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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GOP Senator implies we were more free without women on the Supreme Court.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R - OK) suggested that in the Supreme Court hearings for Elena Kagan.

Next he will come out and say we were more free before women were given the vote, or maybe even before the abolition of slavery because according to the Palin wing of the GOP, African Americans aren't 'real Americans'.

A soon to be former GOP Senator finally gets a grip on reality

Sen. Bob Bennett is the current GOP Senator for Utah. He will not be running for election in November. Despite his conservative credentials he lost the nomination earlier this year.

In Utah, the GOP picks it's candidates at a party convention and Bennett was just not conservative enough for the Tea Party crazies who packed the convention.

In a speech he said:

"As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas," Bennett said. "And indeed, if you raise specific ideas and solutions, as I tried to do on health care with Ron Wyden, you are attacked with the same vigor as we've seen in American politics all the way back to the arguments over slavery and polygamy. You are attacked as being a wimp, insufficiently pure, and unreliable."

That's the new GOP. Lot's of slogans and no solutions or ideas.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Michelle Bachmann is really really dumb

I don't want the United States to be in a global economy

We already are, and have been for at least 100 years. Michelle Bachmann is living proof that being totally ignorant is not a barrier to success.

No wonder corporations break the law

A proposed anti-trust settlement between the U.S. Justice Department and a subsidiary of energy giant National Grid is under fire for allegedly being too lenient to the power company -- and critics say it's just another sign of a dysfunctional regulatory climate.

National Grid subsidiary Keyspan Energy has been accused of using Enron-style tactics to manipulate the New York State energy market between 2006 and 2008, a scheme which withdrew power capacity from the market, raising prices and increasing profits for the power distributor.

But now Congressman Dennis Kucinich has joined consumer groups and regulatory agencies to urge the Justice Department to reconsider the settlement that requires the company to pay $12 million penalty to the government while not refunding a single dime of the $100 million the market manipulation cost consumers.

More here. More here.

World Cup 1994 - Brazil - Netherlands

Holland plays Brazil in the quarter finals of the World Cup on Friday. They have had a few epic meeting before, none more so that in 1974 in Germany.

The great Dutch team led by Johann Cruyff met a very un-Brazilian team that forsake 'the beautiful game' for something a lot uglier. With most of the 1970 team retired, they decided that the only way to stop the Dutch was to foul them. Enforcement of dirty play was a lot laxer back then. A rugby tackle from behind by Brazil was punished with only a yellow card. Not that Holland couldn't dish it out themselves.

The highlight clip is about 10 minutes but worth watching, not just for the retro hairstyles but for the flashes of brilliance and some of the nastiest fouls you've ever seen.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Republicans holding back economic recovery

Republicans are blocking a number of bills designed to help the economy. Among them are extending unemployment insurance, blocking aid to schools to prevent an estimated 300,000 layoffs and blocking aid to states experiencing huge budget deficits.

Without these bills, the economic recovery, such as it is, will stall and the country could slip back into recession. Contributing to the failure of Obama's economic policies has been a stated goal of the Republican Party since he was elected. GOP election goals take precedence over the health of the economy. Par for the course.
The Democrats need to be pounding them on this continually.

How America is screwing up education.

Budget cuts are forcing schools to close or cut back on libraries and are instead pouring more money into standardized testing. The Obama administration and Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education have directed most stimulus money earmarked for education to testing.

While standardized testing should be a part of education, making it the focus is illogical and damaging. The prime goal of education should be to broaden a student's horizons, to stimulate their imaginations and to encourage critical thinking. Testing narrows their perspective and their thinking.

It's come to the point where the only metric for measuring success in education is test scores. Teaching 'to the test' has become the norm. It can only lead to future generations ability to think limited in scope.

The full article here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup 1982 - Brazil - Italy - classic games

Many think the Brazilian team of 1982 was the best in the post Pele years.
Brazil needed a draw from the last game of the second round group to reach the semi-final. Italy had started badly, barely scraping through the first round before hitting their stride. Italy needed a win.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too much Government regulation is the problem with the oil spill

This according to the Tea Party backed GOP candidate for Governor of Oklahoma. State senator Randy Brogdon believes the free market can take care of the problem.

In Oklahoma, where oil and natural gas drive the state’s economy, tea party favorite Randy Brogdon, a Republican candidate for governor, said federal involvement in the BP disaster is only making the situation worse.

“This is a perfect example of why government should never be involved in the private sector,” said Brogdon, a state senator campaigning on limited federal government. “Government is not the solution. It’s the problem. The more government tries to get in and regulate the free market, the worse things become.”

The disaster was not a problem caused by government regulations but the lack of enforcement. In the Bush years, the MMS (Materials Management Service) that is supposed to oversee oil wells among other things had become utterly corrupt. Drug use and inappropriate sex was the norm between the industry and employees of the MMS. Forms were filled in by oil company reps in pencil for MMS employees to then ink in the document. It allowed BP to rack up 760 major violations in a three year period that they could write off to the cost of doing business.

