Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why Communism Failed, Part 2

Since the first Why Communism Failed post was so popular....

Only in Russia… has a collection of Russia pics that make my China collections seem almost post-modern.
I'm about halfway through an old book called "The Turning Point", which explains the need for every architectural and mechanical improvisation you see in the pictures.
The authors, a pair of Russian economists, explain how and why every supply chain in the nation broke down.

The need to get into a tanning bed wearing long sleeves and an ankle length skirt, however, remains a mystery.
Enjoy the pictures.

Luckiest Man in the Race

Luckiest Man in the Race, says Fred Barnes about John McCain.

Many Republicans, heck, MOST Republicans can't wait to watch the glorious mess that will be the Democratic Convention.

Obama will be armed with the higher delegate count and popular vote.

The Clintons will be armed with their whiteness, and perhaps some polling data showing that they have the best shot at defeating John McCain.

I had planned on blocking off massive swaths of time to watch the fight. Now I'm starting to worry.

One of the underlying themes of Black Rage (see Reverend Wright's sermons) is that no matter how well an African American works or performs, white people are waiting to take away his accomplishment. True or not, that's the perception. Well, guess what.....No matter how well Obama performs, The Clintons are waiting to take away his accomplishment.

There is no way, no way in hell, that The Clintons can win if they play by the rules.

So....Can you seriously imagine Mike Huckabee offering John McCain a V.P. slot when there was no way Huckabee could pass McCain in delegates?

The Clintons claim that Obama hasn't been "vetted". The idea being that The Clintons have been thoroughly vetted, and there's no new dirt waiting to be discovered.

As if we couldn't take care of a landfill already. But let's see....there's the funding for the Clinton Library. Bill has been hanging out with a rotating cast of bizarre Russian Uranium magnates.

Then there are the records of Hillary's role (if there was a role) during Bill's presidency. They're supposedly too sensitive for us to see. She claims to have been a Kissinger, but may have only been an Eisenhower. (That's Mamie Eisenhower, not Dwight.)

That's what is going on with the Democrats. And the subtext is as follows: You really aren't going to put a black family in The WHITE House, are you? Sure, we've talked about equal rights and equal opportunity, but that was meant as empty rhetoric, and you know it. Get real, people.

The Superdelegate Concept was put in place to help the Democratic Party avoid situations like....this one. The superdelegates were supposed to be above it all, the impartial elders who would step in and restore calm and order if the party got carried away with irrational enthusiasm for unelectable black candidates or candidates not named Clinton.

You're about to see Superdelegates bought and sold like Twenty Dollar Crack Whores.

The Superdelegates, like most ideas put forward by the Democratic, I'm not going to go there. I'm friends with too many Democrats.

As of March 4th, if someone takes the Presidency away from Barack Obama, that someone should be named John McCain. It will be perceived as an honest election and a fair fight.

But if The Clintons find some underhanded way to deny Obama his right to continue fighting at this stage of the process, I will be angry. Maybe furious.

And I'm white.

Why Communism Failed

I found this on Ken Shimamoto's site "The Stash Dauber".
These are the Leningrad Cowboys, teaming up with The Soviet Red Army Choir, doing a medley of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Song of The Volga Boatmen".
I promise.
I can't believe that I live in a world where things like this are possible.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Strange New Respect For Fruits....

This was part of my bedtime reading last night, from U.S. News & World Report. You can click here to get more opinions on the current shameful Farm Bill going through Congress.

At Last, Some Respect for Fruits and Veggies
Specialty growers are likely to get more goodies from the farm bill
By Kent Garber
Posted March 13, 2008
Since early 2007, Congress has been working to renew a sweeping farm bill that provides billions of dollars of funding for agricultural programs. If these subsidy programs didn't exist, combined with high tariffs on imports, you would be cruelly forced to spend less on groceries. It's a ritual that gets repeated about every five years, and its main beneficiaries are usually the same: farmers who grow corn, wheat, and other commodity crops, (Sugar has been protected since Thomas Jefferson) and who are paid for doing so, and low-income people on food stamps.

Note the low-income people on food stamps. They're shoveled in there to give this enterprise a virtuous glow. They also make the farm subsidies more difficult to vote against. "CONGRESSMAN JONES VOTED TO STOP GIVING FREE GOVERNMENT CHEESE TO LOW-INCOME PEOPLE ON FOOD STAMPS ! ! ! the headline would read.

Imagine voting against something called the "Let's Raise Military Spending By 50% And Give All 10-Year-Olds-With-AIDS a Free Pony" Act of 2008. It can't be done.

That's what we're up against.

But that club is about to get a new member. Although the content of the final bill, now making its final way through Congress, remains uncertain, individuals familiar with the negotiations say this time fruit and vegetable industries are likely to receive up to several billion dollars of indirect aid, (meaning, they're going to put quotas on foreign food, or require the states to buy a lot of domestic celery) including a big boost for school snack programs. If they do, it would be one of the most significant shifts in food policy in years.

