Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Or maybe it’s just the hot air cloud over Rush’s studio…

Too big to nail?

Too big to nail?

Well, our natural world seems to be having its fun with us as a huge ash cloud erupts from Mount Eyjafjallajokull (Eye-ya-falafel-cul?) and cuts off Europe from air travel for several days. This is not the first time such a huge cloud has occurred: there was the famous Mt. St. Helens eruption back in 1980. The centuries have been dotted with darknesses “enveloping the whole of Europe” as the description of one 5th century eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that, curiously enough, signaled the start of the Dark Ages (although the Dark Ages could have been presaged by an eruption of Mount Etna in 417, on whose dating, I, in an earlier incarnation as an historian, wrote a paper on in 1990 (Olympiodorus’ Eruption of Mount Etna: a possible dating of 417. EOS: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 71:329-334)). Rush Limbaugh has been having fun with it, calling attention to Obama’s statement on the passing of the health care bill that the world hasn’t ended yet. I certainly hope the Almighty has better aim than to punish Europe for OUR supposed transgression, so I shall assume that Rush-boy is being ironic, should he be capable of such complexity of thought.

But with such a global disaster, it might be better to look for a more global transgression, and I think we have our candidate at Goldman Sachs. Their financial manipulations–along with other august companies–managed to pull off a global economic disaster, yet their CEO Lloyd Blankfein had the effrontery to make a positively BLASPHEMOUS statement that he was “doing God’s work” while bankrupting the entire world. Now if I know one thing about Our Lord God Jehovah, you can kill millions of people and He won’t bat an eyelash, but say one thing wrong about Him and all Armageddon is gonna bust loose. On top of all, Goldman Sachs has the sheer CHUTZPAH to announce 5 billion dollars in bonuses to be paid to its executives–you know, the ones who bet short on the world disaster they themselves engineered–and you say, enough is enough.

The teabaggers have it all wrong–the cause of our ills is not the government–tho it’s not helping by spending 20 times the amount that could eliminate world hunger on a military that has gotten itself bogged down in the middle of a desert for 8 years. It’s these bankers who think God’s work consists of lining their pockets with our money. They’re no better than the guy who is going to the track and convinces you to bet on a certain longshot that he says he has a tip that it can’t loose. Then, when he goes to the track, bets all YOUR money on the favorite and after the race, picks up one of the losing tickets off the floor to give you with the lame explanation that he’s never gonna listen to THAT TIPSTER again. It’s beyond time that they should be sued for fraud. It’s about time that they should be INDICTED for it!

In the meantime, Europe is enjoying a slower pace and beautiful sunsets. Maybe Mt. St. Palin in Alaska will explode in a few years and we’ll be the lucky ones :D


I went to a small con this weekend in Alexandria called T-MODE and had a great time. The advantage of a small con is its size–you can meet everyone and do everything. Naturally, you have a bigger selection of activities at a big con, but you always wind up missing some things you would have enjoyed. The organizers of T-MODE called it “fun-sized” and that it was. I got to hear a lovely singer Emi Meyer (also on MySpace–beautiful woman, beautiful voice, beautiful music) and hip hop artist Shing02 and DJ Icewater. I had a TAIKO DRUM LESSON from Doug Manring (Power Kix Drum Team and Real School of Rock) as well as meeting the new voice of Haruhi Suzumiya and a great singer herself Cristina Vee. Also there were our friends from the webcomic Geeks Next Door, who gave sessions ON webcomics, and Interrobang Studios, whose artist Sarah Martinez, gave a great session on surviving Artist’s Alley. I didn’t get to meet the vocal artist Mega Ran (aka Random) or voice actor Todd Haberkorn, or Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has invaded the US–I did have to run home and feed the kitten occasionally LOL. Oh and I nearly forgot, I got interviewed for Vidgle and I hope to have up a link next week to my podcast with them :) Congratulations to the organizers–I had a great time. My personal photos will be up on my Flicker account later this week.

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AIG: Are you SURE this was the first you knew about bonuses, Mr. Geithner?

Chris Dodd wasn't about to take the fall for Tim Geithner's insistence on softening the bonus language in the bailout bill. Parody of a Maltese Falcon movie poster

Coming to a Congressional Hearing Near You

Well, this HAS been an interesting week. The news about the AIG bonuses broke late Saturday, early Sunday. The liberal bloggers picked up on it immediately, but the conservative bloggers didn’t touch it until Tuesday. Evidently, they don’t read the liberal blogs and had to wait for someone else to digest it and hand them a party line. The moderates joined in and there was a firestorm of protest, best summed up by Chuck Grassley as a general demand for resignations or hara-kiri. Personally, I’d like someone to leave a gun on their desks and tell them to “do the right thing,” but what can I say, I’m an anglophile. Obama said he hadn’t heard about the bonuses until a few days before the s**t hit the fan. Tim Geithner said he’d only heard a few days before that. HOWEVER, Ron Wyden revealed that when the bailout bill passed the Senate, there was a strong provision putting caps on executive bonuses for companies being bailed out. It wasn’t there when it hit the House. As Rita Rudner once put it, where did the glue go? Treasury tries to put the blame on Chris Dodd, claiming he added a clause granting exemptions for bonus agreements already in place. But what REALLY happened, as Jane Hamsher has documented is that Dodd et al had inserted a provision placing caps retroactively on executive compensation…and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, head of the National Economic Council, put pressure on Dodd to remove or seriously weaken this provision. And Senator Dodd pointed the finger straight back at Geithners–who, you will remember claimed like Sergeant Schultz, “I knew nuzzing, NUZZING!” Obama then said, in one of his less-than-sterling statements, that the administration will use every legal means to try to recoup these bonuses–which have already been paid. Well, hell, Barack, did you think we expected you to use ILLEGAL means?
Obama’s appointment of Tim Geithner to head the Treasury was an iffy deal to begin with. The charismatic young president’s strong points do not include economics and Geithner’s appointment seemed an attempt to look like he was putting one of the adults in charge. After all, a banker should know about banking, right? It also looked like a safe place to put an opposing viewpoint. Well, Mr. Geithner has just demonstrated that his loyalties run with the banking community, not with the people of the US, and his appointment, far from placing one of the adults in charge, actually was putting one of the foxes in charge of the henhouse. It is time for Mr. Obama to reconsider this appointment. No, screw that, it’s time to ask for Timmy’s resignation. Geithner was going to follow a timid course, the tried-and-true, which in this situation is neither tried nor true. Let’s get someone like Paul Krugman in place so we can get an economic policy with balls, not cronyism.
Oh and AIG has decided on a new strategy to save the company. It’s changing its name…
Check out Glenn Greenwald’s Salon column on this for more information on the legal ramifications of the AIG stink.
BTW I think Timmy Geithner makes an excellent Brigid O’Shaunessy–he’s about as honest, dontcha think?

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