin Phillips, to whom Spot has referred often, says that the US may have decided that the financial sector was going to be its bread and butter, where our economy would shine; consequently we didn't pay much attention as the nation's industrial base eroded over the last couple of decades. And a lot of foreigners - banks, pension funds, etc. - as well as the locals did buy a lot of fancy financial products from that "industry."

Now, of course, everybody - including the aforesaid foreigners - is/are a little leery now of what the US financial "industry" has to sell.

So, back to the main point. If US policy was a form of financial mercantilism, as Kevin Phillips suggests, it has come a cropper, which is too bad, because financial services are now a quarter of the economy. We're just starting to wake up to the fact that we are not nearly as wealthy as a nation as we thought we were.

It is becoming more clear that there are some issues that laissez faire capitalism may not be up to solving: energy independence and global climate change are just a couple that come to mind. Market responses are just too slow, too weak, and too late. Planning ahead is what is needed, as is investment with a payout much too slow for a financial market. That means involving the dad gum gummint, but we don't have a lot of choice; that's Spot's opinion, anyway.

The "creative destruction" that Milton Friedman, may peace be upon him, David Strom, and Craig Westover seem so fond of, can be, and is, if the stakes are high enough, just destruction. It seems like lunacy to Spot to rely entirely on a Holy Spirit called the Invisible Hand, dreamed up by an eighteenth-century Scotsman. It reeks of religious fervor, but that's a subject for another day.

Spot says that we have to start seeing the federal government as something other than a target of blood sucking and plunder, but that is going to be difficult, given the abuse that conservatives have heaped on elected officials, the civil service, and the entire notion of the public good.

There are a lot of dogs smarter than Spot who think we're in for a really rough patch. Perhaps that's the only way these lessons can be learned.

Proof positive there is a benevolent force at work in the universe.

Ann Coulter's jaw wired shut.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Siggy does a two-fer

Hier are za zwei related questions for Siggy:

Siggy, what do liberals have against capitalism?



Siggy, why do rightwingnuts that claim to adore "competition" adore cartel corporatism?


Zese are za flip zides of each other. And both of zem, boys, Siggy is sorry to zay, have za Ven did you quit beating za wife? quality to zem. It's as zo the questioners ver trying to influence Siggy! It vill not come as za great surprise zat Siggy has more sympathy for Tommy's question. But Siggy vill spend zome time on za each one.

Dave, za liberals zat Siggy knows - including za Siggy - don't dislike za capitalism, per ze. It is just zat, as Herr Kevin Phillips - an influential personage to za Spot and Siggy both - zays, Bad capitalism drives out Good capitalism, answering za question from Bill Moyers:

Well, because you have to compete with sleaze. Get a little more sleaze in your own operations. And you look at all these lies, these deceptions, these frauds that have been going on. But, I mean, there aren't too many people that would say back two or three years ago that the way to prosper more was to do less of the cheating. You had to do what the others were doing. And that's the way these things — it was true in the Twenties. It's been true in plenty of other bubbles. You have to do it. So just the question of what's been bubbling here and the hugeness of the problem hasn't been revealed to people.

You zee, zat's the ting. Unless zere is zomeone around to make sure za boys and girls play za fair, ze may not, and zen everybody has to cut za corners to compete.

Heedless zelf interest, zat's what liberals and Siggy don't like. And nobody has been around much to make it heed much lately.

Tommy's question is more troubling to Siggy, ja. Za laissez faire capitalism rarely stays zat way for wery long. Zomebody always figures out za way to game za system, like Enron, or World Comm, or all za unregulated subprime mortgage lenders. Boy, zat Ken Lay: he really figured out how to game za system, didn't he boys and girls? He died before he could be zentenced!

But zereiously, when you put za serial plunderers in charges of za government, no good can come of zis. Ach, no good at all! Zen za government just becomes za game of handing out za goodies to za corporate buddies. Just like Herr Thomas Frank zes in his new book, Za Wrecking Crew. Siggy recommends zis book.

Zanks to both of you for za questions.

Post number 2000.

Return of the predators

That's the title of a NYT editorial that begins as follows:

The demise of the subprime mortgage industry has been hard on predatory brokers, too. They feasted for years on bad loans until reality crashed down and the money ran out, and there they were: sharks without a frenzy.

Now they are circling again. Predators of every sort have regrouped and returned to their old ways, this time as loan-modification companies, inserting themselves between hard-strapped homeowners and banks, offering to work deals — for cash up front.

You've probably seen the ads and heard the commercials, boys and girls.

P.T. Barnum is alive, and well, and working in America.

Neat! More precincts

Matt Pettis has map graphic on the progress of the recount. You can find it here on the WCCO television website.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Next question

Siggy tells Spot that he is ready for another question or two.

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Almost forgot about Katie!

But the 'Farian didn't. Spot has always thought that the 'Farian, in this and his previous incarnations, was a great writer and editor. For example, he edits - with a light but devastating hand, Katie's column in the Strib today. Here's just one paragraph:

[Absurd as it sounds] Bachmann and Kline favored the I-35W bridge appropriation, but opposed the transportation bill because it was stuffed with [much needed infrastructure] projects [that would remind Americans of how poorly the Republicans had maintained our infrastructure].

