Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flotilla Aftermath, Halliburton Pre-Calc, Ted's Song

Robert Reich
David Ignatius
Dana Milbank

"Booted off company payrolls, millions of Americans had no choice but to try selling themselves. Another term for “entrepreneur” is “self-employed.” - Robert Reich
“Black people are better at accepting white people than white people are at accepting blacks. If black people came to our stadium, white people wouldn’t be as welcoming. White people wouldn’t be selling them beer, inviting them into their yards, grabbing them by the arm and asking them to come meet another white person... White people wouldn’t even do that for other white people.” - Christoffel Groenewald, South Africa

"this was not a "Love Boat" it was a hate boat"...
The aftermath from Israel's pirate raid on the Turkish owned ship that was attempting to cross the sea blockade, that resulted in nine deaths and hundreds arrested, seems to be following someone's movie script. Here is a link to the speech that Benjamin Netanyahu gave about the incident: "The State of Israel faces an attack of international hypocrisy. This is not the first time we have faced this, two years ago we faced a massive attack of missiles fired by Hamas who hid behind civilians. Israel went to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties but who did the UN condemn? It condemned Israel." So, he sets the stage, having poor Israel as the real victim among the international press. He is referring to a UN report that was made by a South African judge who was Jewish. The report condemned both sides for certain atrocities that could have been avoided. Israel has made it out that they were selected for malicious persecution, and in retaliation, has harassed the judge ever since. In this instance, both supporters of the actions the IDF took, and its detractors both agree that the entire affair was botched up, breaking the ABC's of good intelligence work.

The organizers of the flotilla got more than they wanted - an international incident that would focus debate on the necessity of the blockade. Egypt opened up its end at Ramallah, though where the Gazans would go or do once they crossed into Egypt remained a mystery. Hamas refused the humanitarian aid items that were unloaded from the flotilla ships, proving that they are dumb thugs who have no interest in the people of Gaza. Then again, what would they do with the tons of donated used clothing, other than package them and sell them on ebay... In fact, last night, some Israeli air force jets shot and killed some folks who were setting up rocket launchers in north Gaza, trying to go back to their old tricks. Let's set up some elections, people...

The most interesting part of this story for me, is that the war with words has also become the war of video streamed over the Internet, and the different spins given to their interpretations, as if we were a bunch of idiot children. And if your blog post was critical of the official Israeli position, there was an army of concerned Israeli citizens who sat down and sent your blog a bunch of e-mails. So, our wars of opinions are fought in virtual space as well as real time, and thanks to archiving, will be stored away for future historians to ponder...

Because the US is thought to be in favor everything its BFF Israel does, the reaction against the IDF's actions have translated into more anti-American protests in places like Pakistan. Yet, the US kept a cool response, which was the better thing to do. As I said before, Israel needs to change its leadership and they way that they approach situations, that the loudest and ones who show they are the mightiest are right. As David Ignatius points out: "The immediate problem for Israel is that the Gaza blockade is not sustainable. It is producing the opposite of the intended outcome: Hamas strengthens its control in Gaza while Israel becomes more isolated internationally. Worse, the blockade invites challenges from pro-Hamas militants and well-meaning humanitarian groups alike. The ships boarded on Monday were carrying 10,000 tons of relief assistance, plus hundreds of activists and peaceniks from across Europe armed with cellphones and video cameras. And more such voyages are said to be planned."

half-sawed ideas...
Nothing is going right for BP, as even a saw that was cutting through a pipe at the oil spill site got stuck in the pipe and had to be stopped. I'm beginning to wonder what kind of Faustian deal they had previously made to become so rich and successful, and what broke the pact apart, where it looks like there may not even be a BP left after all of the fines and court cases against them get settled. It maybe cheaper for them to file for bankruptcy and take what little assets are left, and run... Politico reports on the wisdom of Haliburton, issuing bribes the old fashioned way to Congresspeople through their political action committee: "The Texas-based oil giant’s political action committee made 14 contributions during the month of May, according to a federal campaign report filed Wednesday — 13 to Republicans and one to a Democrat. It was the busiest donation month for Halliburton’s PAC since September 2008. Of the 10 current members of Congress who got money from Halliburton in May, seven are on committees with oversight of the oil spill and its aftermath." Too bad they don't donate to bloggers or I'd get in line...

