Archive for March, 2009

Tuesday night tango: Matteo Panero and Patricia Hilliges

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

This man is perfection: Elegant, great execution, and I love the suit.

U.S. to Join U.N. Human Rights Council

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

According to the Washington Post, U.S. to Join U.N. Human Rights Council

The Obama administration decided Tuesday to join the U.N. Human Rights Council, reversing a decision by the Bush administration to shun the United Nations’ premier rights body to protest the influence of repressive states, according to U.N. diplomats and rights activists.

The United States will participate in elections in May for one of three seats on the 47-member council, joining a slate that includes Belgium, Norway and New Zealand. New Zealand has offered to step aside to allow the United States to run unchallenged, according to a U.S. official.

As Anne Bayefsky put it, the current administration is following A Foreign Policy of Obsequiousness.

Ralph Peter has a list itemizing O’s foreign failures. Add this one to the list.

Related reading:
The Sword of Islam, the Pen of the UN

Here’s the roster of UN Human Rights Council members.

Now on Movie Addict’s podcast

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I’m a guest at Betty Jo Tucker‘s podcast, tribute to Michael Caine. Join us!

Financial Rescue Approaches GDP as U.S. Pledges $12.8 Trillion

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

This is horrendous:

Financial Rescue Approaches GDP as U.S. Pledges $12.8 Trillion

March 31 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent, lent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year, to stem the longest recession since the 1930s.

New pledges from the Fed, the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. include $1 trillion for the Public-Private Investment Program, designed to help investors buy distressed loans and other assets from U.S. banks. The money works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. The nation’s gross domestic product was $14.2 trillion in 2008.

That is, debt equal to 90% of GDP, an exorbitant and unprecedented amount in all our history.

Daily Finance asks,

But here’s the big unanswered question: Why is it necessary to put so much taxpayer money at risk? Beyond apocalyptic arguments that remind me of the Iraq mushroom cloud from its non-existent WMDs, I have not heard a convincing reason why this money needed to be spent.

But the reality is that the money is now out there so I think it’s time that Americans got an accounting of exactly how that money has been spent and how much of a return us taxpayers have gotten from that investment.

Corrente‘s nowhere near as sanguine.

Take a look at what $12.8 trillion looks like, and then

remember that $1 trillion is about what the US collects in taxes in a year. So to pay for this recovery, the government would have to raise our taxes nearly 13x. Either that or pass it onto future generations.

All part of the punch-drunk plan.

And no, those numbers do no include universal health care.

Would you like some cheese with that whiiiiiiiiiine?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I was at tango last night when Drudge reported this:
NANNY STATE: GOVERNMENT WEBSITE TO WARN OF SADNESS/CRYING OVER ECONOMY

Mon Mar 30 2009 18:43:56 ET

The U.S. government is set to offer an online emotional rescue kit!

“Getting Through Tough Economic Times” will launch Tuesday with a media push across all platforms.

The site is meant to help people identify health concerns related to financial worries.

The feds will warn of depression, suicidal thinking and other serious mental illnesses. It will raise warning flags for: Persistent sadness/crying; Excessive anxiety; Lack of sleep/constant fatigue; Excessive irritability/anger.

The guide will be available starting at midnight at http://www.samhsa.gov/economy.

Sure enough: You go to http://www.samhsa.gov/economy/ and the “Resources in this guide” sidebar has a whole list of government programs.

Let’s see:

  • “Making Housing Affordable” through policies that curtail supply:
    - Onerous zoning requirements and building restrictions
    - Price controls on rents and sale prices
    - Union rules and “living wage” restrictions
    - Forcing banks to make mortgages to the insolvent under the Community Reinvestment Act
  • “Foreclosure Assistance” to people who under the Community Reinvestment Act (which is still in the books) went way over their heads buying houses the could not possibly afford
  • “Worker Reemployment” in government jobs that do not create wealth, manufacture goods or provide services competitive in the world economy;
    All the while confiscating earnings of “people who earn too much,” politicians not included
  • “Government Benefits, Grants, and Financial Aid” so you can live forever dependent on the governmental teat.

And don’t forget that “Starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee (sic).”

While you sit in front of your TV flagellating yourself into a frenzy of self-pity watching Oprah, do you want some cheese with that whiiiiiiiiiiiiiine?

Or you can join the tea party movement, get involved in activities you’re passionate about, take any job you can if you have been laid off, pay up your bills, do something constructive for yourself and your family every day, and not cede all your power to the government.

The government is not here to help.

UPDATE
My friend Richard:

Like everything else, the desire to be cared for by a nanny bureaucracy comes at price: that of being treated like a child. There is no free lunch.

Post-script
In one of those happy coincidences and convergences that have marked my entire life’s journey, last night at tango a friend told me that the guy who wrote All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten took up tango at age 70 and blogs about it, so of course I had to look him up.

