Blank Page no. 23

Hello all and welcome to another Blank Page. Here you have free rein to suggest ideas for WHYS and continue the global conversation. Amy in the US and Nelson in Nigeria will be keeping you company. Over to you…

Hello every one, It’s Nelson here. A few topics for your Consideration:

A breach of separation of religion and state? In France, there’s anger over Ramadan trial delay.

Is your Bank ripping you off?

In the UK, this article suggest that banks rip off customers to the tune of £4.7billion a year.

This report from Australia thinks the credit crunch is responsible for it there.


In an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. HIV-positive couples are being paired up for marriage by a northern Nigerian state.

Asif Zadari has being elected as the new President of Pakistan. Your thoughts on that are welcome.

As usual, feel free to comment on current debates or suggest your own.

439 Responses to “Blank Page no. 23”

  1. 1 robert1987
    September 5, 2008 at 19:14

    Evening all hope we get to have an interesting conversation going to night

  2. 2 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 19:16

    Amy & Nelson ~ looking forward to some spirited debates this weekend.

    Wahoo! It’s Friday… 🙂

  3. September 5, 2008 at 19:24

    Hello every one, Amy and I warmly welcome you all to blank page number 23

    As we look forward to what would be a very intresting weekend here are a few stories to get our conversation going:

    Arranged HIV marriages in a bid to reduce HIV infection rates

  4. 4 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 19:30

    I know most people are getting tired of media coverage of the US election. I’m actually getting annoyed by it and look forward to no longer being accosted with constant campaigning. However I thought article was good which had to do with reporting by the media.


  5. 5 Julie P
    September 5, 2008 at 19:49


    If I hear “My fellow Americans” one more time I am going to scream.

  6. 6 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 19:57


    Yup, me too! I just wasted many hours in the last two weeks that I will never get back.

  7. 7 Julie P
    September 5, 2008 at 20:00

    To Venessa, my fellow American, 😉

    I want the that time back too!

  8. 8 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 20:03

    julie p and vanessa,

    for me it’s “let me tell you, my friends”

  9. 9 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 20:05

    Campaign Overload
    The whole bit about God blessing America – not so much the “God bless America” but “may God continue to bless America” and others that assume that God does indeed bless America – it is very annoying to me. And it also feels exclusionist, because I know that there is a growing contingent of atheists, as well as religious people who do not refer to their deity as God.

    One of Nelson’s headers caught my eye. In an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. HIV-positive couples are being paired up for marriage by a northern Nigerian state.

    It might make sense at first glance. However, there is a whole range of diseases that affects HIV-AIDS patients. Those who are already suffering some could, if paired with others who do not have the same diseases, actually spread new diseases to someone whose immune system is already compromised. Perhaps there is some other way of dealing with the situation?

  10. 10 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:06

    @ HIV Marriages:
    Battle the isolation so you isolate the infected by pairing them with other infected?

    IMHO its a decent plan of course so long as its not imposed on people. But don’t falsely label it by saying your battling isolation. Your battling individual isolation while isolating the infected as a group.

  11. 11 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 20:08

    Venessa, Julie
    I firmly believe that CSI shows of various sorts should be broadcast in marathon style from Friday to Monday as a way pof compensating me (personally) for missed fun throughout the DNC and the RNC.

  12. 12 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:08

    Same here, at least Palin’s voice is a break from the monotony. Although she has the voice of a stand-up comic… I keep waiting and waiting for something funny to come out……..Nothing….

  13. 13 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:09

    @ Shirley:
    Perhaps there is some other way of dealing with the situation?

    Abstinence and those neat individually wrapped latex things.

  14. 14 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 20:10

    You raise a good point. We need to be careful not to set up another ghetto solution.

  15. 15 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 20:12

    Brett, don’t forget other methods of avoiding the exchage of body fluids. By the way, the most recent post on your blog seems to be from 15 August?

  16. 16 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 20:12


    half of the stuff she comes out with would be funny, if the situation would not be so darn serious…..

  17. 17 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:15

    I know, I’d be laughing my booty off if I didn’t actually fear that those thoughts, comments, and opinions would be imposed on me in the future.

  18. 18 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:17

    @ Shirley

    Given that you basically have to have been born under a rock these days to not know how to prevent the spread HIV, that if the expanse of HIV continues, then perhaps a ghetto would be a good idea? It’s SO easy to stop the spread of HIV, but some people absolutely refuse to behave responsibly. There’s really no excuse for anyone getting HIV anymore. Use condoms or don’t have sex, it’s that simple. If you use syringes for drugs, if you can’t quit, then get clean needles and don’t share with people. When these people continue to be irresponsible, it gets innocent people infected as well.

  19. 19 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:18

    By the way, the most recent post on your blog seems to be from 15 August?

    I know, I’ve been slacking big time on the personal blog. I want to finish my trial of reducing my carbon footprint now that i’m able to resume bike riding and physical activity again. Thats next for the blog.

    I’ve been quite busy with overtime at work for programming some devices, class, restoring my 2 motorcycles, finishing restoration of a moped I have, and trying to finish getting the EV back on the road haha. Couple that with the yard work and house work and I have about 0 time outside of work to blog…. Although I do moderate often…. hhhhmmmm I could blog WHILE I moderate! I like the sound of that… Time management lol.

  20. 20 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:19

    Interesting, Oprah Winfrey refuses to allow Palin on her show until after the election. That’s a little interesting. Wouldn’t want Palin to get her audience to vote for Mccain, would she?


  21. 21 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:21

    [Mad TV] “Because Im Opraaaaaaaaaah”[/Mad TV]

    It’s ‘her’ show lol, if she doesn’t like Palin she doesn’t have to let her on.

  22. 22 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:23

    @ Brett

    What is Oprah afraid of? She said she would have her on, but AFTER the election. She’s afraid of losing control over her audience. She wants them to vote for Obama, and if they see a woman for VP, they might vote for Mccain.

  23. 23 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 20:23

    Will’s blog calls the reader to re-focus on the real political issues, like the economy.

    Dwight is still concentrating on how Palin is unqualified to be the VP.

    Jobless rate jumps to 5-year high of 6.1 percent

    New partial rings discovered around Saturn

    Afghans fed up with government, US

    Pakistan’s Zardari marked by corruption, tragedy (like we didn’t know already?)

  24. 24 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:25

    Palin can find a stage elsewhere, she can go on Montel or Maury lol

  25. 25 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 20:28


    what do you like so much about caribou-, eheheh sahra palin. seriously, i cannot see anything really likeable about her, except that she is out-door woman from a state i like, since i am a wintersports fanatic. her political views are extremly conservative, she likes pork barrel money like nobody else, she is not the most intelligent cookie, shrewed though, plus i have no idea where the she looks hot argument comes from and why it even should matter the least. if you want hot vote for obama, michelle has all the attributes sahra does not have.

  26. 26 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:31

    @ Jens

    You didn’t have to insult her. I don’t like Obama and I don’t call him names. Regardless, Palin’s views, if they are even genuine (remember, politicians change their views all the time. George HW Bush used to be pro choice until he wanted to be VP with Reagan) are irrelevant because she would be VP, not the President. The VP does absolutely nothing except preside over the senate and go to funerals. she has absolutely no power. I think pages in congress have more power than the VP does.

  27. 27 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:32

    @ Brett

    Shows that the democrats are truly frightened about the prospect of losing. The economy sucks, the war is unpopular, and Obama should be so far ahead, but he isn’t.

  28. 29 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 20:36


    don’t you worry that she could become president though. i mean mccain is not exactly a picture of health and i find it troubling that he sometimes mixes up things or completly blanks on answers. my dad is 71 and sufferes from early onset parkinsons and you would not know if you see him.

    plus i was mocking it, did i not say eheheheh sahra palin….

  29. 30 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:39

    @ Jens

    I’m not worried at all about Mccain’s health. And if he were to die, she would be President knowing that she’s on thin ice because she wasn’t who the people chose to be President, so VPs who take over tend to be cautious about things. I would have been more worried about a Spiro Agnew taking over than her. Again, people think the President is all powerful or something, The congress is controlled by the democrats, and half the powers the president has were delegated to the President by congress, and could be taken back.

  30. 31 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 20:42

    Steve ~

    I think you are right. McCain / Palin may very well win. Regardless of my disagreement with their political stances the pick was right. They have a ticket that appeals to very conservative to the middle. McCain made his plea last night for those undecided voters and while I was unmoved by the millionth recount (along with every person who spoke) of his time as a POW and everything else I can read about; he delivered it well. Real substance as to how we get the country on track are not necessary when the average voter makes their choices based on sound bytes and no real research.

  31. 32 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:44

    @ Venessa

    That applies to what Obama says as well. It’s just “change, blah blah no more of the same” soundbytes and slogans. George Bush in 2000 and 2004 ran speaking in slogans. He sounded like such an idiot, “fuzzy math!” “you forgot Poland!” but since Kerry was such a liberal, the republicans could have ran a house cat and beat kerry in 2004..

  32. 33 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 20:46


    i am nort so sure, all i have her she does like her power and does not hesitate to make this know….i just could not stand another 4 years of the smae and it points badly into that direction. plus she would be a ‘joke-figure” als president. i already think gwb is not what this country needs. more of the worlld is 500 years old will kill research here and we are already falling behind. we need to be leaders in research and development and not followers. i could not bare the idea that our weapons systems will be controled by chinese chips….

  33. 34 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 20:47

    sorry 5000 years old

  34. 35 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:51

    @ Jens, how would mccain be four more years of the same? Mccain and Bush are very different politically. Mccain is as centerist as a republican can get. “more of the same” is just a slogan.

  35. 36 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:53

    @ Steve:
    Shows that the democrats are truly frightened about the prospect of losing.
    Or that she is securing a win lol depends on how you look at it.

  36. 37 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 20:55

    @ Brett

    Come on, you know Obama should be way, way way ahead in the polls now given the economy and the war… everyone hates bush as well, yet, it’s so close.. the more time that goes by, the harder it will be for Obama to win.

  37. 38 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 20:57

    Now if only we could find one of the ‘publicans has an illegitimate child…..

  38. 39 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 20:58

    he supports the war, has a very limited understanding of economics, as vote 90% of the time with the current administartion etc.

    i am fully aware that he is more of a centrist, but that centrist position has moved quite a bit to the right in recent years and his pick has just confirmed that. as i said 8 years ago i would have probably voted for him, but certainly not now.

    the good thing about obama is that he is managing to get more people engagde in politics. if he wins and suck, he will certainly not suck as bad as gwb did or if he does carteris a shining example of what happens.

  39. September 5, 2008 at 21:01

    @ McCain ticket.

    They are already predicting a bounce off of the Palin Speech to be confirmed over the weekend. Of course the bounce is in favor of McCain. Prior to the announcement of the McCain VP pick there was a statistical tie. Something like 3 hours after her speech the Obama campaign is claiming they received $10 million in donations. My friend now says that he thinks my French Canadian nationality that I vowed to give up if Obama didn’t win by 10 points should be safe now.

    The unemployment rate just jumped to a 5 year high. (looks like all the stimulus money has made it to China already.) I know there will be some, but the person who lost their job, their house, and their dignity are not going to vote to extend the current administration. The few that do will be the ones that “cling to their guns and their religion.” He lost that vote a long time ago. If anything the pick energized both bases.

  40. 41 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 21:02

    @ Jens

    If you notice what Obama has said, he’s not going to be ending the war any time soon. He’s also talked about expanding the war in afghanistan and even attacking pakistan. He also said that “use of force” is on the table with Iran. Obama has an understanding of economics?

  41. 42 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 21:04

    what do you think the chances are that the palin affair reports are correct and how would that affect the ticket???

  42. 43 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 21:07


    i know, but he will at least target the ones that have attacked us and yes force has to be an option with iran. by taking that off the table you open yourself to abuse. there is nothing wrong with negotiating from a position of strength. in fact that is the place you want to be in. but just blatently not wanting to negotiate is stupid.

    obama has a better understanding about economics than bush, macain and palin together

  43. 44 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 21:07

    Steve ~

    You will never have an argument from me that the Dems have the same responsibility to provide substance. The fact is Obama didn’t spend a 1/2 hour recounting his life, family and belittling his opponent before moving on to talking about the future. It’s not necessary to recount your life story multiple times; we’ve heard it plenty in the press and there’s this wonderful thing called Google.

    While Obama did not provide any details he did actually spend a majority of the time talking about what hasn’t been functioning acceptably in our country and what he believes needs to ensue to improve. He was gracious and serious. These are serious times and I am quite disgusted by any politician who will spend time making fun of their opponent than promoting their vision for the future of this country.

    For some reason to me there seems to be less substance coming from someone who is derogatory and arrogant.

  44. 45 Bryan
    September 5, 2008 at 21:11

    I guess Oprah is a fine example of media with an agenda trying to influence an election. Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air if the media could just play fair and let the dice fall where it will?

    Shirley September 5, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    The whole bit about God blessing America – not so much the “God bless America” but “may God continue to bless America” and others that assume that God does indeed bless America – it is very annoying to me.

    God blesses everyone and everything. Why you should be annoyed by God including America in the blessed is beyond me. Why you imply that God excludes America from the ranks of the blessed is even more beyond me. Don’t you live in America?

  45. September 5, 2008 at 21:11

    Obama has a great understanding on economics. The best example is the, “gas tax holiday”. Even Billary was for it. Every notable economist said that it would actually cause a rise in gas prices overall. Possibly up to $.40.

    More then 200 economist including Hillary and McCain supporters.

    Being right or being experienced? Which is better?

    It was just more cheap stunts and transparent gimmicks.

  46. 47 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 21:13

    @ Jens

    You seem to think like these people won’t have advisors, even if you were right about Obama’s knowledge.

    “obama has a better understanding about economics than bush, macain and palin together”

    They have tons and tons of advisors who recommend solutions. THe presiden then picks one.

    It’s similar to a judge. Do you actually think a judge writes the legal opinions you see?Someone else does it. The judge just tells the clerk the result he wants to reach, and a little of the reasoning, and the clerk writes the opinion, and the judge gets the credit for it.

  47. 48 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 21:14

    I guess Oprah is a fine example of media with an agenda trying to influence an election. Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air if the media could just play fair and let the dice fall where it will?

    When Oprah becomes a valid source for news I will go along with this.

    It’s ‘her’ show, she can be as biased as she wants.

    I’m sure Palin / McCain can go on some televangelist Sunday morning shows where Obama wouldn’t be welcome.

  48. 49 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 21:18


    i know. i am not naive…;)

  49. 50 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 21:18

    @ Brett

    Unforutnately, Oprah has a lot of control. Her networks is like a Lifetime network but not of movies that blame men for every ill, but of talk shows that blame men for everything wrong. You’re absolutely right, it is her show, but it also shows how scared she is, and desperate, to get Obama elected.

  50. 51 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 21:22

    dear WHYS,

    i guess i will be off soon and want to wish you all a great weekend……………

  51. September 5, 2008 at 21:22

    If God blesses other people then Americans why would he task the USA to killin’, maiming, displacing, and shaming millions of people in Iraq?


    This god guy is nuts. he creates millions of people on one side of the globe, and another few million that he created end up needing kilt or dammed? What an insecure need for drama.

    lol, Would it be sexist to say that there is a chance “god” is a woman? I am not saying that. I just want to know it that would be sexist.

  52. 53 Bryan
    September 5, 2008 at 21:25

    Brett September 5, 2008 at 9:14 pm,

    True, I was being highly idealistic thinking that Oprah would be interested in fair play when her hero is so close to the White House.

    What concerns me much more is the BBC’s obvious pro-Democrat and anti-Republican bias.

    It’s something WHYS should consider debating on a show one of these days. In its news reporting, the BBC should be aware of the broad concerns of all who pay its wages. It isn’t, preferring to promote a narrow, ‘liberal’ left wing agenda.

  53. 54 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 21:25

    BET has alot of control too, should we cry about rappers and other artists not making pro-McCain music videos to make things even? I saw another Obama music video/song yesterday, and while I was laughing at the lyrics and song, I’m sure plenty will hear it and follow along in line or have their views re enforced by its message.
    I think its all too funny that theres so much celebrity support for Obama and the other side is crying about it not being ‘fair’. (Not that you are crying yourself, but I have heard plenty of people talk about how its not fair that those in influential positions (entertainment-wise) who like and publicly support McCain are far outnumbered by those who support Obama, especially in the youth voting block)

  54. 55 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 21:29

    I agree with you, lets get some more ‘right-wingers’ signed up for the blog then and even things out.

  55. 56 Jens
    September 5, 2008 at 21:31


    absolutly, as if we do not already have some here….


  56. 57 Dennis
    September 5, 2008 at 21:41

    @ Amy and Nelson:
    Welcome to the moderators table….

    First week of classes down, as of 11.05AM eastern standard time on friday….


  57. 58 Dennis
    September 5, 2008 at 21:43

    @ jens:

    enjoy your time off for the weekend…..

    Syracuse, New York

  58. 59 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 21:45

    Bryan ~

    The notion that we could have media that would play fair is about as probable as having politicians that aren’t dishonest!

  59. 60 Bryan
    September 5, 2008 at 21:48

    Brett September 5, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    I agree with you, lets get some more ‘right-wingers’ signed up for the blog then and even things out.

    I’m afraid I can’t help with that. I don’t know any.

  60. 61 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 21:49

    It seems that if you really want to get rid of the drugs, you need to provide some other crop for the farmers to raise that would earn them a satisfactory living; even if it means paying artificially high prices until drug crops can be weeded out and mainstream crops established.

    Syping on Iraq
    In his new book, “The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008,” journalist Bob Woodward writes that the United States spied extensively on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his staff and other government officials.

  61. 62 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 5, 2008 at 21:49

    @Steve about HIV infections
    “When these people continue to be irresponsible, it gets innocent people infected as well.”

    We are almost in even ground… second time I agree with you today! Definetely, we´re making history…

  62. 63 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 21:50

    @ Bryan:
    I’m afraid I can’t help with that. I don’t know any.

    Well, I gave my mom the blog address yesterday so maybe she’ll grace us with her presence. She’s at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from me on most ‘issues’ lol.

  63. 64 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 5, 2008 at 21:51


    “The notion that we could have media that would play fair is about as probable as having politicians that aren’t dishonest!”

    You are absolutely right!

  64. 65 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 5, 2008 at 21:53

    “She’s at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from me on most ‘issues’ lol”
    That happens a lot 🙂

  65. 66 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 21:55

    Brett ~

    I completely understand. I was having dinner with the inlaws last night and was scratching up the walls to leave. 😉

  66. 67 Bryan
    September 5, 2008 at 21:59

    Venessa September 5, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    The notion that we could have media that would play fair is about as probable as having politicians that aren’t dishonest!

    Ah, yes! But here we have a most unusual animal in the form of the British Broadcasting Corporation, which is sworn to impartiality and fair play by its charter. It is also supposed to Inform, educate and entertain us, not feed us grim and negative news when it comes to the Republicans and lead us on a grand and proud parade when it comes to the Democrats.

  67. 68 Brett
    September 5, 2008 at 21:59

    @ Venessa:
    I know, right?! Seriously, she always wants to get into conversations that will end up in an argument, she knows just how to hit the right chords. It’s like I’m somewhat argumentative 😉 But she’s on a whole new level haha. Maybe we’ll see her skills if she decides to show up.

  68. 69 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 22:03

    Brett ~

    I hope she does start blogging. I generally avoid conversations with my inlaws when it comes to politics and religion. Objectivity is hard to come by and I don’t find it to be in my best interest to have these discussions with them. My husband already tries to get me to be less opinionated around them.

  69. 70 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 22:11

    The jobless rate jumped to 6.1 percent in August, from 5.7 percent in July. And, employers cut payrolls for the eighth month in a row. Job losses in June and July turned out to be much deeper. The economy lost a whopping 100,000 jobs in June and another 60,000 in July, according to revised figures. Previously, the government reported job losses at 51,000 in each of those months. So far this year, job losses totaled 605,000.

    Wachovia Corp., Ford Motor Co., Tyson Foods Inc., Alcoa Inc., and GMAC Financial Services announced job cuts; and GM has anounced yet another plent in India. Average hourly earning rose to $18.14 in August – not exactly the mininum living age limit for a famiy of four, $21.83.

    news article material/my comments

  70. 71 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 22:14

    @ mod
    The text of my previous post appeared blue because I typed

    instead of

    (minus spaces) after the word "rate." Could someone switch the a/ for the /a please?

  71. 72 Anthony
    September 5, 2008 at 22:16

    @ Bryan

    And let’s not show the daily show, which does nothing but show the hypocrisy and contradictions of our government :). I watched 2 weeks worth of the Daily Show today, excellent programming!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  72. 73 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 22:20

    Anthony ~

    I love the Daily Show for that very reason. Everyone is fair game!

  73. 74 Amy
    September 5, 2008 at 22:26

    Hi everyone. I am in and out today (Friday) but will be around most of the rest of the weekend.

    @ AIDS,

    Steve while I agree that people need to take responsibility for their actions, where do you propose drug users get clean needles? If we had needle exchange programs easily accessible, that would probably help but we don’t. So dirty needles are used and used and used. I know that the majority of HIV/AIDS patients contract the disease through sex so maybe people don’t care too much about the “junkies”

    Be back later everyone – Mommy duties call.

  74. 75 Katharina in Ghent
    September 5, 2008 at 22:36

    Good evening all!

