Monday, March 31, 2008

April Fools Day

From Bloggers Play Pranks on April Fools Day: Will You Get Tricked?

Its time for April Fools Day again and like every year, bloggers are planning new pranks to fool and surprise their readers once again. You will hear lots of very believable stories, press releases and new web 2.0 services launching on April 1, but hey! its April fools day, do not get tricked.
Read the rest here.

Links With Your Substance Of Choice

There is no discrimination here, unlike some of those other blogs.

Sandlines: Mea culpa – Can It Liberate?

Bush’s plan for the inner cities

Classless

The House that Karl Built

Superdelegates: Guide to undecideds

A Most Wonderful Cartoon!

Pick a side Sparky! by Tom Tomorrow.

I love the Kurt Vonnegut quote at the end. Since it’s small I’ll reprint it here:

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.

The Wisdom Of Taxi Drivers

The economy and working people

Taxi drivers in Washington DC coping with hard times discuss what the government should do:

My favorite part of the video is the advice that the one cab driver gives about mortgages. His suggestion of changing peoples adjustable rates to fixed is simple and elegant. Why doesn't the government just quickly enact this into law?

Working people simply can't afford the high cost of everything in the United States. Raise the minimum wage!

Here are some parts of the video that I especially like:

PALEVSKY: Do you think the US government can do anything about it?

HALID: I believe so.

PALEVSKY: What can they do?

HALID: By bringing the troops home. Simple as that. I think that that will put the country on the right track. I do believe so.

PALEVSKY: Do you think it'll help the economy?

HALID: I think so. Yes.

TED, WASHINGTON TAXI DRIVER: Look at cost of living.

TADESA: [crosstalk] The cost of living going higher.

TED: Cost of living, everything going up: gasoline; housing; even groceries; stamps. Everything going up.

PALEVSKY: What can government do about it?

TED: Government? They have people that their specialty is just to work on that, like, economists, guys like the Fed, okay? You see, this is inflation right now. They have to give people raise to meet up with inflation.

Bankruptcy And Foreclosures

From Arming against foreclosure By Ruth Mantell:

"The marketplace is designed so that it will protect owners of vacation homes and second homes, but yet a consumer who is struggling to make their mortgage payments cannot include their home," said David Berenbaum, executive vice president with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
Once again the rich have the law on their side. It seems like it was not all that long ago that the Bush Administration made it harder for average people to declare bankruptcy. Now, some are saying it would help homeowners who face foreclosures to be able to declare bankruptcy. How much more of Bush’s incompetence must we tolerate?

I Think They Can't, I Think They Can't, I Think They Can't

From The Little Administration That Couldn't By Tom Engelhardt:

History may not repeat itself, but the administration's repetitive acts these past seven years make an assessment of our economic situation possible, even if you are an economics dummy.

Just consider the record: Administration officials proved incapable of rebuilding two countries that their military occupied and damaged. In Afghanistan and Iraq, while talking up the President's "freedom agenda," they were the equivalent of a natural disaster, a whirlwind of destruction.
And now, with a mere ten "lame duck" months to go, comes the American economy…

You don't faintly need to understand economics to grasp the immediate danger. The people overseeing the handling of this crisis have done little these last years but hand money over to the rich, while running American power into the dirt.

Let me review our history lesson for a moment: No to nation-rebuilding, no to city-rebuilding, no to Congressional majority-building…

Who dares imagine that the people who brought you Iraq, the war, could begin the rebuilding of an economy, or even successfully caulk the cracks in the levees of a system that, in its complexity, puts Iraq's feeble economy to shame?

In some ways, an administration -- whatever its periodic changes of personnel -- can be compared to an individual. At a certain age, its urges become predictable, its habits set, its limits largely known. While change may be possible, you wouldn't want to bet your house on it.

So what exactly has the Bush administration proven itself good at? The twin skills of destruction and looting would stand at the top of any list. Perhaps that's because it chose to put its "eggs" in only two baskets -- those of the U.S. military and crony corporations.

Links Or Patties?

Links, of course:

Mukasey and Public Integrity

Gitmo and the G.O.P. Election Effort

Marc Rudov on O'Reilly Factor: "Men are depressed ... because men are allowing women to take over the world"

Imagined Snipers, Real Challenges

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Senator Robert Byrd On 4000 Souls

From 4,000 Souls by Senator Robert Byrd:

Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the start of our nation's invasion of Iraq. Again we are confronted with a sorrowful reminder of the consequences of that fateful decision by the death of four Americans killed in Baghdad, bringing the total number of American troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq to 4000. Each brave soul leaves behind devastated loved ones -- sons, daughters, wives, husbands, moms, and dads. Each tragic loss leaves a void -- a missing smile and loving embrace, an empty chair at the family dinner table -- that can never be filled.

As we mark this painful milestone, we must ask ourselves: what is the moral justification for allowing this war to continue? Can we honestly say that the disastrous mission in Iraq warrants the sacrifice of more of our troops and the heartache and loss that so many loved ones continue to suffer?

Another Fat Cat Gets What He Doesn't Deserve

While the rest of us suffer through a distressed economy, another CEO who helped cause the economic problems we now face, walks away with millions. Justice, American style.

SEC: Countrywide execs to get millions in stock

Jane Smiley On Iraq

I don’t like the “I told you so” attitude of some of this article, but I like pretty much everything else. From Why I Was Right About Iraq by Jane Smiley:

In other words, I was against the Iraq War because I distrusted the motives of its architects, because the story they cooked up was full of holes, and because when they were telling that story, their body language revealed their bad faith. I was also against the Iraq War because I could imagine myself as an Iraqi. Let's say China decided that regime change in Sacramento was necessary, so they landed an army at San Francisco and Los Angeles and carpet bombed us into throwing Arnie out. Would I embrace them? Would any American embrace them? The shock of invasion would certainly arouse anger and resistance. So, I saw, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld had no realistic understanding of human nature to add to their other personal failures.

Being against the Iraq War wasn't hard -- it was easy. The Iraq War made no sense, even as a wish. All wars cause death and destruction. To wish for a war on one's own soil is suicidal but sometimes necessary. To wish for a war on someone else's soil is to wish death and destruction on others, that is, it is like being an accessory to a murder. How hard is it not to want to be an accessory to a murder?
But, say the converted liberal hawks, now what?

Here's what. First, we recognize that the Bush administration committed a crime in the name of the American people. Then we do what it takes, both psychologically and financially, to repair the crime. The very first thing that this means is that every American who has in some way profited from this crime must relinquish the fruits of the crime. That means the oil companies. That means the contractors. That means the US government. We cannot keep anything that the Iraqis owned before we took it away from them. We cannot have their land. We cannot have their oil or its profits. We cannot have any sort of power over them. Here is what is preventing the US from leaving Iraq -- the US still wants something from Iraq and the Iraqis that we have no right to. It is the desire to salvage some part of what the Bush administration thought would be easy to claim that is keeping us there, and it is the unspoken complicity of the Democrats and the "prowar liberals" in this that makes it so hard for them to accept the failure of the enterprise.

Henry Paulson Proposes Big Changes

Henry M. Paulson is the United States Treasury Secretary and a member of the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors. He previously served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, one of the world's largest and most successful investment banks. Paulson was nominated by U.S. President George W. Bush to succeed John Snow as the Treasury Secretary.