The free market is working to some degree and BP are paying for their negligence.

BP more popular than Saddam Hussein

But not by much. A new NBC poll found the company has a 6% favorability rating. The lowest ratings ever were for Saddanm Hussein and Fidel Castro who both got a 3% rating. Yasir Arafat got 4% but O.J. Simpson was away ahead of BP at 11%.

You can always rely on the Texas GOP for a dose of the crazy

The Texas GOP has voted on it's new platform and as usual it's good for a barrel of laughs, that is unless you live in Texas. They were very upset when the Supreme Court overturned a law banning sodomy in 2003 that had stood on the books since 1860. Now they have gone even further. The want to make oral sex illegal as well as wanting to restore the old sodomy laws.

The platform also demands that performing a gay marriage be made a criminal act. It also wants to make all sexually oriented business including strip clubs illegal. I guess Michael Steele, GOP Party Chairman will have no reason to visit Texas any more.

Remember this is coming from the party of 'small government' that also advocates as little government interference in our lives. I guess that only applies to matters of which they approve. Someone should also tell them that oral sex and sodomy is quite common in the heterosexual world, although obviously not in theirs where I am sure occasional perfunctory sex is the norm.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup - miss of the tournament.

African teams can't do anything right at the tournament when so much was expected of them.

Miss of the Wirld Cup

African teams just can't do anything right in the tournament they were supposed to shine.

Will it ever end

BP removes the cap.  Oil gushing again. 

Classic Kinks

Thomas Sowell - conservative columnist and delusional paranoid.

At about the same time, during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law "for the relief of the German people."
That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people — indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others.
If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.
Remember when Liberals got excoriated for even daring to link Nazi Germany and Bush in any way.  
Sorry for the absence.   A little OD on the World Cup as well as writing for two soccer blogs at the same time.  Normal service will resume today.  

USA!!! USA!!!  Awesome, thrilling stomach turning game for those who watched. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

This is not a joke - Tea Party rolls out their own superhero

Get ready for Microman brought to you by America's own 'superhero' Joe the Plumber. From their press release:

This toast to the Tea Party movement and American freedom stars Microman, the new hero of the conservative right. Microman loves liberty and loves his life. He just doesn't like the notion of paying taxes on his hard-earned money and watching his country turn socialist.

Presented in a series of original comic strips, Microman's humorous musings on education, fiscal policy, foreign affairs, healthcare, and more will make readers laugh and feel good about fighting for the principles our Founding Fathers set forth.

Here is a sample.  Click on the image for a larger view. What's worse is they actually think it's funny. 

Some bright morning music - the great Bill Monroe

The 7 Dumbest Things BP Has Said

1. The 'Tiny' Spill
Last month, BP CEO Tony Hayward said in an interview with The Guardian that the amount of oil and dispersant in the Gulf of Mexico were relatively "tiny" compared to the "very big ocean."

"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."

It gets worse.

World Cup 2002 - 10 Best Goals

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BP's logic defies explanation

In a letter, BP said it never follows a federal law requiring it to certify that a blowout preventer device would be able to block a well in case of an emergency. The inquiry stemmed from a hearing in May into the Gulf oil spill from the explosion and fire which sank the Deepwater Horizon rig.

But, at the same time, the British oil giant blamed the federal oversight agency, Minerals Management Service, for not asking it to comply with the law.

Read the full article here.

By the same logic I could rob a bank and claim that and use the defense that the police did nothing to stop me. Something is definitely wrong with these people.

Hitler hates the vuvuzela

Four minutes of condensed obfuscation

Tony Heyward CEO of BP in front of the House of Representatives today. Listen at the very end. At least he answered honestly that it was Thursday.

Rush Limbaugh - How low can he go?

An article from  reports that 16 million children will go hungry this summer once free or subsidized school lunches are no longer available.

His lardness has a solution for the problem. He said he will have a daily feature through the summer called, "Where to find food".

And, of course, the first will be: "Try your house." It's a thing called the refrigerator. You probably already know about it. Try looking there. There are also things in what's called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you're going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dips and maybe a can of corn that you don't want, but it will be there. If that doesn't work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald's....
There's another place if none of these options work to find food; there's always the neighborhood dumpster. Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August.

No comment is needed.

The sound is a little rough but, hey, It's only rock n' roll.

Rep. Joe Barton (R- Tex) apologizes to BP

Barton apologizes to BP because the government has pushed them to set up the $20 billion escrow fund to compensate victims of the oil spill.  How dare they!.  Some Republicans have backed away from the statement but many are standing behind it.  Good luck defending that in the November elections. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16 - National Youth Day in South Africa

On June 16, 1976 police opened fire on a peaceful protest of high school students in Soweto who were protesting the government's decree forcing black students to have their lessons conducted in Afrikaans, the language that symbolized Apartheid. Black South Africans spoke their own tribal language and English, not Afrikaans hence the protest.

