Frontier Former Editor

March 17, 2009

Here’s another reason to major in history, or at least read it more than once every few years . . .

The Credit Mobilier scandal of 1872 – a good reason to hold big business’ s and elected government’s collective feet to the fire on a regular basis.

“Crédit Mobilier of America was formed by George Francis Train, the vice-president in charge of publicity for the Union Pacific Railroad. Crédit Mobilier of America was designed to limit the liability of stockholders and maximize profits from construction with the hefty fees being paid by federal subsidies. The company also gave cheap shares of stock to members of Congress who agreed to support additional funding  . . .

“It was claimed that the $72 million in contracts had been given to Crédit Mobilier for building a rail only worth $53 million. Union Pacific and other investors were left nearly bankrupt.”

Okay folks, and that was 57 years before the 1929 crash. Dubya, let’s go over the success of the “No Child Left Behind Act” again, shall we?

March 6, 2009

Oh Brother, Where Art thou Caste?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7923190.stm

I’ve already been given inspiration to write – if I ever got into the screenwriting biz – a Bollywood adaptation of the Coen Brothers’ and Homer’s big screen epic, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

From the BBC  (be sure to whistle the first couple of bars of “Liliburlero” first . . .)

“India’s governing Congress party has acquired the rights to Jai Ho – the Oscar-winning song from the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

Party officials say the song will be used as part of the election campaign to publicise Congress achievements.

The general election in India will take place between 16 April and 13 May. Counting is due on 16 May.

British director Danny Boyle’s Slumdog, based in the slums of the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay), won eight Oscars.

‘Performed well’

Bollywood composer AR Rahman and lyricist Gulzar won the Best Song Oscar for Jai Ho, literally meaning victory.

With its catchy tune and uplifting lyrics, Jai Ho has become immensely popular with the public in India.

Congress Party spokesman Manish Tiwari told the BBC the achievements of the government deserved to be saluted and the song best explained that.

“Our party has performed well, be it in governance or in its pro-poor policies,” Mr Tiwari said.

But a senior leader of the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Prakash Javdekar, told Reuters news agency: “This song will ensure their defeat because it will remind every Indian that millions of people still have to stay in slums because of faulty Congress policies.” “

One of the key scenes already came to me in a flash of twisted inspiration, as Pappy O’Nehru (played with suitably restrained, yet ebullient populism by Ben Kingsley) arrives at the Congress Party rally to find that the Soggy Bengal Boys are perfoming ‘Jai Ho’ to a standing, enthusiastically screaming crowd.  

A homespun-and-turban -wearing George Clooney (he’ll probably jump into this with financing – the sacrifices we have to make for art) leans over to his sweetheart at the dignitaries table and stretches his fake beard, in a burst of comic relief designed to set the stage for an extended musical number leading into the arrival of the closet Kashmir separatist candidate (John Rhys Davies or Alfred Molina – I’m still tossing that stereotype around). The separatist unintentionally exposes his true colors and is dragged away by Congress loyalists.

O’Nehru then climbs on stage and teases his departed rival for being less than non-violent, to the laughter and applause of the audience. He then brings Clooney and the Soggy Bengal Boys to hand and exacts a public promise that they have renounced their ways.

“You will support Congress in the April elections, won’t you?” O’Nehru  asks Clooney in a stern yet fatherly way, to which Clooney ferently asserts his agreement.

O’Nehru and the Soggy Bengal Boys then line up for a pull-out-all-the-stops rendition of  “Jai Ho.”

I’m still trying to figure out how to do the lynching scene, although the Ganges at flood stage should be easy enough.

September 24, 2008

Wonder why Bush begged for public support on the bank bailout Wednesday night?

I knew there was something up when Bush’s deer-in-the-headlights look was more stunned than usual. Here’s a hint:

BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

 

The Hong Kong newspaper cited unidentified industry sources as saying the instruction from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) applied to interbank lending of all currencies to U.S. banks but not to banks from other countries.