Why do we continue to pick from the same old basket of rotten fruit? Can you say “conflict of interest?” The old adages “consider the source” and "the fox guarding the henhouse" come to mind when I hear of news like this: Sweeping Changes in Paulson Plan.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson plans Monday to call for sweeping structural changes in the way the government monitors financial markets, capping a broad review aimed at revamping a system of regulatory oversight built piecemeal since the Civil War.

If even only some of the changes get made, they would represent a major reworking of the U.S. regulatory system for finance. Such an outcome would likely take years and would also require major compromises from an increasingly partisan Congress.

Opposition is already emerging from critics who feel the document nods too far toward deregulation. The revamp process began early last year before the credit crunch and was initially aimed at improving American competitiveness. As such, it's a hybrid that both adds new rules to deal with recent financial woes but also simplifies old structures in a way that favors some in the finance industry.

I Miss Ron Paul

Why is it that the people in the United States that speak the truth are labeled as kooks, nuts, and just plain wacky by the main stream media?

I’d rather listen to Ron Paul speak about the issues than listen to Hillary Clinton speak about the non-issues.

Thoreau On The Bush Administration

From Fallacy, State, and Utopia By Thoreau:

A common statement regarding the incompetence of the Bush administration is that people who don’t believe government can solve a problem shouldn’t be in charge of running it. Whatever the merits or demerits of that statement, let’s get one thing straight: The Bush administration does think that the government can solve problems. They just don’t feel like using it to try to solve the problems that you care about. They’re more interested in solving such problems as their cronies’ need for easy money.

Dennis Perrin On Jeremiah Wright

From Land Of Chains by Dennis Perrin:

Jeremiah Wright's supposedly inflammatory statements about 9/11 and the ongoing specter of racism are uncontroversial to those following the real world. We live in horrific, corrupt times, and while I don't agree with everything Wright says, he's certainly not speaking fiction, primarily when it comes to American foreign policy. We are hated not so much for our freedoms, such as they are, but specifically for our mass murder, our torture, our occupations. There are other, cultural elements that are part of the overall mix, yet they are doubtless secondary to those seeking refuge from our cluster bombs and client armies. Wright's sermons about reaping what you sow is nothing new, especially in the Christian tradition. But to hear cable chatters and assorted reactionaries tell it, such time-honored concepts don't apply to the United States. The God who watches over us and guides our trigger-happy hand excuses any and all slaughter committed in His Holy Name. He wouldn't have endorsed that song about how He blesses us were the opposite the case.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I See Naked People

"Soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coastmen—Coast Guardmen, thanks for coming, thanks for wearing the uniform." George W. Bush at the Pentagon, March 19, 2008

Digitizing 100,000 Books

The British Library is working with Microsoft to digitize 100,000 books printed during the 19th century.

God Damn America And God Damn George W. Bush!!!

Third Marine Is Cleared of Charges, Given Immunity

Women and children are dead. No one is held accountable. No one is to blame. No one is responsible. Good damn Nancy Pelosi, too. Let’s put impeachment on the table and start with her.

The Surge At Work

U.S. Has Little Influence, Few Options in Iraq's Volatile South

More Links In The Chain

Here are some more links in the chain of fiber optics that some call the intertubes:

Clinton and Obama in Anthropological Perspective

The real uses of enchantment

Peru tribe battles oil giant over pollution

Welcome Image Winners 2008

Siegelman: Rove’s ‘fingerprints are smeared all over this case.’

Pelosi Has a Problem!

Today's Must Read

That Curious Idea of Resurrection

Uri Avnery On The American Presidential Race

Over at Counterpunch.org Uri Avnery has written Obama and the Process of Elimination. It is filled with some interesting thoughts. Here are my favorites:

Gradually, I lost my illusions. Joe McCarthy helped me along the way. I learned that with depressing regularity, the US is seized by some hysteria or other. But every time, just before the brink of the abyss, it draws back.
My friend Afif Safieh, now the chief PLO representative in the US, argues that there are two Americas: the America which exterminated the Native Americans and enslaved the blacks, the America of Hiroshima and McCarthy, and the other America, the America of the Declaration of Independence, of Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt.

In these terms, George Bush belongs to the first. Obama, his opposite in almost every respect, represents the second.

One can arrive at Obama by a process of elimination.

John McCain is a continuation of Bush. More attractive, probably more intelligent (which doesn't mean much). But he is more of the same. The same policy - a dangerous mix of intoxication with power and simple-mindedness. The same world of the Wild West myth, of Good Guys (Americans and their stooges) and Bad Guys (everybody else). A macho world of sham masculinity, where everything is seen through the sights of a gun.

McCain will go on with the wars, and may start new ones. His economic agenda is the same "swinish capitalism" (Shimon Peres' phrase), which has now brought disaster on the economy of the US, and the economy of all of us.

Eight years of Bush are enough for us. Thank you.
I spent some years struggling against Golda Meir, the worst Prime Minister Israel ever had. Almost all recent female leaders of countries have started wars: Margaret Thatcher started the Falklands War, Golda Meir bears the responsibility for the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Indira Gandhi made war on Pakistan, the current presidents of the Philippines and Sri Lanka are conducting internal wars.

The usual explanation is that in order to prevail in a man's world, a woman politician has to prove that she is at least as tough as the men are. When she comes to power, she wants to show that she, too, can make war and command armies. Hillary has already acted tough by voting for the disastrous Iraq war.
Hillary is a run of the mill politician. If McCain is a continuation of Bush, Hillary is an extension of the entire present American political system, the present policy and the present routine. But the world needs another America.
You can read the entire article at Counterpunch.org.

Musician Of Note - John Lennon

John Lennon was a peace activist killed by a gun in an act of violence.

Imagine the Second Amendment to the Constitution being about the automobile rather than the right to bear arms. We would have no laws and regulations regarding the automobile because it would infringe on the rights granted to us by the founders of this nation. You could drive as fast as you wanted to. You wouldn’t have to stop at red lights or stop signs. You could go both ways on a one way street. You could drive on the left side of the street. You wouldn’t need a driver’s license. You wouldn’t need automobile insurance. How many people would die because of this senselessness?

Nowhere in the Second Amendment does it say that Congress can not make laws to regulate the use of guns. The right to bear arms is not infringed with licenses, insurance (car owners must have it, why not gun owners) and regulation. Imagine gun regulation in place at the time of John Lennon’s death. Maybe he would still be alive today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Knuckleheads And Energy And Time

The following paragraph is from Advice From "Becoming a Writer" by Zuska:

Time and energy spent in efforts to educate knuckleheads about women's abilities and the barriers they face is time and energy that can't be spent for some other creative endeavor. And yet, the knuckleheads and the barriers must be dealt with. For even the energy required just to manage one's reactions to the endless series of knuckleheads and institutional barriers, without actually trying to do anything to educate the knuckleheads or remove the barriers, is energy no longer available for science. Possibly one of the most aggravating aspects of this work is that those dishing out the harassment and discrimination, those engaged in behavior that supports and enables institutional barriers, are the very ones who will tell you there is nothing for you to be so upset about. You are: overreacting, taking things out of context, lacking a sense of humor, misunderstanding, complaining about things that are just "normal", magnifying the significance of a possibly regrettable, but singular, slip-up. You are accused of seeing sexism everywhere, because you dare to point it out somewhere.
I admit to knowing pretty much nothing about sexism in the field of science. When I read the paragraph that I have borrowed from Zuska I think of two things. First, how much time and energy is wasted by scientists, and other rational people, because of creationists and intelligent designers (the knuckleheads). Second, I think of how much time and energy is wasted by people going to various religious ceremonies and praying. Time and energy spent saying and hearing the same thing over and over again must certainly dull the creative mind into some sort of unthinking rote-loving slush. I feel especially angry and sad when I think of children being forced to go through all of the propaganda of organized religion. I realize that people do all of this because they think it is the right thing to do. I simply disagree. It would take a much longer post to go into why I disagree. For now, I just wanted to express what the paragraph by Zuska made me think of.