Hector Peterson all of 12 years old, was one of the first to be felled by police bullets. Police claimed 23 students died that day but the unofficial estimates are far higher. It precipitated the Soweto Uprising which was the turning point in the eventual downfall of Apartheid at the beginning if the 1990's. Rioting continued for much of 1976 and eventually brought the liberation struggle led by the ANC from the borders of South Africa into Soweto and black townships all across South Africa.

A memorial and museum to the struggle and to Hector Pieterson stands near the spot where he was felled. Below is the picture that became a symbol for the fight against Apartheid. Pieterson was bundled into a press car and rushed him to a nearby clinic but he was pronounced deas on arrival.

The memorial has become a major tourist attraction.

South African didn't just lose a football game today. It lost one of it's talented singers, Busi Mhlongo who died at 62 today from breast cancer. Her Genre is Maskanda music which has evolved from traditional Zulu music blending more western influences.

China is big a country that needs a bunch of stuff - Fox News

Brilliant analysis from Fox News - skewered here by Jon Stewart.

Ore on Terror
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Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann - comedy duo

Sarah Palin got the ball rolling last night on Bill O'Reilly's show last night. She started out by laying the entire blame for not stopping the oil leak on Obama. That's par for the course in Palin's alternative universe. Then she truly ventured into the surreal when she suggested Obama blew it because he didn't consult the Dutch, who, after all know how to build dikes. Even O'Reilly was incredulous.

Then Michelle Bachmann (R -Minn) stepped up to the plate to provide her dose of crazy. In a speech to the Heritage Foundation she criticized the idea of an escrow account paid for by BP to compensate victims of the oil spill.

"The president just called for creating a fund that would be administered by outsiders, which would be more of a redistribution-of-wealth fund," said Bachmann. "And now it appears like we'll be looking at one more gateway for more government control, more money to government."

The Heritage Foundation folks lapped this up because in their world we should just leave large corporations alone because we can trust them. In their alternative universe BP are doing a great job so why force them to set up the escrow account.

'We're not going to be chumps, and we're not going to be fleeced.' And they shouldn't be. They shouldn't have to be fleeced and make chumps to have to pay for perpetual unemployment and all the rest -- they've got to be legitimate claims."

Not only is she completely brain dead, she can barely speak coherently.

Top 10 goals - France 1998

As well as Beckham's moment of madness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Glenn Beck is...................(fill in the blank)

It happens every World Cup just like clockwork. The far right whines about football (the real football where people use their feet). On cue Glenn Beck chimes in.

"It doesn't matter how you try to sell it to us,It doesn't matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn't matter how many bars open early, it doesn't matter how many beer commercials they run, we don't want the World Cup, we don't like the World Cup, we don't like soccer, we want nothing to do with it."

More Americans bought tickets for the current World Cup in South Africa than any other nation. How do you explain that, you cretin? I know what the answer would be, "They are not real Americans." It's amazing that people like him and Sarah Palin can determine from their lofty perches who or who is not a real American.

G. Gordon Liddy, famous ex-felon piped in as well:

"Whatever happened to American exceptionalism? This game ... originated with the South American Indians and instead of a ball, they used to use the head, the decapitated head, of an enemy warrior."

In their tiny minds American exceptionalism cannot apply to anything where we can't be number one. He's also wrong on the historical context of the origins of football but that matters little to people like him. More kids play football/soccer than any other sport in America. In their tiny minds we are obviously breeding a future generation of subversive foreign influenced citizens who are not 'real Americans'.

The World Cup brings people of the world together in a celebration that even exceeds the Olympics but that matters little to these people who believe other nations do not matter. The more the U.S. team succeeds, the more these idiots will get pissed off. If for no other reason, that gives reason to cheer them on.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Idiot of the day - State Rep Rex Duncan (R) Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Rep. Rex Duncan (R) is pushing for a ballot measure that would prohibit courts from considering international or sharia law when deciding cases. He says the measure is a "preemptive strike" against "liberal judges" who want to "undermine those founding principles" of America.

For one, liberal ideals are diametrically opposed to Sharia law as they are to any other religious laws or principles that discriminate or curtail basic freedoms.

Just another example of the paranoia of the right.

Great WC Goals - Maxi Rodriguez: Argentina - Mexico 2006

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The wrong policy at the wrong time

If Chuck Lacasse had gotten his pink slip four days earlier, Uncle Sam would have covered most of his family's health insurance while he looked for a new job.

But Congress allowed emergency health care assistance for unemployed workers to expire May 31, and seems unwilling to renew it despite pleas from President Barack Obama.

