Live.com

I’m in a hurry this morning but want to recommend an alternative to google.

Live.com out of Microsoft. Why? Because of the very, very, very nice pictures from all over the world. Each day brings a new one. You can hover around the photo for information on it and the search engine runs fine.

Enjoy.

Swat Valley

Ralph Peters wants us out of Afghanistan.

If we’re not going to actually do good there, I don’t disagree, but I do disagree with this.

Now the Pashtuns, as manifested by the Taliban, seek an authentic state governed by Sharia law. It isn’t good news for us, for women, or for the feeble states of Afghanistan and Pakistan. But how much of our blood and treasure is it worth to keep those wretched states on life support, while denying the vigor of a ghost state fighting to become flesh?

A Pakhtunkhwa that includes all of the Pashtuns would be culturally abhorrent. But it may be inevitable. Are we fighting forces our measures can’t defeat?

The Taliban are the ones who allowed al-Qaeda to thrive within their midst. That’s why we kicked them out of Afghanistan. Does Mr. Peters think that we could make some peace with the Taliban that would include giving up al-Qaeda members?

No. At least he never says that. Instead he is just tired of us losing lives in a place that doesn’t seem to want to fix itself. There has to be a different route here but I doubt (and I suspect this is where Mr. Peters has his doubts) that this President can find that route.
If that’s the case, yes, there is no sense in us losing more lives.
However – we need to count on going back eventually because the vermin still live there and if we leave, they will only procreate and spread. Once again we’ll have to learn the lesson learned on 911.

Quote of the day

This is in an article about the new spending bill doing away with some Bush endangered species rules. (ht Ralph Maughan)

“This is a backdoor maneuver to create vast new climate change powers without any public comment or involvement of the American people,” said Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The thing is – many of these items written into all the bills passed since Obama’s been in office could probably have been passed. They DID win. The country swung left. So why all this backdoor maneuvering?

I can’t keep up and I’m thankful to those who do and it just pisses me off more and more every single day as something else comes up.

It can only be that Obama actually has a positive attitude about this economy so he wants all this stuff passed before the recession ends within 2 years like every other recession has done in the past. Evil. Sneaky. Underhanded. And all to gain power. This sounds exactly like how the left would characterize Bush. hmmmm

Thursday Funny Papers

The NYTimes got punked by the Dating a Banker Anonymous site/story. How hard is it to google a few “facts” before putting them in the paper??
……………….
Congress dashes Obama’s dreams. It’s like they don’t even respect the man!

Lawmakers reject Obama plan to cut farm aid
See no need to review subsidies in bill completed last year

Welcome to reality Mr. President.
(ht Scott)
……………….
To pay for Obama’s health care ideas he’s going to tax the wealthy.
You remember the wealthy right? Well there were a variety of numbers, but apparently now it’s couples with $250,000 in income. Which is a single with $125,000. Is that really “wealthy”.
AND

The tax proposal, coming after recent years in which wealth has become more concentrated at the top of the income scale, introduces a politically volatile edge to the Congressional debate over Mr. Obama’s domestic priorities.

I’m thinking the paper ought to mention who already pays the the more concentrated amount of taxes.
…………………

Clinton warns Israel over delays in Gaza Aid.

She might want to warn Hamas over stealing Gaza Aid.

Gitmo

Read this and especially this on Gitmo.
Then read this Reuters story on Gitmo. According to this new news prisoners are now being treated worse under Obama as guards are going ahead and taking every opportunity they can for abuse since the place is going to close soon.

“According to my clients, there has been a ramping up in abuse since President Obama was inaugurated,” said Ghappour, a British-American lawyer with Reprieve, a legal charity that represents 31 detainees at Guantanamo.

“If one was to use one’s imagination, (one) could say that these traumatized, and for lack of a better word barbaric, guards were just basically trying to get their kicks in right now for fear that they won’t be able to later,” he said.

Bull shit.

“I can’t really imagine why you would get your kicks from abusing prisoners, but certainly, having spoken to certain guards who have been injured in Iraq, who indirectly or directly blame my clients for their injuries and the trauma they have suffered, it’s not too difficult to put two and two together.

Yes, lets put 2 and 2 together.

