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    • The First Great Environmental Crisis Will Be
      Water. As I’ve said for many years. The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40 percent by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit. I’ll use the US as an example, though this going to effect almost all countries, some much worse than others, and it wi […]
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Bad Joke Open Thread

What are you laughing at?

Lindsey Graham would consider nationalizing banks; Barack Obama dithers about preserving capitalist culture

Yesterday, the new U.S. President played basketball and then watched the NBA all-star game with a friend. He’s been enjoying a vacation in Chicago, seemingly unconcerned that we are in the midst of a financial crisis the like of which we haven’t seen since the 1930s.

Not everyone is so relaxed and carefree. Yesterday Nouriel Roubini wrote in the Washington Post that “We’re all Swedes now,” arguing that the US banking system is on the ropes and the only solution is nationalization. But Barack Obama insists we just can’t do that because we are Americans–or something like that.

“Obviously Sweden has a different set of cultures in terms of how the government relates to markets and, and America’s different. And we want to retain a strong sense of that private capital fulfilling the core — core investment needs of this country,” he says. “And so, what we’ve tried to do is to apply some of the tough love that’s going to be necessary, but do it in a way that’s also recognizing we’ve got big private capital markets and, and ultimately that’s going to be the key to getting credit flowing again. ”

Continue reading

On the Lighter Side (An Open Thread)

What’s making you laugh?

Please Do Not Remove Label Under Penalty of Law…

I’ve been thinking about this subject for some time.  It began just after the election when the PUMAsphere began to ask itself “who are we now?” With the treatment of women during the election, sexism, misogyny, and the patriarchy took some of the front and center discussion.  What is a feminist? Who is a feminist? What must you believe to be a feminist? How must you act to be a feminist?  Alleged feminists were anointing our new president as a feminist icon while women everywhere chided Sarah Palin for not aborting her disabled child.  Women voted in droves for this new feminist messiah while they, and many so-called “feminists” implored the more qualified candidate (who just so happened to have a vagina) to step aside so the wearer of the penis could get through.  And yet, here we were…debating what earned you feminist cred.  Well, if that’s what a feminist is…then don’t you dare label me a feminist.  Sorry…I don’t need a label to tell me that women are denied their rightful place in society every minute of every day and I need to do something about it.  This label is just one more way to keep us divided while the other gender (a minority I might add) has the keys to the kingdom.

Another label is now also being tossed around as a weapon…political affiliation.  OK…I said it.  There are some who want to hold on tight to their Democratic label, others who have taken on the Republican label, and still some who call themselves Independents.  But what does it all mean?  Quite frankly, the large majority of us here supported Hillary Clinton.  We did so for many reasons, but mostly because we believed she was the most qualified candidate to deliver on issues that meant a great deal to us.  We became “PUMAs” when we saw that opportunity being ripped from our grasp by a Democratic Party that had other plans.  We were summarily thrown under the bus, called every degrading epithet they could mine from their pocket thesauruses, and labeled traitors to “the party.” Uhm…I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a masochistic streak that makes me want to run back to a Democratic party that was such a vicious abuser to me and to women in general.  So what about those who switched to the Republican party as a result of this election?  Just because they’ve assumed a new label does not convince me that they’ve abandoned the issues that led them to support Hillary in the first place.  Observing the conversations here over time, I know there is tremendous agreement on major issues between those who bear both labels.  So, why do we need that label either?

I’m willing to wager that those who frequent the Confluence have much more in common than they have differences.  Most “Dems” or “Repubs” are not purists anyway.  We initially united because we believe that the voters should be deciding who our leaders are, not through manipulation by party leadership.  We united because we realized the depth of patriarchal influences that attempted to destroy two very able and competent women: Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.  One was a Democrat, one was a Republican.  We stand for truth, critical thinking, justice, and fairness.  So then, why do we need labels?  Why associate ourselves with “groups” that would abandon us for a new “younger, more urban” coalition and toss our votes aside as if they had no value?  Why associate ourselves with a label that inaccurately announces that we disagree with on a majority of core issues such as choice, gay rights, healthcare, equal rights for women, and help for the elderly and disabled? <

I propose we take a different tack.  Let’s leave our labels at the door when we enter this safe space and begin from a place of commonality  – What are our COMMON issues?  What unites us? Let’s focus on those as we go forward.  Don’t worry, the Obots and the rest of the label wearers will still continue to tell us what divides us – but we don’t have to listen.

TheRealKim had an excellent comment that summarized my thoughts very succinctly:

I considered myself a yella dawg until this election. Now, the only things I am sure of, are the principles I still hold dear. Championing the less fortunate and making sure there are programs in place, women’s rights, reproductive rights, the right to chose your partner in life; to name just a few.

Go ahead…you’re more than welcome to disagree with me.  Just don’t assign me any labels.

Apocalypse Pretty Soon?

From The Day After Tomorrow

From The Day After Tomorrow

Some of you may have noticed that I have a fondness for conspiracy theories and end-of-the-world scenarios. I don’t know why that is, but it’s probably for the same reason that I enjoy horror movies and post-apocalyptic novels like A Canticle for Liebowitz. Maybe it had something to do with growing up in the fifties in the shadow of “The Bomb.”