On Saturday night, the White House released a letter Obama sent to congressional leaders of both parties asking for nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments to fend off "massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters" and to prevent a possible double-dip recession.

Obama is 100% right. States and cities have been hit hard by the recession both in lower tax revenues and in higher unemployment insurance and health care costs. States and cities are for the most, reluctant to raise taxes to offset these deficits so the scissors are out in full force cutting and cutting.

The result is an estimated 300,000 teacher layoffs not to mention police, firefighters and other city and state employees. The result will be that the modest job gains of the past few months will be reversed and spending will drop.

Obama has asked for $60 billion in emergency aid to states and cities to stem the bleeding. Republicans, who have suddenly discovered the religion of deficit reduction after their own bout of profligate spending under Bush are unanimously opposed to it. Enough moderate Democrats have joined the bandwagon to give the bailout little chance of ever passing.

Beyond the economic impact is the social impact that will be felt for years. Declining education standards will be inevitable if these cuts are made. Cutting health care costs could merely shift the cost burden from providing people coverage to paying for emergency room visits being used by people as a last resort.

I have mentioned this before but will do it again. After World War II the deficit as a proportion of GDP was far higher than it is today. If this current lot had been in power back then they would have cut spending. Instead the government invested in G.I. Bill which allowed returning veterans to go to college for free. Prior to the war, college was the exception but became the expected. These educated GI's became the backbone of the phenomenal growth of the 1950's and beyond. Imagine where we would be if that bill was killed by today's deficit hawks.

The same could be applied to the Marshall Plan which allowed Europe to get back on it's feet so much faster to become a valuued trading partner for America. It could also be applied to the building of the Interstate highway system which allowed goods to be moved far faster and far more efficiently.

Instead the deficit hawks want to ignore every economic principle and lead the country back into economic recession and social stagnation.

Friday, June 11, 2010

South Africa 1 - Mexico 1

Siphiwe Tshabalala scored an instant classic and the South African commentators and crowd celebrate.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Supreme Court - Corporations best friend

In a follow up the the Citizen's United ruling giving corporations free reign to spend on elections a brief one page ruling has cemented that philosophy.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court cut off additional matching funds for three Arizona candidates who are participating in that state's public campaign finance system for the upcoming August 24 primary, thereby significantly benefiting a fourth candidate who has not accepted public financing.

Under Arizona's Clean Elections program, which was enacted in 1998 following a gambling-related bribery scandal, if one candidate in a state election decides to forego public funding in order to seek large private donations, the other candidates become entitled to additional matching funds. Several conservative candidates had challenged this system on the grounds that it "chilled" their freedom of speech by giving them a motivation to limit their own private spending.

This means that a fourth candidate, a wealthy businessman can outspend his opponents at will.

Read the editorial in the NY Times titled 'Keeping Politics Safe for the Rich'

The "Rainbow Nation" of South Africa gets into the spirit

Bafana Bafana (boys, boys in Zulu) are ready behind a united nation to show the world tomorrow in the opening game against Mexico.  Watch ESPN tomorrow at 7 AM PST to enjoy the passion and the excitement.

Double click on the video to see the full screen. For some reason blogspot doesn't allow the wide screen view.

World Cup - South Africa's chance to shine

History will be made on Friday, June 11 when the biggest sporting event kicks off in South Africa. It’s the first time the soccer World Cup is taking place on the African continent, but more importantly it’s being played in a country that was an international pariah less than a generation ago.

As recently as 1990 South Africa was barred from all sporting events because of Apartheid and racial discrimination that embroiled the country in prolonged violence that threatened to become a full scale war.

As someone who grew up in South Africa during the time of Apartheid, I believed that if change came it would be accompanied by a war so brutal few would be left standing at the end. Instead we saw sworn enemies sit down to discuss the country’s future as Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison in 1990 to help forge a new South Africa. Four years later he was elected President when all non-white South Africans were allowed to vote for the first time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

There is nothing that they won't say

Yesterday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) took to the House floor to defend Israel’s reaction to the Turkish Gaza flotilla. During his speech, he compared Israelis to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers at airports and suggested that the  Obama administration would condone an attack on them.

I don't a problem with him defending Israel, as has the administration but this comment crosses the line.
How would we react in America if people who decided to “peacefully” overwhelm security at our airports to get on an airplane — for benevolent causes — and they stab or beat security agents at our airports. We don’t put up with that. Well, I don’t know. Maybe this administration would.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The story of the stadium where the U.S. will play England on Saturday

Next Saturday, the U.S. will face England at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg or to be more specific in Phokeng just outside Rustenburg. The story of the stadium goes all the way back to the 12th century when the Bafokeng nation migrated from East Africa over a prior period of 200 years settling in the Rustenburg valley, They decided to settle there because the valley collected a lot of overnight dew and the people believed that this indicated that the land would be fertile and the people would prosper.

