Saturday, May 31, 2008

It Either Kills You Or It's Good For You

I’m still here, but I don’t feel any healthier since I started blogging. First they said it would kill you, now they say it’s good for you. I’m inclined to believe the later, otherwise why are there so many bloggers out there? Wouldn't they all be dead?

From Blogging--It's Good for You by Jessica Wapner:

Self-medication may be the reason the blogosphere has taken off. Scientists (and writers) have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. But besides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery. A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not.

Scientists now hope to explore the neurological underpinnings at play, especially considering the explosion of blogs. According to Alice Flaherty, a neuroscientist at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, the placebo theory of suffering is one window through which to view blogging. As social creatures, humans have a range of pain-related behaviors, such as complaining, which acts as a “placebo for getting satisfied,” Flaherty says. Blogging about stressful experiences might work similarly.
Read the rest here.

For me there is no more stressful experience than George W. Bush being president.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Will The United States Be Next?

There are protests in Europe concerning high oil prices. Will the protests spread to the United States? My guess is no. We are too lazy and apathetic.

From Europe fuel protests spread wider:

Fuel protests triggered by rising oil prices have spread to more countries across Europe, with thousands of fishermen on strike.

Union leaders said Portugal's entire coastal fleet stayed in port on Friday, while in Spain, 7,000 fishermen held protests at the agriculture ministry.

French fishermen have been protesting for weeks, with Belgian and Italian colleagues also involved.

UK and Dutch lorry drivers held similar protests earlier this week.

The strike reflects anger at the rising cost of fuel, with oil prices above $130 (83.40 euros; £65.80) a barrel.

Trade unions say the cost of diesel has become prohibitively high, after rising 300% over the past five years.
Read the rest here.

Greedy Immoral Bastards

You would think that the United States would agree with the other 111 countries around the world that think that cluster bombs are bad. Who are the real terrorists of the world? What is wrong with the United States? Greedy, immoral bastards, that’s what we are. The United States is not civilized, it is barbaric. We say we are the good guys but we really aren't.

From Countries agree cluster bomb ban:

More than 100 countries attending a conference in Dublin, Ireland formally adopted a treaty Friday to ban cluster bombs -- a large, unreliable and inaccurate weapon that often affects civilians long after the end of armed conflict.

The countries agreed never to use cluster munitions or the explosive bomblets they contain, and they also agreed never to develop, acquire, retain or transfer cluster munitions, according to the official treaty document.

The 111 countries attending the two-week meeting agreed to the treaty Wednesday but formally signed it Friday.

The countries said they are "deeply concerned" about civilians suffering the long-term effects of cluster bombs.
Some of the biggest makers and users of cluster bombs cited by human rights groups -- such as the United States, Russia, China and Israel -- were not involved in the talks and did not sign the accord. Organizers expressed hope that those nations would nevertheless be pressured into compliance.
Laos is the most affected country. Millions of bomblets dropped during the Vietnam War continue to kill civilians more than three decades later.

Read more here.

Oh yea, I almost forgot: God Damn America. (“for killing innocent people”)

Bush Bashers

If I was George W. Bush I would have resigned out of shame a long time ago.

From Not Everyone Is Hailing the Chief at This Commencement by Dan Eggen:

President Bush was probably expecting a warm welcome at Furman University, a small Baptist-rooted school in Greenville, S.C., where he is delivering the commencement address on Saturday.

It hasn't quite turned out that way.

More than 200 faculty members and students signed a letter this month criticizing the Bush administration's policies on the Iraq war, secret interrogations, the environment and other issues. The letter says that although it would ordinarily be "an honor" to host a president, "these are not ordinary circumstances."

"We are ashamed of these actions of this administration," the letter reads, after listing objections to Bush. "Because we love this country and the ideals it stands for, we accept our civic responsibility to speak out against these actions that violate American values."
Read the rest here.

Two hundred against Bush, but five hundred for him. I don’t understand how anyone can be pro Bush. The times they are a-crazy.

Electronic Paper

From Working Knowledge: Inside the Kindle E-Book Reader by Stuart F. Brown:

More and more people are gazing at electronic-book readers—lightweight slates about the size of a thin paper­back that can store up to 200 downloaded books. Although prior generations fizzled, Sony’s Reader, introduced in 2006, and Amazon’s Kindle, which debuted last year, are both selling well. The key difference is the screen.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

No! No! No!

I am tired of reading things like this:

From Atheist group members object to City Council meeting prayers:

"I, for one, am sick and tired of the vocal minority," said Councilman Doug Thomason, who said he is a Methodist. "I'm no religious fanatic, but this country was founded on Christian principles, and we've gone so far away from that that it's mind-boggling.
This country was not founded on Christian principles, it was founded on Enlightenment principles. We are not a Christian nation. We are an “everything” (as in all religions or no religion) nation.

Perhaps President Bush Should Still Be In School

From Bush says country must not lose its nerve in Iraq by Ben Feller:

President Bush said Wednesday that rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan is proving difficult as the wars rage on, and "we're learning as we go."
And they say that Barack Obama lacks experience. At least he was smart enough to say we shouldn’t invade Iraq.

Something Must Be Wrong With Me Today

I usually disagree with Glenn Beck, in fact I think he’s an insensitive jerk. However, he has written an opinion article that I think I mostly agree with. I have read it carefully, trying to find some hidden meaning. So far nothing comes to me. Something must be wrong with me today if I find myself agreeing with Glenn Beck.

From Commentary: Slavery alive and well in US by Glenn Beck:

"Jobs Americans just won't do."

I can't stand that line, but more importantly, I don't even understand it.

Americans spend months at a time at sea fishing for crab or drilling for oil; two of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Americans clean bathrooms, subway stations and crime scenes. Americans man toll booths, pave roads, embalm bodies and inspect sewers. Yet people really expect us to believe that they won't pick strawberries or oranges?

It just doesn't add up.
I’m in complete agreement with this. No argument from me about this.

Mr. Beck then says:
I know this will come as a huge shock to those who only like to hurl insults, but I think we should be issuing more work visas, more student visas, and more green cards. And I think we should cut the red tape and bureaucracy that's constantly blocking the front door.
Again, something I agree with. In the past I’ve called Mr. Beck a moron and a self-centered jerk. Am I missing something here? Is Beck talking in code or something?

This part from Beck confuses me:
So why don't they just hire Americans instead? Good question. Her answer? "This is a hard job."

I find it pretty hard to believe that there aren't a few college students who wouldn't want to drive around California and work outdoors all summer, but let's assume that's true. Let's even assume that none of the other 1.1 million Californians who were unemployed as of April are interested in the job either. Isn't anyone wondering why?

Well I'm not a labor consultant, but I am a thinker. Maybe the problem isn't that the job they're offering is "too hard," maybe it's that the wages they're offering are "too low."

No one paints the undersides of bridges for fun, they do it for the money. That's how capitalism works.

How capitalism does NOT work is when we collectively look the other way as companies exploit illegal labor for their own benefit.

The unspoken truth is that these businesses don't hire illegal aliens because they can't find American workers, they hire illegal aliens because they don't want American workers. And it has nothing to do with wages.

Illegal aliens mean no workers comp claims, no age, race or sex discrimination lawsuits, no healthcare premiums, no unions, and no demands for raises, vacations or bigger offices. In fact, illegal immigrants are the perfect employees because they're not employees at all; they're corporate slaves.
How can Mr. Beck quickly go from wages being “too low” to “it has nothing to do with wages”? I agree with everything Beck says about unions, healthcare premiums, etc. However, I think that wages are still a part of the equation here.

