Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Music

Just sitting around by myself on Christmas Eve missing Nova Scotia so I loaded up my collection of Stan Rogers and Matt Minglewood music in Winamp.

Somehow it helps.... of course it also makes me cry but hey .. isnt that what being away from home is for... making you appreciate it?

So without further ado .. here is Stan. If you are away from home for Christmas and this song doesn't make you cry then you have a heart of stone

And just to be complete ... here is one of Matt's most (to me) tear jerking songs

So to all of you that are away from home this holiday season or if you have loved ones that are away ...these songs are for you. Go ahead and have a good cry ... it is good for you :-)

Merry Christmas from my cats and I.

I have no words ...

Via comes a bit of stupidity from Dennis Prager that basically says that a wife should never "say no" to sex with her husband. It will come as no surprise to most that, as Jesse reports ...
Dennis Prager is divorced.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Commercial Real Estate walkaways

Calculated Risk: CRE Owner "Walking Away"
As I've noted before, CRE owners are much more willing to just walk away than residential owners.
I think that this is a huge problem awaiting us in 2009/2010. The company that I work for just sold off 3 buildings for about $26 million and leased 2 of them back. It will be interesting to see how long the 3rd building will stay empty.


U.S. Says It Will Bail Out Christmas -
With the government on the brink of rescuing the U.S. auto industry, we have learned that the Treasury Department is drawing up plans to bail out Christmas. "We have reason to believe," said a person close to the matter, "that without an immediate capital injection, Santa Claus will fail before December 24." Mr. Claus could not be reached for comment.

The sad thing about this is that judging from the empty malls this is not too far from reality.

(h/t to angry bear)

Friday, December 19, 2008

It isnt everyday I agree with Megan McArdle

Sheer genius - Megan McArdle
Credit Suisse is paying its top executives in illiquid mortgage-backed securities. I've no doubt that someone, somewhere, will find a way to complain that it's not fair, but it strikes me as a very good idea. If the things really are any good, they make money; if not, they take a bath along with the rest of us.

But I have to agree that this is just fucking brilliant.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thus speaks Ed Brayton

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Malkin on Obama's Birth Certificate
When Michelle Malkin is the voice of reason talking you down, you are so far out on the lunatic fringe that you've built a condo out there.
Kind of sums things up for me

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Democracy in action?

via Eschaton
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a rare suspension of Parliament on Thursday, managing to avoid being ousted by opposition parties angry over the minority Conservative government's economic plans and an attempt to cut off party financing.

Governor General Michaelle Jean -- the representative of Queen Elizabeth, Canada's head of state -- agreed to Harper's request to shut down Parliament until Jan 26. Parliament was reconvened just weeks ago after the October 14 election.

Harper's request for suspension was unprecedented. No prime minister had asked for Parliament to be suspended to avoid a confidence vote in the House of Commons.
Bush must envy Harper about now.

On a more serious note, it shows what a gutless coward the GG of Canada is. Anyone that wants to see how a real GG acts should read up on the King-Byng Affair

numbers numbers numbers

533K jobs lost in November. Unemployment up to 6.7%.

...even worse. October numbers revised downwards to -320K down from -240K. September numbers revised downwards to -403K from -159K.

So by my math that is 403,000 + 320,000 + 533,000 =1,256,000 job losses in the last 3 months. Pretty impressive failure even by Bush administration standards.

Atrios saith ...

But I've long though that Bush was the type of person who who would pour a can of gasoline and flick a match at it on his last walk out of the White House.
I find it very hard to disagree with this assessment.

Astonishing self justifications from AIG

Daily Kos: AIG 'retention' and 'cash awards' draw ire, explanations

The blockquoted stuff is a combination of dailykos and this bloomberg article. My comments are interspersed, I am sure that you will be able to figure them out.
In response to Cummings' letter, AIG's Liddy responded with a letter of his own (full PDF available). Broken down point by point, the AIG's justifications and details for "retention" and "cash awards" are as follows:

1. Because part of the plan is to repay taxpayers by selling some of the individual businesses under the AIG umbrella, "key employees" must be retained to ensure higher value and thus a higher selling price. Competitors are circling to "siphon off" talent.
We would be doing a disservice to the taxpayer – and would place AIG’s asset divestiture plan at risk – if we did not act decisively to ensure that our key employees remain with the company. Our competitors understand how valuable our top executives are, and we are acutely aware that they would like to siphon off our most talented leaders. Additionally, the leadership of our key employees is an important component of the value of the business we are selling. To allow our competitors to more easily recruit our best people would result in significantly less proceeds from asset sales, and less money available to repay our obligations to the government.
The value of the top leaders in AIG is in their ability to extort money from the American taxpayer. I always thought that it would be the basis for a RICO indictment rather than a reason to retain these boobs.