Please show you luv for the 'Farian and read the whole thing. It is well worth the trip over there.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A teachable moment

Spot will admit - now he has your attention - that he drives conservatives, and conservative bloggers especially, crazy. It's been a wonder to behold, really. But he doesn't dish ten percent of what conservative bloggers do at Nick Coleman, Eva, lately even Ron Erhardt, gays, anti-war types, people on the St. Paul issues list, public schools, and liberals in general. These characters have had the bluster and badger field pretty much to themselves for a long time. But Spot is so "vile."

And darn, they really don't want to share the bluster and badger ground. Even with somebody who almost never even cusses. Or even with someone who confines himself to commenting on what conservative bloggers have publicly written. Acerbically, but not anywhere except to the blogger's public personae. All bloggers are a constructed facade, whether they use their name or not.

Spot believes this proprietary sense is, frankly, because they can dish it out, but they really can't take it. So much easier to call someone an assnozzle, prick, fucker, fascist, "nazi's," or one of the other myriad displays of the conservative command of the English language. This is what is known, boys and girls, as going into a battle of wits lightly armed.

Or, to identify someone - Spot - when Spot has never revealed a private fact about anybody. Last night, Spot intimated that he had some stuff on some people. Right on cue, Mitch posts how glad he is that he isn't Spot. Jesus, Mitch that makes two of us!

Spot isn't sure why Mitch's ears were burning, but he can relax. Because Spot agrees with your sentiment that people are entitled to a private life. Perhaps we can all consider this a teachable moment.

But sigh, probably not.


MrMNO and I tried to watch this movie last night, but about halfway through, he asked me to turn it off because he said "I know how this ends and I just can't watch it." So we switched to something else.

He does the same thing with all the other horror movies I bring home.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Comrade Cooper Stadium

We've been having a little fun with this in the comments to an earlier post:

"Bush is to the left of me now," Chavez told an audience of international intellectuals debating the benefits of socialism. "Comrade Bush announced he will buy shares in private banks."

Thanks to Comrade Avidor for the graphic.

Four bad bears!

Here's a chart from Calculated Risk:

The green line is the tech bubble bursting; the red one was the first oil shock. The long one is the Depression.

And the blue line? That us now.

The chart shows stock market fall plotted against days since the crash begins. You can see, boys and girls, that the current nosedive is steeper - that is, a lower point "achieved" earlier - than in any other, including the big D.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh, that can't be right

But it is. According to the boys and girls at the Treasury Department, boys and girls, TCF Corporation got a "liquidity injection" of $361 million from the TARP.

Isn't that Bill Cooper's outfit, Spotty? The former Republican chair in Minnesota who has never seen a government program he liked or didn't want to defund?

The very same, grasshopper. Bill Cooper suckling at the public teat. Spot hopes someone gets pictures.

A thump of the tail to Calculated Risk.

The Tinkerbelle of Freedom

Somebody called this one to Spot's attention. He's never been to the Let Freedom Ring blog before; it uses a title type that belongs on Stormfront. Anyway, Tink's problem is the "despicable" tactics of the Franken campaign in the recount effort:

I just got off the phone with a loyal reader of LFR just minutes ago. This loyal reader told me that Team Franken is objecting to all kinds of different things. Some of these things include ballots where the voter placed an X inside the oval instead of filling the oval in.

A loyal reader, eh? That tells us volumes right there. Tink continues:

Based on [a quoted section concerning voter intent], challenges should be ruled frivolous if voter intent is clear. Someone that underlines or circles a candidate’s name or who puts a check mark or an X in the box has clearly indicated their intent. That’s how election officials have been routinely ruling since the recount started.

Challenges like that must be squashed immediatly [sic]. Team Franken should be held accountable for such despicable, thinly veiled attempts to steal this election.

Well, of course, Tink is ignorant - and probably an idiot, too.

That wasn't very charitable, Spot.

You're right grasshopper; we'll just go with ignorant.

There is a problem with Tink's analysis. The counters - county employees or volunteers, usually - don't have the authority to rule on a challenge. Period. The state canvassing board will rule on each challenged ballot, whether challenged by Franken or Coleman. You can read about the procedure here. And from reports that Spot has heard, both parties are challenging ballots at similar rates.

This has been gone over so many times, that it should be obvious to even the casual observer. Apparently not.

Tink, never ask at whom the clown car honks. It honks at thee.

God gets lawyered up

Via Hullabaloo, here is the opening of a brief filed in the California Supreme Court on behalf of the Almighty:

Acting on behalf of the Almighty Eternal Creator, who is holding sole ownership to His creations, all planets, including the earth and everything above, below and on it, myself as His heiress, and the Kingdom of Heaven World Divine Mission (also known as Rebuild My Church Divine Mission), a Non-Profit Corporation in the State of California, submit this Amicus Curiae brief to the address the legal standard for granting "yes" on Proposition 8, passed with 52% of California voters votes, as the State of California Constitution Amendment: "Marriage between one man and one woman only!"