 

“The decree appears to be Beijing’s first attempt to erect defences against the deepening U.S. financial meltdown after the mainland’s major lenders reported billions of U.S. dollars in exposure to the credit crisis,” the SCMP said.

 

A spokesman for the CBRC had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Alan Wheatley and Langi Chiang; editing by Ken Wills)

They didn’t sell us the rope. They merely bought the paper funding the rope. And now, let’s hear Sarah Palin tell us this one is a task from God . . .

July 4, 2008

Not sure if this is particularly good or bad news on the Fourth of July

Filed under: bald white guys, Congress, dumbasses, observations, old times, politics — Tags: , — Frontier Former Editor @ 7:47 pm

Jesse Helms is dead. Everybody’s got their opinion of him. Personally, he always struck me as a asshole, showboating, politically simplistic person who just happened to have access to a media outlet at the right opportunity.

more here

May 18, 2008

It’s always enlightening to hear self-assessment

Thanks to The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room, via  Virginia Virtucon for this rather revealing document.

Just for background, Tom Davis is a Virginia Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Given that my Commonwealth now houses Republican luminaries such as Oliver North, Pat Robertson, Jim Gilmore and others, I’m sure that Davis’ little dissection is going over particularly well.

Especially when the Republican National Committee is so inclined to public self-denial. Yep, we’re winning the hell out of the war in Iraq and we’re going to achieve peace in our time in Palestine, yessiree!

Excerpt:

“The political atmosphere facing House Republicans this November is the worst since Watergate and is far more toxic than the fall of 2006 when we lost thirty seats (and our majority) and came within a couple of percentage points of losing another fifteen seats. Whether measured by polls, open seats, money, voter registration, generic ballot, Presidential popularity or issues, our party faces a steep climb to maintain our current numbers.

This slope is exacerbated by the fact that little has changed to improve our image over the past eighteen months and that voters looking for change are unlikely to embrace the same-old, same-old, which was overwhelmingly rejected in the last midterms. Members and pundits waiting for Democrats to fumble the ball, so that soft Republicans and Independents will snap back to the GOP, fail to understand the deep seeded (sic) antipathy toward the President, the war, gas prices, the economy, foreclosures and, in some areas, the underlying cultural differences that continue to brand our party.”

Really? You think?

There’s probably a strong clue in this document as to why Tom Davis chose not to run for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat: the Democrat candidate makes a better fiscally responsible, socially moderate Republican than any national Republican could hope to even dream of being.

But at least Tom Davis has a fair grasp of why Republicans in general are a pox upon the land – not that the Republican National Committee rank-and-file are going to listen.

Don’t think that, by implication, this post means that I wholeheartedly support the opposition. After wading through the pre-election festivities to date, I’d almost be willing to raise Nixon from the dead and vote for him.

Nixon might have been a paranoid, sociopathic, drunken, revanchist monster with fascist and John Bircher tendencies, but you could at least trust him to be those things and corner him like a rat to control those tendencies. Come to think of it, he was probably a better domestic-affairs and foreign policy president than just about every president in the 20th century with the possible exception of Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

Hell, even Nixon was willing to talk with our enemies because he could speak from a common base of experience, philosophy and complete lack of ethical grounding. Tyrants and subverters of democracy can appreciate threats and cajoling from other tyrants and subverters.

Not so with the greasy, amateurish pack of three trying to win our hearts and minds this year.

September 10, 2007

It oughta be a law . . .

Filed under: Congress, Crocker, dumbasses, Iraq, not-so-free government stuff, Petraeus — Frontier Former Editor @ 1:10 pm

that Congressmen and Senators should shut the fuck up before an official presents a report to Congress.

 It’s 1:07 p.m. Eastern time and Petraeus and Crocker haven’t gotten one word out of their mouths despite a scheduled 12:30 p.m. start time.

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