2. If we lose our "key employees," our credit ratings will suffer, which will ultimately affect our ability to repay taxpayers.
A key to the successful execution of our restructuring plan is the maintenance of our current credit ratings. While many of our ratings were recently affirmed, most of them remain on "watch." According to S&P: "The ratings on AIG and its property/casualty subsidiaries remain on CreditWatch with negative implications. We expect to resolve the CreditWatch status of these ratings in 2009, when we will likely get a better picture of the company’s efforts to price and retain its business. Standard & Poor’s expects some loss of business lines and personnel. If those losses are significant and threaten future business prospects, we could lower the ratings further. However, if such potential declines were modest, we could affirm the ratings." AIG’s credit rating, and therefore our ability to repay the taxpayers, is inextricably linked to our success in retaining critical employees.
See point #1. The ratings agencies are complicit in the shitpile coming about in the first fucking place so in my eyes you have more evidence of a conspiracy to commit fraud... RICO strikes again.

3. Reinsurers are requiring us to retain "critical employees" and will cancel our contracts if they leave.
Recently, some reinsurers have begun requesting provisions which would allow them to cancel reinsurance contracts upon the departure of critical AIG employees. Having appropriate reinsurance coverage in place is essential to the risk control for AIG’s operations. Without appropriate reinsurance cover, the magnitude of losses on catastrophic events would seriously injure the financial strength of the company. In addition, AIG plays a vital role in providing risk coverage to many institutions around the world. AIG’s risk appetite would be severely impacted without appropriate reinsurance.
Then let's have a list of the reinsurers that are making these demands, a list of the key employees that they think need to be retained and a detailed explanation of why each of the employees should be retained.
4. AIG filed specifics on the payments with the SEC, and here are some of the details::
Directors approved retention payments for 168 employees – which included approximately 130 employees, plus an additional 38 who were subsequently added based on authority granted by the Committee. These individuals were selected to participate based on their individual performance, the importance of their position to the organization, key client relationships that are crucial to retaining our client base, potential for organizational advancement, degree of position difficulty, degree of flight risk, and their ability to recruit others if they were to depart.

Specifically, 13 of the employees who are receiving retention payments have agreed to delay receipt of the first part of this payment until April of 2009. These 13 individuals are executive officers of the company. The agreement by these 13 executives was an important element in the Treasury Department’s latest agreement with AIG. The timetable for these payments is designed to keep our employees onboard during this critical period.

The base salaries for those involved in these retention payments range from $160,000 per year to $1,000,000 per year, and the retention awards range from $92,500 to $4,000,000. These retention payments will be made in two installments over a 12 month period.
Then let's see the list and the details of the payments and the exact reasoning for each person being on the list. I am too pissed to go look at the edgar site to see if i can find this but if anyone has a link I will be happy to post it.
5. The employees who qualified for these payments are highly specialized and cannot easily be replaced.
These employees are highly specialized and/or are part of businesses that control billions of dollars of revenue and value that will be needed to repay the U.S. taxpayer. Their years of experience with the company and understanding of the vast marketplace makes them critical to our success going forward. In fact, AIG’s compensation levels for key positions are already below companies of smaller size and less complexity.
Considering this group just fucked away somewhere between 100 and 200 billion dollars I think that a trained chimp would be unlikely to perform worse. Even better ... my salary is less than anyone on the list. I hereby volunteer to take the place of anyone on the list for the lowest salary on the list and a bonus upon successful completion of one year service (meaning I am not fired for being completely useless) of $200,000. Yes, I am serious!
6. The top executives are sacrificing. Here are the details:
I [CEO Liddy] will receive an annual base salary of $1 for 2008 and 2009. My basic compensation will consist entirely of equity grants and I will not receive an annual bonus in those years, although I will be eligible for a special bonus for extraordinary performance payable in 2010. I am also not eligible for severance payments.

Paula Rosput Reynolds, Vice Chairman and Chief Restructuring Officer, who joined AIG in October, will receive no salary or bonus in 2008. In 2009 and beyond, other than her base salary, any other compensation she receives will be tied directly to the progress of the restructuring efforts.

The other five members of AIG’s top-seven-officer Leadership Group will not receive annual bonuses for 2008 or salary increases through 2009. Executive Vice President of Retirement Services Jay Wintrob and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David Herzog are included in this group. Also, David Herzog did not accept a raise when he became the company’s Chief Financial Officer. In addition, this group has agreed to defer retention payments that were due to them in December, and they also agreed that they would not be eligible for both unpaid retention and severance payments. The Leadership Group, and an additional 10 executive officers, have also agreed to defer their retention payments due to them in December 2008 and also agreed they would not be eligible for both unpaid retention and severance payments.

There will be no salary increases through 2009 for approximately 40 other top executives who are part of this retention pool.

