Friday, February 29, 2008

SAR #8061

You do not need ovens to create a fascist state.
. . Naomi Wolf.

Can You Hear Me Now? Sprint Nextel lost $29 billion in the last quarter, mainly "due to a huge goodwill write-off ". A goodwill write-off is finance speak for 'we paid too much for Nextel.' That, and losing a million customers to T-Mobile, did in dividends for the foreseeable future. Another great merger by the Captains of Industry, Inc.

Dictionary Improvement: A journalist for Canadian TV who had been held for four months without being charged has now been designated an unlawful enemy combatant. The Pentagon said Mr. Ahmad was not targeted because of his work as a journalist. Today's dictionary deletion is 'habeus corpus', an old fashioned concept dating from 1305 concerning rights and due process. It is no longer used in today's dictatorship. society.

Revival: Thornburg Mortgage Corp. shares plunged on news that the company "was forced to sell assets in order to meet collateral requirements." This used to be known as a 'margin call.' Down on the docks it's called picking up a marker. On The Waterfront, The Godfather, one of those.

Contest: Make a list of the services your city provides that you are willing to do away with as the recession grows and tax revenues decline, then put them in order from disposable to essential. Don't forget the zoning board.

Swim Wings: More Americans are using their credit cards as a lifeline, choosing to pay their Visa bill before the mortgage. The ATM-like refinancing has stopped, home equity lines of credit have stopped; owning part of a declining asset doesn't put food on the table, but Wal-Mart still takes Visa.

Circle-nomics: We buy their oil and send them dollars. A dollar is an IOU, just a handy way of keeping score. Why are we surprised when they use the dollars we gave them to buy up our factories, farms, politicians?

Wink: Right now, reports say, there are 200,000 newly constructed single-family houses sitting empty in the US, about 370,000 more new houses are for sale because people who contracted to buy them backed out, and an additional 216,000 homes under construction. 760,000 brand new, empty houses would make quite a ghost town.

Scales: The US has more of its citizens in prison than any other nation. One out of 100. For $50 billion a year. Probably more than state governments spend on higher education.

Name That Tune: An Australian Justice of the Peace visiting Pakistan was scooped up by the US, kidnapped and drugged and hooded and sent to Egypt where he was imprisoned and tortured for 6 months, then transferred to Guantanamo where the US imprisoned him for 4 years before repatriating him to Australia. Feel better now? More secure?

Now You See Her, Now You Don't: The American Chemistry Council had Dr. D. Rice removed from an EPA panel reviewing chemicals' safety. She had been the panel's chair. Seems she wanted to include scientific data in the decision process and the manufacturers felt this showed a bias on her part. The EPA agreed. Same tune, different words.


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