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Wednesday Morning News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

Are you kidding me, actual Russian spies? No way. How could you not lead with this juicy story. So three Russian spies walked into a bar… But seriously, we caught some spies apparently:

Richard and Cynthia Murphy grew lettuce in a backyard garden, walked their daughters to the school bus each morning, and swapped Christmas cards with neighbors who had moved to Texas.

Their modest three-bedroom house sported maroon shutters and a wrap-around porch, and sat on a winding street in a well-heeled suburb across from Manhattan. They drove a green Honda Civic.

To all appearances, the Murphys were a typical, child-obsessed American family — not deep-cover Russian spies straight from a Cold War novel.

Their arrests, along with those of 9 other alleged Russian spies, has exposed a surprising side to modern espionage: The group led mundane lives far from the James Bond image. Instead of car chases and shootouts, they paid taxes, haggled over mortgages, and struggled to remember computer passwords.

As a result, the 11 — the biggest alleged spy ring every broken by the FBI — blended into American society for more than a decade. They joined neighbors at block parties, school picnics and bus stops. Four of the couples were married, and at least three had young children.

One suspect wrote columns for a Spanish-language newspaper in New York. Another ran an international consulting and management firm in Boston, while his wife sold high-priced real estate near Harvard University. Yet another drove a shiny blue BMW to his investment banking job in Seattle; he regularly updated his status on LinkedIn, a social networking site.

This all begs the question, um, why? I mean, people can just come and go and legitimately be a Russian with a green card, or otherwise legal resident work, learn stuff, and then return. And in those positions, try to influence. All legal. What’s with all the spying already. And spy us? Really? Haven’t they noticed the economy and all the other signs of us going down the tubes fast?

And speaking of obvious Russian spies, Larry King has announced his retirement:

After 25 years hosting a nightly talk show, CNN’s Larry King says “it’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.”

After weeks of speculation triggered by that anniversary and sharply declining ratings, King’s move — on his own terms, CNN says — ends his storied run on the struggling news network’s signature show this fall.

At the top of Tuesday’s broadcast, King, 76, told viewers he “talked to the guys here at CNN, and I told them I would like to end Larry King Live, the nightly show, this fall and CNN has graciously accepted, giving me more time for my wife, and I to get to the kids’ Little League games.” But he promised regular news specials.

Larry has been around forever. I have to admit I never particularly liked his style and show — all softballs, just giving people a platform to say their side without real questions. But because of that style he would often get people to talk that otherwise wouldn’t I supposed. Who will be wearing the suspenders now one wonders.

And in related softball news, both Petraeus and Kagan are in confirmation hearings. From the Petaeus article:

Petraeus, President Obama’s nominee to lead U.S. troops in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that if he is confirmed he will “look very hard” at how the rules and directives are put into practice.

“I am keenly aware of concerns by some of our troopers on the ground,” Petraeus said.

The committee approved the nomination Tuesday, clearing the way for a full Senate vote. Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he hoped to have that vote this week.

And then from the Kagan article:

Elena Kagan told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that her political outlook is “generally progressive,” but the glimpses she offered into her legal views defied Republican efforts to pigeonhole the type of Supreme Court justice she would be.

During the first day of questioning at her confirmation hearings, Kagan said that she respects legal precedent that upholds people’s right to own guns and that she supports the use of military commissions to prosecute enemy combatants — positions favored by many conservatives.

Oh sorry, I just fell asleep while looking at those articles. Yea, that boring. I actually watched some of the hearings yesterday too. If anyone has trouble sleeping, I strongly recommend them.

In blow hard, hot air news, Alex becomes a hurricane and Joe “foot in mouth” Biden visits the gulf. Blow hard #1 article:

Tropical Storm Alex strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night to become the first June hurricane on the Atlantic side of the United States since 1995, the National Hurricane Center said.

Alex gained strength and upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday night, the hurricane center said.

The hurricane center’s advisory issued at 11 p.m. ET said Alex was moving to the west at 9 mph and was expected to hit the northern Mexico coast Wednesday evening. The center reported the storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

And then we have blow hard #2 article:

As storm winds pushed oil over booms protecting the Louisiana coast, Vice President Joe Biden made his first tour of the troubled gulf region Tuesday, assuring locals that claims filed against oil giant BP would be paid even if they exceeded the $20 billion the company set aside in an escrow account.

“That $20-billion fund, that’s not a ceiling,” Biden said. “BP is required to pay whatever it is [that] falls under their responsibility, whether it ends up being $25, $30, $40 or $50 billion.”

With some of those desperate residents serving as a backdrop in Louisiana on Tuesday, Biden said: “Some of the guys behind me made some claims, and they’ve gotten partial payment. The concern was: Is this it? It ain’t it. It ain’t it. This is the beginning. This is not the end.”

Although it was Biden’s first visit since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 people, President Obama has visited the region four times and top administration officials have made repeated visits.

Thanks for all the fish Joe. What a smart-ass.

And speaking of blow hards, Scott Brown scares all the Democrats so much that they pee their diapers and they remove the bank tax from the reform bill so Scott won’t call them bad names again:

Senator Scott Brown yesterday forced Democrats to remove a $19 billion tax on big banks and hedge funds from the proposed Wall Street regulatory overhaul, the second time the Massachusetts Republican has used his pivotal role in the Senate to influence the legislation in favor of major financial institutions.

After Brown threatened in writing yesterday to oppose the package unless the $19 billion tax was eliminated, House and Senate lawmakers reconvened late yesterday and agreed on a new way to pay for the additional regulatory oversight in the sweeping legislation, which is intended to help prevent another economic crisis like the 2008 market meltdown.

