Friday, February 29, 2008

David Brooks Shows Us That He's Been A Bad Writer For A Long Time

Here is the beginning of Remembering the Mentor by David Brooks:

When I was in college, William F. Buckley Jr. wrote a book called “Overdrive” in which he described his glamorous lifestyle. Since I was young and a smart-aleck, I wrote a parody of it for the school paper.

“Buckley spent most of his infancy working on his memoirs,” I wrote in my faux-biography. “By the time he had learned to talk, he had finished three volumes: ‘The World Before Buckley,’ which traced the history of the world prior to his conception; ‘The Seeds of Utopia,’ which outlined his effect on world events during the nine months of his gestation; and ‘The Glorious Dawn,’ which described the profound ramifications of his birth on the social order.”

The piece went on in this way. I noted that his ability to turn water into wine added to his popularity at prep school. I described his college memoirs: “God and Me at Yale,” “God and Me at Home” and “God and Me at the Movies.” I recounted that after college he had founded two magazines, one called The National Buckley and the other called The Buckley Review, which merged to form The Buckley Buckley.

I wrote that his hobbies included extended bouts of name-dropping and going into rooms to make everyone else feel inferior.

Buckley came to the University of Chicago, delivered a lecture and said: “David Brooks, if you’re in the audience, I’d like to offer you a job.”
So before Mr. Brooks was a lackey for the Bush administration, he was a lackey for William F. Buckley Jr. and he seems to be proud of the fact that he was. In one fell swoop Mr. Brooks exposes his consistency. He’s always been a bad writer and he’s always been a subordinate, a toady, and a sycophant.

Really, This Is Not From SNL

…it’s in nobody’s interests that there be safe haven for people who are — have the willingness to kill innocent people. George W. Bush on February 29, 2008

How many innocent Iraqis are dead because of this man? Add irony to the long list of words that Dubya is clueless about.

Fire Joe Scarborough

60% of Americans who believe Iraq was a mistake are not Americans according to Joe Scarborough.

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The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself

With each passing day Hillary Clinton manages to keep shooting herself in the foot. Apparently, Hillary wants those Republican votes real bad. Otherwise, why is she talking Bill Kristol’s advice and playing the “politics of fear” card:

We’ve already had enough of this from George W. Bush. We don’t need more. What are we, a bunch of meek, afraid, little wusses? This is not the America I want to be a part of.

Profiles in fear or Profiles In Courage?

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

My answer to Hillary’s ad is: NOT YOU!

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Bush Sure Is An Arrogant SOB

Does George W. Bush even have a remote knowledge of the concepts of negotiation and compromise? He is like a spoiled little brat who has to have everything his way. The perfect president in the time of spoiled brats like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

He never thinks conversation is a good thing. He is willing to talk as long as he doesn’t have to listen to anyone else. The C student thinks he is so smart that he knows everything. He has such fear and loathing of the “other” that he is afraid of even talking to them. He is also afraid of Barack Obama talking to them.

We all know that Bush would rather just bomb the crap out of people he doesn’t like. Just imagine if your next door neighbor acted like George W. Bush. With a smirk on his face he would always be telling you what to do, would come into your yard, shoot your family, and start digging up your yard looking for “his” oil. He would cut your electric lines and blow up parts of your house. And he would build a house on your property and promise to stay for at least 100 years. What would be your reaction to this? Flowers and open arms? If you decide to fight back, he will call you evil, and either send you to prison or kill you.

Yesterday, Bush had the audacity to say this about Barack Obama who is suggesting talks with our so-called “enemies”:

It will send the wrong message. ... It will give great status to those who have suppressed human rights and human dignity.
Talk to the victims of Hurricane Katrina about “human rights and human dignity” and see what they think our our illustrious “leader.” Talk to the victims of our huge industrial prison complex and see what they think of Bush. Talk to the victims of Bush’s “free speech zones” (especially the ones shot with plastic bullets), and see what they have to say about Dubya. This man is about as compassionate as Ghengis Khan. He has joked about weapons of mass destruction and he has joked about people who were on death row being executed. He literally has the blood of thousands of people on his hands. And he thinks he has the right to tell Barack Obama that it’s wrong to talk to people?
Obama repeatedly has advocated meeting without preconditions with leaders of such hostile nations as Cuba and Iran, saying current U.S. policy is not working and it is time for a fresh look at ways to improve relations.
Isn’t this the way we all try to fix problems, whether they be at home or at the workplace? Do we not teach our children to “use your words” and to not hit other children? I can’t help but wonder what Bush’s parents taught him. Probably, “Speak loudly and hit with a big stick.” I wonder how many parents point to Bush and tell their children, “I want you to be like him.” What kind of example does Bush set for the youth of America? It is one of arrogance, violence and getting your own way. Is this how we want to treat other people? Is this how we want to be treated by other people? Then why do we tolerate it in our president?

Do we really want to be fighting someone, somewhere, forever?

Obama said:
The next president has a job to do to repair our image and to send a signal ... that a new era is being ushered in and that we are not afraid to talk to anybody, including those who we have grave problems with.
This sound like a very good idea to me. Not to Bush, though. What the hell is wrong with him? If he was just an average Joe he probably would have been arrested a long time ago. Oh, wait a minute, he already has been.

It seems that the American people are finally becoming fed up with the abomination that is our president:
"The American people aren't looking for tough talk about fighting for 100 years in Iraq, because they know we need to end this war, finish the job in Afghanistan, and take the fight to al Qaeda," he said.

Obama's rejection of what he calls conventional thinking in Washington has put him in the driver's seat to seize the Democratic nomination from Clinton, long considered the inevitable nominee.
Talking is a very effective way to fix things, whether it be problems in a marriage, problems with your children, problems at work, or problems with other nations. You also just might learn something along the way, like what the cause of the problem was in the first place. Talking doesn’t work all of the time, but it sure beats sticking your head in the sand, and it sure beats shooting people. If we followed Bush’s logic we would still be fighting World War II. Peace treaties would have never been signed because we could not talk to our enemies in order to negotiate peace.

Again, I’ll ask the question: Do we really want to be fighting someone, somewhere, forever?

In his book Race Manners Bruce A. Jacobs writes:
Like it or not, you and I face our own moral and practical choice right now, in the years after 9/11, as to who we intend to be in this world. This is the way history happens: with invisible, unheralded decisions by people like you and me concerning how we will think and act. Right now, at this very moment, you are part of the future, and you will be so judged by those who later look back upon our time. You might not like bearing the burden of choice. But it is yours regardless, and whether by action or inaction, your decision will shape the outcome.

So what’s it going to be? A positive, adult course of action that regards others as fully human and strives for solutions through relationships in the world? Or a fearful, simplistic course that once again stigmatizes the villainous avenger while avoiding the issues that would actually solve the problem?
Barack Obama falls squarely into the first camp, President Bush falls into the latter camp. Which camp do you want to be in?

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

John Lewis Plays The Role Correctly

You have to respect John Lewis for saying this:

As a U.S. representative, it is my role not to try to subdue or suppress the will of the people, but to help it prosper and grow.
If only George W. Bush saw his role as one of service to the American people and to the Constitution. Instead, he prefers the role of king.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It Is Harder To Disbelieve, Than To Believe

Why do people believe in a god? Why do people believe what politicians say? Why do people believe in “Intelligent Design?” Why do people believe in some pretty stupid things? Could it be that they are just lazy? Michael Shermer sheds some light on this in his Scientific American article Adam’s Maxim and Spinoza’s Conjecture.

