Friday, October 31, 2008

Brand Names

From Want Fries With Your Vote? by Dennis Perrin:

Personally, I don't see the point to political yard signs. Yes, it announces your preference, but it also solidifies your spectator status. All you are doing is providing free ad space to corporate candidates and parties. If one charged a party with yard rental fees, I'd understand the allure. But instead, people willingly display brand names that have little if any real connection to their personal lives. It's analagous to wearing NFL or NBA gear -- which is fine, if you like the look. I just wonder how long it will be before we simply cut to the chase and have bar codes tattooed to our foreheads.

Stop Reading This, Go Take A Nap

From Extra sleep helps the heart, researchers say:

Turning your clock back on Sunday may be good for your heart.

Swedish researchers looked at 20 years of records and discovered that the number of heart attacks dipped on the Monday after clocks were set back an hour, possibly because people got an extra hour of sleep.

But moving clocks forward in the spring appeared to have the opposite effect. There were more heart attacks during the week after the start of daylight saving time, particularly on the first three days of the week.

"Sleep -- through a variety of mechanisms -- affects our cardiovascular health," said Dr. Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, who was not involved in the research. The findings show that "sleep not only impacts how we feel, but it may also affect whether we develop heart disease or not."

The study was described in a letter published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute and Dr. Rickard Ljung of Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

God Cares About How You Vote

God wants you to vote McCain/Palin. It says so in the Bible. The Bible also tells us that anyone who votes Obama/Biden is screwed. You know the routine, eternal damnation and hell fire and all of that.

In all my years of reading the Bible I wonder why I keep missing the part that says “Vote for McCain”? I’ve found lots of parts that tell me I’m screwed.

It appears that God does not believe in democracy. I’m glad that I don’t believe in God. God is unpatriotic and Un-American. God is Unconstitutional. God is an autocratic dictator.

From You cannot be a Christian and vote for Obama by Janet Porter:

To all those who name the name of Christ who plan to willfully disobey Him by voting for Obama, take warning. Not only is our nation in grave danger, according to the Word of God, so are you.
Aren’t there laws against voter intimidation in the United States? Do they pertain to God? Do they pertain to Janet Porter?
In one week, America will make a choice. And to those who call themselves "Christian" who are planning on voting for Barack Obama, put down the Obama talking points and read God's voter guide before you go to the polls:
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Somehow “choose life” becomes anti-abortion, as a political tool. Why can’t “choose life” mean a woman’s right to choose, not the government choosing for her?
It's not just about "hope" and "change." Proverbs 6:16-22 states there are some things God hates.
These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
Obama-Biden are pro-death. McCain-Palin are pro-life.

Now choose life that you and your children may live.
I wonder how many Iraqi fetuses have died because of George W. Bush? Where is the Christian outrage over their deaths? Where is Janet Porter’s outrage over this? No outrage, just the outrageous claim that God wants us to vote for someone who will carry on George’s very Un-Christian work in Iraq. What about the unborn in Iran that McCain has plans to kill? What was that talk about "hands that shed innocent blood"?

Read again those six things that God hates, I mean hates. Watch out, now they are seven abominations. (If a Christian types “Lord” instead of “LORD”, do they go to hell?) How six things that God hates become seven abominations, God only knows. The reason God does not play dice is because he doesn’t know how to count. God must not be very happy with George W. Bush right now. Isn’t Bush guilty on all seven counts?

Vote for McCain/Palin, so that if you do choose to have an abortion you will have to do it yourself with a coat-hanger. Vote for McCain/Palin, so that your children will have to go fight the 100 year war in Iraq. Vote for McCain/Palin, so that your children will grow up in a world without universal health care. (They may be sick, but god damn it, they’re alive. Unless, of course, they die because they got sick.) Vote for McCain/Palin, so that you can’t afford to buy food for your kids because the wealth should stay with the wealthy and not be spread around. (Your kids can choose life without any food.)
No, this election is not about race. It's not about the economy. It's about obeying God.
Then obey Him in the voting booth and out of it. If not, do us all a favor and quit calling yourself a Christian.
I don’t call myself a Christian. I haven’t for years. I’m voting for Obama.

Did I just hear thunder?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Up Is Down, Backwards Is Forwards

The condensed version of this post is:


Read on for the non-condensed version:

Welcome to the world of Iowa Rep. Steve King. It is a pretty crazy place. It is a world that goes beyond the craziness of labeling Barack Obama as a socialist. In King’s world a Barack Obama victory would lead to a totalitarian dictatorship. I thought we already have that now with George W. Bush.

Here are some selected Kingisms:

“When you take a lurch to the left you end up in a totalitarian dictatorship. There is no freedom to the left. It’s always to our side of the aisle.”

“Obama is ACORN… When I see Obama, I see ACORN branded on his forehead.”

"Environmental extremists want all things off the table that have anything to do with drilling and putting up wind machines. Geo-thermal is out, too, because it requires a drill rig and apparatus. The extremists are against using what the Creator placed there for us to use."

“Obama will only appoint judicial activists. We need a Supreme Court that will uphold what the majority of Americans believe in and the intentions of the Constitution."

"We put a lot of energy and resources into our children to raise them in the American way and in our Christian faith and teach them values based on these. Obama's upbringing involves his father returning to his first wife after Barrack's birth and becoming a polygamist. His step-father was also a polygamist. He eventually wound up living with his grandparents in Hawaii who were strong leftists. He also writes about his fondness for his Uncle Frank who is a Marxist intellectual. His mother went to The Little Red Church on the Hill in Seattle, a self-proclaimed atheist church where it was said, 'They raise red-diaper babies,' babies that were raised to be left wing hard core atheists."

