Saturday, August 9, 2008

Russia, Georgia, Zbiggy, et al

I noted with little interest that Russia is attacking Georgia. Like most Americans, I figured it seems to have nothing to do with me. But just to be on the safe side, I read Jerome A Paris's diary at Kos today and then down into the comments.
I now know more than I thought I needed to and it turns out I need to know a lot more. Still, if you're interested in a short synopsis, one commenter did that:

i know nothing about this region other than what I have googled last night and this morning, and diaries I have read including this very helpful one.
so feel free to correct me if I am totally off base.
There is a pipeline that runs from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea through Azerbaijan and Georgia.  The pipeline was created by agreement of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and a group called SOCAR.  Despite the fact that SOCAR stands for "State Oil Company of Azerbaijan", SOCAR is actually made up of a consortium of oil companies including names we all know:  Exxon/Mobil, Chevron, BP, Amoco, and Montcrief.  Also involved is LUKOIL, the largest oil company in Russia.
The middle of the pipeline passes near the southern border of the area known as South Ossetia.  S.O. is a breakaway province that wants to be part of Russia instead of Georgia.  The South Ossetians broke away in the 90s and Russia recognized them and gave them dual citizenship.
The government of Georgia, fed up with breakway provinces, is trying to bring S.O. back into the fold.  A successful breakaway by S.O. would encourage the other separatist province, Abkhazia, on the northern border of Georgia on the Black Sea, to assert its independence as well. This would destablize Georgia and make it even more vulnerable.
As Jerome said, the US has a base near the pipeline that would make an attack on the pipeline an attack against the US.  The US would like for Georgia to be a member of NATO, further cementing its status as an independent country, which would also make an attack against Georgia by Russia an attack against all of NATO.  Russia's hidden in plain sight goal is to get all of Georgia back, including the pipeline and its very valuable connection between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, but Russia cannot attack Georgia directly.  So instead Russia is encouraging separatist movements in the North and applauding Kurdish violence in the South and hoping Georgia will fall apart on its own so that Russia can swoop in and pick up the pieces.  In the short term, they are at least trying to get control of South Ossetia which will put the Russian border a lot closer to the pipeline.
Have I pretty much got it?

  •  Pretty Much (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    don't forget
    a. That area is Russia's back yard. Stalin was born from that area.
    b. The "rose" revolution, is pretty much another neocon regime change effort.
    c. don't forget to google (google news) Israel-georgia. You'd be surprised.
    Same BS different days. The neocon decides to poke the bears eyes and the bear is kicking back.

These Are Called

Mental Health Breaks when Andrew Sullivan posts them.  It made me feel better.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Anger Causes Cancer

I don't believe that, but if it makes "womanofacertainage" feel better, or resolved or resigned, who am I to challenge her in her last days. I may be in my own last days. Who knows?
Anyway, here's a snippet for a really great essay.
Sometime around February, I became an Obama supporter.  And by that I mean that I decided to take him at his word and seriously consider the implications of doing politics HIS way.  Mind you, I am used to being on the losing end of presidential politics but I am not resigned to it by any means.  I spent so much energy in a rage over George Bush and the war in Iraq that I think that rage is partially responsible for the terminal cancer I have developed.  Being angry for a very long time KILLS a person.  And I was angry.  I wanted a Presidential candidate who would be an avenging angel, who would smite the godless republicans, who would punish them for their evil deeds, who would fearlessly force them to back down like the pack of snarling dogs they are.

But then, my teenage son, an Obama supporter since early 2007, started to seriously talk with me about politics and he opened my eyes to a few things. 

1.  He, and many other first time voters his age are truly sick and tired of the rage and the passion and the futility of what passes for politics in this country.  He did not then, and does not now, see Obama's refusal to play tit for tat as a sign of weakness.  Where many people see John McCain hitting and Obama not hitting back, others see Obama not getting all caught up in the bullshit, not losing focus, not playing the same tired game, the same tired way.  And they are refreshed and renewed.

