Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Think Moderate Officially Retired

I began Think Moderate in October of 2006 because I felt the need to do something more than yell at the television.  I hoped to raise awareness, at the very least, of a number of issues that I considered important.  Since then, the site has been visited by thousands of unique visitors, had articles voted to the top of various social bookmarking sites, and has been linked by several well-known blogs.  However, I've grown rather depressed with the news and politics in general.

With this in mind, I am launching a new effort focused on my attempts at becoming a published poet whilst simultaneously furthering my IT career.

I hope that you will join me at The Occasional Post.

 - Brandon M. Cavalier

Think Moderate will remain in its current state for archival purposes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cubans are feeling a bit more free these days

New President Raúl Castro has made numerous reforms since he came to power. While Cuba is still very much Communist, there is a definite large-scale change underway:

  • Agriculture is being decentralized (lending state land to private farmers), farmers can decide for themselves what supplies they need and the prices paid to them are rising to boost food production.
  • Raul ordered the official (government) media to investigate social and economic problems, demanding that bureaucrats tell the truth, calling on Cubans to be more critical and fostering grass-roots debate.
  • The state-run newspaper, Granma, doubled its pages to 16 and has begun to publish stories about inefficiency, theft and corruption in the economy. "Reflections of comrade Fidel" has been moved from page one to page two.
  • The government is encouraging the rich to exchange the terribly weak Cuban peso for foreign currency or convertible pesos worth 24 times more in an effort to remove weaker pesos from circulation, strengthening currency and wages for everyone. The emphasis on increased food production has the same aim.
  • Citizens can now stay at seaside hotels that were until recently reserved for foreigners, hire cars from state-run agencies, and purchase dozens of previously restricted consumer products such as computers, microwaves, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, mopeds and pressure cookers.
  • Cubans will soon be allowed unrestricted access to mobile phones.
However, internet access is still under tight restrictions.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Financial Crisis

Nightmares's not looking good.

  • JP Morgan is poised to buy Bear Stearns, one of the world's largest banks, for $2 per share; Bear Stearns closed at $30 per share on Friday.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The U.S. Continues Military Action In Somalia

Monday, March 3rd - The U.S. launched two or more cruise missiles at the Somali town of Dobley in an attempt to kill a single "Al Qaeda terrorist," the fourth attack in fourteen months. Six are reported dead, twenty wounded, and the terrorist - Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan - survived, although he may be among the wounded. The missiles were reportedly launched from U.S. submarines, though eye-witnesses saw AC-130 gunships flying over as well.

The "Somali Cause" has condemned the attack, urging the United States "to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia. It emphasized that the United States must place the same value on the lives of innocent Somalis as those of its own citizens and refrain from using arbitrary force to kill or apprehend any Somali citizen. This wanton use of force by the United States has resulted in the death and injury of innocent civilians, the destruction of their homes and their livelihoods while not capturing or killing a single terrorist."

On Tuesday, around 600 Somalis took part in anti-U.S. demonstrations. Protesters shouted "down with the so-called superpower," and some Dobley residents "said they believed the missiles were targeting senior Islamist leaders meeting nearby."

The U.S. took unilateral military action in Somalia in January of 2007, the first time since 1994, when two helicopters and an AC-130 gunship carried out two strikes against Islamist fighters. The attack left twenty-seven people dead, mostly civilians. Oxfam and local organizations reported seventy dead as a result of recent bombings as well as the destruction of vital water sources and herds of animals.

"The US were trying to kill the al-Qaida terrorists who carried out the bomb attacks on their embassies in Kenya and Tanzania," Somalia's deputy prime minister, Hussein Aideed, said. "They have our full support for the attacks."

The Somali president, Abdullahi Yusuf, told journalists in the capital, Mogadishu, that the US "has a right to bombard terrorist suspects who attacked its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania".

In the months before the attacks, the U.S. was accused of covert military operations in Somalia in support of President Abdullahi Yusuf's transitional federal government. "The leaked communications between US private military companies suggest the CIA had knowledge of the plans to run covert military operations inside Somalia - against UN rulings - and they hint at involvement of British security firms."

Even earlier in 2006, the U.S. was secretly backing warlords and militias in Somalia in opposition to Islamic groups. The interim government blamed U.S. support for provoking the clashes that left hundreds dead.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Comedian Refers To Fox News As "Propaganda...Festival Of Ignorance"

Faux Host: "Alright, Julia and Lee, we appreciate it. I'm sure you guys are gonna have alot more jokes for the rest of the campaign year."

Lee: "Ugh..what? Can I just ask a question?"

Faux Host: "Sure."

Lee: "What is Fox News? It's just a parade of propaganda isn't it? It's just a festival of ignorance. A million people are dead in Iraq! Come on; this is ridiculous. What's the point of this?"

Faux Host: "Um.."

Lee: "This is insane."

Julia: "I love Fox News."

Lee: "People at home, go outside. Go hug your children."

Julia: "Lee, you should be more worried that Hillary Clinton is running, and I think - "

Faux Host: "And you get all the news at Fox. You can get all the news you can at Fox News. Alright, thanks guys. Alright, that's it.

Alright, we're also talking about Captain Kirk this morning, and hey because it's Saturday morning we're having some fun. Hey Gregg, you've got the kooshiest job in the world."

Faux News Gregg: "Look who just beamed aboard right now: the ladies from the starship Enterprise. Hello, welcome. Okay, their friend Bones - you know him as Dr. McCoy - just wrote a new book on Captain Kirk and the way he was able to woo beautiful women like this. It's all coming up. Stay with us please."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

44 of 47 Louisiana National Delegates Go To McCain

Despite Mike Huckabee having won the Louisiana Primary and Ron Paul having won the Caucus (before the corruption), John McCain will be receiving the support of 44/47 Louisiana national delegates. Granted, the primary was "officially" irrelevant because no candidate earned a majority.

The state caucus was yesterday, and the McCain camp has 39 signed affidavits from delegates and verbal commitments from 8 others for a total of 44. Three of the national delegates are party officials who are all McCain supporters. The remaining 3 will go to the national convention uncommitted.

"Huckabee and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul supporters clearly were unhappy about the move toward McCain. A couple of times there was a smattering of boos as McCain was touted as the party nominee. Paul supporters challenged the delegate selection procedures, but to no avail."

It is possible that the 3 uncommitted national delegates are actually Paul supporters, as the campaign has projected 3 from LA.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Voting Accomplished

I've just returned from casting my vote for Ron Paul here in Prairieville, Louisiana. At approximately 3 pm, there was no one at my polling place except for the workers. This doesn't bode well for voter turnout, but I did pick an odd time I suppose.


With 100% reporting, the results of the Louisiana beauty pageant are as follows:

(1)Huckabee 43%
(2)McCain 42%
(3)Romney 7%
(4)Paul 5%

Since no candidate earned a majority of votes, the primary is completely irrelevant. All delegates were selected at the state caucus in January where Ron Paul took 2nd (if not 1st).

Irrational Voters

With Bush's approval rating at an all-time low of 30%, one would think that his endorsement of John McCain would in fact act as a deterrent.

“The President behind the scenes has told people for months that he thought McCain would be the nominee. Even during some of those dark periods he still thought he could win. And also that McCain would be the best to carry forth his agenda.”

However, even anti-war Republicans in NH (and elsewhere) still vote for the very, very pro-war McCain, so I'm sure the endorsement won't be a negative. All the talk of change seems to be just