I thought the book was a nice enough book but not quite the sort of thing I read, however the combination of tango dancer/blogger is irresistible.

Sure enough, Robert Fulghum does blog about tango:

A dear friend died last week.
Died, as we say, peacefully in his sleep after a long life and a quiet retirement. His files were organized, his basement and garage clean, and all his dues paid up. A tidy end.
Not for me. My goal now is to dance. All the dances. As long as I can.
And then to sit down contented in a chair after the last elegant tango some sweet night and pass on because there just wasn’t another dance left in me.

He also has something to say about other things more pertinent to the subject of this post. From Robert Fulghum’s blog, Act:

Have you ever regretted doing something useful, kind, or generous?
RF: No.
GA: Well, Fulghum it’s time to get busy. You know what you can do, right?
RF: Yes.
GA: Then do it. Get off your butt. The world doesn’t need passengers or observers now. Roll up your sleeves. Get behind the wagon. Lift and push. I’ll give you a one-word motto for the time being.
RF: What’s that?
GA: ACT!

And tango for as long as you can.

UPDATE
Welcome, Dr Helen readers.

UPDATE, Wednesday 1 April
Help needed, for actual help in dealing with crisis.

Today at 11AM Eastern: Moe talks about Dodd, Gore and other top earners

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Don’t miss today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern. Moe‘s back and we’ll talk about Dodd, Gore and other top earners.

Chat’s open at 10:45AM – see you there!

Panties navigation

Monday, March 30th, 2009

How to find your way when the compass doesn’t work? Get out your panties!

PD*27792173

Here’s the story at Gizmodo,
Panties Help Guide 700-Mile Arctic Expedition When GPS, Compasses Fail

When compasses and GPS fail the Catlin Arctic Survey expedition, they go with a low tech “gadget” to help them navigate the freezing wastes and find their bearing: A lacy pair of panties.

The panties serve as a wind sock of sorts
, as the team attaches them to a ski pole and uses wind as a guide to the North Pole, where they will measure just how thin the ice shelf is these days. They can’t use a compass because of their proximity to the magnetic North Pole. GPS is apparently useless because the frigid temps freeze the equipment. The team also navigates using the sun, but when it’s cloudy they pull out the lacy panties.

I checked the calendar and it’s not April 1 yet, and the Telegraph is also reporting on the story, including a semi-scientific explanation:

Speaking from the Arctic via satellite phone, he said: “It an entirely genuine situation. If you can get gossamer thin material and attach it your ski pole it is particularly useful for this project because we can cannot use the compass as we are so close to magnetic north and it is too cold to use the GPS.

Prince Charles is supporting the expedition.

Cross-posted at PoliGazette

The new Italian restaurant in North Korea, and other international news

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Not exactly The Olive Garden

EDITORIAL: Book your flight to Pyongyang!
North Korea opens its first Italian restaurant, thanks to Dear Leader

“Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il, a gourmand, has opened an Italian restaurant after sending cooks to Naples and Rome to learn how to cook authentic Italian pizza and pasta.

Would you like some fries with that, Kim?

The Saudis would have you believe that Islam in Latin America began with Muslim journeys to the continent even before the arrival of Columbus. I guess they heard about it from the Vikings.

“If there is another election” in the UK. At least there’s one place where the porkbusters got there first.

There’s First-person Socialism, and then there’s being there:

The Anchoress likes Mike Rowe, and I love him, too – and he can sing.

Denny awarded the AOTW to this guy, who richly earned it.

Joe Biden, however, was thanking Zapatero for Spain’s help in Iraq. Biden’s statement is so far beyond stupid that for a moment I thought Biden was trying to punk ZP, but Ed makes a better point,

No, I think Biden would have been blunt enough to just say, “Thanks for ticking off George Bush.” It should be noted that the Spanish Finger to the US didn’t just include pulling out of Iraq, but also refusing to train Iraqi security forces

One way in which the Enron scandal differs from the AIG scandal.

If you aren’t worried yet, maybe you should read that UN offers aid for Bolivia to exploit uranium. In the meantime, read this article asking, Iranian Influence Also Connected With Mexican Drug Cartels And FARC?

Doug is brilliant.

More blogging later.

“Starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee.”

Monday, March 30th, 2009

At times like this I’m glad The Husband and I bought a Toyota and a Volvo, respectively.

Straight out of President Obama’s remarks on U.S. car industry:

It is my hope that the steps I am announcing today will go a long way towards answering many of the questions people may have about the future of GM and Chrysler. But just in case there are still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can — if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warrantee (sic) will be safe.

In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee.

totusThe TOTUS has spoken. Doesn’t that ease your mind, if you own a Chrysler or anything from GM?

I mean, Gerard is so confident in this bit of news he’s even quoting scriptures!

Feeling better now?

UPDATE
Welcome, Jules Crittenden readers. Please visit often.

