Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jobs created or saved that may cause you to burst a blood vessel

From comes a list of the most ridiculous uses of stimulus funds.

Such genius job-creating/saving projects include:

  1. $9.3 million to fund design and construction of robotic bees.
  2. $427,000 to design better computer games for the elderly.
  3. $712,000 grant to develop "machine generated humor."

Well, I guess any replacement for David Letterman would be an improvement. Actually, this is a redundant project. Machine generated humor was invented a long time ago, though. See for yourself.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Those released from Guantanamo return to terrorism

This graphic nicked from the John Batchelor show website. Click for larger view. About 10% of those released from Guantanamo are suspected to have returned to terrorist activities. About 5% of those released have actually committed terrorist acts. Is this acceptable?

John Batchelor offered this commentary:

One or two of the GITMO detainees who were released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 are now reported to have assumed command authority of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that likely launched the Abdulmutallab plot. Also, news arrives and looks to be confirmed that some agents of the CIA discussed Abdulmutallab with his father, the Nigerian banker and former minister of state, on November 19, 2009. The details are spare. POTUS seems to have hurried out a statement from his Hawaiian vacation address that the Obama administration believes there has been a "catastrophic failure" by intelligence organizations. We do not yet know if the CIA ascertained information was passed on to the NCTC (National Counter Terrorism Center, commanded by Dennis Blair); nor do we know if the NTCT connected this CIA report to the Visa office at State or to the NAtional Security Council (the White House). It looks as if the information stayed at the NCTC until after the December 25 attack. We also do not know how the fact that Abdulmutullab was on the TIDE list of 550,000 names connected to the fact that he had been denied a UK Visa in May, 2009. The summary from my professionals this news cycle is that what we do not know of this case far outweighs what we do know. Late news is that Abdulmuttalab is a past president of the Islamic Society of the University College London (right, a lecture series organized by Abdulmutallab in January 2007). Three previous presidents are associated with terrorism. One is awaiting retrial on charges of trying to blow up airliners in 2006. Two others have been convicted of terrorism. More and more new coming. The little rich kid has been busy, and now he is the biggest problem the Obama administration can imagine for the New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lack of warming in USA demonstrated by sixth-grader

This is an example of citizen reporting that outdoes mainstream media reporting. You see, the little boy in this video is not afraid of losing access to government officials who might be offended by his digging into the official temperature data, and asking uncomfortable questions. Questions like: apart from the warming that occurs in the vicinity of urban areas, is the United States really showing the evidence of a general climate warming?

See for yourself:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Obama now a Patriot Act fan (but keep your voice down)

Patriot Act provisions expiring on 12/31:

1. Secret court permits roving wiretaps without identification of who is being targeted...

2. Secret court can order production of any item relevant to a FISA investigation (i.e. papers, records, documents...)

3. US may surveil non-US persons not connected to foreign government or organization if suspected of terrorism or intent.

Whether these are good laws or not, clearly Obama expressed some reticence about them before he became a candidate for President. Now, he is quietly seeking extension of these provisions. Also, Obama angered progressives earlier this year when he supported immunity for telecom companies who participated in the warrantless wiretapping program (thus quashing several lawsuits).

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

UPDATED 12/28: The original link seems to have been removed. However, there is an article on covering the same issue. Read it here: Obama Stares Down Patriot Act Criticism

Friday, December 25, 2009

On the confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Fed head

A letter to my senators, which could be regarded as an open letter to all senators, who are now faced with a vote to confirm the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve nominee, Ben Bernanke.


Dear Senator,

I want to follow up on my previous phone call to your office about the reconfirmation of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman. I urge you to vote against another term for him.

Bernanke is one of the architects of our financial collapse. Any vote to reconfirm Bernanke in his post is a vote for a blind and stupid monetary policy, failure to see and warn the public of problems with our financial foundations, and more favors to the "too big to fail" institutions who have fraudulently loaned money, traded those loans for profit, and charged the taxpayer for their criminality and wild risk-taking.

Let me briefly quote from Dean Baker in Counterpunch (, who says it more effectively than I could:

"If Bernanke knew what he was doing, he should have been able to see as early as 2002 that there was a housing bubble and that its collapse would throw the economy into a recession. It was also entirely predictable that the collapse could lead to a financial crisis of the type we saw, since housing was always a highly leveraged asset... as the bubble expanded, and the financial sector became ever more highly leveraged, the risks to the economy increased enormously.

"Through this all, Bernanke just looked the other way. The whole time he insisted that everything was just fine.

"To be clear, there was plenty that the Fed could have done to deflate the bubble before it grew to such dangerous proportions. First and foremost the Fed could have used its extensive research capabilities to carefully document the evidence for a housing bubble and the risks that its collapse would pose to the economy.

"It then should have used the enormous megaphone of the Fed chairman and the platform of the institution to publicize this research widely... It’s hard to believe that such warnings would have had no impact on the bubble, but it’s near criminal that the Fed never tried this route.

"The second tool that the Fed could have pursued was to crack down on the fraudulent loans that were being issued in massive numbers at the peak of the bubble... If Bernanke and his Fed colleagues did not know about these widespread abuses, it is because they deliberately avoided knowing.

"Finally, the Fed could have had a policy of interest rate hikes explicitly targeted to burst the bubble.

"This is what a responsible Fed policy would have looked like. But Ben Bernanke did not pursue a responsible Fed policy. He insisted that everything was just fine until he had to run to Congress last September, saying that if it didn’t immediately give $700 billion to the banks through the TARP program then the economy would collapse."

Bernanke, following in Allan Greenspan's footsteps, has been a disaster for the average American. He's been great for Wall Street bankers. Please find someone for Fed Chairman who saw these problems coming and might therefore be a more credible engineer of policies leading back toward an honest and stable system.

the vitamin kid

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Father of Lies

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44


We have entered a new era, where business, politics, and media are combining more forcefully than ever before to bring about an Orwellian world of falsehood presented as unarguable truth.

Fortunately, the internet still exists as an archive, a library of evidence, so that the flip-flops of politicians, the shoddy work of journalists, and the suppression of truth by big business can be countered.

Many bloggers, experts in their field, or merely dedicated hobbyists, are doing the job the fourth estate refuses to do or is unable to do. The foreign press, not dependent on getting "access" to powerful people, is often more truthful about conditions in the US than our own newspapers and TV.

I will attempt to highlight some of the great work of those bloggers and journalists here on this blog, so that readers might combat the Universe of Lies with the best reality-based information available.