Spot wants to see the retainer agreement. Apparently, though, there were just some verbal instructions:

After a night full of dreams, before dawn on November 11, 2008, before I woke up in the morning, the Almighty Eternal Creator ordered me, saying "You explain to them the consequences that follow each and all of their actions. Once they understand, they will listen!"

These two matters (gay-lesbian and abortion) are just a couple of many major cases where people are exercising their free-will rights for wrong purposes. This has gone on for a hundred-thousand years and has contributed heavily to extreme weather, global warming, financial crisis, recession, global hatred, lying, violence, war and murder, serious sickness and diseases - often for the purpose of gaining rights for wrong purposes, power and money.

Lotsa luck, Republicans in scraping these barnacles off your foundation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Siggy fields a question from Curious

Dear Sigmund Spot,

If women are from Venus, and men are from Mars, are rightwingnuts really from Planet Denial, and just what [expletive deleted] solar system is that crazy place located in, anyway??!?


Liebe Curious,

Zis is more of za astronomical - or maybe za astrological - question zan za psychiatric vun. But za shrinks haf made za efforts, ja. You may recall za Crasier Frane, ach, Frasier Crane who asked za wingnut Cliff zis question:

Vut color is za sky in your vorld, Cliff?

Za Cliff's answer is not recorded. Other zan zat, Siggy cannot find anything in za psychiatric literature.

Zo ve vill speculate! Ja?

Zis Planet Denial is probably paired with za Planet Delusion vay za hell out zhere. Zis is probably a cold place vith very short days and nights, because zis planet spins wery fast and makes za inhabitants dizzy!

Siggy tinks zat za inhabitants of Planet Denial came from zome place else and don't vant to admit vhere zey are, even to zemselves.

Siggy also tinks he heard zat za National Review was going to take za cruise zhere zometime.

More zan zat, Siggy cannot zay.

Zincerely, Siggy

The daughter of a lioness

Spot knew that Eva's mother was ill and battling cancer. It has been a shadow on Eva's spirit since Spot has known her. Rebecca Young died yesterday.

Eva talked a little about her Mom, but it was not until Eva posted the memorial linked above that Spot knew how honestly Eva comes by her love of and savvy for politics and policy.

Losing a parent is horrible and wrenching; there is no path around the grief. Hold up your Dad, Eva, for his desolation is even greater than yours.

Peace and condolences.

DL: High Holy Day Observance

Spotty, I thought that the High Holy Days were in September and October.

Ah, grasshopper, you have the wrong liturgical calendar for Drinking Liberally.

The third Thursday in November - always in time to lay in a supply for Thanksgiving - is the release day for the year's Beaujolais Nouveau.

Holy Mackerel, Spot! That's tomorrow!

Right you are, grasshopper.

We'll see if we can sneak a bottle or two past John and Alisha; an eagle-eyed bunch, but we'll see what we can do.

Remember, boys and girls, Drinking Liberally in the Twin Cities meets regularly on Thursday nights, six to nine or so, at the 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis.

Update: Beaujolais Nouveau is, by the way, a great pairing with the Thanksgiving bird.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Sigmund Spot,

Based on a question from TwoPutt Tommy this afternoon, and Spot's reply to it, it occurs to Spot that it might be a helpful service to you, boys and girls, to have Sigmund Spot occasionally answer your questions about right wingers.

Siggy is a cranky old fart; he probably won't answer all your questions, and he'll probably only answer questions of a general nature and not ones related to any particular winger. But you never know.

Want to get some ideas about dealing with the winger in-laws over the holidays or the drooling bigot at work? Ask Sigmund Spot.

Zo, or rather so, fire away. Siggy will undoubtedly be moved to answer the more intriguing questions. Send you questions to blogspotdog at so they can be forwarded to Siggy. Inquiries may be made in confidence with confidence.

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Playing lawyer games

There has been a little discussion here on the Stool in the last day or so over the legality of the Iraq war. Imagine that. Last night, Spot posted the comments of a retired "Law Lord" from the UK, Lord Bingham. It is not that far down, boys and girls, and Spot really recommends that you scroll down and read Lord Bingham's words.

To summarize, Lord Bingham said that it was a violation of international law for the US and the UK to arrogate unto themselves the decision to invade Iraq.

Dave Thul responds: no, it wasn't. Who's right? Okay, boys and girls, hands up if you think Lord Bingham is right. Now, those of you who agree with Dave, put your hands up. Sorry, Dave, it's running pretty heavily against you.

But, tell you what, Dave. We'll examine your offering in defense. Here's a portion of the comment:

Oh, and don't forget the UN, which voted 15-0 in favor of 1441.
Resolution 1441 specifically stated:

* That Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of Resolution 687. Iraq's breaches related not only to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), but also the known construction of prohibited types of missiles, the purchase and import of prohibited armaments, and the continuing refusal of Iraq to compensate Kuwait for the widespread looting conducted by its troops in 1991.

