It turns out George W. Bush started the Iraq invasion to stop a couple of mythical monsters. Seriously!? YES! Another reason to stop the insanely religious of all persuasions from ever holding political office.

That foreclosure problem in the USA has hardly started hitting its stride. Those green shoots are dying fast, eh, Mr. Obama?

The Arctic Ocean could well be a toxic mess by the end of this century. I guess it will be that way almost everywhere. I guess if we haven’t fished the oceans to death by then, the fish wouldn’t be able to live there anyway…

Enjoy it all while you still can.

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No thanks for the memories, or the legacy for that matter, but thanks for making an amusing mockery of the English language.

Courtesy of the VERY not-safe-for-work ORSM.

“For NASA, space is still a high priority.”
“If you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.”
“One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is “to be prepared”.”
“Justice ought to be fair.”
“A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.”
“If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow.”
“Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.”
“Reading is the basics for all learning.”
“We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”
“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”
“September the 4th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I will never forget.”
“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”
“I have opinions of my own -strong opinionsbut I don’t always agree with them.”
“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”
“When the governor calls, I answer his phone.”
“For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It’s just unacceptable. And we’re going to do something about it.”
“(The Taliban) have no disregard for human life”
“I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be… hold hands.”
“The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
“It’s a time of sorrow and sadness when we lose a loss of life.”
“I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.”
“I’m honoured to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein.”
“The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.”
“I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”
“I recently met with the finance minister of the Palestinian Authority, was very impressed by his grasp of finances.”
“Will the highways on the Internet become more few?”
“We’re going to have the best educated American people in the world.”
“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”
“General, I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq.”
“I think we agree, the past is over.”
“America stands for liberty, for the pursuit of happiness, and for the unalienalienable right of life.”
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee that says, fool me once, shame on shame on you. Fool me you can’t get fooled again.”
“I don’t particularly like it when people put words in my mouth, either, by the way, unless I say it.”
“One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.”
“You wake up at the high school level and find out that the illiteracy level of our children are appalling.”
“My job is a decision-making job, and as a result, I make a lot of decisions.”
“Sometimes when you study history, you get stuck in the past.”
“It’s in our country’s interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm’s way.”
“We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe”
“There is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.”
“I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend.”
“It’s very important for folks to understand that when there’s more trade, there’s more commerce.”
“I think it’s really important for this great state of baseball to reach out to people of all walks of life to make sure that the sport is inclusive. The best way to do it is to convince little kids how to… the beauty of playing baseball.”
“One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end.”
“You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one.”
“I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn’t here.”
“You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”
“(I will) keep good relations with the Grecians.”
“I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport.”
“We had a chance to visit with Teresa Nelson who’s a parent, and a mum or a dad.”
“The future will be better tomorrow.”
“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”
“I’m sure you can imagine it’s an unimaginable honour to live here.”
“I couldn’t imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah.”
“I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.”
“They misunderestimated me.”
“I’ve coined new words, like ‘misunderstanding’.”
“Public speaking is very easy.”

And so it begins, the post-Bush era, as well as the Obama Years. Let’s see what they shall bring, eh?

As the door hits Bush’s backside on the way out it looks like some judges are finally growing a pair, while other continue to erode the constitution.

There’s no shortage of advice for the new President. So many writers and opinion-givers are lining up to share something they hope Obama might actually read. (I wonder if they ever read the newspapers or internet, or just rely on their advisors… Bush was famous for not reading anything without pictures in it.)

Most of the advice I’ve been reading has revolved around what to do about the economic crisis. It’s natural since it’s going to be the dominant world news topic for some time. The decisions made over the next few months may well shape the outcome of the next few years. Some are not feeling very hopeful at all. (83 out of the top 100 corporations in the USA have subsiuaries in offshore tax havens – and some of them are receiving taxpayer funded bailouts. Ssssssh!) Obama’s rhetoric is very inclusive, but you have to wonder how grounded it is in reality. When Obama says that ‘everyone’ is going to have to make sacrifices, one wonders how much the poor of America have left to give… perhaps they will just disappear; or is that the plan? Obama lays claim to the legacy of MLK, but how much would have King approved of Obama’s message and actions? The salaries of the majority of Americans has decreased over the past 40 years. The people who put him in power now need to hold him accountable.

One interesting outcome of the financial crisis has been that the US armed forces’ recruitment quotas are now being exceeded. People are seeing the Army as a safe haven as far as securing an income is concerned. One wonders though exactly what they’re being set up for

Amnesty International is pushing for a war crimes tribunal into what has happened in Gaza over the past month. Of the 1194 Gazans who died in the invasion, 1099 were civilians. 6000 were injured. Many of the victims were children.  Don’t look to the U.N. for any support though… And as for that ceasefire – forget it.

Britain is walking a tightrope. It still doesn’t look good in Ireland or Iceland either. Australia’s situation is not looking good either. Eastern Europe and the Baltic States are seeing more civil strife as their economies worsen. Japan’s economic stimulus package is deeply unpopular, but that isn’t stopping the PM’s crusade to see it through – even as his own MPs are deserting him. In the rest of Asia the crisis may have an interesting spinoff, leading to greater independence for the Asian economies. The banks that are bankrupting America are now targetting the funds in Medicare and Social Security.

The situation on the Korean peninsula is still threatening to spill over into total war.

I promise I’ll post something positive/nice/weird/entertaining soon…

Me – not watching.

Just caught some of the start and I can’t stand another second of George W. I know he’s out of office after today, but I don’t care. I couldn’t watch it and not want to throw something at the screen every time he comes on with his horrid grimacing smile. I’ve been reading The Shock Doctrine and the section on Iraq really makes my blood boil. I knew most of the info anyway, but Naomi Klein’s elegant summary just makes the horror crystal clear. If Obama doesn’t do something about W’s illegal activities within the first six months then his presidency will have already been a failure.