Instead of the tax, Congress would use $11 billion in funds from the 2008 bank bailout, combined with a small increase in bank fees paid to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

I’m so impressed with the new Obama Democratic party. They’re so principled. That was sarcasm. I just got an email from Al Franken about what a great job they’ve all been doing. I assume he’s talking about Republicans. Also sarcasm. At this point it’s so bad it’s hard to put words together about that party. They’ve made themselves completely hollow and empty and irrelevant. Not an easy task. But they did it. And they did it with a supermajority. I’m stunned beyond the capacity for rational thought. Salon has more on the Brown running the senate:

Who calls the shots in Washington? Judging by the latest report from Bloomberg, the man who holds all the cards is Scott Brown, the (very) junior senator from Massachusetts. Within an hour of Brown’s announcement that he would not support the Dodd-Frank bank reform bill if it incorporated a $19 billion bank levy to pay for the costs of shutting down failing financial institutions, the Democrats appear to have buckled.

Shifting gears a bit, and I try not to let my bias come through, but this one is just too priceless. Apparently a leaked memo from Microsoft came out with their admiration for Apple because Apple actually makes products that just work. Apparently they’ve been making products for years that didn’t work and just now figured out the secret:

Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) has zeroed in on what makes Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) products so popular that people will wait hours in line just for a chance to purchase them. But will this realization be reflected in the next version of Windows, or just used as a compass for product development down the road?

One of a series of purported Windows 8 slides that leaked earlier this week focuses on the uncomplicated, “It just works” nature of Apple product design. The slide describes a virtuous circle in which a user experience that’s “low in friction” makes the products easy for people to use, which in turn leads to satisfied customers placing high value in the products.

“This is something people will pay for!” reads the slide.

I couldn’t help laughing at that. Please, no Apple vs. Microsoft wars kids. You know who you are.

Australia’s new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, moved into the PM office:

The morning after the Rudds departed from Canberra residence The Lodge to return home to Brisbane – tweeting as they went – Ms Gillard opened her new office to photographers.

In the place of the Rudd accoutrements are photographs of her partner Tim Mathieson, Ms Gillard’s books, including one about leadership by women, and a pair of gumboots given to her by a students at Tasmania’s Penguin Primary school.

Ms Gillard also displayed a pair of yellow football boots sent to her by a footwear manufacturer to highlight her claim last month that there was more chance of her becoming full forward for her beloved Bulldogs AFL team than prime minister.

Back to the sad gulf news, we had day 70 yesterday. Here’s a summary of the latest at the NYTimes:

Strong winds from a tropical storm raised wave heights to seven feet or more, forcing the suspension of skimming operations and controlled burns on Tuesday. Rough seas make it impossible to contain oil so skimmers can pick it up or ignite it. Forecasters expected the storm, named Alex, to reach hurricane strength before making landfall Wednesday in northern Mexico or South Texas.

The State Department said the United States was accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the spill. Most of have offered skimmers, boom or dispersant chemicals. Among those whose offers have been accepted are Canada, Mexico, Croatia, Holland, Norway and Japan, as well as the International Maritime Organization and the Monitoring and Information Center.

And a bit more on the aid finally being accepted:

The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the State Department said Tuesday.

The State Department said in a news release that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that’s been accepted.

More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. The U.S. hasn’t made a final decision on most of the offers.

The United States rarely faces a disaster of such magnitude that it requires international aid, but the government did accept assistance after Hurricane Katrina.

Most of the countries and groups have offered skimmers, boom or dispersant chemicals, according to a chart on the State Department’s website.

“To be clear, the acceptance of international assistance we announced today did not mean to imply that international help was arriving only now,” said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. “In fact, before today, there were 24 foreign vessels operating in the region and nine countries had provided boom, skimmers and other assistance.”

And just when some home sales numbers looked only slightly horrible, they’re not even as good as that. It appears that 1 in 3 home sales is a foreclosure with deep discounts:

Foreclosure homes accounted for 31 percent of all residential sales in the first quarter of 2010, with the average sales price of properties that sold while in some stage of foreclosure nearly 27 percent below homes that were not in the process, Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac said.

“In a normal market, only 1 to 2 percent of home sales are foreclosures, so this is certainly a significant level,” Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, said in an interview.

Total U.S. foreclosure sales in 2009 were up more than 1,100 percent from 2006 and more than 2,500 percent from 2005. Foreclosure sales accounted for 29 percent of all sales in 2009, up from 23 percent in 2008 and a mere 6 percent in 2007, the real estate data company said.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Those poor, poor real estate agents, I think they need bailed out next. Yes, sarcasm again.

And speaking of, apparently the Treasury lacks the staff to monitor and manage the bailout funds:

The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (Sigtarp) said Treasury was not meeting its responsibility for monitoring how insurer AIG, Bank of America, Chrysler, Citigroup, GM and GMAC use bailout funds.

“Twenty months into its administration of TARP, Treasury simply has no legitimate excuses as to why it has still failed to accomplish the critically important task of assembling a robust compliance staff,” the audit report said.

It said Treasury was “too slow” in conducting compliance reviews with the companies and said it has only begun to review three of the six companies’ documentation that shows whether they are meeting conditions for the receipt of funds.

Of course they don’t have the staff. Who is surprised at this. There are only two explanations for this. Either they are corrupt and don’t want the staff and don’t want to really monitor those moneys very closely, or they’re completely incompetent. I think this epitomizes the Obama administration: corrupt or incompetent. Perhaps both.

But Obama found the time, and someone in his office actually could handle the scheduling, to meet with the Saudi King to do some toe touching, ring kissing, and to get his marching orders. Obama will also meeting with Netanyahu:

Arab leaders are disappointed that Obama has not made more progress in pressuring Israel to give ground in U.S.-mediated peace talks. Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on July 6.