Next Mr. Beck writes:
Economist Dr. Thomas Sowell once said "Blacks were not enslaved because they were black, but because they were available." Can't the exact same thing be said for illegal aliens? They're available and we're allowing them to be exploited in the name of cheap groceries.
The Sowell quote is one of the stupidest things I have ever read. Blacks were enslaved because they were thought of as sub-human and ignorant. Blacks were not available, they had to be shipped in on slave ships.

I’m not sure what Mr. Beck means by this:
The problem with the debate over illegal immigration right now is that special interests have been successful in making us think with our hearts instead of our brains. We've been persuaded to believe that real compassion can only be achieved by following their agenda. But look where that's gotten us. And more importantly, look where that's gotten the people they're supposedly trying to help.
Perhaps this is where I am unable to decipher the code.

You can read more here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Unbelievably High Gas Prices

Whenever I think about high gas prices I think of how much lower the price of oil was before George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq. I don’t think the rise in the cost of oil since then is a coincidence, but I’m no expert.

From I'm no expert, but ... by Don Kuehn:

The media and the public appear to be slow in grasping the reason behind today's unbelievably high gas prices. Now, I'm no expert but, it seems fairly simple: Oil is priced on world markets in U.S. dollars, and there hasn't been a weaker dollar in recent history.

The Bush administration's monetary policies, the seeming incompetence of Secretary Henry Paulson at the Treasury Department and the tinkering of the Federal Reserve have combined to wrench most of the buying power out of the greenback. There has even been speculation that commodity traders could consider dumping the dollar and switching to the euro as the basis for pricing crude oil. What a blow that would be to American economic supremacy and prestige around the world.

Oil cost around $3 a barrel in 1970, and the dollar was strong. Then OPEC began manipulating oil prices by controlling supply. Sure, there were spikes in prices—a peak at about $38 in the early 1980s dropped to under $10 in 1997. Oil "soared" to $30 before dropping sharply after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks ($18 a barrel), according to the Energy Information Administration.

But since then, throughout the Bush administration, oil has climbed steadily until recently going through the roof, surpassing $113 a barrel. And the dollar has slumped.
Read the rest here.

The Crucifix In Quebec

From Oh, Canada!: Quebec Politicians Cling To Crucifix After Diversity Report by Joseph L. Conn:

On the whole, Canadians seem pretty well behaved. So during a vacation visit to Montreal last weekend, I was surprised to find the province of Quebec in the middle of a church-state brouhaha.

According to the Montreal Gazette, a special commission assigned to look into issues of religious liberty, minority rights and immigration had come out with a startling recommendation. In the interests of what the authors called “open secularism,” the report recommended the removal of the crucifix prominently displayed over the speaker’s chair in the National Assembly.

The proposal was only one of 37 recommendations from McGill University philosopher Charles Taylor and University of Quebec sociologist Gerard Bouchard. But it sparked an intense emotional response.
Read more here.

The U.S. Ranks Right Up There With China And Russia

Way to go United States. As a violator of human rights we rank right up there with China and Russia. Can you say “We’re number one!”? Well maybe not number one when it comes to human rights violations, but we should be ashamed of ourselves for being mentioned at all.

From China, Russia, U.S. focus of human rights report:

Human rights and freedom of the press in China, the detention of terrorist suspects by the United States and Russia's treatment of political dissent are the focus of scrutiny in Amnesty International's annual report, released Wednesday, which looks at the state of human rights around the world.
As it has in previous annual reports, Amnesty criticized the detention of hundreds of foreign nationals at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"The USA must close Guantanamo detention camp and secret detention centers, prosecute the detainees under fair trial standards or release them, and unequivocally reject the use of torture and ill-treatment," Amnesty said.

The group noted that Guantanamo detainees are held indefinitely, most of them without charge and without recourse to U.S. courts. Most detainees there are held in isolation in maximum-security facilities, heightening concerns for their physical and mental health, Amnesty said.

In fact, more is written on the United States than any other country listed in the report. Asked about that at a press conference Tuesday, Khan said, "We certainly devote a lot of time to Sudan, to China, to Zimbabwe and other countries. But we look to the U.S. to provide leadership around the world. Governments around the world look to the United States as a role model for their own behavior."
Read more here.

We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us

Does George W. Bush have any sense of what irony is? His words so often sound like he is referring to himself when he is in fact referring to those he considers to be our enemies.

From Bush compares Iraq, Afghan wars to World War II:

President Bush told the 2008 graduating class at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Wednesday that the "only way America could lose the war on terror is if we defeat ourselves."

Speaking on a cloudy day at Falcon Stadium, the president compared the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to America's earlier conflicts, particularly World War II.

"Our nation is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger, hatred and despair: the ideology of Islamic extremism," he said.

"In today's struggle, we are once again facing evil men who despise freedom and despise America and aim to subject millions to their violent rule.”
Read the rest here.

It seems to me he could have just as easily said: "Our nation is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger, hatred and despair: the ideology of Bush extremism."

And it seems to me that any Iraqi could easily say: "In today's struggle, we are once again facing evil men who despise freedom and despise Iraq and aim to subject millions to their violent rule.”

Actually I’m not sure what Bush is talking about when he says “… and despise America and aim to subject millions to their violent rule.” It seems like he is talking about America’s violent rule. A slip of the tongue on Bush’s part?

John Hagee Is Freakin' Nuts

Hagee - God Will Unleash Terrorists on U.S. for Israel Policy:

What kind of god would care about giving up land for peace? I can not find any reference in Joel 3:2 about “Any nation that tries to get Israel to divide my land, I will bring it into judgment.” Why does Hagee believe in a god that would side with terrorists, for Christ's sake?

John McCain scares the hell out of me.

"The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder"

If there was any justice it would happen.

From State and Local Prosecutors Can Take Down Bush by David Swanson:

Former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's new book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" is not just a particularly good addition to the ten-foot high stack of rants against Bush's crimes and abuses of power. It's also an argument that state and local prosecutors have the necessary jurisdiction to try Bush for murder and for conspiracy to commit murder, at least once he's out of office.

This is not a scheme based on some harebrained theory that Bush faked the suicide of a former staffer. In fact, this scheme is based on nothing more than universally accepted facts. Bush chose to send US troops into Iraq. He did not do so in self-defense or as a last resort or under an international mandate, but rather went out of his way to concoct false motives for war and to rush its launching. By sending troops into war, Bush was knowingly and needlessly but certainly condemning some of them to death. The Iraqis who killed those soldiers in predictable and legally justifiable defense of their country fall into the legal category of "third-party innocent agent." This does not mean they are innocent, but rather that their actions do nothing to lessen the guilt of George W. Bush as murderer of those soldiers. Bugliosi calls this the "vicarious liability rule of conspiracy."
Read the rest here.

Rolling Eyes

I’m so confused. I thought President Bush was against negotiating and “appeasement.” I thought President Bush was not supposed to be a flip-flopper. I just don’t know what to make of this news.

From Mid-Level Official Steered U.S. Shift On North Korea by Glenn Kessler:

Early in President Bush's second term, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice convened a series of strategy sessions on how to persuade North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons programs. One key official, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill, remained largely silent, four participants said, except to pipe up periodically with the same refrain.

"If you just let me go to Pyongyang, I'll get you a deal," the career Foreign Service officer said, prompting others to roll their eyes and move on.

