Thursday, May 13, 2010

$4 Billion Buys A Hosni, Boys Can't Tell

Valerie Hudson & Patricia Leidl

"Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, a new study says a parent should not be alarmed if their child tells a lie. They say it's a natural part of development and there are three phases — adolescent lying, young adult lying, and of course, oil executive lying. That is the biggest." –Jay Leno

"BP, Transocean and Halliburton are blaming each other for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. They are all right." –Jay Leno

"These people make Goldman Sachs look responsible, don't they?" –Jay Leno

"BP is going to try to stop the leak by pushing garbage into it. Oh, yeah, they haven't screwed up the gulf enough, let's fill it with garbage, too." –Jay Leno

Interesting confluence of events surrounding Egypt, culminating in more repression rewarded by a $4 billion gift from Hillary Clinton. Don't worry, its your money, not hers... The current President, Hosni Mubarak, has been ruling and rigging elections to keep him ruling since a state of emergency was voted into law by Parliament in 1981. He has had an opponent every time, but has a nasty habit jailing the loser after each election on a trumped up charge.

Mubarak has been grooming his son to take his place, and may orchestrate events so that happens next election. But there has been some protests that has been taken to the streets, demanding wages and government reform. Surprisingly, some of it was allowed and not all of the protesters were put in jail afterwards. It looks like Mohamed el-Baradei may be the next candidate. He has issued guarded criticisms of the government, and when he went to the US last week, the Egyptian government issued slanders against his good name.

So, a couple of days ago Egypt's Parliament voted again to extend the state of emergency for two more years, until after the next election. This may be setting the scene for violence this Summer, especially if the lid is clamped tighter on Gaza by the Israelis. El-Baradei had better be watching his back, maybe take an extended vacation somewhere, but not Morocco, which seems to be a death magnet for prominent Gulf figureheads... The US State Department, which may be using this to bribe Mubarak to step down and not run for re-election, has stated that it wants a 10 year foreign aid package deal for Egypt, topping off at $4 billion, including forgiving of over $1 billion in debt, which it has never done before. Maybe they'll let Obama come back and speak in Cairo again for that amount...
"Police in Cairo have detained an American man who arrived on a flight from JFK with two handguns, 250 bullets, swords, daggers and knives in his luggage. When they heard this, JFK screeners were like, 'Sure he had all these things, but here's what he didn't have — bottled water or nail clippers.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"It looks like the next Supreme Court justice could be a New Yorker. Her name is Elena Kagan. She has never argued before a judge before. But living in New York City, you know, she's argued in cabs, she's argued in subways, she's argued in delis, she's argued in her apartment, she's yelled at her super, she's argued in line." –David Letterman

"It is a great day for America's Supreme Court. President Obama just nominated Elena Kagan to be the next Supreme Court justice. He went against the advice of Joe Biden. Biden wanted Iron Man." –Craig Ferguson
boys can tell...
Because Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagen is such a middle of the road cypher, it's been hard to start the rumours that could destroy her chances of being confirmed. There have been the general negative besmirches by the House Republicans, who view the fact that she has never been a judge as a negative, when they had previously gone on the record as viewing it as a poitive thing in support of Harriet Meirs. But, that's to be expected, our Congressmen are sleazy and have no morals, right John McCain?

The Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan, who is British, gay, and describes himself as a center-right conservative, wrote a Daily Dish column, asking IS SHE GAY/. He offers nothing more than his intuition, perhaps some gossip written on gay chatboards, because "boys can tell..." The Obama administration has fired back that she is straight. In my experience, from working over 25 years in an environment that accepted gays as equal co-workers and having been able to talk open and freely with gay friends, I think that boys are good at telling when some other boy is gay, but not so good with the girls.

More important, is how we pre-judge someone because of their physical looks. In Elena's case, she was never a pretty girl, and now is short, chubby, and wears her hair short, which is a sign in our culture that she is a dyke. In reality, she probably hasn't had a relationship in many years and resigned herself to being a smart, independent woman for the rest of her life. Yet, we will consider that a negative, in some sense she is a failure and would carry that failure to the Supreme Court.

This is something I've wrestled with lately, because here I am at 58, never been married, I have no children, and never really could make a relationship last more than a few years. As I got older, in my 40's, I enjoyed dating women younger than I was. Later, I found myself wanting the company of women more my own age but found that I had become uncomfortable around them and didn't know how to approach them. Now, I find myself with diabetes, in constant pain from some degenerating discs in my back, living in a place where I don't know anyone socially beyond my immediate family. Instead of looking for a social life, I blog... resigned to the fact that I will never marry and probably won't have another relationship before I slip away into a fog of pain and dementia. If I am filled with self pity, why not someone else who is better off economically and has a more respected job? And so I blog...

"Well, in Colorado one of the gubernatorial candidates has taken out a Craigslist ad to find a running mate. Is that a good idea? Hey, it didn't work when John McCain tried it." –Jay Leno
most corrupt state...
The Daily Beast ranked all 50 states according to ten years of federal data, which ones are the most corrupt. To my surprise, Colorado ranked at #40, much farther down than I would have guessed. The East Coast is clearly more corrupt than its Western counterpart. The criteria used was:

•   Public corruption, 1998—2008: Convictions of elected and other public officials investigated by     federal agents over an 11-year period, from the Department of Justice.
•   Racketeering and Extortion, 1998—2008: Code for organized crime convictions, also investigated by federal agents over an 11-year period, from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
•   Forgery and Counterfeiting, 1999—2008: Arrest numbers for producing or distributing fake money and goods over a 10-year period, from the FBI.
•   Fraud, 1999—2008: Arrests for false statements or documents produced for personal gain over a 10-year period, from the FBI.
•   Embezzlement, 1999—2008: Arrests for surreptitious theft of money over a 10-year period, from the FBI.

#40, Colorado

Public Corruption: 44
Racketeering & Extortion: 34
Fraud Rank: 34
Forgery & Counterfeiting: 22
Embezzlement: 26

Recent Scandal: Last year in Colorado, once named among the top ten states for mortgage fraud by the FBI, a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme was prosecuted after a two-year undercover investigation. The Colorado Attorney General called the operation "one of the most expansive and heinous mortgage fraud rings we've seen in Colorado." The mastermind of the scheme, Uto Essien, was convicted of two felony counts of forgery and one count of theft for using "false invoices and shell corporations" to get $10.9 million in mortgages in 34 real estate deals over three years. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and will be deported to Nigeria once his sentence is served.

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