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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 08/08/2010 - 08/15/2010
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, August 14, 2010

In Vienna [UPDATE: in Prishtina]

on the way to prishtina... i had about 20 minutes to make my connection in san francisco last evening... i managed to hoof it from gate 69 to gate 94 in the nick of time however i won't know if my bags made it until i get to prishtina and see whether or not they show up... ya gotta love travelin'...


yep... no bags... they SUPPOSEDLY will be in on the flight that arrives tomorrow afternoon at 3... sigh...


sunday, 8 p.m.

not on the 3 p.m. flight... now i'm waiting for the 9:30 p.m. flight... argh...

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Friday, August 13, 2010

We need an open internet - "That's Bullshit" with Sam Seder

i've lost track of the petitions and pleas and letters and faxes i've signed and sent begging that the internet be allowed to remain open and unconstrained by greedy corporations hell-bent on profits...

the combo of my laptop and rapid, readily available internet access literally makes my current life possible... every few months, i'm on the move, conducting my personal life and my business from different cities, different time zones, different countries and different continents... from the keyboard of my laptop, i shop, make travel arrangements, conduct business correspondence, make phone calls, hold business meetings, keep in touch with family and friends, do my banking, conduct research, post material for students in my classes, keep up with news and current events, and a thousand and one other things that are an essential part of my daily routine... the last thing i need is to have some money-crazed corporation telling me what i can access and what i can't or throwing pay-as-you-go speed bumps in the way of doing what i need to do...

sam seder courtesy of atrios...

capitalism and the profit motive ran amok a long time ago... there's going to come a time - and i predict it will be soon - when there will simply be no more blood money to be squeezed from us turnips peasants...

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Ya just gotta laugh at another context-free NYT "news" story

so... lemme get this straight... gm is moving away from government involvement in its operations... hmmmmm...
Profit Strong, G.M. Names a New Chief

A transition at the top, for a successor chosen by General Motors’ board, was taken as a sign of the government’s shrinking role in the automaker.


[T]he company underscored its rapid pace of change when its chief executive, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., said he would be leaving on Sept. 1 — a clear indication of the federal government’s shrinking role in overseeing the company. Federal officials said they had no involvement in the G.M. board’s choice of one of its members, Daniel F. Akerson, as Mr. Whitacre’s successor.
[emphasis added]

it's stunning to me how what passes for journalism in this country can blithely leave out any reference whatsoever to the bio of the guy who's taking over gm... not once in the article is mr. akerson's background cited...

here is daniel akerson's bio from his previous principal employer, the carlyle group, well-known for its government-private sector revolving door...

Daniel F. Akerson
Managing Director
Washington , DC

Daniel F. Akerson is a Managing Director of The Carlyle Group and is the Head of Global Buyout. He serves on the firm's Executive Committee and is based in Washington, DC.

Mr. Akerson is a seasoned executive with extensive operating and management experience having served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer or President of several major companies, including General Instrument, MCI, Nextel and XO Communications. His corporate management experience, private equity track record and deep understanding of Carlyle’s global operation provide a strong foundation for his leadership of Carlyle’s buyout activities in Asia, Europe, Financial Services, Infrastructure, Japan and the United States.

Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. Akerson served in several key roles at MCI Communications Corporation from 1983-1993 including Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 1987-1990 and President and Chief Operating Officer from 1992-1993. During his tenure, Mr. Akerson formulated and executed MCI’s global strategy. Mr. Akerson left MCI in 1993 to become a General Partner of private equity firm Forstmann Little & Company, during which time he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Instrument Company from 1993-1995. While at General Instrument he lead a successful effort to develop and deploy the first digital video, satellite and cable systems domestically and internationally. Following that, Mr. Akerson served as Chairman from 1996-2001 and Chief Executive Officer of Nextel Communications, Inc., from 1996-1999 where he transitioned the company from a regional analog walkie/talkie provider into a unique, leading edge national digital wireless competitor. From late 1999 until January 2003, Mr. Akerson served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of XO Communications, Inc. where he led the successful restructuring of the company.

Mr. Akerson earned his B.S. in engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and his M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics.

Mr. Akerson is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Express Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, Freescale Semiconductor and General Motors Company.

well, let's hear it for ol' dan... i don't know about you, but i sure will rest easier knowing that ol' dan is steering general motors away from government oversight, the same thing he's no doubt doing for booz allen...

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Headin' back on the road

tomorrow i head out once again... i'll be spending time with a friend in macedonia for a couple of days before heading off for greece and the beaches of the halkidiki peninsula with her and her family... i'm curious to see what's happening on the ground in greece, one of the most distressed of the euro zone p.i.i.g.s. (portugal, ireland, italy, greece and spain) countries...
Greek Recession Deepens

The Greek economy contracted sharply in the second quarter ... The national statics service Ellsta said Thursday that second-quarter gross domestic product fell 1.5% on a quarterly basis, weaker than forecasts of a 1% drop and the 0.8% fall in the first quarter.