    @ Shirley / crops in Afghanistan:

    What a big surprise! I’m sure Lubna could sing us a tone or two about this, too. Let’s face it, Hamid Karzai was an oil buddy of Dick Cheney and pushed into power, and in turn brought his buddies to the various important positions. They don’t really care what happens in the Afghan hinterland, whether schools and hospitals are being built or not, and they’re not really keen on abandoning the poppy crops, because when you look at pictures of the dry Afghan soil, you can’t imagine anything growing there! Probably there are plenty of other plants that could be grown with a profit, but certainly not the kind of profit that opium makes. If I recall correctly, 80% of the worlds opium is grown in Afghanistan, so it’s highly unlikely that it will vanish completely. The demand is clearly too big.

  75. 76 Katharina in Ghent
    September 5, 2008 at 22:39

    @ Shirley:

    I’m soooooo proud of myself, I just fixed your comment!!!!! You don’t know what that means to an anti-computer person like me! 8)

  76. 77 Jessica in NYC
    September 5, 2008 at 23:02

    @ Amy and Nelson

    Great topics… I’m glad to take a break from intense US politics. I will be low key this weekend. Too much on my plate.

    @Is your Bank ripping you off?

    Isn’t this the point of capitalism, to make large profits at the expense of its customers? I was meeting a friend for lunch, so before hand I went to take $20 from a an ATM machine and the bank wanted to charge me $4.50, over 20% of the amount I was withdrawing!

  77. 78 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 23:07

    @ Jessica

    You have the option of using another bank.

  78. 79 Jessica in NYC
    September 5, 2008 at 23:16

    @ AIDS

    And what are the chances that these couple will be responsible enough not to reproduce? Rightly, the UN touches on the major concern of a couple inflected with ADIS having children–who have are almost guaranteed to be infected with HIV from their parents at birth–being left as orphans. Which further increases poverty and suffering and decreases their survival rates.

    In general, I do not understand people’s irresponsible need to procreate without safe guards for their children. What happen to wanting more for your children than you had?

  79. 80 Jessica in NYC
    September 5, 2008 at 23:18

    @ Steve

    RE Banks

    Of course I do and did… only to find the next bank wanted to charge me $4, which was not enough of a bargain for me.

  80. 81 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 23:19

    @ Jessica

    That’s kind of the american dream mentality, not everyone in the world shares it. I do agree with you that people, especially in poor countries, breed irresponsibly, and often cannot afford to feed themselves, let alone their multiple kids. But if someone can afford to, they should be able to have as many kids as they want. Rabbi Shmuley has 9 kids, and can afford to give them comfortable lives. Sarah Palin has 5 kids, and is obviously rather well off, so I don’t see as big of a problem with people like that having lots of kids.

  81. 82 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 23:19

    @ Jessica

    Doesn’t Amalgamated Bank in NYC not charge ATM fees?

  82. 83 Shirley
    September 5, 2008 at 23:26

    Kathi, danke schon (or is it schön?)

    Lubna is Iraqi, but I would not be surprised if Iraq has been affected by Afghani drug crops/trade. I know hat Iran is very affected by it, as is Pakistan.

  83. 84 Dennis
    September 5, 2008 at 23:33

    about banks fees:

    i will be paying $ 1.50 each time, that i take out money from a different bank
    than my own….

    i can not changed my bank….


  84. 85 Dennis
    September 5, 2008 at 23:35

    @ Lubna and the rest of my friends:

    one week down in my classes at onondaga community college, in syracuse, new york…..

    many more [i will tell you later]….


  85. 86 Dennis
    September 5, 2008 at 23:38

    @ Julie P:
    Saw your email…about the idiot…playing a practical joke on him….

    @ Everyone:
    We should send our wishes to our fearless leader, Ros Atkins—-he will not be around for the next month, since the BBC is sending him on a whole-wind field trip….


  86. 87 Venessa
    September 5, 2008 at 23:42

    Jessica ~

    The fees at banks have gotten outrageous. I actually just go to the grocery store now to get cash without a fee….for now at least. I figure if I get a pack of gum or a new toothbrush it’s better than paying $4 to use an ATM. I have something to show for my meager few dollars that I prefer not to donate to the bank.

  87. 88 steve
    September 5, 2008 at 23:47

    @ Shirley

    You were right with the spelling “schoen” (i can’t make the umlaut on my computer) means “pretty” and “schon” means already.

  88. September 6, 2008 at 00:21

    @ Political advisors.

    There was once this president who had two foreign policy advisors. One said, “Don’t believe the UN inspectors, don’t believe our own intelligence reports, and don’t believe the ambassador that we sent to check out the story. Tell the American Public that Saddam has nuclear weapons. It is your mission from God.”

    On the other side he has a well respected advisor who said, “Why wouldn’t we believe these people? What is it going to hurt to wait? If we have other reasons why don’t we sell the American people on those reasons?”

    Advisors are raw materials, often with hidden agendas of their own. It is ultimately the task of the president still to make the right decision. Nobody can help him with that.

  89. 90 Julie P
    September 6, 2008 at 00:27

    @bank fees

    If I use an ATM I use the an ATM that belongs to my bank since I won’t get charged a fee. If I need cash and I am not near my bank’s ATMs, then I’ll get money at the grocery store while I’m grocery shopping. Those added fees is like burning money.

  90. 91 Virginia Davis
    September 6, 2008 at 00:29

    @ bank customers: check out your local credit union; owned by members and fees are much more reasonable, if existent…..Virginia in Oregon

  91. 92 Roberto
    September 6, 2008 at 00:43

    RE “” Hamid Karzai was an oil buddy of Dick Cheney””

    ———- Where on earth does this come from?

    The only timeline in their careers I see even the slightest overlap in their careers is Cheney’s stint of GW Sr’s Defense Sec when Karzai was part of the Soviet resistence in Afganistan.

    There is no oil in Afghanistan worth mentioning. I heard rumors of a pipeline in the aftermath of the of US control, but Karzai has a long history of working with the CIA and worked with US forces to overthrow the Taliban. He just so happened to be the most trusted person at the right time to be chosen to rebuild his country.

    I can’t even imagine where the pipe line would go to except through Pakistan to the Arabian sea for uploading by tankers, about the most insecure investment and unprotected asset a company could have. Moreover, the only state with oil and gas that could fill the pipeline is Turkmenistan which is closely being handled Russia’s oil industry.

    Maybe Karzai was spotted on the grassy knoll back when ya think?

  92. 93 Shirley
    September 6, 2008 at 01:18

    Bush, Cheney, Karzai, and Oil

    , the wonders of Google.

    Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the Bush Oil Team by Wayne Madsen (democrats.com, January 2002)
    salient points:
    Hamid Karzai was a top adviser to UNOCAL Corporation, which was negotiating with the Taliban to construct a Central Asia Gas (CentGas) pipeline. Karzai was a member of the 1980s mujahedin. He was a top CIA contact and maintained close relations with the CIA director, VP George Bush, and their Pakistani ISI interlocutors. Later, Karzai moved to the United States under the auspices of the CIA and continued to serve the intersts of the agency, as well as those of the Bush/CentGas connections. During the late 1990s, Karzai worked with Afghani-American Zalmay Khalilzad on the CentGas project. Enron conducted the feasibility study for the CentGas deal. Vice President Cheney held several secret meetings with top Enron officials earlier in 2001. A chief benefactor in the CentGas deal would have been Halliburton, since it is a huge oil pipeline construction firm. At the time, Halliburton was headed by Dick Cheney.

  93. 94 Shirley
    September 6, 2008 at 01:25

    Bush, Cheney, Karzai, and Oil
    I also found the copy-paste of “Saudi paper profiles new Afghan leader ” in the comments section of http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2002/01/01/1131691.php .

  94. 95 Pangolin- California
    September 6, 2008 at 01:36

    @ Shirley re: Google
    If you keep using facts they stick their head deeper into their hole and all you see is the business end. Just like a wombat these neo-cons are.

  95. 96 Pangolin- California
    September 6, 2008 at 01:55

    @ BBC’s “liberal bias”

    If the poster who keeps complaining about the BBC’s liberal bias could point out just one single fact that shows that the poorer 50% of americans have had an improvement in their lives in the last 7.5 years of Republican mismanagement I would like to hear it.

    We know that the rich are getting richer and we know that the imaginary war on terrorism (it always helps to have a war on an emotion) has been quiet lately but on average Joe Sixpack is selling his truck and hiding from his mortgage company because he lost his construction job.

    And he needs that truck to run away from hurricanes and wildfires that are NOT caused by global warming.

    Reality has a liberal bias. The BBC just lives in a real(er) world.

  96. 97 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 01:57

    Hi folks! TGIF.

    @election overload:
    With the conventions out of the way, we can now look forward to the forthcoming debates: analysis of each candidate’s peculiar eye tic or hand-wringing method! And of course: loads and loads of John McCain’s used-car salesman “You can trust me!” Cheshire cat grin!

  97. 98 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 02:00

    Just caught this:
    @”bias” in the BBC:

    The usual whine. “The BBC isn’t saying the lovely things I want to hear, so it must be biased!” This from the land of FOX and CNN, hardly paragons of impartiality themselves. And for some “fairness and balance,” both liberals and conservatives have beat this tired hobbyhorse on the BBC many, many times in the past ad nauseum.

    It’s not an echo chamber, folks–Slate.com, the Huffington Post, Michelle Malkin, and Free Republic exist to feed that need.

  98. 99 jamily5
    September 6, 2008 at 02:16

    And, aren’t we forgetting that people can have the HIV virus for quite a long time and transmit it to others before even knowing that they will contract AIDS. It would be impossible to institute and enforce such an isolation.

  99. September 6, 2008 at 02:19

    The mainstream media is not asking the right question and I think they are missing the boat on the Palin Issue. I can’t believe they have had so many people in the hot seat and not ask the generic question “what make’s Palin qualified?” The question Should be asked, “What makes her more qualified then Condi Rice, Olympia Snow, Judy Biggert, Shelley Moore Capito, Kay Bailey Hutchison, or Herriet Miers.” What is it that all of these women who have put their families and even themselves on the second seat to the people they served don’t have that Ms. Alaska has?

  100. 101 jamily5
    September 6, 2008 at 02:33

    Jens, agree with your september 5, 2008 8:58 post 39..
    and your
    September 5, 2008 at 9:07 pm post 443
    Vanessa, agree with your
    September 5, 2008 at 9:07 pm post44.
    I could not have said it better!

  101. 102 jamily5
    September 6, 2008 at 02:35

    @God and America:
    America has always said that they are a Christian nation.
    1, this is not true: especially since we have “freedom of religion” and more and more people are exercising that freedom.
    2: Because Americans say that they are a Christian nation, they have this perception that God approves of the choices that this country makes. They forget that we serve God and God does not serve us.
    3: Many times “christian nation,” is used to get our people to back us, no matter what the laws & actions might be. If we can make them believe that God approves of our actions, then who are they to disapprove or challenge the leaders. In fact, to do so would be considered “Anti-american” and “Anti-Christian.”
    And, since many continue to make that corelation, people start to think that they are synonymous terms.

  102. 103 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 02:39

    Strong points: the conflation of Christianity and Americanism is a central point in the party ideology of the conservatives–listening to some of the delegates speak to World Service, I was struck by how many identified their party beliefs with religious beliefs, as though to say that Democrats/non-Republicans are somehow un- or non-Christian (and un-American).

  103. September 6, 2008 at 02:58

    @”Christian Nation”

    Can somebody list the ideals the define a christian value? I am not certain that I understand. What teachings of Christ are embodied in these values? Where can I find the references in the Bible?

  104. 105 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 03:05

    I see we were in the news today….


  105. 106 Julie P
    September 6, 2008 at 03:15


    Always good to the home town in the news, isn’t it?

    By the way, did he not see the house?

  106. 107 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 03:21

    Yes, yes: it’s comforting to see Houston placing its best foot forward on the world’s largest broadcaster. The local news here is saying the fellow was a member of the white supremacist Aryan Nation group driving a rental car and attempting to escape a drug charge–so perhaps he thought the house would see him.

  107. 108 Julie P
    September 6, 2008 at 03:26


    I bet you’re so proud! And he seems like such a charming fella too! 🙂

  108. 109 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 03:26

    @ Bank fees:

    I, too, try to avoid using ATMs and get cash back at the grocery store. I wonder is this an option outside of the US and Canada. Also, how prevalent are ATMs in other countries? I am sure in most big cities there are all over the place, but what about where you live? Do you have a choice of banks? I guess if you don’t the whole ATM surcharge is a non issue.

  109. 110 Pangolin- California
    September 6, 2008 at 03:28

    America is definitely NOT a Christian nation both by action and law. Article XI of the Treaty of Tripoli states quite clearly that we’re not. It is also quite clear that the founding fathers removed the question of religion from the powers of the state explicitly to prevent the religious wars in North America that plagued Europe.

    It is also clear from the words of the Gospel of Mathew 25: 42-43

    “42-For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
    43: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”

    Yep, that’s americans. The kick you when you’re down people. Not Christian at all.

  110. 111 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 03:33

    @ Pangolin

    Are you suggesting that every other nation is good at heart? Let’s see, Canada recently apologized for natives for trying to make them “canadian”, they also club baby seals to death so snobs can buy fur coats. Britain, well, they caused most problems in the world today, and invented the concentration camp. Germany? I don’t even need to state this one. Tiny little portugal, created the slave trade…..

  111. 112 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 03:33

    Oh yeah, we’re really proud–he has a quintessentially HOUSTON pedigree!

    Great point, about the Treaty of Tripoli! I’m a U.S. history grad student and had never heard of this little clause. And quoting Jesus, also: “My Kingdom is not of this world…”

  112. 113 Dennis
    September 6, 2008 at 03:40

    @ Kelsie in Houston

    in your night of moderating, you sent me a message and i am sorry for not returning sooner….

    I write like a European most of the time…because i am from the state of New York, but i have interest in European and international affairs….


  113. September 6, 2008 at 03:41

    Thanks Pangolin,

    I was asking about the US, not any other nation. Is there another country out there that claims to be “built on Christian Values”.

    I would still like to know what those are exactly. I mean I know Christ said stuff about forgivness, tollerance, “turning the other cheek”, “casting the first stone”, giving to to the needy, and unshakable faith in a better world beyond thise one. But somehow I don’t think those are the values in question.

  114. 115 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 03:49

    No problem! So you’re an American citizen? I was thinking you were a Briton going to school in NY.

  115. 116 Julie P
    September 6, 2008 at 03:53


    But can you fake a British accent?

  116. 117 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 03:54

    Okay, my evening plans have been ruined. I’ll take any questions on US Constitutional law if you have any.

  117. 118 Dennis
    September 6, 2008 at 03:59

    I am from Madrid, in St. Lawrence County in Upstate New York… I am currently attending Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York and i hope to transfer into State University of New York College….

    i have interests in european and international affairs….

    sorry for your plans being ruined.
    good, since some questions answers for political science class
    here at OCC….


  118. 119 Dennis
    September 6, 2008 at 04:00

    About British Accent:

    I think i can…that is the thing, since i have watch Enough BBC over the years….

    Syracuse, New York

  119. 120 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 04:03

    What are you studying/planning to study?

  120. 121 Bob in Queensland
    September 6, 2008 at 04:03

    @ Steve

    Sorry about your plans being ruined (though, as plans here involve a family shopping trip I’d love mine to be ruined too!).

    Anyway, I’ll take you up on that. For all of us non-Americans how about a walk through of the electoral college system and the reasoning behind it since that may become big news again in a couple of months?

  121. 122 Roberto
    September 6, 2008 at 04:11

    Bush, Cheney, Karzai, and Oil

    ———- Fine and dandy, but you left out the part where Karzai briefly allied with the Taliban.

    Already acknowledged reports of an alleged pipeline. Single, not plural.

    Oil ain’t the factor in US involvement in Afghanistan, unless…….

    …..CIA secretly wires charges in buildings IN PUBLIC VIEW over a month, hires a couple of airline pilots and Saudi operatives to fly planes into buildings as cover for detonation so they can build a pipeline from nowhere to nowhere?

    Said pipeline has to skirt Iranian border because of topography, and only state in the area with oil is Turkmenistan, allied with Russia and it has to pass through Pakistan to have a port for tanker uploading..

    Where is the pipeline, and where is the development of any of the supposed Afghan oil and gas reserves? Iraqi oilfields/pipelines destroyed and partially rebuilt in less time.

    Are conspiracists just a tool of the CIA who hires them to provide cover for the real conspiracies that get lost in the floods of false conspiracies?

    Hmmmmm, that’s my new whacko theory and I’m sticking to it.

  122. 123 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 04:12

    @ Bob

    It’s okay, I didn’t need to waste money at the bar tonight anyways, especially with the storm system here.

    The electoral college, which is slightly outlined in the US Constitution, is the actual mechanism that elects the president. The voter doesn’t elect the president, the electors do. It was a system derived from europe, especially germany, I don’t remember the exact word, but it’s related to that street in Berlin, Kurfurstendamm.. A kurfurst was an elector. Basically when people vote in the US, their vote for the president goes to an elector who is obligated to vote for the person the voters direct them to vote for. Some states have more electors than others, hence why bush won in 2000, despite losing the popular vote, because the popular vote is irrelevant, so long as the candidate wins the states with more electoral votes (based on population) they win the election.

  123. 124 Dennis
    September 6, 2008 at 04:16


    With a concentation of Political Science and International Affairs….

    Here is a link for more information about the degree programme:


  124. 125 Dennis
    September 6, 2008 at 04:18

    Go to SUNYOCC.EDU and look under the Humanities and Social Sciences A.A.
    profile…it will answer some of your questions….

    Syracuse, New York

  125. 126 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 04:20


    Another electoral college question….who selects the members of the electoral college? I know I should know it since I learned it in 8th grade history class but that was a LONG time ago.

  126. 127 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 04:25

    @ Amy

    It’s left up to the states. They each have their own method. I’m not sure if the electors are chosen by the state legislatures or voted for, but in most states, the electors are obligated to vote their votes for the votes for the actual voters in the states.

  127. 128 Bob in Queensland
    September 6, 2008 at 04:33

    Re: Electoral College

    Is there any on-going review of how many college seats each state has (relative to population) or has there been some “drift” making the system less representative than it once was?

  128. 129 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 04:38

    The College is correlated to the seats each state has in the House of Representatives (plus the two senators every state has). Those seats are evaluated after each census, held every ten years.

  129. 130 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 04:40

    @ Bob and Kelsie

    Yes, it’s related to the seats in congress, which is based upon the US census. The real issue here is whether illegal immigrants should be counted in this. They currently are included in the census

  130. 131 Bob in Queensland
    September 6, 2008 at 04:49

    @ Steve

    Are illegal immigrants (or at least those who allow their details to get on the census–surely many deliberately avoid being noticed) a large enough percentage to significantly affect the results?

  131. 132 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 04:57

    Yes, in certain states. Current beliefs are that illigal immigrants, by best estimate are over 20,000,000. Some states have a lot, some have virtually none.

  132. 133 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 04:58

    Current beliefs are that illigal immigrants, by best estimate are over 20,000,000.

    Wow… Who published that figure?

  133. 134 SteveFL
    September 6, 2008 at 05:03

    Who ever wins.
    Little something for the new guy?


  134. 135 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 05:06

    pardon, I was dead wrong, 11-12 million.


    The numbers are likely higher thought, but I am biased given I have lived around so many for my entire life.

  135. 136 SteveFL
    September 6, 2008 at 05:08

    Any one else see this?

    “The government is expected to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as soon as this weekend in a monumental move designed to protect the mortgage market from the failure of the two companies, which together hold or guarantee half of the nation’s mortgage debt, a person briefed on the matter said Friday night.”

  136. 137 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 05:11

    Reuters just broke the story; the administration had just announced it didn’t think the economic situation merited further federal intervention…

  137. 138 SteveFL
    September 6, 2008 at 05:16

    All I see is “Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac decline comment on report of bailout”

  138. 139 Bob in Queensland
    September 6, 2008 at 05:20

    Re: Illegal Immigrants

    So the estimate is about 3% of population (though probably not anything like evenly spread). However, as this is an estimate, are all these people included in the census (and therefore the electoral college numbers) or does the 10-12 million figure include a sizeable provision for those who are missed/deliberately hide?

  139. 140 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 05:22

    I read the article too hastily: “According to the NY Times and Washington Post”–though they both seem confident in their assessment…I will have to catch the weekend’s Wall Street Journal.

    Here’s the article:

  140. 141 SteveFL
    September 6, 2008 at 05:26

    Oh well something else for the new guy to deal with and stockholder to pay for.

  141. 142 Roberto
    September 6, 2008 at 05:35

    RE US electoral college:

    ——- The electors can vote for whomever, but in practice are vetted by the parties and pledged to vote for the candidate winning the state vote.

    The system derived out of the Republic system of governance which gives the small states equal representation in the Senate which somewhat buffers the representation numbers of more populous states in the House.

    The Dems famously have contested the 2000 election as unfair, but the facts are their own party delegate system is based on the same principle which allowed Obama to end up with slightly more delegates in the Texas county system for example in spite of losing the close popular vote.

    Electoral college critisized as being all or nothing system, but the facts are that the states are free to apportion elector voters however they wish, but only a few states apportion them proportionally.

  142. 143 Roberto
    September 6, 2008 at 05:43

    NPR market reports indicate 9% of current American mortgage holders are in foreclosure.

    Sounds high for even this cynic, so I can only hope and pray I heard wrong or it was reported incorrectly.