These are the same terms (except for the $1 salary bit) that applies to every current employee of my company and we only lost $5,000,000 last quarter .. not hundreds of billions.

so ... cry me a fucking river that they are sacrificing anything.

The self justification of the financial ruling class in this country is beyond parody. How the fuck could someone sane come up with the load of steaming horseshit and think that anyone was going to take them seriously. Which actually leads me into a theory that I have had for a while about CEOs of major corporations. I think that you have to be a sociopath to do the job. No, seriously I do.

I am not talking about the companies that are worth a few hundred million dollars and employ a couple of thousand people. I mean the giant companies .. the ones with market caps in the tens of billions of dollars. This is the only explanation I can come up with for the constant flow of bullshit that there is only a limited number of people that can do the jobs. Well, there really arent that many sociopaths in the country now are there .... hmmmmmm

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tanta:The Compleat UberNerd

Calculated Risk: The Compleat UberNerd

This is some of the best writing on mortgage finance that you will ever read. So go read it.


naked capitalism: AIG Plans to Pay Retention Bonuses to Executives
How can you give cash compensation to an executive, yet claim it is not a salary or bonus? You call it a "retention bonus," No, I am not making this up.

Note that AIG chose to make this disclosure the day before Thanksgiving, clearly choosing a time when it would attract the least notice. Not that it really matters. The talk about restricting executive compensation to bailout recipients has been just that, talk.

Maybe I am getting cynical but this really didnt shock me in the slightest.

RIP Tanta

Calculated Risk: Sad News: Tanta Passes Away
This is a very sad day and I know many of you are in shock. Tanta was our teacher. She generously shared her knowledge with all of us. I doubt she knew how many lives she touched; her insights, spirit and passion lives on in her writings – and in all of you.

This blogosphere thing sure is strange. I only knew Tanta from her writings but hearing tonight that she is gone made me cry.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Night Cat Blogging

One of my cats was an honest to FSM show kitten. Her full designation is CH Verismo Miss Dexter (search down the page for her name and some very cute pics) which means that yes ... she was a champion.

This does not mean that she is a smart cat ...

Last night she spent 20 minutes watching the drain in my kitchen sink intrigued by the noises that were coming from it due to the fact that my dishwasher was running. Then she spent a further 20 minutes watching the drain after the dishwasher finished ... apparently waiting for  something else to happen.

And yes, as a friend of mine pointed out ... I sat there and watched her the whole time.

hmmmm ... maybe I am not that bright either

Copyright on the above picture belongs to Susan Odom, proprietor of Verismo Cat ... In my opinion the breeder of the most gorgeous Maine Coon Cats on the planet... of course the fact that I own 3 of her cats doesnt colour my opinion at all. I highly recommend Maine Coons as pets and while I don't think that Susan has any kittens at the moment, it is well worth getting on her mailing list as she has great contacts with some other breeders.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

David Brooks, still an idiot

In this piece of shit of a column in Friday's NYTimes. David Brooks deposits the following turd on the public porch.
They will actually believe in that stuff Obama says about postpartisan politics. That means there won’t just be a few token liberal Republicans in marginal jobs. There will be people like Robert Gates at Defense and Ray LaHood, Stuart Butler, Diane Ravitch, Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Jim Talent at other important jobs.

The Obama administration of my dreams will insist that Congressional Democrats reinstate bipartisan conference committees. They’ll invite G.O.P. leaders to the White House for real meetings and then re-invite them, even if they give hostile press conferences on the White House driveway.

In other words he wants Obama to be a moderate Republican. To which I have only two words to offer.

Fuck You

Yes, thank you. I do feel better now.

h/t to Digby

Someone is confused about how gene expression works.

Christian forum - Scared to death.
I would explain a little science. (very general mind you)

Some of who we are comes from Genes and heredity. However some genes develop from memories. People who have negative memories when they are younger of abusive fathers are more likely to turn gay as these genes are turned on by bad memories. People who associate with chronic liars are exposed to lieing and genes may turn on to make them prone to lieing. In the same way if a person is loved they will develop memory Genes that will develop and make them prone to be a loving person.

I would like to suggest that the author of this comment please take a peek at this site before they share any more of their scientific wisdom with the world.

Logical Fallacies ... a sure to be continuing series

STR † THE FREEDOM BLOG » Why do Atheists Hate Jesus?
Hallquist claims that he is using “Logic” and “Science” to disprove God’s inerrant book, The Holy Bible, however where does he think that Logic comes from? Logic and reason only exist because they are gifts from God, and any attempt to rationalize a universe which is not ordained by Jesus is ultimately self-defeating: It says so in the Bible.
This is what we call circular reasoning. Something is true because well .. it says that it is true. If this kind of thinking doesn't make your head hurt then i suggest that you try reading this book

Best Invention Ever

I give you The Surger

Who would have thought

That drinking 10 of these in an evening would give one only a slight hangover. And low calorie too...