Besides, it’s taking up important sleeping time.

I’ll be back soon with more chaos and disorder… I promise. I have a pre-Obama era summary as well as a George W send off, plus some economic crisis info to add a little spice to the mix.

Bed.

No, I don’t want to live, work or study in the USA… (no air traffic controllers, for a start)

Hey ho, back for the first rant for 2009. It’s taken a while to settle back into Japan and get back into the swing of things. That and it’s been so amazingly cold… we had a couple of flurries yesterday.

Which brings up an interesting point. The last two winters have now been the coldest for years, and an increasing amount of scientists are taking up the position that this could be the start of the next Ice Age. We’re due for one, as periods of global warmth usually last for 20,000 years or so, which fits this current period we’re in now. The scary fact is that Ice Ages tend to last for 100,000 years. That’s without the glaciers, woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers in your backyard – or nipple rings causing frostbite…

Hey, if that doesn’t depress you, then how about this? The Milky Way is heavier and moving faster than previously thought, so we’re going to crash into the next galaxy even sooner!

Even in retirement, former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, is still a bonehead.

George W. Bush… How many of us are counting the days? The worst president in American history is busy trying to create his own version of history right up to the moment he leaves. It’s certainly leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of those he has victimised, whether they be from New Orleans or Baghdad. The thing about the term “legacy”, is that it’s not just what you try to leave behind after you’ve gone, but what people remember about you. Bush’s 20% approval rating and litany of disasters (84% more people are unemployed are at the end of 2008 than in 2001, or that One in every two Iraqis is dead, wounded, a refugee, or starving.”) that will prevail long after he has gone will prove to be his legacy, no matter how he and his followers try to spin it. It looks like Obama won’t be pursuing his crimes either – so that’s a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card right there.

Worth more than a cursory glance: a look at the state of Latin America in 2008.

Japan has come up with a errrmmm… novel way to end the rise in unemployment amongst a general sagging in the economy, as well as provide a solution to the aging of the rural towns: send young unemployed people to work in the countryside. Sounds great except for a) most Japanese young people are so urbanised they’d rather starve than go into the countryside, except from the confines of a tour bus, b) this program is for only 800 people to go on trip of 10 days a piece, c) only 50 positions are being provided for full-time workers, and d) (related to point ‘a’ ) agricultural work is highly labour intensive with low financial reward – hardly appetising. The Japanese government thinks it could work two ways though. Apart from the oldies teaching the youngies a thing or two about farming and fishing, the youngies could open the oldies to the wide world of teh internets and blogging. Yes, elderly people blogging will save Japan… but if society does collapse, then these younger people will stand a chance of being able to provide food for themselves.

The Japanese government is also calling for high school English lessons to be taught in English in order to raise students’ ability with the language. Interesting idea, but the teachers may not be so willing…

An interesting story about a couple of Americans who saved a Japanese man who fell onto some train tracks. The final paragraph says a lot about people who never travel or read much about the world, and those who see a lot of it.

NASA has blamed Australia for “destruction of much of the life on the planet”. What are you going to do about that, Mr. Rudd? (Ridiculous assertion, I know…)

Even good old Listerine is now on the list of things that could give you cancer… Joe Jackson got it right – and it sounds much better when he sings it.

The privatisation of utilities is fundamentally wrong. Case in point: Australia has drought (bad), government urges people to use less water (good), people use less water (great!), water company cries over falling profits and raises prices (asinine). Once again this illustrates my point, utilities such as water, electricity, sewage, public transportation, roads, and so on are basic services that a society needs to exist. They are the foundation that companies and businesses are built on. They are not for-profit businesses. The government is not in the business of making profits – it’s in the business (if you have to call it that) of keeping society running smoothly. Taxes pay for that. Get over it. Don’t sell these important services off, pay your taxes and reap the benefits.

In February, it looks like we’ll be up for a spot of comet watching. Sweet!

Looks like the Apollo Landing conspiracy theorists are going to have to come up with some new ideas. The Indian lunar satellite has mapped the sites of the lunar landings.

Note to anyone who wants to go country driving in Australia: if the sign says “Road Closed Due To Flooding”, don’t ignore it and continue driving like these twits did.

There’s no way James Bond would be caught dead wearing this.

Best name for a soft drink. Ever.

That’s enough for now. More later.

I really can’t type at the moment…. Actually this has been going on for a while. It’s particularly bad when I’ve been using instant messenger. What makes it even more embarrassing is that I’m supposed to be an English teacher. It sounds bad, but I have to use the instant spellchecker in Firefox quite a bit. Last night I was chatting to a friend and some things just came out as gobbledigook – and I’d noticed AFTER I’d hit the ‘Enter’ key… Ah well… Getting old(er) sucks.

I don’t want to dwell on Obama’s victory too much since the news is filled with various points of view and analysis. Journalists need something to do now the the two-ring circus is over for the next couple of years. It was pleasing to see that this election drew out record numbers of voters. The infamous apathy of the American citizen has been laid to rest… kinda. Sarah Palin has been banished to the political wilderness (Alaska) for the time being – and now the knives are coming out for her. But in the glow of an Obama victory, don’t for get that George Bush & Co. still have 100 days left to screw things up. They could make life very hard for the next president in so many terrible ways, so don’t bank on it being an easy transition period. Also, don’t forget that Obama is a politician. It is very likely that a lot of the hopes and dreams that have been pinned on him over the past year or so are likely to be unfulfilled.  Get your reality check strapped in and ready to roll, boys and girls.