  143. 144 Bob in Queensland
    September 6, 2008 at 05:47

    I suppose that, in a state with only 3 electoral college votes, it would be hard to proportionally represent a 59%/49% popular vote!

    I daresay it’s only unfair if the rules had been changed to disadvantage one party over another (which clearly didn’t happen). However, given the controversy, is there any significant movement to move to a popular vote only system? It would seem to me that in the modern USA the need to protect the smaller states (and I’m talking the presidential vote, not congress here) may be somewhat diminished.

  144. 145 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 06:04


    I heard the same thing, and thought the same thing. That’s just impossible. Let’s try and look it up when we have a second, and whichever of us finds the right figure, we’ll post it. A real howler for the usually scrupulous NPR.

  145. 146 roebert
    September 6, 2008 at 06:10

    A question I’d like to see discussed on WHYS is that of the ‘meaning’ of the United States in the world today, and how the forces of continuity and change might affect that meaning.

    We know that that meaning changed radically with the Bush administration: it now looks imperialist (with slightly fascist edges: detention without trial; the anthrax scare; keeping fear alive; the war on terror etc.) and ruthlessly exploitative, with the main focus on oil (the armed robbery of resources in Iraq, and now the intervention in Georgia). There is also a new and often stupid arrogance that relies on power rather than reason; and the approach to international manipulation is completely amoral, with scant regard for human rights. All this looks like a Big Brother state, and extended empire, in the making.

    Many in the world now view America as a greater threat to world peace and the environment than China is.

    Given this (very briefly outlined) scenario, will the US electorate be voting with an awareness of the global meaning of their votes, or will it be settled on mainly domestic issues, as though the rest of the world and its resources/environment, simply does not matter?

    My feeling is that most people in the world dread the meaning of another Republican administration, but don’t see the solution in Obama either. They just wish that the clock could be turned back to the Clinton years.

    Are Americans conscious of their international role when they vote?

  146. 147 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 06:18


    NYTimes just sent me a bulletin four hours ago about fannie and freddie that used the word “seizure.” I haven’t followed it back to the actual story yet. Yikes. Oh, and surprise, we’re all “stockholders” now. That is, in the usual government pattern of private profits and socialized risk.

  147. 148 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 06:19


    I wish I had a higher expectation of my fellow countrymen but most people won’t get the facts. They remain ignorant to the facts, mostly my choice. America is the greatest nation in the world (possibly the universe) so why should we be concerned about that everyone else thinks.

  148. 149 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 06:19

    Good night everyone…. Bob is going to keep an eye on things for Nelson and I for awhile. See you on the other side.

  149. 150 Bob in Queensland
    September 6, 2008 at 06:26

    Re: Foreclosure Rate

    THIS PAGE seems to indicate that the foreclosure rate in June was just over 2%, with around 6% of mortgage holders being at least one monthly payment behind. I find this rather more believeable. Perhaps the “one month behind” rate is what’s getting near 9%.

  150. 151 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 06:26


    Not to pick on you, really, because I shoot this down every time anybody says it: “Armed robbery of resources in Iraq?” Um, no.

    Assuming you’re talking about the US stealing oil by invading Iraq, you’re mistaken. Aside from the obvious fact that it would have been far, far cheaper to simply buy oil than to mount this absurdly expensive war, there’s the little detail that WE HAVEN’T TAKEN ANY OIL! Oil is in shortage and costs four times what it did when we invaded. So where’s the oil? We sure haven’t got it.

  151. 152 Pangolin- California
    September 6, 2008 at 07:05

    @ Jonathon

    Who says the armed robbery attempt in Iraq was meant to benefit the american people? George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have extensive ties to the oil companies and the Saudi’s and they profited beyond the dreams of avarice.

    Poisoning your neighbors well and selling water has always been a means of getting quick cash.

    Besides, the wrote a book called “Project for a New American Century” where they detailed that they were going to do exactly that.

    Since the majority of Americans are illiterate there isnt’ a problem with them reading up and objecting. American Idol is on the tube and porn on the computer. Why would they object?

  152. 153 Pangolin- California
    September 6, 2008 at 07:09

    @ Stealing Iraqi Oil

    The really great thing about the theft of Iraqi oil is that the people watching the valves and meters to the pipelines are american mercenaries that are not bound by any law.

    There’s a pipeline from Iraq to Saudi Arabia. If there was oil going through it you or I would never know. You remember the Saudis; the nice guys that crashed three airplanes into american buildings full of people?

  153. 154 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 07:15

    Anthony September 5, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    And let’s not show the daily show, which does nothing but show the hypocrisy and contradictions of our government

    I ain’t got nothing against no show that exposes hypocrisy and contradictions in government.

    Dunno about your show, but the BBC, unfortunately, reserves its scorn for the right and would never pour scorn on politicians of the left, no matter how much they deserve it. Why should right wingers, who also pay the BBC’s wages, be happy with this state of affairs?

  154. 155 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 07:35


    If in fact “many in the world view the US is a greater threat to world peace and the environment than China,” then those people are idiots. Or just incredibly misinformed. Or uninformed. Either way, there’s no reason why anyone in the US should pay them the slightest attention.

    The reasonable, well informed people of the world understand what the US is about, because they can think back further than eight years, or better yet, they know a little bit of history. And a little bit about China. One aberrant administration does not drain a century of goodwill, among people who matter.

    That said, most Americans have rejected the Bush administration and all that it stands for. I’d like to think that most of us are mortified at what has become of our image around the world. But I don’t think the citizens of any country are ready to be advised by foreigners on who to elect to lead them.

  155. 156 roebert
    September 6, 2008 at 07:40

    Jonathan: What other credible reason was there for the invasion of Iraq? As you say, the benefits haven’t yet been seen, but this is a long-term project. The benefits of the illegal invasion will be extracted when Iraq is more or less brought to order. The heavy cost of the war, which you mention, should probably be seen as big investment capital with an eventual huge return. That’s the cynical nature of this adventure in my view. Or is the Bush-Cheyney mindset spending all this money for humanitarian reasons, or to bring democracy to Iraq? This administration cares nothing about democracy, whether in the States or elsewhere in the world. The US is currently China’s biggest friend, for example. There’s just no other way to see this thing. And, believe me, as a huge US fan in the Carter-Reagan-Clinton years, I’ve tried to see it differently.

  156. September 6, 2008 at 07:48


    I think most of us followed the “right-wingers” since 911. It hasn’t worked out very well. We never got Osama. We’ve lost the esteem of most of the world’s people. We in America have had a HUGE meltdown due to “trusting” those smart Wall Street guys… and their deregulated markets. Millions of people have lost their homes.

    Our President who saw America through 911, and led us into the “War on Terror,” did not put in an appearance at the RNC. His name was not mentioned. He’s a “right-winger.” So is vice-president Cheney. He didn’t go to the big party either. No one wanted to hear anything they had to say. Go figure?

  157. 158 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 08:22

    Pangolin- California September 6, 2008 at 1:55 am

    @ BBC’s “liberal bias”

    If the poster who keeps complaining about the BBC’s liberal bias could point out just one single fact that shows that the poorer 50% of americans have had an improvement in their lives in the last 7.5 years of Republican mismanagement I would like to hear it.

    I suppose that’s directed at me so I’ll respond by saying that BBC bias exists completely independently of what the Republicans do or don’t do. The BBC doesn’t have a “liberal bias.” It has a ‘liberal’ bias, since there is nothing liberal about its bias.

    Kelsie in Houston September 6, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Just caught this:
    @”bias” in the BBC:

    The usual whine. “The BBC isn’t saying the lovely things I want to hear, so it must be biased!”

    Dunno if you are addressing this to me, but I’ll answer anyway. Be good if you could bring something tangible to the debating table instead of a vague complaint without a shred of evidence to back it up. Unless, of course, you have no interest in debate but simply want to complain about those who complain about the BBC.

    Pangolin- California September 6, 2008 at 3:28 am

    It is also clear from the words of the Gospel of Mathew 25: 42-43

    “42-For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
    43: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”

    Yep, that’s americans. The kick you when you’re down people. Not Christian at all.

    You’ve got to be joking about that. America is the country that does the most out of all countries to help the downtrodden.

  158. 159 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 08:29


    I didn’t say “the benefits haven’t yet been seen.” I said we haven’t stolen oil from Iraq. And I said that when we want oil, we buy oil. Even at its current price, it’s much cheaper to buy oil than to spend five years and a trillion dollars in a pointless war that yields no oil.

    The human brain is hard-wired to find reasons for things; seeking explanations is a huge instinct. That’s the source of religion: explaining phenomena. What happens after we die? What makes the seasons change? Why do we exist? And so on. When priests had all the answers and knew the absolute truth, scientists said they didn’t know the answers, and set about to find them by careful observation and logical deduction. Most of us now believe the scientists, who rejected the obvious in favor of the dmonstrable.

    I don’t know the real reason for invading Iraq either. Since the administration has supplied so many different reasons, it’s safe to assume none is true. But we mustn’t fall into the trap of accepting any old plausible-sounding theory (which, by the way, the oil theft that stole no oil is not) just to fill that nagging hole of not-knowing. That way lies the dark ages.

  159. 160 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 08:47

    Just for a fun change, I actually read the suggested topics for discussion at the top of the page, and followed the link to “Is your bank ripping you off?” I guess I don’t understand the question.

    If there’s a law or a regulation in the UK about how high bank fees can be, and banks are exceeding it, then they’re breaking the law. If the banks are charging fees within the limits of the law, then they’re within the law. And if there isn’t such a law, then banks obviously aren’t breaking it.

    It should take a day or two so solve this riddle.

    One of my banks is kind enough to refund the pesky little fees charged by other banks for use of their ATMs. Now that’s a class act.

  160. 161 roebert
    September 6, 2008 at 08:55

    Sorry to butt in here, Bryan, but it’s been calculated that America is one of the world’s smallest spenders on international aid. National self-interest is the key to all American initiatives in the world. If ‘aid’ is in the national interest, aid will be given; otherwise it’s whatever is needed, mainly military aggression and threat. The days of the US being the good guys are over.

    Remember Graham Greene’s ‘The Quiet American’ which had such a poor reception in the States because it was seen as anti-American? I now think it was a great piece of critique and a very sharp literary prophecy. And it’s really sad, man, to see the States going down this road.

  161. 162 roebert
    September 6, 2008 at 08:58

    Jonathan: OK, we’ll just have to wait and see what the real reasons are, as long as we accept that oil had nothing to do with it. The dark ages? Crikey!

  162. 163 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 09:06

    portlandmike September 6, 2008 at 7:48 am,

    These are difficult conclusions to make with any certainty. What would have happened if America had offered a limp-wristed response instead of going after bin Laden? Can you effectively combat terror by sitting down with terrorists for tea and sandwiches to listen to their ‘grievances’ or do you just strengthen terror that way?

    I tend to agree though that Iraq was a step too far, in terms of fighting terror. I didn’t have a good feeling about it from the beginning.

    But whatever the rights and wrongs concerning the war on terror, my complaint against the BBC is that it goes on campaigns to sway opinion its way instead of simply bringing us the news. This is bias.

    Remember the letter-writing campaign by Britain’s Guardian paper to influence the people of Ohio to vote Democrat during the last election? This was blatant interference in the affairs of another country, but people in Britain who objected to it were not forced to buy the paper. The Guardian and the BBC are like two peas in a pod politically, but Britons who disagree with the BBC are forced by law to pay for it.

  163. 164 Bob in Queensland
    September 6, 2008 at 09:11

    Re: Banks

    The UK banks tend not to break any laws but neither do the represent particularly good value for money. The “big five” seem to operate the nearest thing to a price fixing policy that you can and still stay on the right side of the law. Similarly, in my experience I had to check my bank statements VERY carefully because errors were frequent, strangely enough never once in my favour in 30+ years.

  164. 165 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 09:28


    Oh, give it a rest. Please tell us what “national interest” the US is secretly serving by spending billions in Africa, for famine relief, AIDS treatment, infrastructure, etc.? Well, you could say we’re extracting oil; it wouldn’t be true, but that didn’t stop you about Iraq.

    Speaking of Iraq, they’re starting to negotiate with oil companies for oil production and sale, and guess what: Nobody is stealing it. We’ll be buying, as we always do.

    It has not “been calculated that America is one of the world’s smallest sppenders on international aid.” A moment’s thought should inform you better than that; there are, what, 150 countires in the world, and you seriously think 75 of them have larger foreign aid budgets than the US? Is anything too absurd to believe?

    You claim you loved America during the “Carter, Reagan, and Clinton years?” Hmmm. I remember that during the Reagan years, we were subject to exactly the same huffin’ and puffin’ from the worldwide left (back when there really was one to speak of): We were warmongers, we were invading countries, we were reckless, we were arming for Armageddon, we weren’t negotiating with the USSR realistically, we were cowboys, we didn’t seek consensus, blah blah blah. The days of the US being ACCEPTED as the good guys never existed except in the warm glow of nostalgic distorted memory.

    But hey, man, here I’m rambling. Back to the point: our hidden vested interest in Africa, please?

  165. 166 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 09:37

    roebert September 6, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Sorry to butt in here, Bryan, but it’s been calculated that America is one of the world’s smallest spenders on international aid.

    Please, feel free, but those calculations can’t possibly be correct. Without going on a Google hunt I recall that there was a survey that found that only a couple of countries in Europe spend more per capita on international aid than America but that America is still near the top per capita worldwide in spending on aid. This also doesn’t take into account the vast amounts spent on aid by private American citizens. Take that into account, as well as America’s assistance even to hostile nations such as Indonesia after natural disasters and I think its fair to say that no country has a better record than America when it comes to assisting others. As one example, is anyone doing more to combat AIDS in Africa than the reviled George W. Bush?

    Many writers have criticised Americans. The great Indian writer, R. K. Narayan, exposed the shortcomings of the brash American tourist in a short story titled A horse and two goats. But Americans are also among the world’s most generous, warm-hearted, accomplished and giving people. To deny that is simply to deny reality.

    Anti-Americanism has swept South Africa (and numerous other countries) like a virus. It seems you have succumbed to it.

  166. 167 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 09:47


    I propose we all stipulate that the BBC is an evil, leftist, Israel-bashing propaganda operation for the intergalactic communist Islamic whatever comspiracy. If we just all say it, perhaps the attentions of the obsessed might then be liberated for some more interesting discussions.

  167. September 6, 2008 at 09:49


    I felt like you when the Bush administration started talking about Iraq. I believe that the U.S. could have chased Osama right into Pakistan. The whole world would have been with us. Had our armies done that, rather than switch, and follow a right-wing (neo-con) think tank philosophy, then the whole planet would be better off. America and her brow beaten allies went to war, attacked another country, with no clear mission. We didn’t have an objective after it turned out they had no WMDs.

    Had we chased Osama until we had him, not only would he be dead, but many of his cult members and top leaders would be history too. That is the only way to dismantle cults. From the top down. Now he is their great leader, their ranks have been swelling, and Pakistan is struggling with a fire that we could have put out five years ago.

  168. 169 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 09:52


    Wow, they say great minds think alike, and so, it seems, do ours this evening. Kinda makes me feel all warm and snuggly.If you arrange for the fireworks, I’ll notify the (non-BBC) news media.

  169. September 6, 2008 at 10:25


    @foreign aid

    It is an easy Google it turns out… the U.S as a government aid giver falls behind all of Northern Europe, Europe, and Australia…. like 25th. However,

    “However, even though the charts above do show US aid to be poor (in percentage terms) compared to the rest, the generosity of the American people is far more impressive than their government. Private aid/donation typically through the charity of individual people and organizations can be weighted to certain interests and areas. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note for example, per latest estimates, Americans privately give at least $34 billion overseas—more than twice the US official foreign aid of $15 billion at that time.”

  170. 171 roebert
    September 6, 2008 at 10:26

    Bryan, Jonathan; yes, it is the per capita aid budget I’m referring to, as well as the aid budget in comparison with other US expenditure. But I do take your point about US humanitarian efforts, and am willing to concede. No, I’m not rabidly anti-American and always counter the dumb anti-American attitude wherever I find it. Of course I’m aware that the nub of the problem lies in the last 8 years of bad policy. I’m also aware that these guys were voted in for a second term; so when did the American hatred of the Bush administration begin?

    I’m very aware of the American philosophical-cultural-scientific contribution to the world, and am a great admirer of these things. Also know a bit about US history, the good and the bad, and have always thought that the founding vision was one of the more important steps forward in human history. It achieved what the French Revolution actually failed to achieve: real civil liberties. This whole meaning of America has now been almost destroyed, and my question is whether Americans will be voting to restore this meaning, rather than only focussing on the immediate problems. To say that Americans needn’t vote with an international awareness is really to reiterate what’s been wrong with America for the past 8 years. And to try the Reagan/Bush comparison on me is really just more of what you do so well, my friend: smoke and mirrors.

  171. 172 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 10:29

    portlandmike September 6, 2008 at 9:49 am,

    That’s an interesting take on the situation, and I’m in agreement with most of what you say, but I’m not as optimistic as you. Islamic terror is very difficult indeed to root out.

    I recall that Musharaff was among the very first of the world’s leaders to rush to placate America and offer condolences after 9/11. I believe he knew exactly how close to home the terrorists were and it’s quite possible that he feared a US nuclear attack if Al Qaeda’s location could be pinpointed by the Americans.

  172. 173 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 10:46

    portlandmike September 6, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Maybe it’s just me but your link was not clickable on.

    roebert September 6, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for that clarification.

    Jonathan September 6, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Dunno how great our minds are.

    Jonathan September 6, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I propose we all stipulate that the BBC is a. .leftist, Israel-bashing propaganda operation …

    Please do. Evidence to support this contention can be found throughout the internet and, of course, in the BBC’s own output.

  173. 174 Shirley
    September 6, 2008 at 10:53

    Bush, Cheney, Karzai, and Oil
    Roberto: Oil ain’t the factor in US involvement in Afghanistan, unless CIA secretly wires charges in buildings IN PUBLIC VIEW over a month…

    No need. They only had to install a friendly puppet government after booting out their former Talibani working partners so that said new friendly puppet government would continue to work with them.

  174. September 6, 2008 at 11:14


    The “autonomous” areas are self-governing. I don’t think Musharaff thought that we would nuke him. He thought he could get money from the U.S. He said, “Give me a couple billion and I will get Osama for you. These mountain areas are impenetrable to yankees. I will do it for you.”

    We, the U.S. and allies had a chance to stamp al Queda out. We missed it. Now, years later, Osama and his leutenants are religious hero-warriors. They defeated the great Satan. I think they are much more of a world-wide threat than they were five years ago.

    In my liberal opinion we need to drag Osama out of Pakistan, and not with drones… or A bombs. We need to have his body, walking or in pieces.

  175. 177 Shirley
    September 6, 2008 at 11:25

    Fannie & Freddie
    Sounds like the US Govt really is going to buy them.:
    The government is expected to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as soon as this weekend in a monumental move designed to protect the mortgage market from the failure of the two companies, which together hold or guarantee half of the nation’s mortgage debt, a person briefed on the matter said Friday night.

  176. 178 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 11:25


    Happy to see you’ve retained some perspective at least. Just to finally drive a stake through the heart of that nonsense about foreign aid, then, not only did you get the statistic dead wrong, but your accusation about only donating where it served national interest was dead wrong. First, because as I said, we give aid to lots of places where we have no conceivable national interest. Second, because individual private donations exceed the government donations, surely they aren’t made on the basis of national interest.

    Well, if you’re determined to think that well over two centuries of history can be extinguished in eight years of an aberrant administration that really wasn’t elected properly either time, I don’t suppose I can say much to dissuade you. I will point out that what now looks like the golden age of America was, at the time, not widely perceived so admirably. We’ve had a long history of monkeying around with the governments of our Latin American neighbors, for instance, and Iran, and we were widely castigated by the world’s intelligentsia and booboisie alike during the Cold War, most loudly near its end, under Reagan, whether or not you remember or care to discuss that fact. I will point out that during none of those 230 years has the American population or any other elected its government on the basis of what some other country wishes, nor will it, nor should it. Just for laughs, though, who would you prefer we elect? Or should I say, who does the world think we should elect?

    Your last dig is unfair, friend. Smoke and mirrors would only cloud and distort vision. It has been, and remains, my earnest endeavor to clarify and sharpen it.

  177. 179 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 11:55


    One little question if I may: If we were already partners with the Taliban, why would we kick them out to install another government to “continue to work with them?”

  178. 180 Shirley
    September 6, 2008 at 12:07

    If the administration had continued to work with them while the public associated them with al Qaeda and 9-11, I don’t think that the administration would be very popular.

  179. 181 roebert
    September 6, 2008 at 12:18

    Jonathan: no, smoke and mirrors create the illusion that there is something there that ain’t really there: i.e. an intention to clarify.

    No country would give aid where such aid was against the national interest, and humanitarian aid given by private citizens is not “American’ aid: it’s just aid by good world citizens. I was referring to government aid. As you can see from other posts; it is comparatively ungenerous.

    I didn’t say that 8 years could undo the rest of American history. I said it was threatening to destroy the meaning of that history in the present. But now I will go on to say that 8 years can be more destructive than you seem able to take in. An example of what I mean can be found in the history of Germany, between 1939 and 1945.

    You and I both know that criticism of Reagan never came close to the whole world’s contempt for your current president. There’s nothing to discuss in that regard.

