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Sunday, Apr 20th

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Alex Baer: A Little Something Under the Ol' Electron Tree

holdaysAll I want for Christmas -- now that I have a range of functional teeth up front -- is a memory that's not a sieve.  There's always some body part deserving of its own song as one ages, I suppose, and as the meaty vehicle we all find ourselves traveling in as humans starts to slowly unwind, hiccup, and fade.

However, this year, and every year, there are many other things I'd like to see slipped under the tree -- and under the radar of watchful and disapproving conservative forces.  Contrary to wistful bumper stickers and erstwhile, old-fashioned sentiments, I'd like more than a helping of whirled peas, please.

A little basic economic fairness, say, from the money-go-rounders would be a nice holiday touch.  A giant scoop would be even better, but I dare not wish for such miracles -- not even from the Christianity-espousing moneylenders long since seeped into the temples of our democratic discourse.

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Bruce Enberg: Punched or drilled? Use an inspection mirror & a spec sheet for comparison

Alexander HamilltonNumbers on 3rd quarter GDP growth are in, and we could be breaking into a chorus of    'Happy Days are Here Again.'  A quarterly growth of 4.1% in GDP is something that we have seen hardly at all since Ronald Reagan set about destroying the economy for the benefit of the 0.001% of Americans.

In the old days of New Deal Keynesian economics a 4% growth rate was the norm. Conservatives would like you to believe that such a number just isn't possible anymore unless you cut the tax rate on the rich to zero. Never mind that the Communist Chinese have been maintaining a pace of 2 to 3 times that for decades by pursuing FDR's or more accurately Alexander Hamilton's polices. You know, the guy on the ten dollar bill.

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Pussy Riot, Greenpeace members to go free under amnesty bill

Russian amnesty billRussian lawmakers Wednesday finished the final draft of an amnesty bill that would free the jailed members of Pussy Riot and Greenpeace, RIA Novosti reported.

The sweeping amnesty bill was initiated to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian constitution.

Under the bill, thousands of retirees, disabled people, women with children, pregnant women and victims of the Chernobyl disaster would be freed from prison, RIA Novosti reported.

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Bob Alexander: The Flag Remains the Same: Parts One, Two and Three

tattered flagThe Flag Remains the Same - Part One -

At the peak of World War Two the U.S. was cranking out a Liberty ship in 8 hours, a B-24 bomber every 63 minutes, and a Sherman tank every half hour. The Military-Industrial Complex, within a few short years of its coming into existence, had become the largest war machine the world had ever seen. By the end of the war The U.S. was the global superpower, and by signing The National Security Act of 1947 into law, President Truman created the CIA and the National Security State.

War became the foundation of the economy and the Military-Industrial-Security Complex had no interest in dismantling itself. There must always be A War. There must always be An Enemy. The Soviet Union, the most valuable ally of the United States during World War II, became The Enemy, and communism became the all pervasive threat.

From Adam Curtis’s documentary Century of the Self Part Two - The Engineering of Consent:

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Alex Baer: Thankful for Being Able to Be Grateful for Gratitude

thanksgivingYesterday was the official day of handing out our thanks to anyone who would listen.  With luck, we not only thought about doing that, but actually did so.  Out loud.  And, with even more luck, we also had some takers, in between thunderclaps of footballer collisions from our Big Scream teevees, and the assorted sonic booms of industry and inventiveness erupting from kitchen and guests.

You might have even been so lucky as to have been heard above the acoustic carnage of the day, and, luckier still, to have received knowing, thoughtful, insightful, and sincere replies along the same lines.

I mean, I can wish that such becalmed seas ferried you along softly and sweetly yesterday, and in the golden photographer's light of dawn or dusk, all the while sipping a profoundly satisfying adult entertainment beverage, but the odds are pretty much against it, I'd imagine -- like hoping Aunt Smelda would please, please forget to bring over her famous Jell-O mold, with odd bits of things suspended in the gelatin (some identifiable and mostly edible, others of a baffling, mysterious origin) like a forgetful, absent-minded cook's version of bugs trapped in amber.

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Bruce Enberg: Using Strategic air power to protect precious bodily fluids

Atom bombNew unemployment claims dropped by another 10,000 last week to 316,000, approaching pre Bush Crash numbers. California accounted for almost half of the decline suggesting that Conservative claims that the 7th largest economy in the world is in rapid decline since the Democrats took complete control of the state's government might be 'overstated'.

Wall Street banks are throwing a fit because the Federal Reserve is considering the elimination of the 0.25% interest that they have been paying banks on cash reserves that banks keep on deposit with the Fed. It doesn't sound like much except that these reserves total $2.4t. They only started doing this as part of the bank bailout and Wall Street has become accustomed to this $60b subsidy, it's almost half of their annual bonus pay. Banks didn't used to keep much cash on deposit but were encouraged to start doing this in case of further losses from the Bush crash. The Fed thinks that with the economy actually working again that maybe banks should start making loans with this money instead.

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Alex Baer: Vultures, Twinkies, and the Way of Nature

vultureIt's possible to chew on things longer than is good for you.  At some point, those bones of contention getting all that Gnawing Attention start redirecting activity back upon the chewer.  It's been that way, and for some time now, on Twinkies.

The way I've been worrying around Twinkies in the back of my mind for the last 12 months, you'd think it was some sort of national emergency or imperative that I'd somehow, inexplicably, been put in charge of.  Although I'm not in charge of anything much these days, I have to say in the same breath that I'm not sure that this isn't some sort of national emergency at that.

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