In the twilight of the Bush presidency, the nuclear agreement that Hill has tirelessly pursued over the past three years has emerged as Bush's best hope for a lasting foreign policy success. In the process, Hill has become the public face of an extraordinary 180-degree policy shift on North Korea, from confrontation to accommodation.
Read the rest here.

Just Because It's Lots Of Fun

Jimmie And Stevie Ray Vaughan:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Atheism Tapes

In 2003 Jonathan Miller began filming Atheism - A Rough History Of Disbelief. Several months ago I saw this series broadcast on PBS. I found it to be quite interesting. It was originally produced for the BBC. Mr. Miller had much more material than was originally broadcast on that series. More of it can now be seen on The Atheism Tapes. The Atheism Tapes features six 30-minute programs spread across two discs. Unfortunately Atheism - A Rough History Of Disbelief is not available on DVD.

From Atheism Tapes by Chris Neilson:

The Atheism Tapes spends only a few minutes on the well-worn arguments against God. These are handled by the British philosopher Colin McGinn, while Miller and he are kicked back on his overstuffed couch in his New York apartment. McGinn goes through the No-Evidence Argument, or as Bertrand Russell put it, why there's no more reason to believe in the God of Abraham than the Greek Gods (or to give it a more modern twist, the Flying Spaghetti Monster). After detailing that, McGinn makes short work of the medieval Ontological Argument for God (In short, God is perfect. Existence is more perfect than non-existance, therefore God must exist), before settling on the problem of evil which many regard as the strongest argument against belief in a loving God.

McGinn, like British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and American physicist Steven Weinberg embraces the antitheist label. "Antitheism is opposition to theism. I am an antitheist, because I believe that religion is harmful in human life. So I am an antitheist. I'm not just an atheist . . . . I'm actively opposed to it", McGinn exclaims.
Read the rest of the review here.

Heck Of A Job Bushie

Do we really need more proof that George W. Bush is the most incompetent human being on the face of the planet? Every day it seems we have more proof. After all this time, could there be any more heartbreaking news about the aftermath of Katrina? Unfortunately, yes. Again I ask the question, can we impeach him now? What more will it take? Can’t we stop him before he does more harm? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!! I’m down on my knees and begging! If there ever was a president that deserved to be impeached, it is George W. Bush!!!

From Children in Katrina trailers may face lifelong ailments by John Moreno Gonzales:

The anguish of Hurricane Katrina should have ended for Gina Bouffanie and her daughter when they left their FEMA trailer. But with each hospital visit and each labored breath her child takes, the young mother fears it has just begun.

"It's just the sickness. I can't get rid of it. It just keeps coming back," said Bouffanie, 27, who was pregnant with her now 15-month-old daughter, Lexi, while living in the trailer. "I'm just like, `Oh God, I wish like this would stop.' If I had known it would get her sick, I wouldn't have stayed in the trailer for so long."

The girl, diagnosed with severe asthma, must inhale medicine from a breathing device.

Doctors cannot conclusively link her asthma to the trailer. But they fear she is among tens of thousands of youngsters who may face lifelong health problems because the temporary housing supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency contained formaldehyde fumes up to five times the safe level.
Read the rest here.

This Is Weird

In one Spanish village they like to take great risks in order to ward off something that doesn't exist.

From Spanish village holds baby jump:

Grown men have been leaping over rows of babies in the north Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia in an annual rite meant to ward off the Devil.

Jumpers dressed as the Colacho, a character representing the Devil, bounded over clusters of bemused infants laid out on mattresses.

Nobody appeared to get hurt in this year's festive event.

Castrillo, near Burgos, has been holding the event since 1620 to mark the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi.
Read the rest here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Genuine Madmen And Non-Crazy People

From The Appeasement Paradox by Matthew Yglesias:

That's all fine, but the premise of the appeasement frame is that we're dealing with hardcore irrational ideologues who'll stop at nothing to destroy us. Adolf Hitler actually was such a man and, not coincidentally, he wasn't particularly interested in acquiring the international prestige and legitimacy associated with a sit-down with English politicians -- he wanted a giant war. In general, the right wants us to believe that world history is littered with countries whose rulers, like Hitler, will stop at nothing short of world-domination but who also spend their evenings fondly dreaming of the chance at a White House photo-op. But that’s absurd. One shouldn’t, of course, strike a bad bargain with a foreign country just because you held a meeting, but to fear that the very act of holding a meeting is a blow to the national interest is silly. Genuine madmen aren’t going to care what “signal” we’re sending, and non-crazy people can be productively bargained with.
War and conflict are incredibly costly and destructive. Wise statesmen recognize the negative-sum nature of relating to foreigners primarily by blowing them up. Moreover, it's usually possible to reach agreements with even very bad people that both sides deem preferable to fighting. In refusing to even contemplate negotiations, conservatives are being flatly irrational, spurning offers of a half a loaf for no real reason.

They're acting, in short, like the demonic foreigners of their own anti-appeasement rhetoric, impervious to objective reality and hell-bent on total victory no matter what the cost or how dim the prospects of success.
Read more here.

Supporting Our Troops The John McCain Way

My thought on this Memorial Day. Most politicians must be terrible at comedy and/or music. They have very bad timing.

McCain and Bush are basically telling our troops that they deserve to be in Iraq and Afghanistan forever, and that they shouldn’t expect any thanks for the endless tours of duty they have served.

From McCain defends opposition to GI Bill:

Sen. John McCain on Monday defended his opposition to a Democratic bill that would expand education benefits for veterans, saying it would hurt the military that he hopes to lead.

The new GI Bill being debated in Congress would expand education benefits for veterans who served at least three years in the military after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The bill's main sponsor, Sen. Jim Webb, is a Virginia Democrat and, like McCain, a Vietnam War veteran. The Senate passed Webb's bill 75-22 last week. McCain was not in Washington for the vote.
Read the rest here.

And there is more here.

The Memory Of The Dead

From Whom Will We Honor Memorial Day? by Howard Zinn:

Memorial Day will be celebrated ... by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.
No politician who voted funds for war, no business contractor for the military, no general who ordered young men into battle, no FBI man who spied on anti-war activities, should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of past wars he honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Best Way To Honor Our Veterans

From Bill Moyers Journal:

Bush And The Bikers

From Motorcycle group presses Bush on veterans benefits by Christine Simmons:

Members of the Rolling Thunder motorcycling group roared into town for a White House visit Sunday, where they presented President Bush with his own cowhide vest jacket and pushed for increased veterans benefits.

"Mr. President, we'd like to make you an honorary member of Rolling Thunder," said Artie Muller, the group's executive director, to a delighted Bush, who shed his suit jacket to don the vest and pose for pictures.

"You've done a lot for the country, and the troops appreciate you, and the veterans appreciate you, and your president appreciates you," Bush told the group.

For 21 years now, Rolling Thunder has led a "Ride for Freedom" along the National Mall during Memorial Day weekend, a full-throttle demonstration in support of soldiers held captive or missing in action. On Sunday, riders began at the Pentagon, rode across the Memorial Bridge and gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Read the rest here.

You Can't March If You Are For Peace

From Vets for Peace Booted from National Memorial Day Parade:

There is one group of veterans that isn’t allowed to march in the national memorial parade in Washington on Monday.

That’s the Veterans for Peace, Delwin Anderson Memorial chapter, based in D.C. It’s named after a World War II vet who fought in Italy and then worked for the VA for many years designing programs for injured veterans.