Neat Little Chip

Propeller General Information
The Propeller chip makes it easy to rapidly develop embedded applications. Its eight processors (cogs) can operate simultaneously, either independently or cooperatively, sharing common resources through a central hub. The developer has full control over how and when each cog is employed; there is no compiler-driven or operating system-driven splitting of tasks among multiple cogs. A shared system clock keeps each cog on the same time reference, allowing for true deterministic timing and synchronization. Two programming languages are available: the easy-to-learn high-level Spin, and Propeller Assembly which can execute at up to 160 MIPS (20 MIPS per cog).
The Propeller is a good choice over other microcontrollers when a low system part count is desirable due to its ability to provide direct video output and an easy interface to external peripherals such as keyboard, mouse and VGA monitor. Pre-written objects to support many types of hardware also make it an attractive option. All of this plus low cost and a powerful, yet easy language are hard to beat in a world where microcontrollers come in so many flavors that it’s hard to make a choice. The Propeller really is an easy choice.

I think that I am going to have to get one of these critters and see what I can do with it.

Performance Reviews are useless

Get Rid of the Performance Review! -
It destroys morale, kills teamwork and hurts the bottom line. And that's just for starters.

And that is just the beginning line.

I have always had a hard time with performance reviews, having been on both sides of the table in them. This article really does a good job of talking to what a lot of my problems with the concept are. Go read it.

A Personal Note

My company was forced to lay off a lot of good people yesterday. Fortunately I was not one of them.

I do have this to say to the assholes that fucked up the credit markets and are responsible for the economic conditions that made this necessary.


yes, I do feel better now as a matter of fact.

Headline of the day...

Bill Salus
Israel Destroys Damascus, Then Russia Invades
At least in the fantasy world that the folks at Rapture Ready inhabit. In our world that seems a bit unlikely.

More comedy Gold from Wingnut Daily

I'm changing as fast as I can!
# Prepare to hunker down. Interpret this as you will.
just make sure that you change your sheets after you wet the bed
# If you have any, hide your money – otherwise it will be spread around. The best way to spread your own wealth on your own terms is to hire people to work for you. But of course, you knew that already.
As opposed to it being spread around right now to bail out the bullshit artists on Wall Street?
# Take your kids out of public school. Schools are going to become nothing but Marxist pressure cookers. They're already socialist indoctrination centers. Have you any idea what they're teaching in kindergarten these days, much less high school? Better find out.
I actually agree with the last sentences here ... if you are a parent it is your responsibility to find out what and how your kids are being taught. Oddly though I do not think that we have to worry about the hammer and sickle flying over our schools anytime soon.
# If you're Joe the Plumber, hide. Quickly. Otherwise your life for the next four years will be a living hell. Obama supporters have demonstrated they like to retaliate, so you're not safe.
This guy's 15 mins of fame are over.. no one cares.
# Buy guns and ammunition. Especially ammunition. The tools necessary for self-defense and to keep our government under at least a modicum of control are going to quickly become unavailable. Perhaps not banned outright – that would cause riots – but the taxes on these tools of self-reliance will be raised so high that the effect will be the same.
I don't know about you but this sounds a lot like a call to armed insurrection and if I recall correctly that is sedition and if I recall correctly that is a capital crime... Just saying ...
# Don't surrender to guilt. Opposing the new world order coming your way is not selfish. The "best interests of all" are code words for state slavery. "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" is the death of liberty and the definition of Marxism. Duh.
I would refer readers to this post instead. wow that Jesus guy was a communist .. who knew?
# Stockpile some resources, because it's only a matter of time before our terrorist enemies (who are delighted with the outcome of the election) will launch something nasty our way. Terrorists love weak or untried rulers because they prefer to strike vulnerable targets. We just bared our throats.
Oh, you mean like when Bush 43 came into office?
# Move. Whatever your political affiliation, it's always best to live in a place with like-minded people. (Idaho might be worth considering.) Just make sure the place you move to has people whose concepts of liberty agree with yours.
Segregate the wingnuts .. that isnt a bad idea. I suggest alaska though ... lots of good land up there.. good hunting ... a governor that thinks that they are just swell.. you betcha!
# Start looking for other news sources, because it's very likely that your favorite conservative radio talk-show host will go out of business once the (ahem) "Fairness" Doctrine gets re-implemented.
obviously someone that misunderstands the Fairness Doctrine. Oh, right .. because they get their news from conservative radio talk show hosts.... Hmmm .. maybe this is a good idea too. No telling what will happen if they actually get the news unfiltered by Limbaugh and Hannity's BS.
# Buy light bulbs. There is no possible way our new green president will lift the absurd imminent ban on incandescent light bulbs. Unless you want your home to look like the inside of a train station lavatory in 2012, you'd better stock up on incandescents while you can. (Obviously lights bulbs are a metaphor for all the "for your own good" changes that will be shoved upon us.)
FUnny, all my lights are either LED or compact flourescent and my place looks just fine. But go ahead .. stock up on those incandescents... it will keep you from spending money on bullets because your power bills will be higher than mine.
# Go to church. All the morals and values that we once cherished in this country – traditional marriage, sanctity of life, family values – are going to become so condemned that churches will be our only sanctuaries.
I am an atheist ... many of my friends are too .. Obama .. not so much. If you are going to go to church though, might I suggest that this one is more your speed?
# Strengthen your family, your community, your state. Obama has said that an economy is built from the bottom up. In that he is entirely wrong (poor people don't hire – only rich people do that). But liberty most certainly IS built from the bottom up. Start by strengthening yourself. Next, your family. Support your neighbors. Build your community. Get involved with your state. The days of sitting on your hands must be over.
Actually no, rich people dont hire either. Moderately successful small businesses are actually the engine of the economy. The folks that run these businesses are, in general, shopkeepers and tradesmen and the like that have scraped together some cash to go out on their own. THey hire a couple of people and make a comfortable but not lavish living.
# Find another job. Or preferably, several. Don't give up your current job, of course, but as the economy continues to nosedive, it is best to cultivate your marketable skills and diversify your income sources. The more income irons you have in the fire, the better.
This is actually sound advice at any time. Although i think that you have to balance your work and home life. Work isnt an end in itself. It is a means to an end.
# Never never never never trust that the upcoming administration will do anything in your best interest. If the government offers you something that seems too good to be true, assume that it is. Education, medical care, housing and other benefits are never free – they cost something down the line. And the cost is always freedom. Take warning.
Don't forget roads, fire departments, police, sewers, rural electrification, the internet, safe food.... all horrible things too ...

