Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Enough is enough.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall ransom captive Israel Gaza.

Guess we'll never get past 'an eye for an eye.' Not there, and until January 20th at least... not here.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Robin sums it all up

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Peace on earth, good will every day

Every year - in this nation, at least - we sing songs about 'peace on earth, good will towards man.' We watch movies like 'It's a Wonderful Life,' and spend anywhere from 2-24 hours espousing peaceful themes of love, peace, generosity and tolerance that spring from the core teachings in our respective religions.

Would that this could last all year. Peace on earth; in style, once a year.

I posted this last year and I'll post it every year, I guess, until we stop the madness.

I heard the bells on Christmas day

("I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is a Christmas carol based on the poem "Christmas Bells," composed by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) in 1864, in the midst of the Civil War. My favorite recording is by Placido Domingo.)

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And mild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Brother can you spare some credit?

Out of our taxes, into their pockets... and now injury added to insult. In a brilliant effort to increase consumer spending, the freshly bailed-out financial institutions (the banks and credit companies) have decided to slash the lines of credit that in many cases enable people in these hard times to buy groceries.

As for the 'Christmas rush' on which many businesses depend, it will likely be a dismal year (I know we aren't buying a damn thing. We're hording.) Other than the stampede that killed a Walmart worker last Friday -- the darkest of Black Fridays -- this holiday shopping season will be lean. Honestly: who has money for anything but the necessities? Its shaping up into a cold winter. If I bought anything right now it would be a wood-burning stove.

But sure Henry Paulson -- you're doin a heckuva job. The economy will just bounce right back now that your rich friends can once again afford those posh, luxury retreats.

(Reuters) - The U.S. credit-card industry may pull back well over $2 trillion of lines over the next 18 months due to risk aversion and regulatory changes, leading to sharp declines in consumer spending, prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney said.

The credit card is the second key source of consumer liquidity, the first being jobs, the Oppenheimer & Co analyst noted.

"In other words, we expect available consumer liquidity in the form of credit-card lines to decline by 45 percent."

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) represent over half of the estimated U.S. card outstandings as of September 30, and each company has discussed reducing card exposure or slowing growth, Whitney said.

Closing millions of accounts, cutting credit lines and raising interest rates are just some of the moves credit card issuers are using to try to inoculate themselves from a tsunami of expected consumer defaults.

I have an idea, Mr. Paulson. Of course you won't like it; and your buddies will hate it... by why don't you break these behemoths up into smaller, more manageable entities so as to pry their hands off of our collective throats? No banking or business entity should be so large, with so much power that it threatens our entire economy let alone the world's economy. Lesson learned. Of course the wealthy elite stick together, so my guess is that the lesson learned won't be enacted in any kind of meaningful way.

Banking analyst Meredith Whitney seems to be on the same page. Early on in the story:

Mortgages and credit cards are now dominated by five players who are all pulling back liquidity, making reductions in consumer liquidity seem unavoidable, she said.

Further down... another observation:

"In a country that offers hundreds of cereal and soda pop choices, the banking industry has become one that offers very few choices," Whitney wrote in a note dated November 30.

She also said credit lines to consumers through home equity and credit cards had been cut back from the second-quarter levels.

"Pulling credit when job losses are increasing by over 50 percent year-over-year in most key states is a dangerous and unprecedented combination, in our view," the analyst said.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Suddenly its a recession

How pathetic. Everyone on the planet knows we're careening into a full-scale depression, and suddenly the 'breaking news' of the day is that we've been in a recession since December of last year. Really now.

Tomorrow's breaking news: There are twelve months in the year, ice is made of frozen water, the ocean contains salt and wool comes from sheep.

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