"Obama was not raised with an intentional attitude toward Americanism. Does he have an understanding of American patriotism, respect for our nation and what it's been through, our culture or the Christian religion upon which our nation was founded? The way to look at the reasons Obama doesn't place his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is playing, or wear an American flag pin is primarily because he is not wilful or spiteful, but because it just doesn't occur to him because it's not the way he's been raised. American patriotism is not imprinted on his mind or in his heart, because he wasn't raised as an American. Is this the kind of foundation you want for your next president? The president of the strongest country in the free world. We need to elect a president that is going to protect us under our Bill of Rights."

“People out there have jobs, they’re working, the economy’s flowing.”

There is more. Things like calling Joe McCarthy “a great American hero.” But one must stop somewhere.

Barack Obama will become the first dictator of the United States.

From Dictator:

In modern usage, the term "dictator" is generally used to describe a leader who holds and/or abuses an extraordinary amount of personal power, especially the power to make laws without effective restraint by a legislative assembly. Dictatorships are often characterized by some of the following traits: suspension of elections and of civil liberties; proclamation of a state of emergency; rule by decree; repression of political opponents without abiding by rule of law procedures; these include single-party state, and cult of personality.
Does that describe Barack Obama to you? Or does it sound more like George W. Bush?

Again from Dictator:
A wide variety of leaders coming to power in a number of different kinds of regimes, such as military juntas, single-party states and civilian governments under personal rule, have been described as dictators.
According to Rep. King, if Obama is elected, there will need to be some updating done over at Wikipedia, and all of our dictionaries might as well be thrown away.

“There is no freedom to the left.” How does King define freedom? How does King define left? Have we not lost a significant number of our freedoms in the last eight years under the extreme right-wing policies of George W. Bush?

Does King think we should go back to the days of slavery? Does he see brands on the foreheads of any other African-Americans? Have they been burnt into their flesh?

How many “environmental extremists” don’t want wind power or geo-thermal? One? Five? Fifty? It is not just “extremists” that believe in conservation. Also, some Americans do not believe in a creator. And some Americans believe in a different creator than the one King believes in. Some Americans believe in the separation of church and state. King gives us a good reason for why they believe this.

Activist judges? Excuse me, what could be more activist than the Supreme Court deciding, against the will of the people, who the president will be? The “intentions of the Constitution” have been run through the shredder so many times by the Bush administration that I have lost count. And King is worried about Obama?

“Left wing hard core atheists” vote. Guess who most of them will be voting for? America is not a Christian nation. Jews vote. Agnostics vote. Muslims vote. Hindus vote. Buddhists vote. Shintoists vote. Guess who most of them will be voting for? Rep. King, you should get your head out of the sand and take a look around at some of your fellow Americans. They are just as much American as you are, whether you like it or not.

“The Little Red Church on the Hill” is just a nickname. As far as I can tell “The Little Red Church on the Hill in Seattle” is officially called the East Shore Unitarian Church. Oh those crazy Unitarians, they accept everyone. Even atheists. It kind of reminds me of some country somewhere that does the same thing. It sure would sound different if King had said that Obama’s mother went to the East Shore Unitarian Church, wouldn’t it? By the way, my mother goes to a Catholic Church every Sunday. I was raised to be a good little Catholic. What does that say about my mother? What does that say about me?

Whom does one worship at “a self-proclaimed atheist church”? Praise be to ye that does not exist?

I don’t put my hand over my heart for anything. I don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I don’t sing patriotic songs. I don’t wear flag pins. I have voted in every presidential election since I was old enough to do so. Guess who I will be voting for?

None of my grandparents were “raised as an American.” They came here from another country and became United States citizens. What’s wrong with that? Does King even pay attention to the inanities that come out of his mouth?

“We need to elect a president that is going to protect us under our Bill of Rights." What we really need is to elect a president that is going to protect the Bill of Rights. (By golly, they actually take an oath about this.) What we really need is to elect a president that is going to protect us from radical Republicans like George W. Bush… and Steve King.

“People out there have jobs, they’re working, the economy’s flowing.” Has King been holed up in Cheney’s bunker for the last year? Like I said before, Rep. King, get your head out of the sand and take a look around. It’s kinda scary out there. Not in a black man, Muslim, terrorist, socialist kind of way. It’s more like a collapse of our entire economy kind of way. What did eight years of George W. Bush do for us? Perhaps it is time for a change.

America is supposed to be the land of the free. Freedom means that one can choose to be a Non-Christian, leftist, socialist in the United States, if one wants to be. It is what our country is all about. Why is Steven King against this?

My main sources for the King quotes are here and here and here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Religious Display

From Capitol to display Nativity scene, atheist sign:

State officials have authorized permits for two holiday-season displays this year.

One is a Nativity scene from Olympia-area realty agent Ron Wesselius, who sued last year over the issue and then won a legal settlement allowing his display.

The other is a 30-by-30 inch placard from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Coalition, which plans to offer a nonreligious perspective.

The placard will carry a message similar to one put up in the Wisconsin statehouse the past 12 years, AnnieLaurie Gaylor, co-president of the organization, said Monday

That placard said: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.

“There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
Read the rest here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

McCain's Plan To Lower Your Taxes

John McCain has a plan to lower your taxes. It involves raising your taxes. It involves making you pay more for health care. (This does not apply to those of you who can afford your own private health insurance policy. How many of you can do that?) Oh, the logic of the Republican mind.

From McCain Health Plan Could Mean Higher Tax by Kevin Sack and Michael Cooper:

The 71 percent of insured Americans who get their health coverage through their employers now enjoy a significant advantage because the money spent by employers on their health coverage is excluded from their taxable income. If employers chose to pay that share of a worker’s compensation as wages rather than benefits, the income would be taxable.