The stupid is burning bright

More Prop Hate stupidity from LDS church

Same-sex marriage rowdies single out Mormons
Jean, whose Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center organized the rally outside the temple, now says she plans to continue protesting the Mormon church's involvement.

During the rally she announced plans for a new website to raise funds for advocating same-sex marriage in California. For every $5 donated, Jean said, her organization will send a postcard to LDS President Thomas S. Monson condemning "the reprehensible role the Church of Latter-day Saints leadership played in denying all Californians equal rights under the law."

LDS officials yesterday issued a statement asking for "a spirit of mutual respect and civility."

"The church acknowledges that such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life – family and marriage – stirs fervent and deep feelings," church spokeswoman Kim Farah wrote in an e-mail to the Times. "No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information."

Ya know ... one quick cure for churches getting involved in stuff like this would be to take away their tax exempt status .... just thinking out loud of course.

news flash from worldnut daily

Obama and our coming constitutional crisis
# The allegation that Obama was born in Kenya to parents unable to automatically grant him American citizenship;

# The allegation that Obama was made a citizen of Indonesia as a child and that he retained foreign citizenship into adulthood without recording an oath of allegiance to regain any theoretical American citizenship;

# The allegation that Obama's birth certificate was a forgery and that he may not be an eligible, natural-born citizen;

# The allegation that Obama was not born an American citizen; lost any hypothetical American citizenship he had as a child; that Obama may not now be an American citizen and even if he is, may hold dual citizenships with other countries. If any, much less all, of these allegations are true, the suit claims, Obama cannot constitutionally serve as president.

# The allegations that "Obama's grandmother on his father's side, half brother and half sister claim Obama was born in Kenya," the suit states."Reports reflect Obama's mother went to Kenya during her pregnancy; however, she was prevented from boarding a flight from Kenya to Hawaii at her late stage of pregnancy, which apparently was a normal restriction to avoid births during a flight. Stanley Ann Dunham (Obama) gave birth to Obama in Kenya, after which she flew to Hawaii and registered Obama's birth."

# The claim could not be verified by WND inquiries to Hawaiian hospitals, since state law bars the hospitals from releasing medical records to the public;

# Even if Obama produced authenticated proof of his birth in Hawaii, however, the suit claims that the U.S. Nationality Act of 1940 provided that minors lose their American citizenship when their parents expatriate. Since Obama's mother married an Indonesian citizen and moved to Indonesia, the suit claims, she forfeited both her and Barack's American citizenship.

How about giving this bullshit a fucking rest.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Stevens WON???

According to CNN and everywhere else I look. Ted Stevens managed to hold his Senate seat despite being a convicted fucking felon.

SOrry people of Alaska but you just proved that you are fucking insane.

I will never again dream of that Alaskan cruise because you people do not deserve my money.

What the fuck were you thinking?

Text of President-elect Barack Obama's speech

Swiped from Daily Kos just because it was the first place I saw it.
Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama—as prepared for delivery
Election Night
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Chicago, Illinois

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.