Fleeing A Sinking Ship

Bear Stearns Chairman James Cayne sold his entire stake in the company the other day. He made $61.3 million by selling all of his stock in the company. At one time his shares were worth one billion. I have no sympathy for him. He is partly responsible for the collapse of Bear Stearns and the economic mess we now are in, and he still gets sixty-one million dollars.

If there is a federal law for a minimum wage, why is there no federal law for a maximum wage?

This Just Sucks

According to Foreclosing on Fido people are abandoning their pets by leaving them behind INSIDE their foreclosed homes.

Read Foreclosing on Fido carefully. These two phrases just pop off the page: “In the swank Country Club area of Anthem” and “abandoned them in their foreclosed high-priced homes.” So these people weren’t just greedy and stupid (getting a mortgage that they couldn’t afford); they’re also assholes that abandon helpless animals. Why are so many people in the United States such jerks? I bet all these animal abusers voted for Bush. Twice.

Further on in the article it says that this problem hits across all income levels. Also, further on in the article is this gem:

…one in four admit they are leaving their pet behind because they're losing their homes and relocating to a leased unit that won't allow animals.
How callous are these people that they won’t go to the trouble to at least take these animals to their local animal shelter?

I have little sympathy for these people, even if they did lose their homes. Maybe the loss of their homes was some sort of Karma that was before its time.

Links Or Patties?

Links, of course:

That Curious Idea of Resurrection

Ensuring Permanence

LIBERALS.

Sign the McCain FEC Complaint Letter

No Terrors for Me

Hillary's Rev. Wright

Kinks' Ray Davies 'just another punk trying to make contact'

Faith Vs. Speculation: Religious Instructor Resigns In Disagreement Over Reality of Jesus

Feds: Saddam financed lawmakers' trip

Five Things You Need to Know to Understand the Latest Violence in Iraq

Nuclear Parts Sent To Taiwan In Error

How Low Will They Go?

Over at This Modern World Jonathan Schwarz writes about Meaghan McCain and how she is Loosely inspired. He closes with a great quote from Hunter S. Thompson from 1972.

Jonathan gives us:

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
Wikiquote gives us more:
If the current polls are reliable... Nixon will be re-elected by a huge majority of Americans who feel he is not only more honest and more trustworthy than George McGovern, but also more likely to end the war in Vietnam. The polls also indicate that Nixon will get a comfortable majority of the Youth Vote. And that he might carry all fifty states... This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes... understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose... Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?
How low can they go? Unfortunately, there seems to be no limit.

The Last Throes

International Zone under curfew as attacks continue

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Did You Know?

Did you know that the Transportation Security Administration has a blog? Well, they do. It’s called Evolution of Security. See, the Bush administration DOES believe in evolution.

Under the Bush administration it should really be called the Darwinism of Security, though.

The Almighty David Brooks Has Spoken

The other day David Brooks was on the Today Show saying the same thing he says in his column entitled The Long Defeat. On the Today Show he said more explicitly, than he does in his column, that Hillary should quit. By the way, he seemed to be very pleased with himself for coming up with the phrase “audacity of hopelessness.”

I think that if David Brooks thinks Hillary should quit, then she shouldn’t. Between Hillary and Barack, I’ll take Barack. Between Hillary and David, I’ll take Hillary. Why is Brooks so concerned about the Democrats all of a sudden? What is his ulterior motive?

RIP Dear Leader's Daily Thought

The last post is dated Thursday, December 07, 2006. It’s been a long time without my Dear Leader. I miss him.

Flep You

This seems like an appropriate post to follow my previous post.

Why Kids Curse by Allison Aubrey:

No one expects a 3-year-old who loves to dress like a princess to swear like a sailor.

But early exposure is not so uncommon. Who's to blame? Well, there's a pretty apt quote from a 1970 Pogo cartoon: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Read more here.

I think they would have had more success with fleb.

Goin' Down To South Park

Via CBS Sunday Morning:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

That Thing Jeremiah Wright Said About AIDS

It seems that many Americans think that since Jeremiah Wright made factually incorrect statements about AIDS, then everything else that he said is factually incorrect also. He should not be so easily dismissed. The things he is talking about have been ignored for too long.

Over at Sufficient Scruples Kevin T. Keith has written a very interesting and enlightening article entitled Obama and Black Distrust of the Health Professions. Mr. Keith gives very reasoned, articulate, factual background to the African-American perception of health care in the United States. I wonder how many of the Americans that were so quick to dismiss Rev. Wright as a lunatic are aware of the history of black America that Mr. Keith brings to our attention. I knew some, but not all of the information contained in his article. This is a long article, but well worth your time. It helps give the statements made by Jeremiah Wright a context that is missing from most of the other “reporting” that’s been done on this topic.

I have posted elsewhere on my reaction to Obama’s speech on race, and conservative reactions to it. But yesterday’s column by Michael Gerson of the Washington Post moves me to comment here specifically on the provocative remarks about AIDS that have been quoted in this controversy, and their implications for the larger questions that must be faced by this country.

As most people will be aware, the right wing has been Swift-boating Barack Obama for the past few weeks over controversial statements made at various times over several decades by the pastor of the black Baptist church Obama attends in Chicago.
Read the rest here.

CNN.com Headline Of The Day

Nude wife photos stir up Sarkozy UK visit

Links With Your Substance Of Choice

There is no discrimination here, unlike some of those other blogs.

Obama pastor cancels scheduled appearances

Two Iraqis Who Don’t Think We’ve Done their Country Anything but Great Harm

Iraq Winter Soldier Hearings Show Weakness of Independent Media

None so blind as those who will not see

Were They Wearing Brown Shirts?

Elsewhere on the Interweb (3/26/08)

No hard feelings?

Hillary Amplifies Criticism Of Obama Over Wright

Press Bias and Campaign 2008

Paola Antonelli + Benoit Mandelbrot

I Took On Chuck Norris And Survived

The mythical version of Chuck Norris should have beaten me to a pulp BEFORE I posted these:

Chuck Norris - Guns, God and gays

Let’s Visit With Chuck Again, He’s So Much Fun

Now it’s a day later and there is no pulp to be found.

Ed Brayton seems to still be breathing also.

Jack Bogle Speaks Truth To Power

I have great admiration and respect for Jack Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group. He seems to be one of the few “really big financial guys” that thinks the customer is important. I think he sees this from the point of view that it’s good for your business to treat your customer fairly. I think he also believes treating your customer fairly is the ethical thing to do. A rare bird, someone who is in the financial business for reasons other than just making lots of money for himself. If only there were more like him.

