So I've set up my account here and imported all 7 years of my livejournal. Pretty nifty! It's nice to have a back up along with a new place to post. Now if I can only keep up with all of these accounts...
With all the musical chairs credit card companies are playing today, you may want to check out any change of policy letters they're sending out. For instance, if you're a former WAMU customer and JP Morgan Chase is your new debt master, you may have received a letter that states something like this in 1 point font:

“We may consider you in default if we obtain information that causes us to believe that you may be unwilling or unable to pay your debts to us or others on time.
“If we consider your account to be in default, we may close your account without notice and require you to pay your unpaid balance immediately (emphasis mine).”


Why yes, that means you can default without actually defaulting. They only have to believe that you might not be able to pay them back at some point. It's bad enough that they can raise your rates without cause or lower your credit allotment without notice (this can have a nasty affect on your credit score), but now they can consider you in default for no reason other than it's cloudy and your seasonal defective disorder may make you less likely to pay back the lender.

They receive TARP, they receive TALF. That's our tax money. And then after collectively leaving us with massive debt that our grandchildren's grandchildren will still be paying on, they go after each of us individually.

In better times, those that practiced usury were stoned to death.
I learned a new word today - Astroturfing. According to the article below it's "The name for mass corporate marketing disguised as grassroots efforts by individuals..." That's what their calling the "Tea Parties" that have supposedly been spontaneously popping up all over the country lately in protest against the Obama stimulus package. Interestingly enough, these tea parties have websites whose domain names were bought back in September of 2008.

Spontaneous Uprising? Corporate Lobbyists Helping To Orchestrate Radical Anti-Obama Tea Party Protests

I can understand people being frustrated with the economy and how it is being handled. Things are bad and I suspect they're going to get a lot worse as we travel further down this road. These Rovian tactics do not help in a time when conservatives should be acting as real watchdogs on Democratic policies and spending. It also obscures and nullifies actual grassroots groups that are pushing for real bank resistance against things like raising the rates of folks that have always paid their bills on time and ruining the credit ratings of responsible people by dropping their credit allotment without warning and pushing some over into default. Isn't it nice to know that the Republican "insurgency" is more concerned with making Obama look bad than it is with helping American out of this mess?
Got tagged on a Facebook meme and thought I would indulge rather than grade. Grading sucks.

Get to know me!

30 Things About Me - Meme )

Jesus, where did January go?
( Nov. 4th, 2008 10:43 pm)
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

It's over! It's OVER!!!!!!! The eight year of utter darkness and despair are OVER!

Raise a glass, folks! The long hard battle to oust these jokers has finally paid off. Now we actually have a chance to rebuild the country and clean up this mess.
There are a few things I haven't openly discussed that have transpired over the last few months. The biggest of those is that I quit my job as an academic advisor in August. I'm currently teaching online classes for two schools from the comfort of my own home and I couldn't be happier :) No morning commutes, no late nights and no more corporate insane troll logic! On occasion I have student insane troll logic, but it's not as bad when you control their fate instead of the other way around ;)

I also found out in September through a new kind of blood test that I do not have Celiac or any type of gluten intolerance! Woohoo! When I was young, they only used symptoms to diagnose, and then they developed an expensive biopsy that had a lot of risks associated with it. So the fact that they now have a blood test is totally awesome. I jumped at the chance to take it before I quit my job and lost my benefits. I nearly cried at the results.

The downside is, they're back to the drawing board on what it is I actually have that makes me periodically violently ill. But at least my food budget has gone down as eating gluten free is expensive as all hell.

So I'm rediscovering foods I haven't eaten in years, which has been awesomely fun. In honor of losing one food restriction (still have to keep off sugar and high carbs), I'm taking a food meme I swiped off of [livejournal.com profile] damoyre

Behind the cut tag: Foods I have loved and hated... )

At least some aspects of life are good right now :)
( Sep. 26th, 2008 04:34 pm)
There was a little blunder at the Wall Street Journal today:

McCain to attend debate, Web ad claims victory already

Before Republican presidential hopeful John McCain announced he would attend the presidential debate on Friday night in Mississippi, apparently an Internet advertisement slipped out onto the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page with it declaring he won the contest.