Eggs For Money

C'mon, it has always been thus.
some women are finding alternate ways of making ends meet — through egg donation. Of course, the article is filled with the appropriate amount of "concern" and approbation that women are (gasp) selling their eggs as opposed to subjecting themselves to weeks of difficult and painful procedures simply out of the kindness of their baby-loving hearts. I don't recall there being this kind of paternalism present when it was more common for men to jerk off in cups for money to "help" women get pregnant, but it wasn't that much money, either. Sperm are a dime a dozen, but eggs are are just half a cell away from being citizens if some people have their way.

Olympic Politics

Two new ads from our favorite presidential candidates.

Before you get all incensed, McCain's ad is deliberately misleading and/or inaccurate (i.e. lie).

Chick Flicks

A couple over at Huffpo have picked the top 10 "relationship movies" but we know what they mean. They mean the kind your male companion will watch with you out of indulgence when he'd rather be seeing Hellboy II. (By the way, I just watched Hellboy so I'd be prepared for Hellboy II. It was pretty good, but no Moonstruck.)

In no particular order, here are the movies I've seen in the last year or so that I really, really liked. If you don't, that's fair.
No Country for Old Men (best, actually, and by the way, I hated, hated, hated There Will Be Blood), Away From Her, Michael Clayton (second best), The Savages, Wal-E, I Am Legend and that movie about the Irish busker and the Eastern European girl the name of which I can't remember.

Oh, here's the first half of the list. They publish the last half Aug. 15.
1. Moonstruck

2. The Holiday

3. The January Man

4. Truly, Madly, Deeply

5. Monsoon Wedding

John Edwards on John Edwards

Will the real John Edwards please stand up.
This is what he said today.
In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough. I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.
It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up -- feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.
I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say.

I don't care that he had an affair. I don't care if the baby is his. He put the party and the country at risk by running for president when this would have derailed us all.

John Kerry and John Edwards

from Bob Shrum via Andrew Sullivan today.
Kerry talked with several potential picks, including Gephardt and Edwards. He was comfortable after his conversations with Gephardt, but even queasier about Edwards after they met. Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he'd never told anyone else—that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he'd do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade's ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before—and with the same preface, that he'd never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn't pick Edwards unless he met with him again.
When they did, Kerry tried to get a better personal feel for his potential number two; as rivals for national office since 2000, shortly after Edwards had entered the Senate, the two men hadn't spent a lot of time together. Kerry also wanted a specific reassurance. He asked Edwards for a commitment that if he was chosen and the ticket lost, Edwards wouldn't run against him in 2008. Edwards agreed "absolutely," as Kerry recalled him saying. If Kerry had shared this at the time, I would have told him what I did later: it was naive to think he could rely on a promise like that.

No (Need For) Comment

"I think this President has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen."
-- John Edwards, quoted by the Raleigh News & Observer in 1999, on Bill Clinton.

I Want My Donation To John Edwards Returned

Fuck him.

Support Good Journalism

McClatchy, which owns a bunch of newspapers around the country including about four in Washington State and has 49 percent of the Seattle Times, is hurting as much as everyone else in the industry during this transitional period.
And they don't deserve it. Their Washington, D.C., bureau has always stood out, often alone, questioning the official version of events from the run-up to the war to the 2008 presidential campaign.
As you know, it's all about eyeballs now.
So go here, register and sign up for their newsletters. It may help them stay in business and continue doing what they do.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Special Presecutor, Yummm

From investigative reporter Murray Waas at Huffpo:
The Justice Department investigation into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys has been extended to encompass allegations that senior White House officials played a role in providing false and misleading information to Congress, according to numerous sources involved in the inquiry.
The widened scope raises the possibility that investigators will pursue criminal charges against some administration officials, and recommend appointment of a special prosecutor if there is evidence of criminal misconduct.
The investigators have been specifically probing the role of White House officials in the drafting and approval of a Feb. 23, 2007 letter sent to Congress by the Justice Department denying that Karl Rove (President Bush's chief political adviser at the time) had anything to do with the firing of Bud Cummins, a U.S. Attorney from Arkansas. Cummins was fired in Dec. 2006 to make room for Tim Griffin, a protégé and former top aide of Rove's.
Seems to me that David Iglesias, the fired federal prosecutor in New Mexico said this was coming before the election.
So my question is, if prosecutors recommend a special prosecutor and Mukasay says no, then what? Stay tuned.