Those men want out. The best way to get out is to holler “ABUSE” as loud as they can. 2 + 2
There are more “allegations of abuse” including more “gestures, comments, disrespect”. Oh MY.

The Recession and Bohemians

BTL links to this NYTimes story today about Bohemian neighborhoods being affected by the recession.

The quickie recap being that people moved into this neighborhood in NY or WA or Longmont, CO from places that were unaffordable, like Manhatten, or CA or Boulder, CO. (this part isn’t mentioned actually)

Once there and with more moneyed and cool people behind them, property values shot through the roof and new businesses were born to meet the needs. Flower shops, organic foods, kitchen stores, soap making, crystals…. You get the idea.

But when money is tight who needs more homemade soap?

I linked to this because it made me laugh as it concerns my town of Longmont. I moved here when I was 5. I left at 18 and returned again at 35ish. It’s an agricultural town and as life changes over the years it has managed to become very varied with high tech businesses and medical things interspersed with the pumpkins and sugarbeets.

Then came the moneyed.
These folks, like the ones in the NYTimes article want to see a “vibrant” downtown with shops and folks walking and drinking coffee and listening to live music.
None of it bad.

EXCEPT to get there, they raise the taxes of those downtown and these nice little shops can’t hack it. But pawn shops can! As can thrift stores. So there is shopping downtown, just not acceptable shopping.

This is the latest proposal to revitalize downtown. It’s pretty.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but our city council, presiding over a city with projected debt in the millions needs to read the NYTimes because as BTL says, there is no way this “dream of gentrification can continue”.

Obama’s Speech

Well – I watched the big speech last night.

General impressions. He looked happy. He should be. He was the most popular man in the room and everyone was listening to what he was saying.
It was not Reaganesqe in that I drifted a number of times. I was pretty young and very liberal during the Reagan years and still he could hold an audience.

Ed Morrissey has a great re-cap and Politico has a good “what he really meant”.

These are the lines that struck me from the speech:

-The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation.
[excellent, positive, upbeat, realistic]

-In other words, we have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter or the next election.
[This stimulus seems to be another version of this. WE can’t handle a recession, so we’ll make our kids deal with this debt.]

-A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future.
[I’m not clear how this worked. It seems to me like a surplus became an excuse to spend money on stuff including Medicare Part D and a couple of wars.]

-In fact, a failure to act would have worsened our long-term deficit by assuring weak economic growth for years.
[Here he’s trying to say how it would have been even worse for our kids. Not that we are saddling them with bad stuff. Good save.]

-Still, this plan will require significant resources from the federal government – and yes, probably more than we’ve already set aside.
[set aside??!! Where is that at? I’m picturing the piggy bank of change I use to waste money on the horses.]

-Given these realities, everyone in this chamber – Democrats and Republicans – will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars. And that includes me.
[That stimulus bill shows 0 sacrifices, particularly for Democratic dreams, and therein lies the problem for most of us.]

– That is why this budget creates new incentives for teacher performance; pathways for advancement, and rewards for success. We’ll invest in innovative programmes that are already helping schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps. And we will expand our commitment to charter schools.
[This sounded like maybe a bit of union busting is going to happen]

-But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it. And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training.
[Did he mean me?]

-And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American.
[I liked this. A bit of personal responsibility to all those youths who admire him.]

-In this budget, we will end education programs that don’t work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them.
[excellent]

-We will root out the waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicare program that doesn’t make our seniors any healthier,
[aren’t seniors healthier?]

-In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. But let me perfectly clear, because I know you’ll hear the same old claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people: if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut – that’s right, a tax cut – for 95% of working families. And these checks are on the way.
[This whole paragraph gives out an odd picture. And it’s the picture I got out of the whole speech. We’re going to do X, Y, and Z, but don’t worry you won’t have to pay for it, those OTHER people will. Those rich people. Ones you probably don’t even know. So sit back, relax and as Bush said, go shopping.]

-And if we do – if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis; if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity; if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, “something worthy to be remembered”.
[If you vote for me, one day, someone will say, I was the First Black President ever and we spent money. (keeping with my – let’s put race into everything for black history month as requested by Eric Holder.)]