Update 2
Scott Ott is only slightly ahead of the news cycle: Obama Taps Ralph Nader to Run GM, Nader Joins UAW

And now, for Geithner‘s input…

The “Who painted it?” Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. If you would like your post included in next week’s Carnival please email me, faustaw2 “at” gmail “dot” com.

hillaryguadalupe
I chose the “Who painted it?” theme for today’s Carnival since it’s yet another sign of the current administration’s ignorance of the history and traditions of the region. “You have a marvelous virgin!” indeed.

LATIN AMERICA
Central America: An Emerging Role in the Drug Trade

The ‘Axis of Lula’ vs. the ‘Axis of Hugo’

Nuclear Watchdog Inks South America Deals, U.S. Congress Should Scrutinize Closely

“New Eve” encounters her snakes?

Changes in Earnings in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico: Disentangling the Forces Behind Pro-Poor Change in Labor Markets

Biden travels South

Commentary: Can fading Caribbean island-states thrive in the world of alternative energy?

Latin political calendar puts recovery at risk

Americas summit’s draft declaration is hard to take seriously

Has the G-20 Learned the Lesson?

Politics and Democracy in Latin America – A Beginner’s Guide

ARGENTINA
Argentina’s election: The Kirchners make a dash for it, Hoping it’s not the exit

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Military Makes Biggest Drug Bust in a Decade

BRAZIL
Lula knows he screwed up on Venezuela and Chavez

Via The Anchoress “Excommunication” in Brazil

Rogues Gallery – the PMDB Comes “Clean” at Last

Governors under fire: A rash of impeachment cases against state governors is probably a good sign

Brasil e Irán buscan relanzar comercio

COLOMBIA
FARC plot to kill Colombia defense minister foiled

A un año de la muerte del “faraon” de las FARC

Colombia’s FARC Drops Condition For Hostage Negotiations

The siege of “Mono Jojoy”

CUBA
Youth unemployment

No AARP in Cuba

Embargo stays but ‘review’ of bans is on

Ahhh..That Fiendish “Blockade!”

Rodolfo Barthelemy Cobas and Alejandro Jiménez Blanco, Cuban Political Prisoners of the Week, 3/29/09

ECUADOR
Correa Threatens Jail for Spreading Rumors on Ecuador Currency

Ecuador’s Correa Rejects De-Dollarization; Warns On Rumors

Ecuador’s Correa: Dolarization Stays

Correa Leads Ecuador Electoral Vote

EL SALVADOR
Obama curtails successful drug interdiction program in El Salvador

MEXICO
Another Blooper… Hillary Lays Flowers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine Asks “Who Painted It?”

Washington continues to play ostrich about Mexico

A Mexican standoff with reality

The Southern Neighbor

LOWRY: The big truck turnaround
Teamsters prove borders can be policed, despite treaties

Mexico Goes Medieval

Mexico’s Juarez surge is working so far

Via Instapundit, Obama targets flow of guns, profits from U.S. to Mexico

Via Instapundit, Drug cartels’ new weaponry means war

Army desertions hurting Mexico’s war on drugs

US to Boost Forces on Mexico Border

Green Holidays: EcoHotels In Yucatan, Mexico

Mexico’s Dinosaurs Exploit the Crisis
A cautionary tale for those who see an opportunity to take over key elements of the economy.

Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into the US.

Hillary’s Mexican Reality Check

John Kerry:
Mexico’s war must be our war
Helping Mexico take on the drug cartels helps us, but the effort will require unprecedented cooperation between our two countries.

NICARAGUA
The Many Stories of Carlos Fernando Chamorro

PUERTO RICO
Jury clears Puerto Rico police in Marine’s beating

Puerto Rico Gets a Little Richer With New Quarter from U.S. Mint

VENEZUELA
Tirofijo honored in Caracas

Yes, Hugo cheated

Venezuela’s budget cuts
Hard landing: President Chávez’s spending cuts will bite deeper than he admits

As expected swap market ground to a halt, here is why…

Venezuela to take over 30 fishing boats

Panic in the swap market

Alí, meet Bernie. Bernie, Alí.

Venezuela Currency Trades in Parallel Market Slow on U.S. Probe

Special thanks to Ada, Dymphna and the Baron, Eneas, Larwyn, Maggie and SamK.

UPDATE
Don’t miss also the best of me symphony

The week’s posts and podcasts:
If you can call it “vindication”
Hezbollah using Mexican drug routes into the US
“We won’t pay for their crisis”
Hiding the story with the headlines
More on Lula’s “people with blue eyes”
Lula: “White people with blue eyes” created the financial crisis
Venezuelan Military Takes Control of Transportation Hubs
Clinton: US shares blame for Mexican drug war
Today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern: Argentina Downgraded to Kazakhstan on Foreign Fund Restrictions
At Real Clear World
Lula’s ‘White People with Blue Eyes’ Spices Up G20
Venezuelan Military Takes Control of Transportation Hubs