* That "...false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations".

Breach of contract is a term you are no doubt familiar with-in contract law a breach that is substantial and operates to excuse further performance by the aggrieved party. A material breach destroys the value of the contract and gives rise to an action for breach of contract.

The contract involved here was the cease fire agreement that ended the Gulf War, UNSCR 687. Violation of the cease fire agreement, by international law, returns the parties to a state of war. Remember that there was never an official armistice or peace treaty to end the Gulf War. Because Iraq refused to honor the terms of the cease fire, there was never a formal and declared cessation of hostilities.

You can certainly argue that the war with Iraq was immoral. You'd say it was, I'd say it wasn't, and in the end it'll be up to historians to decide. But to say that the war was illegal is factually inaccurate.

This is the crackpot conservative legal defense that guys like Donnie, Dickie, Georgie, and yes, Condi, and even Colin may have to raise in court or an international tribunal someday.

It has a certain charming reliance on the United Nations on the one hand, and complete disregard for it on the other.

The Security Council did adopt the resolution that Dave refers to, 1441. Of course it did mostly based on Colin Powell's fraudulent little dog and pony show. But Dave either omits or fails to understand a couple of critical steps in the analysis.

Go and read UN Security Council Resolution 1441, boys and girls, and you will see that it did not let the dogs off the leash, so to speak. It directed Iraq to do certain things, inter alia, permit a resumption of inspections, which Iraq did, not cheerfully, but it did. And the Bush Administration was worried that the inspectors wouldn't find anything - as of course they didn't - and pressed forward with plans to invade.

There was only one small problem: the Security Council intended that the dogs come back for an actual directive to use force before invading. When it became obvious that no such directive would be forthcoming from the Security Council, George Bush and his poodle Tony Blair invaded anyway.

This is the decision that Lord Bingham is criticizing in the article linked above. Why is Lord Bingham right?

First, as stated earlier, the Security Council did not authorize the use of force against Iraq. There was also a lot of discussion at the Security Council about the US coming back for authority before invading. That's the second part.

You would have to be the dumbest damn diplomat on planet earth not to understand these words, the last ones in Resolution 1441:

“14.Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Which means that the Security Council retained jurisdiction over the issue and specifically did not authorize vigilante George or vigilante Tony to take it upon themselves to decide the remedy for any breach by Iraq.

Dave's little breach of contract argument is cute, but it is complete and utter horse pucky. George and Tony were not the "deciders" here. There was no imminent threat to the US or the UK, and not even Colin Powell claimed there was, so this is not a case of self defense.

It was unlawful aggressive war: a war crime. Period.

Can this newspaper be saved?

We're talking about the Strib. Mitch thinks so, so long as it ceases being a newspaper. Here's a bit from Rupert Murdoch that Mitch quotes with approval:

With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of their readers.

Spot is sure that Mitch approves the Fox model of news gathering news making; it's much more soothing than having to confront the occasional contrary opinion or inconvenient fact. That's why Spot pisses Mitch off so much, too.

Here's how Mitch ends his little diatribe:

The Strib is worse than most; not only are we peasants too stupid to think for ourselves, they send Lori Sturdevant and Nick Coleman to do our thinking for us.

No Mitch, it's Rupert who knows that you are too stupid to think for yourself.

Spot would rather put a bullet in the beast than have the Strib sink to what Rupert and Mitch think makes a good newspaper.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The subject has already arisen once today

In the comments to an earlier post. The subject was perp walks and frog marches. Via Empire Burlesque, Spot read this U.K. Guardian article this evening:

One of Britain's most authoritative judicial figures last night delivered a blistering attack on the invasion of Iraq, describing it as a serious violation of international law, and accusing Britain and the US of acting like a "world vigilante".

Lord Bingham, in his first major speech since retiring as the senior law lord, rejected the then attorney general's defence of the 2003 invasion as fundamentally flawed.

Contradicting head-on Lord Goldsmith's advice that the invasion was lawful, Bingham stated: "It was not plain that Iraq had failed to comply in a manner justifying resort to force and there were no strong factual grounds or hard evidence to show that it had." Adding his weight to the body of international legal opinion opposed to the invasion, Bingham said that to argue, as the British government had done, that Britain and the US could unilaterally decide that Iraq had broken UN resolutions "passes belief".

The "violation of international law" that Lord Bingham describes is the commission of aggressive war: the most serious war crime of all.

Lord Bingham said:

"For the effect of acting unilaterally was to undermine the foundation on which the post-1945 consensus had been constructed: the prohibition of force (save in self-defence, or perhaps, to avert an impending humanitarian catastrophe) unless formally authorised by the nations of the world empowered to make collective decisions in the security council..."

All of the deaths, especially the civilian ones, the detentions, the torture, are all blood on our hands.

Weep my friends for the conduct of our country, and redouble your commitment to bringing a swift and humane end to this outrage, and to bringing justice to the makers of this mark of Cain on the United States.

