For those who agree that the US shouldn’t buy oil from countries that don’t like us very much, there’s good news. The huge, sudden collapse of the price of crude is hitting those countries hard.

Putin is trying to talk the Russian economy away from the edge, Iran might not be able to buy gasoline (they export oil but import refined products), and Chavez might end up swinging from a lamppost.


Working Like a Dog

As evidence that the world has amazing technology and plenty of surplus wealth, a college professor has decoded one of music’s mysteries:

The opening chord to A Hard Day’s Night is also famous because, for 40 years, no one quite knew exactly what chord Harrison was playing.


Sometimes the Sky does Fall

A fellow from the exurbs of New Orleans credits his mobile phone for saving his life. Not by enabling him to call for help, but by stopping a bullet.

"Something hit me in the chest really hard, " said Richard, who initially thought he had been struck by a rock kicked up by the motor.


Stimulating Language

There seems a wide consensus that last spring’s fiscal stimulus plan didn’t work. Americans used their $600–1200 rebate checks to pay down debt rather than buy more goodies. But why, this time, did the government fail to achieve its intended outcome?

They used the wrong word. Had it been called a “bonus” instead of a “rebate”, people would have regarded the money differently.


Good Questions

immediately upon taking office, Obama will give our military commanders the new mission of "successfully ending the war." Isn't that the strangest way to put it? If successfully ending the war will be a new mission, what was the old mission (in his mind)?

That’s Engram doing the asking. And if I am to be afflicted with Obama Derangement Syndrome, might as well enjoy it:


Obama Tosses Aside Dead Grandmother

Barack Obama’s grandmother, you remember, the woman who raised him, for whom he broke from campaigning to visit on her deathbed, was laid to rest yesterday.

Barry wasn’t there.

The election is over, and it looks like Barry doesn’t need her anymore. He’ll be squeezing his last respects into a previously planned Hawai’i vacation next month.


A Parent’s Perspective

“Do it for the children!”

Yeah, heard that one before. What happens to “the children” once a person has their own children to care for?

How the Nigerian Email Scam Works

The e-mail pitch is familiar to most people by now: a long-lost relative or desperate government official in a war-torn country needs to shuffle some funds around, say $10 million or $20 million, and if you could just help them out for a bit, you get to keep 10 (or 20 or 30) percent for your trouble.

All you need to do is send X-amount of dollars to pay some fees and all that cash will suddenly land in your checking account, putting you on Easy Street. By the way, please send the funds though an untraceable wire service.


NRP Director Running for Mayor

Bob Miller, a familiar face to Minneapolis community activists, wants to be Mayor.

…Miller believes the neighborhoods and residents of Minneapolis are being ignored at the city government level and that the city’s finances need to be reexamined and more carefully managed.


Don’t Panic Yet

We’ve seen another round of sour economic headlines. Unemployment is up to 6.5%, retail sales were down 2.8% in October and 4.1% year-over-year. General Motors is headed toward zero dollars per share. Even Walmart, although reporting greater than expected profit for the most recent quarter, warned that next quarter will likely come in below projections.

Is it time to panic? Let’s look at some data not making headlines.


Two Amens

I’m not sure how they’re connected, but I like both sentiments.

Excerpt A:

Americans are the most arrogant people in the world. And we're proud of it.


Running Backward

You have to concede that the West is in a race to abdicate everything that made it great.
Quoted from: Roissy in DC.

Post Style: 

Half-Blind Bus Drivers

What moves the markets? An answer to this question is offered after every daily news report on the status of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. We are told the market moved as it did due to, “Jitters over unemployment figures”, “anticipation of a Fed rate cut”, “profit-taking”, “surprising earnings from Company X”. Sometimes they can’t invent a reason and say the markets, “shrugged off” whatever was supposed to be important.

Worse than Iraq

The rush to hand US banks a $700B $850B bailout has been compared to a popular perception of the invasion of Iraq. After years of complaints that Bush lied, pundits not only believed he was telling a truth about a dire crisis, but joined him in urging a huge immediate response.


Recognizing Change at General Motors

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- A Deutsche Bank analyst downgraded Monday shares of General Motors Corp. to sell from hold, saying the automaker was on the path to bankruptcy before the end of the year unless the U.S. government agrees to a bailout.


Rolling Down the Negative Highway

It seems that blindness to unintended consequences is an essential political skill. The more an elected is able to ignore mistakes, the greater power accumulated. Attention to detail is passed down the line of staffers, who seemingly edit out the negs and contradictions as they create the executive summaries upon which our laws are argued and enacted.


A Condo by Any Other Name

The neighborhood in which the Negative Railroad is headquartered recently updated its brand identity. I was involved in the effort. We’re an old neighborhood, with some blocks settled for well over a century. Decades ago the City gave us a name, Audubon Park. With that bit of identity pre-established, our branding committee was spared this exercise:


Kiwis Move Right

With the election of Barack Obama, some lax thinkers are convinced conservatism has been struck a mortal blow. These folks seem to believe George W. Bush was a conservative, and Obama’s victory was driven not by race, or by his opponent’s meekness, but was a rejection of conservative ideas.

Conservatives counter that Bush is no conservative. He is merely a Republican, of the moderate center. Sarah Palin was the only genuine conservative up for a significant office. The righties believe their ideas have not lost, they have been abandoned.

But only in the United States.


President Mutt

Another item of evidence suggesting the President-elect is a race-obsessed man:

It must be the first time in recorded history that the leader of the Free World has proudly described himself as a “mutt”. At his first press conference as President-elect, Barack Obama sought to project the gravitas that his post requires.


Matthews Defines Role as Barry’s Poodle

Another bit of evidence for feeling replacing fact in journalism:



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