What do these results tell us? “Several psychological studies appear to support [17th-century Dutch philosopher Benedict] Spinoza’s conjecture that the mere comprehension of a statement entails the tacit acceptance of its being true, whereas disbelief requires a subsequent process of rejection,” report Harris and his collaborators on the study in their paper, published in the December 2007 Annals of Neurology. “Understanding a proposition may be analogous to perceiving an object in physical space: We seem to accept appearances as reality until they prove otherwise.” So subjects assessed true statements as believable faster than they judged them as unbelievable or undecidable.
This research supports Spinoza’s conjecture that most people have a low tolerance for ambiguity and that belief comes quickly and naturally, whereas skepticism is slow and unnatural.
From this I conclude that John Lennon was not lazy. The lyrics of his song god prove this. I sincerely believe that the world would be a better place if we all were a little more like John Lennon and were a little more skeptical. Imagine a public and a Congress that was more skeptical of George W. Bush. Would we be in Iraq if we were not so quick to believe? We should choose to disbelieve before we believe, not the other way around. This is actually the way of science, as Michael Shermer explains:
The scientific principle of the null hypothesis—that a claim is untrue unless proved otherwise—runs counter to our natural tendency to accept as true what we can comprehend quickly.
By the way, Michael Shermer has a blog. Doesn’t everyone? You can find it, and maybe even read it, here.

How To Listen To George W. Bush

I know that Andy Borowitz is a comedian. In all seriousness, however, he gives the best example of how to listen to George W. Bush:

Elsewhere, President Bush said that the economy was not in a recession, leading economists to conclude that the economy was in a recession.
"Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job", really meant: “Brownie, you suck.” “In the form of a mushroom cloud”, really meant: “Iraq does not have any nuclear bombs.” “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”, really meant: “I will make the Office of President of the United States a laughingstock for all the world to see, and I’m gonna stomp all over the Constitution and tear it to shreds.” And so on…

If only Congress would learn this.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Maybe it’s just pot that she’s smoking, and inhaling. No, that can’t be right, pot mellows you, right? Hillary doesn’t seem all that mellow these days:

For another perspective on this video clip go over to This Modern World and say hi to Tom and Greg.

Why Doesn't Sub-Zero Work For Hillary?

In the past it seems that negative political campaigns were a positive way to get elected. Why has Hillary Clinton’s negative campaign not been working? I don’t really know, since I never understood why negative campaigns have worked so well in the past. The Bush campaign smears against John Kerry, John McCain, and Max Cleland made me despise Bush even more than I did previously. These smears certainly did not make me want to vote for him. By the way, look at those three names again. All three are Vietnam War vets. How did Bush, the King of Chickenhawks, pull this off? Why did anyone vote for this despicable man? It still amazes me! So, has America changed, or is it all Hillary’s fault that her negativity isn’t pulling her through.

My guess is that it’s both. Barack Obama’s success is a sign that American’s are fed up with the status quo and want change. Some of us do want to live in a nicer world. It’s that simple. Can Barack Obama make the world a better place? No one knows the answer to that. He may, however, be able to inspire the rest of us to make it better. Hillary Clinton doesn’t see this because she is too full of herself, and that is part of her problem. It’s part of Bush’s problem too. America isn’t about a select few, it’s about all of us. It's about us working together, not about us working against one another. Hillary Clinton may have just picked the wrong time in our history to run a negative campaign. However, she also doesn’t do negative very well. Running a negative campaign against Barack Obama and not George W. Bush seems like a huge tactical error on her part. America hates George W. Bush and loves Barack Obama. So who does she choose to attack? Seems really dumb to me. Hillary going negative comes across as Hillary going ballistic. It emphasizes all the negative stereotypes that her detractors have been criticizing her about for years. I never used to believe all those stereotypes, but now, thanks to Hillary herself, I’m having second thoughts. To add to all of this, now she seems to truly be schizophrenic. One day praising Obama, the next criticizing him, the next mocking him… What the hell?

Frank Rich in his New York Times op-ed entitled The Audacity of Hopelessness seems to be trying too hard to look clever, but I did like this paragraph:

As for countering what she sees as the empty Obama brand of hope, she offers only a chilly void: Abandon hope all ye who enter here. This must be the first presidential candidate in history to devote so much energy to preaching against optimism, against inspiring language and — talk about bizarre — against democracy itself. No sooner does Mrs. Clinton lose a state than her campaign belittles its voters as unrepresentative of the country.
All of this may be bad for Hillary Clinton, but if it signifies an end to all future negative campaigning by all politicians, then it is a great thing for our country. One can only hope. And vote. For something positive. For a change.

Monday, February 25, 2008

John McCain IS Dr. Strangelove

Here is another one from Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films:

If you want less jobs and more wars, vote Strangelove, oops I mean vote McCain.

By the way, the actor riding the bomb is Slim Pickens. Pretty much describes our Presidential Candidates, doesn’t it?

Actually, Peter Sellers played the part of Dr. Strangelove, not George C. Scott, and we all know that Henry Kissinger IS Dr. Strangelove, not John McCain, but why quibble over the facts, no one really cares about the facts, right?

With A Little Help From John McCains Friends

Robert Greenwald’s take on John “The Tri-Bomber” McCain and his friends: is here.

The Anti-Matter Universe Sucks

From Tom Tomorrow we have this:

Nader’s critique of corporate power and its corrosive effect on American democracy is spot-on. But if the point of these third-party runs is to inject that critique into mainstream discourse — well, we’re way past the point of diminishing returns, and actually deep into some sort of anti-matter universe, in which information is literally sucked out of people’s brains at the first mention of his name. In the way that Dan Rather’s report on George Bush going AWOL turned into a discussion about Dan Rather, the only debate another Nader candidacy is going to inspire is a debate about Nader himself, and I just don’t see the point.
Perhaps this also explains the sucking out of people’s brains the information that John “The Tri-Bomber” McCain is very likely a hypocrite when it comes to lobbyists, and it being replaced by a discussion of whether the New York Times is still a legitimate news organization.

Corporations Are Killing Individuality

Lee Camp appeared on FoxNews the other day. He went off script at the end and completely baffled everyone involved. Millions of people dead? Who cares, we must talk about Captain Kirk and sex. The requirements for being hired by FoxNews must be that you are brain-dead and have sold your soul to the company store. This type of discussion is what we see every day on television. No one is allowed to go off script, no one can take the time for depth and relevance. Move on quickly, we need to talk about Britney now. Bill Moyers is an exception to this. Even if you disagree with his content, you can’t disagree with the fact that he is one of the few interviewers who does interviewing the right way. Mr. Moyers treats his guests with respect, listens to them and actually HEARS what they say. He responds to his guests in real-time, not from a script. There is actual thinking involved on his part. By him, not what someone is telling him to think. He never tells his guest to “shut-up.” We need MORE ideas and viewpoints expressed, not less. Why was there no discussion on FoxNews of something as important as millions of people dead? It is childlike behavior. Pretend it’s not there, and then it really doesn’t exist.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

We No Longer Have Freedom Of Speech

George W. Bush lied each time he took the Oath of Office for the President of the United States:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
The First Amendment to the Constitution is as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
George W. Bush doesn’t like this ad:

So he has the Justice Department go after the people that produced the ad. Scott Horton has more on this here:
Well, here’s an example. At just this time, out in Michigan, in a criminal case we have chronicled previously in which the Justice Department seeks to protect the nation from that horrendous scourge—trial lawyers raising money for Democratic candidates—a young Justice apparatchik was busily issuing criminal subpoenas to a media company named Sussman Sikes. The subpoenas require the company to produce all materials related to a television advertisement that the company had prepared for the Fieger law firm.