Obama said his lunch with King Abdullah ranged over various strategic issues, including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as “the importance of moving forward in a significant and bold way in securing a Palestinian homeland that can live side by side with a secure and prosperous Israeli state.”

Netanyahu began indirect talks with the Palestinians in May but has imposed strict conditions for accepting their demand for statehood.

In addition, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said earlier Tuesday that problems with the talks, and divisions among the Palestinians, meant no Palestinian state would be founded by 2012. This was an apparent reference to a call by the Quartet — the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia — for an accord by that time.

Obama and King Abdullah “expressed their hope that proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians will lead to the resumption of direct talks with the aim of two states living side-by-side in peace,” the White House said.

NYTimes has an article spotlighting a West Virginia resident on the loss of Byrd and other political outlooks, and especially what the future might bring after losing such a strong Democrat:

A few things jump out from the fraying calendars and coal mine pictures Mr. Jones has collected: the life-size cardboard cutout of George W. Bush, wearing a Friends of Coal button; the photograph of Mr. Jones and his wife with Bill Clinton; and a McCain-Palin button pinned to the wall.

“These are the ones I liked at the time,” said Mr. Jones, a lifelong Democrat who felt kinship with Mr. Clinton but then voted for Mr. Bush twice, loves Sarah Palin and castigates President Obama for, he says, bailing out the wealthy bankers.

Worship of Senator Robert C. Byrd is a given in this small mountain town where he was raised and where, as throughout the state, flags have hung at half-staff since he died early Monday morning. Consistent with Mr. Byrd’s stature, the Democratic Party dominates West Virginia politics: it controls the State Legislature, both Senate seats and two of the three House seats. In 2008, Gov. Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, won re-election with 70 percent of the vote.

But in that same election, John McCain carried West Virginia with 56 percent of the vote. Here in Raleigh County, voters ignored the advice of their favorite son, Mr. Byrd, and gave the Republican presidential ticket 63 percent of the votes.

Tommy Lovell, 69, a mine union member who occupied one of the soft old chairs in this former shop, said he was among the minority here who had actually voted for Mr. Obama. Now he regrets it. “He’s not for coal, the health care scares me, and he’s spending too much money,” Mr. Lovell said.

That spending too much money meme sure is working. Probably doesn’t help that most of the money spent so far was for bankers and wall street and heath insurance companies other wealthy people and companies. Perhaps it’s reasonable to assume that this administration will never spend money on work programs or on anything to actually create jobs or help people in need. I frankly find it hard to imagine him spending money to actually help anyone that needs help. Of course I don’t expect a Republican to either. Oh wait, Obama is a Republican. Now it all makes sense.

That’s a bit of what’s going on. Chime in with what you’re finding.

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144 Responses

  1. Thanks, DT. Nice round-up!

  2. In NYC, the spy story broke yesterday – but check how they keep milking it today
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/tabloids-spies-war-and-oil-kill/

  3. What an awesome round-up, Dandy. You make me feel illiterate. Thanks for getting up early to do this. We early risers appreciate it.

    Here in Illinois, the Chicago Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/2ab9uht) has a front-page story about the village manager of Bellwood, a community of 20,000, receiving over $472,000 annually:

    For running a blue-collar western suburb, taxpayers paid Roy McCampbell $472,255 last year — the highest total compensation of any suburban municipal executive — and village officials now say they’re not sure why.

    McCampbell, known as one of the first suburban officials to push red-light cameras, said he did the work of 10 people for Bellwood — comptroller, administrator, public safety CEO, finance director, budget director, human resources director, mayoral assistant, corporation counsel, property commission director and development corporation officer — and was paid like it.

    Even if he was performing several jobs, why does any one community need a finance director, a budget director *and* a comptroller? The village officials in Bellwood are clearly idiots, but I wonder how many other municipal budget and town structures also lack as much common sense.

  4. How do you know when you’re getting old? You can remember when a U.S. Vice President actually sounded dignified when he opened his mouth. Before we had Biden trying to sound folksy by using “ain’t”, we had lizard brain Cheney using four-letter words in the Senate with no apologies. Pathetic.

    • I noticed in his press conference in the Gulf yesterday that he was reading from index cards rather than free-flow.

      Reckon he’s been put on a leash after the McChrystal thing?

    • I’d throw POTUS in there too–dignity and protocol out the window.

      • Agree. “Knowing whose ass to kick” isn’t my idea of being presidential, but maybe that’s just me.

        • I’d add: Gibbsies wasting time mocking Palin’s crib sheet during the daily presser, Rahm’s classic thumbing his nose during the inauguration, and Dubya’s giving the finger.

    • Every one I’ve talked to do here basically says that Biden came for a photo op and nothing else. He didn’t hold any real meetings. Didn’t listen to any one. Wouldn’t meet with officials. Pure Photo Op. They’re mad at the White House for even sending him here.

    • Spiro Agnew was a toad, but at least he had a way with words.

      • Lol! Actually it was William Safire, SA’s speech writer at the time who had the way with words. Agnew just spoke them Both gentlemen were toads though ,
        Bill Safire called Hillary” a congenially liar” …lovely

  5. Wow! DT must want a raise from RD, because that’s a whole lotta morning roundup 😉

    Boehner is making noises about raising the retirement age to 70. Here’s some creepy morning reading from Hamsher… http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/06/29/alice-rivlin-wants-to-cut-social-security-so-john-boehner-can-spend-it-on-wars/

    Oh, and last night on Larry King–
    as is customary whenever Larry’s retirement comes up, Ryan Seacrest’s name was dropped as a possible replacement. Nothing serious, just the usual Ryan Seacrest, if he wants to interview pols, he’d be great, blah blah. Just think of it, Lol! The executive producer of Keeping up with the Kardashians and ubiquitous E! channel personality… investigating our national oligarchy! ya never know, maybe we’ll get the True H o l l y wood Story about Obama’s election after all. 😉

    Also on Larry last night: at the end, when Larry asked Bill Maher if he had any predictions about the upcoming elections, Maher patted himself on the back for being such a tough lefty and holding Obama accountable and then proceeded to declare that “Obama has had a pretty successful first year.”

