A Little News and Talk

It’s been a busy few weeks down here with the moose heard. Let’s see what’s been happening since I’ve been so busy. Um, so the middle east has completely changed. Did anyone see that happening.

The UN seeks access to the Libyan injured and dying:

The United Nations is calling on Libya to allow it immediate access to the rebel-held western city of Misrata, following reports of fighting and deaths in the area.

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said Sunday that people “are injured and dying and need help immediately.”  She also called on all sides of the conflict to “ensure that civilians are protected from harm.”

The U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the Red Crescent Society in Benghazi reported that Misrata, 200 kilometers east of Tripoli, is under attack by government forces, and that the Libyan Red Crescent is trying to get ambulances from Tripoli in to collect the dead and injured.

That’s a pretty bad sitiuation. Unlike the other middle eastern countries that have had changes and protests and the like, the Libyan government and military has met theirs with violence and apparently a goal of killing all of their citizens.

Apparently things aren’t really resolved in Egypt either. First the supposed interim government and really military don’t seem much different than before. And now there appears to be more attacking of protesters by “armed civilians” (read military or police out of uniform):

On Sunday, men in plain clothes armed with swords and petrol bombs confronted the pro-democracy activists after soldiers dispersed a Cairo rally they were holding to demand reform of the security services, eyewitnesses say.

“The army started firing in the air to disperse us,” Mohammed Fahmy told Reuters news agency.

“We tried to run away but we were met by 200 thugs in plain clothes carrying sharp weapons.”

Mr Fahmy put the number of protesters at 2,000.

Dismantling the security apparatus has been one of the key demands of the protest movement, the BBC’s Magdi Abdelhadi in Cairo says.

The events of the weekend have been described as the Egyptian storming of the Bastille, he says.

Let’s hope the military and the old politicians behind the scenes don’t do anything rash and let changes happen as they’ve promised. It’s not over and the Egyptians are not out of the woods by any means.

And allegedly because of all this unrest, gas prices are skyrocketing and will soon top $4/gal in the US:

For the first time since fighting in the Middle East sent gasoline prices skyrocketing, President Obama is thinking about tapping the country’s oil reserves.

“We’re looking at the options. The issue of the reserve is one we are considering,” Obama’s Chief of Staff Bill Daley said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But he added: “It is something that only is done and has been done on very rare occasions.”

He is talking about the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It’s along the Gulf coast and is America’s oil piggy bank. In underground salt domes, 727 million barrels of oil are stored. The oil is there to protect against a sudden cut off of supply.

“It should be tapped when, physically, the market is lacking oil. And I don’t think we’re anywhere near that,” Roger Diwan of PFC Energy told ABC News.

I’m sure that will help the economy is the US loads. Meanwhile the remaining Democrats are standing firm and drawing a line in the sand about the budget. And they really mean it this time. Yea, right:

Assistant Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin drew a line in the sand on Sunday in his party’s budget battle with Republicans, who are pushing deep spending cuts to trim the federal deficit.

Durbin, one of President Barack Obama’s top allies in Congress, said he opposed going beyond the $10.5 billion in domestic, non-defense discretionary spending cuts that Democrats have backed.

Republicans want $61 billion in spending reductions.

“I think we’ve pushed this to the limit,” Durbin told the “Fox News Sunday” television program as Congress and the White House prepared for another week of showdowns that threaten a government shutdown.

“To go any further is to push more kids out of school,” Durbin said. “It stops the investment of infrastructure, which kills good-paying jobs right here in the United States.’

“I’m willing to see more deficit reduction, but not out of domestic discretionary spending,” Durbin said.

Any bets as to how long they pretend to be defending the budget. What theater. They want the same as the Republicans, for the moneybags behind them to be happy and to continue to keep them in office. Either way, neither party has our interests at heart.

And finally, Charlie Sheen is running his own internet talk show. Or soon will be. Yea, that’s what I said. If there ever were a sign that the entire US had jumped the shark, that would be it.