And as the timeline for solving the problem gets reset for months away, and the sludge spreads across Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle, we should let the PR companies start coming up with ways to put it in a positive perspective and try to find ways to make it palatable for tourists. For example, we could rename the Gulf of Mexico the New Dead Sea, stock it with rubber duckys and plastic fish for atmosphere, and let the rubes toss their lit cigarettes overboard to see who can catch the sea on fire... OK, that was just off the top of my head, but think of the possibilities once the professionals put their spin to it...

Well, I was close in guessing what Ted Haggard was up to, so I will take the cigar. He indeed is starting up a new church, right now based in the barn next to his house, times to be announced. His sermons will be filmed as part of an ongoing documentary that is being made of his life. The same company that made the Playboy based reality shows "The Girls Next Door" and "Kendra" are also trying to film Ted and Gayle in a positive light... Guess selling insurance to evangelicals wasn't panning out too well for the Tedster. At least he is welcoming everyone to his new church, be they straight, bi, or gay. He is accepting your sexual orientation, how about your political bent? I'm sorry son, but we don't preach to no liberals around here, just to the choir, just to the choir...

Well, I went down to St James Infirmary, 
Saw My Old Preacher there,
Getting a massage on a table,
Looking so white, so tweaked-out, but with perfect hair...

A couple of odds and ends stuck in my head: Officials closed down three more banks in Florida, bringing the total of failed banks to 76 in the last two years. Remember that your account is only guaranteed by the FDIC for $100,000... The two finance reform bills now being studied by Congress are each 1500 pages long. If they were written in plain English, being clear and concise to eliminate the legal grey areas, they probably would total about 34 pages each...

late night jokes:

"The Gulf oil spill, now officially the worst in U.S. history. In fact, they're calling this the biggest environmental disaster since the State of New Jersey." –Jay Leno

"As you know, we're right in the middle of a process called 'top kill.' Doesn't it sound like some bad Steven Seagal movie from the '80s?" –Jay Leno

"BP says if 'top kill' fails, they'll try something called the 'junk shot.' Hey, worked last night for the Lakers." –Jay Leno

"Well, there's a big new scandal going on. Have you heard about this? Republicans are now saying that President Obama had Bill Clinton offer a job to Pennsylvania's Joe Sestak in exchange for dropping out of the Pennsylvania Senate race against Arlen Specter. It's kind of complicated. But if it's true, it's an impeachable offense. That's what they're saying. They're comparing it to the Clinton impeachment. Close, but no cigar." –Jay Leno

"It's been a rough day in the stock market. It's so bad, today, President Obama had to lay off two teleprompters." –Jay Leno

"The economy is so bad, Joe Biden had to cash in his swear jar." –Jay Leno

"The economy is so bad, I saw the governor of Arizona eating at Taco Bell." –Jay Leno

"Today, President Obama flew to Louisiana to see the gulf cleanup effort firsthand. And it was just like President Bush's trip to Louisiana, except Obama actually landed." –Jimmy Fallon

"Obama called the Gulf Coast oil spill 'an assault on our shores.' And then he said the same thing about fat dudes in Speedos." –Jimmy Fallon

"This is a crazy story. An American adventurist strapped himself to a bunch of helium balloons and floated from England to France. Immediately afterward, people in Mexico asked, 'Exactly how many balloons?'" –Jimmy Fallon

"A new study found that the average person has lost an hour of sleep at night during the recession. Luckily, most of them can just sleep in late the next day." –Jimmy Fallon

"An American adventurer strapped himself to a bunch of helium balloons and floated from England to France. Immediately afterwards, people in Mexico asked 'Exactly how many balloons?'" –Jimmy Fallon

"The president finally arrived on the Gulf Coast today to survey the damage. I thought this was telling, while he was there, FEMA arrived for Katrina. ... And George Bush saw him on TV. He called him up and said, 'You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie.'" –Bill Maher

"Sarah Palin weighed in on her Facebook page. She demanded that Obama 'plug the damn hole.' You first, Sarah." –Bill Maher

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