The group had applied to join the National Memorial Day parade.

And initially, anyway, it was accepted.

But then, late last month, the group was told that it didn’t meet the criteria to participate.

The American Veterans Center, which runs the parade, told them “we cannot have elements in the parade that have any type of political message or wish to promote a point of view.”
Read the rest here.

Remember The Living With The New GI Bill of Rights

From Let us truly honor our fallen heroes this Memorial Day by Dorian De Wind:

As a Vietnam War era veteran, I received all my higher education, including a master’s degree, using the G.I. Bill and other military educational programs and assistance. I am thus very disappointed that the “support the troops” Bush administration, gung-ho Senator McCain, and the support Bush-McCain senator from Texas oppose a more robust version of a renewed G.I. Bill of Rights, ostensibly because it costs too much and for other nefarious reasons.

This is a bill that will give our Iraq and Afghanistan wars veterans–who have sacrificed so much more than I did–at least the same educational opportunities that were given my and past generations of veterans by a president who then truly supported the troops.

When President Bush, on Memorial Day, lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, I hope that he also remembers those who are still living, sweating, and dodging bullets, and sometimes being hit in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan.

I believe that we could offer no greater honor and respect to those who we are remembering this Memorial Day weekend than by promising to take better care of their brethren who are still living, and fighting.
Read more here.

Veterans Battling The Government

From Vietnam Veterans Seek Proof Of Stress-Inducing Events by Ann Marie Somma:

Every month, the Vietnam Veterans of America's magazine website is clogged with personal ads posted by vets around the country diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. They may have survived harrowing experiences in Vietnam, but the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs won't approve their claims for disability unless they can document the exact traumatic episode that triggered the disorder.
Read the rest here.

A Government Without Guts

From Bush's Dirty Trick On Iraq Veterans by Richard Reeves:

What is being done to our troops in Iraq is more than a failure of political leadership; it is an outrage. Forget the fact that we never declared war, or that we never had a real plan about what to do in Iraq, or that we are fighting on credit, leaving the bills for our children and grandchildren. Remember that only a small number are involved in this — the same people, professionals and reservists, are being called back into harm's way again and again.

Those young men and women, serving a government without the guts to even talk about a draft, are essentially indentured servants. Worse. At least indentured servants knew when their obligation would be over. This is more than unfair; it is shameful, a stain on the democracy and its leaders. And now the president is considering depriving them of a reward they deserve because some of them might actually take it and not re-enlist.

This is a professional army? There was a time when troops treated that way, no matter how well-trained or equipped, were called cannon fodder. We owe them. The president whose ignorance put them in the Middle East owes them. The Congress, which is ever looking the other way and has not declared war on anyone since 1941, owes them.
Read more here.

Bible Verse For Sunday 05-25-08

And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.

And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
What the hell?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

This Is Not My Daunting Problem

From Bush-McCain Fundraiser Scaled Back Due To Lack Of Takers by Eric Kleefeld:

A planned mega-fundraiser for the GOP, featuring President Bush and John McCain, has now been scaled back in the face of a daunting problem: Too few people actually wanted to buy tickets.

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, fundraiser set for this Tuesday in the city's convention center failed to sell enough tickets, leading to fears that the anti-Bush protesters might end up outnumbering actual attendees.

The Elite

From Cindy McCain reports $6 million in 2006 income:

Cindy McCain, who two weeks ago said she would never make her tax returns public, revealed Friday that she had a total income of more than $6 million in 2006.
Read the rest here.

We Don't Want To Mislead Anybody

Bill O’Reilly on his radio show:

The Truth Shall Not Be Expelled

From Creation, Power and Violence by Blake Stacey:

Yet today, even in a country which prides itself on a long list of freedoms, speaking the plain, factual truth of the world is a sure way to win oneself ire, derision and abuse.

Both history and current events teach us that forces of prejudice and inequity oppose the dissemination of truth to certain sectors of society.
The plain truth I’m talking about is the biological principle of evolution. The single most powerful idea in biology, this discovery has withstood decades of criticism to emerge triumphant as one of the most well-checked propositions in human history. Learn about evolution, and you can go to work on diseases, or help find out where species both living and extinct fit into the family tree of life. You can understand the living world, and help preserve human life within it.

Open your mouth about evolution around the wrong people, though, and you can find yourself harassed, ejected from your job and even beaten in the street.
Read the rest here, and you will find a long list of people who have been harassed for speaking the truth. I wonder if Ben Stein cares about their rights.

Bad Media, Bad

From Right Is Wrong -- How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America by Arianna Huffington:

A key to understanding the fanatical Right's takeover of the Republican Party and how these ideas spread to the rest of the country is looking at the role of the media -- not the Fox News pseudo-newsmen or the talk radio blowhards -- but the respectable, supposedly liberal media. Without the enabling of the traditional media -- with their obsession with "balance" and their pathological devotion to the idea that truth is always found in the middle -- the radical Right would never have been able to have its ideas taken seriously. If not for the media's appeals to balance, movement conservatism would have been laughed out of the court of public opinion long ago. And when the press does attempt to dig into the ideological underpinnings of debates about policy and current affairs, it becomes trapped by another form of the media's bipolar disorder. Besides seeing two sides to every issue, they insist on seeing most political battles through the lens of right vs. left. By reporting everything that's happening in American politics through this prism, the media missed the big story: the hijacking of America by the lunatic Right.

Read the rest here.


From Hil's Bitter Pill by Bruce A. Jacobs:

OK, so I'm no fan of Hillary Clinton's candidacy -- at the least the way she has executed it. But the beating she's taking in the press (during this 17-second news cycle) for her RFK assassination remark reminds me, for maybe the third time today, of why we need a press corps that dares to cover public politics (as in positions) instead of mere personal politics (as in personal screw-ups, styles, and offenses).
Read the rest here.

How Low Can He Go?

From Hopefully He Barbecued, Too by Ezra Klein:

And what did the president do to mark Memorial Day weekend? Vetoed a 3.9% pay raise for the military!

"Hillary Clinton broke through the glass floor and got down with the boys"

From Hillary’s Gift to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich:

But did we really need another lesson in the female capacity for ruthless aggression? Any illusions I had about the innate moral superiority of women ended four years ago with Abu Ghraib. Recall that three out of the five prison guards prosecuted for the torture and sexual humiliation of prisoners were women. The prison was directed by a woman, Gen. Janis Karpinski, and the top U.S. intelligence officer in Iraq, who also was responsible for reviewing the status of detainees before their release, was Major Gen. Barbara Fast. Not to mention that the U.S. official ultimately responsible for managing the occupation of Iraq at the time was Condoleezza Rice.
Hillary Clinton smashed the myth of innate female moral superiority in the worst possible way – by demonstrating female moral inferiority. We didn’t really need her racial innuendos and free-floating bellicosity to establish that women aren’t wimps. As a generation of young feminists realizes, the values once thought to be uniquely and genetically female – such as compassion and an aversion to violence – can be found in either sex, and sometimes it’s a man who best upholds them.
Read the rest here.

Stop That

From Food for thought by Thomas Kostigen:

When the costs of food, energy and water as well as other commodities are soaring because of prices in the futures markets we have a problem on our hands. This is exactly what is playing out before us now.
There is another agent at work in the commodities markets, one that is setting the prices of our natural resources and in turn the food on our table and the price of the gas at the pump. This agent isn't a farmer or an oil producer. This agent wears a suit and tie and sits in front of a trading screen. His or her job isn't to produce anything, it's to exploit anything. And it's time we curbed this profession.