Sanctimony, thy name is Banaian

King Banaian complains bitterly about the role of the media in the recount:

Oh, never mind. The professor cites John Lott's kid, who works for Fox, can you believe it, as a news source. This is too poisoned and stupid to bother with.

Just in time for Christmas

John Cole at Balloon Juice shows us something new in Christmas decorations: a cross so luminous that it appears to be, well, on fire. This is the latest and greatest from the American Family Association. This is such a wonderful idea!

The flaming cross is no miniature either: it is five and a half feet tall.

But as John points out, it doesn't seem to have much market appeal in African-American communities.

There used to be a messenger service in the Twin Cities called the "Night Rider." Its owner probably noticed the same lack of enthusiasm in communities of color.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

There is no better metaphor

If Spot wanted to think of an image of the post-election Republican party, he absolutely could not think of a better one than imagining the whole lot of them gathering themselves up and shipping off somewhere to talk to themselves. And you'll never guess, boys and girls; they did it.

Scott Johnson signed on to the recent National Review post-election cruise as a minor sun around which a few of his smaller planetary shipmates might revolve. Not to say there weren't some big names. Mittens and the Big Sleepy were there, apparently signing up late in order to get out of town. Mark Steyn, K-Lo, Jonah Goldberg; they were all there.

And Spot's favorite, Victor Davis Hanson, was aboard; he was undoubtedly hawking his Peloponnesian War chess set and his new CD, Etesian Breezes: Goatherd Music Through the Ages.

It must have been a glittering affair, Spot; it's hard to imagine!

Luckily grasshopper, we don't have to imagine. Johann Hari went on an earlier National Review cruise and wrote about it!  Spot is sure this last one had just as many specimens of the autism spectrum disorder called Republicanism as the one Hari wrote about, even more according to Scott.

Scott tells us there was even one woman who has been on ten, yes ten, National Review cruises! This must be either an ancient dowager queen, or a younger tomato looking for a new sugar daddy.

Spot just wishes that we had all, boys and girls, been there standing on the dock of reality and bidding a fond adieu to the good ship Delusion.

Either that, or good riddance.

Fritz Knaak: the smell of fear

When the first drops of flop sweat appear, along with an acrid perspiration smell, rapid breathing and speech, you know that you are seeing a lawyer who knows he is outrun, outgunned, outmaneuvered and generally out-lawyered. It is a magnificent sight to behold in an opponent - just as it is miserable experience to feel the symptoms begin to emanate from yourself.

These are epiphany moments in litigation and times when cases can settle.

Based on the events of the past few days, it seems pretty clear that Fritz Knaak knows he's fighting a rear guard action in the Franken - Coleman recount, set to start this week.

There are really four categories of cases for lawyers. In the first two, you have a good case or a bad case, but your client's outcome expectations match the quality of the case. Not much chance to be the hero or the goat.

If you have a client who has a great case, but not especially high expectations, here's where you get to wear the big red "S."

The fourth category is the worst for a lawyer. It is where the case is bad or problematic, and the client has high expectations. These are the cases from G.O.A.T. This is Fritz's case. Spot feels his pain.

Fritz's client is really all Republicans in Minnesota, whose attitude was summed up by Norm Coleman the day after the election: we won, so give it up. Fritz is starting in a really big hole in the client satisfaction department.

A bunch of Dartmouth political science types - Dartmouth, the incubator of the Power Line Boyz, after all - says that the recount is likely to favor Al Franken:

We show using a combination of precinct voting returns from the 2006 and 2008 General Elections that patterns in Senate race residual votes are consistent with, one, the presence of a large number of Democratic-leaning voters, in particular African-American voters, who appear to have deliberately skipped voting in the Coleman-Franken Senate contest and, two, the presence of a smaller number of Democratic-leaning voters who almost certainly intended to cast a vote in the Senate race but for some reason did not do so. Ultimately, the anticipated recount may clarify the relative proportions of intentional versus unintentional residual votes. At present, though, the data available suggest that the recount will uncover many of the former and that, of the latter, a majority will likely prove to be supportive of Franken.

(A thump of the tail to the 'Farian.)

Now, these facts are not lost on Fritz & Co. No siree. Fritz expects that the majority of the "residual votes," you may be more familiar with the term "undervotes," boys and girls, will favor Al Franken. Al doesn't even need all that many.

That is why, as Charlie points out, Fritz is throwing such a hissy fit over the re-examination of some absentee ballots that were initially disallowed:

Minnesotans should not just be concerned about this potential – they should be almost fearful of the Franken Campaign's unprecedented efforts to get across to their private data to influence this recount – and equally fearful of the Franken Campaign's efforts to force rejected and spoiled ballots into a recount for the first time ever in the 150 year history of our state.

Ah. "Fear." Such a good Republican word, isn't it?

Parenthetically, boys and girls, Spot will mention that Charlie made a good comment when he said that lathered Fritz's argument would apply with equal force to any ballot not counted for any reason. Why have a recount?