  6. OT, but had to comment on Maureen Dowd on ABC now. She has been botoxed and lifted to the extreme. OMG! She has a problem with her mouth…in more ways than the obvious.

    • show me some one with a lot of plastic surgery and I’ll show you some one that should’ve spent the money on a shrink instead.

      • I love Dolly’s take on it. About 2:22:

        • I am with Dolly…heck it was my young gay friend that told me about (I already forgot) X credits (you save for this and that tune ups) and I must say after two C-sections and one regular birth I am saving up my credits for a tummy tuck (for comfort) in the future.

          Some people already think I have had things done on my face but haven’t, but if it is for function and or comfort heck I will do it. Dolly’s brain looks in good operating condition and her funny bone is working at top speed.

          I know two women that have had breast reduction due to back pain and one that caught fire (via her air bag in an accident) when her air bag deployed and her breasts were too close to the steering wheel and the poor thing suffered second degree burns. I back up my seat far enough since I saw what happened to her…terrible burns.

  7. Bohner would rather keep the war going without increasing taxes to pay for it directly. The indirect “funding of the war” would be accomplished by deep cuts in Medicare and social security, then increase the retirement age on the working people to 70. In essence the working class will have to pay for it.
    We have had taxes to pay for every war except the two most expensive we have now. There is no demand to cut the waste and bloat from the pentagon budget and no demand that all Americans share the costs.
    I really don’t get the logic of not supporting the “bank tax”. Heaven forbid taxing banks to pay for their own mess. Brown claims those taxes will just be passed to consumers. The banks are nickeling and diming us to death now. What more nefarious plots do they have to get more of our money? The logic goes we can’t tax the banks because they will make us pay for the tax anyway. If we don’t tax the banks, we have to pay for it anyway. I think I will take my chances with the banks paying a tax

    • Feingold is also a committed “No” vote on the Financial Reform Bill and the bank tax.

      Not because the banks shouldn’t be punished, but because the fine print of the bill completely exempts hedge funds, and also because the smaller banks that had nothing to do with the Big Boys cratering our economy will have to pay same tax. Feingold says this bill will do NOTHING to actually fix the problems or save us from the next crash, given the “fine print.”

      I haven’t read the whole bill (2,000 pages), but I’m gonna side with Feingold, here, just cuz I think he’s trustworthy.

      Brown’s objection to the bill was that the Dem chairmen (Dodd, Frank) slipped that tax provision into the bill in the middle of the night without telling anyone on that committee it was in there. Brown objected not to the what, but the how. Olympia Snowe felt the same way.

      Anywho, it appears Dodd&Frank have reached an agreement that the bank tax will be removed, and those fees to set up the new government departments will come out of TARP funds not already spent.

      In the long run, though, most of the new “rules” have been delegated to the new regulators to figure out the details.

      I’m not sure new regulators will not be captured by the Big Boys anyway.

      And I don’t think the small banks should be punished for the Big Boys’ sins.

      But that’s just me.

      • The only problem with using the TARP funds is that it is our tax money that made the TARP fund possible. No matter how you slice it, we are paying for it. They could graduate the banking tax so that the big boys pay the lion’s share of the tax.

        I do agree with Feingold overall that the fine print exempts those who share the responsibility for this mess and do nothing to reign them in .

        • Yes, but the Dems wanted to add the $18 billion to the deficit (no PAYGO), leaving the full TARP fund for down the road.

          This way, TARP is $18 billion LESS for the taxpayers to have to pay for.

          • “down the road,” LOL!

            god love em, as Joe Bite Me would say.

            all the while, screaming “those evil Repubs don’t care about you!”

            people don’t believe it when I tell them the money to extend unemployment benefits is already there-the dems just don’t want
            to let go of it.

          • I thought the bank tax was supposed to pay for the 18 billion cost even though it was added at the last minute.. I think the TARP money should be spent on extending unemployment benefits

  8. It took me a while to see who ‘Bohner’ was and well I must protest. Please let us call him BO, but not that, I think middle school kids call each other that (doesn’t bode well) and well it also loses the points a person is making by using it.

    OK, said my peace…

  9. Has Biden arrived in the Gulf yet?

  10. Great roundup!

    I had the same reaction to the espionage ring – why us, why now? Though it would make a great title for a new series: “Why Spy?”

    • Maybe they were Spying on the ‘Social Norms’ and needed the information on what things to avoid…it is the only thing that makes sense. Why report; ‘Bob, had his latte at StarBucks and a mega muffin with butter and a banana.’, ‘Sue is trying to loose those 35 lbs by doing Zumba three times a week.’

      Hemmm, do you think we have a spy here!?! Anyone missing since the big round up? Hemmm…

    • Russian spy ring scandal: FBI action movie? (Russia Today reporting 😆 )

      • Oh, the spys were in D.C. and Big Dawg was in Russia meeting with Puttin.

        • 10 Alleged Russian Spies Arrested in U.S.

          10 people have been arrested for allegedly serving as secret agents of the Russian government with the goal of penetrating U.S. government policymaking circles. The Justice Department announced the arrests Monday in the multiyear investigation. (June 28)

      • Former UK intelligence officer talks about “Russian spy” arrests in US

        US authorities have detained 10 alleged Russian spies accused of infiltrating government policy-making circles to gather intelligence for Moscow.