Speculation in the commodities futures markets needs to be limited.
Read the rest here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bush Music

If you don't see the video, try this: Bush music

Bush's ICE

I wish the government would make up its mind. I thought that there was a war on drugs. I thought drugs were evil. When people use or even possess drugs for recreational purposes it’s against the law. What is it when the government forces people to take drugs? Talk about a double standard!

From Some Detainees Are Drugged For Deportation by Amy Goldstein and Dana Priest:

The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.

The government's forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the "pre-flight cocktail," as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.
Read the rest here.

The Real McCain Part Two

Violence Begets Violence

From Israel at 60: Zionism's Fatal Flaw by Ira Chernus:

Perhaps Israel would have been better off had all its people listened to dissidents like Ahad Ha’am and Buber, who rejected the whole idea of “normalization” because they wanted Zionists to live up to a higher moral standard. As early as 1892, Ahad Ha’am saw Jews committing violence against Arabs and warned that there would be terrible repercussions. In 1920, Buber told the Zionist Congress that Jews were far from powerless. Arabs would respond to the choices Jews made. “It depends entirely on us,” he declared, whether Zionists are greeted by Palestinian Arabs as hated conquerors or beloved friends.

Is America Racist?

From America Is Racist (According to the United Nations) by Krzys Wasilewski:

The United Nations is launching an investigation into alleged racism in the United States. U.N. representatives say that according to their report, prepared in March of this year, American security forces too willingly profile people of Middle Eastern origin.

Senegalese lawyer Doudou Diene, a U.N. special envoy, is to start his investigation on Monday. During his three-week mission, he is scheduled to meet with federal and local officials that are to answer his questions about how American agencies work and whether they negatively focus on racial minorities such as Arabs and Southern Asians. A U.N. press release issued last Friday said the investigator would "gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

Only In America?

From US car dealer in free gun offer:

A car dealership in the United States is offering a free handgun with every vehicle sold.

Max Motors in Butler, Missouri, says sales have quadrupled since the start of the offer.

Customers can choose between a gun or a $250 (£125) gas card, but most so far have chosen the gun.

Owner Mark Muller said: "We're just damn glad to live in a free country where you can have a gun if you want to."
Where in the Constitution does it grant us the freedom to murder one another?

Fox News And Karl Rove

From That Pundit on Fox News? An Upstart Named Rove by Jim Rutenberg and Jacques Steinberg:

George Stephanopoulos’s abrupt move 11 years ago from the Clinton White House to ABC News — initially as a partisan member of a Sunday political panel who would also do some reporting — raised hackles inside and outside the network.

Speaking at the time to The American Journalism Review, the Washington Post columnist David S. Broder complained about what he saw as a worrisome trend. “One day they are calling journalists to write favorably about their prominent political patrons,” Mr. Broder said, “and the next minute they are sitting at the table with journalists and indistinguishable from the journalists.”

This year, there has been hardly a hiccup as the cable news networks and other outlets have sought to stoke interest in the presidential race — already a huge ratings boon — by signing up strategists who have either left politics only recently or still work in campaigns, a detail that is usually shared with the audience but not always.
Read more here.

Power And The Mind

From Having Less Power Impairs The Mind And Ability To Get Ahead, Study Shows:

New research appearing in the May issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that being put in a low-power role may impair a person’s basic cognitive functioning and thus, their ability to get ahead.

In their article, Pamela Smith of Radboud University Nijmegen, and colleagues Nils B. Jostmann of VU University Amsterdam, Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Wilco W. van Dijk of VU University Amsterdam, focus on a set of cognitive processes called executive functions. Executive functions help people maintain and pursue their goals in difficult, distracting situations. The researchers found that lacking power impaired people’s ability to keep track of ever-changing information, to parse out irrelevant information, and to successfully plan ahead to achieve their goals.
Either George W. Bush is the exception that proves the rule or he is not really very powerful. He may have gotten ahead, but his cognitive functioning certainly seems to be impaired.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Giving Up Golf Is Not A Sacrifice

From Bush's golf claims 'a slap in face':

Veterans have said President George Bush's claim that he gave up golf to show solidarity with US soldiers serving in Iraq was a disgraceful "insult to all Americans".

Brandon Friedman, a veteran US infantry officer who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said Mr Bush's claim that he sacrificed golf for the war was a "slap in the face" for US troops.

The president said he gave up the sport in 2003 out of respect for US soldiers killed in the war, which has now lasted more than five years.

Mr Friedman, who is vice chairman of the US veterans' organization VoteVets, told the Press Association: "Thousands of Americans have given up a lot more than golf for this war.

"For President Bush to imply that he somehow stands in solidarity with families of American soldiers by giving up golf is disgraceful. It's an insult to all Americans and a slap in the face to our troops' families."

When Will Conservatives Learn That It Is 2008, Not 1938?

From Negotiating isn't appeasement by J. Peter Scoblic:

In a speech to the Israeli parliament Thursday, President Bush took a swipe at Barack Obama for his willingness to negotiate with evil regimes.

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said. "We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

But if there is anything that has been discredited by history, it is the argument that every enemy is Hitler, that negotiations constitute appeasement, and that talking will automatically lead to a slaughter of Holocaust-like proportions. It is an argument that conservatives made throughout the Cold War, and, if the charge seemed overblown at the time, it seems positively ludicrous with the clarity of hindsight.

God TV

Or how to take all the fun out of life, and all your money too. From God TV: Televangelism 2.0 by Sarah Posner:

…welcome to the world of an apostolic movement sweeping the globe with its claims of prophecy direct from God, supernatural revivals and healings, and a quest to mold young people for God’s kingdom by enforced sexual purity, 24/7 prayer, repentance, and fasting. God TV, which acts both as a player in the movement and its gigantic PR machine, beams its programming—which often includes live prayer and revival events from the apostolic movement—across Europe, Asia, and Africa. And although God TV can only be seen in the United States on the satellite provider DirecTV or the Internet, the network is notable here not because of the audience it reaches, but because of the growing movement it depicts.

Doris Lessing

From Doris Lessing: prize fighter:

As well as the stultifying suburban life of colonial Africa, her books have explored the divide across which men and women talk to each other, at each other; the earnestness and perversity of communism; the way in which passion does not diminish with age; and, most notably, female neurosis. Her most influential book is The Golden Notebook, published in 1962 and to this day considered a feminist classic. This often-experimental exercise in post-modern fiction chronicles the inner life of Anna Wulf, exploring what it means to be intelligent, frustrated and female. It starts from the assumption that the lives of women are intimately connected to the accounts of themselves that society allows them to give. This insight moulds the form of the novel itself, with Anna's life being divided into different-coloured notebooks: black for writing, red for politics, blue for the everyday, and yellow for her feelings. The 'golden notebook' represents what Anna aspires to - the moment that will bring all her diverse selves into one whole.

With predictable unpredictability, the author now finds more to argue with in this work of her youth than do those feminists who elevated it to canonical status. She calls the novel her albatross and has come to regret the way critics failed to appreciate the structure of the novel, concentrating solely on its feminist message and its theme of mental breakdown as a means of healing and freeing the self from illusions. Her apparent irritation with the book may have had something to do with the adoring fans, especially feminists from America and Germany, who used to stand outside her gate in the summer. 'It became the property of the feminists,' she says. 'Yet it was fundamentally a political book. I used to tire of having to explain to young readers in the 1970s what Khrushchev's speech to the 20th Congress meant to world communism. That's what really gave the book its charge. At the time the comrades here were denying that Khrushchev had even made that speech, saying it was an invention of the capitalist press. Comrades were turning to drink in their despair.'

