Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for January 31st, 2007

The Truth Starts Catching Up To Joshua Sparling

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 31, 2007

Check this out, courtesy of Astor Column over at DailyKos.  Silly Freepers.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, mythmaking | Comments Off on The Truth Starts Catching Up To Joshua Sparling

The Funniest Book Review You Will EVER Read

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 31, 2007

In honor of Molly Ivins, I’m posting a link to this wonderful book review she did back in 1990 for the New York Times of Joan Quigley’s historic tome “What Does Joan Say?”

Quigley was the court astrologer to Ronald and Nancy Reagan. I’ve read the book, and I must say that Molly’s insights are spot-on, in addition to being laugh-out-loud funny.

Here’s a taste:

As far as Ms. Quigley is concerned, she spent seven years busting her buns, astrologically speaking, for the Reagans, and for little money at that, and all she got at the end of it was a stick in the eye. And then Nancy just flat lied about her. So now Ms. Quigley and her little stiletto are here to set the record straight, and Nancy Reagan brought it all on herself. So there.

And what a record it is. Air Force One didn’t take off without permission from Ms. Quigley. She set the time for summit meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev, for Presidential debates with Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale; she handled the timing of all the President’s trips abroad, of his press conferences, his State of the Union addresses and much, much more. Of course President Reagan knew she was in charge of his scheduling, she says; there was no way he couldn’t have known it. (This argument is not entirely persuasive, since there are as yet no demonstrable limits to what Ronald Reagan didn’t know: as of the latest reports, he is still not clear on whether he ever sent arms to Iran.) One is finally left boggled by Ms. Quigley’s responsibility and by her critical historical role. There the poor woman was, sitting in San Francisco with full accountability for world peace, and none of us even knew her name. What she takes upon herself is extraordinary – it was she who was responsible for changing Nancy’s persona from ”Queen Nancy” to drug crusader, she who provided the Teflon for Mr. Reagan’s image, she who handled the Bitburg crisis and she who kept Mr. Reagan from assassination and cancer (if she hadn’t timed his operations correctly, the surgeon wouldn’t have cut out all the malignancy: take that, Doctor). After the unfortunate episodes with Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg, Our Joan was responsible for getting Anthony Kennedy confirmed for the Supreme Court by timing the announcement properly. And it had to be down to the second: 11:32:25 A.M. (take that, Justice Kennedy).

There are moments of such surpassing weirdness in this book that one begins to think Ms. Quigley is correct – it must be the stars. For example, Ms. Quigley was introduced to Mrs. Reagan by . . . Merv Griffin.

Perfection, sheer perfection.

Posted in Silly Republicans | Comments Off on The Funniest Book Review You Will EVER Read

Ahmedinejad’s Best Friend: George W. Bush

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 31, 2007

As this article from The Guardian shows (h/t to Alien and Sedition), the only thing keeping Mahmoud the Nutty in any sort of political viability in Iran is the idiotic saber-rattling of America’s boy-king.

Things like that are why the Iranian reformers have been begging Bush to shut the hell up in general, and to stop his crazy talk of attacking Iran in particular.

Posted in madness of King George, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Do It for Molly

Posted by MEC on January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

Syndicated political columnist Molly Ivins died of breast cancer Wednesday evening at her home in Austin. Molly’s enduring message is, “Raise more hell.”

We’ve lost a treasure, a strong, eloquent voice for democracy and an incomparable hellraiser.

After Molly learned she had breast cancer, she wrote a column in which she advised — no, commanded — women, “Get. The damned. Mammogram.”

In our wonderful free-market health-care system, this isn’t always possible. But there’s a way you can help women get mammograms who otherwise couldn’t afford them, and it won’t cost you more than about 15 seconds per day.

Once a day, every day, go to The Breast Cancer Site. Click on the big pink button that says “Fund Free Mammograms”; or on the text link, “Click every day to give hope to women in need. It’s free!”

Every time you click, the site’s advertisers pay a pittance to The Breast Cancer Site; you don’t have to click on the ads, or even notice them, they’ll pay anyway. Those pittances add up. For example, the people who clicked on January 30 generated enough ad revenue to pay for 5.5 mammograms.

So every day, donate your click. Do it for Molly.

Posted in Good Things, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Reporters to Bush: “Please Don’t Kill Us!”

Posted by MEC on January 31, 2007

What a great sense of humor the Leader of the Free World has. During a photo op at a Caterpillar factory, Bush got to drive one of the Great! Big! Tractors! And steered it straight at the press corps.

White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor’s window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop.

Afterwards, when Bush asked one of the reporters how he enjoyed it, the reporter said, “It’s a good life,” because he didn’t want to get sent to the cornfield. (Okay, so that didn’t really happen. But lately, every time I learn of something else Bush has done, I think of that story.)

There is something seriously wrong with that man. Seriously.