(Spot will also say that it was a small and ungracious thing of Charlie to use a post title "Knaak, Knaak, Who's There? Underminer." when he had to have known in his heart of hearts that it would have been natural for Spot to use that title.)

But back to cases. Fritz knows that every uncounted ballot out there is a potential pick-up for Al Franken, and that's why he doesn't give the smallest rip about whether the votes were legally cast or actually do express an intent to vote in the Senate race. He wants to keep them out. That's what the betting man would do.

Fritz Knaak is also employing the tactic of trying to de-legitimize the forum in which the dispute will be resolved:

Just four days before the recount starts in the U.S. Senate race, Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's lead attorney suggested Saturday that the neutrality of the Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's office has been "breached."

Fritz Knaak said he was stunned and disappointed by what he called "eroding" positions from Ritchie's office in a dispute over Democratic challenger Al Franken's legal attempt to get lists of rejected absentee voters. That request is expected to be heard in Ramsey County District Court as early as Monday.

As the linked article states, even our Republican governor doesn't share that view.

Spot says this is not an especially honorable thing for a practitioner - not an officer of the court here, but in a similar position - to do. Katie? Maybe. But not an advocate in a very public dispute.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This just in

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space shuttle Endeavour raced toward the international space station on Saturday for a home makeover job after a brilliant moonlit launch that had NASA managers in awe.

Carrying, inter alia, a new toilet.

Godspeed Endeavor.

We have met the enemy

And he is Jason Lewis.

When Spot got up Friday morning, there was a certain heaviness in the air, and the bitter scent that often surrounds someone who is about to heave. As he approached the newspaper on the step, the scent grew stronger. It stung Spot's eyes and nostrils and nearly overpowered Spot as he turned to the op-ed section to read this: Stimulus failed. (Told you so.) So why seek a second helping?

What does J-Loo really know? He knows that to every question, the answer is "government is bad." That's really about it; it's his analysis and solution for every vexing question that arises. Lost love? It's the government's fault. Your eczema acting up? Be sure to use a government cleanser.

This from a guy who moved back to Minnesota from the tax nirvana North Carolina because he couldn't, apparently, maintain his pot to piss in there.

J-Loo's central point, as it is in everything he thinks, writes, reads, says, or even excretes is this:

Government is a zero-sum game; it can't create wealth or increase demand without first reducing it. Deficit-financed rebate or spending schemes merely shuffle around economic resources without growing them. Only increases in labor and its productivity result in a rising tide of economic growth that lifts all boats, not just those who find themselves at the receiving end of a government program.

Spot isn't even going to argue with J-Loo about the utility of economic stimulus or the right approach to it now. It is something over which reasonable dogs can differ.

What Spot does want to point out, however, is that J-Loo is probably the dumbest damn economist who ever lived. As just an initial observation, Charlie say this:

Doctrinaire free marketeers like radio talker Jason Lewis persist in the canard that too much government meddling brought on our economic mess and insist the best thing the government can do anytime is leave the market alone. They would just pull the refs from the game and let the players cheat each other fair and square.

Spotty, he's a talk show host, not an economist.

Well, grasshopper, that does explain a lot!

I guess that knowing where the cough button is on your microphone doesn't equip you to understand John Maynard Keynes!

Indeed, grasshopper, although it may equip a person to be a test subject in a Stanley Milgrim experiment.

Society acting cooperatively - through in part the government - is critical to the growth of the economy and the support of the efforts of individuals in it. The economy is a zero-sum game only if you believe you are a member of a group of fur-bearing animals stealing food from each other. Spot thought that J-Loo had more self-esteem than that!

Spot has cited this article before, but even Warren Buffet says it takes a village to raise a millionaire. And we're obliged to pay for the help we receive; the wealthier you are, the more you owe for that help. It's not a difficult concept, J-Loo.

Spot, that sounds almost Biblical: To whom much is given, much is expected.

Someday, Spot will - with a sense of dread, no doubt - do much more of an analysis of the blowhard J-Loo. But, it's Saturday, and there are things to do.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And now, back to your regular programming

Mr. Sponge called this to Spot's attention: We're Good People Suing Good People. Here's the gist of it: Denny Hecker is in a bit of jam because his credit with Chrysler dried up. Here's the explanation:

If you will allow me to ramble, consider the cascade effect manifested here.

Corrupt (and Liberal) officials at ACORN, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae simultaneously crash the markets for Credit, Homes and Equities. Congress and the Unions slowly bleed the domestic automotive industry to death.

As a result, a local billionaire goes bankrupt, likely taking local jobs and investment with him.

Thank you liberals. Your evil plan is coming together. I can’t wait to see your solution. Lemme guess: it will involve more of the same. Higher taxes, bigger government, more regulation.

The backlash that will be the Conservative Revolution can’t come quick enough.

Spotty, who is that?

That, grasshopper, is the spittle-flecked JRoosh. And Spot will bet, boys and girls, that you probably didn't know that ACORN, Fannie and Freddie were in a criminal syndicate to ruin the country. He forgot to include the Community Reinvestment Act and the Tri-Lateral Commission, though. And never mind that JRoosh even says that Denny was probably over-leveraged.