Kevin James Proves That He Is Incredibly Stupid

Is Arjun Murti The Oracle Of Oil?

From An Oracle of Oil Predicts $200-a-Barrel Crude by Louise Story:

“The fact that the U.S. gasoline demand can be down and that the U.S. gasoline consumer is no longer driving world oil prices is a monumental event,” Mr. Murti says. He spends most of his time talking to money managers and analysts, many of whom keep asking him if oil prices will stay high if speculators abandon the market, and says he applauds investors for driving up oil prices, since that will spur investment in alternative sources of energy.

High prices, he says, “send a message to consumers that you should try your best to buy fuel-efficient cars or otherwise conserve on energy.” Washington should create tax incentives to encourage people to buy hybrid cars and develop more nuclear energy, he said.

Of course, if lawmakers heed his advice, oil analysts like him might one day be a thing of the past. That’s fine with Mr. Murti.

“The greatest thing in the world would be if in 15 years we no longer needed oil analysts,” he says.

U.S. Personnel "are engaging in abusive tactics on behalf of the Chinese"

From Report: U.S. Soldiers Did 'Dirty Work' for Chinese Interrogators by Justin Rood:

U.S. military personnel at Guantanamo Bay allegedly softened up detainees at the request of Chinese intelligence officials who had come to the island facility to interrogate the men -- or they allowed the Chinese to dole out the treatment themselves, according to claims in a new government report.

Buried in a Department of Justice report released Tuesday are new allegations about a 2002 arrangement between the United States and China, which allowed Chinese intelligence to visit Guantanamo and interrogate Chinese Uighurs held there.

Simon Blackburn

From The Pope and the atheist by John Nery:

The Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn, addressing a conference in Lugano, Switzerland last weekend on “Truth in Science, Humanities and Religion,” phrased the problem in familiar terms. “Suppose I voice an honest and heartfelt opinion about anything, from mathematics to aesthetics. The conversation-stopping remark ‘That’s just your opinion’ is not only beside the point, but more importantly dehumanizing. It signals that your words do not deserve to be taken seriously, but only taken as symptoms, like signs of a disease.”

"Who knows what will be left of it when they are finished."

From The mountain that lost its top:

The act of destroying a million-year-old mountain has several distinct stages. First it is earmarked for removal and the hardwood forest cover, containing over 500 species of tree per acre in this region, is bulldozed away. The trees are typically burnt rather than logged, because mining companies are not in the lumber business. Then topsoil is scraped away and high explosives laid in the sandstone. Thousands of blasts go off across the region every day, blowing up what the mining industry calls "overburden".

The rubble is then tipped into the valleys – more than 7,000 have already been filled – and more than 700 miles of rivers and streams have disappeared under rubble and thousands more soiled with toxic waste.

The process has accelerated wildly under George Bush. His pro-business-at-any-price credo led to the tossing out of strict federal restrictions against dumping mining rubble within 250 feet of a mountain stream. The toxic spoil laden with heavy metals, which results from blowing up mountains, was renamed "fill", enabling the mining companies to use the cheapest method possible of disposing of it. Once the rock is blown up and the coal separated out, the flattened mountaintops can only support a thin cover of grass. Tens of thousands of acres of mountain have been transformed in this way in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.

Oh The Wackiness Of Faith

From McCain Backer Hagee Said Hitler Was Fulfilling God's Will by Sam Stein:

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a "hunter," sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.
As Wilson notes, in his 2006 book "Jerusalem Countdown", Hagee proposed the theory that "anti-Semitism, and thus the Holocaust, was the fault of Jews themselves -- the result of an age old divine curse incurred by the ancient Hebrews through worshiping idols and passed, down the ages, to all Jews now alive." He also wrote that "Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews."

I'm Not Trying To Compare Him To Jesus While I Compare Him To Jesus

From John McCain=Jesus? Good lord...:

Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart said Saturday that the party's presumed presidential nominee has a lot in common with Jesus Christ.

"John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross," Everhart said as she began the second day of the state GOP convention. "He never denounced God, either."
"I'm not trying to compare John McCain to Jesus Christ, I'm looking at the pain that was there," she said.

Who Cares What The Roman Catholic Church Says?

From The church this, the church that:

The Roman Catholic Church worries far too much about cells in dishes and far too little about existing, thinking people.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind, Out Of Our Minds

From Forget About It by Dennis Perrin:

I was nudged into these thoughts by a recent AP story about mass graves being unearthed in South Korea, showing that in 1950-51, the US-backed South regime slaughtered untold thousands of citizens, many of whom, women and children included, were killed execution-style, then dumped into trenches. It's the kind of human rights nightmare that, had it been attributed to Saddam or Milosevic, would be denounced as fascist terrorism. Yet so far I've seen no serious American commentary about what these mass graves mean, given that the US was in charge of the South Korean military that committed the massacres. Of course, defenders could point out that South Korea was at war with the North, and that grisly actions were bound to occur. But Saddam and Milosevic used the same reasoning to explain their killing fields, and I don't recall many stateside commentators who accepted that as a reasonable defense.
Mr. Perrin then goes on to explain what the United States did in Korea:
Mass executions are indeed savage, but even in this awful case, these killings were hardly the "most tragic and brutal chapter of the Korean War." US air strikes went far beyond shooting someone in the back of the head. The US firebombed Korean villages and towns into smoldering graves, dropping hundreds of tons of napalm in the effort, killing millions. On top of all that, the Truman administration seriously debated using nuclear weapons in Korea (the insane Douglas MacArthur, who proposed that the US drop up to 30 nuclear bombs, was thankfully kept outside of the inner-policy debates). As I put it in "Savage Mules": "In the end, nuclear weapons were not used, and really weren’t necessary. Destruction of the Korean peninsula, North and South, was so vast, the death toll so high, that all nukes would have added was a radioactive exclamation point."

This aerial destruction built upon the firebombing of Japanese cities at the end of World War II, and set the stage for the murderous assaults on Vietnam.
Mr. Perrin rightly points out that many Americans are ignorant of this and other savage parts of our history. This ignorance is upsetting enough, but what truly upsets and confounds me are the people who are informed of this side of our history and see it as necessary and just. With their support, and the tacit approval of the ignorant, the United States continues to commit atrocities all over the globe. The people calling for an end to this are marginalized, mocked, and labeled as kooks. Dennis Kucinich, Jeremiah Wright, and Noam Chomsky come to mind, off the top of my head. The main message of Kucinich, Wright, and Chomsky is one of peace. One of stopping all the killing. Yet they are generally considered to be nuts. Why? It is sickening to me to see them not be taken seriously. Who would choose war over peace, killing and destruction over not killing and destroying? Who would choose the insanity of massacre over the logic of negotiation? American history is filled with examples of us choosing the violent way. We are out of our minds.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Honorable Man

From IVAW member Matthis Chiroux announces his refusal to deploy to Iraq:

Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, who served in the Army until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines, today publicly announced his intention to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.
Here is a part of his statement to the press:
This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.
My thanks to Christiaan Briggs. Mr. Briggs also reminds of this from the Nuremberg Trial Proceedings:
To initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Is So Threatening?

