Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 9th, 2008

In memory of Gary Webb

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2008

…and all brave people who speak truth to power. Bob Parry:

There is a deeply troubling attitude within the American progressive movement that it bears next to no responsibility for people who speak truth to power and suffer horrible consequences, as [San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary] Webb did. While sometimes progressives cheer the heroism, they rarely back it up with anything sustainable.

More often than not, after the celebrity fades, the person is left to fend for him or herself as an outcast from a profession that pays a salary and lets a person support a family. Indeed, what happened to Gary Webb – and to other mainstream journalists who took chances in the name of truth – is a powerful object lesson to those left behind, to play it safe.

Progressives often denounce mainstream journalists as sell-outs who are too timid to challenge the powerful or to take on the tough stories. But – by refusing to invest significantly in a media infrastructure – the progressives are partly responsible for the problem.

Webb documented the connection between US military aid flowing south into Central America and drugs flowing back into the United States. It’s an old story, dating back at least 65 years, one that Sterling Seagrave tells in The Soong Dynasty in regard to Chiang Kai Shek and exactly how he financed the resistance to Mao in the latter days. Then there was Vietnam and Air America. And then the Contra wars.

We need to do more than celebrate brave men like Gary Webb. We need to protect them, so that they are able to tell truth.

Posted in blowback, CIA, Good Causes, speaking truth to power | 3 Comments »

Just for the record

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2008

Bush is not a fundamentalist. From AP:

Interviewer Cynthia McFadden [of ABC Nightline] asked Bush if the Bible was literally true.

“You know. Probably not. … No, I’m not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do think that the New Testament for example is … has got … You know, the important lesson is ‘God sent a son,'” Bush said.

One of the things, of many, that galled me about Bush is that he completely misled his own followers. They thought he was born again. He is not. They thought he was a fundamentalist. He is not. If his followers knew about him what I know, they would never have voted him. But, then, they’re too %$#@* stupid to figure out how they’ve been used.

Fake cowboy. Fake accent. Fake religion.

Posted in Bush, Corporate Christianity, Fundies | 2 Comments »

“We’re all subprime now.” –CR

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2008

Calculated Risk:

In a research note titled “Foreclosure Update: over 8 million foreclosures expected” (no link, hat tip Frank) updated last week, Credit Suisse analysts are now forecasting 8.1 million homes will be in foreclosure by the end of 2012, representing 16% of all households with mortgages.

The analysts projected this could be as low as 6.3 million in a mild recession, with a somewhat successful loan modification program (re-default rates at around 40%), and as high as 10.2 million in a more severe recession. Note: the Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan noted this morning that re-defaults rates appear to be well in excess of 50% for recent mods, much higher than the hoped for 40%.

What really stood out in the forecast was the shift from mostly subprime foreclosures to non-subprime (Alt-A and Prime) foreclosures. This fits with some of the housing themes we’ve been discussing – that foreclosures will now be moving up the price chain.

Emphasis added.

Posted in mortgage crisis | Comments Off on “We’re all subprime now.” –CR

Epic Blago Fail

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 9, 2008

Word has hit that Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich tried to stiff-arm Obama’s transition team into giving him a plum job in exchange for picking somebody they’d like to see fill Obama’s seat, then got increasingly angry as the Obama people refused to play ball.

Why do we know this? Because Patrick Fitzgerald, the scourge of corrupt politicians of all parties, had Blago’s office phone tapped as a part of the ongoing Rezko probe. Ooooops. Now Blago’s in the pokey, along with his chief of staff.

I was wondering when Blago would be fitted for the orange jumpsuit he’s destined to be wearing for the next ten years or so. Now we know.

Posted in Barack Obama, Chicago, corruption, crimes, cronies, eedjits, Fitzgerald, WTF? | 3 Comments »

Reluctance To Help Detroit Reeks Of Class Bias

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 9, 2008

So says Warren Brown. Testify, brother!

There is a feeling in this country — apparent in the often condescending, dismissive way Detroit’s automobile companies have been treated on Capitol Hill — that people who work with their hands and the companies that employ them are inferior to those who work with their minds and plow profit from information. How else to explain the clearly disparate treatment given to companies such as Citigroup and General Motors?

Let us stipulate for the record that both Citigroup and GM have made their share of management errors. Citigroup made loans it should not have made and sold lots of commercial paper it should have trashed. But Congress offered barely a whimper of protest to the government’s emergency action granting Citigroup $25 billion in bailout money. Similarly, the Mob of Pundits seemed not to care much that many of Citigroup’s managers remained just as rich after the federal bailout as they did before receiving the government’s aid.

What Citigroup manager was dragged to Capitol Hill to publicly present a long-term plan for business profitability and viability?
Did I miss something?


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

New malaria vaccine

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2008

Bejon et al., NEJM:

Worldwide, the mortality and morbidity associated with Plasmodium falciparum malaria are high. Progress has been made in controlling malaria by introducing insecticide-treated nets and highly effective artemisinin-based combination treatments. There is evidence that the incidence of malaria is falling in some areas. These advances have renewed interest in the prospects for the control of malaria and even its elimination in areas in which P. falciparum was previously endemic. A safe and affordable vaccine providing protection against malaria would be an important addition to control strategies and should be assessed in the context of the use of insecticide-treated nets and the availability of artemisinin-based combination treatments….

The candidate pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine RTS,S targets the circumsporozoite protein and has been evaluated in combination with two different adjuvant systems… Preliminary estimates of rates of efficacy against infection after curative antimalarial treatment were 34% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8 to 53) in adults and 66% (95% CI, 43 to 80) in infants. The rate of efficacy against the more clinically relevant end point of clinical malaria in children 1 to 4 years of age was 30% (95% CI, 11 to 45).

Posted in science and medicine | Comments Off on New malaria vaccine

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