It's the plutonomy, stupid!

After the Justin Timberlake concert on Saturday, Sarah and I waited in the heated St. Paul Hotel lobby for our cab, an ordeal that lasted approximately ninety minutes (market failure due to restricted cab supply plus dumb border-crossing regulations for Mpls cabs). Soon after we got through to a cab company (name withheld because they never showed), this gigantic tour van pulled up and unloaded an odd, genetically-perfect queue of caucasions in jeweled tiaras, plus an obese cowboy and a jester. Probably a party related to the Winter Carnival, I'm sure, but something in their alienated superiority (including a crosseyed disacknowledgment of the proles waiting for cabs in that shivery lobby) struck me. "This is new," I thought. Wealthy play-actors who have never known need or hunger, utterly solipsist in their sense of entitlement. What is going on here? Is this Minnesota? I kept it to myself, until just this week I read some fantastic tips about the "plutonomy" coming from a most unlikely source, Citigroup.

Citigroup is always very growth-driven, the fattest nesting doll dipping their wand and enlarging the coffers and phantom assets of god knows how many hundreds of happy (mostly wealthy) investors. As market watchers, they know profit abhors deception and lies, so their recent report on the "plutonomy" comes as no surprise: the economy is driven by the rich. The middle and the bottom contribute nothing, indeed (what the hell) they might even be a drag on profits. Such reality-based sentiments have prompted an icy seam of guilt in many quarters. Let me just introduce this "plutonomy investment strategy", which drops the guaranteed-dividend tip at the same time it tells you to frown and self-flagellate all the way to the bank: "So you should make adjustments to your investment strategy, but if you find this growing gap between the rich and everyone else disturbing, you may want to consider working for political change too." You read it here first.

Last week, in a red-faced coda to the comic State of the Union Address (see Chuck's post below), a passionately contained Senator Webb put this issue out to a mass audience.

In the early days of our Republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy ­that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base. Not with the numbers that come out of Wall Street, but with the living conditions that exist on Main Street. We must recapture that spirit today.

Well, what do we do? Does the invisible hand really act for the greater good, or does it just generate mountains of jeweled tiaras for the luxury class? What is the government here for, to wage sad wars and roll out some low comedy? Who is today's Andrew Jackson? Not audaciously hopeful Barack Obama (an ideological cop-out until he abandons this bipartisan "hope" -- which always accomplishes zilch and doesn't even feed your constituency); definitely not morally bankrupt bankruptcy reformer Senator Clinton. Maybe Senator Webb -- throbbing crimson neck, shyte novels, sexual harassment rumors and all -- is the sort of thing we lefties should support. Clearly he hates the plutonomy, and he damn near socked Dubya at a mocktail party, didn't he? Anyway, Democrats better put wolves (rather than a sheep in robot's clothing) (are you listening, Senator Biden?) out there before the primaries next year, because I refuse to allow the plutonomy to decide my vote again. In summary: as announced candidates go, I'm for John Edwards.



A protest against the Iraq War, and specifically the troop surge. Downtown Minneapolis, 1/12/07


SOTU thoughts

My TV is off, but I have to say I'm quite impressed reading Jim Webb's Democratic response.



So, what does our distinguished panel think of Hillary?


An email being circulated by some churches

Three funerals

Did anybody happen to notice yesterday the picture God painted for us as we watched the events of the day unfold on every news station around the world.

The portrait of three men's lives shown clearly through the events of their deaths. One a wise man, one a foolish man and one a wicked man.

Three men captured the world's attention by their lives and their deaths. Their funerals spoke volumes about the course of life they had chosen to pursue with the few short years God had granted to them. Yesterday, God opened the Book of Proverbs and showed the world the truths contained in His sacred Word.

All three men, President Ford, James Brown and Sadam Hussein had choices in their destiny. Today they have all three stood in front of the God of this universe with those choices unveiled and judged. God allowed us to see three men yesterday.

President Gerald Ford, a man whose faith in God and service to his country was eulogized by many speakers during the solemn and dignified ceremonies which marked his passing. A man of character and integrity, not perfect but made righteous by his faith in Jesus Christ. It was in this righteousness he lived out his life as a servant to his fellowman and his country. Great men and dignitaries attended his funeral. All coming to pay respect and honor to a man most deserving.

