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A Toast
Author: BobR    Date: 01/14/2009 13:07:22

As we look down the ever diminishing remainder of the Bush Presidency, the tendency to look back becomes irresistible. But rather than focus strictly on the past, let's balance it with the promised change soon to come our way. Let's raise our glasses and toast the passing of the old ways and the impending arrival of the new ways:

Here's to all people being judged by the content of their character, instead of the color of their skin... or their political label... or their religious belief (or lack thereof)...
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163 comments (Latest Comment: 01/15/2009 05:10:21 by BobR)

Ask A Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 01/13/2009 11:33:13

Good Morning.

Today is our 2,127th day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning 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): 4226
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4087
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3765
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3368
Since Election (1/31/05): 2788

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq: 317
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 637
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 417
Contractor Deaths - Iraq: 445

We find this morning's Cost of War passing through:

$587, 859, 250, 000.00

Turning to our friends at IAVA, once again there is an action call for an investigation into the action of KBR in Iraq. Some Indiana guardsmen are concerned that they may have been exposed to toxic chemicals while protecting a KBR worksite in Iraq. Naturally the contractor is remaining mum.

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168 comments (Latest Comment: 01/14/2009 01:45:53 by Mondobubba)

Anticipation and Expectation
Author: Raine    Date: 01/12/2009 13:37:50

You know what eternity is? 8 days. Ask me again tomorrow and I will tell you -- 7 days. So much is going on right now that I don't know where to begin. Our President Elect will been given the keys to not just a a terrible economy, but a worsening foreign policy crisis since election day, (so long ago).
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141 comments (Latest Comment: 01/13/2009 05:19:39 by BobR)

The failed Presidency of Barack Obama
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 01/11/2009 14:45:14

Yes dear readers, I’ve said it. Barack Obama is a “miserable failure”. Elected way back in November of ’08 (I bet you can’t even remember what you had for breakfast on Nov. 4) his Presidency began to spiral out of control. We have the “Obama Recession” that is going to soon be the “Obama Depression” and of course we have political corruption on a scale we have not seen since, well, Bill Clinton!

We’ve heard Rush Limpbaugh speak of it on his radio show:

The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen. Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression. He hasn't even passed anything yet. The truth about this is, the markets work six to nine months ahead. Everybody in the market is trying to figure out where we're going to be six to nine months ahead. They're selling and they're getting out. That 4,000-point drop, that was also due to Obama.

And this was only on Nov. 6.
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19 comments (Latest Comment: 01/12/2009 04:44:50 by BobR)

Chavez and the Oil
Author: TriSec    Date: 01/10/2009 12:40:09

Good Morning!

It's another cold wintry day here in the Northeast. We're looking at another 7 inches of snowfall overnight, as a matter of fact. Fortunately, it's supposed to be the light, fluffy kind, instead of the freezing mush we got the last two storms, but we'll see.

Here in the TriSec compound, we're in an older apartment with drafty windows, and it often gets cool enough to put on a sweater downstairs. We've got forced-air heat, so most of it rises immediately upstairs, so it's like sleeping in a sauna.

But we're fortunate that we even have heat.

Every winter, thousands of families across the region wonder if they'll be able to survive the winter, and "food or fuel" is a very real choice for many in the deep winter.

It doesn't always have to be that way. Perhaps you remember 15 or more years ago now. Joseph Kennedy Jr., eldest son of former NY Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was up-and-coming in the Democratic party. He held Tip O'Neill's former seat in the House of Representatives, and was expected to run for governor in 1990 in this Commonwealth.

Well, he didn't. And for those of you outside New England, he's virtually disappeared since then.

For a long time now, Joe Kennedy has been running a charity called Citizen's Energy. Joe essentially shakes down the oil companies to get heating oil at a discounted rate, and in turn he sells it to the needy at under-market rates. By all local accounts, it's one of the best-run charities in this city, and fills a desparate need for many.

Which brings me to Hugo Chavez. President Chavez of Venezuela has, for many years now, been the largest supplier to Citizen's Energy. Chaves doesn't treat oil as a commodity to be bought and sold by the highest bidder....for Venezuela it's an asset that can be used to improve the living conditions of his citizens. If that means selling it to the highest bidder, Mr. Chaves will do it, but more often than not, he doesn't. Oil is heavily subsidized in Venezuela, and the people there pay far less than the going rate for their gas and oil.

Even though the price of oil has declined dramatically this year, there hasn't been any lessening of demand for help from the needy in this country. By a cruel twist of fate, many people who "locked in" heating oil prices back in August, anticipating a crushingly expensive winter are now stuck paying double or more what they would have if they went with the market rates. Of course, the greedy oil companies won't let them out of those price lockups; why would they when they're raking in free money?

In any case, the oil price sank so far that in late December it was announced that Citgo (the national oil company of Venezuela) was going to cut back it's donations of oil to the US; they simply couldn't afford to do it because of the price.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Chavez had reversed that decision; apparently the PR is too valuable to him, so he's back sending tankers to Boston and other cold cities of the Northeast to help American citizens.