And what had prompted this? The PR company had done an advertisement which showed President George W. Bush speaking disparagingly about the Fieger law firm, and it sought to turn this around to the law firm’s benefit.

So to defend the dignity of his commander-in-chief (I use this term advisedly, since it’s clear that this man is, contrary to his oath of office, not taking direction from the laws or the Constitution), the young assistant U.S. attorney has launched out to harass and intimidate the PR firm that made the commercial. Next no doubt he will be sending FBI agents into TV stations to serve subpoenas and seize copies of the advertisement.

You may have thought that you enjoyed freedom of speech and that the Department of Justice existed to protect your rights. That might even have been true of prior embodiments of the Department of Justice. But it’s not true for the Bush Department of Justice, which is intent on simultaneously demonstrating its arrogant abuse of power and its contempt for the nation’s Constitution and laws.

Whatever Happened To "Love Thy Neighbor?"

Whatever happened to “Love your enemies?” Since when did negotiation and compromise become dirty words? Why on earth would Hillary Clinton want to take campaign advice from Bill Kristol? Since when does reality equal fear? And why does everyone laugh when Kristol says: “I recommend to Senator Clinton the politics of fear?” Let’s be clear here, the Republican message is “fear”, Barack Obama’s message is “change” and “hope”. The choice seems obvious. Why on earth does anyone listen to Bill Kristol? He can’t even pronounce Ahmadinejad correctly!

Musician Of Note - Doyle Bramhall

For a musician whose son is Eric Claptons guitarist and who co-wrote or wrote many of the songs recorded by Stevie Ray Vaughn and has put out a CD with Denny Freeman, CC Adcock, Mike Keller, Doyle Bramhall II, and Jimmie Vaughn as featured guitarists it’s interesting that said CD isn’t about guitar solos. It’s all about SOUND. Big sound. Wonderful textures of sound. Huge sounding drums. Thick textures of guitars. And a wonderful sounding voice. That voice would be the voice of Doyle Bramhall. He also plays drums on the album.

The CD is called Is It News. It’s not a blues album, yet it’s steeped in the blues. It is a very creative variation of roots-based rock-n-roll that satisfies the soul.

I wish there was more Doyle Bramhall to choose from in the universe. There is a video of the song Big posted by tylerweaver2, and here it is:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Some Of Us Are Socialists And Some Of Us Are On Welfare

Like the quiet neighbor you’d never suspect of murder, there are those amongst us that you would never suspect of being on welfare or of being a socialist. Dick is both.

Can John McCain Handle The Presidency?

This article in The Washington Post FEC Warns McCain on Campaign Spending by Matthew Mosk and Glenn Kessler brings a question to mind. If John McCain can’t handle the complexities of campaign financing, can he handle the complexities of being President?

The nation's top federal election official told Sen. John McCain yesterday that he cannot immediately withdraw from the presidential public financing system as he had requested, a decision that threatens to dramatically restrict his spending until the general election campaign begins in the fall.

The prospect of being financially hamstrung by the very fundraising system he helped create is the latest in a series of bitter challenges for the presumed GOP nominee, who still faces a fractured conservative coalition as he assumes the mantle of party leadership.
But wait, there’s more:
If the FEC refuses McCain's request to leave the system, his campaign could be bound by a potentially debilitating spending limit until he formally accepts his party's nomination. His campaign has already spent $49 million, federal reports show. Knowingly violating the spending limit is a criminal offense that could put McCain at risk of stiff fines and up to five years in prison.

It's About The Issues, Stupid

Way back in the not so distant past it was: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Today it’s not about anything. At least that’s what our great mass media system tells us. The only thing that matters is who is ahead in the horse race. I don’t care who is ahead at this point. I do care about who is coming in last, because it’s the American people and American democracy. I want to vote for a candidate who is outraged by what has happened to America. I want to vote for a candidate who is outraged that our Constitution is being shredded. I can’t find that candidate.

Bruce Jacobs over at alias Bruce has an excellent post that expresses some of what I feel about the wimpiness of our possible presidential wannabe’s. I especially like what he wrote about Barack Obama:

Nor am I an Obamamaniac. Who is this guy, anyway? All we really know is that he is a former real-life Chicago community organizer (yes, we like that) who orates like a champ but whose actual policy ideas have wilted in direct proportion to his ascension through the political filtration system known as campaign finance (no, we don't like that. At all.). Where is his principled willingness to declare the practical necessity to immediately bring American troops home from Iraq and to craft the only realistic security solution for that devastated country: a truly international peacekeeping force in which the United States and our oil- and power-hungry interests are not in charge? (Remove the U.S. from leadership of the Iraq "security" project, and watch the incentives for insurgence dissipate and our formerly recalcitrant industrial allies sit up straight and listen to an American president.) Where is Obama's readiness to call for true, comprehensive government-backed universal health care in the face of the insurance lobby? Where is Obama on the need to hold the predatory mortgage industry accountable instead of hedging (as he has) with whimpers about the culpability of homeowners? Where is he on effective (as opposed to easily sold) public policy on drug addiction and related crime? Where is he on the catastrophically bloated military budget, besides supporting it?
The entire post is very good. It is called Hello, Hillary? So pop on over and give Bruce a visit. I’m sure he won’t mind.

How Stupid Are Republicans? Part Deux

Myths are hard to kill, and it seems to me that most Republicans prefer myth to reality. Paul Krugman debunks another Republican myth in his February 22, 2008 column entitled Don’t Rerun That ‘70s Show:

Jimmy Carter’s overall economic record was much better than most people realize — the average economic growth rate under his administration was 3.4 percent per year, slightly higher than the growth rate under Ronald Reagan and far better than growth under either Bush.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Three More Reasons Why I Hope John McCain Doesn't Become President

In his February 22, 2008 column The McCain World Rift David Brooks reveals three things about John “The Tri-Bomber” McCain:

  1. He admires Alan Greenspan.
  2. He admires Henry Kissinger.
  3. He likes movies and books in which the hero dies at the end.
None of them are things that make me jump up and say, “I must vote for John McCain." Not that long ago Alan Greenspan was pushing adjustable rate mortgages. That was about the worst advice anyone could have taken at that time. Henry Kissinger once worked for Richard Nixon and advises our current wunderkind George W. Bush. Definitely not my kind of guy. The last thing about the hero is just plain weird.

Hillary "Dubya" Clinton

If it’s going to be between Barack and Hillary, I’ll take Barack. There is no way I would vote for McCain or Huckabee. Hillary has given too much support for Dubya’s dirty little war, and now she has picked up one of Dubya’s worst habits: lying. I can’t believe that she claims that she has long been a critic of NAFTA. David Sirota has more on this in his article A Trade Transformation.

When it came to sex, Bill Clinton made us debate the definition of “is.” Now, when it comes to economics, Hillary Clinton wants to debate the definition of “long,” claiming this week in Ohio that “I’ve long been a critic of the shortcomings of NAFTA.”

True, Clinton has recently criticized NAFTA-the 1993 trade policy whose lack of labor and environmental protections encourages companies to move American jobs overseas. But cheap campaign rhetoric over a few months does not make one a longtime critic-especially considering the record.

