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I see three possible interpretations of Obama's bringing an end to “endless cycles of bubble and bust”:

1--He simply doesn't understand economics. (Possible, but he seems reasonably bright and probably had to take and econ class or two at uni.)

2--He really does want to push us closer to socialism.  ( Dubious, and I'd really hate to have to listen to Limbaugh saying "I told you so.")

3--He's spouting off the meaningless rhetoric that people who don't understand the situation want to here.  (Why not?, it's worked so far.)

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While I've written before blessing the English pint, that 4th one really kicks my ass.  It's the last school day of the year and several of my mates were buying rounds--really need to let them know it's okay to buy me a half-pint.  This year's contracts were pretty much good--my offer was 20 baht short of the number I told myself I'd be happy with and two of my closest mates got satisfactory offers.  One of my friends got a poor offer, but I doubt there was any way my boss could have afforded to make an offer that would have kept him.  He's two hours away from where his wife (and daughter) is working on her Master's and has to keep a second apartment.  He's had offers from other schools in the town where his wife is studying so keeping him would be next to impossible.  What really gets me is that one fellow--our computer teacher--got offered the same raise as the knuckle draggers who can't even spell half the words they're trying to teach.  This guy is irreplaceable, and despite my level of inebriation (I'm amazed I could spell that) I'm not tossing that word around, I can't imagine anyone who knows as much about computers as him working for less than $1000/month. 
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Some of you may have heard about the night club fire in Bangkok a month or so ago (part of a string of several fatal fires in the course of a couple weeks).  The fallout has apparently made it up country, as last week my co-worker and amateur publician got a hand delivered letter from the fire marshal requiring him to call to schedule and inspection within two days.  Now the pub in question, Seven's Corner (named for the Thai rendering of Sven rather than the number--although the bar is somewhat "7" shaped), is largely open air--only the restrooms and the hallway leading to it do not empty directly onto the street and the place probably has no more than 6 feet of exterior wall (in a perimeter that's probably upwards of 60 or 70 feet).  So of course he needs some signage to notify patrons where the "fire exits" are.  The fire marshal also recomended he purchase a fire extinguisher (availble from the fire department at a discount...).   Hopefully my next post will regail you with the fire department provided instructional course for his waitresses.

Current Mood: amused amused

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Here's an except from an AP article I spotted on Yahoo! News. 

"It's unlikely the detention facility will be closed anytime soon. In an interview on ABC's This Week last weekend, Obama said it would be 'a challenge' to close it even within the first 100 days of his administration.

'But I don't want to be ambiguous about this,' he said. 'We are going to close Guantanamo and we are going to make sure that the procedures we set up are ones that abide by our constitution.'"

The procedures for closing an extra-territorial detention facility for foreign nationals are going to "abide by our Constitution".  What exactly does our Constitution say about extra-territorial detention facilities?  Or about foreign nationals? 


"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."

Establish justice--that would mean trials, assuming for a moment that we could even sort out who has jurisdiction.

Ensure domestic tranquility--I'd interpret that to mean we can't let them stay here.  Well, maybe the 17 Chinese dissidents.

Provide for the common defence--I pretty sketch on how letting some of these guys go would provide for the common defence.  Granted there are guys there who don't pose any threat, who determines who they are.  What do you with the dangerous ones if you close Gitmo?  I guess see #1.

Promote the general welfare--I'm pretty sure that what ever the cost of keeping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a hole is, not keeping him there is worse for the general welfare.  While I'm sure the things he admits to constitute capital crimes and as eager as I am to see him disabused of the notion they earned him a get out of hell free card, executing him only serves his goals.  Let him rot in a prison like the common criminal he is.

Secure the blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our posterity--the Founding Fathers didn't give a rat's posterior for anybody else's liberty, they are in no way entitled to due process.


"...To constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water..."

"...To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Well, there you go, he can pin it all on Congress.


"...No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President..."

None of these guys is going to take Obama's job.  Hopefully you had that much figured out, but I just want to be thorough.


"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment...."

Or, he can just let them go.  Don't think that would do wonders for his popularity.


"The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed."

There's a lot of wriggle room in this one.  Are the detainees crimes covered by a Treaty?  If so, then it seems fairly clear cut that are entitled to a jury trial in a place determined by Congress and the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.  If not, the section becomes irrelevant.


These are the ones dealing with judicial issues--due process, cruel and unusual punishment, etc.  I would contend that these apply only to citizens and legal residents of the United States, though I will concede the point is open to debate. 


"The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commence or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State."

If any of these guys want to sue a State, the Federal courts don't have jurisdiction.  Again, being thorough.  I could hardly leave it out since this is the only place the Constitution directly mentions foreign citizens and it's noteworthy that the Authors felt it necessary to mention the case applies equally to Americans and foreigners.

So, Obama procedures are going to abide by the Constitution--which our Supreme Court has shown leaves plenty of room for interpretation.  He doesn't want to be ambiguous, so he won't tell you it could go either way.  He doesn't say the procedures will adhere to the spirit of the Constitution.  He doesn't say they WILL get due process.  He said he's going to close Gitmo and he's not going to break his oath of office to do it.  He's taking a cheap (and I feel goundless) shot at the out going administration while playing to his worldwide fan-club.

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Current Mood: Unambiguous

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Rest in peace Bettie.
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Okay, sure it's change.  But in my day, we called it "bait and switch".
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Softening the embargo on Cuba?  In principle--an acceptable idea--but I can already hear congressmen lining up to increase sugar subsidies.  Can't have cheap Cuban sugar undercutting American growers in these tough economic times.  I pretty much lost all faith in McCain after he chose his VP, but I will guarantee the next Republican candidate will be able to take a page from Reagan.  "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"  I don't know what's scarier what that will mean given the current state of the economy or that it could elect what ever right-wing nut case the GOP trots out in '12 after having "proven" they can't win with a moderate.

Current Mood: Glad to be an ex-pat.

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I think we've forgotten something along the way: the reason we have an Electoral College and not a direct election.  The President is an executive, thus he's supposed to execute the law, not make it.  Choosing the President is supposed to be about picking a man (or nowadays a woman) you can trust to make the right decision in a tough situation.  The RIGHT decision, not necessarily the decision you would make.  In fact, that's the whole point of government.  The people acknowledge that they can not always choose what's best and concede that power to the government.  Even back in the 18th century it wasn't possible for every voter to get out and meet the candidate and get to know him.  The Electoral College was not supposed to be, "Vote for me because I'll vote for him."  It was supposed to be choosing someone you trusted and respected to meet the candidates for you, and make a responsible choice. 

If you want somebody to listen to you and act the way you would on every issue, your going to be sorely disappointed (or extraordinarily lucky).  But if you want your voice heard--call your Representative in the House.  He or she has about 700,000 constituents, but most remain surprisingly responsive (since they're never more than several hundred days from reelection).  Your Representative isn't going to vote your way on every issue, but you've also got two Senators--in most states they've got a lot more people to whom they must answer, but they (or more likely someone on their staff) should be willing to listen. 

Vote for who you want.  But vote for him because you trust him to make the hard call, not check with Gallup first.

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Give me $250, you'll get something you might like, but you've got no say in the matter.

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