I am sitting here in my living room still crying like a little kid after having watched Obama's speech.

My daughter called me tonight and was excited that this was looking like it was really going to happen. She is 13 years old and lives in Canada and she knew how important this was.

My ex-wife called me this afternoon at my office and asked me if I thought that this could really happen. I told her that one way or another we would know something about the country.  Damn I am glad that this is the thing that we learned.

My cats ... were pissed about the puppy.  Oh well, can't please everyone.

I am so proud of my adopted country tonight that I can barely stand it!

Well done America.

President Obama

Just wanted to write that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leave it all on the road

Darcy Burner: Leave it All on the Road

Let there be no doubt .. this is important... vote!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The allure of white supremacy

I am going to apologize in advance for the link that you see here and I really don't want folks to follow it unless they know what is on the other side.

I have linked to a white power site to show how people can be sucked into a movement by selectively being told things. The link is to a document by the late and unlamented David Lane describing his so called 88 Precepts. These are some of them...
3. God and religion are distinct, separate and often conflicting concepts. Nature evidences the divine plan, for the natural world is the work of the force or the intelligence men call God. Religion is the creation of mortals, therefore predestined to fallibility. Religion may preserve or destroy a People, depending on the structure given by its progenitors, the motives of its agents and the vagaries of historical circumstances.

4. The truest form of prayer is communion with Nature. It is not vocal. Go to a lonely spot, if possible a mountaintop, on a clear, star-lit night, ponder the majesty and order of the infinite macrocosm. Then consider the intricacies of the equally infinite microcosm. Understand that you are on the one hand inconsequential beyond comprehension in the size of things, and on the other hand, you are potentially valuable beyond comprehension as a link in destiny�s chain. There you begin to understand how pride and self can co-exist with respect and reverence. There we find harmony with Nature and with harmony comes strength, peace and certainty.

8. What men call the �super natural� is actually the �natural� not yet understood or revealed.

10. If a Nation is devoid of spiritual health and moral character, then government and unprincipled men will fill the vacancy. Therefore, freedom prospers in moral values and tyranny thrives in moral decay.

12. Truth does not fear investigation.

13. Unfounded belief is pitfall. A People who do not check the validity and effect of their beliefs with reason will suffer or perish.

15. No greater motivating force exists than the certain conviction that one is right.

17. Discernment includes the ability to recognize the difference between belief and demonstrable reality.

42. The Nations� leaders are not rulers, they are servants and guardians. They are not to serve for personal gain. Choose only a guardian who has no interest in the accumulation of material things.

46. In a democracy those who control the media, and thus the minds of the electorate, have power undreamed by kings or dictators.

51. A power system will do anything, no matter how corrupt or brutal, to preserve itself.

53. Those who commit treason disguise their deeds in proclamations of patriotism.

54. Propaganda is major component in all power systems, both secular and religious; false propaganda is a major component of unprincipled power systems. All power systems endeavor to convince their subjects that the system is good, just, beneficent and noble, as well as worthy of perpetuation and defense. The more jingoistic propaganda issued, the more suspicious one should be of its truth.

56. A power system, secular or religious, which employs extensive calls to patriotism or requires verbosity and rhetoric for its preservation, is masking tyranny.

69. Tyrannies are usually built step by step and disguised by noble rhetoric.

70. The difference between a terrorist and a patriot is control of the press.

82. Respect must be earned; it cannot be demanded or assumed.

Now, I have quoted roughly 20% of the 88 Precepts and I will say that I really don't have a lot of issue with the ones listed here. There are several others that arent terribly radical but that I don't necessarily buy into. Such as:

11. Truth requires little explanation. Therefore, beware of verbose doctrines. The great principles are revealed in brevity.

19. A people who are not convinced of their uniqueness and value will perish.

36. Sexual pornography degrades the Nature of all who are involved. A beautiful nude woman is art; a camera between her knees to explore her private parts is pornography.

38. In a sick and dying nation, culture, race or civilization, political dissent and traditional values will be labeled and persecuted as heinous crimes by inquisitors clothing themselves in jingoistic patriotism.

39. A People who are ignorant of their past will defile the present and destroy the future.

44. No government can give anything to anybody without first taking it from another. Government is, by its very nature, legalized taking. A limited amount of government is a necessary burden for national defense and internal order. Anything more is counterproductive to freedom and liberty.

55. Political power, in the final analysis, is created and maintained by force.

57. Propaganda is a legitimate and necessary weapon in any struggle. The elements of successful propaganda are: simplicity, emotion, repetition, and brevity. Also, since men believe what they want to believe, and since they want to believe that which they perceive as beneficial to themselves, then successful propaganda must appeal to the perceived selfinterest of those to whom it is disseminated.