During Clinton’s 1996 visit to Texas, United Press International reported that she “touted the president’s support for NAFTA.” In her memoir, Clinton trumpeted her husband’s “successes on the budget, the Brady bill and NAFTA.” The Buffalo News reports that in 1998 she “praised corporations for mounting ‘a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of NAFTA.’” And last year, her lead Wall Street fundraiser told reporters that Clinton remains “committed” to NAFTA’s “free” trade structure.

Clinton’s attempt to hide this history emulates a principle pioneered by George W. Bush in this, the age of stenographic journalism. As he made his unsubstantiated case for war, Bush proved that the media are willing to present politicians’ lies as fact. Clinton simply figures that if she says she has “long been a critic” of NAFTA, then the assertion will be transcribed as truth.
Hillary claims that she has experience because she was the wife of a President. The President who was unsuccessful when it came to healthcare, but successful when it came to NAFTA. Of course this depends on what your definition of “successful” is. We did, and still do, need healthcare reform; we didn’t, and still don’t need NAFTA. Hillary’s definition of “experience”, is not the kind of experience I want in a President. Let’s just call her Hillary “Dubya” Clinton. Liar, liar, pantsuit on fire. Headline Of The Day

Report: Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony welcome twins

Judge extends restraining order against Britney's pal

Tori Spelling dishes on sex during '90210'

Count ‘em. Not one, not two, but three Headlines of the Day today!

George W. Bush Tries To Think

“What's going to matter is not the past, but the future when it comes to campaigns and if the Democrat Party feels like they can win an election by focusing on me, I think they'll be making a huge tactical mistake.” George W. Bush, Feb. 10, 2008

First off Dubya: no one can predict the future, second: it’s the “Democratic” party not Democrat, third: the best thing the Democrats can do is focus on all the terrible and criminal things you have done, and lastly: no one cares what you think.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Moron-In-Chief's Gonna Getcha

"I think we're going to get a good bipartisan bill and so I applaud those Democrats. I'm not going after those Democrats. But there is a big part of the Democrat Party that is against giving our intelligence officers the tools necessary to protect America." George W. Bush, Feb. 10, 2008

Hey George, you left out a syllable. You can do it. All you need is “ic”. Say “Democratic”, you moron.

Also George, no Americans, including the Democrats, are against protecting America. It is a lie to say otherwise. Some Americans do care about protecting the Constitution and the right to privacy, however.

By the way, what are you going to do to the Democrats you are “going after” once you catch them?

My Other Teabag's Wise Words

“Always second guess a first impulse.” Salada Teabag

My Teabag's Wise Words

“To question opinions is wise; to quarrel with facts is foolish.” Salada Teabag

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 Headline Of The Day

Lohan naked: Good career move?

Mike Huckabee Is The Next In Line To Waterboard

"I'm finding out just how long I can go sleep deprived. You know, running for office is sort of like being waterboarded, I think." Mike Huckabee

There is one way to give Mr. Huckabee the information he needs to make a more certain statement about the similarities and differences between the lack of sleep and waterboarding. WATERBOARD HIM! After all, a future president should know these things, right? Oh, never mind, since our current president doesn’t know, and most of our so-called “leaders” don’t know either.

Instead of presidential debates, let’s have a presidential waterboarding contest.

Seriously, where is the outrage over all of the recent comments from so many “prominent” people concerning waterboarding? These people are saying that waterboarding is not torture and is not illegal. How can Mike Huckabee joke about this? This man is as deranged as George W. Bush, who joked about missing WMDs. Both men profess to be Christians. Would Jesus waterboard someone? Would Jesus make jokes about waterboarding? I am outraged over the lack of outrage!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Headline Of The Day

Minister to couples: Sex every day!

Spend Your Way To Patriotism

It is now the American way to buy what you need and want rather than make something you need or to do something for yourself. Rich Americans (and some less rich Americans) don’t clean their own homes, they don’t shovel their own driveways, they don’t mow their own lawns. Most Americans don’t grow their own food or make their own clothes.

Americans don’t even think for themselves anymore. We have Rush Limbaugh, David Brooks, Maureen Dowd, Arianna Huffington, William Kristol, Thomas L. Friedman, and many more telling us what to think and doing our thinking for us. Susan Jacoby’s excellent Washington Post article The Dumbing Of America details this phenomenon very well.

"The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself." Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today's very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble -- in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.
What we do know how to do, and we are very good at it, is to spend lots of money and amass a huge amount of debt. Now, I happen to think this is a very bad thing to do and that it is the main reason for the economic problems we are now having. Of course our wise leaders, George W. Bush and the members of Congress, think the solution to these economic maladies is more spending and more debt. Some even call spending patriotic. Elizabeth Alexis ponders this solution in her article entitled Tax rebate plan: Good idea?
If we were merely dealing with the aftermath of a housing bubble, it might not be such a big deal. But housing is just one part of the story.

The dramatic rise in home prices and financial market “innovations” have masked over substantial economic problems. A frightening number of American families are spending more money than they earn. This underwater group includes a lot of boomers who should be socking it away for retirement. If families had to publish financial statements like companies do, many would be in the red.

Part of this is a spending problem. The economic statistics for consumption are almost unbelievable. There has been a 10% swing from saving and investment to spending.

We have made it patriotic to go into debt to buy stuff . Our natural competitive streak also applies to keeping up with our neighbors.
I believe that paying people a decent wage would go a long way towards strengthening our economy. So did Henry Ford: “There is one rule for industrialists and that is: make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” And from
Ford had been criticized by Wall Street for starting the 40 hour work week and a minimum wage. He proved, however, that paying people more would enable Ford workers to afford the cars they were producing and therefore be good for the economy.
Here is more from Elizabeth Alexis:
Part of the problem is an income problem. We have been transitioning from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy. This is a trend that started in the 1950s as factories became more efficient and accelerated in the last 10 years with globalization. At this point, the number of workers who make their living in a factory as a percentage of the US work force is almost trivial. Some of this was inevitable and a positive event and some of it is the result of totally laissez-faire industrial policy.

In addition, the balance of power between management and labor has swung far away from the worker. Again, labor flexibility and mobility is a positive but a winner-take-every-little-scrap economy with a diminishing safety net is ultimately not very stable. You need a strong middle class who can save for their future without fear that one medical event will set them back. You need a domestic market that can buy your goods and services without having to take every penny of equity out of their homes. Etc etc.

These are challenging waters to navigate and sensible policy-making has vanished. We appear to be moving away from our problems rather than in the direction of solutions.
Elizabeth Alexis thinks we could do better than “throwing money at the problem”:
The point is that throwing some money at the problem does nothing to solve the real problems at hand. It merely postpones the inevitable. The rebates will just about cover the shortfall in American’s need for cash this summer.

There are many things we could do with $150 billion that would start to address some fundamental issues in this country. Health care, basic research, alternative energy, the profound cycle of poverty in the inner cities, encouraging manufacturing innovations.

There is also a strong possibility that this slowdown will look different from ones in the past. Because the manufacturing jobs lost in the last recession never came back, there won’t be the immediate drop off in jobs we have had in previous recessions.

A huge boon in construction and deficit spending took us out of the last recession. This time construction will be part of the problem and the ability of the government to finance aid package after aid package will be limited. Our best guess is a long slowish period. In this case, the best use of tax dollars would be to start making some longer term investments and hold off on a desperate move like rebate checks. Legislators want to avoid the pain, especially in an election year, but we may need an uncomfortable period to make the hard decisions that will get this country back onto solid economic ground.
However, our “Briber-In-Chief”, our Congress, and the American people would rather try the easy way out of our dilemma, not the best way. Here is Henry Ford once again: “Time and money spent in helping men to do more for themselves is far better than mere giving.”