James Brown also was eulogized in a funeral ceremony befitting his life choices. There was blaring rock music, gyrating bodies, costumes, and great sensual displays of revelry to portray the contribution this man had given through his life to his fellowman. He lived a life of drugs, alcohol, immorality and rock music. He was heralded the father of Rap music and the inspiration of Michael Jackson's greatness. His funeral with all of it's theatrics was befitting the excess of waste his life portrayed.

Then we had the gruesome hanging of Sadam Hussein. His death as gory as his life. A brutal murderer and dictator, hung by his neck and secreted away in the middle of the night to an unmarked grave. Thousands of Iraqis celebrated his death for through his life he had brought untold misery and death to many. A man so wicked that it seemed the world breathed a collective sigh of relief at the pronouncement of his death.

Three men, three men who left their mark on the entire world, three famous men. All three have now stood before their Creator to answer for the choices they made in their life as you and I will someday.

There is only one choice and Gerald Ford's life exemplifies the nobility of choosing to walk in harmony with The Creator through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Redeemer.

James Brown choose to walk in the flesh. His life's work glorified the flesh and his death magnified the flesh.

Sadam Hussein chose evil. He was a narcissistic megalomaniac. His life glorified evil and his death was gruesome.

This all played out in one day. God painted a great picture for mankind to see. I pray people got His message

Anything is better than nothing

Maybe I'll lose by raging liberal ID card, but I don't think the new Bush plan is worse than the current, failing non-plan plan. I would prefer we get out of there but anything is better than staying the course. I heard Dr. Rice this morning in NPR and I think what they are proposing is better than what they've done in the past 3 years. I'm not saying it is brilliant or ground-breaking or even that it will work, but at least they are taking off the rose-colored glasses.

To reiterate, the Rumsfeld approach sucked ass. A graceful exit out of civil war hell is probably the rational thing to do. But one last attempt to provide security and bolster the Iraqi government is not insane.

Am I wrong?



On the night of an *important* presidential address, MySpace's censorship of an ad doesn't seem very newsworthy. Still, it struck me funny that a Rupert Murdoch News Corp. entity refused to post an ad from Common Cause that encourages communication with the FCC about the dangers of media consolidation. Sure, Rupert is the targeted bad guy in one or two of the ads, but the campaign's larger point is about the control that large media conglomerates have over the dispersal of ideas and information. You've got to agree with Common Cause that this refusal demonstrates their point. (You can view all the ads here.)

I tried to do some research into MySpace's advertising policy to see if perhaps they don't post ads of a political nature at all, but there was little information to be had. If they don't have such a policy, then they're just censoring cowards. But, if this is their advertising rule-of-thumb, then they may be justified in refusing this ad, but they're still cowards.


Army asks 275 dead soldiers to return to active duty

You know you've got a troop shortage when...

Army asks dead to sign up for another hitch

My Webmaster was assasinated...

Check out this diary of the guy that is atempting to re-open the national library of Iraq.

Diary of Saad Eskander, Director of the Iraq National Library and Archive

It's harrowing to say the least.

Sunday Times: Israel plans nuclear strike against Iran

Today's Sunday London Times is going with a mighty scary story:

Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran

The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

Though this isn't particularly surprising. Iran has vowed the destruction of Israel. Israel has openly stated that Iran will never have nuclear weapons. The sum total of which is that peace of any kind is still on the distant horizon.


Citizen Journalists and the Edwards Campaign

The John Edwards campaign invites a few bloggers to join them on the campaign trail. This is the first in a series of reports for Rocketboom and JohnEdwards.com, beginning in New Orleans.

Bush decides he can read your mail without a warrant

W pushes envelope on U.S. spying

"The [Bush] signing statement claims authority to open domestic mail without a warrant, and that would be new and quite alarming," said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington.

I'll say. I'm all for the spirit of cooperation in the new Congress, but it's high time Dems grew some huevos on Bush's power grabs and lawless signing statements. For his entire presidency, he's abused the office and the law to usurp power and thumb his nose at the other branches of government - not to mention, our civil liberties.

Can I get PGP encryption on my snail mail?