He Often Seems a Little Confused

(Yah, I know you don't want to know, but here's a link so you can secretly look at it.)
McCain is 71.

A group of 856 people age 71 years and older who were participating in the national Health and Retirement Study...
About 22% of the older people had cognitive impairment that did not reach the threshold for dementia. Applied to people age 71 years or older in the United States in 2002, 5.4 million older people had cognitive impairment without dementia. Annually, about 8% of those who had cognitive impairment without dementia died and about 12% progressed to dementia. 
Just sayin'.

Save Your Intertubes, They're the Only Ones You've Got

Last Friday the FCC voted to punish Comcast for restricting internet access to its customers, a huge victory for those fighting for net neutrality, free access to everything all the time.
That's it in a nutshell.
Time to reinforce your support (you do support it, don't you? I mean, you're here) by contacting Congress. And thanks to the internet, it's wicked easy, Dawg.

Stuff Educated Black People Like

like Stuff White People Like, satirical commentary on a state of mind. Or lifestyle. Or something.

Good Morning

Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films is relentless. You can see more here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dawg, I Could Go For Some Good Bud Right Now

Rick Steves of travelogue fame and the Washington State ACLU have teamed up to make the case for decriminalization or something, but local stations have refused their half-hour video to broadcast before 1 a.m. So go the link and watch it, I might do that later.
Dawg, I could go for some good bud right now.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan picked this up about a raid in California:
According to the Los Angeles Times, witnesses described the DEA agents as "removing computers, medicine and money, and using a steel cylinder battering ram to get into the upstairs bedrooms." When they left four hours later, all that remained was "trash, counters strewn with open and empty glass jars, piles of receipts thrown on the ground, upturned couch cushions, bits of marijuana on the edges of counters and an ATM with its doors torn open and emptied. ... An outdoor vegetable garden had plants uprooted, along with marijuana plants removed by the agents."

Psst, gssp, gssp, gssp. Pass It Along

Poor John Edwards. Poor Elizabeth. Could it get any worse? Yeah, it could be in the New York Times instead of the National Enquirer. 
Maybe tomorrow.

Are You a Girl or a Boy?

Your browser history is one not very good indicator, but it's kind of fun, so try it.
Me? Heh, they've got this 64-year-old female political junkie at 8% likely to be female. Guess that puts me in some rarified company. Any of you out there? Call me, wink.

Exxon McCain

New DNC campaign launches today. Effective? You tell me.

UPDATE: Hmm, gotcha!
Money quote:
McCain is stuck in a conundrum: express support for the Gang of Ten and incur the wrath of anti-tax crusaders or continue rolling the dice against public opinion and risk being painted as a stooge of the oil lobby. His $1.3 million in oil and gas donations in June only furthers the frame.

The Gang of Ten is the bipartisan compromise that allows restricted offshore drilling but raises oil company taxes. Obama took a little heat for approving it, but McCain's stuck in an untenable position.
Maybe he'll flip flop, er, refine his position.

Hiroshima Anniversary Today

Here's True Majority's cheerful little reminder:

They're All Jealous

Isn't jealousy a female trait? Bill C., Jesse J., John Edwards and John McCain.

I said I'd never link to MoDo. Well, I've said a lot of things. Call me a flip flopper.
Andrew Sullivan cites her column today as the Irish Reagan Democrat at her best.
I'll just give her kudos for getting this quote (even though she's been known to make things up):
From a Republican colleague of McCain's:
John’s eaten up with envy,” said one. “His image of himself was always the handsome, celebrity flyboy.