Oops. After the colossal fuck up with the campaign suspension and trying to postpone the debate, it can't be good to announce the victory of a debate that not only hasn't taken place yet, but the candidate actively fought to kill in the first place. At least it wasn't an obituary.

McCain, welcome to the karmic credit plan. The bill is due.
The 700 billion bailout plan has a few issues with it, as one might imagine if they have any cognitive abilities at all. Hank Paulson, who in my opinion if the greatest traitor this nation has had the opportunity to continue working with, along with his side kick Ben Bernake, have failed to explain even vaguely how the bailout plan will help save the economy. They just will. If you trust in them, they will save us. Just like trusting in them in the past averted the greatest economic catastrophe the country has ever faced. Oh wait...

So my big question revolves around the term "toxic debt" or "toxic paper". The government needs to buy this from the banks because if they don't, it explodes and the banks fail. So why doesn't it explode if the Government buys it? No one seems to know. The government is hoping they can stabilize the debt and sell it off, or just make money off it once people start paying their mortgages again.

Now remember, the problem the banks had was that they couldn't sell the debt to anyone in their right mind. So if you were wondering on the mental health of your government, I'd like to make an armchair diagnosis.

One of the huge problems with the bailout plan is that it counts on regaining it's losses by people paying off their mortgages that are already in default. Realistically, about 5-10% will pay that off. If there were a good chance people would be able to pay, it wouldn't be called "toxic debt" and the banks wouldn't need to be bailed out.

The only way for this plan to work is if you could guarantee that it would generate jobs. The plan is not designed to generate jobs. What they have said is that the plan would staunch the massive layoff or firings of people currently employed. That doesn't help the people that can't currently pay on their credit bills because they've either already been laid off or are underemployed. And these are the people that must improve their circumstance in order for the plan to work. Otherwise the only thing going on is the government pulling money out of the Federal Reserves' ass to be paid back at interest.

What this bailout will do is increase the national debt, devalue the worth of the dollar, and cause hyperinflation for the consumer while stocks start to deflate. It's really hard to imagine a worse case scenario. But this is what happens when a nation turns over their monetary system to the private Federal Reserve.

We were warned against this long ago, but apparently forgot it:

"I sincerely believe... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale." --Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816.


I wouldn't support a bailout plan unless it was contingent in the plan that the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 is abolished and Ben Bernake and Hank Paulson are the first against the wall.

Whatever happens there is only one thing we can count on, this is going to hurt.
Here's some food for thought as dissent begins in the wake of the Wall Street bailout...

From Democracy Now!: Army Unit Deploys in America in the Beginning of October



Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYxTzDFofZQ
MST3K: Interview Part 1
Experience is for Wusses

Sarah Palin on Experience, National Security and God )

Stay tuned for the exciting Part II of Governor Palin's stirring interview where she reveals her fresh perspective of knowing nothing about anything!
( Sep. 13th, 2008 02:36 pm)
Taking a break from MSTing Sarah Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson (I keep sliding into angry banter rather than funny commentary), I thought I'd take a gander at something more depressing - the financial news.

I surprisingly came across this report in the mainstream media. CNBC is pretty chock full of point-missing commentary, as they tend to only analyze data on a minute by minute basis, rather than take a long term view of the macro-economic situation. However, they on occasion have a macro economist come on and explain the long term situation, as they did below.

From CNBC's Worldwide Exchange:

Bailouts Will Push US into Depression

The end result of the global economic slowdown may be the U.S. announcing national bankruptcy as the government cannot afford the bailouts that it promised and the market will not bail out the government, Martin Hennecke, senior manager of private clients at Tyche, told CNBC on Thursday. (Read more)


Here's an interesting note about the dropping gold and silver prices mentioned in the article. People that have been trying to buy actual gold and silver coins or bullion are paying 20-70% above the current listed price - if they can find a seller. Many can't. For instance, the current price of silver is around $10/ounce. People are paying $25-$30/ounce for it. So what's $10? You pay $10 an ounce if you're buying the certificates that are backed by silver. What this disparity means is that there is a flood of paper into the markets on precious metals. The certificates are being issued with no backing, which basically makes it a promissory note rather than an assurance that you in fact own the metal. Slick, huh?

