Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Nightowl Newswrap
Consumer confidence hits 16-year-low Driven by inflation in the food and fuel sectors of the economy, coupled with falling home values, American consumer confidence has cratered, dropping by a full 50% in the last twelve months. "To put it in perspective, that's a bigger decline than what we saw after the September 11 attack and Hurricane Katrina," said Dana Saporta, economist at Dresdner Kleinwort Securities. "It sends out the signal that the consumers are not about to ramp up their spending."
Jindal gets jammed up over legislative pay raise To Louisianans it looks like he wasted no time in breaking a campaign promise. He vowed no legislative pay raises when he was on the stump, but he hasn't vetoed the legislation that doubled the pay for Louisiana's part-time state senators and representatives, nor has he indicated a veto is in the offing, and that has conservatives in his impoverished state in full froth. “This pay raise is devastating him,” said Moon Griffon, a conservative talk-radio host with a wide following in northern Louisiana, the most Republican and evangelical part of the state. “I’ve gotten over 5,000 e-mails from people who say they voted for him, and who say they would never vote for him again.” Mr. Griffon added, “People don’t like hypocrisy, and they like somebody with guts.” Louisiana's legislative session ended yesterday (Monday) and the governor now has two weeks to sign the legislation, veto it, or let it pass into law without his signature. Option three looks likely, and that has a lot of people in the pelican state pissed off over what they perceive as political cowardice and hypocrisy.
Sweet Jesus, James Dobson is a douchebag As Barack Obama makes inroads with evangelical voters, Dobson is shrieking uncontrollably and pissing down his leg in fear as the last reeds of power slip from his clammy grasp. The whack-job preacher who promotes a crazed, crackpot version of "christianity" is accusing Barack Obama - who is not a minister, but a Constitutional Law professor - of "distorting the bible" (so they have given up on the 'he's a secret Muslim meme?) But wait! Our stupid sundae gets a cherry on top! The whack-job preacher (who can't seem to get a grip on the establishment clause) says that Constitutional Law professor Obama has a "fruitcake" view of the Constitution.
Holy Moses, Richard Cohen is a mendacious prick John McCain can be forgiven all transgressions and flip flops, no matter how egregious, because he was a prisoner of war. We kid you not. That trumps everything in his PoV.
Another corporate windfall Back in 2004, when a piece of legislation called the American Jobs Creation Act passed a republican congress and was signed into law by bu$h, the intent was to repatriate money into the American economy and would prompt investment in the United States economy, spurring job growth. Companies had to promise to use the money to invest in their domestic operations. They could not use it to pay dividends, or compensate executives. But the provision was riddled with loopholes and broad definitions of the term "investment." As a result, corporations were able to use those untaxed repatriated profits to shore up their domestic finances, pay legal bills and even bankroll advertising. All told, 843 corporations enjoyed a windfall of $265 billion.
The "examples" who did the perp walk aren't even a drop in the bucket The subprime lending crisis wasn't perpetrated by a few "bad apples." It was systemic. Historian Carolyn Baker put it this way: "History will prove that the number of people busted for this is only a drop in the bucket compared to the number involved in nationwide blatant fraud and theft which created the largest mortgage meltdown in the history of the world. A few bad apples? Get a clue! The scam was rampant and epidemic."
They held hearings on this and they ought to hold a hanging party for those responsible: Military officials came under withering attack Tuesday in Congress from both Democrats and Republicans, who expressed anger and astonishment that a 21-year-old Miami Beach man with a spot on a State Department "watch list" and a history of failing to deliver on military contracts was awarded a $298 million deal to provides arms to allied forces in Afghanistan. A congressional investigation found that Efraim Diveroli — who's now 22 — was granted the contract even though he, his company, AEY, and a supplier he worked with were on a State Department watch list for suspicious international arms dealers, said Rep. Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The California Democrat said that the awarding of the contract revealed a "fundamentally flawed system," noting that Defense Department officials had overlooked AEY's "long record of failed and dubious performance." That record, as compiled by the committee, included delivering damaged helmets to Iraq, falsely blaming a hurricane in Miami for failing to deliver 10,000 pistols to Iraq's security forces and delivering the wrong model of laser pointer and rifle attachments to the U.S Embassy in Colombia. "It appears that anyone — no matter how inexperienced or unqualified — can win a lucrative federal contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars," Waxman said, adding that it was "hard to imagine a less-qualified company than AEY." Defense officials acknowledged shortcomings in the contracting process and vowed changes, though they were unable to tell the panel whether AEY still has business in Iraq. "I will have to get back to you on whether they're still performing," Jeffrey Parsons, the executive director of the Army Contracting Command, told Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who said he'd seen crates of supplies with ties to AEY on a recent trip to Iraq. Mr. Parsons, have some dignity and resign now.
Aw, lighten up. If it was two women kissing, that ad would be running non-stop: Heinz Co. said viewer complaints prompted it to pull a British television advertisement for mayonnaise that showed two men kissing. The ad for Heinz Deli Mayo depicted a kitchen scene involving two children, a father and a male deli cook with a New York accent, whom the children addressed as "Mum." At the end of the ad, the cook kisses the father as he leaves for work. The Advertising Standards Authority said it received 202 complaints, some that said the advertisement was offensive, inappropriate and unsuitable for children. Heinz said the ad was withdrawn because of "consumer feedback." Spokesman Nigel Dickie said Tuesday that the company apologized if it had offended anyone. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly complained about the advertisement on Friday during his show, "The O'Reilly Factor." "I just want mayonnaise. I don't want guys kissing," he said. Hey, you fucking falafel pervert--the ad ran in the UK. And we know where you want your mayonnaise, lover boy.
It's sad but true--you don't go into the woods without DEET: Anyone looking to use a greener bug repellent may also want to invest in a swatter. There are natural repellents - citronella, lemongrass and rosemary, among them - but when it comes to effectiveness, at least for personal use, the chemical compound DEET is the standard-bearer. Living in California, California Baby founder Jessica Iclisoy says a generous squirt of lotion with the essential oils of citronella, lemongrass and cedar keeps the pests away during her daily hike in the woods. California Baby is a personal care company with all-natural products including bug sprays. If Iclisoy were going somewhere buggier, however, she'd probably pack the DEET. "If I went to Africa, I'm not sure I'd want to go with just my herbal spray, but for what I need here, it's a daily-use thing. This is safe and effective for my purposes," Iclisoy says. "DEET is like antibiotics. I don't take them for a cold, but if I really need them, I take them."
Pets displaced by the flood end up in the DC metro area: More than three dozen homeless pets rescued from the flooding in Iowa by the Washington Animal Rescue League are now in D.C., looking for homes. Some of the 28 cats and nine dogs that arrived at the Washington Animal Rescue League Tuesday morning had been in an old shelter that was evacuated prior to the flood in Iowa. Others were surrendered after flood residents didn't have anywhere to keep the pets. Over 700 animals were being housed in a temporary shelter set up by the Humane Society at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa after the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter was inundated by eight feet of floodwater. Many pets never made it out of their homes. "They did find some animals dead in homes. The people had to get out; they can't always take their animals," said Mary Jarvis of the Washington Animal Rescue League.
When was the last time anyone talked about nuclear disarmament? The Australian government recently announced that it would convene the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament to help build consensus ahead of the 2010 NPT Review onference. Under its last Labor government, Australia, of course, launched another high-profile disarmament initiative in the form of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.