        The suspects, who appeared in a court in New York on Monday, face charges of conspiring to act as an agent for a foreign government.

        However, the accused have not been charged with espionage.

        In an interview, Glenmore Trenear-Harvey, a former British Intelligence Officer and editor-in-chief of the World Intelligence Review, spoke to Al Jazeera about the significance of the arrests and charges.
        [June 29, 201]

        • Dandy Tiger,

          They were using e-mail attachments with photos that had micro-dots with information? Since you are the Techie Nerd (nerd is being used with great affection here Dandy) here, can you explain what that is? It almost sound Star Trekish.

          • Sure thing. You can embed all sots of fun things in data, including in images. You can think of it as embedding a micro-dot. And what’s neat is you can do that in images or movies, or really any complex compressed data, in a way that doesn’t interfere with the look of the image of movie or whatever.

            For example a lot of people do that sort of thing in document files and in image and movie files now in the form of a watermark. And what’s neat is that watermark information lingers even if you change the format, further compress, or otherwise manipulate the file. It’s a nice way to protect your content, but it’s also a nice way to embed other information.

    • Thanks. And yes, that spying thing has me perplexed. I mean every country does it to each other to some extent, even with “friends”. It all seems like it’s just a few decades out of date. Perhaps they used the Austin Powers time machine and just didn’t know the cold war was over.

  11. Time runs out for 1.2 million on unemployment

    What would the four-year cancer survivor do if she couldn’t afford to pay her $650 monthly COBRA payment? Her health insurance helped pay for life-saving treatment before, so giving it up is not an option, she says.
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/29/unemployment.irpt/index.html?hpt=C1

    I just don’t understand these MEDIA propagandist, don’t they know that Fareed Zakaria Obama Groupie Positioning System (OGPS) said President Obama passed Universal Health Care. Oh, say, it is CNN, the same network Fareed Zakaria is on????
    Do we have another Media Groupie in Fareed Zakaria?

    Let’s face it people are hurting and nothing is getting better. If HR 676 had passed or at least the Public Option the lady could take a part time job and afford her health insurance. Oh, but if WE STOPPED THE WARS we could have HR 676, but our Noble Peace President Obama is too busy doing other things and can’t do that.

  12. Your out of context article about Apple made me laugh. Apple’s operating system, “just works”…as long as they can control the hardware AND the software! (not to mention your conclusion is fallacy. Just because Microsoft says that Apple works, it doesn’t mean they’re implying that nothing else does.) I’ll say one thing — Apple’s marketing/selling strategy doesn’t work in the long-term.

    The raspberry-to-Microsoft nature of your comments means that I expect that you’re too young to understand what happened in the 80’s-90’s so I’ll tell you again. Apple had the best OS then too — as long as they controlled the hardware too…and their dominance lasted 5 minutes.

    You’re experiencing exactly what they did with their original proprietary OS and proprietary hardware….it’s just that this time, people aren’t entering the market to compete with them as quickly. I’m unsure about why that is.

    When the market fills with competing Android and other operating system based gadgets — and I predict that the end of 2011 is when the flooding really will be obvious — Apple will go back to the backburner where their authoritarian behavior and marketing strategy belongs.

    Here’s a good article on the subject:
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/is-steve-jobs-big-brother/. It is opinion, but strongly peppered with facts.

    Yes, Steve is big brother. He wants to have THE Cable channel of the internet. And he wants to approve everything you watch and listen to. And YOU stand in line to let him do it. I wish liberals would understand how very wrong that is. They argue and fight for net neutrality, and then stand in line to support the opposite. Makes me laugh sometimes.

    Thankfully, it can’t happen for very long….at least not yet.

    It’s scary, the group think that leads to the success of sensored and limited products like the IFad. It just shows the real the power of marketing to control us “small people”.

    Hopefully over the course of the next few years, fewer and fewer people will let it control them. Please let that happen.

    • The evil empire borg machine that controls everyone, that is Microsoft, gets pushed aside for five minutes and people panic.

      Your comment about 80’s-90’s when Apple had the best OS then too but their dominance didn’t last is a bit off. Um, Apple never had dominance in their OS or hardware, and still don’t. They still only have 10 or so percent of the regular computer market. Certainly they’re doing well in the mobile realm and obviously in the music player realm, but even that still doesn’t compare to Microsoft’s dominance in OS even today.

      The Apple hate is very fascinating though. Apple is the ultimate underdog that has been trashed and beaten down by the press for decades. For the first time in their existence that they’re doing pretty well what happens, more beating down. Reminds me of some politician.

      Anyway, having said that, of course they want to control everything. They’re a corporation. So of course they should be watched and regulated. As any company that gains market share should. But let’s not pretend they’re even close to any sort of monopoly. They’re doing well for the first time. They innovate. But let’s watch them and if they cross the line, use regulations to correct or even break up if they get that big. Of course it’s fascinating that for all these years, continuing today, that Microsoft is pretty much a complete monopoly on the desktop OS, I don’t hear the Apple haters having any worry about that.

      • Dandy,

        I like my iPhone, and have a macproBook, but for work purposes, it is all PCs. Why? Well, all the programs for work are all in pc mode (operating system) and why hasn’t anyone passed a law saying they should work on both systems is beyond me. Any hoo, at work I AM PART OF THE BORG COLLECTIVE…until the data is released I remain to walk in both worlds forced to carry a pc and an iphone. 😉

        • Good question. It’s clearly a monopoly, but that’s seems to be fine with people. And that includes our government and military.

          Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated…

          • I have to confess, I have a second phone, that has my work files, as I am still working on the storage (beta thingie) on mobileme via apple.