The exclusion costs the federal government more than $212 billion a year in income and payroll taxes, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. That is more than the cost of the deductibility of home mortgage interest, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The tax treatment of health benefits has been criticized as both discriminatory and regressive, and some analysts believe it encourages workers to buy more coverage than they need, driving up health costs.

To end the disadvantage to those who do not buy insurance through employers, Mr. McCain proposes to eliminate the exclusion of health benefits from taxable income. In exchange, he would provide refundable tax credits of $2,500 to single people and of $5,000 to families, with the goal of stoking competition in the individual insurance market. The elimination of the exclusion would generate $3.6 trillion over 10 years, according to the McCain campaign, and that money would pay for the tax credits.

Mr. Holtz-Eakin calculated that workers in the top income tax bracket would have to pay more in taxes if their employers have been contributing at least $14,285 toward a family insurance premium. Nationwide, the average cost of a family policy is $12,106, with employers paying $8,824 of that amount.

While the change would primarily affect those with gold-plated insurance policies, health analysts point out that middle-income workers with conventional coverage could conceivably pay more in regions where insurance costs are high. Over time, that might depend on how the tax credits are adjusted for inflation, a detail Mr. McCain has not discussed.
Why is McCain’s mantra of “Tax cuts” not applicable here? In other words, how can a Republican get away with saying that he is going to raise taxes? Something funny is going on here. Why does he want to take the only form of health insurance that most Americans can actually afford and make it more expensive? Who will end up paying this tax? Is McCain trying to destroy the only form of health care that most Americans can afford? What will be left?

The talk of $2500 and $5000 checks strikes me as bribery. This is what some voters will hear and understand from all of this talk. The details of the plan won't matter and will take too much work to try to understand. I don't think that I really understand the details, and John (Mr. I Don't Understand The Economy) McCain probably doesn't either.

Reread this sentence: “ To end the disadvantage to those who do not buy insurance through employers, Mr. McCain proposes to eliminate the exclusion of health benefits from taxable income.” Poorer people cannot afford to buy health insurance. The only people disadvantaged by tax free health insurance through employers are rich people. What a world we live in. Rich people are now disadvantaged. I feel so sorry for them. If only the system wasn't screwing them all the time.

I agree with McCain that this system is flawed, but he is barking up the wrong tree here. The McCain rhetoric makes it sound like his plan is a good thing for middle class Americans. The reality of his plan is that it is a good thing for very rich Americans. Americans like Cindy McCain.

From Senator McCain's New Tax on Health Insurance by Jeff Liebman:
Strange winds are blowing in economic policy land. After failing to privatize social insurance, the Bush Treasury is now socializing private insurance. The Democratic presidential candidate is running on a tax reform platform that provides three times greater tax cuts for middle class families than the Republican candidate's platform. And the Republican candidate, after advocating deregulatory policies for 26 years in Congress, has now embraced the rhetoric of a populist regulatory reformer.

But the most unlikely wind of all is Senator McCain's health care proposal which by the end of his first term would increase taxes by $1362 for middle-income American families, while raising marginal tax rates on labor income by more than President Bush's tax cuts have reduced them.

Here's how the McCain plan works. Every family receives a refundable tax credit of $5000 that can be used only to purchase health insurance. Individuals receive $2500. McCain's advisers say the cost of this tax credit is $3.6 trillion dollars over ten years. They also say that their plan is revenue neutral because they introduce a new tax on employer-based health insurance that the Joint Committee on Taxation scores as raising $3.6 trillion over 10 years.

Currently, employee compensation in the form of employer-provided health insurance is exempt from both the personal income tax and FICA payroll taxes. Most employee payments for employer-based health insurance are also tax preferred. McCain's plan would eliminate these and other health-related tax expenditures.

The fact that the plan is revenue neutral means that the tax savings for families receiving tax cuts are exactly balanced by the tax increases for families whose taxes go up. But because the tax cuts are front loaded, after just a few years most American families will see their tax bills go up under the McCain plan.
Read the rest here.

Go ahead and vote for McCain if you like paying higher taxes, and getting less in return from those taxes. Unless, of course, you are incredibly wealthy. If that is the case, then McCain’s plan will give you more and make you even more wealthy.

Apple, Gays, Google, And Religion

From Apple gives $100,000 to fight California gay marriage ban by Prince McLean:

Apple has joined Google in publicly opposing California's Proposition 8, a measure intended to ban the rights of gay Californians to legally marry, and has contributed $100,000 to defeat the measure.

Both companies have a history of remaining politically neutral, but have chosen to take sides on this issue because it relates directly to the civil rights and opportunities of their employees.
The No on 8 campaign notes that "Virtually every major paper in California is against Prop 8. The L.A. Times says it is 'a drastic step to strip people of rights.' La Opinión called Prop 8 'an unnecessary initiative.' The San Diego Union Tribune wrote that Prop 8 'offends many Californians' sense of fairness.'"

Apple's $100,000 contribution to the No on 8 campaign is significant because the effort to stop the proposition has been systematically outgunned by out-of-state religious groups, who have poured cash into TV advertisements that threaten dire consequences if gays' right to marry continue in the state. Among other claims, the ads state that if the proposition isn't passed, California schools will force children to study gay marriage.

That claim prompted California Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell to announce that the proposition "has nothing to do with schools or kids. Our schools aren't required to teach anything about marriage, and using kids to lie about that is shameful."
A thank you to Irate Weirdos.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bible Verse For Sunday 10-26-08

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
What the hell?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the first definition of the word chastise as: “to inflict punishment on (as by whipping).” And scourge is a synonym for whip; “especially: one used to inflict pain or punishment.”