    We also both know that most people in the world would like to see the Democrats win the election. No one’s implying that other countries have a right to sway the American vote. The question is, again, are Americans aware of their meaning in the world when they go to the polls? The last election would seem to show that they are not. So it is a question worth asking, and worth getting a simple answer to.

  180. 182 Roberto
    September 6, 2008 at 13:09

    RE “”it’s been calculated that America is one of the world’s smallest spenders on international aid.””

    ——— This claim always trotted out by the usual suspects who completely define their entire being as their location on the left side of the fence squabbling to their life’s end with those on the right side of the fence.

    America since post WW2 has been seen as the primary protector from the global communist take over and keeping the peace in Europe, the benefits of which are well beyond priceless but have essentially bankrupted the US.

    This is never calculated in the limited aid figures cited which only indicate as a % of the population, the US contributions are well down. However the contributions by gross totals dwarf other nations, and excessive foreign aid which has been shown repeatedly to obscenely enrich 3rd world tyrants is one one of the few areas of concensus most Reps/Dems agree on.

    And, NO, Americans overall have never given a fig about the rest of the world that wasn’t named the communist threat. Every presidential election is a domestic policy vote, the traditional chicken in everyone’s pot that the people vote for.

    Average Americans struggle to locate portions of their own country on a map, so how are they gonna know anything about the world?

  181. 183 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 13:18

    An interesting story I found out about President Coolidge:

    A story is told about Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States:

    President Coolidge and Mrs. Coolidge were staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, during the President’s first days in office. One night, the President awoke to discover a burglar in the room, going through the President’s belongings and attempting to remove a wallet and pocket watch. The President said, “I really wish you wouldn’t take that,” referring to the watch. He asked the burglar to read the engraving on the watch, which said: “Presented to Calvin Coolidge, President of the Massachusetts Senate.”

    Coolidge then identified himself as the newly sworn-in President of the United States, persuaded the burglar to relinquish the wallet and watch, and then engaged the young man in quiet conversation. The burglar explained that he and his roommate were unable to pay their hotel bill or purchase their train tickets back to their college campus.

    To the young man’s amazement, Mr. Coolidge gave him $32 from the wallet, as a loan, and then advised him to leave the room as unconventionally as he had entered, to avoid detection by the Secret Service. The President chose to show compassion, but he did not want it publicly known that he had been so forgiving. After all, he was a “law-and-order” politician. The story did not become public knowledge for many years.

    This story is not specifically about wayward youth returning to school from incarceration, but it does illustrate an essential ingredient of the process: compassion on the part of adults who are charged with shaping the lives of young people and helping them achieve responsible citizenship.

  182. September 6, 2008 at 13:51

    Hi gang ! :-)… Actually I am pretty sick today and suffering from hypotension but I just felt that I must intrude here…
    Hi Precious Jonathan in SF… Actually the proposed draft of the controversial Iraqi oil and gas law (which is supposed to regulate the process of signing oil investment contracts between the Iraqi central government and giant foreign oil firms and which is waiting eagerly to be approved by the Iraqi parliament after the end of the parliamentary holiday) states that those contracts are of the “Production Sharing Agreement” type (You may google that item if you like), which actually enables those giant foreign oil firms to OWN a share of our vast oil resources i.e. They’ll be partners in our national vast oil wealth, and a certain fraction of our vast oil wealth will be theirs, and that’s STEALING in my book… There’s a HUGE difference between hiring those foreign giant oil firms (Service agreements) and making them actual partners in our national vast oil wealth (PSA)… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  183. 185 roebert
    September 6, 2008 at 14:11

    Roberto; good point about US spending on averting threats to western democracies; a point that did not occur to me in the context of aid, but which definitely qualifies as an important form of aid.

  184. 186 Kelsie in Houston
    September 6, 2008 at 14:23

    Dunno if you are addressing this to me, but I’ll answer anyway. Be good if you could bring something tangible to the debating table instead of a vague complaint without a shred of evidence to back it up. Unless, of course, you have no interest in debate but simply want to complain about those who complain about the BBC.

    Actually, Bryan, the onus is on you and people like you who make these accusations of “liberal bias” at the BBC (as an American, I assume you are familiar with the idea that those who make accusations are responsible for proving them–the former bedrock of our “justice” system until recently). I’ve not seen any of these accusations substantiated, especially as regards the 2008 presidential election. The conversations I have had and read as regards this alleged “bias” are from right-wingers who claim Mr McCain and Mrs Palin have been somehow “mistreated” by the BBC’s commentators/presenters, or who feel the RNC has not received “equal billing” with the DNC.

    Coupled with this is your farcical, juvenile statement: “I propose we all stipulate that the BBC is an evil, leftist, Israel-bashing propaganda operation for the intergalactic communist Islamic whatever comspiracy,” which–apart from provoking a great deal of laughter at my computer screen, seems to call into question just who is failing to “bring something tangible to the debating table instead of a vague complaint without a shred of evidence to back it up.”

  185. 187 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 14:30

    portlandmike September 6, 2008 at 11:14 am

    In my liberal opinion we need to drag Osama out of Pakistan, and not with drones… or A bombs. We need to have his body, walking or in pieces.

    I’m quite prepared to second that motion.

    I wasn’t suggesting that Musharraf thought the US would nuke Pakistan, but go for Al Qaeda somewhere on/near the border. But of course that is pure speculation. He just seemed to rush to offer condolences. It was almost like he was saying, “Hey, it wasn’t us, I promise.”

    Link works OK now, thanks.

    Dunno if people are trying to censor John McCain’s speech but finally got to see it via YouTube on a conservative blog. It was a bit rambling, lacked focus and was too long. But near the end, when he started to speak about his Vietnam experiences, you could have heard a pin drop. The man is a hero, ain’t no doubt about that, and he has a true love for his country.

    Barack Obama, on the other hand……

  186. September 6, 2008 at 14:43

    @ The US “hasn’t taken any oil”

    Two point here. Last one first. What would you call this? Two-Year, No-Bid Contracts Aimed at Boosting Production All American based companies. As “American” as oil companies get.

    Second point. People think that the US was after the oil in Iraq. I have said it since before the invasion. The corrupt legislative branch of our country has been driven by the desire to boost big oil profits. Guess what has happened since Cheney’s Energy Task force? Big oil has seen record profits. Now if you are a producer, and you want to raise the profits generated from your product what are your choices? If increasing demand isn’t an option, then Reducing supply is left. Iraq was putting a billions of gallons into the market. If the US companies could stop that, it would reduce supplies and increase the equilibrium price. Everybody gets filthy stinking rich. To boot, conflict in the Middle East always drives up a temporary demand.

  187. 189 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 15:00

    Wow, MIchelle Obama has a cousin that is a Rabbi


  188. 190 Zainab
    September 6, 2008 at 15:36

    Hello all,
    Hello Amy and Nelson and all the bloggers, how are you doing this day??
    Let me suggest this :
    Rice hails historic Libya visit
    “Rice, who is due to to meet the oil-rich nation’s veteran leader and one-time international pariah Moamer Kadhafi, described her brief visit as “historic” and a sign the United States does not have permanent foes.”

    Is it only because Kadhafi has gave up the right of having nuclear weapons, then he is no longer a foe to the United State??? What about his violation of the UN decisions, what about being a dictator, … etc.

    Well, can the US just decide the criteria of its friend, and foes?? Just to be in the safe side 🙂 😉

    Have a nice time
    yours truly
    Zainab from Iraq

  189. 191 jamily5
    September 6, 2008 at 16:46

    I asked that vary thing a couple of days ago.
    Why Palin when there were other women that were more qualified and would have made a much better choice.

  190. 192 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 16:48

    @ jamily5

    Why Obama when there were other men that were more qualified?

  191. 193 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 16:49

    Perhaps a mod can rescue the comment I made about an hour ago? It had a few links.

  192. 194 Venessa
    September 6, 2008 at 16:50

    Bryan ~ I just looked and I didn’t see anything.

  193. 195 Alec Paterson
    September 6, 2008 at 16:50


    Al Queda is not a cult. It is a Sunni Islamist/Jihadist grouping whose aim is the imposition of Sharia(islamic law) Its target is ‘infidels,’ wherever they live, including Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and the vast majority of the world’s Muslims, who reject the extremists’ vision of a restored caliphate under a reactionary version of Islamic law.” They would say they are following the example of Muhammad and his successors (Quaran 9:29). There may be moderate Muslims, but is there a moderate Islam?

  194. 196 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 17:02

    Thanks Venessa. Strange, because it appeared on the blog with its red moderation stripe underneath. Anyway, here it is again:

    Kelsie in Houston September 6, 2008 at 2:23 pm,

    Sorry, I’m not guilty of making the following comment:

    “I propose we all stipulate that the BBC is an evil, leftist, Israel-bashing propaganda operation for the intergalactic communist Islamic whatever comspiracy,”

    That was Jonathan at 9:47 am. I happened to agree with part of his comment, which I indicated at 10:46 am. I am also not guilty of making accusations of BBC bias without evidence, so please don’t accuse me of that either, just because you happened not to see it. Here’s a small fraction of the evidence I’ve come up with on this blog alone:





    But in case you are not prepared to plough through that, I commented here


    on BBC bias in favour of the Democrats in response to a comment you made, so you could at least have a look at that.

    Any queries you have on BBC bias, please send them my way and I’ll be only to happy to reply to them.

  195. 197 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 17:16


    Greetings. I hope you are well. In regards to Secretary Rice visiting Libya I think the current administration is out legacy hunting. However, it does show that former enemies can become allies, friends, whatever you want to call it. I think making payments to the families of those killed in the Locherbie attack helped a lot. I do have a problem though with a world leader (which Gadhafi is, like it or not) referring to the US Secretary of State this way

    “After their meeting, Rice joined Gadhafi, who once called Rice “Leeza … my darling black African woman”

    I may not like her much but I would show a little more respect to a high ranking official of any country.

  196. 198 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 17:30


    Interesting article about Michelle Obama. I doubt this would make any difference to some.

  197. 199 Bryan
    September 6, 2008 at 17:32

    I meant to add to my last comment that I’m not American.

    Amy, I have an idea that Googling Pan Arab with Ghaddafi and perhaps Sudan as well might explain his lack of respect for black people.

    I’d do it, but I ain’t got no time now. Gotta run.

    Have fun, guys.

  198. 200 Julie P
    September 6, 2008 at 17:35

    Tragedy strikes Cairo, Egypt. Hundreds are buried after a rock slide.


  199. 202 Julie P
    September 6, 2008 at 17:40


    We’re on the same page literally having the same thoughts. I hope those people can be rescued speedily.

  200. 203 Venessa
    September 6, 2008 at 17:40

    Julie ~

    Very much a tragedy but I’m a bit disturbed by the link that they provide. “Watch residents search through the rubble.”

  201. 204 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 17:43


    I fear those people will not be rescued. It strikes me that the blame will be placed on those living in the area since they chose to live somewhere that wasn’t safe.

  202. 205 Julie P
    September 6, 2008 at 17:43


    I read that same part too. That is a complete disgrace. I hope those people can be saved regardless.

  203. 206 Julie P
    September 6, 2008 at 17:45


    It’s easy to victim blame.

  204. 207 Roberto
    September 6, 2008 at 17:50

    RE “” Kadhafi has gave up the right of having nuclear weapons, then he is no longer a foe to the United State??? What about his violation of the UN decisions, what about being a dictator, … etc.””

    ——— Kadhafi was ground zero at the start up of modern day islamic terrorism.

    He’s since moderated his views substantially and is bringing about the kinds of reforms the west likes to see. Keep in mind that at every point of the cold war, the US always had diplomatic relations with the Soviets even when they were withdrawing their ambassadors from each’s country in the umpteenth dispute.

    I there was no negotiation with enemies, there would be no opportunity for peace.

    Need to work on limiting the opportunities for war so peace becomes a way of life.

  205. 208 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 17:55

    I’d love to get everyone’s thoughts on the latest from Pakistan.


  206. 209 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 6, 2008 at 18:28

    @Rockslide in Cairo

    First, very sad tragedy. I am beyond words. What a horrible way to die.

    About putting the blame in the victims, I have to say that it is usually the statement that authorities make about this type of tragedies.

    I know that sometimes people are stuborn and simply do not want to follow the authorities warnings; however, I think in this case a big part of the responsibility lies in the local government, since it let people settle in those areas.

    It happens in Mexico a lot too. People build their houses in dangerous places (illegally of course) like river banks, cliffs, etc. The government don´t do anything about it (and sometimes they regularize their status in order to get votes) and then, when a tragedy strikes, the fault is of the victims. What they do not take into account is that usually they are very poor people that do not have other choice.

    At the end, all of this is the product of social and economic inequality, along with corrupt and unefficient governments.

  207. 210 Shirley
    September 6, 2008 at 18:31

    It sounds as if to date the U.S. government has rejected a hard withdrawal date, suggested by the Iraqi government as 2011. Other issues mentioned in that article include U.S. troop immunity and permanent U.S. bases.

    This ana;ysis from AlterNet says that the U.N. mandate ends on 31 December and that the U.S. is trying to build alliances with the Shia-Kurdish bloc in the Iraqi government. Other issues mentioned in that article were the status of Kirkuk, Shia militant aggression against Sunni politicians, and the relative inactivity of the Mahdi Army. The article was vague, though, and flitted to topics other than the Security Agreement.

    I still cannot find anything discussing the nature of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the U.S. beyond military topics such as withdrawal dates, permanent bases, the embassy, and troop immunity. I have not found anyone discussing economic terms under negotiation. Hardly anyone wants to mention that three letter word “oil”.

    Has anyone else seen something else? Lubna? Zaynab? Will? Brett? Dwight? Anyone?? Even if it is in language other than English and you end up summarising it for us? Please?

    Btw, Wikipedia goves some time to it in their article abouts SOFAs in general: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_Forces_Agreement

  208. 211 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 6, 2008 at 18:47

    @Pakistan Presidential Elections
    Amy, I can only say that Politics are complicated, specially in countries like Pakistan. Sometimes I wish that all countries could do a fresh start… too much history behind current events.

    Sorry if I sound pesimistic, but somedays I am just tired of all the nonesense in this world.

  209. 212 Zainab
    September 6, 2008 at 19:48

    Salam all
    @ Amy
    “After their meeting, Rice joined Gadhafi, who once called Rice “Leeza … my darling black African woman”

    Oh, God!!! did he [Gadhafi] really call her like that?? 😦
    It seems that he has no respect to first to himself, then to his country that he represent as a president. Anyway I expect everything from that guy. I just pity the Libyan people, those who are forcing to live under such a person!!! and what will they get if he is a friend or a foe to the USA…

    yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  210. 213 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 20:55


    Greetings. Your post started with a link to a story about increasing oil production in Iraq, then went on to explain your theory that the US government, at the behest of the oil companies, invaded Iraq to decrease oil production in Iraq and thus raise its price.

    I’m pleased to see your improved understanding of the relationship between supply, demand, and price. Since you’re making two contradictory cases, you don’t need me to argue with.

  211. 214 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 21:06


    Greetings. PSAs are a completely normal type of oil contract. They are entered into voluntarily by many entities and countries without being invaded and occupied at the cost of a trillion dollars. There are various reasons for opting for one or another type of contract, and they were briefly described here in this blog a few weeks ago. A Google search for “production sharing agreement” should find the comment.

    Either Iraq pays the companies with a tiny bit of the oil they produce, or with cash derived from sales of the oil they produce. I don’t think one is especially better or worse than the other in that regard. Nobody works for free, sorry.

  212. 215 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 21:12


    The “farcical, juvenile statement” about the BBC was mine, and laughter was its intended effect.

    Bryan would never make such a farcical, juvenile statement.

    Well, out into the glorious sunshine.

  213. 216 viola
    September 6, 2008 at 21:31

    The daily limit at my bank is what gripes me. If I have it in a checking account, I don’t think they should have the right to limit withdrawals.

  214. 217 steve
    September 6, 2008 at 21:41

    @ Viola

    The daily limit is to protect you from being forced at gunpoint to empty out your entire bank account.

  215. 218 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 21:46


    Your bank might be able to change the limit if you ask, and even the amount for the one-button quick-cash withdrawal, if the ATMs have such a thing. I had my limit and my “fast cash” amount adjusted.

  216. September 6, 2008 at 21:58


    I made the exact same case. The Oil lobbyists want to see the supply from their competition reduced. It increases their product cost. This is exactly what I have always said. The American people, not the corrupt administration, want to see oil prices lower. There is nothing that the US government can do to lower oil prices. This, as I have always asserted, is not in the best interest of the Saudis and/ or the giant oil a conglomerates. My point was that these forces were willing to send a region into chaos, and kill, maim, and displace millions of people just so they could reduce supply and generate higher profits.

  217. September 6, 2008 at 22:00

    So let us break down the player for the economically challenged in the group.

    The players
    A) Iraq
    Role: Oil Supplier.
    Competition: Western “Big Oil” and OPEC.
    Stake: Benefit from High oil prices.
    Policies: Not very cooperative.
    Production level: Produces all that the UN would allow it, and more in violatioin.

    B) US/ world Oil Lobby “Big Oil” =
    Role: Oil supplier
    Competition: Iraq, OPEC, and Russia, other smaller payers.
    Stake: Benefit from higher oil prices.
    Policies: aggressive and self serving.
    Production level: Produces all it is “willing and able” to.

    C) OPEC=
    Role: Oil cartel supplier lead by Saudi Arabia.
    Competition: It is in competition with A & B.
    Stake: Benefit from higher oil prices.
    Policies: On surface cooperative, actions are aggressive and self-serving.
    Production: intentionally doesn’t produce to it’s full current capacity. It gives them greater market control.

    D) US economy/ Public =
    Role: Largest consumers of Oil and oil based products.
    Stake: Interested in lower oil prices.
    Consumption level: It’s natural resources account for only 2% of global contribution and only 25% of it’s needs.

    There is nothing that “D” can do to supply to lower prices. They can petition “B” to produce more. They can petition “C” to produce more. However, do you see the conflict of interest in that petition?

    If “B” wants to make more money, which is their true free market interest, they can try to produce more, however that would drive the price down. Their best to force one of their competitors to reduce supply.

    Now let us say that “B” decides to produce more and drive the price down. “C” in order to keep prices high and earn the maximum equilibrium price would counter any production increase by “B” with a decrease of their own. Not doing so would loose more money over the long run.

    The best option is to attack “A”. “C” will be happy because they will not have to invest resources to reap the benefits. They didn’t like “A” anyway. “B” will use the resources of “D” to do it, so they won’t have to invest anything either.

    Bottom line is that, if the US authorizes drilling, it won’t decrease oil prices.

  218. September 6, 2008 at 22:05

    I guess I could have broken thta down into a couple of more posts, I will if people think it is necessary. It didn’t look that long on paper.

  219. 222 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 22:08


    If “no country would give aid…against its national interest,” then surely you can’t fault the US for not giving aid against its interest. Since you recognize the impure motives behind government aid, why do you denigrate aid from individuals as “just aid by good world citizens?” (Actually, US citizens; unless I missed something, “word citizen” is just a pretty phrase, not a real thing.) Surely the aid from individuals, charities, foundations, NGOs, etc. has at least as pure a motivation , and probably more, than government aid.

    No, the other posts did not say we’re “comparitively ungenerous.” We”re the biggest donor both by gov’t and by individuals etc. You really are a treat; you criticize government aid because it’s done in accordance with national interest (duh) like all gov’t aid is, should be, and must be, then you say individual and NGO aid, which is both larger in amount and nobler in purpose, is “just aid from citizens” and don’t even acknowledge it’s from American citizens. Obviously there’s no pleasing you.

    I’ve given you the “simple answer” you require: We elect our own government, with no advice asked or desired from other countries. We do so in, well, our national interest. I can’t make it any simpler.

    Don’t tell me what I know. Ask me what I know. I know that world criticism of America under Reagan was AT LEAST as fevered and frenzied as it is now, and on largely the same grounds, which I described before.

  220. 223 Jonathan
    September 6, 2008 at 22:16


    Your previous post had a link about “Contracts aimed at boosting production.” Then you said oil companies were trying to reduce the oil supply. You don’t see the contradiction between boosting production and reducing it?

    Also, no oil company (or any company) wants to “increase its cost.”

  221. September 6, 2008 at 22:34

    I wasn’t sure what you were talking about. I was answering the statement that “The US hasn’t stolen any oil”. Again if you are talking about the US as refered to in “D” of my previous post, then they haven’t taken any Oil.

    However, since there is now no “A” as we once defined it. Its oil product was made available for the taking by “B” as referred to in previous post.

    Any successful company would incur costs of absorbing a competitor if it knew that the benefit would be profitable in the long term. Although I am not sure what costs you are saying EXXON has incurred though. US men, weapons, and money absorbed most of the “costs”.

  222. September 6, 2008 at 22:54

    I guess my questions would be as such. Did knocking Iraqis oil offline for the past 6 years increase the price of oil?

    Did large western oil companies benefit from that price increase?

    Would it then be fair to say that they would have benefited from that invasion?

    Do companies such as Exxon have lobbyist in Washington with the ear of the current administration?

    What are the chances that these lobbyist were promoting the invasion?

    If you incite and accommodate a violent overthrow of your competition and then end up with no bid contracts, would that be defined as “stealing”?

    If once that oil production gets up and running, and it drives the price down, what would you do if you were in the shoes of the OPEC countries if increased supply drove the price down?

  223. 226 Bert
    September 6, 2008 at 23:22

    So, why isn’t the US we promoting violent overthrow of the governments of all oil producing nations?

