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Potpourri
Author: BobR    Date: 05/28/2008 12:27:24

After hearing the story on last night's Countdown, I was planning on writing about the McK-Street of Dreams, where it's All Lobbyists - All the Time. In case you missed that one, McCain's advisor on economic policy is Phill Gramm, who helped the mortgage companies create and then bail themselves out of the recent mortgage crisis:

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s national campaign general co-chair was being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy, federal records show.

“Countdown with Keith Olbermann” reported Tuesday night that lobbying disclosure forms, filed by the giant Swiss bank UBS, list McCain’s campaign co-chair, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, as a lobbyist dealing specifically with legislation regarding the mortgage crisis as recently as Dec. 31, 2007.

Gramm joined the bank in 2002 and had registered as a lobbyist by 2004. UBS filed paperwork deregistering Gramm on April 18 of this year. Gramm continues to serve as a UBS vice chairman.

News of Gramm’s involvement as a paid advocate for the banking industry, simultaneous with his unpaid work on McCain’s economic policies, comes as McCain’s campaign continues to reel from the purge of four other lobbyists. Two weeks ago, McCain banned lobbyists from advising him on the same subjects covered by their lobbying work.
....
When Gramm chaired the Senate Banking Committee, he wrote and passed deregulatory legislation in more than one industry, establishing himself as a pre-eminent foe of government regulation. McCain’s March 26 speech recommended further deregulation of the banking industry as his response to the mortgage crisis.
....
In 1999, Gramm successfully undid the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, removing the decades-old wall between commercial banking, which was heavily regulated, and investment banking, which was not. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act did not extend significant new regulation to investment banking.

This is huge. McCain has said that he knows little about the economy and his taking advice from this economic Typhoid Mary is proof of it...
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205 comments (Latest Comment: 05/29/2008 04:07:08 by livingonli)

Ask A Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/27/2008 10:31:12

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,896th day in Iraq.

We'll start as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the warron terra, courtesy of antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4083
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3944
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3622
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3224
Since Election (1/31/05): 2646

Other Coalition Troops: 312
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 507

I usually edit out the links to the casualty lists, but seeing that yesterday was Memorial Day,
you should go and take a look.
There have been 4,392 coalition deaths -- 4,080 Americans, two Australians, 176 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, one Czech, seven Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, four Georgians, one Hungarian, 33 Italians, one Kazakh, one Korean, three Latvian, 22 Poles, three Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians -- in the war in Iraq as of May 26, 2008, according to a CNN count. (Graphical breakdown of casualties). The list below is the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen whose deaths have been reported by their country's governments. The list also includes seven employees of the U.S. Defense Department. At least 30,112 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon.


We also find today's cost of war increasing at about $10,000 every 3 seconds.
As I write this, it's passing through $ 523, 132, 950, 000.00

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213 comments (Latest Comment: 05/28/2008 10:56:48 by Random)

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish
Author: m-hadley    Date: 05/26/2008 13:48:24

Cleaning House on Memorial Day Weekend.
Yesterday I was going through a box of old bills, letters, cards, solicitations from worthy organizations and wondering why in the hell I hung on to all of this crap for years and let it all sit in boxes in my "junk room" formerly known as my office, when I came across a pile of sheets from one of those daily calendars (you know the kind where each day gives you some pithy piece of information, you read it, then when the day is over, you tear it off and voila there is another page waiting for you to read and admire). Well, the calendar pages that I came across were from a George W. Bushisms calendar that one of my sisters had given me for ChrismaHannaKwansica year before last. I took a few moments to read through the pile of pages torn from the calendar, wondering why I had bothered to save them. Well, I promised Raine that I would attempt a blog post this morning (BTB, Raine, I hope that you are havng a great time with your friend, it sounds like you two are having a blast). So my point (and I do have one) is to share some of the more egregious (mis)statements made by the man who stole the white house in 2000 with the help of the Supreme Court. So without further ado - I give you some of the most ridiculous remarks to come out a president's mouth (with commentary, of course).
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70 comments (Latest Comment: 05/27/2008 03:47:15 by Random)

Memorial Day Open Thread
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/26/2008 13:32:22

Morning, folks!

Looks like we missed the 8:30 hard deck...

But it's OK. You know what to do! (and anyone with the power that may be so inclined, please feel free to expand this.)

REMEMBER.
3 comments (Latest Comment: 05/26/2008 13:36:04 by Random)

Remembering those that didn't serve.
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 05/25/2008 13:06:59

Its Memorial Day weekend and tomorrow is the official Holiday were we honor the fallen soldiers from every war. I thought perhaps I'd start a new tradition: calling out those that refused to serve!

Each of these people could have served, and by doing so, maybe, just maybe, might have saved the life of one that we'll be honoring tomorrow. No, I am saying that perhaps I'd rather them have taken the bullet; only that they might have been in a spot to see an IED or some cleverly hiding enemies.

But before I start my list of evildoers, I would also like to point out that last week, one who DID serve, John McCain, had the nerve to not show up in support of the GI Bill!
Despite the fact that the American Legion and the VFW
all support Jim Webb's bill, McCain seems to think he is more qualified then all these men and women who also served.