Good Morning, Have A Cup Of Coffee

In fact, have two. Or better yet, four. It's good for you.
Another review found that compared with noncoffee drinkers, people who drank four to six cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, had a 28 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. This benefit probably comes from coffee’s antioxidants and chlorogenic acid.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Breaking! From Paris Hilton

See more funny videos at Funny or Die


is something they're proud of.
Supporters want Obama to hit back harder. Sounds like he is.
"they know they're's like these guys take pride in being ignorant."

Seattle: City At The End Of Time

Author Greg Bear is apparently a multitasker, check it out.

The 'I' Word

— impeachment — is being thrown around again, this time because of Ron Suskind's new book revealing a  White House ordered forged letter attempting to show Saddam's connection to AQ and yellow cake, created by the CIA in late 2003.
Two former CIA officials (one now with Blackwater!) are on the record about this.
It's all over the news with the release of Suskind's book today, but here's a Kos diary with links if you want.

Quote O' Teh Day

Andrew Sullivan chose this, and I second.
"I don't know if you know this. John McCain is looking for someone for vice president who has more economic expertise than he does. So congratulations to all of you, you’re on the short list," - John Kerry.


two old pros review the movies you haven't gotten around to see yet. I love 'em.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Krugman Approves

of Obama's oil plan detailed in today's speech in Lansing, MI, and Sullivan cringes. So it must be the right thing to do.

Starry, Starry Night

Apparently Second Life is cooler than I thought.

I Love the BBC

because they do stuff like this
I wonder if I can watch online..

It's A Gay Thing

and I'm in 100%.

First Obama Attack Ad

The 'roots like it. Today's his 47th birthday. People are donating $47.08. Hint.

Anthrax: Pro-War Conspiracy?

Andrew Sullivan seems to think it likely and links to both the New York Times' and Glenn Greenwald's extensive analysis of the laughable investigation and other evidence. I'm not going to read any more about it, I figure it's a given now. Thing is, is there criminality here? Can we get them on this?
Go to Sullivan for the links if you want them.

Update at TPM says White House pressured FBI to conclude or suggest that it was from the Middle East even though by then they knew it was weapons grade from our own lab. Whole thing makes me sick.

On October 15, 2001, President Bush said, "There may be some possible link" to Bin Laden, adding, "I wouldn't put it past him." Vice President Cheney also said Bin Laden's henchmen were trained "how to deploy and use these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together."

But by then the FBI already knew anthrax spilling out of letters addressed to media outlets and to a U.S. senator was a military strain of the bioweapon. "Very quickly [Fort Detrick, Md., experts] told us this was not something some guy in a cave could come up with," the ex-FBI official said. "They couldn't go from box cutters one week to weapons-grade anthrax the next."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dem Party Platform

Early draft includes calling Iraq invasion a blunder, universal health care to include public plan option but also option to retain current plan.

Glow-ri-a! Glow-ri-a!

Steinem with Ilene Chaiken, creator of "The L Word."
Picture The Ms. Foundation. 
Steinem interview in FT.

The Most Famous Poet

you never heard of. Ruben Dario.

The tree is happy because it is scarcely sentient;
the hard rock is happier still, it feels nothing:
there is no pain as great as being alive,
no burden heavier than that of conscious life.
To be, and to know nothing, and to lack a way,
and the dread of having been, and future terrors...
And the sure terror of being dead tomorrow,
and to suffer all through life and through the darkness,
and through what we do not know and hardly suspect...
And the flesh that temps us with bunches of cool grapes,
and the tomb that awaits us with its funeral sprays,
and not to know where we go,
nor whence we came!...

...and He's Black!

Okay, so today Lieberputz called Obama  a "good young man." Is that anything like a good darkie?
And Stephanoffagus noted the racial dog whistle stuff may be McCain's only strategy.
Omigod, is the media starting to catch on?
Well, if Mr. Bipartisan David Gergen has his way, he'll be shoving it down their throats until they cry Uncle.