This is what happens when you pick the right people to run the country

Obama has also called in some of the many scientists on the federal payroll, led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Chu at one point pushed the unusual idea of using gamma rays to peer into the blowout preventer to determine if its valves were closed, a technique he experimented with in graduate school while studying radioactive decay.

The suggestion at first elicited snickering and "Incredible Hulk" jokes. Then they tried it, and it worked. "They weren't hot on his ideas," a senior White House official said of BP's initial reaction to Chu's suggestions. "Now they are."

From the Washington Post.

This is what happens when you pick industry cronies to run the country.

Great WC goals - Arie Haan - Holland - West Germany 1978

California is so screwed

California goes to the polls tomorrow in a primary election, mainly to choose the Republican challengers for Barbara Boxer's Senate seat and the governor's office to replace the Governator who has been termed out. More critically, a couple of initiatives are up that can prove costly for Californians. They are veiled in so much deceptive rhetoric and both are being heavily funded by a single corporation. It is obvious that can only mean the measures serve only the interests of that corporation and not the people of California.

The highest profile initiative -- Proposition 16 -- is backed and financed by Pacific Gas and Electric, the private, for-profit electric company which supplies energy to nearly two thirds of northern California.

Proposition 16 would require any city or county in the state seeking to start its own municipal utility to get approval from two thirds of its voters. Opponents of the initiative say that if approved it will give PG&E and other existing companies a virtual monopoly, locking out potential public sector rivals in perpetuity.

So far PG&E has spent an estimated 46 million dollars on its campaign, blitzing local television, radio and newspapers with hard-hitting ads touting the measure as the "Taxpayers Right to Vote."

Opponents however are hamstrung because the law forbids municipal power providers from spending any money on electioneering. The "No on 16" campaign is staffed exclusively by volunteers and has so far raised only 80,000 dollars.

Anything that is called a "Taxpayers Right to Vote" will outwardly appear as a positive issue for voters. The demand that a local government needs a two thirds majority will have trouble because PG&E will pour money into fighting any such initiative. The result will be a lot less potential for competition for PG&E couched in the dishonesty of protecting taxpayers.

The other ballot measure being decided Tuesday, Proposition 17, is being funded by Mercury Insurance, which has spent more than 15 million dollars on the campaign. Supporters say the measure is designed to allow drivers to keep loyalty discounts even if if they switch insurance companies.

Opponents say Proposition 17 will allow insurance companies to raise rates by imposing premium surcharges that are currently illegal.

"When was the last time an insurance company spent millions to save you money?," the "Stop Prop 17" campaign asks on its website.

It is now surprise that California is floundering in a sea of red ink when such corporate dishonesty is legitimized under the veil of benefiting the public when it does just the opposite.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Arianna Huffington nails it

Isn't it interesting how so many Gulf state Republicans are anti-big government -- until they need its help? It's "big government for me, but not for thee." You know what they say: a Republican is just a Democrat who hasn't been the victim of a catastrophic oil spill yet. The BP disaster is the inevitable result of the Bush-era habit of filling regulatory agencies with industry lobbyists and cronies.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why the 'real' football matters

So that's my charge to you, gentle reader. If you've never watched a football game, watch a World Cup match or two. If nothing else, you'll see the best practitioners of the sport bringing their best game, and it never hurts to watch excellence in action. More to the point, you'll get a taste of something that the rest of the world cares passionately about. In these troubled and isolated times in America, it couldn't hurt at all for us to understand the passions of our foreign friends, competitors, even enemies. Watch the World Cup. Ignore who wins or loses. Just watch the story unfold. To do so teaches us all something vital about the world we live in and the people we share our planet with. Trust me, an America population turned on to the World Cup won't bring about international harmony and joy, but it just might be a start. And a pretty damn riveting one at that.

The full article here.

The Grateful Dead doing what they do best from their seminal Europe '72 tour.

Great WC goals - Bakary Kone - Ivory Coast - Netherlands 2006

The Ivory Coast team have no luck. In their final warm up game today Didier Drogba, one of the best strikers in the world broke his arm against Japan and he will probably miss the entire cup. He's having an operation tomorrow to see if it will still allow him to play. They will need him with their first two games being against Portugal and Brazil. They can't seem to get a break in the World Cup. At their debut in 2006 they had the daunting task of opening against Argentine and then having to play Holland in their group, losing both games by 2-1 despite playing both teams even.

Drogba is noted for helping end Ivory Coasts civil war in 2005. My earlier post post on this story.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jon Stewart nails Glenn Beck for lying - what a surprise!!!