So while there is a lot of people out there telling you to invest in precious metals, make sure if you invest that you're getting the actual physical metal in coins or bullion. And if any of my friends have the sort of money were they can invest in coins or bullion, I want you to know you were always my favorite person...

Point is, something is rotten in the state of Denver. The owls are not what they seem. The eagle has landed. The shit has hit the fan. And so on and so forth.

If you have a chance to see it in your area, check out the movie I.O.U.S.A. While I find it about four years too late, it will give you an excellent idea of the extend of the mess we're in right now.



Link: I.O.U.S.A. Movie Trailer
( Sep. 12th, 2008 03:23 pm)
Last night I watched the first interview of Sarah Palin with Charlie Gibson on Nightline. As I watched this it became painfully evident that she was grossly ignorant of fairly simple foreign policy issues. Gibson has been accused of tossing softball questions in the past, and while I can't say he was hammering her with difficult questions, he didn't let it go when she didn't give direct answers and would ask them 2-3 times before moving on to the next one. He also let her hang herself on one question in particular with regards to the Bush Doctrine. Only when it was obvious she had no clue what the Bush Doctrine was, did he explain it. He then asked her the question again, which she also failed to directly answer.

Most critics have already called her on the pat and obviously coached answers, but I'm surprised they're not calling her out on the specifics:

- Didn't even vaguely know the Bush Doctrine.

- Didn't understand the full implications of US duties to go to war if Georgia and the Ukraine are made NATO members and are attack by Russia.

- Didn't understand Bush's go ahead for US troops to enter Pakistan and go after al Qaeda operatives against the wishes of the Pakistan government is an act of war on the part of the US.

But my favorite was her reply after Gibson showed a clip of her telling a church congregation that the war in Iraq was God's plan.

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words.

But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.


Except for the fact that Lincoln said we should pray that we're on God's side and Palin said that God is giving the orders in this war and we best march to He's beat - yeah they're saying the exact same thing. At best she doesn't understand what Lincoln was saying, at worst she's lying.

I suppose the Republicans would call me a self-loathing misogynist for saying the Empress has no clothes, as any attack on her is somehow an attack on her gender. Facetious Comment --> But as we all know, rational thought has an obvious gender bias.

I look forward to the second half tonight...

(EDIT - Forgot the link to the ABC interview: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=5782924&page=1)
I think no group annoys me as much as the Hillary for McCainers. Whatever you think of Obama, you cannot present me with an rational argument to support McCain in the wake of Hillary's loss. These people do a nice job of destroying the credibility of women in politics. Hillary lost in a fair fight. Democrats chose Obama. Agree with him or not, he was democratically selected as the nominee. The people told Hillary no. So by throwing a fit and taking the ball home with them, all they have done is shown they have no grace in defeat.

Worse yet, they have a super cheesy ad of a nutjob-sore-loser type holding up signs for why she supports McCain now. It's done like a really bad online school advertisement complete with poor timing standing in for thoughtful contemplation.

One of the Hillary supporters at the DNC called me and [livejournal.com profile] sandiaheights "gender traitors" for not volunteering to hold a Hillary banner. Not only was it a moronic thing to say to someone you don't know, it was indicative of how blinded these people are their own cause as being the only cause. For all she knew, I didn't want to hold it because I have carpal tunnel or I support the Green Party candidate, Cynthia McKinney. The idea that one isn't a feminist or for equality because they don't support Hillary Clinton is ludicrous.

There were others wearing t-shirt that said "Radical Feminists for Hillary." Way to be totally oblivious to what Radical Feminism stands for - which by the way isn't Hillary. Radical feminism totally rejects the patriarchal heirarchy system that Hillary has embraced by cracking that glass ceiling. They don't look to break through the ceiling, they look to dismantle the entire structure. Hillary is a feminist to be sure, but she's not radical even slightly. And if you claim to be a radical feminist for McCain, you might want to get a refund on that lobotomy.

