The author has been sent on the road to discover a lost country formerly known as America. He is reporting from a holding pen in the Arizona desert, wearing an orange jumpsuit and learning Spanish, regretting that tanning session and tequila, on assignment for Or-Bust.com and The Source Weekly.
Et Tu Obama?
President Obama, speaking at the Cooper Union in NYC (where Abraham Lincoln's speech 150 years ago made him president - then totally tore our country apart as well) made his case for finance reform by saying, "I'm here because I believe this is not only in the best interests of the country, but the best interests of the financial industry." Feeling a bit like Caesar, Obama was surrounded by those who created our economic meltdown and then rewarded with billions in bailouts, including Goldman Sachs chief Beelzebub, er, Lloyd Blankfein - hot off an SEC civil suit for fraud, rumors of insider trading, new quarterly profits of $3.3 billion, and a subpoena for special "Goldman Sachs Hearings" on Capitol Hill - and other donors to Obama's presidential campaign who now feel betrayed, much like day laborers in Arizona (see below).
Like health care, don't expect "reform" per se, as billionaire Warren Buffett (whose Berkshire Hathaway made $750 million buying Goldman Sachs shares during the "crisis") lobbied to limit derivatives rules from the legislation. Watching his back, Obama again invoked Lincoln (specifically his 1858 "House Divided" speech), declaring, "Ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We will rise or we will fall together as one nation." Wall Street has spent $1 million per day on anti-reform lobbying, and a procedural vote on the legislation failed late Monday due to a lack of Republican support. Bought, sold, and indeed divided.
By the Time I Get
Sixty-one monster tornadoes ripped through the south in the past week, killing 11 in Mississippi alone, and predictably targeting trailer parks; "We will rebuild!" is the mantra, this time with FEMA doublewides, decks and white picket fences.
The gusher that unleashed 5,000 feet under the Gulf of Mexico after last week's oil rig fire and collapse (killing 11 workers) is spewing 42,000 gallons per day and a slick bigger than Rhode Island, threatening sensitive wetlands in the bayou.
Disgraced former-Illinois Governor turned-reality show loser Rob Blagojevich is trying to subpoena President Obama to testify in his defense on corruption charges; there are precedents for presidents being forced to testify: Nixon was obliged during the criminal trials of Watergate, Clinton spent more time in court than chasing Osama, and Aaron Burr's 1807 treason trial included Thomas Jefferson.
Killer Microbes Attack!
Given a name like Cryptococcus Gattii, you know we're in trouble. Spreading from British Columbia southward, now in Oregon and entering California, the new "killer fungus" strain will soon be absorbed into lungs near you. Affecting otherwise healthy humans and animals, laying dormant for as long as weeks or months, symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, fever or a prolonged cough. Scientists are calling the strain "worrisome." Be vigilant. Don't inhale fungus. Better yet, stop breathing altogether. The next time you feel a little under the weather and think you may have a cold, don't worry; you're already dead.