Glenn Beck Airs Israeli Raid Footage
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Words fail me

An Arizona elementary school mural featuring the faces of kids who attend the school has been the subject of constant daytime drive-by racist screaming, from adults, as well as a radio talk-show campaign (by an actual city councilman, who has an AM talk-radio show) to remove the black student’s face, and now the school principal has ordered the faces of the Latino and Black students to be changed to Caucasian skin.

From the Arizona Republic:
A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school. The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity ….

R.E. Wall, director of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town’s most prominent intersections.

“We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” Wall said. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”

Blithering idiot alert

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) described 290,000 new jobs as "disappointing news." He followed that with this Twitter
Jobs report underscores the need to repeal & replace #ObamaCare, & pass the spending cuts economists say we need to boost the economy.
I challenge Boehner to find one legitimate economist who believes that cutting spending will boost the economy.

This, of course, is the same man who was absolutely certain that the Clinton economic plan would be a massive failure, was completely convinced that Bush's economic policies would produce extraordinary prosperity, and just knew beyond a doubt that the recovery efforts that have produced 2.8 million jobs so far would hurt the economy.

Clinton's massive failure produced over 8 million new jobs and left a budget surplus of over $200 billion. Bush's extraordinary prosperity left was with a final year deficit of $1.3 trillion and an economy in the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Why anyone would take this guy seriously on economic policy is a mystery to me.

Senator Vitter of Louisiana wanted to limit oil co's liability

David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana proposed a bill in 2000 to reduce criminal liability for oil companies. Fortunately the bill never made it onto the floor. If it had and had been passed it would now be almost impossible to bring criminal charges against BP.

Vitter, best known for his dalliances with professional women, made it clear that his loyalty wasn't to the people of Louisiana who he ostensibly represents but to large corporations.

Quote of the day

"I simply misremembered it wrong"

GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk of Illinois who is proving to be a serial exaggerator of his military record.

More political entertainment from South Carolina

It started with Gov. Mark Sanford adding the phrase, "hiking the Appalachian Trail" to the lexicon of euphemisms when the recently married Governor took of to dally with his Argentinian mistress. More recently, Nikki Haley the GOP frontrunner to succeed Sanford has been dealing with two accusations of having an affair. In one of them, a well known conservative blogger provided evidence that didn't entirely prove he was telling the truth but an air of suspicion remains.

Then today, a neanderthal State Senator Jake Knotts said:
We already got one raghead in the White House, we don’t need a raghead in the governor’s mansion.
Nikki Haley was raised in the Sikh faith although she is now a practicing Christian which is essential to being a Republican in South Carolina.

I am sure there will be more to amuse us.

Great World Cup goals - Johann Cruyff - Holland - Brazil 1974

Thursday, June 3, 2010

World Cup stories - The strange case of Byron Moreno

One of the frustrations of the World Cup is the inconsistent refereeing. Game officials are drawn from all the continental football federations and to be honest the best tend to be from Europe. There is no bias in this statement but the European refs deal with club teams with enough talent to take on the best national teams. The European game, where all the top players no matter their nationality, is a lot faster and the European refs are wise to the players' well honed skills of diving and other trickery to bemuse refs .

A referee whose experience is Ecuadorian league games might be a little out of his depth in the charged atmosphere of a World Cup 2nd round game as was Byron Moreno who hailed from Ecuador. He looked like he was pulled out of central casting in Hollywood to play a sadistic Central American police officer interrogating a gringo couple trying to explain how ten pounds of cocaine had mysteriously appeared in the false bottom of their luggage at the airport.

He was in charge of the second round Italy - South Korea game in 2002, won by the hosts in a manner that caused the Italian manager Giovanni Trapattoni to accuse FIFA of fixing the game to ensure the hosts progress in the tournament. While that was a dubious accusation at best, there is no doubt Moreno handed the Koreans the game on a silver platter. Not only did he call a perfectly good Italian goal offside in extra time he also gave Francesco Totti a red card for a second yellow for diving. While there was little foot contact with the Korean defender there certainly was enough head contact to bring Totti down. Moreno later blamed the linesman for the errors and he understandably played no further role in the tournament.

A further blown call in the quarter final helped South Korea beat Spain on penalties after two Spanish goals had been disallowed.

The story gets really interesting after Moreno returned to Ecuador. With his looks he fancied a suitable career was in politics and he ran for the Quito city council. During the heat of the election he was tasked with officiating a game between a local team and one from Guayaquil the second largest city in Ecuador. The local team were down 3-2 when Moreno signaled six minutes of injury time. His watch must have malfunctioned because injury time lasted a full thirteen minutes giving the local team enough time to score two goals and win. The fact that he was also accused of falsifying the minutes in which Liga de Quito scored their equalizing and winning goals in his official match report ensured both a 20 game suspension as well as his election to the council.

In his third game following his suspension he sent off three players from the home team allowing the visiting team from Quito to salvage a draw. Another suspension followed after which he chose to retire from officiating to devote his full attention to his blossoming political career.