Can't you imagine it? ACORN standing astride the gutted corpse, tearing out bloody chunks of the financial services industry and swallowing them greedily. A grisly spectacle indeed.

You have to realize, boys and girls, that JRoosh is a little testy these days. It's been a trying time for all the commission men who made their livings on all the financial foam created by the bright lights of Wall Street. People like JRoosh may have to go back to making things, which would be very hard for them.

So have a little sympathy, please.

Who is this dog Spot, anyway?

Well, boys and girls, if you can hear over the yapping of the blog Chihuahuas, he'll tell you.

He is a 58 year-old more-or-less retired lawyer who has lived in the same stone-front colonial house on a leafy street for 28 years. The house is even older than Spot, which Spot finds gratifying.

Spot always mows his lawn, and shovels the walks; he's never been under threat of condemnation by the city in which he lives. The last time he had a dumpster, it was for construction trash associated with remodeling the basement.

Spot's family has three or four cars, depending on who's home. Until recently, Spot and one of his pups also had a motorcycle that was undoubted faster and cooler than the mechanical penis one of the Chihuahuas rides.

And you know, the cars always run, always have.

Spot's been a lawyer for, what, thirty-three years? A little over actually, commencing about the time that some of the Chihuahuas we could name were wondering why hair was starting to grow in their armpits. Spot's career was largely in civil litigation: business cases mostly, but some First Amendment and, perhaps not coincidentally, reputational torts cases, too.

Spot's name? Ask one of the Chihuahuas; they'll be happy to yap it to you.

Even a blind squirrel sometimes finds an acorn

Spot's in a metaphor-mixing mood today, boys and girls, so you will have to forgive him when he says that the blog Chihuahuas have been baying in their own peculiar strangled little way for Spot's identity for a long time.

But now it's out there.

It is really a testament to the investigative skills of the winger bloggers, most of whom Spot has met over the last couple of years, that one of them has apparently finally figured it out and started an excited Chihuahua yapping. Spot's even met this most excited of Chihuahuas.

Spot's cantankerous correspondent Dave - who Spot is sure isn't the source of the information, by the way - recently observed to Spot that any idiot (well, he didn't say idiot; that's Spot editorializing) who wanted to know who Spot was merely had to show up at Drinking Liberally, the salon where Spot advertises his attendance every week. You see, Dave has known who Spot is since Spot crated up and sent the books we collected at DL for the Red Bulls in Iraq.

What changes can you look forward to now, boys and girls? Regrettably, perhaps, none. Spot hasn't and doesn't write stuff he is ashamed of. The reason for the pseudonym in the first place was not because of that.

Rather, it is because - and here's the last metaphor, Spot promises - he prefers not to have some chimpanzee, a species incapable of actual speech as you all know, express himself the only way he can, symbolically, on the side of Spot's house. I guess if it happens, we'll know the suspects.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One, two, three, four, etc.

Drinking Liberally in Minneapolis tonight, boys and girls. Just to limber up for the Senate recount, we'll count from one to approximately 2.9 million during the course of the evening. We'll probably do it in increments of 100,000 or so just to keep it from taking so long.

After that, we'll talk about the mechanics of the recount; Spot promises to study that some today.

We'll meet at the regular time, six to nine or so, at the regular place, the 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good grief, Sarah!


Who's that?

Who do you think it is?

My conscience?

Think bigger.

Oh My God!



I change genders every couple of days, just to keep it interesting.

I don't know what to say.

That's a first. Actually, I have something I want to say to you.

I'm all ears, Lord.

I doubt that, but here goes. I understand that you said you would run for president if I told you to. Is that right?

Oh, you know it is, Lord. Is that what you are telling me now?

Jesus Christ!

[from the next room] What, Dad?

Never mind, Son. [returning to the conversation with Sarah] I will never tell you to run for president.

Don't you think I would make a good and faithful servant president for You?

I am not going to answer that. I don't do politics, and it really honks me off when politics does me. I keep telling your fellow traveler Michele Bachmann that, too. Just keep me out of it.

I don't think I can do that, Lord.

Why? Because without the holy trappings it is obvious to everyone, including the evangelicals, that you are just an unschooled, untutored, incurious lump?

[making a little pout with her lips] That wasn't very generous!

Stow it, Sarah, I'm impervious to flirting.

Well, I guess I'll just have to pretend that You told me to run, just like Michele did. She fasted and everything, made it look really good.

And the sad thing is, a lot of people will believe you. Intelligent design my hind end.

Well, sometimes I do think I hear Your Voice.

Sarah, when you talk to me, that's praying. When I talk back, it's probably just schizophrenia.

What are You saying, Lord?

[pause] Lord, are You there? Hello?

The prosecution rests, your Honor

That was a very stirring argument, Ms. Kersten. But aren't you going to offer any evidence for the record?

We don't have any evidence, your Honor.

No evidence? You do know what a record is, don't you Ms. Kersten?