Here is an excerpt from the Nightly Business Report which was broadcast on Monday March 25, 2008:

SCOTT GURVEY: But not every investor is satisfied. Jack Bogle sees a double standard.

JACK BOGLE: It is to me remarkable that all these capitalists who say just keep the government out of the way and we'll do fine are the first ones in line when they're coming to search for help -- you know, go to the government whenever you get in trouble. And so I'm deeply troubled by the conflict between those two kind of polar positions.

SCOTT GURVEY: Bogle says it is time to revive the Glass-Steagall act of 1933, which separated commercial banks from investment banks. That law was repealed in 1999. Scott Gurvey, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, New York.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another Privacy Right Goes Down The Drain

Well, this here “victory” A Victory for Peeping Toms is just plain wrong.

Links With Your Substance Of Choice

There is no discrimination here, unlike some of those other blogs.

A study in contrasts

Ursula K. Le Guin's Interview

Phil Donahue on "shut up and sing"

Cheney On 4,000 Troop Deaths In Iraq: ‘The President Carries The Biggest Burden, Obviously’

"Legendary" GOP Strategist Launches Hillary Namecalling Effort


Outsiders play up news of mayor

Spitzer Miami tryst alleged

Let's Visit With Chuck Again, He's So Much Fun

From the most recent column by Chuck Norris:

Reading the news this past week, one could easily conclude we have lost our minds as well as any remaining connection with our Founding Fathers. Three headlines thrice prove we are heading down three wrong roads.

Guns in the news

First, there was the Supreme Court's wrangling with the Second Amendment. Should it allow private citizens or only public servants ("state militias") "to keep and bear arms"?

Is someone joking? Could 27 words be any clearer?! "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Yes Chuck, someone is joking. I believe it is you. The Second Amendment is the MOST disputed section of the entire Constitution.

A somewhat random search of the internet gives us some examples. First, someone I would presume is on Chuck’s side of the fence when it comes to gun control. Even he notices that there is a dispute. From The American Jingoist:
The dispute between those who favor gun controls and those who don't is predicated on their respective interpretations of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and specifically on the term, "a well regulated militia."
Next let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about the Second Amendment. Hmm, the first thing I notice is: “This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.”

From The Carpetbagger Report we get:
It’s hard to believe that after over two centuries, the Supreme Court has never definitively ruled on whether the 2nd Amendment protects an individual’s right to “keep and bear arms.”

But that’s about to change. The Supreme Court announced this morning that it will hear a DC case that will probably settle the question, at least for now.
The justices agreed to hear an appeal from the District of Columbia, whose gun-control law — one of the strictest in the nation — was struck down by the lower federal courts earlier this year. The case will probably be argued in the spring.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down sections of the Washington gun law that make it exceedingly difficult to legally own a handgun, that prohibit carrying guns without a license even from one room to another, and that require lawfully owned firearms to be kept unloaded.

The Second Amendment, surely one of the most disputed passages in the United States Constitution and one whose punctuation is not always rendered consistently, states this in its entirety: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Supreme Court has never directly addressed the basic meaning of that passage. When it last considered a Second Amendment case, in 1939, it addressed a somewhat peripheral question, holding that a sawed-off shotgun was not one of the “arms” that the Founding Fathers had in mind.
The debate is specifically over the language of the amendment itself. Lyle Denniston posed the question nicely: “[D]oes the Second Amendment guarantee an individual right to have a gun for private use, or does it only guarantee a collective right to have guns in an organized military force such as a state National Guard unit?”

Denniston added that the justices may be predisposed to favor a more conservative, individual approach.
And back to Wikipedia. From another entry:
In the United States, the meaning of "bear arms" is a matter of recent dispute and continuing political debate. One argument is whether the expression involves the rights of the individual to 'bear arms' meaning to 'have arms', or whether it relates to a military service meaning of 'bear arms' as with the functioning and maintenance of a militia.
Let’s examine three of the many definitions of the word “clear”:
  • Free from flaw, blemish, or impurity.
  • Plain or evident to the mind; unmistakable.
  • Free from doubt or confusion; certain.
My advice Chuck; put down your Bible once in a while and pick up a dictionary instead. When you write "we have lost our minds" you may include yourself in that group if you like, but please don't include me.

Apparently the disconnect with our Founding Fathers concerning the declaration of war does not concern Chuck, as long as he gets to keep his guns.

Oh, and one last thing. How and why does a headline prove anything?

Chuck Norris - Guns, God and gays

Wow! I’m glad that Ed Brayton has written about this, because I’m still scratching my head in amazement. It’s kind of hard for me to get past the name that Chuck Norris has chosen for his column. Yes, it really is Guns, God and gays. Is his column about two topics? Guns and God and gays? Perhaps only gays get into heaven? Or did Chuck want his column to be about three topics? Guns, God, and gays? Either way, I can’t help but wonder what Chuck Norris thinks about when he lays his head on his pillow at night. Guns, God and gays. I wish I could get that image out of my head. And why do guns take precedence over God in Chuck’s world?

I heartily recommend checking out Chuck Norris: The Gift That Keeps On Giving:

I really must send Worldnutdaily founder Joseph Farah a fruit basket or something to thank him for giving Chuck Norris a weekly column. No one else would have even considered giving that dullard a job that involved working with words or ideas, but Farah had a vision. And that vision has provided so much fodder for this blog that, truly, my cup overfloweth. His latest column is really quite amusing to read.
Read the rest over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

Even though I know the correct use of the word precedence, I’m willing to bet that Chuck gets more readers than I do. Life just isn’t fair.

Bush's War

Bush’s War. Great title. It certainly isn’t my war.

The first part aired last night. The second part airs tonight. PBS has the full program available online.

I Wish We Could Be Celebrating Fifty Years Of Peace As Well

CBS Sunday Morning did a segment this past Sunday on the 50th anniversary of the peace symbol that I found interesting. I did not know the history behind the origins of what is now known as the peace symbol. What I found most interesting is that the symbol is based on the Naval sign language of semaphore. I wish I could post the video. It seems that none is available.

From The 50th Anniversary Of The Peace Symbol:

We all know the Peace Symbol, which Americans of a certain age associate with the protests against the Vietnam War. Fewer know that the symbol is much older than that, dating back to ANOTHER protest across the sea in Britain.
You can read more here.

CNN.com Headline Of The Day

Pamela Anderson's latest marriage annulled

Monday, March 24, 2008

Whoopee! My First Negative Comment

First off, let me say that I take my blog seriously, and put a lot of effort into it. I’m very new to this blogging thing and I haven’t received many comments from readers so far. However, today Jed Rothwell sent me my very first negative comment. So I thought I would honor Mr. Rothwell with this post.

I’m probably opening up a can of worms, Pandora’s Box, and even more when I say that I want my blog to be open to all opinions from all people. I don’t believe in censorship, but I hate trolls. Therefore, if you choose to comment, I only ask that you back your opinions with facts and logic. I would also hope for some courtesy and civility.

That said, here is the comment from Mr. Rothwell:

Cold fusion was not a flop. The cold fusion effect was replicated by hundreds of world class laboratories such as Los Alamos, and these replications were published in mainstream, peer-reviewed journals. I suggest you review the literature before commenting on the research. You should not repeat ignorant, unfounded nonsense from the internet without checking original sources.