            Say, we should do a post on this very subject and do a discussion on the iphone, other phones, iPad and small pcs for folks like me that have to carry info or access info always for work.

            I am starting another venture (make your own third job thing) and will need a small pc with faster internet connection via its own access.

            Any hoo, let me know if you are able to do one on the weekend. Thank you much Dandy…7 of 9 granny OUT!

          • I’m up for doing something. Have your people contact my people, we’ll do lunch (virtually). 🙂

          • OK!

            We have gone Cyber Hollywood…I have people? 😆

          • You don’t have people? Oh wait, I don’t have people. 🙂

      • without Apple being a thorn in the side of Microsoft , …..well it’s not a happy thought.
        Since forever: Apple innovates the ideas and then Microsoft copies them and distributes them to 90% of us . But someone gotta have the ideas . Thanks Apple

      • My Apple-hate is based on my last three computers, all Macs. The first one was great. I was taken with the pretty industrial design, the software, the OS… And then it broke because of a stupid, easily preventable hardware issue. All three computers ended up the same way. Because Jobs thinks it’s more important that the machine be pretty and appealing to hipsters than that it be FUNCTIONAL, have a sufficiently rigid case to prevent the motherboard from cracking, have any means of cooling itself, etc., etc.

        THIS is why it’s a problem that Apple wants to control every aspect of the experience. If I could buy a 3rd party machine with an Apple OS, I would. But Apple hardware is total shit, and I won’t be paying for it again.

        • ? Sorry to hear. I’ve had 4 Macs and no hardware problems at all. That’s a small “n,” though.

          I recall hearing about some laptop which was so hot it burned users’ thighs….it was a Windows machine, so problems can occur with any brand.

        • I have a power Mac from 1997 that can still get on the web ,( via phone line). and on which I do all my art /photo scanning bless it .

      • Funny how when MS Windows debuted it looked sooooooo much like the Mac OS.

        I always get a kick out of comparing how much memory the Windows apps take up compared with those for my Mac. Less important in these days of cheap memory.

        But as they say, no IT director ever got fired by buying Microsoft for the entire company.

    • This is something that is making my son crazy. He doesn’t want “Big Brother” watching him. However, since he got his I-phone months ago all I’ve heard about is, “It has an app for this and it has an app for that.” He loves that phone and all of the things it can do but he hates the control and is now protesting by not buying more apps! I doubt that will last long however.

  13. FYI: The Obama Cat Food Commission is holding a public conference hearing…..CNN is carrying on their online LIVE , if you’re interested.

  14. I see a WaPo headline from Kathleen Parker that stinks from miles away….

    Obama: Our first female president

    • AHHHHHH! After he signed the Presidential Executive Order for his Stupak Amendment attacking women’s coverage for their reproductive care!?!

      Red Alert WaPo’s Kathleen Parker is a FeMANist!

    • Does that mean everyone can start to trash him like they do Palin and Hillary and other women?

    • Ooooh….that’ll send Andrew Sullivan into another fainting tizzy.

      • Sullivan will get “lost in Sarah Palin’s garden” again reading this…


        From Parker’s article

        Obama may prove to be our first male president who pays a political price for acting too much like a woman.

        And, perhaps, next time will be a real woman’s turn.

        • Obama may prove to be our first male president who pays a political price for acting too much like a woman.

          I object, as the complaint has been he has shown little empathy/concern for those in the GULF crisis/catastrophe, did he shed a tear or two that I missed, did he spend days there connecting with those affected, did he do a PSA about the concerns or a telethon to raise money, did he suspend the Jones Act ASAP? DID I miss his MATERNAL side, was his book title ‘Dreams Of MY Mother’!?! NO…his book was about his father who was a batterer, and the title of his book was ‘Dreams Of My Father’.

          His step brother’s (Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo) book is on target and his step brother does show a maternal side in seeking to bring attention to Domestic Violence and seeking to reduce it as he and his family suffered and he wants to educate people about its impact on the family.

          Obama’s younger brother steps into the spotlight 專訪奧巴馬胞弟
          For most fans and followers of US President Barack Obama here in Hong Kong, it is well known that his half brother lives just across the border in Shenzhen.

          Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo has made the special economic zone his home for the past seven years. In this interview with Dan Kadison, this once publicity-shy younger brother to the US president reveals a little more about himself.

          Ndesandjo talks about domestic violence, his life in Shenzhen and his recently completed semi-autobiographic novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen. He also discusses President Obama’s forthcoming visit to China and what it’s been like living in Shenzhen.

        • Obama’s younger brother (Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo) steps into the spotlight 專訪奧巴馬胞弟

          • This is a truly impressive man, who is highly educated and I have great respect for him for his openness about domestic violence within his family and how you can survive and persevere in life after such an experience.

          • I think the wrong brother got elected…ME THINKS! I am joining this guys fan club if he has one. He even talks about the POWER OF LOVE! He says his wife is his ‘ANGEL’…!

    • Quick! Reach for the famous MS cover : can that be outdone?
      Let’s ask Bart Stupak.

    • Is there NO end to their pathetic willingness to fool themselves? Argh.

    • Wow, Mark’s interview really got to me, cried along with him and he is honest, tells a compelling story from the prism of his eyes as a child, one that is often hidden, and not spoken of, the affects of domestic violence on the family. I hope he considers doing a PSA against domestic violence. I hope I got the main parts of what he said towards the end of the video right. Here is man that is in touch with the female aspect via his connection to his mother and his love for her. Thanks Mark for bringing the issue of domestic violence forward and for having a goal to bring awareness to domestic violence on a global level.