Well, in broad terms, your Honor.

Then you must know that it is customary to make a summation that is based on the record that has been adduced?

Really? That seems so, well, confining. I don't know how your Honor expects me to make my case based on the evidence.

Sigh. I suppose not. Tell you what: show me some evidence of misconduct by Secretary of State Ritchie before I make my decision.

I thought your Honor said my argument was stirring.

You have trouble with irony and hyperbole, don't you Ms. Kersten?

Yes, your Honor.

Did you confer with anybody before you came to court today?

Well, of course. I consulted with my colleagues Johnnie and Scotty.

Ah, I see. I'm going to dismiss your case, Ms. Kersten and commend to you to a thorough reading of Rule 11.

*  *  *

The imagined dialogue above is about what would have happened had Katie presented her case (in today's column linked above) against Mark Ritchie in court. In fact, Katie even admits - although burying it at end, after most readers have been anaesthetized into a bleak sense of ennui by Katie's turgid prose - that there is no evidence that Mark Ritchie or anybody else has done anything wrong in a recount that hasn't even started yet:

Thus far, Ritchie has shown no evidence of misconduct. But many Minnesotans are questioning the openness and transparency of the vote tally that just ended.

Well, you are questioning it, Katie. That's one. And Laura Brod; that's two. And let's not forget the legal lion Fritz Knaack; there's three!

To call Katie a simple hack would be to defame hacks everywhere. Katie is not merely a lazy, careless and inattentive observer of the political scene - although she is all of those things - she is also the possessor of a fetid and malign spirit, a spirit that poisons everything it touches.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

That's the word, all right

It came to Spot today, unbidden. In over three years of reading blogs and writing this one, Spot has been unable to find the word that summed up the festering Bund of the right wing blogosphere. But he's got it now: bullies.

What, after all, is a bully? It's someone who is cruel and overbearing, a thug. Someone who picks on somebody else, preferably smaller and weaker, maybe to make himself feel like a big cheese, or even just appear to be one to the drooling sycophants he wants to impress. The words of the bully almost always have a tinge of intimidation in them, or sometimes more than just a tinge.

There they sit on the bar stool of grudge and resentment, taking big swigs from their tankards of bile, belting out tuneless refrains of impotent rage. Then, tottering home in crazed and bilious humors, they sit down and write stuff like this. Or this.

It is no especial mystery why all the paranoid, poisoned, gun-toting crazies are all on one side. The pathology is unremarkable. But its consequences over the last twenty five years or so have been catastrophic. It is a period from which the barest signs of emerging have now just appeared. But the bud is nascent and the bullies will try to kill it.

Courage my friends.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Michele, you are a piece of work

And made in Your image, too, Lord. Tra la!

My image in a funhouse mirror, maybe. You seem full of yourself today.

Well, I won the election after all!

You did? Well, I hadn't noticed.

Oh poo, You did too; You know everything.

Yeah, but there are some things I don't pay much attention to. Tell me how you did it.

Well, you remember our little talk when I was getting ready to make the apology for my remarks on Hardball? And how You advised me not to do it?


Well, I did it! And it worked! Maybe that's another example of Your not being so all All Knowing and All Seeing, eh?

I'm sure you're right, Michele. By the way, what are you feeling now?

Well, Lord, now that you mention it, I feel kinda tingly. Oh my God, my hair is standing on end!

I know. Did you even take enough science to know what that means?

You're gonna strike me dead with lightning!

Well, not today. Maybe later.

O, thank God!

You're welcome. But don't be sassy. What else did you do?

I compared myself favorably to my opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg. I probably committed the sin of pride, Lord, but please forgive me.

Come on, Michele. You basically called him a criminal. It's the sin of bearing false witness that comes to mind.

I thought You weren't paying attention.

Just wanted to see it if made a difference in what you said. Apparently, it does. I don't like that much, either.

Remember, Lord, everything I do is to glorify You.

Gee. thanks, Michele. I don't know how many times I have told you that I don't feel especially glorified by your anti-gay bigotry or your bizarre end-times eschatology.

You mean as foretold by St. John the Divine in the Book of Revelation?

John of Patmos? Loony John? How that cluck ever got a book in the Bible I will never know. Please know this, Michele: in spite of all the psalm reading (get it?), owl-entrails reading, and whatever else it is they do over the the Olive Tree Ministries, there is no plan to end the world. You and the rest of the "drill, baby drill" morons may burn it up, but don't look at me.

Well, Lord, it's been great talking to you!

Where are you going?

I am going to make an appearance on Christian talk radio! Ta ta.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Exciting the lizard brain VII

Spot picked up this link from Informed Comment today:

The Republican vice presidential candidate [Sarah Palin] attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally [?] encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

The article, in the U.K.'s Telegraph, states:

Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."

But sow the wind and reap the whirlwind, Sarah:

Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.

That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africa was a continent rather than a country.

The advisers have branded her a "diva" and a "whack job" and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

Crediting Palin with the loss is perhaps a little generous, but she certainly didn't do the ticket any good.