You will find a bibliography and hundreds of full text papers here:

http://lenr-canr.org

- Jed Rothwell
Librarian, LENR-CANR.org
March 24, 2008 9:47 AM
This email is in response to my post entitled Easter And Cold Fusion. There seems to be great debate over whether cold fusion was a flop. If you check out the website that Mr. Rothwell recommends you will find a section containing news articles. If you check out some of these articles you will find that many of them are about this debate. If you check out Wikipedia’s entry for cold fusion you will find that it is locked to “editing until disputes are resolved.” So much for the blanket statement “Cold fusion was not a flop.” Some say it is, and some say it isn’t. I didn’t say anything about cold fusion myself. I really don’t consider myself to be qualified. I just linked to PZ Myers, a blogger who is also a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He is also friends with Richard Dawkins. Remember the old saying: "You can tell a lot about someone by the company he keeps." I don’t think that PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins (published author and a professor at Oxford University, for christsake) contribute much “ignorant, unfounded nonsense” to the internet. Or to anything else for that matter.

So, Mr. Rothwell, I will post whatever I want to on MY blog, and you telling me I shouldn’t is not going to stop me.

One last thing, Mr Rothwell. Do you work the day shift? Are you firing off angry emails to poor hapless bloggers like me when you really should be working?

UPDATE - Tuesday, March 25, 2008: Mr Rothwell, has any scientist ever named an asteroid after YOU?

More On Hannitygate

Previously, I posted about Hannitygate here. You can get more information by reading Neo Nazi/White Supremacist Hal Turner Confirms Friendship And Kinship With Sean Hannity over at News Hounds.

Here is a quote from the article:

Last Wednesday (3/19/08), Hannity & Colmes guest Malik Shabazz asked Hannity, in response to his continual attacks on Barack Obama regarding his pastor, "Are you to be judged by your promotion and association with Hal Turner?”

Hannity at first denied knowing Turner, then asserted that Turner was someone running a campaign in New Jersey whom Hannity had banned from his radio show. Then in what sounded like a tacit admission to me, Hannity told Shabazz, “I’m not running for president.”

Two nights later (3/21/08) on Hannity & Colmes, Hannity professed to be saddened by the racial divisiveness engendered by the controversy about Obama and his pastor. But Hannity seems to have directly participated in far more divisiveness than Obama. Please write Hannity and FOX News and demand that Hannity come clean about his own associations before he continues accusing Barack Obama about his.

I Me Mine

What did George Sr. and Barbara do to little Georgie as a child? I do believe that this man thinks he is ENTITLED to the entire world and everything in it.

Foreign money is somehow OUR money. What a crazy concept.

Read Burning the candle at both ends.

This is not the first time he has said this either. He’s catapulting the propaganda once again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Obama/Wright vs Hannity/Turner

If it’s OK for Sean Hannity to do character assassination by association on Barack Obama, it should be OK for the rest of us to do character assassination by association on Sean Hannity.

From the Nation back in 2005 here is the beginning of Hannity's Soul-Mate of Hate:

This year a man named Hal Turner sat before his computer at his suburban home in North Bergen, New Jersey, posting bomb-making tips on his website, hailing the firebombing of an apartment containing "Savage Negroes" and calling for the murder of immigrants. "When enough illegal aliens get killed they will stop coming to the country!" Turner wrote.

Turner was once a prominent activist in New Jersey's Republican Party. To area conservatives, he was best known by his moniker for call-ins to the Sean Hannity Show, "Hal from North Bergen." For years, Hannity offered his top-rated radio show as a regular forum for Turner's occasionally racist, always over-the-top rants. Hannity also chatted with him off-air, allegedly offering encouragement to Turner as he struggled to overcome a cocaine habit and homosexual leanings. Turner has boasted that Hannity once invited Turner and his son on to the set of Fox News's Hannity and Colmes. Today, Turner lurks on the fringes of the far right, spouting hate-laced tirades on his webcast radio show. Hannity, meanwhile, remains mum about his former alliance with the neo-Nazi, homing in instead on the supposed racism of black and Latino Democrats.
Read the rest of this article by Max Blumenthal here.

Hannitygate NOW!!!

The Future Is Now

It takes a lot to amaze me. Watching CBS Sunday Morning this morning I was amazed. To find out why check out Medicine's Cutting Edge: Re-Growing Organs:

For more amazing science check out Regrowing Limbs: Can People Regenerate Body Parts? on 3QuarksDaily and Artificial Muscle Heals Itself, Charges IPod on DiscoveryNews.

John McCain Is A Sick Bastard

From the Los Angeles Times article John McCain is betting big on Iraq:

As America's war in Iraq enters its sixth year, Sen. John McCain is hoping that his long effort to send thousands more U.S. troops -- a "surge" that has helped lower casualties -- will propel him into the White House.
Read more here.

Over 4000 Americans would still be alive if we had NEVER sent U.S. troops to Iraq.

Musician Of Note - Marian McPartland

The great jazz pianist Marian McPartland turned 90 on Thursday. She still does her weekly radio show on NPR. The show is called Piano Jazz and has been on the air since April, 1979. Read Famed musician, 90, doesn't have time to be old on CNN.com for more information.

From 1974 here is Marian McPartland on YouTube playing In A Mist which was composed by Bix Beiderbecke:

Beer Drinking Scientists

The Quantum Pontiff says Ecologists Can't Handle Their Beer Like Physicists:

A New York Times article has appeared about a study on the effects of excessive beer drinking on scientific productivity. The study, (Tomas Grim, "A possible role of social activity to explain differences in publication output among ecologists." Oikos 117 (4), 484-487) done by the aptly named ecologist, Dr. Thomas Grim, claimed that scientific productivity among Czech avian ecologists and behavioral ecologists (as measured by number of publications, citation rate per paper, etc.) dropped according to how many beers the ecologists drank.
Read the rest here.

Mike the Mad Biologist Asks A Very Good Question

What Are Universities Spending Their Money On?

Easter And Cold Fusion

PZ Myers writes about This day in history:

This is Easter, the day Christians everywhere set aside to celebrate the day they were hoaxed by a gang of Middle Eastern charlatans into believing a local mystic rose from the dead. Zeno finds that this year it's also a day to remember another flop: the cold fusion debacle.
Read the rest here.

Why Did Barack Obama Have To Give A Race Speech?

I watched the Roundtable discussion segment on the This Week with George Stephanopoulos television program on ABC this morning. You can watch it here.

While watching the discussion about Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama’s “race” speech I began thinking about how white-centric the United States is. White is the norm and everything else is judged from that norm. I’m not saying this is the way it should be, I’m saying that this is the way it is. This is wrong. White people seem to think that they are the standard, and that other races are the deviation from that standard. White people tend to forget that they belong to a racial group when they think of their identity. If Black Americans are African-Americans, Indians are Native Americans; what are white Americans? They are most often, simply Americans. This is what I mean by white-centric.

The attitude that seems to be expressed from all the discussion of the Obama/Wright situation is that Obama HAD to make this speech. This means that Obama is being held to a different standard because of his race. If you don’t believe this, then ask yourself why George W. Bush has never HAD to give a “race” speech. Ask yourself why John McCain doesn’t HAVE to make a “race” speech. Ask yourself why Hillary Clinton doesn’t HAVE to make a “race” speech. Why is Barack Obama being held to a different standard?