Jobs data for May, meanwhile, revealed persistently high unemployment, which ticked higher to 12% from 11.9% in April.

hopefully, the greeks will hold off on any full-blown street riots until i depart on the 27th... 'course, i'll be heading to kosovo from there, not exactly a hotbed of prosperity...

p.s. note that greece is struggling with a 12% unemployment while we here in the u.s. are hovering between 9 and 10 (at least according to OFFICIAL stats)... not that far off, eh...?

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Colbert talks to Dylan Ratigan about a past life

so, why did dylan ratigan decide to abandon wall street...? could it be because he saw the light...?

from the colbert report...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Dylan Ratigan
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

the more of these guys that wake up and smell the coffee, the better chance we have of someday fixing the horrible mess created for us peasants by our super-rich elites...

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So, we're losers, are we...? The Obama administration shows its true colors...

yeah, it's more glenn...

You may think that the reason you're dissatisfied with the Obama administration is because of substantive objections to their policies: that they've done so little about crisis-level unemployment, foreclosures and widespread economic misery. Or because of the White House's apparently endless devotion to Wall Street. Or because the President has escalated a miserable, pointless and unwinnable war that is entering its ninth year. Or because he has claimed the power to imprison people for life with no charges and to assassinate American citizens without due process, intensified the secrecy weapons and immunity instruments abused by his predecessor, and found all new ways of denying habeas corpus. Or because he granted full-scale legal immunity to those who committed serious crimes in the last administration. Or because he's failed to fulfill -- or affirmatively broken -- promises ranging from transprarency to gay rights.

But Robert Gibbs -- in one of the most petulant, self-pitying outbursts seen from a top political official in recent memory, half derived from a paranoid Richard Nixon rant and the other half from a Sean Hannity/Sarah Palin caricature of The Far Left -- is here to tell you that the real reason you're dissatisfied with the President is because you're a fringe, ideological, Leftist extremist ingrate who needs drug counseling:

The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

"I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy."

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, "They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality."

being categorized as a member of the "professional left" is a new one for me... while i tend to identify more with the left, progressives and liberals much more than i do with the right and conservatives, i am well aware of serious failings in all of those groups... if pushed, i would describe myself more as being passionate about social justice, respect and tolerance for everyone, with a strong bias against greed, fear-mongering and endless war...

glenn continues...

Perhaps one day the White House can work itself up to express this sort of sputtering rage against the Right, or the Wall Street thieves who destroyed the American economy, or the permanent factions that control Washington.


[I]f anyone needs to be "drug tested," it would be those denying that many of Bush's most controversial policies and actions have been embraced in full by Barack Obama.

i don't know what the obama administration thinks it's doing talking trash like this but whatever support yours truly might have been able to muster for obama's declining fortunes is now gone... may god have mercy on our souls when we wake up the morning after the november election and see what fresh hell has overtaken us...

"professional left," indeed...!

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Sunday, August 08, 2010

I think the Taliban may have screwed the pooch on this one

most people, including the majority of afghans, recognize the difference between decent folks and the other kind, and my afghan friends tell me that the taliban definitely put its collective tit in the proverbial wringer over this one...
One gave up a lucrative practice to give free dental care to children who had never seen a toothbrush. Others had devoted whole decades of their lives to helping the Afghan people through war and deprivation.

The years of service ended in a hail of bullets in a remote valley of a land that members of the medical team had learned to love.

The bodies of the 10 slain volunteers - six Americans, two Afghans, a German and a Briton - were flown Sunday back to Kabul by helicopter, even as friends and family bitterly rejected Taliban claims the group had tried to convert Afghans to Christianity.

Also flown to the capital was the lone survivor of the attack, an Afghan driver who said he was spared because he was a Muslim and recited Islamic holy verses as he begged for his life. The International Assistance Mission, which organized the trip, said the driver had been a trusted employee with four years of service.

Police said they don't know if he is a witness or an accomplice in the killings, claimed by the Taliban.

it's one thing to knock off those who are killing your neighbors, their families and innocent children - or work for those who are - but it's another to execute people who are bringing free health and dental care to people who have never had it... most of the afghans i know have little use for the taliban anyway and this kind of behavior certainly isn't calculated to change their minds...

as a final comment, as soon as i heard that the driver had been spared, i knew immediately he would be seen as a suspect... the extreme irony is that if one of the foreigners had been spared, there wouldn't have been a moment's doubt about his/her innocence... but an afghan...? no way...

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