This is an open thread. Talk it up. No fighting. Or at least, not without proper boxing gloves. 🙂

About Bull J. Moose

I eat people like you for breakfast.
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46 Responses to A Little News and Talk

  1. DeniseVB says:

    Yay, hi Bullmoose, thanks for the thread starter and glad you mentioned Charlie…..funny story…..checked the twitter last night and noticed all the “highly respected” news peeps I follow all, I mean ALL, had #charlieskorner hashtags….so I clicked it….and voila….I was in Charlie World live for the next half hour! Winning!


    • Happy to throw something up against the wall. Yea, that Tigerblood, Adonis DNA guy is really off the way. Hard to tell if he knows what he’s doing or just nuts. #winning #tigersblood 🙂

  2. More on Libya including video report:

    Forces loyal to Col Gaddafi have mounted strong counter-offensives, as they try to retake opposition-controlled areas in Libya.

    In the west, tanks have been in action against the rebel-held cities of Zawiya and Misrata.

    In the east, government troops attacked the coastal towns of Bin Jawad and Ras Lanuf, recently captured by the rebels.

    There were earlier reports of heavy gunfire in the capital, Tripoli.

  3. Dario says:

    It’s going to be a long summer of unrest. Not that I’d want the U.S. to get involved on the ground, but leadership can take many forms, and Obama once again what a loser he is.

  4. DeniseVB says:

    I do support unions v corporations, as we all should, but riddle me this hardcore defenders of the “wolf is at the door” unions rulez gang….The NFL Millionaires v. Billionaires “collective bargaining” circus. The NFL Players Assn is being represented by Trumka’s AFL-CIO ? Unfortunately, there has been no mention of the concessions’ employees, ThOUsands of them who would be out of job if the NFL goes to lockdown.

    • Sounds like another example of union people=”big single organization” instead of … 92 separate ones?

    • Three Wickets says:

      Courts have already ruled that the networks can back out of their license agreements. Networks (except ESPN) might actually be happy about this. They’ll be able to sell ads on lower cost programming. We’ll probably see more basketball, hockey…soccer, snowboarding, curling. Movie theatres will be happy too.

  5. 1539days says:

    Who’s your fund manger?

    I was thinking about this with all the us vs. them talk about millionaires and billionaires. Most large companies are publically traded, which means that anyone can buy stock in the company. One of the biggest forces in investment is the mutual fund industry.

    Mutual funds are owned by people with 401Ks, government and union pensions and anyone who wants a diversified portfolio. The fund managers decide if a company is worthy of investment and they trade stocks multiple times a day.

    These investment vehicles become a way to reward bad behavior. Companies that lay off people and move overseas and show big profits are the darlings of investors. In many cases, that investment is made from the income of working people and I’m not sure most people have any idea where their retirement funds go.

    • Three Wickets says:

      That’s the irony of retirement funds of course. They are invested in capital markets which in turn puts pressure on their own companies to be short sighted or behave badly. I’ve read that the SEC will increasingly require fund managers and brokers to work on fees and not commissions…which in theory should slow down pyramid formations.

      • votermom says:

        Economics makes my eyes cross, but it seems to me that fund managers almost literally rule wall street and therefore the country because they decide where the money goes.

        Even forcing them into fee-based rather commission- based compensation won’t solve the the problem of lack of regulation and oversight.

        It would be different if our economy also had significant earnings out of manufacturing or agriculture, but so much of the economy now depends on wall street speculation that it is unhealthy how much power fund managers have.

    • In many cases, that investment is made from the income of working people and I’m not sure most people have any idea where their retirement funds go.

      Good point. So, forex, a WI union member’s dues go out of the union into a pension fund managed by some government beancounter who buys a mutual fund which some non-government beancounter is changing every day.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      I don’t have a 401K anymore, but when I did, I separated out the few of my choices that were run by women, and then researched each woman. That’s how I picked mine and how I would in the future if I had to resort to a 401K.

  6. Valissa says:

    I find it interesting that by not being President, Hillary has more power to help women around the world and effect real change on the planet. Go Hillary!