      I remember, my, when, times when I would wake up, it would be 2 or 3 in the morning…When you are a child, and you wake up, you are six or seven years old, and it’s two or three O’Clock and you hear thuds, you hear screams, and you hear your mother shouting. This is your mother, this is the person who, who is the closest person to you in the world, when you hear that and you see the light, the light in the living room…and you hear thuds…and you can’t protect your mother.

      obamabrother

    • OMFG. Please tell me you’re kidding. WTF? Well, at least he has the boobs for it.

    • Southern Fried Maureen Dowd.

  15. great round up TD!
    the Democrats appear to have buckled.

    All that has happened with their super majority is they wet their pants and cave in faster than ever…soon we will need the watches they employ at the Olympic games in order to record the speed. Brown hasn’t even lost his shine and they gave him luster. Help

    I knew Hillary had to get involved before the skimmers got . Thank god she’s SOS …those initials are very appropriate. She had to wait until Obama got bored by even how he’s perceived about the topic . That takes awhile

  16. Interesting. Al Sharpton says that 90% of his radio show audience SUPPORT the SCOTUS decision on gun rights.

    They WANT to be able to defend themselves in their own homes against thugs and hoodlums.

    Well, allright then.

    • OK, just have them dial their local NRA chapter or Al Sharpton when the shooting starts as most of the criminals now have more gun power than the local police. Oh, and if someone reports gunfire (most fires make sounds like gunfire) when your house is on fire, forget it, no one will respond until the police gives the all clear and by that time your house will be burnt toast.

    • Okay, doing the math on 90% of Al’s listenership supporting gun rights, that would mean of the five people listening, half a person ridiculously supports the ruling. The other 4.5 people were shot and killed during drive-bys, killed in accidental shootings or died in self-inflicted injuries.

      • that would mean of the five people listening,

        😆 That line made me laugh. 🙂

        • Okay, now I’ll make you sad because it makes me truly sad — this newly found springing right of packing heat comes to us via incorporating the Second Amendment through the 14th Amendment to the states. After 234 years, it took these conservative spelunking justices to uncover the rocks and find this heretofore hidden right. This pantheon to gun merchants comes to us with the same reasoning as abolishing slavery, ending segregation, ensuring rights of privacy, Roe v. Wade, contraception, etc. And while I haven’t seen the stats lately, in the not too distant past DC on a per capita basis was the gun capitol of the world.

          • DC was the gun capital because all the hoddlums and criminals crossed into Virginia and brought em home.

            THe only people who didn’t have guns in DC, before, were the law-abiding citizens.

            That’s about to change. And you don’t need a mote, or a castle, or an AK-47, or any of that silly, hysterical stuff.

            Thank you, Marbury vs. Madison.

          • Unfortunately they tend to shoot each other and innocents (even infants) and they do this in the most of cowardly ways by driving by shooting indiscriminately. The stress levels in these communities are too high and folks/children have stresses/symptoms you would see in WAR zones. 😦

          • And as we sit here this morning, the NRA with pockets lined with the profits from cop killing bullets, are preparing to file lawsuits to entangle and invalidate even the most reasonable of local gun control laws. This new found right will ensure litigation for a couple of decades in order to guarantee that any certifiably crazy former spouse can buy a handgun at a gun show without any check, or that no limit on the number of guns or automatic weapons that can be bought within a month, or that there is no limit on the special types of ammo someone can buy. To the NRA and their 4 bought justices, may they be haunted by the funerals they have enabled.

      • Only 5 people are listening to Al Sharpton?

        Not in the Black communities.

        • His ratings are poor in most markets and has been dumped by some stations only to be picked up by others.

          • His “ratings” in the Black communities like Southside Chicago and urban Detroit are sky-high.

          • Have you got a cite on that? (His sky-high ratings, I mean).

          • Not that I’m like, demanding cites or anything, 🙂 I was just curious and had a hard time finding detailed info on radio ratings on my own.

    • Angle: ‘I Meant Take Reid Out of Office’

      Nevada
      Senate candidate Sharron Angle backed away Tuesday from remarks in which she referred to the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the need to “take … out” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/06/30/angle-retracts-comment-reid/?test=latestnews

      😯

  17. They’ve made themselves completely hollow and empty and irrelevant. Not an easy task. But they did it. And they did it with a supermajority. I’m stunned beyond the capacity for rational thought.
    *******
    It’s all “street theater”. The real work is done behind closed doors by the lobbyists and staffers. There is only one party in Congress.

    ““One major bank on Friday scrambled to figure out what happened to six words that to its surprise were apparently cut from an amendment on proprietary trading, potentially posing a threat to its business.”

    A group of Democratic legislators from New York at the last minute threatened to withhold support for the bill unless provisions barring banks from directly trading in derivatives and speculating with their own funds on their own account were scaled back to allow these practices to largely continue. They made no bones of the fact that they were acting in behalf of Wall Street interests.

    “We wanted to make sure we didn’t drive all the derivative business out of New York,” said Representative Gregory W. Meeks, a Democrat from Queens on the conference committee.”
    (snip)

    The measure has been dubbed the Dodd-Frank bill, after its main authors and congressional sponsors—Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (Democrat from Connecticut) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (Democrat from Massachusetts). These two individuals exemplify the corrupt relationship between Wall Street and Congress.

    According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Dodd’s single biggest campaign contributor over the course of his Senate career has been Citigroup, which has donated $427,694. His top five donors include three banks. The biggest source of campaign funds has been the securities and investment industry, which has plowed over $6 million into his coffers. Included in his top five industries are insurance, real estate and commercial banks.

    The Center for Responsive Politics reports that Frank’s top contributor has been the American Bankers Association ($78,950). Ranked second is JPMorgan Chase ($74,500). His top five industries for campaign donations are real estate, securities and investment, insurance, lawyers/law firms and commercial banks.”