Here's what makes this type of scam difficult to stop. Here's something from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

(This problem is because of) the concepts of "dispersed costs" and "concentrated benefits." The price of any single government program, such as the sugar program, is small for any individual consumer. If he could compute the additional amount he has to pay because of the program, it would probably seem too small to justify active opposition. Most people are busy making a living and raising their families. The opportunity costs of organizing against the sugar program would outweigh the benefits even if there was a good chance the program could be abolished. A fully informed citizen would probably shrug his shoulders with regret and a sense of futility. That is the effect of dispersed costs.

Therefore, we've paid too much for sugar for the last 200 years.

Some analysts have applauded rising grain prices by calling this the "Golden Age of Farming." Yes. 10% of the farmers get 65% of the subsidies. Huge agribusiness corporations. Also included are sturdy yeomen like David Rockefeller, Ted Turner, and the NBA's Scottie Pippen. Numerous members of the House and Senate received subsidies 46 times greater than that of the median farmer. Click here for details. And you can click here for an older rant of mine about your moral duty to support the farmers of Manhattan.

But while crops like corn, wheat, and soybeans are selling at record levels, they account for only a portion of the value of all U.S. crops. A slightly bigger chunk comes from fruits, vegetables, and nuts, which traditionally receive almost no federal subsidies and significantly less support for marketing. Cover your wallets, bury the family silver in the back yard, lock up your daughters. This ain't going to be cheap....

Two growing problems underscore the need to narrow the disparity in funding, observers say. Lord have mercy, what a warped perspective. The best way to "narrow the disparity in funding" is to eliminate all of it for everyone. The first is the growing danger to crops. In California, a new pest, the light brown apple moth, recently fluttered into the state from Australia. Officials have estimated that an infestation would cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, decimating everything from avocados to oranges. Forebodingly, the moth was spotted in wine-rich Sonoma County last month; authorities plan to spend $75 million this summer dumping pesticides to eradicate it. Officials estimate....Authorities plan....Faceless people declare....Sources say....You gonna pay.

California has company in its misery. "With trade barriers lifted and global trade increasing," says Florida Department of Agriculture spokesman Terence McElroy, "our office is getting reports of at least one new pest or disease of significant economic concern per month." Warmer temperatures also create more fertile conditions for breeding. Remind me to send "cucumber subsidies" to the guys who keep the tongue-in-cheek list of Things Caused By Global Warming.

The second concern is public health. Although prices for bread and baked goods have inched up, the increases have been relatively recent. Not so with fruits and vegetables: On average, their price rose 40 percent from 1985 to 2000. A University of Washington study, released in December, found that the price of low-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables, jumped nearly 20 percent from 2004 to 2006, whereas high-calorie items, including candy, actually dropped in price, making them even more palatable to consumers. You see, all of this is for your own good.

Vulnerabilities. Historically, states have paid for specialty crop costs, such as for marketing products and developing new technology, with only modest help from Washington. The amount of support has paled in comparison with the yearly handouts to grain growers, arguably leaving vulnerabilities. "We're now seeing double, triple the incursion rate of pests," says California Rep. Dennis Cardoza. "To tackle these problems, it's got to be the federal government doing the research." Otherwise, the scam would be unfair? Is that really the point he's trying to make?

On Capitol Hill, the lobby representing midwestern grain producers has long held sway; fruit and vegetable interests have typically been drowned out. This year, though, more than 120 industries, from almond farmers to citrus growers, have formed a coalition to deliver the message that fruits and vegetables are vital to public health. So are display fixtures that keep the fruits and vegetables off the ground. They're vital to public health, aren't they? So are the semi-tractors and trailers that specialize in transporting the display fixtures. Therefore, so are the managers and supervisors who oversee the semi-tractors and trailers and drivers and the production of the display fixtures. That's me ! ! ! I'm vital to public health ! ! ! Which line do I stand in for the freebies???

The strategy seems to be paying off. "It opened a lot of doors that were not necessarily open during the last farm bill debate," says Robert Guenther, a senior vice president of the United Fresh Produce Association, a member of the lobby. "It allowed us to go into more urban and suburban offices and address issues related to schools." They learned this from Bill Clinton. It's all....For The ChildrenTM

One hopeful sign: The Senate's bill, passed in December, would allocate $2.2 billion for specialty crop programs, including $225 million annually to expand a program that provides fruits and vegetables to public schools. By contrast, only $6 million was allotted for the effort when the Farm Bill was renewed in 2002. One hopeful sign? That's a hopeful sign? Hopeful? Kent Garber wrote that sentence. We aren't from the same planet.

