Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Gulf?

Used to be the US government and obedient news media made a big effort to call it the Persian Gulf, fending off the Arabs who called it Arabian. In the '70s I worked on the Associated Press desk editing news to be transmitted to the Middle East, and one of the little cleanup jobs was to make sure that stories originating in Arab countries didn't say Arabian when referring to the Persian Gulf. The Shah of Iran was our prickly ally and his minions displayed anger if an AP story erred and called it the Arabian Gulf.

Now the US is on the other side and acts slavish to the Arabs. Or is it neutral just to call it The Gulf? If nothing else we should be aware that the Arabs and Iranians have a long history of conflict, and this is one little symptom thereof.
About Ahmadinejad
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Help! How to understand the mortgage crisis? Read this

Thanks to Huffington Post for publishing this instructive piece on where the mortgage crisis and the subsequent global financial crisis came from: willful fraud by lenders.

And did it ring a bell with you when the author reports that the FBI was warning of an epidemic of mortgage fraud already in 2004? Sounded familiar to me.

Read down into the comments and see how the dittoheads chime in trying to blame the problem on the Democrats and the CRA. It's heartening to see the reality-based crowd rise and pound back with facts, logic and history. I've been against too much prison-building in this country, but I may have to revise that position if we're to mete out proper punishment to all who led us into this pickle.

Adam Putnam revealed: follow the money

This link takes you pretty far out of our county lines but in a few short months (well, next year, which is galloping up like Hurricane Wilma) you’ll be wondering who’s this Republican Adam Putnam and why’s he running for state commissioner of agriculture and consumer affairs.

Here at you can learn about the young Florida congressman who is quitting Congress to run for the least of the state cabinet slots. And the answer to why’s he doing it is that he’s protecting his money. His family money.

Remember that when he tells you he’s doing it for you. This is a conflict of interest big enough to drive a thousand citrus haulers through.

Next question: who’s standing up for the Democrats to run for this job?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two good promises from the President

What stood out to me in this speech? First, the energy. He was truly rolling and thundering.

First promise I jotted down (well into the speech):

"Health care reform will not wait another year."

Those of us gearing up to make proposals had better get our acts rolling fast. The health-care train's already got up a head of steam.


"These checks are on the way."
Yay, big government!

Friday, February 20, 2009

In case you're wondering what happened to Randi ...

This time, don't look at Ken. From Talkers:
Randi Rhodes Is On Her Own and Nova M Files for Bankruptcy. It comes to light now that the sticking point between Randi Rhodes and Nova M was her belief that her contract included helping her with legal costs which it did not. She is now rumored to be seeking a local radio gig and many believe she’s trying to get back to her old station – WJNO, West Palm Beach. As for Nova M, it was losing a lot of moolah — $100,000 per month. The founders and corporate officers — Sheldon and Anita Drobny — are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation for the company. Some of Nova M’s other talent — Mike Malloy, Nancy Skinner — continue in syndication as another person involved with Nova M from the beginning, Dr. Mike Newcomb, is reorganizing the network as On Second Thought Radio Network.

The radio business is in a tailspin right now, and Randi has had a lot of legal bills stemming from the lawsuit filed against her by Iraq contractor CACI. It's a big loss for the South Florida talk radio market, which frankly, wasn't that good to begin with. That say, let's all say a prayer for Thom Hartmann (number 10 on the Talkers "Heavy 100" and the number one non-winger show.) If he goes, I'm going to go back to listening to jazz CDs in the car.

Cross-posted at Reidblog.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It took many of us to Luxembourg

This obit in Tuesday's NY Times raised memories. 1975 was the year I flew Icelandair to Europe, trying to save money. Today we may only know Iceland as the first country to be bankrupted by the meltdown of 2008. I remember later trips to Iceland when the brilliance of the national seafood cuisine was on display every meal.

Now, on that 1975 trip, did I save any money? One problem was that Luxembourg, where those planes landed, was not any kind of a destination, so the traveler had to pony up more money to get anywhere. Where I was going was the Greek islands, and the train would take me all the way to Athens to board the ferries.

Coming back, time was short -- not enough to ride the train to Luxembourg, so I had to buy a one-way ticket on the Luxembourgish airline to get there. The travel budget was quite thoroughly broken. Even worse was that American Express multiplied instead of dividing when it converted the currency mishmash of Lux francs and dollars and Greek what? drachmas, and the Amex bill the next month was over $27,000. That took a while to straighten out.

Memorable line from the obit of the Icelandair boss Sigurdir Helgason: " ... usually landed late."

They keep your content more or less indefinitely

Happened to stumble upon (hint?) news that Facebook's guru had sort of explained a revision of their terms of service. Since many of us blog-readers also prowl Facebook, I thought you'd like to read about it here. Click away.

A day later, an UPDATE: This turned out to be pretty controversial, and now there's talk of rescinding Facebook's new terms of service. A link to the Huffington Post writeup.