    US oil companies use crude from all parts of the world. It makes no sense to reduce the supply of crude, unless perhaps for those countries that are themselves a primary producer of crude.

    Ultimately, bif oil refineries want to maximize profits, which is a balance between quantities sold and the price per unit. Simply reducing the raw material is not a way to maximize profits.

  224. September 6, 2008 at 23:43

    I think that the Bush administration believed that toppling Saddam and creating a democracy in the heart of Islam would/will eventually transform the Mideast. Their mantra might be that “Democracies don’t go to war against each other.” They want the whole area to become good consumers. They want to free women. They want permanent military bases. They want to reach out to the young people, and improve and open their lives. They want to be a permanent irritation until we are neighbors living comfortably with one another, and this “war” could go on for generations… like in Japan and Germany.

  225. 228 Dennis
    September 6, 2008 at 23:51

    @ Lubna:

    I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy….i am very unhappy…

    –SORRY FOR NOT BEING AROUND–Currently very depressed.


  226. 229 Amy
    September 6, 2008 at 23:53

    Dennis my friend, what is troubling you?

    Dearest Lubna, feel better soon.

  227. 230 Dennis
    September 7, 2008 at 00:00

    @ Amy:

    It is my first week here at Onondaga Community College….And i have NO FRIENDS here at the Harvard on the hill…..

    @ Julie P:
    I am looking for a practical joke to play on the evil person, who set off the fire alarm system…

    @ Amy:

    What the doctor said about your medical problems….


  228. 231 Bert
    September 7, 2008 at 00:01

    Yes, I agree totally with Portlandmike, at least as far as the GWB administration believing that they could rebuild a culture from the outside.

    That’s what I found so incredibly clueless from this administration. It’s impossible enough to nation-build from the outside in the very best of circumstances, i.e. when the culture of the nation builder is similar to that of the target country. It’s out of the question entirely if the culture you’re trying to change is so drastically different from your own. Did no one explain this in the oval office? Did they really not know what a conservative Moslem culture is?

    I believe that nation building can only be done from the inside. This was bound to fail from the start, especially considering how different the cultures are. It became obvious when we went in fighting against every faction in there, including those who were supposed to be lining the streets and cheering our soldiers. We fought Al Sadr Shia, the Sunni, and the foreign Al Qaeda fighters, who were there mostly because we were.

    If things are looking better now, I think the credit goes to the Sunni and Shia starting to see a common enemy in their midst that’s not the US.

  229. September 7, 2008 at 00:06

    Bert, You supplied one of the answers to your question. There is a balancing act. Another and more important reason that they (The oil companies with interest in take hostile takeover.) simply can’t do it. They can’t influence the US public r government to buy into it. (They are trying to influence the invasion of Iran though.) The US couldn’t control the areas if they wanted to. (That is the reason why US business interest helped prop up leaders such as Saddam Hussein in the first place. Sometimes it is cheaper to set up a local representative to fight for your interests.)

    “Simply reducing the raw material is not a way to maximize profits.” Right. That is what is called the equilibrium price. That price is the delicate point set by the market. It is the point where the highest amount is earned with the least supply. That is the factor that drives the Saudis who sell oil. That is their product and not their “raw material”. Sure they have refineries. Many of them are leased out to the western big oil companies. If you are a seller of oil, and a competitor reduces the cost by suppling more. Often your best option is to reduce your supply.

  230. 233 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 00:07


    Relax. Friends will come. Just be your friendly self and all will be alright. As for the doctors, they didn’t find anything terribly wrong so I am assuming that it was the infection in my gall bladder was what was causing most of the pain. No surgery, at least for now. Thanks for your concern.

  231. 234 rick
    September 7, 2008 at 00:10

    @banking rip off
    we bank at a credit union and never pay any banking fees – ever. Not even on our business account.
    People who are not smart enough to shop around deserve what they get.

  232. 235 Bert
    September 7, 2008 at 00:20

    Problem I see with your analysis, Dwight, is that you don’t differentiate between those who primarily produce crude, such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela, etc., and those who are primarily the oil refining nations, such as the US and other western countries.

    The US oil companies don’t benefit from a shortage of crude. They might benefit from a shortage of competing oil refining capacity, perhaps, but then that would mean we’d be fighting against the UK, the Netherlands, and other countries involved mainly in the producing the final product.

    If anything, the reason the US “propped up” unsavory governments was to ensure a steady supply of crude oil. And if you want to take that tack, then the reason the GWB administration wanted to rebuild Iraqi culture was also for that reason, so we would have a familiar culture to our own with huge reserves of crude that would happily sell to our refineries. NOT to reduce the availability of crude.

  233. 236 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 00:31


    Amy is right, you’ll make friends there. When I transferred from the two year college to the four year college, I felt lost, but it wasn’t long after I got there I found a circle of friends pretty quick. Get into group projects quickly, study groups, and join a student organization. That did it for me.

  234. 237 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 00:35


    Not everyone can bank at a credit union. They do have rules about who can be a “member”. We use a credit union and we aren’t charged fees but if we use an ATM that isn’t from our credit union, we are charged the fee from that bank. I do my best to try and avoid the situation by stopping by the bank or getting cash back from the grocery store but that isn’t always possible. Most people don’t have a lot of options and have to take what they can.

  235. September 7, 2008 at 00:36

    You guys give GWB way more credit then he deserves. The OHRA was set up January 20th 2003. These brilliant politicians really think they were going rip out the Iraqis political and economical infrastructure and replace it with 2 months of planning? Creating a stable environment seems like an afterthought. the original budget was like $750,000. To rebuild all of Iraq.

    Then again looking at our own economy, Maybe.

  236. 239 rick
    September 7, 2008 at 00:39

    after reading the report on banking in Australia, and the prediction that home prices will fall, I must say that I think they are way overpriced in the first place. There would not be many houses here in south east Queensand for under US$340,000. We are in need of a 15% readjustment. I worry that my children will never be able to own their own home.

  237. September 7, 2008 at 00:47


    Are you saying that Exxon doesn’t make money from selling crude oil?

    Are the Republicans beating the drum of “drilling to increase the supply” as a measure to reduce gas prices? The answer is yes, and that must mean that we have a “shortage”. Has that “shortage” in oil boosted profits for Exxon?

    For that answer I will have you look here? Exxon Mobil posts record profit of $10.7 billion
    Fourth-quarter earnings top targets for world’s largest oil company.

    So how can you say that they do not benefit from reduced supply? They will tell you that they do but that is the market, not their fault.

  238. September 7, 2008 at 00:57

    I want to add that the “shortage” I mention is from our perspective. From an oil producer such as Saudi Arabia, we are doing just fine. Their goal is to keep us feeling a little “shorted”.

    The hazard here is whom you assign the “US” label. There are those who are members of our economy that benefit from high oil prices. Then there are the other 98% of us. The problem is how much influence that 2% have over out policy makers.

  239. 242 rick
    September 7, 2008 at 00:59

    things must be different here in oz. Anyone can join for a membership fee of $1 and complete access to ATMs etc. My wife was forced to join one of the big 4 banks because that’s where her employer banks. There were monthly account keeping fees, transaction fees and a $2.50 fee if you actualy went to a teller to do a transaction. After banking with a C U for 15 years we couldn’t believe it.
    I think most people are just too lazy to change, meanwhile the banks are two-bitting them to death.

  240. September 7, 2008 at 01:10


    My wife belongs to a credit union. There are ATM fees, minimum balances, and all the stuff that most banks have done away with. The onlyh benefit is that we get a few points better deals when we borrow from them. There are like 3 locations. I travel a lot. Using my card in tim-buck-tu wouldn’t even be an option with a credit union.

  241. 244 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 01:18


    There rules here are different. For most, you either need to work in a specific industry. For example, here where I live we have the Portland Teacher’s Credit Union. I think it is pretty obvious what your job needs to be there. Say I was a teacher, my husband and I could have a joint account making him a member. He could then open a separate account in his name only since he joined with me. We also have one here that all you need to do is live in Oregon and have a valid state ID.

  242. 245 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 01:25


    I worked in banking for many years. Trust me, they are always looking to make a buck. While it is nice to have lots of ATMs around, they sneak fees whenever they can. Many banks that have no minimum balance requirement accounts but you must do everything at the ATM or online. If you come up to a teller, you are charged a fee. I don’t know how many times I waived a fee when I knew it was that customer’s first time in the branch (after setting up their account). A lot of banks used to charge for doing your banking online but most now encourage it. If you use more than a certain number of checks (usually 10-15), you are charged a fee. I love my debit card – as long as a place takes Visa, I’m set. No need for cash. Now if only I could get my mom to use one……

  243. September 7, 2008 at 01:36

    I have a friend who worked for Dibold. (I know, I know it took me awhile to like him too. he was just a foot servant.) lol, anyway he told me that one of the managers was telling him how many banks will always process the days debit before credits just to make sure that they maximize their chance to get an overdraft fee.

  244. 248 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 01:48

    Everyone…. I am stepping away for a little while for dinner (got to spend some time with the family I guess). Your post may take a little while to get approved.

  245. September 7, 2008 at 02:23

    Steve –

    Are you suggesting that every other nation is good at heart? Let’s see, Canada recently apologized for natives for trying to make them “canadian”, they also club baby seals to death so snobs can buy fur coats. Britain, well, they caused most problems in the world today, and invented the concentration camp. Germany? I don’t even need to state this one. Tiny little portugal, created the slave trade…..

    Sometimes I sit back and actually think that you must be laughing when you type things.

    How do you come, please give me the thought processes you go through, to making out that Canada simply kills baby seals – do you look at why?

    Britain is the cause of all the world problems? How on this God’s Earth do you come to that conclusion?

    Germany we can find some common-ground, but certainly not much.

    Portugal stated the slave trade!?

    I will look forward to your personal view of history.

  246. 250 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 03:16


    OK, I can’t resist: Who is the the 2% of Americans who you say benefit from high oil prices?

    Stockholders in oil companies? I should think it would be more than 2%, although I don’t know for sure. I do know that you can join their ranks by the simple expedient of buying stock in an oil company.

  247. 251 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 03:18


    Well, Steve SAID “why” he thought Canadians club those cute adorable baby seals to death. Do you know different and would you care to share?

  248. 252 rick
    September 7, 2008 at 03:30

    @ Will re: Steve
    Canadians clubbing baby seals – yes guilty

    Britain allowing Jewish imigration into Palestine during the British Mandate – yes guilty

    Steve and I finaly agree on something!

  249. 253 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 03:33

    @ Will

    Do you deny that canadians club baby seals?

    http://www.harpseals.org/ (warning, it’s a bit graphic)

    Did the British not rule most of the world and used a divide and conquer tactic to achieve it?

    Interesting story about a US/canada border town.


  250. 255 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 03:37


    I don’t think Bert said whether Exxon does or does not make money from selling crude oil. As far as I know, Exxon is in the business of buying crude oil, refining it, and selling the distillates–the outputs from the refineries, including gasoline, diesel fuiel, jet fuel, petrochemical feedstocks for plastics, etc. I don’t know that they sell crude oil at all, but if they do, I’d expect that they make money from it, or they wouldn’t do it.

    So you’ve noticed Republicans agitating to increase the supply of oil and thereby “reduce gas[oline] prices.” That’s good. But, wait, surely that contradicts your theory that Republicans are in the pockets of oil companies. You’ve said that oil companies prefer lower supplies, and higher gasoline prices. What’s going on? Also, why would oil companies want to do any drilling, if, as you imagine, they want to maintain a shortage? Will they drill, or will someone have to force them?

  251. 256 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 03:37

    @ rick

    so the only wrong the British have ever committed in history was allowing jews into their ancestral homeland? I suppose it should have remained judenrein (though it never was)???

    I can name you countless horrible things the British have done, but my point was that people focus on the US, bash it, and pretend like every other nation is a bunch of innocent little angels.

  252. September 7, 2008 at 03:41

    I have asked over 100 people. 90 didn’t know and 10 knew they didn’t have “oil stocks”. Great my stock value raised 10 bucks last month, but the cost to fill my tank has been an extra 40 bucks a month for the last two years. Thank god I got gas stocks though. Exxon stock prices have doubled by $40 bucks since ’04. Gas prices have doubled since then. How many of their stocks does the average Joe have in his portfolio. 100. so $4000? Yet your gas costs alone, (not to mention all the other expenses that have resulted in high gas prices) has raised $40 a month for 24 months. $900 already. I know whom I am backing in that horse race.

    No the 2% I speak of is the people whom take the gains vs. their full impact costs and get a considerable profit. People with names like “Rex”. People on the receiving end of the 10 billion dollar of profits. Many of them have political “war chests”.

  253. September 7, 2008 at 03:47


    Don’t forget about Gertrude Bell. Don’t know who she is, look her up. That British mistake is still haunting us today.

  254. 259 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 03:50

    @ Dwight

    Yes, the British are pretty much (with the French) singlehandedly responsible for creating the mess that is the middle east. The British and French carved up the ottoman empire, drew borders, installed rulers, etc. Though Israel gets all the blame, it was the european powers that created the mess back starting after the defeat of the Ottomans during WW1, though of course they also attacked the middle east earlier, such as Napolean in Egypt, etc.. But I’m going off topic, we should only be bashing the US here.

  255. 260 Dennis
    September 7, 2008 at 03:51

    @ julie and amy:

    thanks for your emotional support……


  256. 261 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 03:54

    Also, let’s for forget little Belgium. Anyone know what they did in the Congo? It was King Leopold’s own persona playground to do whatever he wanted.

    Nobody knows how many people were killed, but they had a thing for cutting off people’s arms in Congo if they didn’t do as they were told by those working for King Leopold.

    Some estimate are that up to 50% of the population of Congo died under Leopold’s rule.


    But the USA is so much worse..

  257. 262 rick
    September 7, 2008 at 04:00

    did I say it was the only one? It’s the first one that came to mind concidering the source (you) and it certainly lead to one of the biggest problems the world has to deal with today. The immigration was only possible because of British control and therefore, in hindsight, a mistake.

  258. 263 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 04:02

    @ rick

    Jews have lived in Palestine for thousands of years before Islam ever existed. Blaming Israel for the problems of the middle east is like blaming women for being raped based upon how they are dressed.

  259. September 7, 2008 at 04:05

    Steve –

    We could go into a linksfest – I prefer not to. You could simply answer the question – or is your lawyer side coming out?

    As generalisation is such a good laworal thing to do, I suspect the latter.

  260. September 7, 2008 at 04:07

    PS/NB –

    I don’t really expect a direct answer so please don’t fret over it.

  261. 266 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 04:09

    @ Will

    what question are you referring to? You seem to think that only the US can do wrong, and every other nation hasn’t done wrong. I’ve provided evidence that other nations have done far worse than Bush could ever even dream of doing. Recall, in the Congo, about 50% of the population died under King Leopold’s personal rule of the country…

    I hope you clicked on the links, and they prove my points. I would hope you are open minded enough to know that the US isn’t the worst nation that ever existed.

    Who invented the concentration camp? The British, during the Boer war.

  262. 267 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 04:10


    I don’t know what, if anything, it means, people who “take the gains vs. their full impact costs.” Or people named “Rex.”

    But back to the point: You said “People on the receiving end of the profits.” That’s what I said. Those people are called stockholders. Hence my suggestion. Stockholders own the companies, hence stockholders receive the profits.

    Where do you think profits go, Dwight? What do you think profits are, Dwight? What do you think stockholders are, Dwight?

    I don’t know what point you imagine yourself to make with talk of the price of a share of stock, but the fact is that profits of a company go to its owners, i.e., stockholders, as dividends. That’s the point of the whole exercise.

    Sorry to throw this at you when you’re still figuring out whehter oil companies and republicans want to drill for more oil, or less, and why.

  263. 268 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 04:31

    Looks like some women are upset at Oprah for excluding Palin from her show.


  264. 269 Vijay
    September 7, 2008 at 05:17

    Has anyone taken part in the WHYS TV pilot ?What was it like?
    Also Ros Atkins is presenting a new show
    on Wednesday 10 September 10:00 GMT called Talking America:What the world expects from America.

  265. 270 Bryan
    September 7, 2008 at 05:35

    I’ve never understood why Canadians get so indignant when their accent is mistaken for an American one. This is a consistent theme I have noticed. Do they consider themselves to be above Americans? And if so, why?

  266. September 7, 2008 at 05:42


    By “dividends” do you mean the $1.15 per share that Exxon pays? And by stock holders, I am assuming that you don’t mean the common share holder of 401K stocks that can’t be touched until you retire when that money you made 20 years ago on Exxons stock is worth about as must as an old pair of shoes?

    That 10 billing just there year goes into reinvesting. Most of the time this means the company buys back outstanding stocks. That means cutting out more of those “stockholders”. They “invest” in trying to find new oil. In the end, after paying a few people very large salaries, lobbing congress to let them drill, there is a lot of just sitting on it. Which is very bad for the economy. Why? The very short version is that it becomes stagnate money. My one example is that if you give bill gate $100 he will laugh, and put it in the bank with the rest of his money. If you give it to a crack head, it will certainly go straight back into the economy in the from of crack, booze, and strippers. Which is better for the economy?

    I guess the better question is where do you think those profits go, Jonathan? If I am supposed to get some, I must have thrown the notice away, can you send me a copy of yours? I know I can’t afford to buy $80 a share stock with any amount that is worth wild.

  267. 272 Roberto
    September 7, 2008 at 05:54

    RE Oil analysis:

    ———- Anyone not including the growing demand of China and India for recent oil and fuel spikes really should just step slowly away from the argument with your hands up.

    You’ve hijacked any credibility on the subject to serve ill purpose. Spikes have happened in the commodity markets. DUH!

    It ain’t like you need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out, though incremental increases have to do with the way the various parties manipulate supply and demand and would require a super computer to track..

  268. September 7, 2008 at 05:56

    lol, come on Steve. you yelled at me the other day for only bashing the USA. I told you I am an equal opportunity basher. Depends on who I am talking to and in what language. The Conch Republic is the only nation I generally don’t have anything bad to say about.

    Now, I am picking on another country and I get scolded again. Well I at least have another prospect if I should decide to divorce my wife. Do they have same sex marriage there yet?

    Well bed time all. Good night.

  269. 274 roebert
    September 7, 2008 at 05:57

    Jonathan, thanks for the simple answer, duh’s and all. Official US aid still stands at no. 25 in the world, which is comparatively ungenerous, given that in all other areas, the US views itself as no.1.

    My argument about giving aid in accordance with national interest was, if you’d care to verify it, in response to the comment from Bryan to the effect that the US does most to help the downtrodden in the world. I was pointing out that there’s no such thing as unself-interested aid from any nation in the world. Aid by private citizens is, as you rightly point out, aid by US citizens, not the US govt.

    No, Reagan did not come in for the kind of criticisms levelled at Bush. Even when critics disagreed with his policies, he was viewed with respect, as a man of moral integrity who upheld, rather than contravened, international law and conventions.

    The present US administration continues to act in contravention of a number of international laws and conventions, including human rights conventions. I was speaking to an international human rights lawyer last night, who referred me to the ICJ website for more details: http://www.icj.org. The ICJ is currently working on a draft document detailing US breaches of international human rights conventions in the ongoing ‘war on terror.’

    It’s really a pity to have to conclude from most of the responses I’ve had from yourself and other Americans that any criticism of the US, even under the current administration, is viewed as bad old McCarthyist anti-Americanism.

  270. 275 Bryan
    September 7, 2008 at 06:03

    Robin Lustig’s political reporting on the World Service last night is the kind we should see more of on the BBC – educational and impartial.

    We learnt that Missouri voters got the winning candidate wrong only once in the past 100 years, so this is evidently a key state.

    A few people were canvassed for their opinions:

    *Impressed with John McCain
    *I’ll vote for Obama
    *I want change – Democratic
    *I’ll give the veteran McCain the benefit of the doubt
    *I’m not happy with anyone at this time

    Then there was a discussion with four panelists:

    *A Republican conservative engineer
    *A professor of political science
    *A Democratic congressman
    *A communications person

    The debate ranged from the importance of energy policy to education and was stimulating, informed and polite.

    Thank you, BBC.

  271. 276 jamily5
    September 7, 2008 at 06:06

    the problem that I have with America is that they pass themselves off as this wonderfully Christian nation.
    Personally, I would rather them say that they practice a healthy separation of “church and state,” and be done with it.
    If my politicians would follow the mandates of Christ, since i am a Christian, certainly, I would think that it would be a better country.
    But, I am not that naive. I would rather them be truthful than giving lip service.
    And, in many,ware more “Christian” than their actions.
    Can we say this about all, yes, probably.
    But, our international words and our international actions seem to conflict.

  272. 277 jamily5
    September 7, 2008 at 06:07

    So, Steve,
    Are you personally happy with McCain’s choice?
    Out of curiousity, who would you have chosen for McCain’s VP?

  273. 278 rick
    September 7, 2008 at 06:08

    @ Steve
    No arguement that some Jews lived in Palestine for thousands of years as they did in other prominently Arab countries. Islam has nothing to do with it. The problems began when, after mass immigration during the Mandate the Jews demanded a homeland when the British decided to pull out. A totaly Arab middle east would not have the problems it has today. Do you actualy wonder why the Arabs didn’t want a two state solution? The Jews didn’t just want to live in Palestine, they wanted to take it over. The justification? Because their ancestors once lived there?
    Irael is still doing the same thing today in the West Bank.
    Might makes right I guess

  274. 279 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2008 at 06:21

    Hello All!