Behind the cut-tag are photos of the Hillary Supporters at the DNC )

I'd say it will be interesting to see if the Hillary for McCainers embrace the oil grubbing, anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-gun, no-experience, ex-beauty queen, trophy Veep, Sarah Palin, but I don't think it will be interesting at all. They'd be far more interesting if they said they were writing in Ron Paul or better yet, Zoltar, their alien master.
( Aug. 28th, 2008 11:15 pm)
I've posted some pics on my Facebook account on the DNC. I'll be posting more here soon, but right now I'm too tired to do more than stare at the pretty colors on the screen. It's been a hell of a week in Denver and I haven't quite congealed yet from the intense heat and energy generated here.

Tonight was a spectacular way to end the convention with Obama's home run speech. It's hard to imagine McCain living up to that next week.

My only grip is that I didn't get tickets to see John Stewart at my alma mater where he's been broadcasting from ALL WEEK! The alumni folks at DU are going to get a nice letter from me explaining how the 50 letters I get from them a week asking for money are now all going into the trash since the school can't be bothered to send me an invite to something I'd actually like to go to. Not that I'm bitter. Colbert, I feel your pain tonight.

Tomorrow, it's off to the Taste of Colorado in Civic Center Park. Should be the perfect grace note to end the convention on this week. :)
( Aug. 25th, 2008 04:25 pm)
Sunday I took the lightrail downtown to check out the DNC activity as the delegates and protesters had their first full day in the city of Denver. When we first got there, the feeling was laid back. Everyone, including all of the protesters, were very polite. The only tension came from the police force and as the day progressed the more the tension mounted. You can find them everywhere in full riot gear and armed to the teeth. You can also catch secret service roaming about talking into their sleeves. Yeah, they seriously really do that.

Check out the pictures beneath the cut tag )

I'll be going back down there tomorrow to join the Procession for the Future Puppet March sponsored by the Alliance for Real Democracy, Tent State and various other groups. If I'm not arrested, I'll post more pics...
This weekend I went downtown to shoot a few pics of pre-convention Denver. It's mostly what you would expect with banners, tree lights and red, white and blue bunting. Below are a few examples of how Denver spruced up the city

Pre-DNC Denver Pics )

The city wasn't the only thing to get cleaned up. Denver's homeless were also given a shave and a haircut. Well, as Jesus said, the poor we will always have with us. That doesn't mean they can't have a little pizazz! I'm all for helping people out and I'm sure of lot of the homeless appreciated the gesture and the attention. It may be worth it just for that. But there's something disgusting about the idea of cleaning up the undesirables so that our visiting conventioneers don't notice them. This is all part of the city beautification project fund specifically set aside for the DNC.

More to come...
So the Tent State protest group plans to camp out at City Park for the DNC, but the mayor says No Way! Looks like it will be sprinklers for whoever decides to stay past the park's 11pm curfew. No word on if they plan to spice up the water coming out of those sprinklers, but I hear they use the lake water for that, so camp at your own risk.

For a list of all planned protests, marches, political action groups, road closures and the like, go here.

Will Denver's dissenters stick to the muddled plan? Hard to say. Typically if there's going to be trouble, you'll see it in places like the more right-winged Colorado Springs. But this Convention is anything but (dare I?) - conventional. I think we can see anything from peaceful marches to radical Hillary supporters rampaging through the streets. It's anyone's guess if it go off without a hitch or end in tears.

Okay, the following facts were gleaned from [livejournal.com profile] sandiaheights in Denver's 5280 magazine (wild applause):

A couple of the articles on the website can be dowloaded in their entirety, otherwise you have to cough up the dough and subscribe.

Here's the low down on what's inside! )

14 Days and Counting!
( Aug. 5th, 2008 09:46 am)
I'm using the new icon provided by [livejournal.com profile] sandiaheights (thank you very much). It's the current cover of Denver's magazine 5280. For those of you confused by the number, that's a mile above sea level, otherwise known as why it's hard to breathe if you're not from around these parts. Conventioneers, don't go all crazy around Red Rocks. Try to pace yourselves, okay?