The Bizarre Dichotomy Between Eggs And Bunnies And The Guy On The Cross

Easter is just another reminder that many people will believe anything. To hell with facts. Dead people can become living again.

From the Guardian Unlimited I give you Eggy art unscrambled:

Saint Francis of Assisi should have done something about Easter. It was this medieval visionary who had the idea of making a crib at Christmas time, who celebrated the animals in the stable and forged a link between the religious and popular midwinter festivals. Christmas imagery in Christian art has a joy and Franciscan realism that makes it attractive whatever your beliefs. But Easter is divisive; for the irreligious - or, let's face it, any child - there's a bizarre dichotomy between eggs and bunnies and the guy on the cross. This is not a great time of year for Christian public relations. Who but a steadfast believer wants to be asked to mourn among the chocolates?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

God Damn It! Jeremiah Wright Is Not A Lunatic

Who is the bigger lunatic, Jeremiah Wright or the late Jerry Falwell? To me they are both lunatics for believing in God, but that’s another story. Here are some choice quotes from Jerry Falwell:

I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”
I do believe, as a theologian, based upon many Scriptures and particularly Proverbs 14:23, which says “living by God's principles promotes a nation to greatness, violating those principles brings a nation to shame.”
I therefore believe that that created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812.
Here are some choice quotes from Jeremiah Wright:
War does not make for peace. Fighting for peace is like raping for virginity. War does not make for peace. War only makes for escalating violence and a mindset to pay the enemy back by any means necessary.
And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to putting her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in interment prison camps.
We bombed Hiroshima. We bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye. Kids playing in the playground. Mothers picking up children after school. Civilians, not soldiers, people just trying to make it day by day.
Read The full story behind Wright’s “God Damn America” sermon and The full story behind Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s 9/11 sermon and Falwell apologizes to gays, feminists, lesbians for more information.

Why is Jeremiah Wright being portrayed as a ranting, raving lunatic? Sean Hannity is one person that is beating this drum the loudest. The same Sean Hannity that meets with President Bush in the Oval Office. Does that give you a clue?

CNN.com Headline Of The Day

Jamie Lee Curtis takes shirt off for magazine

How Much Longer Will This Madness Continue?

Here is a special Easter message to all you Christians out there that support all the murders that have been committed because of the folly of George W. Bush. All of the dead will never be resurrected and all of the wounded will never truly be healed. So take all your “Peace be with yous” and shove ‘em up your ass.

The reality of war and the Winter Soldier testimonials are not being covered by US television news.

From The Real News here is The real face of war:

Tomas Young And His Body Of War

On Friday night PBS broadcast an especially moving episode of Bill Moyers Journal. Whatever your political affiliation this program deserves your attention. It is the story of the documentary film Body of War. It tells the story of Tomas Young. It is a heart wrenching tale of the true cost of war. One subplot of this tale is how we were rushed into a thoughtless decision to go to war by the conniving Bush administration and his Republican Congress. Another subplot is the disgraceful way the United States treats its disabled war veterans. You can learn more about the film at the Body of War website. There is also information at the PBS website, and you can view this episode of Bill Moyers Journal there. Also, YouTube has several videos posted.

This one shows our despicable government at work:

By the way, when Senator Byrd yells “Wait”, I’m willing to bet that he is holding his copy of the Constitution in his hand. He carries it around in his pocket at all times. Only Congress shall have “the power to declare war”, my ass. Also remember John McCain in this clip when it comes time to vote in November.

Another is the trailer for the film:

Another is a conversation between Eddie Vedder (who did the music for the film), and Tomas Young:

Thank you Phil Donohue and Ellen Spiro for making this film, and thank you Tomas Young for your courage in serving your country and for appearing in this film.

If I was George W. Bush my body would have self-imploded from guilt a very long time ago. How can this man live with what he has done?

More On Wrightgate And The Truth

Here is the ending portion of the post Can America Handle a Little Truth? By dnA:

Whatever you think of Wright's words — and I agree with some of them — they are not Obama's. It seems to me those who are intent on putting Wright's words in his mouth are more than anything else interested in maintaining racial divisions as they currently exist and are understood.

Ultimately, I think that we need to be honest about how directly white entitlement has affected America, from slavery to westward expansion to Jim Crow, and how it affects us now, especially in foreign policy: where, when and how we choose to intervene in the affairs of other countries.

If it's not the belief that America is more equal than everyone else, what is it?
Read the rest of here.

Thoreau Made Paul Thoreau Laugh, Maybe He'll Make You Laugh Too

Recently I discovered the site of another blogger whose name is Thoreau. His site is called Unqualified Offerings. Since then I have periodically been checking out his site to see whether I like it or not. So far, I like most of what I see. Whereas I am Paul Thoreau, he is simply Thoreau. Much easier to pronounce. Yet, I’m the one who claims that I believe that “less is more.” (See my “About Me”, which is buried way down on this page somewhere.) Perhaps I need to shorten my name to Thor.

From A much simpler indictment of the media by Thoreau we have proof that he is also funnier than I am:

…no serious person can really believe that Al Qaeda’s number 3 guys are more numerous than Spinal Tap’s drummers.

Jon Stewart On Wrightgate

It really is all about fear and the truth isn’t it? Whites really are afraid of blacks, as well they should be. Mistreating and abusing someone for a long time does not really breed love. And although few want to admit it, Jeremiah Wright is expressing the truth more often than not.

Whenever I think of Wrightgate I see images of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Charles Krauthammer, Ann Coulter, David Brooks, etc. They are all cowering in a corner and a person who is a morph of Jeremiah Wright and Jack Nicholson is bellowing at them: “You can’t handle the truth!!!” And they cower even more.

Jon Stewart does the scared whitey bit pretty well here:

Too Sense Makes Sense

One Drop over at Too Sense asks the question Why Is Anyone Surprised About Angry Black Folks?

I'm not trying to be simple-minded here. Hell, I'm trying to be rational. But I don't get it. I just don't get it. Why are so many white folks surprised about the existence of black anger against white people.
Read the rest at Too Sense.

Scary Scary Black Scary

Tom Tomorrow has written The evolving narrative:

From a purely strategic standpoint, it would have been wiser for Obama to distance himself from the fiery pastor at some earlier stage in the development of his political ambition. The entire situation has provided the right wingers with the Swift Boat narrative of 2008 and it’s not going to go away. Sean Hannity, who is exceedingly proud of the fact that he was the first major media figure to provide the Swifties with a platform in ‘04, continues to replay the pastor’s incendiary sound bites a couple dozen times each hour, and if that’s not enough, to draw further guilt by association — When is someone going to ask Barack Obama if he’s ever met with Louis Farrakahn?, followed by an incendiary Farrakahn sound clip.
Read the rest at This Modern World.

Friday, March 21, 2008

If Only Atheists Were Running For President, I'd Have Nothing To Write About

I suppose I’d have to write about something other than Obama/Wright. At least I’d probably have somebody I’d want to vote for.

