Thursday, June 30, 2005

Here's how the matrix works

The hidebound provincials at the Reader's Digest came out with the rankings of the U.S.'s cities, based on cleanliness.

Chicago came in #1 as the dirtiest. NYC was #2. Dirtier than Houston? Really? The fix is in.

Looking over Reader's Digest subscription numbers - it wasn't easy, we had ride the U.S. prosecutor's tails of the Valerie Plame case to force RD to cough up the numbers - they don't get many subscribers in the Chicagoland metro area. Exclude northwest Indiana and they're down to practically zero.

It's the stalking horse for RD to launch their assault on those urban areas that remain impervious to that hokum crap spit.

Why do they let him talk?

It's safe to come out now. The toxic stink from Bush's speech (warbling?, musings?, recitation?) has largely dissipated, driven east towards Europe and the Middle East.

It must be some kind of divine justice that the media who aide and abet Team Bush every step of the way, had to suck the ratings pipe. Nothing says toxic like George Bush trying to rally the nation. He was so toxic that the viewers who were driven off by the speech stayed driven off, lurking in the shadows of cable.

As for the live studio audience, it has been charitably described that their failure to applaud is due to White House instructions. Sure. The revisionist White House certainly concurs with that account. Which leaves you wondering - that was their intention? Give a pep rally speech in front of troops but forbid the troops to act like they're at a pep rally? Which was probably easy for them to do, since they're headed to Iraq.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Watch out for that flying nun

I'm picking up at pattern at the BBC-

Catholic woman in secret ordination

Crucified nun dies in ‘exorcism’

What @&$(# century are we living in?

Might as well go for the whole nine yards

It’s time like these that I wish I had gone into a more depression-proof line of work, like numbers running.

The Economist and Financial Times both weigh in the approaching bubble burst of the housing market. Alleged bubble! – lapdog Republicans cry. More lies by traitorous Democrats! – the White House cries.

But nonetheless, there is a housing market bubble. And it’s not restricted to the United States. You countries out there know who you are, no need for me to mention any names.

TomPaine.common sense does a good job summarizing the Economist’s subscription-only article.

But when heavyweights like the Economist and Financial Times start weighing in, reporting there is a housing bubble, and it will burst, and no we don’t know when, it’s time to bring up the Odd Lot Theory. In a nutshell, when the small investors start jumping on the bandwagon, the smart money jumps off and heads for high ground. To fit it to this situation, after months of denials by Administration officials, major market papers are presenting the contrary (and true) position means that the coming Second Great Depression can’t be denied.

Alright then. We’ve got a another Depression on the way. Greenspan can’t figure out how to defuse it. None of the central banks do. So what do we do instead? Look for a suitable companion. Why not a Second Dust Bowl?

There’s a lovely drought line extending from Wisconsin south to Texas’ southern border.

There's something about North Carolina

I took a quick look at some headlines for Cardinal Health and didn't find nary a hiccup about sending hydraulic fluid under the impression it was cleanser for surgical instruments.

But three (3!) North Carolina hospitals received the shipments. Two of them caught the mistake before using the hydraulic fluid.

Duke University, the one who did not catch the mistake, sent letters out to patients reassuring them there was no risk of infection. Unfortunately, the patients were asking about increased risks of autoimmune or noninfectious disorders.

By the way, Cardinal Health's stock is up at the time of this writing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Keep your eye on the headlines

And what they are not telling you. NY District Attorney Eliot Spitzer and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau have separate investigations that look like they are starting to converge. And the convergence point is the Bush Family. This is a great story - the story that you would think newspapers would be salivating over in their sleep. Laundered money, stolen elections, drugs, extortion, blackmail.

Do a search on Robert Morgenthau and you'll get some biographies. Not a peep on his current investigation that just recently overlapped with Ohio's public employee's pension fund and the missing rare coins they invested in. The Toledo Blade is all over that one, which has ties to Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell and the Bushes.

You remember Blackwell - same guy who pulled all that funny business with voter registrations on the wrong paper stock, inadequate equipment in Democratic districts, etc? He clearly studied Katherine Harris/Florida 2000.

America Blog has been all over the Ohio Coin Gate story from day one.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Looking into the gaping maw and laughing

Best baseball series this weekend? The White Sox-Dodgers, reliving the 1959 World Series. And there's some revisionist history going on at Comiskey Park.

This just in - the Renminbi per 100 Yen is 7.5992. You heard it here first.