    As it’s “Father’s Day” here in Aus I’ve been doing my parental duty and accepted gifts and breakfast in bed.

    However, one question sprang to mind in one of those “between sleep and awake” moments:

    Was Condoleezza Rice ever considered for the VP candidacy and, if not, why not? I may not agree with her politics but she’s one clever woman with plenty of experience close to the heart of government.

  275. 280 rick
    September 7, 2008 at 06:24

    @ Bryan Re: Canadian accent
    Having spent some time there, I’ll hazzard a guess
    Canadians don’t like Americans
    They see a lot of ‘Ugly American’ tourists and don’t see themselves as the same (even thou others can’t tell the difference)
    They get a better response from other nationals after correcting the mistake
    Canadians don’t like Americans

  276. September 7, 2008 at 06:27

    Dang it,

    Jonathan I just realized your questions from earlier. Real quick. So amny attributes that you aare trying to over simplify. you can’t clump together oil suppliers as if they are the same unit. some have a total raw material perspective. Other have a much more political enviornment. Republicans oddly enough Govern states where oil is drilled. Please not Ms. Palin’s bold move to tax the big oil companies. I bet that hurt them. We also know that clearance to drill today doesn’t mean tomorrow you are piping out oil. Now as an oil company you don’t want your competition to drill for oil. You want to do it. Reducing your competition’s supply is good for your business. Increasing your “proven reserves” is good for your “stockholders”. That doesn’t mean actually drilling. Saying “Exxon doesn’t make money from selling crude oil” is like saying “Tropicana doesn’t make money by selling oranges.” Because it is called “gasoline” now doesn’t make it not oil?

    Oil companies really don’t want to sell cheaper gas. Republicans are trying to get votes of poor Americans who want cheaper gas. These republicans approve bills for big business so they can “invest” more. But in order to get enough republicans voted in, they (the oil companies) have an adverse interest in looking like they want cheaper gas. In the end there is nothing the western oil companies can do to make gas cheaper. Well, except not encourage invasions into the Middle East. That is because their competitors could care less how many republicans are in the US congress. Those competitors interest can sometimes lie in reducing supplies to boost cost. That is how a “demand curve” works. In the end, equilibrium price is set by demand, and not supply. The only way to reduce the price of a commodity is to reduce demand, too many people have control and oppsing interest over supply.

    Glad I could clear that up for yah,

    Have a nice nite all.

  277. 282 Bryan
    September 7, 2008 at 06:27

    roebert September 7, 2008 at 5:57 am,

    Your no. 25 is calling out for a Google, but I don’t have the time now. But even if accurate, it still puts The US govt. in approx. the top 8% of nations. And how far does it lag behind these nations? And what about the private donations? You should stop flogging the dead horse of no aid without self-interest.

    Strikes me that this is a subject requiring a great deal of research involving various disciplines, but until I’m proven wrong I stand by my original assertion.

  278. 283 Bryan
    September 7, 2008 at 06:29

    Er.. that should have been around the top 12% of nations.

  279. 284 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2008 at 06:51

    @ Rick, Bryan et al

    Re: Canadian Accents

    I don’t think it’s so much that Canadians dislike Americans (though, inevitably, there’s some resentment of the bigger, more powerful neighbour to the south). Rather it’s the simple fact that Canadians are perceived as quieter and nicer and therefore treated better on their travels. I’ve actually had numerous examples of this all over the world with attitudes changing rapidly as soon as they hear I’m originally Canadian rather than American. My birthplace may even have saved my life once when I encountered a high-on-Qat, machete-wielding teenager in Mogadishu.

    I’ll leave it to others to discuss WHY the perception of the USA is so low in so many places…but it is.

    (As an aside, more than once I’ve encountered American backpackers who have sewn Canadian flags on their rucksacks to travel incognito.)

  280. 285 jamily5
    September 7, 2008 at 07:05

    Happy Father’s day.
    Enjoy your family time and I hope that the breakfast was to your liking.

    Hey, if I start traveling, I might ask you to send me a Canadian flag — just for safety purposes!

  281. 286 Virginia Davis
    September 7, 2008 at 07:40

    UN advising decrease in consumption of meat…..

    Hugo Chavez inviting Russia to hold navy exercises below the US in their territorial waters….

    Virginia in Oregon

  282. 287 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 07:54


    Happy Father’s Day.

    To answer your question about Ms. Rice. Yes, she was on the long list.


  283. 288 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2008 at 08:02

    Any speculation why she didn’t make it higher up the list?

  284. 289 Vijay
    September 7, 2008 at 08:52

    The GM car plants in India produce defunct Daewoo car models (branded as GM )meant for South Asia and South East Asia.
    The Indian Government is encouraging cheap housing and car loans(approximately 8%p.a.interest).

  285. 290 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 08:58

    @Dwight (your 5:42 a.m. comment)

    “Where do [I] think those profits go?” Just as I said, to the stockholders who own the company. What part of that is not making sense? Exxon paid $1.50 per share, not $1.15, to owners of its 5,190,000,000 (5.19 billion) shares outstanding, totaling $7.785 billion. Forward dividend, for the period of the $10 billion profit you quoted, is $1.60 per share, totaling $8.3 billion. So there’s over 80% of the profits, paid out to shareholders. As you said, yes, the company retains some money to invest in exploration, development, production, etc., all costs which have lately gone sky-high for the oil industry for obvious reasons. Any special reason for the ironic quote marks around “dividends,” “invest,” and “stockholders?”

    Are you “supposed to get some?” If you own Exxon stock, then yes, of course, you are. If you don’t, then no, of course, you aren’t. (Is that a trick question?)

    As far as 401(k), old shoes, Bill Gates, crack, booze, and strippers, I’ll defer to you. Your $100 to Bill Gates will be spent, invested, or saved by him, in any case circulating, not stagnating, just as surely as your $100 to a crack user circulates. Effect on economy from a monetary POV is essentially the same. Do you really think rich people have literal piles of currency like Scrooge McDuck, that they wallow in? That would be stagnant.

  286. 291 Pangolin- California
    September 7, 2008 at 09:00

    @ Bob on Condi- You aren’t coyly implying that the Republican party only uses black people on cabinets as window dressing are you? Next thing you know somebody will be saying that the reason John McCain bypassed a list of well qualified GOP women was precisely because they would institute the kind of change he pretends he is for.

    Kay Baily Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe and Christine Todd Whitman come to mind as all more than experienced enough to avoid the criticisms that Sara Palin is subject to.

    Frankly, the only advantage Sara Palin has is that she might give John McCain a sort of gnomish, Hugh Hefner appearance surrounded by Sara, his wife and Bristol. Sort of a little harem to prop up his candidacy.

  287. 292 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 09:08

    @”Don’t blame me, I’m Canadian!”

    Bob, did that friendlier attitude toward you as a Canadian vs. an American prevail at the same level during the time between the Vietnam disaster and the Iraq disaster? Or did it fluctuate according to how obnoxious the US was being at any given time?

  288. 293 Pangolin- California
    September 7, 2008 at 09:15

    Re: Oil Prices

    The second largest oil field in the world behind Gawahr in Saudi Arabia is Cantarell in Mexico. Cantarells decline will remove more oil production from the world market than Alaska produces now. Of course, lots of other oil fields around the world are in decline also so by the time any new Alaskan oil comes online it may not even cover production losses elsewhere.

    Which means we get less oil no matter what.

    Since the GOP has blocked ever attempt to meaningfully raise fuel economy standards and has stonewalled funds for solar and wind energy we pretty much have to assume that this isn’t a problem with them. Unless you have an income above $250K US yearly it’s going to be a problem for you.

  289. 294 Pangolin- California
    September 7, 2008 at 09:33

    @ Jonathon

    Surely, as a Californian, you can’t pretend that corporations are run for the benefit of the stockholders? After our recent history? What about Enron, PG&E, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Where’s the value that is going back to the shareholders of GM, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler? Their CEO’s will make millions yearly right up till the day they close in bankruptcy.

    Where’s the value that went to the shareholders of Merril Lynch and Bear Stearns? The CEO’s of both these operations gave themselves and their cronies huge bonuses last Christmas.

    Corporations are run for the benefit of insiders and stockholders are treated as suckers.

  290. 295 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2008 at 09:33

    @ Pangolin

    I have to admit I hadn’t even considered that side of things. I just happened to hear Condi interviewed on the radio and remembered what an intelligent and eloquent person she is.

  291. 296 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2008 at 09:36

    @ Jonathan

    Well, the bulk of my travelling was done between Vietnam and Iraq so I don’t really have much to compare it with. However, the attitude was fairly general.

    I should say though that much of it was based as much on social perceptions stereotypes as foreign policy. I can only imagine that things have become worse, not better over the past 8 years.

  292. 297 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 09:44


    Speculation about why Condy Rice wasn’t “higher on the list?” Oh, I dunno, maybe because her “experience close to the heart of government” consists of shaping some of the very worst and least popular policies of the very worst and least popular administration in modern history? Because the foreign policy has been even more disastrous than domestic policy?

    The president wasn’t at the convention. The VP wasn’t at the convention. Nobody at the convention even mentioned their names. This administration has been erased by its own party, just like those Russian photographs where those who fell from favor were removed from the image by means of the mid-20th century analog analogue of Photoshop. Listening to McCain’s speech, you’d think we’d been governed by Martians for the last eight years.

    Also, lest we forget, she’s black, which would remove the only prayer of victory that the republican ticket has, to wit the portion of the electorate who won’t be able to bring themselves to vote for a black president or VP.

  293. 298 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 09:47


    LOL at McCain as Hugh Hefner! OMG!

  294. 299 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 09:49


    US image worse over the last 8 years? Oh, yeah, that’s a very safe bet. And a very sad thought.

  295. 300 roebert
    September 7, 2008 at 11:07

    Bryan, 6.27 am:

    Och, Bryan, I really don’t want to flog the dead horse of no aid without self-interest. That was just one of the tangents into which my original questions were blown. I have received answers to those questions, as follows:

    Q: Are Americans aware of the global misdemeanours of the current administration?
    A: What misdemeanours?

    Q: Are Americans concerned about the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the hijacking of Iraqi oil?
    A: What illegal invasion and occupation, and which oil?

    Q: Will Americans be voting with an eye on their global responsibilities as a superpower electorate?
    A: What globe?

  296. 301 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2008 at 11:24

    @ Roebert

    To be fair, you missed one of the answers, which was along the lines of “Yeah, but Britain, Belgium and Portugal all did bad things too and Canadians club cute baby seals”.

    That, of course, justifies a lot!

  297. 302 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 11:51


    I distinctly remember president Reagan violating both domestic and international laws and conventions in all sorts of ways, and being roundly and properly condemned for it, both at home and abroad. Reagan invaded Grenada and someplace else I think. Reagan gave arms to Iran, supported insurgents in Nicaragua, poured money and weaponry into Afghanistan for the insurgents there, (in retrospect, not so smart)… and that’s just a few of the legitimate complaints–real violations of law.

    Then there was the other kind: He was loudly reviled by certain elements the world over, with massive demonstrations, burnings in effigy, and the rest of the familiar stagecraft, for commencing research on missile defense, for arming NATO nations with Pershing missiles to match the Soviet Union’s deployed SS-9 missiles, then for proposing the “zero option” to the Soviets, i.e., removal of SS-9s and of Pershings, held to be a non-starter until the Soviets agreed to it, and so on and on and on. The very same language and complaints were used: cowboy, warmonger, lone ranger, etc. It’s silly to have this argument in the google age.

    You may not conclude from my responses that “any criticism of the US is viewed as bad old anti-Americanism.” (McCarthy was, purportedly at least, pro-American.) I criticize the US in all sorts of ways for all sorts of things every day, and agree with others who do the same. But only when the facts are accurate and the charges deserved.

  298. 303 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 12:04


    Your snide 11:07 a.m. comment is both ungracious and inaccurate. I took some pains to provide nuanced and thoughtful answers to your assertions and questions. I see now that my effort was wasted, and I shall try not to repeat my mistake.

  299. 304 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 12:12

    Et tu, Bob? Tsk, tsk!

  300. 305 Jessica in NYC
    September 7, 2008 at 12:22

    Any mods on, please IM me.

  301. 306 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 12:28

    Hi Jess,

    I just came online, but IM doesn’t work on this computer (different than what I usually use). What’s up? Can you email me?

  302. 307 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 12:49


    I think she didn’t want the job.

  303. 308 roebert
    September 7, 2008 at 12:58

    Believe me, Jonathan, my 11.07 comments do not refer specifically to your replies, but to general replies that I have gathered from a number of Americans, including some good friends in the States, who would chuckle at my non-snidely-meant conclusions. You’re one tough debater, and definitely not snide-free yourself. I’ve found a lot of your asides quite ungracious, but have persevered in spite of that. You have frequently chosen to bait rather than de-bate. If you want to send me into persona-non-grata exile, feel free.

    Bob: glad you get my drift and my sense of humour. This American election-Iraq-global thaing is uncommonly sensitive; also to me. Think I’ll cool off with a nice Ceylon brew.

  304. 309 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 12:58

    @ Condi as VP

    Like someone else already said (please, don’t make me scroll up and search), McCain (rightly) wants to distance himself from the current administration as much as possible, and given that Condi played quite an active part in the whole invasion mess, she would be the last person I would want as VP if I were McCain. She has basically written “I [heart] GWB” all over her forehead. From that point of view, Sarah Palin was the perfect choice because she has no associations with Washington.

  305. 310 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2008 at 13:00

    Et tu, Bob? Tsk, tsk!

    Nah, not really. I agree that oil wasn’t the reason for the invasion of Iraq–goodness knows what was though.

    I just took slight exception to the “Nyah nyah, the whole world is evil so don’t talk about us” argument that some used.

  306. 311 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 13:08

    @ Bryan

    I have a friend outside of Toronto, and I always talk to him as if he’s an American, asking him if he’s voting for Mccain or Obama, and it drives him insane. He’s actually a hardcore socialist type and actually volunteers for some far left part. When I travelled in europe in 1997, I would meet up with Canadians, who would absolutely let you know they were canadian from the first moment they opened their mouths so that nobody confused them for an American. Remind you, this was when Clinton was President.

    I was in a bar in Strasbourg, with a friend, about 2 years ago now, and I was talking to her in English, and someone overheard us, and he was learning english, and was reading an English book, and asked “since you are an American, can you help me understand what this word means?” and I never mentioned the US or anything like that, and I really doubt that guy knew the difference between my accent and a Canadian one, so had I been Canadian, I think the canadian me might have gone ballistic on him. I noticed people in Australia being more cautious and asked me if I was Canadian or American.

  307. 312 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 13:13

    @English(-speaking world) accents

    A great way to tick off an Englishman in the US (or anywhere) is to pretend to mistake his accent for Australian.

    Just sayin’……

  308. 313 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 13:19


    Nah, I’m not going to exile you. You’re one of the brighter lights. I just wish you’d be a teensy bit more accurate sometimes.

    Believe it or not, I do have a sense of humor, and even laughed at your “answers” until I stopped and thought, “wait a minute; I took those seriously before.”

  309. 314 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 13:23

    @ Bob / Evil World

    What Steve forgets is that except for the baby seals all the other “crimes” have been committed at a very different time, when common standards were very different. When every single European country tries to get as many colonies as possible for exploitation of resources and people, is it really so spiteful what one individual country does? Today, our standards have changed dramatically, and therefore, we say rightly “yes”, but back then they didn’t waste a second thought about this. (Heck, they didn’t even waste a first thought!) So Canada apologized? Just shows that nowadays they accept that they did wrong back then – when they thought it was the right thing to do to raise native american children as whites and give them education. Little regard has been given to their roots as well as their well-being, and now we know that it was the right thing to do. Maybe Steve could enlighten us whether the US ever apologized?

    On the other hand, a lot of the bad things that happened due to American influence happened only after WW2 when standards were drastically changed, and that’s why the rest of the world has a rather unfavourable opinion of them. In addition to what has already been mentioned, I would like to draw the attention to CIA operations in Central and South America, where they supported guerrillas against democratically elected leaders. Here’s one link from wikipedia, I endourage everyone to dig further at leisure…

  310. 315 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 13:39

    @ Katharina

    So we need to make sure that WHYS is a bash the USA festival, and just focus on that and ignore every other event (outside of Israel) even on earth? Russia recently invaded Georgia. It threatened poland. Russia’s neighbors fear a Russian attack due to their actions in Georgia. This happened within the past month, while you’re mentioning stuff that happened post WW2, which began over 60 years ago. Especially given that the earth is 6 billion years old, events 60+ years ago weren’t that long ago.

  311. 316 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 13:43

    @ Steve

    You were the one who brought up crimes committed by other countries far more than sixty years ago, so don’t go lecturing me! WHYS is not a “bash the USA” festival, but a little more balance and self-criticism from your part wouldn’t hurt, either.

  312. 317 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 13:47

    @ Katharina

    My point was to show that the US is not the only nation to have ever done wrong, but typically on here, it apparently is. Remember, as we speak, there is genocide occuring in Darfur, but you wouldn’t know that based upon the discussion, heavily focusing on bashing the US. Yes, more balance and self-criticism is what I want as well, not focusing on the US constantly for everything it has ever done and excluding just about everyone else.

  313. 318 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 13:53

    So what do you suggest we (not just the US, but the much fabled “international community”) should do in Darfur? (As usual) I’m not an expert on Darfur, but last thing I heard is that the Sudanese government only wants African troops there, but they are inadequately trained and equipped to do the job… 😦

  314. 319 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 14:07

    @ Katharina

    I don’t know, but the world is sitting by and basically doing nothing, and that’s probably the worst humanitarian situation on earth. It would take will to do something there, but it seems so many people are so against using force for any reason, they would allow many to die from use of force against them.

  315. 320 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 14:09

    @ Steve


  316. 321 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 14:10

    The least we could do is financially etc. support the troops of the AU, but as you said, there is very little will to do that… and the dying goes on.

  317. September 7, 2008 at 14:11


    So who owns Exxon’s controlling interest and how much? How much is actually available to the public? Stocks are smoke and mirrors for these big companies. When you look into that you see that this “American” company isn’t so “American” after all. What percentages of those shares are held by foreign investment firms? What percentage is held by the top players with in the company? What percentage is actually available to the public? Saying, “that anybody can buy them” is about as honest as a TV infomercial.

    Money has become stagnate in this economy. I do not know if you have heard of this term that a few people were throwing around a few months ago, “economic stimulus”. It is a conservative held belief that is akin to fictitious deities that “money just gets invested”. No need to look any further then that. They put it in the banks, and “they banks use it to make loans.” Great, and what is what are the two biggest draws on our economy right now? The sub-prime lending crisis, and the credit cards allowing Americans to hold a negative savings rate.

    So follow the money for me. We know that no company of that size and that success would allow more then 50% of its controlling interest out of its hands at fear of a hostile takeover. So when they paid those dividends they paid them back to themselves and their retained stocks. So where did the money go? You are saying it isn’t just sitting there. Where did it go?

  318. 323 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 14:12


    Hey, don’t ask me; I’m just an American, and as such reliably informed that my country only exacerbates problems, rather than solving them. [smile] I’m happy to let the nonexistant world community sort it out, and the US to sit it out.

    Actually your points earlier about changing standards of history were excellent–thoughtful, fair, and well explained.

    It’s still just a bit galling from the US POV to think we’re poorly thought of in the post world war II era though. From here, the 20th century was marked by two bloody, costly episodes of having to rescue Europeans from their regrettable tendency to slaughter each other, followed by 40 years of protecting Europe from the unwelcome embrace of the Bear, also at no small cost, then dismembering the Bear, spanking the Serbians, and generally making ourselves useful. Not perfect, but on balance a positive force.

    At least that’s how we slack-jawed, insular, flag-waving yahoos see it.

  319. September 7, 2008 at 14:17

    One more puzzle piece creeps into place. People will hardly notice. Then one day everybody will be saying, “when did this happen”

    Venezuela to host Russia navy exercise
    Joint maneuvers in Caribbean likely to increase tensions with Washington

    Any takers on what the US should do about this?

  320. 325 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 14:21


    I forgot to say, good point also about our actions in Central and South America. I’ve been impressed by the relative good humor displayed by our Latin American neighbors toward our interference in their affairs, especially when compared to the very unpleasant reaction of the Middle Eastern countries to a really much lower level of mischief.

  321. 326 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 14:22

    @ Jonathan

    So much praise from you in only one sentence! I guess I shouldn’t get used to it! 😉

    You’re right, the US did a lot to help and protect Europe, it just shows how much perception and memory can differ in the eye of the beholder. On my side of the Atlantic, I guess we just got used to having “the Americans” around and saving our [soft cushy back part] and instead started looking at what else the US was doing… Also, the US won the cold war, and after that suddenly a lot of people got uncomfortable at the thought of having only one superpower around. (You can call them lefties if you want. )

  322. 327 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 14:33

    @ Jonathan

    compared to the very unpleasant reaction of the Middle Eastern countries to a really much lower level of mischief

    Maybe that’s why too many people at CIA etc. thought they could get away with it?

  323. 328 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 14:33

    @Flight Rage

    Why is that nothing exciting ever happens when I fly?


  324. 329 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 14:39

    @ Julie

    The jet was held at the North Carolina airport for about two hours while FBI investigators interviewed passengers.