What about the children?

That was former GOP Congressman and Clinton impeachment meeister Henry Hyde's rhetorical question about the delicate question of why the president was being impeached. The true answer was a lot simpler. "We tried for five years to get the fucker until we hit paydirt when he couldn't keep his pants on."

These days the GOP answer to that question is very different It's "Sorry kids but you're shit out of luck." States and cities have seen the recession decimate their income particularly through declining property values translating into lower tax revenue so the scissors are coming out to cut everything they can. The two areas being hardest hit are education and health care for children. They can't afford to pay lobbyists so no one is going to bat for them and calling for tax increases these days is regarded as the moral equivalent of matricide.

Congress has been trying to pass a $23 billion bill to help states avoid education cuts. Republicans have stood firm in opposing this bill despite the fact that at least 300,000 teachers will be laid off in 2010.

We just got a dose of this in Los Angeles. The LAUSD is cutting over 200 special ed classes, closing an entire special ed school, virtually eliminating all music and arts studies and laying off over 1,000 employees.

Contrast this attitude with the immediate post World War II era. Despite the deficit from the war being over 100% of GDP at the end of the war, the government passed by a huge margin GI bill which gave all returning GIs a free college education. It created a pool of educated people that catapulted America into the position it precariously hangs on to currently. It turned going to college from being an exception to being the expected.

Instead we are depriving today's children of the most valuable asset they can have entering adulthood all because deficit hawks think that nothing else matters other than reducing the deficit without increasing taxes which, by the way, are at their lowest level since 1950. It does not bode well for the future if our next generation are not getting the best education possible.

Great WC goals - Joe Cole - England v Sweden 2006

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In a nutshell - what Obama said today

"As November approaches, leaders in the other party will campaign furiously on the same economic argument they’ve been making for decades. Fortunately, we don’t have to look back too many years to see how it turns out. For much of the last ten years, we tried it their way. They gave tax cuts that weren’t paid for to millionaires who didn’t need them. They gutted regulations, and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight. They shortchanged investments in clean energy and education; in research and technology. And despite all their current moralizing about the need to curb spending, this is the same crowd who took the record $237 billion surplus that President Clinton left them and turned it into a record $1.3 trillion deficit.

So we already know where their ideas led us. And now we have a choice as a nation. We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future. We can go backward, or we can keep moving forward.

I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward."

Predictably Jon Stewart skewers BP

BP ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation. Predictably the BP CEO lies about it.
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

BP Media clampdown, "No photos of dead animals, please"

BP is a private company with no legal right to bar people's legal right to access from anywhere but their own property.

Arianna Huffington poses a question about offshore tax havens

Why are they still allowed? They cost the Treasury over $100 billion a year, far more than enough to fund our education system that is currently being gutted by budget cuts across the country with an expected 300,000 teachers to be laid off this year alone. That does not bode well for the future of this country.
You want Exhibit A of two sets of rules? According to the White House, in 2004, the last year data on this was compiled, U.S. multinational corporations paid roughly $16 billion in taxes on $700 billion in foreign active earnings -- putting their tax rate at around 2.3 percent. Know many middle class Americans getting off that easy at tax time?

In December 2008, the Government Accounting Office reported that 83 of the 100 largest publicly-traded companies in the country -- including AT&T, Chevron, IBM, American Express, GE, Boeing, Dow, and AIG -- had subsidiaries in tax havens -- or, as the corporate class comically calls them, "financial privacy jurisdictions."
Almost all these companies receive large government contracts and additional tax breaks. One of the worst offenders is good old Halliburton, Dick Cheney's former company.
Perhaps no company exemplifies the corporate class/middle class double standard more than KBR/Halliburton. The company got billions from U.S. taxpayers, then turned around and used a Cayman Island tax dodge to pump up its bottom line. As the Boston Globe's Farah Stockman reported, KBR, until 2007 a unit of Halliburton, "has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven."

In 2008, the company listed 10,500 Americans as being officially employed by two companies that, as Stockman wrote, "exist in a computer file on the fourth floor of a building on a palm-studded boulevard here in the Caribbean." Aside from the tax advantages, Stockman points out another benefit of this dodge: Americans who officially work for a company whose headquarters is a computer file in the Caymans are not eligible for unemployment insurance or other benefits when they get laid off -- something many of them found out the hard way.
A watered down bill to address at least some of these iniquities barely passed in the house with all Republicans voting against it but it is expected to die in the Senate where enough Democratic corporate allies such as Chuck Schumer are expected to oppose even the few changes in the bill.

Former Florida GOP chairman arrested today

Former Florida Republican Party Chair Jim Greer was arrested this morning and charged with grand theft, attempt to defraud, and money laundering. Business as usual.

Sarah Palin's logic at work.