Can anyone use "maw" without preceding it with gaping?

Have fun with all the Congressmen. Sure, anyone can email and phone their own representatives. Call someone else's congressman. Tell him you've been thinking this whole Bush thing over and impeachment is the only way to go. This works best on Republican congressman. I can't pinpoint if it is shocked silence or stunned silence emanating from the other end of the line.

Have fun with the fundamentalist/evangelical/pentacostals too. Slip into the conversation "Jesus is spinning in his grave." Then you'll see them reenact Linda Blair's head spinning like a top in "The Exorcist." Get radical. Tell them that you think the divinity of Christ is overrated. Maybe it was a typo and John the Baptist was the divine. Speaking of Johnny, archeologists found more evidence of his stomping grounds when they stumbled across some graffiti in some Israeli caves including: "Johnny the B was here," and "I lost my head in Jerusalem."

In other news, that brief moment that my family had historical greatness is over. I thought I spotted "Dervin" in the Bayeux Tapestry. The word turned out to be the Latin "verderunt," abbreviated. That's right. In the tapestry it looked like Dervin, so get off my back.

Those Chinese proverb/curse makers hit the nail on the head when they came up with this one:
May you live in interesting times.

Let's try making it interesting for Bush & Co. Now go get 'em, tiger!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dump Americans, get more Chinese

For all of you keeping score out there, and wondering what's holding up that economic free-fall, the answer came in today:
Because the markets are so desperate to believe the good times are staying with us. Can't make this up. The markets went UP after Greenspan spoke.

From Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Thursday dismissed concerns the U.S. economy was entering a serious slowdown, giving the go-ahead for further increases in interest rates.

Ed. note: The Fed has to increase rates. The country, from top to bottom, is living on borrowed money. The catch is that there have to be suckers out there who will buy our Treasuries (they give us cash, we give them - in the words of our disassembling leader - "worthless I.O.U.'s"). But they're not buying the Treasuries at a crummy 3 - 3.5% these days. Frankly, I don't thinking bumping them up will get them to buy either.

Also from the Reuters' article:
Businesses are having a harder time squeezing more output per hour from workers after several years of extraordinary productivity gains.

Translation: American workers suck. Dump them and get Chinese instead!

And also from the Reuters' article:
The Fed chairman repeated that while he did not think a nationwide housing price bubble was likely, there were signs of froth in some local markets where home prices have climbed to what appear to be unsustainable levels.

Ed. note: How come no one ever presses Alan for details - like which markets are a little frothy? Is it because he doesn't want to say San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Phoenix, Washington-Baltimore, Boston, New York aloud?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Water, water, everywhere

Chicago's Water Department must be on a two-tiered plan: the low-level mopes who steal hours by having coworkers clock in for them, and the entrepreneurs who turned the department into a branch office for the Columbian drug cartel.

Is that great cross-border cooperation, or what?

The references to the Hired Truck scandal lead you into a whole other scandal whose repercussions are still reveberating.

We've Impeached For Less

How gutless is this country? Congress' approval ratings are a record lows, and that's saying a lot for that craven body. Here's the part that hurts: as our representatives they are doing a bang-up job representing our interests. Americans don't want to know anything that makes us look bad. Americans don't want to think too hard about multi-layered issues. We sure as hell don't want to get caught stepping out of line with the (perceived) mainstream that they think supports the Bush Administration.

The British government sprung a leak, and the Downing Street Memo admits that "yep, we're fixing facts and intelligence" and it's getting fixed around the idea to send Iraq back to the Stone Age. Too bad they didn't foresee that Iraq would take us along with them.

Dante and his spiritual editor are adding another circle to the Inferno, last heard in a Fallujah theme, just for the Americans and British. With no toilets.

Substitute "oil dependence" for "lebensraum" and we're the Germany of our day. Maybe Saddam saw how Neville Chamberlain's action played in the history books and decided to go down fighting. Cripes, we've managed to elevate Saddam.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Rod of Springfield, steals from the pensions, gives to the special interests

And Illinios balances the budget, again, on the backs of pension funds. Blagojevich reminds everyone that the budget was balanced without raising taxes, but his version doesn't include raids on the pension funds. $313 million has been slated for education, but they took more than that from the teachers' pension fund, already the most underfunded pension fund in the country.

To get a better scope on what's going on with the teachers' pension in particular, and state pension funds in general, StudentsFirst Illinios does a good job.