My atheist candidates are imaginary of course. An African-American and a woman stand a better chance of being elected president than an atheist does. So much for the separation of church and state. However, if the three current major candidates were atheists, none of them would have to worry about their respective “preachergate.” Here’s the rundown so far: Obama/Wright, McCain/Hagee, McCain/Parsley, and Clinton/Coe. For Hillary Clinton, that’s Doug Coe. I’m not sure if he could strictly be called a preacher, but he has a “pastorate.”

Here is Barbara Ehrenreich on Hillary’s Nasty Pastorate:

There’s a reason why Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she’s a lot more vulnerable than Obama.

You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that “through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the “Fellowship,” aka The Family. But it won’t be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet’s shocking exposĂ©, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.
Read the rest at Barbara’s Blog.

Jeremiah Wright

Jeremiah Wright:

God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. . . . And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place.
Wrong. That was Martin Luther King preaching in his church on Feb. 4, 1968. And we all know what happened to him.

More God Damn

Byron Crawford is yet another voice speaking about Obama/Wright in his post entitled No, really, God damn America.

Mr. Crawford begins with something I could have written myself:

Every once in a while I’ll have one of these moments when I realize just how different my point of view must be from everyone else. The other day, watching so many otherwise reasonable people fawn over Barack Obama’s race speech was definitely one of them.
Later he writes something that I really wish I’d written myself. Here’s my favorite part:
Case in point, what did this guy Jeremiah Wright say that was so offensive that Obama had to make such a public spectacle of throwing him under the bus? At least Sista Souljah sorta kinda advocated killing white people. Jeremiah Wright did nothing of the sort - which, as far as I’m concerned makes what Barack Obama did even worse than what Bill Clinton did back in 1992.

Which is not to say that Jeremiah Wright didn’t occasionally spout some silly bullshit. The guy was a pastor, fer chrissakes. It was his job to spout silly bullshit.
The only thing I would add is that it is also the politician’s job to spout silly bullshit. It is also the pundit’s job to spout silly bullshit. It is also the economist’s job to spout silly bullshit. It is also the celebrity’s job to spout silly bullshit…

More On Obama And Wright

I thought that I would add some other voices to the Obama/Wright story. This video is almost ten minutes long, but I think it is worth your time. Here is The Real News Network post entitled Obama and Rev. Wright:

Davey D. on Obama and his reaction to the firestorm over Reverend Wright

Thursday March 20th, 2008
Davey D is a Hip-Hop historian, journalist, deejay and community activist. Active on the Hip Hop scene since 1977, as well as in community organizing, Davey D maintains a Web site, Davey D's Hip-Hop Corner (www.daveyd.com), and is one of the hosts of Hard Knock Radio, a "drive-time talk show for the Hip-Hop generation" on KPFA in San Francisco as well as other Pacifica stations.


Here are some comments about this clip from some of The Real News viewers:
david 2008-03-20
From what's shown in this clip - the Reverend seems to be right on the money...

jack 2008-03-20
As far as I can tell, just about a hundred per cent of what the preacher says is true! It's just that in America it's pretty much unacceptable to speak truth to power; well, at least if you want to get elected!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Apparently It's Working, At Least For The Time Being

What’s working you might ask? Why, the right wing media attack on Barack Obama. See my previous post God Damn And Shut Up for more of my thoughts on this.

TPM Election Central has the proof in this post Poll: McCain Now Leading Obama Among Independents by Greg Sargent.

Apparently this isn’t enough for FoxNews and Sean Hannity. Tom Tomorrow gives Further context.

God Damn And Shut Up

The whole recent uproar over Jeremiah Wright smacks of institutionalized racism at its most insidious. One of our largest institutions, the news media, is practicing racism and seems to be getting away with it.

During the time of the Vietnam War a popular phrase that was uttered by supporters of the war was “My country, love it or leave it.” It always used to piss me off. The furor that has been raised recently over what Jeremiah Wright has said in the past reminded me of “My country, love it or leave it.” What a concept, deny citizenship and deny dissent, all in one stupid phrase. Bill O’Reilly has taken this phrase and refined and simplified it into “shut up.”

“My country, love it or leave it.” The implication is that the listener is not an American, that only the speaker is. The implication is that America can do no wrong. The implication is that if you are critical you don’t “love it.” (Most sane and rational people know that you can be critical of something or someone you love.) The implication is that if the listener would just leave, everything would be just fine. Yet all the implications are simply wrong. Now, we seem to have added the above mentioned “shut up” as well as “unpatriotic” and “UnAmerican” to the list of inane mutterings of the moronic. It scares me to think that some of these people may live near me.

What is the point of all of this kind of talk, other than to incite and inflame? Does Bill O’Reilly really believe that telling someone to shut up is going to actually silence that person? If he does, then he is a bigger idiot than I think he is. Does someone who says “My country, love it or leave it” really think someone is going to pack up his belongings and move to another country just because he was challenged in such a meaningless fashion? What does calling someone names accomplish? The most likely result of all of this is a deeper divide and a deeper hate from all involved. Is this something we want? The most likely result of the mass media trying to shame and silence Jeremiah Wright will be an amplification of his voice. They have already made his name known the world over. They have given him a power he did not have even a week ago.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary some Americans cannot tolerate the concept of a flawed America. Like the pope, America is not infallible. Or if you must, only the pope is infallible. Either way makes my point. During the Reagan era some saw nothing wrong with Iran-Contra. Some still don’t see anything wrong with it. Some see nothing wrong with Bush’s wars also. Jeremiah Wright can tolerate the concept of a flawed America. And because of this, he wants a better America. You have to see the problems before you can fix them. And we have a lot of problems.

Dissent is necessary and it is not evil. Dialogue, especially dialogue between people who see things differently is absolutely necessary. How else can we possibly live together and get along with one another?

Barack Obama’s “solution” to what he perceives as the “problem” of Jeremiah Wright reminds me of Bill Clinton’s “solution” to what he perceived as the “problem” of being liberal. Act like a politician and pacify, instead of sticking to your guns. In other words, wimp out in order to be “electable.” I am so weary of gutless Democrats. Courage is just thrown out the window. Play to that terribly bland middle America “center.” Opt for McPolitics rather than substance. Although the political right would never believe it, Bill Clinton actually pissed off many on the left. Just look at any old copy of The Nation that was printed while he was president, if you don’t believe me. I wish Barack Obama would stop allowing the mass media and a bunch of idiotic pundits to push him around.

To be extremely blunt, here is my take on the whole Jeremiah Wright issue. This is the message that the mass media is sending to all of us: “White America will not tolerate no uppity niggers.” That’s the way it’s always been and they want to keep it that way. They are afraid of African-Americans who speak their mind. It’s a shame that Barack Obama is taking the side of white America in this situation. My question is “What the hell are they thinking?” Do they want to rekindle the race riots of the sixties? A race that has been repressed for more than three hundred years has one voice speak it’s mind and what is the reaction? More repression. How stupid is this? Never mind how unethical and immoral it is. Just what is an African-American supposed to make of all of this? Some things you say are OK, but cross a certain line and we’ll put you in your place. You can’t say that about white folks, remember what we did to Jeremiah Wright.

