Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nobel Prize Winner Doris Lessing on Science Fiction

from New York Times Magazine:

For the last two decades, most of your fiction has veered toward science fiction, which has disappointed literary critics like Harold Bloom.

I can’t be bothered with Bloom. A lot of people think some of my best writing is in science fiction, and they are just as significant as bloody Bloom.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Economic adviser's comment complicates McCain campaign

McCain chief economics whack-job Phil Gramm

from IHT:

By Michael Cooper 

BELLEVILLE, Michigan: Senator John McCain has spent the week trying to tell people that he feels their economic pain. So it was more than a little unhelpful when one of his top economic advisers was quoted as saying that the United States was only in a "mental recession" and that it had become a "nation of whiners."

The adviser, former Senator Phil Gramm, Republican of Texas, tried to clarify his remarks Thursday by saying he had been referring only to some of the nation's leaders.

But it was too late to keep from complicating things for McCain, who has been trying to strike a more empathetic tone after sometimes struggling to maintain a balance between optimism about the nation's future and an understanding of Americans' economic hardships.
Well, I'm sure Marie Antoinette thought the people of Paris where whiners as well.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Timeline of the Mortgage Crisis

from MoJo:

Where Credit Is Due: A Timeline of the Mortgage Crisis

By Nomi Prins 

A field guide to the loan sharks and politicos who got us into the predatory lending mess

It's interesting how often a certain Arizona Senator's name and the names of prominent advisors to same appear in this mess. One thing for sure, it goes a long way toward validating McCain's self description as knowing nothing about the economy.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Modest Prediction

To sow fear and confusion amidst my enemies, I will make my election predictions far in advance this year. Of course many things can change between now and November and I might rue this audacity, but as of today, this is how I see it.

Obama will win by 323 to 215 electorial votes. The Dems will hold all the states they had in 2004 and add AK CO IN IA MT NM NV OH VA and possibly NC.

In the Senate, the Dems will pick up 10 seats in AK CO ME MN MS NC NH NM OR VA, leaving themselves one vote short of being fillibuster proof.

In the House, the Dems will have a net pick-up of 18 seats. They will give the GOP a strong run for our congressional district (PA 05), but will probably will depend on turn out in State College.

Bonus VP predictions..

Obama... Jim Webb
McCain...Joltin' Joe Leiberman (just kidding) ... Bobby Jindal  

The campaign will turn on McCain's lack of understanding of the economy, his inablity to control his temper (there WILL be a very public incident sometime before November), and on a general repudiation of the last 8 years of corruption and incompetence, including the unnecessary Iraq War, the failure to secure Afghanistan and the horrific damage done to America's reputation in the world.

President Obama will  appoint 4, maybe 5 Supreme Court Justices during his 8 years. He will revitalize environmental regulation by hiring Al Gore to run the EPA. He will provide support for the less fortunate and work to bring about universal health coverage for all Americans.

Most of all, he return our military to its proper use, protecting America. He will do this by bringing Osama bin Laden and his cohorts to justice, not using it to fight wars for the individual economic aggrandizement of members of the government.

All you sobbing Neocon twits out there, get used to it.

Peak Oil keeps getting weirder.

It seems that half of the refined products that we import to cover the daily shortfall of oil production vs usage,  is used to make refined products we then export. Yes half the so called shortage is really just pass thru. When will we realize that Big Oil doesn't care a whit about our security and are purely interested in ripping as much profit from the system as they can before it all comes crashing down? 