The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All The Lobbyists

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents' Day

I think that Presidents’ Day should be changed to “Watch the parkin’ meters” Day:

Don't follow leaders
Watch the parkin' meters

Parkin’ meters do less harm than your average President.

Let's Waterboard Joe Lieberman Too

Joe Lieberman! Get in line! It’s getting to be a long line. So many “compasionate conservatives” say that waterboarding is like a walk in the park, that I think we should have them all be publicly waterboarded. You know, just for fun, and for some real “reality” TV. After all waterboarding doesn't really hurt anyone.

This is what Joe said after voting against a bill prohibiting waterboarding:

It is not like putting burning coals on people's bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological.

Life Of Faith

"Life of Faith" charm bracelets are being recalled due to a safety hazard. It seems they were painted with paint containing lead. Is this god’s way of reminding us of the second commandment?

The CPSC said the recalled bracelets have a silver-colored chain and silver-colored charms, including a Bible, angel, cross, heart and praying hands. The bracelets were sold with clear, crystal and pearl white beads. The recalled sets include a bracelet for a girl to wear, along with a smaller, matching bracelet for her doll.
It’s alright ma, like Bob Dylan said all those years ago:
Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

Is The Surge Working?

Depends which surge you’re talking about. We definitely do know however, that electricity is not surging in Iraq:

"I felt happy when the U.S. invaded Iraq because I thought the electricity problem will be solved, and we would have it all the time like other countries," Abdul-Kareem Hasan, a trader in Baquba told IPS.

But promises of reconstruction by western contractors proved empty, and there is now less electricity than during the sanctions.

In some cities, homes get electricity just an hour or two a day. Sometimes, there is no electricity for a week. People struggle to get alternative source of electricity.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain and others talk about how great things are in Iraq. This doesn’t sound like things in Iraq are going very well:
The winter has been hard without electricity. "We use wood fire to warm up the houses," resident Safa al-Hamdani said. "Electric heaters have become useless. So now we use a metal container, say 50cm by 20cm and burn wood in it. We have abandoned the world of modern technology."

"I dream of waking up and having a hot shower," said a local resident. "But I am now exhausted complaining about lack of electricity. I'm sure nobody can bear living in Iraq. It's a country in the stone ages."
George W. Bush pushes a country back to the “stone ages” and then lies to us that the “surge” is working. George W. Bush is the Anti-Midas, everything he touches turns to crap:
Iraq remains a great sump of human degradation and poverty, unaffected by the "surge." It was not a government critic but the civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, Tahseen Sheikhly, who pointed out this week that the city is drowning in sewage because of blocked and broken pipes and drains. In one part of the city, the sewage has formed a lake so large that it can be seen "as a big black spot on Google Earth."

In the coming weeks, we will see the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by American and British forces on 19 March, and the fall of Saddam Hussein on 9 April. There will be much rancorous debate in the Western media about the success or failure of the "surge" and the US war effort here.

But for millions of Iraqis like Bassim, the war has robbed them of their homes, their jobs and often their lives. It has brought them nothing but misery and ended their hopes of happiness. It has destroyed Iraq.
And we have the audacity to wonder why “they” hate us and want to kill us. Thanks to Georgie and his ilk the next 9/11 will probably be bigger and more devastating than the last one.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Musician Of Note - John Fogerty

John Fogerty is the epitome of both courage and conscience. Most people already know about all the great songs he has written and performed over the years with Creedence Clearwater Revival and as a solo artist. Also, most know that he sings great and plays a mean guitar.

Right now I’d like to focus on some of his anti-war songs. It makes me feel good to listen to songs like Deja Vu (All Over Again), Long Dark Night, and I Can’t Take It No More. Here is someone expressing and capturing how I think and feel through the magic of song. Thank You Mr. Fogerty. I’m glad we’re on the same side. Long Dark Night and I Can't Take It No More are from Revival.Deja Vu All Over Againis from the album of the same name.

Thanks to here is John Fogerty on the David Letterman show performing Long Dark Night and an abbreviated version of I Can’t Take It No More. The lyrics to both songs are printed out after the video clip.

Long Dark Night

George is in the jungle
Knockin' on the door
Come to get your children
Wants to have a war

Come on, lord you'd better run,
Be a long dark night before this thing is done

Brownie's in the outhouse
Katrina on the line
Government's a disaster
But George, he says it's fine

Come on, lord you'd better run,
Be a long dark night before this thing is done

Rummy's in the kitchen messin' with the pan
Dickie's in the back stealing everything he can
Come on, Lord you'd better run,
Be a long dark night before this thing is done

You better run, you better run,
Lord you better run, Lord you better run,

Runnin' down the highway
Shoutin' to the Lord
George's got religion
And you know he can't afford more, yeah

Come on, Lord you'd better run
Be a long dark night before this thing is done
Be a long dark night before this thing is done, oh Lord

I Can't Take It No More

I can't take it no more
I can't take it no more
I'm sick and tired of your dirty little war
I can't take it no more

You know you lied about the casualties
You know you lied about the WMD's
You know you lied about the detainees
All over this world

Stop talking about staying the course
You keep a-beating that old dead horse
You know you lied about how we went to war
I can't take it no more

I can't take it
I can't take it

I bet you never saw the old school yard
I bet you never saw the national guard
Your daddy wrote a check and there you are
Another fortunate son

I can't take it no more
I can't take it no more
I'm sick and tired of your dirty little war
I can't take it no more

Saturday, February 16, 2008

John "Hypocrite" McCain

John “The Tri-Bomber” McCain has said that waterboarding is torture and that it is illegal. Last Wednesday, however he voted against Democratic-sponsored legislation supported by anti-torture advocates that sought to ban waterboarding and other coercive tactics by the CIA.

From the website:

McCain's vote prompted disappointment among civil liberties and human rights advocates, who have frequently been allied with McCain on detention and interrogation issues. "It's not as if the Bush administration has given us any new reason to trust them on this issue," said Elisa Massimino, Washington director for Human Rights First. "The only thing that seems to have changed is that an election is looming closer."

George "Hypocrite" Bush

From a talk he gave at Harvard way back in February 2002 called Distorted Morality: America's War on Terror? Noam Chomsky gives good advice on how we should view the character of George W. Bush:

…when George Bush tells us that he is the most devoted Christian since the Apostles, we should believe him, take him at his word and we should therefore conclude that he certainly has memorized, over and over again, in his Bible reading classes and in church, the famous definition of "hypocrite" that's given in the gospels. Namely, the hypocrite is the person who applies to others standards that he refuses to apply to himself. So if you are not a hypocrite you assume that if something is right for us then it's right for them and if it is wrong when they do it, it is wrong when we do it. That is really elementary and I assume that the President would agree and all of his admirers as well.
I believe that what Mr. Chomsky is saying is that George W. Bush is as much a terrorist as Osama bin Laden, and I think that I agree with him. What is a terrorist? What is terrorism? Here is Noam Chomsky again:
Well, to begin with, what is terrorism? Got to say something about that. That is supposed to be a really tough question. Academic seminars and graduate philosophy programs and so on -- a very vexing and complex question. However, in accordance with the guidelines that I mentioned, I think there is a simple answer, namely, we just take the official U.S. definition of terrorism. Since we are accepting the pronouncements of our leaders literally, let's take their definition. In fact, that is what I have always done. I have been writing about terrorism for the last twenty years or so, just accepting the official definition. So, for example, a simple and important case is in the U.S. army manual in 1984 which defines terrorism as the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious or ideological in nature.
Isn’t this what George W. Bush has done to the Iraqi and Afghani people? Headline Of The Day

Great cars for first dates

Friday, February 15, 2008

What Happens When Bribery Stops Working?