But all this begs the question....if Citgo can cut into it's massive profits to help out ordinary Americans, where are Exxon/Mobil, Shell, Gulf, Amoco, and the rest of big oil?

[Time Magazine has an interesting article about that this week. I won't quote any of it here, but here is the link. It's worth a read, especially if you've had to turn down your heat to make it to the next oil delivery.]

18 comments (Latest Comment: 01/11/2009 03:47:50 by livingonli)

Getting Biblical
Author: BobR    Date: 01/09/2009 13:31:10

The escalation of violence and brutality in the Middle East is threatening to make an unstable region implode completely into an all-out shooting match. Jesus's footprints have become blast holes. In an area of the world that brought us the first civilizations and 3 major religions, the stupid brutality is hinting at an impending armageddon. We're at the point where it doesn't really matter who started what - it just needs to stop.

Despite the U.S. abstaining from a UN vote for a cease-fire, the UN has still voted for a resolution demanding Israel withdraw from Gaza immediately:
The UN Security Council voted to call for an "immediate, durable" ceasefire in the Gaza Strip leading to the "full withdrawal" of Israeli forces, but the United States abstained.

Fourteen of the council's 15 members voted in favor of the compromise resolution worked out in three days of intense bargaining involving several Arab foreign ministers, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

The text "stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza."

The fact that it required 3 days of intense bargaining for a resolution shows just how hard it will be to get anything done at all. Israel has always played the victim, a small country surrounded by hostile governments. Yet they make it very hard to feel sorry for them by their actions, when they've treated the Palestinian people like animals for years.
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151 comments (Latest Comment: 01/10/2009 03:52:29 by trojanrabbit)

Killing thrift, Choking Small Business
Author: Raine    Date: 01/08/2009 13:44:22

On Monday, Our Scoop asked us to sign a petition to help KEEP Handmade toys on American Shelves. I signed the petition. While I too was glad to see regulation placed BACK, it seemed as those a few provisions were a bit out of whack. Specifically this:
However, I am very concerned that the CPSIA's mandates for third party testing and labeling will have a dramatic and negative effect on small toy makers and in the USA, Canada, and Europe, whose toy safety record has always been exemplary. It will also devastate small manufacturers of children's clothes and other handmade goods for children.

Because of the fees charged by Third Party testing companies, many manufacturers, especially makers of beautiful wooden toys and unique children's clothes from Maine to Oregon will be driven out of business. Their cottage workshops simply do not make enough money to afford the $4,000 price tag per toy that Third Party testers are charging.
That is a lot of money to make sure a toy is safe. What many people may have missed is that it doesn't stop there.
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139 comments (Latest Comment: 01/09/2009 04:17:15 by clintster)

The Elitists
Author: BobR    Date: 01/07/2009 13:14:03

The late great Ann Richards of Texas was one of the best at pointing out the elitist rich boy slackard that was Bush as governor with such lovely gems as "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth". Jim Hightower referred to King George I as "born on third base and thinks he hit a triple". That goes double for the son who partied his way through life and has always felt like he earned all the ruined opportunities continuously dropped into his lap his entire life.

Throughout the election, the Republicans tried to "taint" Obama by calling him an "elitist". They tried to convince the electorate that the man with one house in a Chicago neighborhood was out of touch, while the man with 9 houses spread throughout the country was a regular "Joe".

And yet - the truth always has a way of showing us what a bunch of hypocritical scumbags these Republican "leaders" really are...
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108 comments (Latest Comment: 01/08/2009 06:03:41 by livingonli)

Ask A Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 01/06/2009 11:27:56

Good Morning.

Today is our 2,120th day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning 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): 4221
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4082
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3760
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3362
Since Election (1/31/05): 2783

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq: 316
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 630
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 412
Contractor Deaths - Iraq: 445

We find this morning's Cost of War passing through:

$ 585, 898, 600, 000.00

So. We've all torn the page off the calendar, and most of us are looking at 2009 with a fair amount of hope and optimism. Unfortunately, for families with someone in the military, 2009 is the same as 2008, or 2007, or 2006, or....

Some families are adopting unusual coping mechanisms to deal with the endless cycle of separation and worry. There's an interesting story from yesterday's Globe about one family.

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140 comments (Latest Comment: 01/07/2009 03:22:09 by Mondobubba)

No Seat for you! (not you, actually - It's Him, that one. Over there)
Author: Raine    Date: 01/05/2009 13:30:14

Can you help me figure out this conundrum? Harry Reid has said that he will not seat Roland Burris as the next Democratic Senator from the state of Illinois because of the taint all around Blago. Harry has expressed the need to make a stand on this issue and has stated that he can use the US Senate to block this from happening. I have a little problem with that and I will get to it in a moment...
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138 comments (Latest Comment: 01/06/2009 04:34:44 by livingonli)

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