Posted in Bush, madness of King George | 5 Comments »

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Posted by Charles II on January 31, 2007

Fourth quarter GDP rose more than expected. Before your eyes glaze over, allow me to explain why this is noteworthy.

The economic tide, and hence each of our paychecks, depends on two things: increasing the amount of goods and services each person produces and reducing waste in that production. And then there’s distribution, which doesn’t affect the overall tide, but may affect the flow in our local tide pool, as well as “the commons,” which reflect imperfections in the accounting system.

Increases in GDP have to come from somewhere. The amount of money is finite.  It increases because we borrow from the future (or consume savings), and we borrow from the future (or consume savings) because we believe we can more than make up for it by what we produce. The prime borrowers are:

  • ordinary consumers
  • the very wealthy
  • business
  • government

Most large businesses actually are in great shape, with tons of cash on the books. Same for the very wealthy. Consumers and government are at record debt levels. Consumer confidence just hit a 5-year high, probably on low gas prices, yet that wasn’t reflected in holiday sales, which were so-so. And there are some businesses, notably autos and residential housing, that are in dire condition. The only notable business activity that I can think of is mergers and acquisitions (M&A), which typically decrease economic activity and shareholder value in the medium term.

I don’t see where the 4Q GDP growth came from, unless it was M&A and government. It didn’t come from consumer retail. It didn’t come from durables. It didn’t come from residential housing. Nouriel Roubini thought that some economic activity had been borrowed from the present quarter (e.g, people buying chocolate for Valentine’s Day while shopping for Christmas). Maybe. But there was a lot more GDP than he expected. Ballpark, $100B.

Nor do I see how this burst of GDP was financed. There have been disturbing rumors that the Fed is permitting off-balance sheet money creation, essentially by allowing businesses to substitute cash reserves for securities of lesser quality.

So, there is more money floating around than one would expect. If this is because of financial shenanigans, then at some future date, there will be less money than is needed. 

But as of today, ignoring deficits, corruption, oil prices and the risk of war, the economic future looks brighter than it has for some time.  

____________

Update. Roubini says  “Clearly the strongest driver of the rebound of growth in Q4 was private consumption that rose at an annualized rate of 4.4%; given that consumption is about 70% of GDP consumption contributed 3.05% to the Q4 growth of 3.5%. Net exports were also another significant contributor to Q4 growth; with export growth accelerating to 10% and imports falling 3.2% the contribution of net exports to growth was 1.64%. The third component that contributed to growth was government spending that grew at a 3.7% (mostly driven by the whopping 11.9% increase in defense spending) and that contributed 0.7% to Q4 growth. ”

 So, he thinks it did come from consumers

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Congress to Bush: You Are Not the Decider

Posted by MEC on January 31, 2007

Constitutional and legal experts have told a Senate hearing that the Congressional authority to declare war and control the budget also confers the authority to withdraw from a war.

“I think the constitutional scheme does give Congress broad authority to terminate a war,” said Bradford Berenson, a Washington lawyer who was a White House associate counsel under Bush from 2001 to 2003.

“It is ultimately Congress that decides the size, scope and duration of the use of military force,” said Walter Dellinger, former acting solicitor general — the government’s chief advocate before the Supreme Court — in 1996-97, and an assistant attorney general three years before that.

[…]

Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania argued that under the Constitution, the president shared his powers with Congress.

“I would respectfully suggest to the president that he is not the sole ‘decider,'” said Specter, the head of the Judiciary Committee until Democrats won control from Republicans in November. “The decider is a shared and joint responsibility.”The Senate may do more to reclaim its Constitutional authority than pass a nonbinding resolution objecting to Bush’s “surge”. Senator Feingold is planning to introduce a bill to prohibit the use of funds for the war six months after enactment.

What a difference an election makes: from rollover to oversight.

Posted in Bush, Feingold, hearings, Iraq war, Senate | Comments Off on Congress to Bush: You Are Not the Decider

Ave Atque Vale, Molly

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins isn’t going to be with us much longer: Stephanie Miller just reported on AAR this morning that she’s gone into a hospice. The cancer she’s been battling since 1999 has spread through her body, and I suspect she won’t make it past the weekend.

I can’t say much more or else I’ll be here for hours. Peter Rothberg of The Nation has his thoughts — and a festschrift — for Molly here.

Ave atque vale, Molly. We will miss you!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Wow

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 31, 2007

John Edwards has a seriously impressive blog.  (Really and truly.)  I’d sign up for it, but I don’t want to have to memorize Yet Another Damn Password. (His wife Elizabeth is a hardcore bloggie and can be found lurking — and sometimes posting — everywhere from DailyKos to MyDD.)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Spitting On The Truth

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 31, 2007

Joseph Hughes on Joshua Sparling and the right-wingers using him for their own ends.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Spitting On The Truth

 
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