In this case, at least, the bribers stop bribing.

The National Association of Home Builders, one of the top 10 corporate donors to politicians, has stopped contributing to congressional candidates after it failed to get what it wanted in recent anti-recession legislation.
It’s all the Land of Make-Believe on K Street:
Election experts said the lobby's move illustrated how closely interest groups tie their donations to the decisions they hope lawmakers will take on their behalf -- a connection that usually goes unspoken.
Let’s all just keep pretending that it’s all legal, nobody is breaking any laws and that our politicians aren’t bought and paid for:
Ethics lawyers routinely warn interest groups to avoid saying or implying that the money they provide to candidates compensates them for taking a position on a particular piece of legislation. Such quid pro quos could be considered illegal gratuities or bribes.

But lawmakers do not like to be reminded in public that lobbyists offer them money in hopes of receiving favorable treatment.
It would be a good thing if this withdrawal of bribery by the Homebuilders does draw attention to this situation:
"Lobbies like to pretend that congressional action and their donations aren't tied, " said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "But the home builders just confirmed that they are."

The home builders' announcement also explodes the oft-repeated assertion by politicians that lobbyists deal with them only at arm's length. "How many members of Congress have you heard say, 'People donate to me, but it has no effect at all'?" Sloan said. "What the home builders have done is expose the underbelly of the connection between money and politics."
Will this end all the bribery that is undermining our democracy? I’m not holding my breath.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Karl Rove And Stink, Part Three

Yesterday I posted about Karl Rove and what he had to say about the economy. I’m going to revisit what he said on Fox News once again today. By way of this is what Mr. Rove said:

Last night on Fox News, former Bush aide Karl Rove claimed that the economy is partly responsible for his former boss’s record low approval ratings. But according to Rove, the media — not Bush’s disastrous policies — are to blame:

O’REILLY: The negativity toward President Bush is Iraq driven?

ROVE: I think it’s principally. I think the economy — the media has been beating the drum for years and years and years that the economy stinks. And after a while, that begins to color people’s attitudes.
Today while reading the news I found out that Ben Bernanke is saying that the economic outlook is worse.

Yo Karl, Ben Bernanke works for the U.S. government, not the news media! His drum beating might be coloring people’s attitudes too.

Don't Vote For John McCain

Straight Talk = Lies.

John “The Tri-Bomber” McCain displays all of the worst qualities of politicians. He will say and do anything to get elected. He claims to be against torture, but his actions don’t line up with his rhetoric.

It's a mighty fine line to walk. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) opposes torture. But when the Senate held a vote yesterday that would effectively prevent the CIA from employing torture by restricting interrogation techniques to those under the Army Field Manual, he voted against it.
That’s from Paul Kiel over at TPM Muckraker. Read the entire article by Mr. Kiel over at TPM Muckraker.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 Headline Of The Day

Naked M&Ms in Times Square draw lawsuit

Karl Rove And Stink, Part Two

Sheryl Crow recounts her encounter with Karl Rove:

I’m shaking even talking about it again. I feel like I got his stink on me.
Karl must really know how to impress the ladies.

Karl Rove And Stink, Part One

So Karl Rove thinks that we wouldn’t notice on our own how bad the economy is. We wouldn’t see the foreclosure signs all over our neighborhood, or the price of gas at the pump, or how tough it is to get a mortgage at the bank, or that our stocks, mutual funds, and 401k’s are down, or what our credit card statement says, etc, etc, etc…

Last night on Fox News, former Bush aide Karl Rove claimed that the economy is partly responsible for his former boss’s record low approval ratings. But according to Rove, the media — not Bush’s disastrous policies — are to blame:

O’REILLY: The negativity toward President Bush is Iraq driven?

ROVE: I think it’s principally. I think the economy — the media has been beating the drum for years and years and years that the economy stinks. And after a while, that begins to color people’s attitudes.
It’s only because the media tells us, because Karl thinks we’re too stupid to notice on our own. Hey Karl! You’ve hung out with that idiot president of ours for too long. Not all of the American people are as stupid as he is.

Also, I’m going on the record here and saying DON’T VOTE FOR JOHN MCCAIN unless you like getting screwed:
Yet the right wing continues to downplay the faltering economy. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently blamed it all on the American people, saying that it’s just “psychological.”

Bush Just Keeps Catapulting The Propaganda

Lots of cuss words come to mind upon reading the New York Sun headline that says: “Senate Okays Telecom Immunity in Secret Surveillance”. How can George W. Bush say this with a straight face:

"This good bill passed by the Senate provides a long-term foundation for our intelligence community to monitor the communications of foreign terrorists in ways that are timely and effective and that also protect the liberties of Americans," Mr. Bush said.
Oh, I forgot, he probably said it with that asinine smirk of his. Only Bush can call a bad bill a “good bill” and only Bush can describe a bill that strips away more of our civil liberties as one that “protects the liberties of Americans”.

How Stupid Are Republicans?

Stupid enough to vote for George W. Bush twice. Yes, that’s the obvious answer. However, let me ask you this: Did Ronald Reagan ever raise taxes during his presidency? If you answered “no”, you are wrong. If you answered “a little bit”, you are wrong. If you answered “yes, in fact, he is responsible for the biggest peacetime tax increase in American history, you are absolutely correct! Did Reagan raise taxes more than once? Again if you answered “yes”, you get a gold star. Take a look at this excerpt from The Wages of War by Steve H. Hanke published in Forbes on December 8, 2003:

Just look at what happened to President Reagan's supply-side tax cut of 1981. Less than a year later the Gipper put his pen to another tax law that raised taxes by almost 1% of GDP, making it the biggest peacetime tax increase in American history. And that was not all. In every subsequent year of Reagan's presidency, with the exception of 1988, Congress passed and Reagan signed tax increases.
I know what you’re saying: “Hey Paul, I can’t believe something published in that leftist Forbes magazine!” Well, let’s take it even further to the left with the New York Times and Paul Krugman:
But Ronald Reagan does hold a special place in the annals of tax policy, and not just as the patron saint of tax cuts. To his credit, he was more pragmatic and responsible than that; he followed his huge 1981 tax cut with two large tax increases. In fact, no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people.
I know, I know, we can’t believe everything we read. Especially in lefty, communist magazines and newspapers. How about what we read in studies done by lefty, communist governments, like ours. Here is referring to a study done by the U.S. Department of the Treasury:
In the period since 1968, the study said, "the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 was the biggest increase." That was the tax increase signed by Ronald Reagan, rescinding some of the effects of his huge tax cut passed the year before.
What about George H. W. Bush? “Read my lips, no new taxes”. Nope, he raised taxes too. George W. Bush? As far as I know he has not raised taxes, he’s just dug us into a huge financial hole that no one seems to be happy with, and left it for some other president to raise taxes to dig us out of.

Why does the myth persist that Republicans will lower taxes? They are very good at lying about it and telling us they won’t raise taxes. They aren’t so good at putting it into practice. Could it possibly be that we need taxes? To, you know, PAY FOR STUFF!