Compared with the more than $15 billion handed out in federal crop subsidies each year, a couple of billion over five years might not seem like much. But considering that specialty crops started with zero, says Guenther, it's a good start. I dunno. A billion here, a billion there, and before long you're talking real money.

Cartoon and other worthwhile commentary are from Caglepost.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

People I Think You'll Like

I took a liking to a blog called "Durango Texas" back when I got worked up over the eminent domain abuses of Jerry Jones. I linked to some of his rants, and Mr. Durango is now permanently over there in the blogroll someplace.

He liked some of what I wrote, and has linked back to it, along with some rare Whited Sepulchre artwork/graphic design artistry that I sent him. (We're now in such an elevated state of mutual admiration that it's just a matter of time before we create a church directory controversy....Sorry, Mr. Durango.....inside joke.)

It turns out he's a fellow Eastsider. He also has a stash of the most disturbing Clinton photographs I've ever seen. Worth perusing.

Another Fort Worth blog, "Food and Fort Worth, Texas" takes a look at Obama's "Race In America speech". We both disagree with Barack Obama on just about everything, but were overwhelmed by one heck of a speech yesterday. Check out his "Obama's Iron Shot Through The Trees". And this write-up/review of "Charlie's Pizza", the best pizza place on the East Side of Cowtown. Or any other side. The Future Aggie and I go there often.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack Obama, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Race In America, March 18 2008

I find myself spending a lot of time on this site defending ministers.....
Because of extreme sermons by his own pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama finally came out with a stemwinder of a speech on race in America.
I think people will be studying this thing in rhetoric classes for a long, long time. The main reason?
Obama had to say something brilliant, or it would all be over.
Cliches would be useless.
Typical campaign boilerplate would be mocked.
So he took history, theology, family, race, politics, and some insane Democratic Party talking points, mixed them together, and came out with one of the best speeches I can remember hearing.
It reminded me of some sermons that I've heard in my own church recently. Sermons that were produced in a crucible. Did I agree with every word of them? No. And I don't have to. That's what makes my church a good one.
Do I want Obama to be the next president? No.
But I'd rather listen to those sermons or this speech than anything else I've heard in the last twenty years.
Somewhere in all this is a defense of listening to those who disagree with you, and trying to understand where the other person is coming from without screaming for an Inquisition. Especially in a time of mind-boggling societal change. It's about looking at the sum total of someone's life and work, instead of highlighting heretical quotes for bumperstickers or clipping sound bites to pull out of context for radio shows.

In our country, we all have radically different contexts.

Here are some of the high points of Obama's speech (speaking of pulling things out of context). You can hit the link above or watch the video for the complete text.

....Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.
And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States.
What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time. Reminding people that he was a community organizer and a constitutional law professor....

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

The melting pot personified, and if I worked for his campaign, I would put that paragraph on 10,000 T-shirts tomorrow.

....On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

I've read others (Falwell, Robertson, etc.) saying similar things about 9-11. Elsewhere, I've noted a Baptist preacher claiming that God Almighty will not hear the prayer of a Jew. I've never heard that quote repudiated, only nuanced. There's this weird disconnect that we establish between our faith and our daily reality. Somehow, statements like these usually get a free pass. Unless someone from the outside is looking in to report it.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

That's why I can disagree with the minister at my church on Social Security, The Minimum Wage, Republican vs. Democrat, and Mallard Fillmore vs. Doonesbury. There's more to him than that. There's more to me than that. No creeds. No dogmas. We both want a big tent, although he probably wishes that I would stop stretching the far end of it.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:
"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

It's been a long time since I read it, but Ralph Wiley covers some of this same territory in an old book called "Why Black People Tend To Shout". It's worth finding.

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.

Brilliant line.

I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

I think that if there's a weak part to the speech, other than the ending, it is this. Dragging grandma into the speech probably wasn't necessary. BUT....we all know this woman, don't we? Obama is reminding his white audience that he was raised by Never mind. It's not a weak part of the speech. It's the backbone of it. What do I know?

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

....But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.
The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past."

OK, he's quoted Mississippi's own William Faulkner. This speech is now officially classified as "Greatness". This speech should be carved into the foreheads on Mount Rushmore.

....This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

To understand all is to forgive all.

....For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.
And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews.

Yep, we've all heard it. In the barbershop. In the breakroom. It's been a while since I heard it from a pulpit, but we don't have to drive very far to hear it from some pews.

.....Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

He's giving us white folks some slack. Acknowledging that things have gotten better, and a lot of people took a lot of risks to accomplish that.

....For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
We can do that.

Here comes the "Call To Action" that we all learned about in Speech, Creative Writing, and Freshman Comp.....

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

This is where he got down to bidness. Do we want to keep talking about his preacher? Or do we want to talk about our problems?

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time."

This is where the speech should've ended. (Since I work in shipping, transport, and logistics, I'm an expert on these types of things.)