    You really want to go through that and possibly miss your connection??? I’m always happy when I get out of the airport on time and in one piece, with all my luggage…

  325. 330 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 14:42


    I take direct flights…

    That said I have never had any bad experiences flying. No lost luggage, no drooling drunks, turbulence once, well behaved children, yet stories like this keep popping up. Flight rage is supposed to be on the rise. I think it’s made up.

  326. 331 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 14:53

    @ Julie

    I had my luggage delivered the next day several times (actually not always a bad thing, once it was seven (!) pieces of luggage, when we moved from Vienna to Toronto), and during my time as flight attendant I had plenty of turbulences. Flight rage never, though, I agree with you it’s made up, at least partially, and the other part is that especially US-airlines are very nervous about misbehaving passengers these days…

  327. 332 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 14:57


    My goodness, Dwight, Exxon is just another company, owned by stockholders, nothing special. Insiders hold 0.05% of its shares, not exactly an alarming figure. It’s all available to the public. In an average day, 25 million shares change hands. And, yes, anybody can buy them. (Operators are standing by!)

    Of course we don’t “know” that the company owns 50% of itself. That’s absurd; We know that it certainly does not. That is how takeovers happen. Where do you come up with this stuff? Seriously–do you invent it on your own, or is there some book or website or something where people say stuff like that?

    For the fourth time now, profits flow as dividends to shareholders, who either spend it or invest it, in either case circulating it through the economy, employing people, etc. It’s not so complicated–much simpler than the fabulous notions of conspiracy and whatnot that you’ve confected.

    Do you realize that you’re simultaneously complaining that money is stagnant, and that it’s moving too fast?

  328. 333 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 14:59


    I have never had a late flight either. I did have a bag get damaged once, but it was a cheap bag that some duct tape took care of. For the twenty plus years I’ve flown I can honestly say that that the vast majority of my flights have been smooth, then I haven’t worked on a jet.

  329. 334 1430a
    September 7, 2008 at 15:04

    hello everyone,
    long time since my last post.
    well i havent got anything to talk about so,anyone please give me some interesting ideas to discuss about.

  330. 335 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 15:09

    @ Julie

    I watched this reality show on one of the discovery channels about a flight attendant training course (in the US) and the flight attendants there got some serious combat training! If I would have had a nasty passenger in my days I wouldn’t have known what to do! But I developed some serious authority personality, they wouldn’t have dared 8) (luckily)

  331. 336 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 15:10

    @ Abhinav (1430a)

    Have a quick read over the last 50+ posts and “join the global conversation” 😉

  332. 337 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 15:12


    That reminds me…I was on a BA flight five years ago where the flight attendant was so authoritative toward some guys that she reminded me of Nurse Ratchet! 🙂

  333. 338 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 15:15


    Oh, absolutely you may get used to it! It’s the new, kinder, gentler me. A distant, glowing sun, smiling benignly. Bask in my warmth.

    I sort of think that the transatlantic alliance of free countries won the Cold War, Europe (West and especially East) at least as much as the U.S. Or more precisely, that the US won it, but that victory in the form of peace and freedom is mostly for our friends across the water, and you surely deserve it.

    Given that happy outcome, I’m not sure what to call anyone who’s actually “uncomfortable” with it. i didn’t even know there were such people, outside of a few suddenly unemployed thugs who had to find honest work when the Stasi, KGB, Securitate, and the rest closed their dreadful doors. Surely “lefties” is too benign though.

  334. 339 Bob in Queensland
    September 7, 2008 at 15:19

    At least one of the unemployed thugs became the Russian president!

  335. September 7, 2008 at 15:24

    @ Jonathan, Exxon is being used here as an examplle. .05%. where is that number. Love to see that link. Can you explain to me what it means then when a company “buys back” its stock?

    But we have gtten way off topic. this only goes to show how complex the issue is and how easy any company can operate like ENRON? Nobody knows where the money comes from, where it goes, and the “faithful” all believe that we all have equal chances to get a piece of it.

    WE have gotten so far destracted from the problem of reducing gas prices and what wil wnd will not work. Somehow a few people are able to afford their daily cost, while the rest of the country is negativly affected by the rise in fuel and energy costs. Those are the only facts that mater in the end.

  336. 341 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 15:34

    @ Bob

    I’m sure that some of the other unemployed thugs took some planes or other “publicly” (=government) owned things that were standing around aimlessly after the fall of the USSR and got filthy rich. Those that were in influential positions before (not necessarily top, but close) got the first grab afterwards, while the big rest got left behind and saw their life securities being washed down the drain … (pensions not worth the paper they were printed on, groceries and electricity that actually cost market prices and so on. )

  337. 342 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 15:57

    @ planes

    There seems to be a new lead in the investigations about the Spanair crash three weeks ago: the board computer may have been thinking that the plane was already in the air while it hadn’t even started yet. If you recall, the start had been abandoned already once before they tried again and crashed; the first problem was that a temperature sensor was already on while it shouldn’t have as long as the plane was on ground. I’ll provide the link but it’s in German, seems that the Austrian news is faster than the other countries (for once, anyway).


  338. 343 Roberto
    September 7, 2008 at 16:01

    RE Change 2008:

    ——— Obama giving a recent speech questions how McCain can be an element of change. My local NPR station just aired the On The Media segment where Obama admits he voted with GDub 90% as did McCain.

    The main change I see thus far is the way Obama has developed Howard Dean’s internet fundraising model to innovative internet campaign coordination, voter interconnectivity, and fundraising heights.

    For sure the McCain camp is also revamping their campaign along similar lines, but it seems the major contribution to change I see from them is the willingness of campaign spokesman to aggressively challenging the media’s role as reporters, proactively altering the news.

  339. 345 Dennis @ OCC
    September 7, 2008 at 16:40

    Good morning….and all of the terms for the rest of the world…

    @ Katharina in Ghent:
    How is your son’s first week at school…..

    My week has been not so good.


  340. 346 Dennis @ OCC
    September 7, 2008 at 16:41

    i knew that canada, was going to have a general election sooner than later in the stephen harper’s minority government….


  341. 347 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 16:43

    @ Julie and Kathi,

    I don’t think air rage is made up. With the increased cost involved with flying ($25 to check a bag, $5 for water) more and more people are getting annoyed. Tack on that so many flights these days are delayed and people are stuck sitting on the plane…. I know that I wouldn’t be too pleasant (not that I am all that pleasant now 🙂 ) if I had to sit around the terminal for two hours before I got on the plane and then had to sit on the plane for another 2 hours before we took off.

  342. 348 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 16:47


    Perhaps made up wasn’t the right choice of words, given too much attention is probably more like it. Speaking for myself I haven’t had any problems while flying. My flights leave on time and get to where they are going on time.

  343. 349 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 16:48


    You always have us! 🙂

  344. 350 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 16:54

    @Katharina (3:34 comment)

    Yes indeed, the thugs with the connections in Russia got rich beyond imagination, and many ordinary folks weren’t so lucky. That was a case where an economy actually worked as some of our good friends here mistakenly think the American and other capitalist economies work: The rich get rich not by making or selling something people want to buy, but by stealing. The super-rich are known as “the oligarchs.”

  345. 351 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 16:59

    @ Dennis

    My son likes school very much, but the school days are quite long, from 8.30 till 15.45, so at the end of the first week he was very, very tired. Friday night we had a parent/teacher evening and the teacher said that most kids were quite tired, they still have to get used to the new routine. How’s your friendmaking going?

  346. 352 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 17:13


    At my older daughter’s school (she’s in 3rd grade now) they just started all day kindergarden. For the first week of school this year, the kindergardeners and the 1st graders have a half day to get them used to going to school and ease them into a routine. I think that helps the little ones a lot.

  347. 353 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 17:16


    My flying experiences used to be fairly fine. I have just noticed over the past few years an increase in delayed flights and for the first time (last November), delayed bags – one bag of dirty laundry and a car seat actually. I wouldn’t have minded not getting the bag with the dirty laundry back but the car seat made the ride home a challenge.

  348. 354 Julie P
    September 7, 2008 at 17:18


    Okay, I do have an advantage when flying, I have only me to be concerned with. I travel light.

  349. 355 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 17:21

    @ Jonathan

    My mother (born 1936) used to say all the time :”Optimists learn Russian, pessimists learn Chinese”; I don’t know when this saying came up, probably soon after Mao came into power. Nowadays, I’m not sure whether the opposite wouldn’t be more correct?

  350. 356 Virginia Davis
    September 7, 2008 at 17:21

    What intrigues me, Dwight from Cleveland, is will this – Russian naval exercises in the Carribean in cooperation with Hugo Chavez’ navy – be the first “crisis” of a new President or will Putin and all time it to happen during the week of the 4th of November. Is it “tit for tat” for all the American vessels there on the coast of Georgia? Or will Bush and Cheney take one more stab at the world?

    Virginia in Oregon

  351. 357 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 17:23

    @ Amy

    My mom told me that also when I started first grade we first had only half a day – which in Austria means only two hours, because school lasts only ‘ or five hours in grammar school anyways. My son went to kindergarten, which has the same hours as school, since he was three but there’s still quite a difference…

  352. 358 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 18:12

    Kind of shocking a conservative republican administration would do a state takeover, but then again, Freddie Mac and FNMA have always been quasi government anyways.

  353. 359 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 18:13

    I still blame a lot of this entire housing mess on the greed of Americans and also on the Bush administration, though many others in the past have done the same, pushing the “ownership” society in a society where everyone ones to one up their neighbors and friends by getting bigger and better.

  354. 360 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 18:39

    Check out this Obama gaffe

  355. 361 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 19:07

    This is interesting…. I don’t think that would work here in the states but what about where you live? I personally think it is a slippery slope to start going down. Will accommodations for other religions be made?


  356. 362 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 19:18

    @ Amy

    As long as he does get a trial I don’t think it’s such a big deal. The guy will sit all the longer in prison, waiting for his trial, which may find him not guilty after all. (Assuming that that’s where he is now, to my knowledge the French are not very lenient with accused offenders.) It would be a much more slippery slope if he got away with declaring the armed robbery to be some religious custom…

  357. 363 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 19:27

    While I don’t agree for accomodating religion, we still do it. Do you think any trials happen on Christmas day? Or on Sunday?

  358. September 7, 2008 at 19:38

    Steve –

    What veterans hospital did McCain stand in front of? Oh wait….

    The pitbull is for or against the bridege to nowhere – and as she got millions – where is that money if she said “Thanks, but no thanks?”

    Put a plane on eBay? Oh, she didn’t say it sold on eBay – John McCain did! Hmmmmm

    Flags being dumped? Or a cynical ploy to question Obama’s patriotism? Where and why doesn McCain wear a lapel pin – McCain not patriotic? Hmmmmmm?

    Cindy McCain says McCain is pro-choice – on TV, but he isn’t is he? Oh wait……..

    Pitbull says they have started the pipeline – but, no one knows if it will ever be built, and construction won’t start until 2018 at the least. oh! Really?

    Barack Obama goes on Fox to be interviewed, pitbull (this where people laugh at the pitbull nick) won’t go on ANY show to be interviewed until the press give her respect and deference!? John McCain cancels an interview on the lovely Larry King live because his spokesman got questioned about pitbull’s experience? BY A WOMAN, Campbell Brown! If McCain and pitbull can’t speak to the US press – they haven’t a chance in any negotiations worldwide.

    If you want to be impartial, bring both set of gaff’s up.

    I’m sorry, Steve – as much as I like you I would never hire you as a lawyer.

  359. 365 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 19:49

    But Steve, trials here are not delayed for months because of religion. They are delayed a day or two. Since I am Catholic, if I ever went on trial could I use Lent as an delay? Maybe I could just give my trial up for Lent 🙂

  360. 366 Pangolin- California
    September 7, 2008 at 19:50

    @ Russia in the Caribbean and US in the Black Sea

    There is a word for a naval vessel that is too close to the shore of a hostile nation in the age of anti-ship missiles: Target. The fact that these ships are in these locations actually is a statement of confidence that the other side doesn’t have the leverage to start shooting.

    @ Housing Crisis

    What I saw from the perspective of a California real-estate office was that thousands of houses were purchased as gambling notes to be held for short periods without improvement and sold at a profit. All using money from banks.

    So Steve’s statement that the root of the housing crisis was greed is partially correct. The other part was the separation of risk and profit. Using multiple exchanges of notes profits were taken by people who handed off the risks to others.

    Some way of chaining the risks to the profits needs to be done for capitalism to get out of the current stall.

  361. 367 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 20:23

    @ Amy

    How much/often do you eat during Lent? The way it’s practiced here it just means that you should refrain from the goodies and cut down on meat, but it doesn’t mean by far that you go starving for a month.

  362. 368 Pangolin- California
    September 7, 2008 at 20:27

    @ Pitbull

    That’s why the US needs a formalized question time in Congress. Can you imagine John McCain and Sara Palin umming and erring their way through one of those?

    The fact that we have presidential candidates that refuse to answer questions from the press shows that our press is corrupt and our people rather dim. It’s rather like buying a pig in a poke or a sack of magic beans traded for a cow.

  363. 369 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 20:29


    The point I am trying to make is that if you make exceptions for one religion, others are going to claim discrimination and want specially treatment. After fasting last week for my medical tests (for about 21 hours), I have no idea how Muslims do it! I know that I couldn’t do it for a month. To me, making this exception just give some people the excuse to pick on Muslims.

    As for Lent, I do try to reduce what I eat for the 40 or so days but it isn’t a full fast. I keep trying to give Lent up for Lent but no one will back me up 🙂

  364. 370 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 20:29

    Not a sign of global warming, for once: green polar bears 😉


  365. 371 Kelsie in Houston
    September 7, 2008 at 20:31


    “That’s why the US needs a formalized question time in Congress.”

    C-SPAN’s viewership numbers might improve with something like that as well 😉

  366. 372 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 20:35


    I saw the story about the green polar bears. How sad! They won’t return to normal until November.

  367. 373 Katharina in Ghent
    September 7, 2008 at 20:38


    Sure, I understand you and I agree that we have to be careful with creating precedences, but this story just doesn’t worry me so much, because he just gets a delay, not a “get free of jail” card. You can’t really order him to start eating because of his trial, and if he’s really so incapacitated through his fast then it wouldn’t be much of a fair trial. (I have to say though that the devout Muslims at my workplace are still capable of keeping their wits together. ) The other story that was briefly mentioned in your article about the ordered divorce because she wasn’t a virgin anymore troubles me much more because there clearly different measurements have been used as to what is acceptable and what not.

  368. 374 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 20:45

    @ Amy

    Muslims only fast during daylight hours. They eat and drink at night and before the sun rises.

  369. 375 Amy
    September 7, 2008 at 20:51

    Most Muslims that I have encountered (mostly in college) were fine during Ramadan, like the ones you work with. I don’t think the story holds much water given that fact. But since they did give the delay, I fear it would show favoritism (or fear) towards a certain religion. Back to the Lent example, could I say that I have given up talking and therefore wouldn’t be able to mount a defense? I understand that he hasn’t been let out of jail and if he is incapacitated because he isn’t provided food before dawn and after dusk (i.e. meals are served at 7, noon and 6) then that is a different story. But I think the defense is just trying to use the “religion card” as we would say here in the States. And that is the slope I don’t want to see us go down.

  370. 376 Jonathan
    September 7, 2008 at 21:30


    “Optimists learn Russian; pessimists learn Chinese!” Wow! What a fabulous saying. What the heck did it mean, I wondered…. I finally figured it out: It was a bit of dark Cold War humor whose premise was that communism would prevail, and the question was which communist country would overrun us and force us to speak their language.

    Carlos Fuentes referred to it in a 2006 lecture about immigration, and then said, “Today a new joke is taking over: ‘Optimists learn English; pessimists learn Spanish.'”

    Yup, I’d agree the reverse makes more sense now. For one thing, learning Chinese is so hard for an Anglophone that only an optimist would undertake it. 🙂

  371. 377 Bryan
    September 7, 2008 at 22:20

    steve September 7, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    When I travelled in europe in 1997, I would meet up with Canadians, who would absolutely let you know they were canadian from the first moment they opened their mouths so that nobody confused them for an American. Remind you, this was when Clinton was President.

    This is what makes me think there is a lot more to it than simply the desire not to be mistaken for an American while travelling.

  372. 378 Bert
    September 7, 2008 at 22:42

    Dwight, I believe that there is enough shortage of crude production worldwide right now that the oil refineries don’t benefit from less crude being available, yes. And the reason the Republicans favor more drilling in US territory is, of course, to be less reliant on foreign sources of crude.

    Democrats favor less reliance on foreign crude too, although they hang their hopes mostly on increasing conservation and developing alternative sources of energy. Different means to the same end.

    So I see no contradiction in anything here. If anyone really does benefit from decreasing the production of crude oil, it would be the nations that depend on crude for their revenues. Their balancing act is different from ours, though. They have to balance revenues in the long term against the overly aggressive development of alternative energy supplies by the consuming nations, which would leave them, the crude supplying nations, with no income from crude.

    So I find the idea that the refineries owned by the West want to reduce the supply of crude oil right now to be somewhat far fetched. How much crude does Exxon have to buy in the global market, compared with what it pumps from wells in the US?

  373. 379 Shirley
    September 7, 2008 at 22:44

    I Am Alpha
    The dog is searching for people food in the kitchen again. I step into the kitchen and stare at the dog. The dog leaves the kitchen.

    The dog is picking on the other dog again. I step into the living room and stare at the dog. The dog disengages and leaves the other dog.

    I am Alpha. Nyah. :=)

  374. 380 Shirley
    September 7, 2008 at 22:59

    A row has broken out in France after a court postponed a trial, apparently because it was to take place during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

    It’s rather like postponing a trial because it takes place during Advent. There is much more sense in not scheduling things for Christmas Eve and Day, as well as for `Id al Fitr (festival at end of Ramadan). I could understand postponing a trial that is scheduled to take place during Semana Santa, but such a postponment would not have the same priotity as postponing a trial scheduled for Easter Sunday.

    Incidentally, if one were to apply the same idea to Judaism, how would one treat Channukah? It is spread out over eight days, but I cannot remember if one of those days is more important. Doesn’t Purim also take place over the course of a few days? Or do I have it confused with another Holy Day? Do we even have any practising Jewish poeple on the blog?

  375. 381 Shirley
    September 7, 2008 at 23:06

    Thinking over the issue some more, I understand the concern about the fasting person and his ability to focus on the trial. However, scheduling should be able to take care of that problem. When I was in college, for example, I was able to handle early morning tasks because I had eaten only a few hours before.

  376. 382 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 23:18

    @ Shirley

    Hannukah is a very minor holiday. It’s only a “deal” in the US so jewish kids don’t feel left out during christmas time.

  377. 383 Shirley
    September 7, 2008 at 23:18

    Amy, have you ever tried a juice fast? There is supposed to be a certain way to do it in order to purify one’s body of built-up toxins. People say that they feel much better after one. It might be an idea for part of Lent. I cannot possibly see it lasting for all of Lent, of course. When I am unable to fast Ramadan because of health or whatever other reason, I try to give things up like I used to for Lent, as well. This year, I am trying not to have any sweets during the daylight hours whenever I cannot fast. Of course, that leaves little other time to enjoy sweets, so my snack intake is lower.

    Do you give up meat on Fridays and eat only fish? Catholics and other Christians who do tht make life that much easier for us Muslims during Lent: specials start to fly on food that we can actually eat. :=) Jewish kosher laws also simplify life for us. If, for example, there were marshmallows in the ice cream, it would not be labelled as Kosher: the gelatin is classified as a meat product, and meat cannot mix with dairy for Kosher foods. Also, the Kosher Pareve symbol is an absolute lifesaver: it means that there is no dairy or meat product in the food.

  378. 384 Bert
    September 7, 2008 at 23:23

    Western governments by and large keep church and state separate. Exceptions such as Christmas Eve and Day are few, and are treated more like a secular holiday than a Holy Day. I don’t think you’ll find any western country that will shut business down for a month for any religious reason. At most, some European countries put the month of August in slow-down mode, for vacations. Which, by the way, increased use of air conditioning is making much less of a priority of late.

    I see no problem with any of this. The saying “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” applies across the board, and should, as far as I’m concerned. People who immigrate into a different culture have the responsibility of honoring the traditions of the new host nation. Including a tradition of separation of church and state.

  379. 385 Shirley
    September 7, 2008 at 23:30

    Steve, what would be some major Jewish Holy Days? I remember there being a High Holy Season when several Holy Days seemed to come at one all at one time. Also, are there other Jewish Holy Days that spread out over more than one day?

    I don’t see any problem with making a biger deal out of Channukah. It seems like a convenient time to recall Jewish history in general and how the Jewish people have survived as a national and rleigious identity. However, that one Holy Day that is focused on self-purification and atonement seems like it should receive the most emphasis because of its spiritual implications. But then again, who am I to talk? I am not Jewish myself.

  380. 386 selena in Canada
    September 7, 2008 at 23:32

    @Amy and Nelson

    Sorry I haven’t been around this weekend. I have a close relative who is ill and needs constant attention.

    I have been reading the posts and they are interesting as always.

    Thank you.

  381. 387 Shirley
    September 7, 2008 at 23:32

    Women & Lipizzaner Horses, Finally: Two women have made history at Vienna’s Spanish Riding School by becoming the first female riders to pass the entrance exam in 436 years.

    Hurricanes 4, Haiti 0: Ike has caused the collapse of the bridge on the last open route to Gonaives. Ten more poeple have died. The total now is 262 dead from the past four storms. Officials are planning to let loose a leaking dam that opens to the Gonaives floodplain. That would further flood more rice fields and homes.