Anyway, instead of accomplishing something useful yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time reading this blog by Dmitry Orlov. Orlov was born in the USSR and emigrated to the US at the age of 12. During several trips back to the USSR, he had a close up view of the collapse of the Soviet empire. Orlov is the author of Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects. He described himself and his “comparative theory of superpower collapse” in a talk he gave in San Francisco on February 13. Continue reading

Monday: “Obsessive Deadenders” {{snarf!!}}

Korean Bibimbap for Hillary for lunch

Korean Bibimbap for Hillary for lunch

First, there was Biden’s wife accidentally slipping up on purpose on Oprah. She said that Joe was first pick for Secretary of State. Oddly enough, I think there is a grain of truth to that. Joe probably wanted SOS and Hillary was destined for VP in order to solidify her support for Obama. But my guess is that she made it pretty clear up front that she wasn’t interested in being deep sixxed for four years so don’t even ask. (Of course, we’ll never really know what went on in DiFi’s study. We merely speculate based on what *we* would have done.) So, Joe had to settle for VP instead of jetting around the world flashing his UltraBrite smile.
Then, there was the suggestion that Jim Jones, the national security advisor, was really running things and had rigged the internals so that nothing from State actually counted. But then we remembered that George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke, who are serving as envoys to Obama, are Clinton loyalists. Holbrooke was her Foreign Policy advisor on her campaign. So, Samantha Powers may not get her way like she hoped. The “Monster” may win this round. But it was a good meme for awhile there and no doubt, there are many people who prematurely celebrated the demise of La Clinton.

Now, the new meme is that those of us who are following Hillary’s career at State are “obsessive deadenders”. This is coming from “friendly” blogs What a crock of horse hockeys. We are very aware that Hillary is not the president. She’s likely never going to be president. The progressive blogosphere 1.0 saw to that. But it would be really stupid to pretend she doesn’t have power. She’s the second most powerful politician in America after Obama. The eyes of the world are on her as she makes her maiden voyage to Asia as our new Secretary of State. She’s got more gravitas in her little pinky than Obama has in his entire jock strap. Whether the Obama adminstration and media like it or not, she’s important.

The world *loves* her. Her employees lover her. We all know now that her plans for the economy were the right ones. We’re not obsessive deadenders. We were right. And we’re going to follow Hillary’s brilliant career at State as if she is the Foreign President.


On another note:

In general, we do not like to accuse people of being spies or trolls. It’s impolite and it doesn’t add to the spirit of the site to be exclusive. We feel it is better to be friendly when we can be. Our policy is to “reward good behavior”, not to perform a version of political ethnic cleansing when we find heterodoxy. Of course, there are times when we have to delete users or comments for being “trollish”. The reasons for doing this is left to the discretion of the administrators but you can probably expect to be thrown into the spam filter if you meet the following criteria:
1.) You have introduced talking points or propaganda that smell like they came straight from David Axlerod’s ass.
2.) You are aggressive and abrasive and cannot engage in a discussion without insulting your audience.
3.) You stalk users or comments.
4.) You intentionally attempt to pit one group of users against another to cause disruption and dissent. (You highjack a thread)

We have a moderation queue. Certain trigger words in a comment will automatically get you thrown in the moderation queue. It happens to everyone eventually so don’t take it personally. One of the trigger words is “racist”. If you type that word in a comment, we don’t know whether you are saying: “You old, ugly PUMAs are racists” or “I’m an old ugly, PUMA but I’m no racist.”. The comment has to be examined in context to see if it is a comment that Anglachel might have written or one that I might have written. Once that ambiguity is cleared up, the comment is released or thrown into the spam filter where no one can hear you scream. So, don’t take it personally if you end up in the queue. There are other trigger words culled from the propaganda comments of the hired Obama commenters but they are more rarely invoked than “racist” and “racism”. Now that Krugman, Atrios and Kos are racists too, maybe this trigger word will lose its mojo and we can take it out of the queue eventually.

We have some long time commenters who are Republican here. Actually, they having identity problems. They’re not really Republicans but they have to figure that out for themselves. (I’m joking. Ok, not really) We are a liberal blog and the Republicans know it. But we like these commenters because they add something to our blog and we want them to continue to comment here. We don’t approve of “purity”. We do not insist that people stick to a prescribed set of doctrines but we do have a credo. You can read it in the tabs at the top of the page. But just because we have our minds wide open doesn’t mean our brains have fallen out. So, there is a lot of room for discussion and debate in a friendly atmosphere where people from many points of view can participate.

One other thing: We didn’t endorse any candidate for president. There are some blogs who think we converted to McCain after the convention. This is incorrect. We dissociated ourselves from the Just Say No Deal coalition once we realized that it was their intent to work with the McCain campaign. We endorsed many Democrats for the House and the Senate. However, many of our front posters, including yours truly, voted for McCain as a protest, not out of any fondness for Republican policies. We cried bitter tears afterwards but we didn’t want to reward the DNC for the way they invalidated our votes during the primary season. We believe that narrowed Obama’s margin of victory. Good. The DNC knows we’re out here and they will probably continue to take steps to minimize our impact. Like by calling us Obsessive Deadenders.

Too damn bad. We don’t really care what they call us. We’re here to stay.

Coming Soon!

A definite Oscar contender.

(this is another open thread)

The Confluence Oscar Pool

Sign up and make your picks here

Pool name: The Confluence Oscar Pool

Password: oscar

Give thanks to Angienc (aka “The Pool Shark”)

This is an open thread