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta. I wasn't particularly moved by this story.

Ashley's story is commendable, of course, but I don't see how the old man at the end ties the story together. Or the speech. Is he a stand-in for Jeremiah Wright? All the old men who didn't get to run for president?

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.
And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.
She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.
She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.
Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.
Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."
"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.
But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

And the Clintons actually want this man to consider being their Vice President....

Monday, March 17, 2008

Truly Anonymous Donors

From The Daily Onion, where they are stark raving mad....

Anonymous Philanthropist Donates 200 Human Kidneys To Hospital

Yes Virginia, There Is A......Lot of Miscellaneous Stuff Out There

Here's a heartwarming webpage based on the famous 1897 editorial "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus".

The Clintons did not win Texas. Or, they haven't yet. Due to our bizarre "Two-Step" combination of primaries and caucuses, Obama now has 4 more delegates than The Clintons. We're still working on the exact number. But where are the headlines? Why am I still hearing about Hillary's comeback? Wait...It was in the Star-Telegram the day after I started this.

Harvard's Greg Mankiw explains Free Trade for us Muggles....He also provides me with a GREAT compliment for Al Gore, should David G. ever again request that I do so. I didn't know this story that Mankiw references, and it's a good one.

Soobdujour has a 1950's cigarette ad.

Fort Worth Blogorrhea suggests that our current President's romanticizing of military service in Afghanistan is a matter of convenient timing. It was hard to get misty-eyed during the Tet Offensive.

Wolf Howling gets worked up over The Clintons' 3:00 a.m. ad, as attacked by Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson.

And I was delighted to learn from "The American Review" that Jesus was the first Libertarian. The Lord Jesus Christ First, True Libertarian; His Coming Most Important “Political” Event In History

And, wonder of wonders, The Daily Kos has had it with The Clintons.

Forget Bailing Out The Banks. Someone Bail ME Out.....

The B Word - New York Times
Here's a link to Paul Krugman in the New York Times, discussing the possibility of a "financial system" bailout.

People (aka subprime mortgage recipients) have been trying to purchase houses that they can't possibly afford. Banks have been assuming (falsely) that the value of homes would continue going up, meaning that if the person taking out the loan defaulted, the bank would still own a home worth more than the loan amount. Some people were able to purchase very nice homes relative to their income level. Banks were able to make money like, well, bankers.

But now, the "subprime" people are bailing on home loans. And banks now own houses that aren't worth the loan they issued.

Please allow me to digress....and remember, I can barely allocate my 401K funds properly.

I like to play Blackjack.

I'm never as close to God as I am in that golden moment when the dealer turns over her hole card. (It is always "her" hole card, since male blackjack dealers are bad luck, and I avoid them at all costs.)

Ordinarily, when I go on a cruise in the winter, I do quite well. I also make money in Shreveport (Diamond Jack's Casino ONLY. The Horseshoe Casino is bad luck.) I play Basic Strategy, combined with a system where I double up after the first loss, followed by a smaller increase after the 2nd loss, repeating this until I'm solvent again. Ordinarily, I can cover a one week bar tab and make headway against the cost of some shore excursions. (One other rule - any time I've doubled my initial buy-in, I must leave the table for a while. To do otherwise is tempting Fate. And that's very bad luck.)

Last December was horrible. (Princess Cruise lines.) The cards wouldn't cooperate. For my strategy to work, I have to win one hand out of six. It wasn't happening. A lot of unbudgeted money went from The Whited Sepulchre to Princess Cruise lines.

When I gamble, I'm trying to get something for nothing. Granted, I'm putting capital at risk, but it's not like I'm digging ditches.

I've had a good long string of luck, taking cruise ship casinos for a lot of money, by my standards. But it suddenly ended in December. And it hurt. Bad. (I'm still trying to determine the source of the bad luck. I didn't sit at any tables with male dealers. My keys were always in my left pocket. I consistently began all sentences with vowels. My mojo should've been flawless. None of my actions or wagering decisions could be called "subprime". Compared to the bankers who got us into this subprime mess, I'm almost saintly.)

Anyway, these losses have put The Whited Sepulchre economy into a free fall.

Therefore, I expect you to bail me out. Even if I have an income that's higher than most. I do, after all, have a certain lifestyle to uphold. Appearances must be maintained. I don't have time to wait on the George Bush stimulus package check of $600 to arrive in the mail sometime in April or May. (Next Saturday is the 22nd. 22 is a lucky number, since it signifies a dealer bust hand. I must get back to the tables ! ! !)

Let the bailout begin ! ! !

Here's some of Krugman's article, yanked out of context: If these numbers shock you, they should. But the big bailout is coming. The only question is how well it will be managed.....And we need it quickly: things are falling apart as you read this.

You see, this is urgent. Please let me know ASAP when you're going to send your contribution.