How many, if any, children deserve punishment? How many deserve painful physical punishment? At what age should this punishment begin? What must the child do to deserve such correction so that the child may then be reverent to his/her father?

Ah, the Bible, the handbook for child abusers everywhere.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Troubling Signs

The saga continues. Eight years later…

From Long lines, glitches reported during early voting:

In many states across the country, voting has begun, and in some cases, so have the headaches.

With the issues that marred the 2000 election singed into the electorate's collective memory, the reports of problems are troubling signs for many who are skeptical of whether their votes will count.

Forty-two percent of those surveyed in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said they were not confident that their votes could be "accurately cast and counted." That number is up 15 percentage points from a similar poll conducted four years ago.

The poll was conducted October 17 through October 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

As of Tuesday, 29 states were accepting early ballots, and election officials are reporting record turnouts. Voting problems, ranging from computer glitches to long lines, have been reported in a few states.
Read the rest here.

How does that old saying go again? If it's broke, don't fix it. Right?

Guilty By Association And Poor Logic

If Barack Obama is a terrorist because of William Ayers, and Barack Obama is partially responsible for both the current financial crisis and voter fraud because of ACORN, then I pronounce John McCain to be a lying no-good piece of scum because of Ashley Todd. Oh, this is so easy, and so much fun, too.

From Woman admits making up McCain sticker attack, police say:

Bail was set at $50,000 Friday night for a GOP campaign worker who made up a story about being attacked by a man angered by a John McCain bumper sticker on her car.

Ashley Todd, 20, of College Station, Texas, has been charged with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor, a police report said.

Todd, who is being held at the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, did not enter a plea when she appeared in court Friday night. She did not post bail.

She is scheduled to appear in court again October 30, when she is expected to enter a plea.

If she posts bail, Todd must be evaluated at a behavioral clinic.

"This has wasted so much time. ... It's just a lot of wasted man hours," Assistant Police Chief Maurita Bryant said at a briefing.

Todd was a volunteer for a John McCain phone bank in Pittsburgh, the campaign said.

The woman told investigators a man approached her Wednesday night at an ATM in Pittsburgh's East End, put a blade to her neck and demanded money, said Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard.

Police said they found "several inconsistencies" in Todd's statement and she was not seen in surveillance videos taken at the ATM. She was asked to take a polygraph test Friday morning, Richard said. The results were not made public.

Later, Todd came to the police station to help work on a composite sketch of the alleged attacker. When she arrived, Todd "told them she just wanted to tell the truth" -- that she was not robbed, and there was no attacker, Bryant said.
Read the rest here.

If Todd is evaluated and it turns out that she is deemed to be mentally incompetent, what will that say about John McCain?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Salty Salter

Mark Salter is pissed off about McCain’s fucking story. I mean, Jesus Christ, this is just crazy shit.

From Mark Salter on the Press and John McCain by Jeffrey Goldberg:

There was an astonishing quotation in a recent New York Times story about John McCain from Robert Timberg, a biographer and admirer of McCain's. Timberg told the Times reporter David Kirkpatrick that, "Political campaigns have a way of distorting reality and turning political candidates into caricatures of themselves. In some ways that has happened to (McCain), and in some way he may have contributed to that." Mark Salter, the McCain aide who has co-written most of McCain's books, is quoted as calling Timberg's assertion "deeply offensive."

I called Salter to talk about the Timberg quotation, and the Times story - in which Kirkpatrick explores the literary influences on McCain's life (and on Salter's) and discusses the shaping of McCain's heroic image. We also talked about Salter's current view of the press: "I think the media is driven by a need to see this history happen," he said. "And I think they've rationalized it, they think they're on the level with McCain, that he's not the old McCain. But he is the old McCain. He just doesn't know what happened to the old press corps."
Read the rest here. (Jesus Christ, it's where you will find the fucking crazy shit.)

Oh, and Andrew Sullivan has lost his fucking mind.

Now, talk among yourselves.

First, I want you to discuss how the liberal media doesn’t inform you about things that you have heard about. I don’t know where you learned about them, but it couldn’t have been from the liberal media. Say “fuck this” and “fuck that” and “Jesus Christ” a lot. It will add substance to the discussion.

Then, I want you to discuss the party of family values. Be sure to use lots of curse words and to take the Lord’s name in vain as often as you like.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Karl Rove Or Streakers?

I would pick “inebriated and naked bankers” over Karl Rove any day of the year. No contest.

On second thought, screw all of them. I’m not very happy with mortgage bankers these days either.

From Protests and Hecklers Have Mortgage Bankers Longing for Good Old Days by Jesse McKinley:

It was just another business-as-usual day at the annual convention of the nation’s mortgage bankers: a few panels, a few presentations and an attempted abduction of Karl Rove.

Mr. Rove, the Republican strategist and former adviser to President Bush, was accosted onstage during a convention panel here on Tuesday morning by a protester who tried to handcuff and arrest him “for treason.” Mr. Rove tried to elbow her away before she was taken offstage.

No one was injured and no arrests were made, but the stage-storming was just the latest outburst at an event that usually packs all the excitement of a mortgage calculator. On Monday, another panel was interrupted by protesters demanding a moratorium on foreclosures, and hecklers screamed at attendees through bullhorns outside.

The convention was booked for San Francisco well before the national mortgage meltdown, the $700 billion bailout and all the recriminations between. But the rancor of the protests and the general malaise in the mortgage business has left more than a few conventioneers, like Gregory B. Lucas, a mortgage broker from Pomona, Calif., fondly remembering the good old days of the industry’s gatherings.