58. Tyrannies teach what to think; free men learn how to think.

60. The patriot, being led to the inquisition�s dungeons or the executioner�s axe, will be condemned the loudest by his former friends and allies; for thus they seek to escape the same fate.

61. The sweet goddess of Peace lives only under the protective arm of the ready God of War.

64. Just Laws require little explanation. Their meaning is irrevocable in simplicity and specificity.

65. Men�s emotions are stirred far more effectively by the spoken word than by the written word. This is why a ruling tyranny will react more violently to gatherings of dissenters than to books or pamphlets.

66. The organic founding Law of the Nation, or any law, is exactly as pertinent as the will and power to enforce it.

68. Some say the pen is more powerful than the sword. Perhaps so. Yet, the pen without the sword has no authority.

74. Materialism ultimately leads to conspicuous, unnecessary consumption, which in turn leads to the rape of Nature and destruction of the environment. It is unnatural. The true guardians of the Nation must be wholly untainted by materialism.

75. The function of a merchant or salesman is to provide a method of exchange. A merchant who promotes unnecessary consumption and materialism must not be tolerated.

77. A nation with an aristocracy of money, lawyers or merchants will become a tyranny.

80. Wealth gained without sacrifices or honest labor will usually be misused.

81. Nothing in Nature is static; either the life force grows and expands or it decays and dies.

83. Avoid a vexatious man, for his venom will poison your own nature.

84. Self discipline is a mark of higher man.

85. One measure of a man is cheerfulness in adversity.

86. A fool judges others by their words. A wise man judges others by their actions and accomplishments.

Now, the careful reader will notice that I have now quoted roughly half of the 88 Precepts and while there are some things that sound a little over the top there is nothing that could really be described as weird or very far out of the mainstream. Certainly nothing that most non-religious libertarians wouldn't nod their heads in agreement with.

The careful reader will also have noted that there are huge gaps in my quoting .. that is because there are such things as this in it ...
20. The White race has suffered invasions and brutality from Africa and Asia for thousands of years. For example, Attila and the Asiatic Huns who invaded Europe in the 5th century, raping, plundering and killing from the Alps to the Baltic and the Caspian Seas. This scenario was repeated by the Mongols of Genghis Khan 800 years later. (Note here that the American Indians are not �Native Americans,� but are racially Mongolians.) In the 8th century, hundreds of years before Negroes were brought to America, the North African Moors of mixed racial background invaded and conquered Portugal, Spain and part of France. So, the attempted guilt-trip placed on the White race by civilization�s executioners is invalid under both historical circumstance and the Natural Law which denies inter-specie compassion. The fact is, all races have benefited immeasurably from the creative genius of the Aryan People.

21. People who allow others not of their race to live among them will perish, because the inevitable result of a racial integration is racial inter-breeding which destroys the characteristics and existence of a race. Forced integration is deliberate and malicious genocide, particularly for a People like the White race, who are now a small minority in the world.

22. In the final analysis, a race or specie is not judged superior or inferior by its accomplishments, but by its will and ability to survive.

23. Political, economic, and religious systems may be destroyed and resurrected by men, but the death of a race is eternal.

24. No race of People can indefinitely continue their existence without territorial imperatives in which to propagate, protect, and promote their own kind.

25. A People without a culture exclusively their own will perish.

26. Nature has put a certain antipathy between races and species to preserve the individuality and existence of each. Violation of the territorial imperative necessary to preserve that antipathy leads to either conflict or mongrelization.

27. It is not constructive to hate those of other races, or even those of mixed races. But a separation must be maintained for the survival of one�s own race. One must, however, hate with a pure and perfect hatred those of one�s own race who commit treason against one�s own kind and against the nations of one�s own kind. One must hate with perfect hatred all those People or practices which destroy one�s People, one�s culture, or the racial exclusiveness of one�s territorial imperative.

28. The concept of a multi-racial society violates every Natural Law for specie preservation.

29. The concept of �equality� is declared a lie by every evidence of Nature. It is a search for the lowest common denominator, and its pursuit will destroy every superior race, nation, or culture. In order for a plow horse to run as fast as a race horse you would first have to cripple the race horse; conversely, in order for a race horse to pull as much as a plow horse, you would first have to cripple the plow horse. In either case, the pursuit of equality is the destruction of excellence.

30. The instincts for racial and specie preservation are ordained by Nature.

31. Instincts are Nature�s perfect mechanism for the survival of each race and specie. The human weakness of rationalizing situations for self-gratification must not be permitted to interfere with these instincts.