She claims the Deep Horizon oil spill proves her "drill here, drill now" plan for U.S. energy policy would have mitigated or forestalled the oil disaster in the Gulf...if only you redefine what she meant when she said that. She also managed to blame environmentalists for the spill.

I would appreciate it if someone could explain the logic behind this because I can't.

A "Morning Song for Sally" this early morning, wherever Sally may be. Nanci Griffith with Jerry Jeff Walker.

Young Boozer beats George Wallace Jnr in Alabama primary

No, the headline is not a joke. Young Boozer is a real name and yesterday he beat George Wallace Jnr. in the primary for job of treasurer for Alabama Here is what Boozer's web site says about him.

"Yes, Young Boozer is my real name. I was named after my father who first made his name as a football star for the University of Alabama. My father was named after his father who served as Mayor of Samson, Alabama." He has also passed the family name on to his son Young Boozer.

I guess the people of Alabama would rather have a Boozer than a racist minding their money although to be fair to Wallace Jnr. I would hope he hasn't continued his father's politics. I guess just his name alone makes Alabamans nervous.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Great WC goals - Pierre Njanka - Cameroon - Austria 1998

WC stories - Africa rising

Argentina v. Cameroon, opening game 1990

Before FIFA changed the qualification rules, the opening match of the finals always featured the previous champion. In 1990 in Italy, Cup holders Argentina were drawn against the un-fancied and relatively unknown Cameroon side. Africa had become known as a fertile treasure trove of talent, but with little to show from its national teams in world competition.

A swaggering Maradona, the Argentine legend, casually bounced the ball on his left shoulder as he trotted around before the kick-off. The Cameroon goal was quickly under assault, their goalie Nkono saving them twice, but Cameroon fought back and only a desperate clearance off the goal line saved Argentina.

Fifteen minutes into the second half Cameroon were down to ten men when Kana Biyik was red carded after his legs got tangled up with those of Italian forward Claudio Caniggia, ending his dazzling run down the right wing. It was now Argentina’s game to win, but eight minutes later a free kick from the left floated into the Argentine penalty area where Omam-Biyik rose to head it towards goal. What should have been an easy save was fumbled by Pumpido, the veteran Argentine keeper, and Cameroon were up 1-0.

Argentina piled on the pressure and with a few minutes left, Cameroon defender Massing was red carded for a vicious tackle leaving them to see out the match with nine men. Unbelievably, it was the upstart Africans who came closest to scoring in those final minutes in what continues to be one of the great World Cup upsets.

Both teams qualified out of the group. Cameroon went down a little unluckily to England in extra time of the quarter final, while Argentina lost a dull and ill- tempered final on a late penalty to West Germany. Since then, African teams
have improved to the point where, in this year’s competition, many are favored to go far on their home continent.

The slow poisoning of Americans

With salt under attack for its ill effects on the nation’s health, the food giant Cargill kicked off a campaign last November to spread its own message.
“Salt is a pretty amazing compound,” Alton Brown, a Food Network star, gushes in a Cargill video called Salt 101. “So make sure you have plenty of salt in your kitchen at all times.”
The campaign by Cargill, which both produces and uses salt, promotes salt as “life enhancing” and suggests sprinkling it on foods as varied as chocolate cookies, fresh fruit, ice cream and even coffee. “You might be surprised,” Mr. Brown says, “by what foods are enhanced by its briny kiss.”
By all appearances, this is a moment of reckoning for salt. High blood pressure is rising among adults and children. Government health experts estimate that deep cuts in salt consumption could save 150,000 lives a year.
Since processed foods account for most of the salt in the American diet, national health officials, Mayor Bloomberg of New York and  Michelle Obama are urging food companies to greatly reduce their use of salt. Last month, the Institute of Medecine went further, urging the government to force companies to do so. 
.The food industry is predictably fighting back    They can lower the salt content of processed foods but this would mean higher costs in using different solutions for flavoring and for preservatives.  When the link between salt and hypertension was first used by health advocates to regulate salt in 1978 the industry pushed back by denying the link.   

The song that helped put South African music on the map

BP CEO says he "wants his life back"

And the people of Louisiana want their gulf back.  They would also like to get their livelihoods back but that could take years.  Tony Heyward, the CEO is still getting his $4.5 million a year salary so I shed no tears for him.  The only sympathy he might find is from other overpaid executives who believe they are entitled to huge salaries and bonuses even when they totally screw up.

The only thing he deserves is immediate entry into the pantheon of brain dead insensitive idiots. 

World Cup goalies complain about the ball

As predictable as the sunrise, the lead up to the World Cup has engendered a slew of complaints about the new ball to be used at the World Cup.   A new ball is introduced every World Cup and predictably, every time the goalkeepers complain. 

Once the Cup starts the complaints invariably end and all is forgotten until the next new ball comes along.