“We had streakers during the 1990s, but that was a joyful, happy thing,” said Mr. Lucas, who had been coming to such events for 20 years and recalled how a group of inebriated and naked bankers had once entertained the crowd. “But now everyone is blaming us for everything.”
Read the rest here.

Maybe if they had kept their clothes on and stayed sober we wouldn’t have had a subprime mortgage meltdown.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do The People Of Western Pennsylvania Deserve Some Kind Of God Trophy?

From McCain Calls Western PA "Most" Patriotic, God-Loving Part Of The Country by Marc Ambinder:

Just like dark energy in the universe, one could very well assume that patriotism is evenly distributed across the country. Certainly, some parts of the country are more God-loving' than others, but that's simply a factor of the distribution of atheists and agnostics. And, actually, given the density of cities, there are probably more God-loving people in urban areas than there are outside urban areas.

This just isn't so, according to Sen. John McCain. One area of the country wins the God-loving, patriotic contest.

Here's what he said tonight.

Referring to Rep. Jack Murtha's remarks on the region's alleged racism, McCain said: "I think you may have noticed that Sen. Obama's supporters are saying some pretty nasty things about Western Pennsylvania lately."

McCain: "And you know, I couldn't agree with them more."

"I couldn't disagree with you."

"I couldn't agree with you more than the fact that Western Pennsylvania is the most patriotic, most God-loving, most patriotic part of America... this is a great part of the country."
If you live in Western Pennsylvania there is no need for you to take this quiz.

Fairy Tales

From McCain’s “Socialism” Charge by Madison Powers:

For many months the McCain campaign has been asking who Barack Obama is. The campaign has been tantalizingly vague, dropping hints along the way, but leaving it to us to connect the dots. Now, thanks to the McCain-Palin campaign, the answer has finally come into focus. He’s a celebrity Muslim socialist who pals around with terrorists at elite Hyde Park gatherings attended by Republican college presidents.

We always knew that Obama would make real history should he win the election for president, but we always thought it would be because he is an African-American. Who knew that the most extraordinary part of his biography is his uncanny ability to combine so many qualities into one persona? No wonder it took months of public education by the McCain camp to bring this to light. Most of us just wouldn’t have figured it out. Thanks for your hard work.

Too bad, however, that the public is not in the mood for fairy tales when the economy is so much at risk and we are fighting two costly wars, neither of which is going all that well. It is hard to understand why so many people are so preoccupied with these issues when the Republican campaign has been doing their best to tell us why we really should be sniffing out socialists amongst us. And while we are at it, maybe we should have Congress investigate which members of Congress are anti-American.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Calm Cool Collected

From On President Obama by Tom Watson:

…my Obama moment came earlier in the week - a week that witnessed Barack Obama's finest performance in a presidential debate over these last two long years. Oh, I know the pundits don't agree. Many scored the Hofstra tilt for John McCain, and others called it a draw. Obama, they seemed to complain, was cool and careful and distant.
To which I shout: "exactly!"

While the silly season of desperation GOP flea-flickers unfolds around us, from crazy talk at Palin rallies to the insane belief that William Ayers or the ACORN scandal will somehow arise to sink the Obama candidacy, the Democratic standard-bearer sticks to the game plan: a much better play from scrimmage that consists of a winning trench war and moving the ball down the field. Obama has taken to wearing a bemused look at some of the craziness. And when I saw his reaction to some of McCain's scattered buckshot at Hofstra, a bell went off. The guy is enjoying himself. He sees the humor in it. And the pressure doesn't sway the actor on the stage. My kind of president.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What The Hell Does This Even Mean?

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation." Sarah Palin

Doesn’t she want people who live in big cities to vote for her? I live in a small town and I will never vote for Sarah Palin, even if she holds one of her guns to my head.


The world has to become a saner place after George W. Bush leaves the White House.

From the product description of the new book The 12-Step Bush Recovery Program by Gene Stone at

George W. Bush isn’t just a nuisance, he’s a problem that afflicts nearly three out of four Americans. So if you or someone you love has a Bush problem, know this: You don’t have to face it alone. Help is within reach. With The 12-Step Bush Recovery Program, you can share in the promise of a better you, a better America, a better world, and a better solar system.
Three out of four Americans? I believe that should be four out of four Americans. And I don’t believe anyone will be suffering from any withdrawal symptoms. Let the recovery of America begin, it can’t start soon enough.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bible Verse For Sunday 10-19-08

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
What the hell? Shall we consider how far back this set the concept of equal rights for women? Women have had a long uphill battle since biblical times, thanks to God and the Bible.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


What does democracy mean? What does representative government mean? How much democracy exists in Iraq? How much democracy exists in the United States?

Why is the United States still in Iraq? In the 2006 Congressional elections a clear signal was sent that most Americans want us out of Iraq. I’ve read articles for years that said that many Iraqis want us out. Here is another one.

From Protesters march against proposed U.S.-Iraq pact:

Thousands of people marched in central Baghdad on Saturday to protest a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that would extend the presence of U.S. troops in the country after the end of the year.

The political party of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for the rally. At one point, several speakers at a podium addressed the mass of people, urging the Iraqi government to reject the proposal.

"End the U.S. occupation of Iraq!" one speaker shouted in English.

Hazem al-Araji, a senior al-Sadr aide, told protesters their voices would be heard in America.
Baghdad has sought the power to arrest and try Americans accused of crimes not related to official military operations, plus jurisdiction over troops and contractors who commit grave mistakes in the course of their duties.

The United States has insisted its troops and contractors remain immune from Iraqi law.
Where is the will of the people in all of this?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hummers On Water, And Then Some

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a billionaire has a lot of money, must he spent more of it than a non-billionaire? Is there a point where consumption becomes immoral?