32. Miscegenation, that is race-mixing, is and has always been, the greatest threat to the survival of the Aryan race.

33. Inter-specie compassion is contrary to the Laws of Nature and is, therefore, suicidal. If a wolf were to intercede to save a lamb from a lion, he would be killed. Today, we see the White man taxed so heavily that he cannot afford children. The taxes raised are then used to support the breeding of tens of millions of non-whites, many of whom then demand the last White females for breeding partners. As you can see, man is subject to all the Laws of Nature. This has nothing to do with morality, hatred, good or evil. Nature does not recognize the concepts of good and evil in inter-specie relationships. If the lion eats the lamb, it is good for the lion and evil for the lamb. If the lamb escapes and the lion starves, it is good for the lamb and evil for the lion. So, we see the same incident is labeled both good and evil. This cannot be, for there are no contradictions within Nature�s Laws.

34. The instinct for sexual union is part of Nature�s perfect mechanism for specie preservation. It begins early in life and often continues until late in life. It must not be repressed; its purpose, reproduction, must not be thwarted either. Understand that for thousands of years our females bore children at an early age. Now, in an attempt to conform to and compete in an alien culture, they deny their Nature-ordained instincts and duties. Teach responsibility, but, also, have understanding. The life of a race springs from the wombs of its women. He who would judge must first understand the difference between what is good and what is right.

35. Homosexuality is a crime against Nature. All Nature declares the purpose of the instinct for sexual union is reproduction and thus, preservations of the specie. The overpowering male sex drive must be channeled toward possession of females, as well as elements such as territory and power, which are necessary to keep them.

37. That race whose males will not fight to death to keep and mate with their females will perish. Any White man with healthy instincts feels disgust and revulsion when he sees a woman of his race with a man of another race. Those, who today control the media and affairs of the Western World, teach that this is wrong and shameful. They label it �racism.� As any �ism,� for instance the word �nationalism,� means to promote one�s own nation; �racism� merely means to promote and protect the life of one�s own race. It is, perhaps, the proudest word in existence. Any man who disobey these instincts is anti-Nature.

40. A race must honor above all earthly things, those who have given their lives or freedom for the preservation of the folk.

41. The folk, namely the members of the race, are the Nation. Racial loyalties must always supersede geographical and national boundaries. If this is taught and understood, it will end fratricidal wars. Wars must not be fought for the benefit of another race.

I could go on but I am getting a bit queasy re-reading this document.

"So Rob, what is your point."

My point is to be aware that people that believe this kind of horseshit are out there and they are going to sound very reasonable most of the time. They use code words and dogwhistles to communicate their message. They use phrases like "14-88", or "fourteen words" or "the 88 Precepts" or "states rights" as kind of a secret handshake into their strange little reality. If you hear people talking like this know them for what they are. And if they are charismatic and charming and personable do not fear them but call them out publicly and loudly for the scumbags that they really are.

We are going to see and hear more of this kind of stuff over the next few years as we (hopefully) have our first President that has more melanin in his skin than I do and it is up to all of us to be aware of it and to not put up with it. I have thrown people out of my house for being racist scumbags and I am sure I will have to do it again some day. I do not fear it. I do not think it makes me rude. I do not think it makes me shrill. I think it makes me a good person.

Here endeth the lesson for today boys and girls... and now i need a shower for some reason
h/t to the guardian

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The award for least analytical blog post of the year by a member of the corporate media goes to ...

Michael Scherer over at Time's Swampland.
He posted about 1500 words (i am guessing) that consisted nearly entirely of an internal email from the McCain campaign and his only analysis was
State polls are similarly showing no big movement, or confusing movement. But something could be starting. (A McCain insider assures me that key (unidentified) swing states are back to within 3 points, and closing.) After the jump, the full McInturff memo. Read it for what it says, and for what it fails to say.

I mean fuck... my cats could have typed that up

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Firedoglake » DiFi Plans Another Run for Governor
Neither Dianne Feinstein nor Richard Blum are listed among the contributors to the NO on Prop 8 campaign.

Apparently, She wants to be Governor of California but she is ok with taking away the rights of some of her consituents. She and her husband are worth hundreds of millions between the two of them and they cant cut a check for a few thousand bucks?


In short ...

Firedoglake » The Future Is China
China has the world's largest internet. Its number of patents is growing faster than any other nation, and Chinese love being engineers, unlike in the US, where being a lawyer or MBA or maybe a doctor is considered the route to a good life. This, again, is eerily similar to the period when America broke down the doors: engineers were worshiped, scientists were respected and everyone wanted to be an inventor. In the old days Chinese came to America to become scientists and engineers, then stayed. Now they come and go back, and meanwhile Chinese universities pump out huge classes of both as well.

We are fucked if we do not reverse this trend. I don't care if the US is #1 because #2 really isnt that bad a place to be... after all, you try harder. But for fuck's sake let's not let it keep sliding.

Tax Cuts

Now I know that it is tacky to talk about how much you make and all that but even in my tax bracket the WORST that I come out is dead even.

I got this little widget from here. (not sure if it is going to show up right though so if it doesnt just go to the site)