From In Wicca We Trust! Is America Ready For A Pagan Or Atheist President? by Robert Paul Reyes:

Americans need a president who believes in God, because patriotism and religion are so inextricably linked. Most Americans simply can't believe that an atheist can be patriotic; they'd rather elect a hypocritical Christian than a morally-upright unbeliever.

I long for the day when a candidate's religion is as irrelevant as which football team he roots for. But I'm afraid that we'll see a stripper elected president, before an atheist or a Pagan.

There Is No Justice For All

From Searching for Answers in the Face of Tragedy by John Conyers:

The extinguishing of Sean Bell's young life is a tragedy that deserves justice, and I will continue to press for a full and fair investigation into the shooting and its prosecution. But this tragedy is far from being the first of its kind-- as Tom Robbins wrote in this week's Village Voice, "To get to the issues surrounding the death by police bullets of Sean Bell on the morning of his wedding day, you first have to joust with all the ghosts that have preceded him: that of [Michael] Stewart, of Arthur Miller, Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Timothy Stansbury, Khiel Coppin, and a score of others. The fact that those who mistakenly die at the hands of the police are most often black and Hispanic remains the most obscene tax levied on this city's communities of color. It is an old injustice, but one for which the powers-that-be still lack any credible answers."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Yet Another Bush Failure

From Bush ends 5-day Middle East trip with little progress by Hannah Allam:

Bush, however, heads home to Washington with few, if any, concrete gains on his largely ceremonial tour, his second trip to the Middle East in four months. He failed to win Saudi help with rising oil prices and didn't make any breakthroughs on groundwork for a Palestinian state.
I wonder how many taxpayers dollars were used to pay for this trip? It probably would have been better if Bush had just stayed in Crawford and done nothing.

Black Folks Can Hear That Dog Whistle Too

From There’s A Pattern Emerging Here by Terrance:

Perhaps no one in the Clinton campaign understands this, so let me make it plain. Black folks can hear that dog whistle too. I guarantee that in Black homes across America, where two or more are gathered and listened to that interview, one turned to the others and asked “You all heard that, right?” And the answer came back, “Mmmm hmmm,” followed by a collective sigh.

There is history in that sigh. I used to wonder, growing up, why some of the older folks I saw at church would shout and cry as if something traumatic had happened to them, and I always wondered what that trauma was. Now I think I understand. What the Clinton campaign is attempting to telegraph to white (and specifically southern) Americans is something those Black folks I witnessed shouting and crying had to hear every day, from people they knew and in many cases worked for. And for generations they had to quietly absorb it.

What is the Clinton campaign saying with its dog whistle to white Americans? In the bluntest terms, the Clinton campaign is saying to those who can hear their dog whistle: “That uppity nigger thinks he’s better than you. That black sonofabitch thinks he’s smarter than you. Are you really gonna let that boy run your country?”

Does the Clinton campaign think Black Americans don’t hear that dog whistle?

Bible Verse For Sunday 05-18-08

And he went up from thence to Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, little boys came out of the city and mocked him, saying: Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And looking back, he saw them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord: and there came forth two bears out of the forest, and tore of them two and forty boys.
What the hell?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

If Guns Are The Problem, Is The Solution More Guns?

From I don't know where to begin:

America...seriously? Guns in England aren't legal. While we still get gun crime, we don't get as much of it as you do in America, and I honestly can't remember the last time we had some kid go into school and blow his friends brains out...but regardless it was a long time ago.

Does this not make sense? You don't need a gun to defend yourself with if no-one else has a gun to attack you with!

What If Bill O'Reilly's Producer Was A Jerk Like Bill O'Reilly?

Bill O'Reilly's Producer:

I wonder if Sting is enjoying all the free publicity?

The Letter

Patrick M. Brennan tells an interesting tale of a letter he has recently received on his eponymous web site.

Mahmoud Abbas' Treachery

From Because Nothing Expresses Patriotism Quite Like A Three Dollar Stars And Stripes Enamel Flag Pin, Mass-Produced For Walmart In A Beijing Sweatshop:

So I guess it's not just Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos who think the key test of Presidential material is whether Obama wears a flag pin. There's actually someone else in the world who thinks just like them. And it's Hamas! How about that.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

Karl Rove doesn’t like Barack Obama. This is perceived by me as a good thing for Barack Obama and the United States of America.

From Rove slams Obama over 'bitter' comments, flag pin by Alexander Mooney:

Rove, who does not have an official role within John McCain's presidential campaign or at the Republican National Committee, also took Obama to task for recently wearing a flag pin.

"It is distracting to say in a Democratic primary when you are trying to cozy up to that an American flag on your lapel is a quote 'substitute' for true patriotism," Rove said. "Belittling all those who care to wear our country's flag, calling them false patriots, and then when you focus on the general election, like this week, start to showing up with an American flag on your lapel again. That's distracting."
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. How stupid is that?

Somebody Aimed A Gun At Him

From Huckabee Jokes About Obama Ducking Gunfire by Sarah Wheaton:

Known for his humor on the campaign trail, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee raised some eyebrows with his latest improvisation, which imagined a gun pointed at Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

When his speech to the National Rifle Association was interrupted by a loud noise from backstage, Mr. Huckabee quipped, “That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He’s getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he — he dove for the floor.”

Though the audience laughed at the first part of the joke about Mr. Obama falling off the chair, the gun comment the former Republican presidential contender drew a few murmurs.

Not Safe For Work And Not For Children

Bill O'Reilly Flips Out - Dance Remix:

The World's Worst Poet?

Is William McGonagall the worst poet of all time? Many people think so. Thirty-five of his works are up for auction today. In spite of McGonagall’s reputation, or perhaps because of it, his works are expected to fetch high prices. McGonagall was Scottish and died in September 1902.

From 'World's worst poems' at auction:

Alex Dove, from auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, said: "Poetry didn't really come to him until I think he was 47 and the voices in his head told him that he'd be able to write poems.

"Then he thought he was the best thing since sliced bread, he thought he should be the poet laureate and all sorts.

"He tried to hawk these poems around the streets of places like Dundee and he was notoriously encouraged to give performances just so people could make fun of him.

"Poet-baiting became an ongoing activity, they used to throw vegetables at him and all sorts."

The poems which are being auctioned in Edinburgh are expected to fetch more than rare first editions of James Bond novels, a Mickey Mouse book from 1931 and a first edition of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Ms Dove said: "I think he's still popular now because he's so bad, because they're so humorous and a lot of people have kept him going in the media, people like Spike Milligan, Terry Pratchett, and it means he's still in print 100 years later."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Did The Today Show Give Bill O'Reilly A Free Pass?

The Today Show this morning lumped Bill O’Reilly’s now famous meltdown in with various celebrity gaffs and bloopers, including the one by WNBC news anchor Sue Simmons. Yesterday O’Reilly’s meltdown was all over the web. In this Today Show clip it is hardly mentioned and seems to be dismissed as some sort of flub that was just a slip of the tongue. Obviously that’s not what it was.

Couldn’t they find someone better to talk to about this than Marvet Britto (Celebrity Publicist) and Donnie Deutsch? Donnie Deutsch has never said anything that I agree with. He is as vapid as they come. I’ve never heard of Marvet Britto before. She seems to be as vapid as Deutsch.

This segment by the Today Show is upsetting to me. Sue Simmons revealed a side of herself that was previously not known to her viewers. Bill O’Reilly revealed a side of himself that we all know all too well. There is a difference and the Today Show was pretending there isn’t.