From The world's greatest super-yachts by Mike Steere:

At 160 meters long, there is nothing quite as luxurious as the world's largest and most expensive super-yacht -- Dubai.

Except, of course, for the next nineteen boats that make up the top twenty super-yachts on the planet.

Packed with more features than a Bond villain's base, including jet-ski docks, indoor swimming pools, helicopter pads (in some cases two helipads), Jacuzzis and submarines, no expense is spared on these ocean-going giants.

The internationally-renowned Fort Lauderdale Boat Show is set to get underway at the end of October, where many of the world's top super-yachts will be on display. Now, you can take a look at some of the biggest and best yachts in existence.
I’d be willing to bet that one of these “super-yachts” contributes more to global warming than most small towns in the United States do. If I was a religious man, the word sinful would come to mind. Since I’m not religious, I think I’ll go with the word disgusting.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe The Plumber

From Is It Over? Debate Reveals That Dynamic Of Race Is Fixed In Obama's Favor by Greg Sargent:

And consider McCain's frequent evocation of Joe The Plumber. This attack from McCain was clearly labored over heavily by his aides. But it fell flat for a very simple reason: It didn't change the basic underlying policy disagreements between the two men. It didn't change the fact that people agree with Obama's solutions to our economic crisis, and reject McCain's ideas. In the face of that overwhelming reality, the constant evocation of Joe The Plumber just came across like a stunt.

Did They Say Things?

Last night seemed rather surreal.

Presidential debates. Talking is out. Droning on and on incessantly, saying things you’ve said before, is in.

Barack Obam wore a flag pin, once again McCain did not. Bob Schieffer also wasn’t wearing one. This is important information. Is it not? At the very least it is important because it once was the Republican’s reason for existence. Now it appears that it no longer is. Symbolically they have given up. Except for Sarah Palin and her monstrous pin. Perhaps she and her monstrous pin will lead us to the promised land. Hallelujah!

John McCain’s eyes looked weird, like he was on some kind of stimulant to keep himself awake.

David Brooks looked like he was wearing way too much makeup. What a girlie man!

This guy is probably very happy today.

With all of this information, I’m ready to get out there and vote. Are you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain Thinks He Gets It

If one hundred more years of war is the “it” that John McCain is selling, I don’t want “it.” Senator McCain, how do you propose to pay for "it"?

From Antiwar Protestor Disrupts McCain Iowa Rally by Michael D. Shear:

An antiwar protestor interrupted Sen. John McCain's rally Saturday morning, prompting a lecture from the Republican presidential nominee about the need for both parties to work together to solve America's problem.

As McCain began his speech to about 1,000 people, a young woman was hoisted onto the shoulders of some friends right in front of the main bank of television cameras.

She held up a poster that said "War is over" but her sign was quickly ripped down by people in the audience. She then held up her hands in the "V" symbol for peace and yelled, "We want peace!"

McCain stopped speaking and at one point tried to speak to her, saying, "Hi." The audience quickly started chanting "We want John!" and continued until the woman was pulled down from her friends' shoulders and escorted out.

McCain then offered a lecture about bipartisanship.

"There's a perfect example of some people that just don't get it," he said, prompting huge applause from the crowd.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Charles Keating And John McCain Versus William Ayers And Barack Obama

The link between Charles Keating and John McCain is more than “guilt by association.” John McCain abused his power as a member of Congress.

The link between William Ayers and Barack Obama is “guilt by association.” If Obama used his power to favor Ayers it would become more than “guilt by association.” So far, Obama has not done this.

From Democrats in guilt-by-association counterpunch by Geoff Elliott:

Mr Keating owned the Lincoln Savings and Loan group and contributed more than $US100,000 to Senator McCain's political campaigns in the 80s.

When federal regulators began looking into Lincoln's questionable lending practices and investments, Mr Keating turned to five senators whose campaigns he had helped fund, including Senator McCain.

Senator McCain attended two meetings with regulators at Mr Keating's request, and in subsequent congressional hearings it emerged Senator McCain's position was that he was seeking information on behalf of a constituent who was an important employer in his state. But the regulators concluded Senator McCain was pressuring them to act favourably for Mr Keating.

The Lincoln group's collapse cost US taxpayers more than $US2 billion. Mr Keating spent four years in jail before his sentence was overturned on a technicality. A Senate ethics committee report found Senator McCain had been guilty of "poor judgment".
In a world filled with political corruption this may not rank as one of the worst things that a politician can do, but it wasn’t the right thing to do. Even John McCain says that it wasn’t. Do we want to trust John McCain and his “poor judgment” to lead us as President of the United States?

I watched Bill Moyers Journal last Friday and was very disappointed to hear this exchange between Mr. Moyers and Kathleen Hall Jamieson:
BILL MOYERS: There was an Obama film released this week that offended me as a journalist because they used the filmmaking process to suggest the credibility for the charge about McCain and the Keating Five that they wouldn't have had in a 30-second commercial. Take a look at this.

[OBAMA CAMPAIGN AD] MALE NARRATOR: If you think about what fraud is. Fraud is the creation of trust and then its betrayal.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Well, this — first, this is a web ad of some sorts. I mean, I don't know if you call something that long an ad. But it's a web ad. You see it on the web. It's not the documentary form that's problematic. It's the inference that's invited by juxtaposition.

And this has been a week of juxtaposition. We've got William Ayers, Barack Obama friends in one set of claims. You've got all the scandals of the current weeks on Wall Street allied to McCain.

And we put them together, draw the inference that it's causal, draw the inference that he really was responsible, not that there was a Keating Five, that he was the most responsible, and that somehow it's linked to all of these current scandals that we have right now. And so what we have in this past week is a text, you know, kind of textbook case of guilty by association and argument from juxtaposition.