WASHINGTON3 (Reuters) - While the U.S. oil industry want access to more federal lands to help reduce reliance on foreign suppliers, American-based companies are shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to other countries.
A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007. Shipments this February topped 1.8 million barrels a day for the first time during any month, according to final numbers from the Energy Department.
The surge in exports appears to contradict the pleas from the U.S. oil industry and the Bush administration for Congress to open more offshore waters and Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
"We can help alleviate shortages by drilling for oil and gas in our own country," President Bush told reporters this week. "We have got the opportunity to find more crude oil here at home."
"As a nation, we can have more control over our energy destiny by supplying more of the oil and natural gas we'll be consuming from resources here at home," Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum (otcbb: AMPE.OB - news - people ) Institute, said in a letter last week to U.S. lawmakers.
But environmentalists and other opponents to expanding drilling areas could seize on the record exports to argue Congress should not open more acres if U.S. refineries are churning crude oil into petroleum products that are sent out of the American market.
"It doesn't look good to say: 'We need more oil.' But then export the refined products that you're getting. It doesn't seem to be consistent," said Jim Presswood, energy lobbyist for the Natural 
Resources Defense Council.
But many energy experts say oil and petroleum products are traded globally, and it may make economic sense to export gasoline refined along the U.S. Gulf Coast to Latin America and import European-refined gasoline to U.S. East Coast markets.
"The fact is that the (United States) participates in global markets for both crude and refined products, and there are any number of variables that impact supply and prices in those markets," said Bill Holbrook, spokesman for the National Petrochemicals and Refiners 
The 1.6 million barrels a day in record petroleum exports represented 9 percent of total U.S. refining capacity of 17.6 million barrels a day.
However, with refiners operating at 85 percent of capacity during the January-April period, the shipments represented a much a larger share of total U.S. oil products produced.
The exports were also equal to half the 3.2 million barrels of gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products the United States imported each day over the 4-month period.
The biggest share of U.S. oil products exported went to Mexico, Canada, Chile, Singapore and Brazil.
U.S. consumers are paying record prices for gasoline and diesel fuel, which the Bush administration blames in part on tight supplies.
While the administration argues that more supplies would help to bring down prices, U.S exports of diesel fuel in April averaged 387,000 barrels per day, up almost seven-fold from 59,000 barrels a day in the same month a year earlier.
U.S. gasoline shipments in April averaged 202,000 barrels a day, the most for the month since 1945, when America was sending fuel overseas to ease supply shortages in other countries during World War II. Gasoline exports in April 2007 were almost half at 116,000 barrels per day.
Residual fuel exports in April were 377,000 barrels per day, the fourth highest level for any month, and up 10 percent from 344,000 barrels per day a year earlier.
John Felmy, the chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute, said a portion of the oil products exported, especially diesel, was fuel that did not meet U.S. clean air requirements and therefore could not be sold in America. "You may have some that you're not able to use," he said.
Also, while U.S. gasoline demand is down due to high prices and a weak American economy, there is "strong economic growth outside the United States" where fuel is often subsidized and demand is high, said John Cook, director of EIA's Petroleum Division.
However, both the EIA and API admitted they did not know why daily U.S. gasoline exports to Canada skyrocketed to 41,000 barrels in January-April this year from 9,000 barrels in 2007.
The EIA said more U.S. diesel is going to Latin American to fuel power plants because of a shortage of natural gas in the region, and China has switched to diesel from coal to run some of its generating facilities in order to reduce smog ahead of the summer Olympics next month in Beijing. 

Friday, July 04, 2008

Racist Asshole and All Around Evil Fuck Jesse Helms dies at 86

Photos of Jesse Helms at the height of his career as a race-baiting hate-mongering neo-nazi in the US Senate

RALEIGH, N.C. - Former Sen. Jesse Helms, who built a career along the fault lines of racial politics and battled liberals, Communists and the occasional fellow Republican during 30 conservative years in Congress, died on the Fourth of July. He was 86.

Helms died at 1:15 a.m., said the Jesse Helms Center at Wingate University in North Carolina. The center's president, John Dodd, said in a statement that funeral arrangements were pending.

"He was very comfortable," said former chief of staff Jimmy Broughton, who added Helms died of natural causes in Raleigh.

Let's see,  Thurmond, Falwell, Reagan, Helms...that leaves Revs Robertson and Hagee and Trent Lott...... You know where to direct your evil  liberal race blending gay and feminist  thoughts next....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The lyrics

An English translation of the Bengali lyrics for the Dancing video below:

Stream of Life

by Rabindranath Tagore

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

And since this is such a cumbaya day....

Sing Along.


This has just got to be the best thing I have ever seen on the intertubes. So utterly, utterly joyous. And as you may have guessed from my recent posts,  joy is rather thin on the ground these days. It just proves that the best anti-depressant is hanging out with happy people.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Click on the link for a larger image player.