    Man vs Science?

  382. 388 steve
    September 7, 2008 at 23:39

    @ Shirley

    There are only two important jewish holidays, and they are coming up soon, the “high holidays” of rosh hashanah (the new year) and yom kippur (day of atonement).

    Passover is a holiday spread out over several days, but really only the first day is important. Channukah really just isn’t an important holiday, so they won’t make a big deal of it in say a place like Israel. in the west, they do, so kids can get gifts so they don’t have to feel like outcasts during christmas. I know I felt like one as a kid, but as I got older I realized getting socks and sweaters wasn’t a consolation prize, so I figured I might as well accept I was different than the majority.

  383. 389 Shirley
    September 8, 2008 at 00:15

    Steve, you just weren’t gowing up in the right time to be getting things like Nintendo and in-line rollerblades. I have to admit, though, that if all that I got for `Id, Kwanzaa, or Channukah were socks and sweaters, I would be disappointed.

    Now, I am off to find out what is so special about Rosh Hashanah. In Shia Islam, the beginning of the lunar New Year is also the first day of that infamous month of Muharram, so nothing to smile about there. Since I converted to Islam during Ramadan, it has more of a New Year’s appeal to me.

    Jamily, PBS is running those specials for fundraising with all of the old, easy listening, light jazz, doo-wop genres. Something strikes me, though. For all that my family and I remenisce about the good old days an its fine music, doesn’t it prmote the consumption of alcohol and socialisation with the other gender just as much as any modern music, even with the less rough language?

  384. 390 jamily5
    September 8, 2008 at 00:40

    Yes, this story does not make sense. Muslims are not on a total fast for a month. They still get to eat and drink during certain times of the day. It sounds like the French courts knew little about Ramadan and were hoodwinked by his lawyer.
    And, if you are observing something that is Holy, wouldn’t you believe that God can care for you and keep your mind sharp and your health in tact?

  385. 391 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 01:08

    All of the Muslims I know stipulate that the obligatory fast is from one hour before dawn prayers (Fajr-salah) until one hour after evening prayers (Isha’a salah, I think).

  386. 392 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 01:10

    Sorry, I was wrong: from Fajr (dawn prayers) to Maghrib (evening prayers). The faithful can eat and drink from the point Maghrib salah is complete until Fajr salah arrives the next morning….are there Muslims who practice differently in your area?

  387. 393 Shirley
    September 8, 2008 at 01:20

    Ahaaaa so Rosh Hashanah is associated with Yom Kippur! No wonder it has such an important place in Judaism. I got it. Wikipedia is useful for something, eh. :=)

  388. 394 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2008 at 01:25

    Hi WHYS, I was MIA the whole weekend and am trying to catch up. The beginning of this blank page reads like the the twilight zone–everyone’s politics reversed. 😛 Glad to see things are back to “normal” but the end of the weekend. Anyways I’m helping mod.

    @ Tom D Ford, Kelsie in Houston, Dwight, and my ladies (you know who you are), I am so happy you were around this weekend. I could not have made the points better. Tip of my hat to you.

  389. 395 robert1987
    September 8, 2008 at 01:26

    Hi people

    I dont mean to offend anyone but I have one thing to say about Ramadam and that is that it is physically impossible to live without eating for an entire month which is the length of Ramadam

  390. 396 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 01:29

    Welcome back! How’s (what’s left of) Hanna treating you?

    The fast is not for the entire month–just for the daytime during the month. After the conclusion of evening prayers, Muslims gather at the local masjid and eat, before giving the Taraweeh prayers and heading to bed.

  391. 397 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2008 at 01:35

    @ Robert87

    Muslims are allowed to eat during Ramadan, just not during day light hours.

    From WIKI:
    It is the Islamic month of fasting (sawm), in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the person patience, sacrifice and humility. Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of God, and to offer even more prayer than usual. During Ramadan Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance into the future, ask for help in refraining from everyday evils and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

  392. 398 Shirley
    September 8, 2008 at 01:39

    Hi, Kelsie
    As far as the timing is concerned, the main difference is between Shia and Sunni Islam. Before I switched from Sunni to Shia Islam, I used to break the fast right at the announced time of sunset, then pray maghrib prayers; and I would eat in the morning until juuuuust the time for fajr prayers. I began to get a bit anxious about that practise, though; and started to urge people to go right up for maghrib prayers instead of delaying it to eat. When I switched to Shia Islam, I actually starte to do both maghrib and `isha prayers before I would eat substantially. I would either pray both prayers before leaving the prayer hall or find some water and a small morsel like dates to munch on, return to pray `isha, and then eat iftar. Most Shia Muslims, of course, split these prayers, which we normally perform one after the other. We Shia Muslims wait an extra ten minutes or so after the listed time of sunset to pray, much less eat; and we stop eating about ten minutes before fajr prayers in the morning.

  393. 399 Shirley
    September 8, 2008 at 01:46

    Kelsie, you’ve reminded me of another difference: Shia Muslims do not do the Tarawih prayers. Our more organised congregations do have other worships that are done after iftar, such as Qur’an recitation, supplications, etc. – just not the Tarawih prayers. And then, of course, when we get home, we have the option of spending practically the whole night praying the Night Prayers. They are purely optional, of course. Our list of what invalidates the fast is also slightly different than that of Sunni Muslims.

  394. 400 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2008 at 01:46

    @ Everyone,

    Did anyone catch this article in the NYT?

    Right at the Edge, The Taliban and Al Qaeda have established a haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border.

    Is this the next terror front and can the war be won?

    @ Kelsie in Houston
    It rained? With fabulous company, great conversation, and lots of lots of excellent food and alcohol rain can’t dampen the mood.

  395. 401 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 02:02

    That’s really interesting–I didn’t know there were timing differences between the two branches. Why do Shia opt out of the Taraweeh prayers? I’ve listened to them live from Makkah and been very impressed, especially by Abdul-Rahman Sudays’s stamina–

    On this topic of du’as, do Shia recite/participate in a couple of things I’ve come across: the Salah al-Kusuf (Eclipse Prayer) and the Du’a-e-Sadaqallah? I came across a recording of Hani Rifa’i (a Jeddah-based qari) giving the Sadaqallah and was very impressed by it. What is this supplication?

  396. 402 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2008 at 02:26

    @ Shirley, Venessa, JulieP, Jens, Kelsie

    RE Campaign Overload

    If they don’t stop calling me “friend”… I’m going vote for Nader. 😛 LOL and those silly hand waves, are the running for president of for Miss America?

    @ I forgot to specify in my earlier post to:

    My fellow Americans : Tom D Ford, Kelsie, Dwight, and my ladies (Julie, Amy, and Venessa), I am so happy you were around this weekend to share your wisdom on American politics.

  397. 403 Julie P
    September 8, 2008 at 02:31

    @Jessica, my fellow American,

    Now let me tell you my friend…:-)

  398. 404 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2008 at 02:37

    Oooo, oooo, check out who the the latest nominee for US President is:


    LOL- She’s going to win. Watch out Obama and McCain.

  399. 405 Julie P
    September 8, 2008 at 02:43

    @Madame President Jessica,

    That is a really cool video. I got that e-mailed to me and it went viral in my circles.

  400. 406 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 02:46

    @Jessica and Julie:

  401. 407 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 02:57

    😀 A come-from-behind victory! Say goodbye to Tweedledum, Tweedledee, and their politics as usual!

  402. 408 Bob in Queensland
    September 8, 2008 at 02:59

    Well, that candidate would get my vote….if I had one!

  403. 409 Julie P
    September 8, 2008 at 03:00


    Marry me and the problem is solved, but we better hurry! 😉

  404. 410 Shirley
    September 8, 2008 at 03:06

    My fellow Americans and international WHYS friends, I come to you tonight to urge you to turn off your TVs! Oyyyyyy!

    One thing that annoys me about politcal speech is the constant use of the word “friend” for a;;y. We all know what an ally is, so why insult out intelligence by translating it?! Ugh.

    Kelsie, The timing differences between Shia and Sunni prayers, like nearly all other differences, result in which Prophetic narations are accepted by each sect. The Tarawih prayers are basically the normal night praers in Sunni Islam, except that during Ramdan, they are performed in congregation. When we Shia Muslims go home and do the optional Nightly prayers that could last all night, it is basically the same thing without the congregation. Ours seem so much more complicated, too! We have Salat al Ayah (Sign Prayer), which is basically the same as Salat al Kashf. The name of our prayer is related to our belief in signs that indicate the End Times. We have a specific list of things that require performance of Salat al Ayah. I cannot be completely certain, but I think that when I was still a Sunni Muslim, I actually did take part in a Salat al Kashf. The day that the U.S. began to bomb Afghanistan, we were at the mosque. After word came out that the bombing had begun, every began crying; and we gathered upstairs and did a 2-unit prayer that was not one of the five daily prayers. It might sound silly, especially given the political relevence of the war in Afghanistan; but I found a lot of comfort in having shared the experience with other Muslims in that way. It seemed to give me the strength to continue carrying on daily life.

    The Du`ah Sadaqallah that you mentioned sounds like Sadaqa Allahu `aliyu a`thim; wa sadaqa Rasul… It is recited whn one finishes reciting the Qur’an.

  405. 411 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2008 at 03:10

    @ ME

    I could have done without the tattoo above the lady’s butt, but whatcha gonna do? My peopleSSS love me and I love them. 😛 That might be my first order of business for congress, universal health care. My seniors should not have to be choosing between food and meds. I’ll pay for it by taxing lawyers named Steve AND people named Anthony from LA.

  406. 412 jamily5
    September 8, 2008 at 03:12

    Yes, Kelsie,
    That is exactly what I am saying.
    If the judge knew anything about Islamic fasting, then, he would know that muslims don’t go 24-7 for 21days without food/drink.
    Sounds like the lawyer took advantage of the judge’s lack of knowledge.

  407. 413 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2008 at 03:14

    @ Julie and Bob

    What are the rules on international polygamy?

    I’m not sure if I have a stance on this issue, let me check with my political advisors, have them conduct a few polls, crunch some numbers paid for by tax payers’ dollars and I’ll get back to you.

  408. 414 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 03:16

    What does “Kashf” mean? And about Sadaqallah: is it recited after each time one completes the Qur’an? Rifai’s is really long–about 30 minutes.

    Done. You’ve got my vote. And my doggies’.

    Oh, ok…yes, according to teachings, the faithful are supposed to make an effort to complete their daily tasks alongside the fast.

  409. 415 Julie P
    September 8, 2008 at 03:18


    Hurry, I need to get him registered to vote very soon!

  410. 416 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 03:20

    While you’re at it, why not include a fact-finding mission….to Switzerland…during December…because that’s the best time to “fact-find.” 😉

  411. 417 Bob in Queensland
    September 8, 2008 at 03:26

    @ Julie P

    I’m afraid I’m a traditionalist in these matters. You’ll have to formally ask my wife for my hand in marriage…

  412. 418 Julie P
    September 8, 2008 at 03:29


    Done. What’s your phone number? 😉

  413. 419 Julie P
    September 8, 2008 at 03:29

    Nighty night all!

  414. 420 Bob in Queensland
    September 8, 2008 at 04:01

    Night Julie!

    Note to moderators: I unexpectedly have to make a quick trip to Brisbane this afternoon so I won’t be around for my usual watching brief during the quiet period!

  415. 421 Amy
    September 8, 2008 at 04:03

    Thanks for the heads up! Have a nice trip.

  416. 422 Jessica in NYC
    September 8, 2008 at 04:06

    @ Kelsie

    I like your style.

    @ Shirley, My friend and ally, whose support I rely on…. I agree.

    @ Julie and All,

    I off for the evening. Good night.

    @ Bob and Amy

    Thanks for your help earlier.

  417. 423 Shirley
    September 8, 2008 at 04:18

    You guys are cracking me up with the New Politics! :=)

    Kelsie, I might just have to have a listen of that du`ah. How did you come to hear things out of Saudi Arabia, btw? “Kashf” means fear. My favourite du`ah is either Du`ah Tawassul or Du`ah Kumail, depeinding on the recitor. There is another Du`ah that I like. I forget what it is called, but I sometimes refer to it as Du`ah Ghawth because of how often the word “ghawth” is repeated in it. Jaysh…Kabir…something like that. Lubna should be able to pull the name of it right out of her ear with only that much information. She’s awesome like that. I enjoy Sad ibn Ghamdi’s recitation of the Qur’an, especially the 30th part. And I also enjoy this one poem in praise of Prophet Muhammad – again, depending on recitor – that repeats Allahu, Allahu, Allahu Allah. My favourite version happens to be in Urdu.

    You know, if the terrorists around the world were so serious about their respective religions, they would be so engaged with all of these optional acts of worship that they would hardly have time to eat and sleep, much less bomb.

  418. 424 Roberto
    September 8, 2008 at 04:45

    RE “”The Taliban and Al Qaeda have established a haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border.””

    ———- No kiddin’, around 6-7 years running. Not quite the history of sky being blue and water wet, but it’ll do for modern attention spans.

    RE: Ramadan fasting

    ——– This fasting different from traditional western fasting which usually includes liberal intake of water.

    No food or drink from approximate sun up to sun down which means the hours spent fasting are as variable as the orientation to Mecca during prayer because of global positioning. I suspect a lot of Muslims are like any people of faith, they fudge when they can, and at any rate, there are exceptions. The main requirement is the effort put forth, not the strict adherence to.

    I routinely work out after 13-16 hrs of fasting, but only fully hydrated. Have the greatest respect for those who fully adhere to no drink or food while putting in a day’s work for an entire month. Average American can barely go an hour without stuffing something in his mouth to eat..

  419. 425 Shirley
    September 8, 2008 at 05:25

    Roberto, thank you for your respect. You said, though, I suspect a lot of Muslims are like any people of faith, they fudge when they can, and at any rate, there are exceptions. The main requirement is the effort put forth, not the strict adherence to.

    It is true that many ordinarily non-Muslims play around with the fasting rules. Some stay up all night partying. Those that date have their girlfriends at their sides. Those that drink alcohol drink it at night. Those that do drugs do them at night. They don’t bother to pray any of the daily prayers. They certainly don’t do extra acts of worship. Some end up breaking their fasts because of their relationships with their girlfriends. I am certain that there are others who simply cannot be bothered even to fast. I am not certain what percentage of the Muslim population these kinds of people are.

    I do know that our mosques are crowded during Ramadan. People come who ordinarily don’t come throughout the year. To date, my impression as a Muslim who has known Muslims before and after converting to Islam is that the number who do fast and try to make the fasting good weightily outnumber those who cheat their way through it or who don’t even bother. A few party animals slacking their way through college really don’t add up to the vast numbers throughout the world who give it their best shot in terms of refraining from eating, drinking, and intercourse as well as keeping their patience and showing extra respect to others around them.

  420. 426 Dennis @ OCC
    September 8, 2008 at 05:29

    Sorry for not being around this weekend…

    Dennis @ OCC

  421. 427 Virginia Davis
    September 8, 2008 at 06:16

    @Pangolin – California:

    re the disregard of The Monroe Doctrine, the almost world blow up when Kennedy took on the Russians and what was called “The Cuban Missile Crisis.”

    So “we” are a TARGET along Georgia’s shore, first with no Russian troops, then –
    push, push with Russian troops. BUT humanitarian aid, remember.

    And now Putin will put it to the newly elected USA president (care to discuss the difference between Obama and McCain’s reactions) and the role at the same time of the man with his legal finger on the trigger, George W)? And the difference between naval exercises and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

    And the difference between geography? Georgia and an excursion of a navy not seem for how many years in the Atlantic and the Carribean?

    It is going to be a fuss. Just what Putin et al want.

    And to be USA bellicose and say “they” will be a target! Are we going to aim
    missiles at them or near them?

    It is on the horizon. And Chavez and Putin et all have just started “cooking.”

  422. 428 Bryan
    September 8, 2008 at 08:07

    Kelsie in Houston

    Since you are back on the thread, you might like to look at this brief exchange of ours:

    Here’s where you dismiss the accusation of BBC bias:


    I respond here:


    You respond here, accusing me of making a “farcical, juvenile statement:”


    (Problem is, the statement was not made by myself, but by Jonathan, who points that fact out.)

    I respond (politely) here, pointing out that I was not guilty of making the statement and directing you towards some of the evidence I have provided on this blog regarding BBC bias to counter your implication that I was making unjust accusations without evidence:


    Now perhaps you would like to concede that you made an error, and treat my contributions to this blog with a little more respect. I would in your place.

  423. 429 Bryan
    September 8, 2008 at 08:10

    I meant to add that perhaps you would like to actually enter into the debate.

  424. 430 Bryan
    September 8, 2008 at 08:16

    steve September 7, 2008 at 6:39 pm,

    I just noticed your link to the Obama gaffe. It’s really funny. Could be the guy has converted.

  425. 431 Pangolin- California
    September 8, 2008 at 08:37

    @ The Joy of Bashing America

    I love bashing america because I live here and it bashes me plenty. The way I see it it’s our pony in our stable and while the neighbors may complain of the flies only a proper mucking out and turning of the compost pile will improve the smell at home.

    @ Gunboat Diplomacy

    A family member formerly of the US Navy’s submarine service claims that there are submarines and there are ‘targets’ in naval terms. On the coast of Georgia the only sane response to a military challenge by Russians would be for a US ship to run up the white flag or accept destruction as the fate of disobedience.

    A Russian naval task force in the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico gets it’s own US undersea shadow to follow it around. The Russians know that hostilities would measure their lives in minutes.

    McCain and Obama are in the same position with Russia in that the flow of gas and oil to western Europe is the light switch to the EU economy and to some extent the world. Obama could have a slight edge because he is less likely to stick to old, and therefore predictable, patterns.

    Obama could attempt a reconciliation with Latin American socialists and push alternatives to oil that could remove the chains on the US economy held by others. McCain or Palin will thud and blunder and ultimately fail for lack of seeing what is in front of their face.

  426. 432 Jonathan
    September 8, 2008 at 09:49


    Howdy! What does your cryptic suggestion mean, “…attempt a reconciliation with Latin American socialists and push alternatives to oil…”?

    The only Latin American socialists I know of from whom we get energy resources are the folks who run Venezuela, but what we buy from them is oil and, better yet, refined products like gasoline.

    Who and what do you got in mind? Brazil and its ethanol made from sugar, which is better than ours from corn but which we can’t import because the domestic ethanol lobby has arranged for our gov’t to block it, the better to subsidize their fat greedy snouts?

  427. 433 Roberto
    September 8, 2008 at 10:12

    Whooo-Hooo, the beeb’s Health Check series is going to do a piece on if people are good judges of if they’re fat.

    It’d be much more helpful if they did a piece on why seemingly sane people cling to delusions in the face of overwhelming evidence proving otherwise.

    RE Ike:

    Raking the entire length of Cuba now to emerge in the Gulf of Mexico and restrengthen. Currently NO in it’s target sights, but it could hit anywhere. Josephine currently in the breech being primed.

    Hurricane season lasts until the end of October, but with global warming, may start to intrude into November.

  428. 434 Jonathan
    September 8, 2008 at 10:26


    Well, maybe the BBC feature on fat is the first in a long, long series about delusions. There’s sure enough material for it.

  429. 435 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 11:29

    I apologize as regards the erroneous source of the original comment, however, I have not failed to treat your contributions or those of anyone else with any less respect that you have mine or those of anyone else.

  430. 436 Kelsie in Houston
    September 8, 2008 at 12:36

    I can’t find the link…it was a wma file (low quality), and several times during the recitation Rifa’i had to pause because I think he was crying… I have the file and can e-mail it to you if you’d like.

    re: Kashf–I wonder if this is related to the Salah al-Kusuf, since the Eclipse Prayer was expressly laid down by Muhammad (saas) as a response to the fear of faithful during a solar (?) eclipse.

    Sa’ad al-Ghamdi’s recitation of Surahs 87-114 was the first Qur’an recording I ever heard, which got me interested in the sounds of Islam. The Imam-e-Ka’aba, Sa’ud Shuraim, is probably my favorite qari–he gets very emotional and intense during the night prayers (and sometimes makes a few mistakes).

  431. 437 Bryan
    September 8, 2008 at 21:57

    Kelsie in Houston September 8, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I never know how to respond to qualified apologies, so I’ll just say thanks and accept that we probably wont be entering into a debate any time soon on BBC bias.

  432. 438 Michele
    September 9, 2008 at 15:42

    It’ incredible to discover the great opportunity of communication given to all people on BBC. My surprise is increasing day by day, and it’s a good occasion to improve english language

  433. 439 Chris Abrahams
    September 9, 2008 at 23:06

    Starting a new topic that everyone seems to have avoided. The Cern Collider. You must have heard about this beacause it has raised pulses around the globe. I have just watched the bbc news where they interviewed Steven Hawkings about this giant experiment. He quoted that the collider is harmless to us as a universe and as a planet. But if this is a reinactment of the Big Bang Theory, the collider will create new planets, stars ect… Therefore if everything goes as planned and the collider doesnt destroy the earth, then wouldn’t the new planets/stars ect. unbalance the perfection of the earths orbit resulting in an increase/decrease in the speed the earth moves around the sun or the distance from the sun resulting in yet another inhabitable planet in such a delicately balanced universe?

    A bit long-winded but the statement makes sense to me. haha.
    Mr C. Abrahams
    Aged 16

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