BILL MOYERS: Is that the pattern of consequential deception that emerged this week in both the stump speeches and the ad? Was there a theme to this week's ugly politics?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Well, the first theme to the ugly politics is deception about each other's policy positions that will relate to governance.

That's the first category this week. Meaningful policy deception. You draw inferences from those about the candidates' stance, and you're wrong. You draw inferences about what they'll do in governance, and you're wrong. The second category is this guilt by association and argument by visual juxtaposition.

And the American people need to say about that what relevance does any of that juxtaposition have for governance? First, what's the inference and is it accurate? But secondly, does it pass the test of relevance even when you come down to what's accurate? I'd like to say about all of these guilt-by-association moves, first, what are the basic facts? Let's make sure we've got those right.

And then based on what we know, what do you infer about how they would act as president, about how they would engaged in policy decision making, about the policies they would offer? And if the answer is, I can't find any way that it forecasts any of that, do we actually believe that because William Ayers hosted a coffee for Barack Obama and they served on a board together and they had some association of school reform efforts in Chicago that Barack Obama supports what William Ayers did?

It reminds me of something that happened in 1964, but we have a change now. And one of the questions underlying all questions about dirty politics are, is it different or not? And here's the difference. In 1964, the team that you were part of or the administration that you were a part of-


KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Put together an ad that shows pictures of the Ku Klux Klan and burning crosses and Klansmen marching. And it's very evocative. It's very powerful. A drum is beating in the background.

MALE NARRATOR: "We represent the majority of the people in Alabama who hate niggerism, Catholicism, Judaism, and all the -isms in the whole world." So said Robert Creel, Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. He also said, "I like Barry Goldwater, I believe what he believes in."

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Now, Barry Goldwater had repudiated that endorsement. The campaign in '64 decided not to air that very expensively produced ad because they were afraid if they aired it, it would create a backlash. And I went through all the records in the LBJ Library. And I didn't find anybody standing up and saying, "It would be morally wrong to do it." But I did find people who thought that it would create a backlash.

Now, why were they concerned? If Goldwater had repudiated the endorsement, they assumed that the press would point it out and the public would be smart enough to say, "Well, then it means nothing." It means that these horrible despicable people have endorsed, but it doesn't mean anything. Barry Goldwater has repudiated. Now let's jump forward. William Ayers, Barack Obama. Barack Obama has repudiated what William Ayers did in the Weather Underground — '64 it didn't become part of the campaign.


KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Now it is. That's a change. And it says our tolerance for those kinds of inappropriate inferences is different. The confidence that that inference somehow is legitimate now where there wasn't confidence that it was in '64 is now present. And that's problematic. I worry about that.

And I worry about on the other side, by the way, about Senator McCain. What does it mean that he was involved in the Keating Five scandal? Well, first, we need to get the facts right. But more importantly, he has said it was the worst mistake of his life.

BILL MOYERS: He's repented that.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: He has essentially said he's learned from it. Do we now draw the inference that because of it he's going to act as he did back then in whatever way was inappropriate back then, if he becomes president? Or do we believe that he learned from it and, as a result, he's far less likely to act in any way that would suggest that kind of a problem?

If you looked at his career since then, you'd say reasonably the inference is he learned a lesson and he will not go anywhere near that kind of problem in the future. That's what motivated McCain-Feingold. That's what motivated his attacks on earmarks, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So the notion that something can be accurate but not relevant is one that we're missing as we assess these claims.
This is what offended Bill Moyers. Why he finds it offensive baffles me. To the best of my knowledge it is factually accurate. What more do you need? How can Moyers be offended by someone else doing essentially the same thing that he does every week?

I believe that Kathleen Hall Jamieson is stretching the truth when she says that we “… draw the inference that it's causal, draw the inference that he really was responsible, not that there was a Keating Five, that he was the most responsible, and that somehow it's linked to all of these current scandals that we have right now.” This is not the conclusion that I draw from the Obama video. It is ridiculous to say that McCain is responsible for the current financial crisis. It is not ridiculous to conclude that McCain’s past record in Congress is a questionable one. I believe that this is what the Obama video is trying to say.

I believe that Kathleen Hall Jamieson is going too far when she says that “… the inference is he learned a lesson and he will not go anywhere near that kind of problem in the future.” Also when she says: “ So the notion that something can be accurate but not relevant is one that we're missing as we assess these claims.” The fact that McCain said he learned from his “mistake” is relevant, but so is the fact that he made the mistake in the first place. We should let the voters decide how important all of this is, not the media, not Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

I believe that Kathleen Hall Jamieson is correct in her assessment of Obama and Ayers, however, I think that her assessment of McCain and Keating is incorrect. I am also disappointed in both Jamieson and Moyers for following the recent media trend of lumping both of these issues together as if they were the same, when they are not. I also think that Bill Moyers should think about replacing Jamieson, or at least limiting her time on the air, and letting someone else give their viewpoint.

I am disappointed in Bill Moyers over this. I expect better from him. Apparently I am not the only one who feels this way. A look at the comments in response to Partisanship, Dirty Politics, and the Truth shows that others feel the way that I do.

From Robert O’Brien:
I have to take issue with what Kathleen Hall Jamieson said on your October 10th show about smear campaigns. While it's true that the Ayers business is simply nonsense, I believe that the Keating Five story is completely relevant today. His profuse apologies notwithstanding, Senator McCain was involved in a sleazy operation that ultimately cost taxpayers a lot of money (maybe not compared to the $850 billion tab we have now, but still a lot).

McCain has been a champion of deregulation his whole public career, and deregulation is what got us in our present predicament.

Obama, by contrast, is guilty of nothing vis-à-vis Bill Ayers.