    The Hillary Doctrine – In a time of momentous change in the world, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sets out on her most heartfelt mission: to put women and girls at the forefront of the new world order. http://www.newsweek.com/2011/03/06/the-hillary-doctrine.html

    • Patti says:

      Thanks for the link. Hillary rocks! I do believe Hillary, as President, could have effected real change on the planet, just as she’s doing now.

      • Valissa says:

        Hate to have to disagree on this one… but as Prez Hillary would have been locked into so many political power games and would have had little room to maneuver. Contrary to what many believe, a President, any president, is actually quite limited as to what they can accomplish in terms of real change. There are many practical reasons for this, and it’s something historian’s often mention as a reality check to political idealism.

        • votermom says:

          I think Pres. Hillary could have created real positive economic and social change within the USA, but she would not have been as involved world-wide. But I have no doubt she would have picked an SoS almost as good as herself.

        • ralphb says:

          Those historians should pay more attention to FDR and less to Fillmore. Roosevelt, both of them, created lasting change as President.

        • Valissa says:

          Ralph, I think you misunderstood my point about the historians. The point is about the limitations on any president based on the nature of the office itself and how the gov’t bureaucracy and internal fiefdoms that develop because while Presidents come and go these gov’t directors and such stay. These factors and many more too long to go into in a comment mean that Presidents have little freedom to make change UNLESS there is significant other support in the system, society or culture for that.

          For instance, FDR could not have accomplised all that’s accredited to him with having really strong backers in congress… and the people that ran for office at that time and won were a different type than had been in before them as they had been spurred to run due to the devastating depression and they were really ready to change the system.

          Another thing FDR had going for him is that he was from old money… he was a card carrying member of the top echelons of the elite. Therefore he could talk to the other powerful and wealthy and twist arms as needed behoind the scenes. Kennedy had this advantage as well.

          It’s easy to blame or praise a president what goes on during a President’s term in office, however it’s rarely them alone… there has to be significant other cultural and political vectors lining up to make things happen.

        • ralphb says:

          Valissa, A large part of that was brought up by Bill Clinton when he said that being president was a lot like being the caretaker of a large cemetery, “A lot of people are under you but no one is listening”. He was talking about the entrenched bureaucracies in every agency who were there when he arrived and would be there when he left. But to do anything about that would require significant changes to current behavior which the public sector unions would fight to the death.

        • Valissa says:

          Yup Ralph, you NAILED that one! Makes it easy to see why spending cuts are so hard to implement in the gov’t in the real world. Even Republicans who say that want to make gov’t smaller run up against these same firmly entrenched Depts and bureacracies. ALl graet empires have had this bureaucratic creep problem. Overspending on military is not the only thing that can bankrupt an empire… overspending on an out-of-control sprawling gov’t bureaucracy is just as much a danger to the long term health of an empire. Big bureaucratic gov’t, if it sprawls out of control (no matter for how noble a purpose) literally shortens the lifespan of an empire.

  7. Three Wickets says:

    Here are some interesting data viz comparisons of private vs public sector employees.

  8. votermom says:

    Glad you’re back! Great post.

  9. votermom says:

    Mini-brag — my middle-school kid entered a history essay contest and she made past the regional level and can enter it the state level.

  10. Valissa says:

    Nice to see you posting again Monsieur Moose!

    It looks like the WI Dems are ready to negotiate… will be interesting to see the results of that.

    Wis. Senate Democratic leader asks Walker to meet

    • Valissa says:

      Here’s another short article…

      Pressure from National Liberals Squeezes Wisconsin Dems

      • votermom says:

        The polls showing the unpopularity of Walker’s bargaining power have strangely encouraged Democrats to end their boycott rather than extend it. Since they believe the plan has done extensive damage to the recently revitalized Republican brand in the state, Democratic politicians are optimistic that they can sweep the 2012 elections – but not if they continue to annoy voters with a work stoppage.

        Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/03/07/pressure-form-national-liberals-squeezes-wisconsin-dems/#ixzz1FviU0viz

        Typical — the pols never really care about the issues, just how the issues can be used to damage the other party and aggrandize themselves.

        • Valissa says:

          Yeah, perhaps the concept of good governance of the people will come back as a political fashion in the future. Of course that would require real news as well. I wouldn’t bet on it!

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Typical Democrats too, to think the unpopularity will last. They are so giddy when they’re stupid enough to think they’ve won. Mitch Daniels did the exact same thing in ’04 or ’05, and swept another victory in 2008. Walker picking this fight now has everything to do with that model. He’s very shrewd in that regard.

        • 1539days says:

          Exactly. Walker is going to be there for some time. He doesn’t have to worry about his weekly approval rating. He’s been laying low as well, but in the state house. Now, he’s calling out minority leader Mark Miller as the chief obstructionist. This is smart, because it personalizes the opposition.

  11. Valissa says:

    The owner must be a fan of Talk Like A Pirate Day… if you need a good laugh, watch it!

    Weekend Hilarity: A Horse Named Arrrrr [VIDEO]

    Watch how this fortunately named horse makes all the other scalawag horses walk the plank. What’s the horse’s name? Why, it’s Arrrrr, with five Rs — be sure to spell it right.

    If you’re a fan of the ponies as some of your humble narrators here at Mashable are, you know there’s no shortage of crazy names for racehorses.

    That said, we are still laughing at this video discovered by Neatorama, and can’t help but love the way the announcer gets into this race, calling it with gusto to its glorious conclusion.

  12. Valissa says:

    The reality of today’s political warfare… going beyond mere astroturfing…

    Hacked e-mails show Web’s usefulness in dirty-tricks campaigns http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/04/AR2011030402706.html?wpisrc=nl_tech

    Although much of K Street spends its time plying the halls of Congress on behalf of well-heeled clients, there is a growing dark side to Washington’s lobbying and public-relations industry: figuring out new ways to undermine and sabotage opponents. …

    This little-discussed aspect of the influence business came into view in recent weeks with the release of thousands of hacked corporate e-mails, which detail a pair of high-tech dirty-tricks campaigns aimed at supporters of WikiLeaks and foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    The plans were pitched by three federal contractors to lawyers at Hunton & Williams, a top-flight D.C. law and lobbying firm that works for the chamber. Proposed tactics included creating fake personas online to fool chamber critics; planting false electronic documents to undermine the credibility of activists; and using powerful computer tools to “scrape” Facebook and other social media sites for personal information about chamber foes, according to the e-mails. …

    Two proposals in particular stood out from the hacked data. One outlined strategies for sabotaging, on behalf of Bank of America, the WikiLeaks site, including launching cyberattacks, spreading misinformation and pressuring journalists such as Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. (Bank of America, a Hunton & Williams client, said it had no knowledge of the plans.)

    The second was a similar sales pitch aimed at the chamber, which employs Hunton & Williams as outside counsel. Urged by a lawyer at Hunton & Williams to “impress” Wyatt by gathering data on chamber foes, the companies compiled profiles and other details about a host of liberal anti-chamber activists, including family details and photos, the e-mails show.

    As they developed their proposal for a “corporate information reconnaissance cell,” the firms laid out ever more aggressive ideas, including monitoring the communications of chamber opponents and planting false information to embarrass them, the e-mails show.

    An executive with one of the firms, who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about the case, said another suggestion to create false personas to infiltrate social media sites “was a red flag. That to me is where it crossed the line and shouldn’t have happened.”

  13. helenk says:

    A website that shows gas prices in this country and Canada. I hope it helps




    • jjmtacoma says:

      That is interesting.

      I noticed the US prices were by dollars per gallon and the Canadian prices were by cents per litre. So for comparison’s sake:

      1 Gallon = 3.78 litres
      1 USD = 1.03 Canadian dollars

  14. ralphb says:

    iowahawk Badgering the Witless Another good read,


  15. New thread up on some breaking news.

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