Feel free to use the icons or pics if you wish.

You can sign up here if you're from Denver and want a chance to attend Obama's acceptance speech Thursday, August 28th. Be warned, it's primarily a donation page. While you don't have to give a donation, I noted that they also do say you have an equal chance of getting in if you don't.

Protesters can chant a sigh of relief, as they and the public have been given the go ahead to use the VIP lot at Invesco on the last day of the convention. And to show they care, the city of Denver will be providing the bullhorns.

Wanna get a glimpse inside the Pepsi Center to see what a DNC transformed Pepsi Center looks like? If you can get tickets (info provided in the link) you can take a tour. Scroll down and read the comments at the bottom of the page if you want to see the typical Denver reaction to this. They're even less enthused then they were in the last YouTube installment of Things to Do in Denver during the DNC.

120 bloggers get access to DNC. Guess who wasn't invited. Ah well. I heard Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich weren't going to be duking it out there to see who leads the radical contingency anyway....

(Edit - sorry for the formatting issues earlier
Edit Mark 2 - links fixed.)
Tags:
( Aug. 2nd, 2008 09:00 pm)
My apologies for slacking on the DNC news here in Denver. I've been bombarded with work and what little time I have left over is set aside to decompress and sleep.

That aside, not too much is going on right now. It seems to be the calm before the storm. No doubt on August 26th some lost soul who missed work on Monday will say, "Uh, dude! What are all these people doing here?" This seems to be the mindset of my day-time place of employment. I'll no doubt be ranting about that in the very near future, so on with the current round up for the week.

Unhappy with all the money that Denver is spending on security for the convention, a group of Anarchists Propose $50 Million Deal On Convention. Their bargain deal is that they will not protest and disrupt the convention if Denver ditches security and funnels the money to people who need it (mostly for health care for the needy. I have to admit, with all the money they're spending on security cameras that are arguably ineffective, one wonders if they don't have a point.

But Denver does care about the needy as they plan on handing out free movie, museum and arts tickets to the homeless during the DNC. They vehemently deny that this is an attempt to get the homeless off the streets and out of sight to the conventioners, but rather to keep them safe from being run over by blind, rampaging democrats and protesters.

Other people are just looking to make some cash to pay bills by renting out their home for the DNC. If you're looking to come to Denver and haven't found a place to stay yet, try looking on Craig's List and you're bound to find something.

Finally, if you're planning on coming to the convention and you're looking for something to do while your here, check out this video of random Denverites offering their ideas for fun and excitement in the mile high city. I must admit, my favorites are the people recommending everyone go to Aspen or Boulder...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZmICGfje-4&feature=related
If you like your Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, be prepared to shell out a little more for in the coming months: US food groups plan hefty price rises.

High oil prices + food shortages due to weather + rampant inflation = stock up now before the prices skyrocket further.

[livejournal.com profile] damoyre and I were discussing whether the Mormon practice of storing enough food for a year was paranoia or amazingly wise. I've decided on amazingly wise. I think Katrina taught people that they cannot rely on the government to survive should a disaster strike. Three years later and it's still a mess there. Should there never be a disaster, you just date everything and use and replace as you go. Everything is used and nothing is wasted. Not a bad deal.

I'm not as worried about a natural disaster as I am the man-made economic disaster we're only beginning to experience now. Because the government keeps printing money and lowered the interest rates to an unprecedented low as a means of dealing with the mortgage/credit crisis, they decided to let us take our chances with gargantuan, Mecha-Streisand type huge, inflation. They then turned around and bailed out Fanny Mae, Freddie Mac and IndyMac (Bear Stearns was the wake up call) - using 20% of the FDIC insurance budget to do it - and with more bank failures coming down the pike... not all is rosy.

Storing up now while food prices are relatively low (relatively as in not Zimbabwe bad at the moment), would be a good thing to do right now.
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