He used the opportunity to swipe back at our Democratic Nominee, Barack Obama, who criticized McCain when he didn't show up (was he too busy doing the Ellen Show that day?) saying that Obama "did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform..."

John McCain has an idiotic reason for not supporting it. One of his claims is that the bill might encourage "people not to choose to become noncommissioned officers."

His disdain for his fellow veterans is disturbing to say the least. Does he really think that people join the services only so they can have health insurance and money for college? Is this the reason that Gay people are fighting for the right to serve openly? Is he kidding?

Sure, there may be some who are influenced by these "perks", but he of all people should know the price one can pay by signing that piece of paper to volunteer.

The majority of our troops currently come from rural communities and are often lower middle class to poor. While I believe that some might join "for the money" - certainly all these men and women understand the consequences. And the military also knows this, in recruiting, they actively target this community.
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56 comments (Latest Comment: 05/26/2008 13:33:05 by TriSec)

Libertarian Saturday
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/24/2008 12:28:42

Good Morning!

Is everyone enjoying the convention weekend?

What??? You mean the Mainstream Media isn't giving a whit of coverage to the 2008 National Libertarian Convention???

Well, I guess it's up to the blogosphere again...


That's right folks, it's Convention weekend in Denver for the Libertarian Party. Unlike the big boys, this convention is attended by 'ordinary' people (I could have gone for less than $1,500 if I was so inclined), and there's a whole boatload of speeches, events, and entertainment...


The 2008 Libertarian National Convention is America's largest gathering of freedom minded people. This event is open to the public, more than 1,000 Delegates, and their families from all 50 states. This may be the defining moment of the twenty first century.

The 2008 Bi-Annual Convention & Exposition is where Libertarian delegates conference to select the presidential candidate, select the National Committee, perfect the Libertarian bylaws and platform, network, learn about campaign issues/trends, and find new ways to fight for freedom.

Enjoy four days of excitement, intrigue, and education at the glamorous Sheraton Hotel in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Take advantage of this fabulous event to network with other freedom loving people. Vendors, showcase your companies' products and services at the 2008 Libertarian Convention & Exposition. This may be the only exhibit hall sporting a Starbuck Coffee shop and dozens of scheduled demonstrations and lectures!



Since there's no real primary process, there's a whopping 14 candidates for President that need to be whittled down this weekend. Curiously, one of the qualifications is fundraising...you need to meet a minimum threshold to make the list, but it's tiny; something like $500,000 or so. I've read up on most of the candidates, and I rather like George Phillies. (It helps that he's a local guy, from Worcester!)

I know most of us here (including myself this year) are throwing all our efforts behind the big "D" to make sure the Republicans don't continue their ruinous regime....but you should at least check out some alternates. You never know...

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41 comments (Latest Comment: 05/25/2008 02:38:19 by livingonli)

RML (mfaye) Pinch Hits
Author: m-hadley    Date: 05/23/2008 13:04:39

Shillary Claims Sexism is the Reason for Her Campaign Failure...

First, I must thank Raine for pointing us to numerous clips of the now onerous Geraldine Ferraro - who I must confess was once a hero of mine - she is the reason I voted for the Mondale ticket, but now I have become so disgusted with her that I can't watch and/or listen to her rant about how sexist this campaign has become or always has been. Has it occurred to any of these feminists that it may not be Hillary's gender that sunk her campaign, rather it was the way that she ran her campaign (listening to Mark Penn, having no plan for the race after Super Tuesday, having her husband on the stump making race an issue when he should have known better, etc...)
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295 comments (Latest Comment: 05/24/2008 11:46:19 by m-hadley)

Friday sleep in
Author: BobR    Date: 05/23/2008 12:52:39

I totally forgot I had to write a blog today and overslept, and now I need to get to the doctor in five minutes.

Be back later - have fun...
8 comments (Latest Comment: 05/23/2008 13:16:27 by Raine)

This place is going to the dogs.
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 05/22/2008 12:01:40

Velveeta is up early today. Not an easy task after working late last night and drinking coffee until 9:00pm.

There are several things that most American households have as "ritual" in the morning and Velveeta is no exception:

    Making and pouring a cup of coffee,
    Getting the paper from the stoop (or up the road, in my case).
    Morning prayers and/or meditation.
    And taking the dog for a walk.


If you're not being forced to get up early, regardless of your physical state, to walk your dog(s) in the rain, snow,sleet, hail, fog, hurricane or during the rapture/Armageddon, then you are missing a one of the greatest experiences a human can have!
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243 comments (Latest Comment: 05/23/2008 12:52:23 by Scoopster)

The Passing of the Torch
Author: BobR    Date: 05/21/2008 12:34:01

race [reys]
–noun
1. a contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.
2. any contest or competition, esp. to achieve superiority: the arms race; the presidential race.
3. a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.


There were two big news stories yesterday: Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor, and Barack Obama clinched a majority of pledged delegates. These two huge threads in our national fabric are intertwined by more than their chronological proximity. They are connected in spirit by the progression of the hope of a better America.
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188 comments (Latest Comment: 05/22/2008 05:39:37 by Raine)

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