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jun2010/bank-j28.shtml

    • You can count Chuck Schumer in the “street theater” club.

      If anybody is owned by Wall Street, it’s Chuckie.

      Just imagine the favors WS will get if Chuckie ends up being Senate Majority Leader (that assumes Reid loses).

      Ugh

    • 😯 Who’s business are they really working on while in office!?! 😦

  18. So the Russians got caught doing what the Israelis have been doing for years.

    That Apple vs Microsoft QC article brought back memories of the younger guys at work and their problems with the X-Box 360 gaming systems they bought. One fella had his in orbit between his home and Redmond for months. They finally sent him a new one.

  19. A friend sent me this story.

    It’s not surprising. Obama mocked W and then became him.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20009286-503544.html

  20. Did you all see this?

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0907/Retirement_age_politics.html

    OBAMA: Everything should be on the table. I think we should approach it the same way Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan did back in 1983. They came together. I don’t want to lay out my preferences
    beforehand, but what I know is that Social Security is solvable. It is not as difficult a problem as we’re going to have with Medicaid and Medicare.

    Didn’t someone say Obama was channeling Reagan?

    • Well God help us if he is going to fix Social Security as he did health care…I don’t think I can afford it (got an 80%+ rate hike in my health care renewal this July) and will be dead before I ever qualify. Then he plans to go after medicare…someone call an exorcist ASAP!

    • Honestly, I don’t think I can afford any more of his fixing bills…in fact I may start to plan trips to Canada to buy my medications.

  21. While stumbling along in my Reader today, I also found this nugget:

    McChrystal’s Tragedy An Update on the Entire Mess by Victor Davis Hanson

    Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University…So anyway, I think the one thing I find interesting here is this little tidbit…

    Why should we know that McChrystal voted for Obama? To this day, speculations about Petraeus’s political ambitions are always predicated on queries like: “But what party would he run with?” How did that come up? Do generals now self-identify as left or right — and if so, for what purposes other than careerist advancement?

    Which got me thinking, yeah he has a point. I mean why make that public?  Does that mean that McChrystal voting for Obama automatically makes him a member of Team Obama? Obviously not. It makes me think that is why Obama seemed to take the article so personal…I mean immediately “summoning” McChrystal around the world to fire him…when he procrastinated repeatedly talking to the General about the direction we would take in Afghanistan and the number of troops the General would need to get the job done.

    Then there was this…

    Petraeus was a wise choice. He will face far less criticism from the media and politicians than during 2007-8 (e.g., there will be no more “General Betray Us” ads or “suspension of disbelief” ridicule, or someone like an Obama at the confirmation hearing sermonizing nonstop on why Petraeus’s efforts will fail), because his success this time will reflect well on Obama rather than George Bush. Consider the further irony that Obama is suddenly surging with Petraeus. Not long ago he was declaring that just such a strategy and commander were doomed to failure in Iraq (see below). Of course, then he was running to take office on what was wrong rather than trying to stay in office on what’s right.

    And then this….

    Obama got our attention off BP for a day, and a bad day it was, as the spill regushed this morning in greater volume, so to speak. His speech was fine — if one ignores the usual serial invocation of “I”, “me,” and “my” that we’ve become accustomed to, as the president tries to radiate authority with first person pronouns rather than common sense reality.

    That last remark about “…radiate authority with first person pronouns rather than common sense reality.” Wow, this really hits the spot.  I have to say dead on balls accurate!

    • As the Hurricane threat looms, the press is busy on his 2012 campaign stops…oops policy talks?

      Ecuador tribe in rare visit to help clean-up Lousiana oil spill
      Hurricane Alex, with winds of up to 100km an hour, is hampering efforts to clean-up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

      The state department has welcomed help from 12 countries offering to assist with the clean-up.

      And there has been a rare offer of support from an indigenous community from Ecuador for another indigenous tribe in Louisiana that has been affected by the spill.

      Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler joined the Ecuadorians in Louisiana’s Bay Baptiste. [June 30, 2010]

  22. Apple sucks.

    And I own a mac.

    That is all.

    • I’ve been open to apple but they’re hard to use and they never do anything that I need them to. At first, they had this teeny tiny little screen and wouldn’t run any serious software. I just hate all the symbols. I don’t want to learn a new cryptography. I want words. And they still don’t run the software that I need to run. They seem okay if all you need is applications dealing with media, but they do things that–for the most part– I don’t find useful at all.

      • They’ve actually made some progress since 1984. 🙂

        • yes, I know, but they turned me off so badly during that time that it’s hard to drop everything and pay that much more for something that might be marginally better … and believe me, I use firefox and aps that tend to avoid putting money into Microsoft but I work with serious mathheads … they laugh at Mac users as artsy fartsy .

          When the mouse first came out, I called it a sign of being user disabled … I still hate that you have to grab for some third thing … it’s any idea only a man could come up with … a useless third appendage.

          • LOL. Love the mouse comments. And for a lot of things I completely agree with you. If you’re in the middle of keyboard operations, you shouldn’t have to lift off and go for a mouse.

            By the way, real math heads use unix (e.g., macs) or linux machines. 🙂

          • yes, I know, I’m well versed in Linux. That’s the only system the math department will use.!!!

          • Good to hear they don’t use windoz at least. Of course most anything they do in linux they can do in Berkeley Unix (e.g., a mac).

  23. By the way, real math heads use unix (e.g., macs) or linux machines.
    ********
    I got hoockes on Unix (Solaris) at work especially for it’s stability and when Apple based OSX on Unix, I switched from Microsoft. It has been a major improvement. (and I used despise Macs, especially for all of their “cutesie” names.

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