Why does this matter? For one thing the Today Show is being dishonest. They should be reporting the truth, not trying to change it. Secondly, some people actually seem to take Bill O’Reilly seriously and believe the things he says. For this reason the Today Show should take him seriously and not be pretending that what he says and how he says it is the same thing as Katie Couric falling down.

In the now famous clip of Bill O’Reilly he is exactly the same Bill O’Reilly we’ve all come to hate. He is rude, loud, uncouth, self-centered, and stupid. He talks, but he doesn’t listen. The off camera voice is polite, quiet, and informative. Yet O’Reilly mistreats the poor guy for no reason other than O’Reilly is an ignorant ass who can’t even do his job right.

Play the clip below and notice how they try to blur O’Reilly’s meanness and ignorance (who doesn’t know what “to play us out” means?) with other peoples mistakes. Marvet Britto says “They’re not talking about curbing a bad person.” However, O’Reilly is a bad person. Donnie Deutsch says “There is a difference between just a human slip and something that shows anger or hatred or a real human flaw.” Yes, I agree with this, but this is not the case with Bill O’Reilly’s behavior. He shows anger, hatred, and is a real human flaw.

Think for a moment of all the young people that see Bill O’Reilly on television. How do they process what they see? Do they see someone who is despicable? Or do they see someone who is a role model for success and riches? The world already has enough assholes, we don’t need Bill O’Reilly to be grooming more.

The word schadenfreude (enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others) is used in the clip of the Today Show. In the case of O’Reilly much more than schadenfreude is needed. Someone needs to shut him up.

Enough already, here is the clip:

If you don't see the video, try this: Anchor mishaps caught on tape

Matt Lauer Is No Mike Wallace

What we have here is one rich guy asking another rich guy questions about the high price of gasoline. Both of these rich guys can afford to fill their gas tanks and then some. Notice how nice Matt Lauer is to one of the guys that is robbing Americans blind. Notice how every answer is a non-answer. Actually Mr. Lauer asks some pretty good questions. However there is no followup to all the non-answers. Pretty wimpy stuff Mr. Lauer.

We desperately need reporters and interviewers who aren’t making millions of dollars a year. Someone who is lean and hungry for a story. Not fat cats like Matt Lauer who are part of the club of the rich elite. We need someone who is mad as hell asking these questions. We need a pit bull, not a lapdog.

If you don't see the video try this: Exxon chief discusses gas prices.

Straight Talk From Joe Biden

From Biden calls Bush comments 'bulls**t':

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joe Biden, D-Delaware, called President Bush’s comments accusing Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats of wanting to appease terrorists "bulls–t” and said if the president disagrees so strongly with the idea of talking to Iran then he needs to fire his secretaries of State and Defense, both of whom Biden said have pushed to sit down with the Iranians.

“This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset…and make this kind of ridiculous statement,” Biden said angrily in a brief interview just off the Senate floor.
Excuse me Senator Biden, but EVERYTHING Bush says is bullshit.

Who You Callin' "Sweetie"?

First no flag pins, now this. Obama is a bad, bad man. Watch your mouth…

From Obama sorry for 'sweetie' comment:

Reporter Peggy Agar, of the WXYZ television network in Michigan, had shouted a question as Mr Obama toured a Chrysler car plant in Detroit.

Mr Obama said: "Hold on one second, sweetie" and did not answer.

He later left a message for Ms Agar saying it was a "bad habit" and he "meant no disrespect".

Ms Agar told the Detroit News: "I've been called worse."

Bush Like To Screw Everybody, So Do Your Penance

From The Idolatry of America by Damon Linker:

While the shelves of our bookstores sag under the weight of tracts arguing the political case for church-state separation, surprisingly few authors have undertaken the task of reminding us, in light of the Bush administration's faith-based policies, why religious believers should think twice before plunging into partisan politics. Until recently, David Kuo's Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction was the only prominent example. A deeply pious evangelical, Kuo was brought on board by the Bush administration to oversee the implementation of the president's program in Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He quickly discovered that his high hopes for synthesizing religion and politics would be disappointed. Not only did Bush show little interest in fighting for the chronically under-funded program in Congress, but high-level White House staffers repeatedly expressed contempt for the evangelicals who were the president's strongest supporters. In Kuo's view, the faith of devout Christians had been manipulated by the Bush administration for the sake of political gain. Kuo himself was so certain--and so ashamed--of such manipulation that he concluded his book with the suggestion that evangelicals refrain from political engagement for two years as an act of penance for their recent overindulgence in power politics.

Arjun Murti

From Wall Street's crude ways by David Weidner:

The hubris and insensitivity of energy trading is best personified by Goldman Sachs. A Goldman commodities analyst famously predicted in March 2005 that oil would reach $100 a barrel. At the time, a barrel was trading about $55. The prediction led to a lot of ridicule, but it also drove up prices in the short term, and ultimately came true.

It also led to speculation that Goldman was trying to goose the market because it had a huge position in oil derivatives.

Now, Arjun Murti, the same analyst who made the earlier prediction, is back, promising $200 oil this year. Murti is again talking about demand, but again, world consumption doesn't suggest the price should double.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just When You Think You've Seen It All

The Trinity of Hell:

If this is what reading the Bible does to you then I just might start to support book burning. Just for the Bible of course.

Via The 'Other' Crazy Black Preacher Reveals Obama's 'Trinity of Hell'

Little Bush Dreaming Of War

From Legendary Author Gore Vidal on the Bush Presidency, History and the “United States of Amnesia”:

AMY GOODMAN: And what about Dreaming War?

GORE VIDAL: Well, same thing. They were dreaming war. You can see little Bush all along was just dreaming of war, and also Cheney dreaming about oil wells and how you knock apart a country like Iraq and of course their oil will pay for the damage you do. For that alone, he should have been put in front of a firing squad.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe in the death penalty?

GORE VIDAL: No. But in their case, yes.

The Dog Of War Is Unchained

From Rutgers Clinic Sues President Bush Over Iraq War by David Swanson:

The Rutgers/Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic filed suit today in the Federal District Court in Newark against President Bush over the War in Iraq. The Complaint seeks a Declaratory Judgment that the President’s decision to launch a preemptive war against a sovereign nation in 2003 violated Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, which assigns to Congress the power to Declare War.

According to Professor Frank Askin, founding director of the Clinic and attorney for the Plaintiffs in New Jersey Peace Action v. George W. Bush, six law students worked with him through much of the academic year studying the issues and preparing the law suit.

The unusual 20-page Complaint relies very heavily on the annals of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, at which the Founders deliberately denied to the president the power to wage war except in response to a sudden attack when Congress did not have time to act. “The Founders were very clear,” said Askin “that only Congress could make that awesome decision. They were not permitted to delegate that power to the president and thus be able later to disclaim responsibility for a decision gone bad. It was that momentous decision that allowed Thomas Jefferson to proclaim that the Convention had ‘chained the dog of war.’”

Will Anyone Miss George W. Bush?

Even the financial gurus think things will be better without George W. Bush.

From Democrats and your foreign portfolio by Barbara Kollmeyer:

…there is much at stake for foreign markets come November, especially if there is a changing of the guard in the White House. As far as analysts are concerned, the fallout from a Democratic win is not easy to decipher, although many say just the image of a fresh start could be a benefit.

"In general, if you want a favorable story on the Democrats win, the major thrust will be there is currently a very negative aspect to U.S. and international relations in general," said Pran Tiku, founder and CIO at Peak Financial Management.

"With that as a backdrop, [a Democrat win] would produce a more favorable climate in terms of dialogue, negotiation and trade opportunities."