Announcing for US Senate: Kevin Burns, mayor of North Miami

Here's a third Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat to be be vacated by Mel Martinez: Kevin Burns, mayor of North Miami. He says he will announce Tuesday evening.

Burns will be contending against U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (FL-17) and state Sen. Dan Gelber (District 35), who have announced previously.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why some of us feel so out of it

Scene from Miami Boat Show this year.

Miami Beach leads the Sunday NY Times Style section this weekend.

Reaching for Escape in Miami Beach -

This quote from Roman Jones, owner of the Opium Group of still-thriving lux-lounges, summarizes why some of us residents of the Beach feel out of it:

“They come to blow off steam, and if spending $5,000 over a couple of nights will make them forget they lost more than $5 million, then in their minds it’s worth it,” he said. “They’re marking an era that has passed, but they want to hold on to it.”

This was in my mind, too, as I traipsed around the Miami Boat Show and spent about $35 on a couple of handy tools to tinker on my sailboat. I withstood the temptations of the $1.3 million catamaran called King's Ransom, as well as the power boat with five outboard engines, each with 350 horsepower. Does all this continuing excesss, I asked myself, explain why the Republicans are unable to muster a single vote in the U.S. House for rescuing the economy? Yes, comes the answer, they don't feel it yet.

I'm updating this with a link to Frank Rich's column in the Sunday Times. It amply lays out the many ways the Republicans are deluding themselves about the wisdom of their course. The main exception being our Republican governor, Charlie Crist. We need to keep our eyes on him and take notes whenever he veers into the "parallel universe" where the Republicans actually believe the foolish stuff they say.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


BY Guest blogger John Dudley, member of the Miami Beach Democratic Club

2009 is the year of change. We are truly living in a time of monumental history. There is no doubt that we are heading for the Second Great Depression in U.S. history. In relation to the 1929 downturn, historians emphasize structural factors like massive bank failures, the stock market crash, malfeasance by bankers and industrialists, and government inaction.

What has eight years of Republican rule and George Bush earned us? Republicans have given Americans loss retirements, bankruptcies, foreclosures, unemployment, falling wages, falling production, declining home values, a crashing stock market, bank closures, torture, U.S. citizen spying, growing poverty, disease and two wars. So why are we asking Republicans for more failed strategies? Is it for bipartisanship? There is no such thing.

Republicans see recession and depression as unavoidable under free-market capitalism as there are no restrictions on accumulations of capital other than the market itself. The Republican answer to greed is more deregulation, less government intervention and more tax cuts for the rich.

Americans have finally gotten past the Republican lies of weapons of mass destruction, fiscal conservatism, patriotism, epidemic corruption and sex scandals only to receive a daily onslaught of news regarding how their hard-earned tax dollars are being used to give multi-million-dollar bonuses to bankers and Wall Street executives. Let us emphasize that these are not your traditional ordinary bonuses. These are bonuses paid by tax-payers.

Who’s to blame? We can’t just blame Republicans. When Republican Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and President Bush got together and requested the bailout from Congress, once again, Democrats capitulated. A Democratic majority Congress approved the Republican bailout without preconditions, which was once a Republican catchphrase. The results have been disastrous. The economy is worse.

Americans even went further and voted more Democrats into office. Yet, Democrats are still begging incompetent disingenuous Republicans for permission to enact a recovery plan. Why? What is wrong with Democrats? Is it fear? What Democrat or Independent has the courage to stand up and challenge these outrageous assaults to our Democracy? Are these Democratic cowards in a hurry to lose their seats to Republicans over the next two years and leave President Obama with change and not hope. Let’s ask former President Bill Clinton. It’s déjà vu all over again.

It’s a sobering fact to wake up today and know that the Republicans have lied to us every step of the way. We have been lied to over the war, the economy, education and jobs. So again, Americans hire a new person to fix the problem, President Barack Obama. Is President Obama so naïve to believe that Republicans will support his policies? Nonsense! President Obama has even commented that he wanted to work with Republicans because they have some good ideas. What? Republicans have good ideas?

The real leaders of the Republican Party, Fascist Rush Limbaugh and Fox News Totalitarian Shaun Hannity have stated their position. They hope President Obama fail. Is this free speech? Is this hatred? Is this treason?

This is the Republican Party that proudly plays ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ on Limbaugh’s radio program. This is the racist Republican Party. If President Obama is the Magic Negro, then what is the new head of the Republican Party, African American Michael Steele? Republican Klu Klux Klan member David Duke says that Mr. Steele is a racist. Now, why would President Obama seek good ideas from these people? Why?

When have we forgotten that racism is hatred and hatred leads to violence and violence leads to death? Do we wait for Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin to proclaim that she favors real American cities and cities that are pro-America? Are we waiting for the many Republican gun owners that have threatened to assassinate President Obama to commit a crime before we challenge this divisive language?

Let us face the facts. We are not heading for a Depression. We are in one.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

O'Bama tune

This is too catchy to pass up.

If you tire of these images, YouTube also has a cartoon version of this tune by the Corrigans.