Doesn’t Jeremiah Wright have the same rights as Rush Limbaugh? The right to be an asshole, to be pissed off, to endorse a presidential candidate, and to call Chelsea Clinton a dog? To my knowledge Jeremiah Wright has never called Chelsea Clinton a dog, but good ol’ Rush has. I also don’t think Jeremiah Wright is an asshole, but it seems clear that many Americans think he is. Whether he is or not, the point is that he has a right to be one. By the way, this is a point that seems lost on those who hate the ACLU. Or are the rights of a white man different from those of a black man? Black people once were slaves, were considered property, couldn’t own property, and couldn’t vote. White men were never slaves, once owned slaves as property, could always own property, and could always vote. Who has more of a right to be pissed off, Jeremiah Wright, or Rush Limbaugh? Yet the one everybody wants to shut up is Jeremiah Wright ( I could have thrown a brick at Matt Lauer this morning, but then all I’d have is a broken TV ), and Rush Limbaugh gets to go merrily on his way, bloviating his hate speech with nary a peep from the mass media about his connection to George W. Bush. This all seems extremely racist to me.

All this outrage over Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Where is the outrage over John McCain and John Hagee? Over John McCain and Rod Parsley? The answer is as simple as black and white. Barack Obama has diligently tried to make his candidacy be race neutral. The right-wing smear machine is having none of that. I guess to them Barack Obama is just one more uppity nigger.

Andy Borowitz On John McCain And Iraq

I like the Borowitz Report. Sometimes it makes me laugh and sometimes it makes me groan. Sometimes it comes too close to reality to really be funny. Check out McCain Concludes Fact-hiding Mission to Iraq and see what you think.

Presumptive G.O.P. nominee John McCain wrapped up his fact-hiding mission to Iraq today, declaring the trip an unqualified success.

“My friends, I came to Iraq to hide the facts about the way the war is going, and in that I have succeeded,” Sen. McCain told reporters. “Omission accomplished.”
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain-The Perfect Candidate For Ignorant Republicans

"It's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." Sen. John McCain

"I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda." Sen. McCain, a few moments later, after Sen. Joe Lieberman whispered in his ear

Bush became president, why not McCain? I’m sure that you are familiar with the “dummies” series of books. They ought to make one called Dummy for Dummies, the story of an American president and his people. If McCain becomes president they could keep it in print for another four to eight years.

Read more about McCain in Lieberman Prompts McCain To Correct Al-Qaida/Iran Error.

Not Me

Even though I feel as though I could have written it, Suddenly I’m more outraged than ever By Thoreau is not by me. I wish I had written it though. It’s pretty good.

Last night, on CNN, during one of the segments the background on the screen said “Iraq: Success or Failure?” And I just exploded. Of course it’s a failure. When a marketplace is so dangerous that a Senator can’t even go there with 100+ heavily armed men (recall that McCain could no longer visit the same market that he visited last year and proclaimed “safe” while surrounded by heavy security), that’s one hell of a goddamn failure.
Read the rest here.

Tom Toles On Wall Street Capitalists

Tom Toles expresses this thoughts on our current economic situation. Right here.

Barack Obama And Jeremiah Wright And God Damn America

The Today Show this morning had a segment on the speech Barack Obama made yesterday. Who was doing all the talking? Rich white people. The absurdity of watching rich white people talk about race, Barack Obama, and Jeremiah Wright struck me immediately. How can people like Meredith Vieira and Tim Russert fully understand race from an African-American point of view? Yet, Tim Russert was the gasbag of choice, as usual, on the Today Show this morning. He obviously thinks he knows something about this topic. Well, he does. From a rich white man's perspective. That’s not exactly what’s needed here. In a discussion about race in America, if you must censor someone, censor Tim Russert, not Jeremiah Wright.

It took a little longer for me to remember that one of the video clips of Jeremiah Wright that is being shown over and over again is a condemnation of the rich white people who run America. At least on this topic it appears that the Today Show was proving Wright right. I may be one of the few Americans that wishes Barack Obama wasn’t distancing himself from Jeremiah Wright. So Wright said “God damn America.” Big deal. I’ll say it. God damn America. God damn the America that supports the “war” in Iraq! Five fucking years as of today! God damn the America responsible for Katrina! God damn the America that won’t impeach Bush and Cheney! God damn the America that supports the greedy vultures on Wall Street who destroy our economy! God damn the America that suppresses the views of a black reverend! I could probably go on forever with the God damning…

Let me repeat, five fucking years as of today! Suppression by the mass media of the many people against the invasion of Iraq, as well as the pro war bluster of the mass media helped push us into the Iraq mess. How is the suppression by the mass media of a black reverend's voice supposed to help solve our racial problems?

Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bush Speaks To First Graders

"In a free market, there's going to be good times and bad times," said President George Bush in a speech at the Economic Club of New York on Friday. "That's how markets work. There will be ups and downs."

Is it just me, or does the president frequently sound like he is addressing a class of first graders?

Look at that first paragraph again. What is compelling George W. Bush to feel the need to explain to the ECONOMIC CLUB OF NEW YORK how markets work. That they go up and down. Doesn’t he think that everyone in the room already knows this? That they have known this since, well, probably the first grade.

Also, most first graders know the difference between singular and plural. Between one and many. Could someone on his staff please point out the difference to him?

CNN.com Headline Of The Day

Judge rips McCartney's ex-wife in ruling

Will he put her back together again? Was he pretending to be Solomon?

Yet Still More On Bear Stearns

Why write so much about Bear Stearns? To me they are a symbol of what is currently wrong with the United States. When you put making money above all else you are dooming yourself, as well as others around you. Just ask the compulsive gambler. I don’t make this comparison lightly. Strip away all the bright lights, big city Wall Street trappings of Bear Stearns, and what remains are a bunch of compulsive gamblers. Albeit, compulsive gamblers who are paid to be compulsive gamblers. What a twisted racket. The worst part of all of this is that they weren’t just playing with their own money. Is giving the compulsive gambler more money to gamble with a good thing to do? No. Then why is the government giving more money to Bear Stearns? Money that the government doesn’t really have, by the way.

Ethics and morals. Isn’t that what George W. Bush ran his first campaign on? I’d laugh, but it’s just not funny. Right now, impeaching Bill Clinton over a sexual indiscretion and one lie seems farcical. Especially when compared to the moral bankruptcy and lies of George W. Bush, his administration, and yes, Bear Stearns.

Add fear to the mix and all hell breaks loose.

Moral bankruptcy, fear, and lies got us into Iraq. Moral bankruptcy, fear, and lies caused the downfall of Bear Stearns. So it seems perversely fitting that one immoral liar is bailing out another immoral liar because they are afraid. And like the situation in Iraq they are rushing into it without thinking and without considering the moral high ground. By placing this bet on Bear Stearns the government is risking becoming a compulsive gambler itself. Oh, wait a minute, they already crossed that line with the invasion of Iraq.

In Rescue Me: A Fed Bailout Crosses a Line Gretchen Morgenson has some good questions:

What are the consequences of a world in which regulators rescue even the financial institutions whose recklessness and greed helped create the titanic credit mess we are in? Will the consequences be an even weaker currency, rampant inflation, a continuation of the slow bleed that we have witnessed at banks and brokerage firms for the past year?

Or all of the above?

Stick around, because we’ll soon find out. And it’s not going to be pretty.
There is one question I would add to this list of questions posed by Gretchen Morgenson. What are the moral consequences of a world in which regulators rescue even the financial institutions whose recklessness and greed helped create the titanic credit mess we are in?