How stupid are Republicans? Very stupid, if they keep falling for the tired campaign slogan of “no new taxes”, or “tax cuts”, over and over again. Let’s put an end to this nonsense and cast our votes based on something other than the issue of lowering taxes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Missouri State University And The One True God

I wonder who is sending the hate mail? Didn’t Jesus say something about loving your enemies?

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus

Actually it is just all of our so-called “leaders” who are the Bozos and they are sending the bus toward the tallest cliff at full speed.

Here is Colin Powell speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN:

Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years. I am going to be looking for the candidate that seems to me to be leading a party that is fully in sync with the candidate, and a party that will also reflect America's goodness and America's vision.
Obviously, Colin Powell has never heard of “First do no harm”. How could he possibly have aligned himself with Bush and Cheney if he believes in “America’s goodness and America’s vision”.

And what does this say about Colin Powell:
And I will be looking for the candidate that I think will be the most competent candidate. The one who can deal with problems and bring the government together with the Congress to solve these problems. And so I know them all. I am a Republican, but I am keeping my options open at the moment.
Is he talking about the government of Mars here? The last time I checked the Congress was part of our government. This man scares me. Why didn’t he look for the most competent candidate the last time around? Yet another incompetent buffoon from the Bush administration and the Republican Right-wing who, like Tom Delay, STILL manages to get on television to be asked for his words of “wisdom”.

When will we ever learn?

Catapult That Propaganda

Actually it’s more like they’re using cannons:

For the first time in human history, there is a concerted strategy to manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it.

The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the production of our news.
Perhaps there really is a vast right-wing conspiracy, or at least a conspiracy of the powerful:
So, who exactly is producing fiction for the media? Who wrote the Zarqawi letters? Who created the fantasy story about Osama bin Laden using a network of subterranean bases in Afghanistan, complete with offices, dormitories, arms depots, electricity and ventilation systems? Who fed the media with tales of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, suffering brain seizures and sitting in stationery cars turning the wheel and making a noise like an engine? Who came up with the idea that Iranian ayatollahs have been encouraging sex with animals and girls of only nine?

Some of this comes from freelance political agitators. It was an Iranian opposition group, for example, which was behind the story that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was jailing people for texting each other jokes about him. And notoriously it was Iraqi exiles who supplied the global media with a dirty stream of disinformation about Saddam Hussein.

But clearly a great deal of this carries the fingerprints of officialdom. The Pentagon has now designated "information operations" as its fifth "core competency" alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own "psyop" element producing output for local media. This military activity is linked to the State Department's campaign of "public diplomacy" which includes funding radio stations and news websites. In Britain, the Directorate of Targeting and Information Operations in the Ministry of Defence works with specialists from 15 UK psyops, based at the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Musician Of Note-Chris Smither

I recently caught a program on PBS called The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Out of all the great performers on the show the one that I enjoyed the most was Chris Smither. Definitely a talent deserving of wider recognition. He performed the title cut from his album called Leave the Light On. Great guitar playing, great singing, great lyrics, great melody and great miked feet. Lo and behold there is a clip of it on Sorry that I couldn’t just embed the video here on my site.

I can embed this one though. From the same album here is Origin Of Species:

Saturday, February 9, 2008 Headline Of The Day

Huckabee says he's looking for a 'miracle'

The Law As Quickstep Will Doom Us All

Equality. Isn’t that what America is all about? The rule of law should be the same for all of us. It’s not, and it never has been. But, it is getting worse and worse under the Bush administration. Thanks to Dahlia Lithwick for writing such an excellent article over at Slate called Anybody's Guess.

It's been a banner week for water-boarding. This centuries-old practice of simulated drowning to extract false confessions and false testimony has really benefited of late from a good old legal reassessment and a smoking-hot PR campaign. In the course of a few short years, water-boarding has morphed from torture that unquestionably violates both federal and international law to an indispensable tool in the fight against terror.
We as Americans are doomed if this continues. The threat is not from terrorists, but from our own government. Laws don’t mean anything anymore to the rich and powerful. If you want to you can go ahead and break the law. Then just follow these easy steps:
First, the administration breaks the law in secret. Then it denies breaking the law. Then it admits to the conduct but asserts that settled law is not in fact settled anymore because some lawyer was willing to unsettle it. Then the administration insists that the basis for unsettling the law is secret but that there are now two equally valid sides to the question. And then the administration gets Congress to rewrite the old law by insisting it prevents the president from thwarting terror attacks and warning that terrorists will strike tomorrow unless Congress ratifies the new law. Then it immunizes the law breakers from prosecution.
We are doomed if this attack on the rule of law continues unchecked in the future. Congress bears as much responsibility for this as the Executive branch.

This is not MY America:
Enter the new attorney general, Michael Mukasey, with the promise that he would neither investigate nor prosecute the people who tortured, since they relied on (secret) Justice Department authorization to do so. The second was to establish clearly and unequivocally that the question of whether water-boarding was illegal in 1968, legal in 2002, illegal again in 2006, and perhaps legal again tomorrow will be determined by the president and nobody else. In secret.
No one should be above the law, and that includes the FBI, CIA, and the Executive branch of the government.

We are little scaredy-cats, we are blind and we are doomed:
This is not simply the theory of a unitary executive at work; this isn't the notion that the president makes the law, and acts of Congress are legal elevator music. This vision of executive power is that the law not only emanates from the president but also ebbs and flows with his hunches, hopes, and speculations, on a moment-to-moment basis. What we are hearing now from senior Bush administration officials is that if the president thinks someone looks kinda like a terrorist and the information sought from him seems kinda worth getting, it will be legal to torture him. And it's legal no matter who justified it, regardless of the supporting legal doctrine, because, well, the president just had a feeling that the information would prove valuable.
The first step we should take is to stop calling the situation in Iraq a war. The phrase “The War on Terror” should be abolished. The situation in Iraq is an occupation by U.S. armed forces. If Bush is no longer a “wartime president” he will lose some of his power. We need for that to happen.
I'm sure there's some law professor out there who can make the legal argument that executive power in wartime encompasses even the reckless guesses and impressionistic whims of a single man, as they arise. At which point, that too will become an "open question" on which "reasonable people will differ." And the dance will begin again.
We are doomed as long as this dance continues. Somebody stop the music.

Friday, February 8, 2008

More Republican Strong-arm Tactics

Some of us don’t want endless war. Some of us try to put a stop to endless war:

One giant sign said, "No Military Predators in Our Town." Another message on a pink placard read, "Join the Marines. Travel to Exotic Lands. Meet Exciting and Unusual People -- And Kill Them."
However, the Republicans will not stand for it. How dare anyone support peace during fake wartime:
Republican lawmakers in Washington fired back this week, threatening to take back more than $2 million of federal funding to the city as well as money designated for the University of California-Berkeley, the campus that became a haven of protests during the Vietnam War.
In Washington, a group of Republican lawmakers have introduced the Semper Fi Act of 2008 -- named after the Marine motto -- to rescind more than $2 million of funds for Berkeley and transfer it to the Marine Corps.

"Like most Americans, I really get disturbed when taxpayer money goes to institutions which proceed to take votes, make policy or make statements that really denigrate the military," said Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, a co-sponsor of the bill.
The bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, said in a written statement, "Berkeley needs to learn that their actions have consequences."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bogus "Real-Life"

However, the torture is real:

The scenario was like a real-life episode of "24," the official said. Ultimately, the nuclear threat proved bogus.

Let's Waterboard Tony Fratto, Too!

After all, it’s not really torture, we don’t do no stinking torture. Waterboarding is A-OK:

Fratto also apparently used the administration's it's not torture because "we do not torture" line. And "torture is illegal" and this was deemed legal therefore it's not torture. Headline Of The Day

Britney Spears' life at risk after discharge, parents say

John "Bomb Bomb Bomb" McCain

If John "The Tri-Bomber" McCain can’t properly do the job he has now, then why should we trust him with the presidency?

At the “last minute,” McCain decided to skip the vote, even though his plane landed in DC in time. McCain claimed that he was “too busy”.

Wal-Mart, Environmental Activist?

I am always skeptical about “Big Business” promoting itself about being environmentally friendly in some way. However, I don’t know what the downside is to Wal-Mart and it’s promotion of compact fluorescent light bulbs.

I already knew they were promoting the selling of compact fluorescent light bulbs:

At the Wal-Mart home office, they talk about swirls with a zeal that goes beyond product promotion, as if the bulbs are a pioneering product, a new way of thinking about retailing. Says Andrew Ruben, Wal-Mart's vice president of sustainability: "We realize that we can influence big things. Energy usage. Efficiency. Dependence on foreign oil. And we realized that if we're really going to move things, it's not about our direct footprint--our stores, our offices--it's about our supply chain and our customers. So this is about selling lightbulbs, but it's far bigger. This has huge implications for the world."
However, I didn’t know that they also were pushing for the reduction of the amount of mercury used in the manufacture of these light bulbs:
To reduce the amount of mercury in its CFLs, Wal-Mart worked closely with manufacturers GE, Royal Philips, Osram Sylvania and Lights of America. All four suppliers committed to achieving a greater reduction in mercury content than the 5 mg standard set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) earlier this year. These suppliers will also adhere to clean production techniques that will minimize mercury pollution from factories manufacturing CFLs.
One last observation; they’re not really bulbs, are they?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 Headline Of The Day

Britney Spears released from hospital

One Reason To Not Vote For Hillary Clinton

Clinton Accepts Fox News Debate:

"The candidates that can't face Fox, can't face Al Qaeda," said Roger Ailes, the Fox News CEO.
Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly has compared people who oppose participating in Fox News’ presidential debates to Nazis, claiming they “lie, distort, defame, all the time” using “propaganda techniques perfected by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of information.” Fellow Fox News anchor Mort Kondracke claimed they are “not about free speech” and guilty of “junior grade Stalinism.”

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Even More To Waterboard

After all, it’s not really torture, and besides, everybody does it. Let Tom Toles show you.

Why Blogger?

Why won’t you use my name anymore? As in: "posted by Paul Thoreau". Beats me. I’ve tried everything I can to fix it. Any ideas?

Super Duper Tuesday

It doesn’t seem very “super” to me. Does anybody really care who wins the nominations? I feel so apathetic about all of this. Do John McCain, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama represent the best of what America is all about? I wish John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich were the front runners. What kind of a name is Mitt anyway? It doesn’t sound very American to me.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

John McCain And Your Home

Housing crisis, what housing crisis? I don’t care about no stinking housing crisis, just don’t mess with me and my guns:

Sen. John McCain isn't too worried. Of the 10 "issues" McCain discusses on his Web site, the possibility that bankers are going to come and take away American homesteads isn't mentioned, not even in his treatise on the economy. Gun ownership gets more discussion.

Maybe his plan is "get off my property."

More Guns, Less Medicine

Bush Presents Budget That Would Increase The Deficit. George W. Bush, our number one fiscal conservative, once again chooses war over the welfare of his fellow Americans. It’s only money, why not throw it all down the huge black hole that is the Bush vision for America? Everyone repeat the mantra: We are not safe, we are not safe, we are not safe…

Bush Budget. Seems like an oxymoron. Headline Of The Day

Judge rebuffs lawyer seeking removal of Spears' father

Rush Limbaugh Is Such A Nice Man

"Lindsey Graham is certainly close enough to John McCain to die of anal poisoning." Rush Limbaugh

An Irrational Chicken Little Of A President

Keith Olbermann poses the question: “Pathological liar or idiot-in-chief”? Well, my answer would be both.

A pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief. It is the nightmare scenario of political science fiction: A critical juncture in our history and, contained in either answer, a president manifestly unfit to serve, and behind him in the vice presidency an unapologetic warmonger who has long been seeing a world visible only to himself.
But wait, there’s more:
You, Mr. Bush, are a bald-faced liar.

And moreover, you have just revealed that John Bolton and Norman Podhoretz and the Wall Street Journal editorial board are also bald-faced liars.
If only we had more people like Keith Olbermann working in the news media maybe we wouldn’t have so many problems to face.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mike Huckabee And Jesus

This is too close to reality for me. Bring back the separation of church and state!

Political Phone Calls

Why are the phone calls promoting various political candidates not considered as nuisance calls? Are they not also telemarketing? If businesses can’t do it, why can politicians? There should be a “do not call list” for politicians and robo-calls.

Wow! I Actually Agree With Brit Hume

Bill Kristol:

White women are a problem, that's, you know -- we all live with that.
Brit Hume:
Bill, for the record, I like white women.
Why did the New York Times hire Bill Kristol? They already have David Brooks. If they keep this up they will need to change their slogan to: “All the idiots that are fit to print”.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

We Need A President Who Knows What He's Talking About

John "Bomb Bomb Bomb" McCain:

And guess what? Spending got out of control. Republicans lost the 2006 election not over the war in Iraq, (but) over spending. Our base became disenchanted.
That’s not the way I remember it. I seem to remember many voters expressing dissatisfaction about the “war” (actually an occupation) in Iraq. And guess what? I’m right and McCain is wrong:
Incidentally, public opinion surveys do not back up McCain's claim that Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 over the issue of spending.

Associated Press-Ipsos polling that tracks what people consider the most important issues facing the country picked up hardly anyone citing government spending or the federal deficit as an important problem in 2006. Rather, polling said the economy, Iraq, terrorism and scandals and corruption in government rated highly in 2006.

More To Waterboard

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain could be added to the list of people who should be waterboarded for not voting against Michael Mukasey. They skipped the vote. They should be doing their jobs in the Senate, instead of running around the country trying to get elected as President. They should put the good of our country before their own selfish ambitions. I would vote for someone whose actions speak louder than their words.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A Corpse As A Candidate

Media Is A Plural on the Democrats:

Clearly the Democratic faithful will be happy with either of the Last Candidates Standing as their standard-bearer in November. (Of course by now, most of them are so sick of Republican rule they would welcome a corpse as a candidate if convinced it would win.)

Vintage George Bush

Barry Crimmins on George W. Bush doing the State of the Union thing:

It was a night of vintage George W. Bush -- which is to say he was arrogant, alarmist, petty, presumptuous, preposterous, predictable, pompous, bombastic, belligerent, bellicose, dogmatic, defensive, delusional, disingenuous, duplicitous, self-righteous, swaggering, stammering, smug, smarmy, irrational, illogical, impervious, insincere, manipulative, maudlin, far-fetched, taunting, threatening, intellectually bankrupt, ethically bereft, factually impoverished, jingoistic and awful. He gave a performance for the ages and the ages will neither forgive nor forget him for it.
Great description of Dubya, except for one word. Vintage?