Ms. Jamieson is guilty of offering one of those false equivalencies Paul Krugman has been talking about.
From Louis Erlanger:
I was very disappointed in Dr. Jamieson's discussion of "dirty politics". Comparing the Keating Five scandal to Barack Obama's association with William Ayers is comparing apples to oranges. John McCain was part of the Keating Five scandal. He lobbied to push back regulation of the Lincoln Savings and Loan after receiving favors from Keating. Regretting that he took part does not absolve him of guilt, and he has continued to oppose most attempts at regulations in the financial sector. Barack Obama served on a board with William Ayers and participated in functions that Ayers also participated in, but he was not involved in any of Ayers' activities as a Weatherman. In fact, he has spoken out against Ayers' past radical activities, and has only supported Ayers' work in the education arena.

In addition, Dr. Jamieson's comments about Social Security are just plain wrong. She said that if Social Security had been privatized before the current economic crisis, no one would have lost money because the Social Security dollars would have been invested in instruments that are outside of the current failing market. I would love to know what instruments those are, because I'd like to invest in them, and I'm sure the rest of your viewers would too.

This was the first time on Bill Moyers' Journal that I have seen attempts to present a "balanced" view at the expense of the truth, a practice that has made the mainstream media such a poor source of good information. Let's hope we do not see any more of this in the future.
I am also disappointed in Frank Rich. In an otherwise excellent op-ed he wrote:
What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin.
This is in reference to the same things that Moyers and Jamieson were talking about. Rich makes an excellent point about the “Weimar-like rage” and I totally agree with him. It is despicable. What troubles me is what is left out of the picture that Rich portrays. There is more that “makes them different” than simply rage and anger. The facts make them different. Obama has not abused his power to do favors for Ayers, McCain did abuse his power for Keating. I wish that Rich would have written at least one sentence pointing out that this also "makes them different."

If we were to use the McCain standard of guilt-by-association (and take it just a little bit further), then we are all friends with terrorists, including John McCain. After all, both Obama and McCain belong to the same organization.

Am I "smearing" Obama? I feel so dirty. Talk about guilt by association.

Too Much

From Essence of the "Rescue" Plan by Michael Shedlock:

But let's step back and ask ourselves why it is we need an office of Secretary for Financial Stability in the first place.

The answer is we have an unsound banking system based on fractional reserve lending, compounded by micromanagement of interest rates by the Fed, and runaway spending in Congress.

To date, I have not heard one single sentence from anyone important enough to matter, about what really went wrong and why. Instead we have yet another governmental body attempting to add "financial stability" while doing nothing to address the root cause of this mess.

The worst part is the Fed and the Treasury have decided the problem is that banks are not lending enough. The reality is that banks have lent too much.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote Of Note - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the
creeds.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm Scared Of That Big Black Bogeyman Arab Obama Osama Whatever His Name Is

I’m proud to be an American Idiot and scared of black men:

I Bet They All Voted For Bush

Quote Of Note - Ann Coulter

“God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.’” Ann Coulter

Final Days

I shudder to think how much more damage George W. Bush can do to the United States of America in one hundred days.

Hasn’t he already done enough damage? Why can’t he just leave us alone?

From Bush: 'Lot of work to do' before leaving office:

So how will it end?

President Bush is down to his final 100 days in office as of Sunday. Don't expect a quiet fade into the Texas night.

The bleakest economic downturn in decades has changed the dynamic drastically, keeping Bush and his financial team in activist mode to the end.

While the powerful heads of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve keep making radical moves, no one elected them. Bush is the one charged with reassuring the nation that an abysmal economic period will give way to better days, even if he is long gone from Washington by the time that happens.

The president will keep speaking about the economy, calling world leaders about it, meeting with business owners, perhaps attending an overseas summit. His final act will be overseeing the $700 billion buyout of devalued assets from banks, in hopes that credit will start flowing to an anxious, weary country.

"It looks like I'm going to have a lot of work to do between today and when the new president takes office," Bush said this past week.
Read the rest here.

"Pick boogers and of course, pray if they choose"

In boogers we trust.

From Atheist Family in Texas Challenging Neutrality of a 'Moment Of Silence' by Nikki W:

The neutrality of a mandatory Texas law that requires all students take a minute of silence every morning to reflect, meditate, pray or engage in whatever silent activity they wish is under attack. This time, its round 2 by a family of Atheists.

Created to allow all individuals an opportunity to do what it is they want to do, quietly, during that mandatory "one minute" time frame following the Pledge of Allegiance, the 2003 legislature is once again under attack for what is said to be a waste of time.

A family who lives in a suburb of Dallas, TX has filed an appeal to a lawsuit they actually filed but failed at victory back in January of this year. The judge presiding over the case found no evidence that the minute of silence, required in all Texas public schools, had any kind of religious foundation.
Read the rest (including the part about the boogers) here.

Bible Verse For Sunday 10-12-08

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:

And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:

And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.

And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:

And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:

And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.

And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:

And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:

And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.

And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:

And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:

And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.

And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:

And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:

And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:

And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:

And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.

And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:

And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.

And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:

And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.

And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
What the hell?

I feel so holy now, I feel a need to become a televangelist.

Oops, I was mistaking holiness for boredom. The word of God? What a page turner he produced. Sometimes God is a boring old coot. Have a nice nap.

For someone who is all knowing God doesn't seem to know how to count very well.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Vision Thing

I think that Barack Obama sees America more clearly than Sarah Palin does. Neither of them sees the America that I see, but what Obama sees is closer to what I see. Palin sees what Bush sees. The number of Americans who see what she sees is dwindling.

From Politics of Attack:

Ms. Palin, in particular, revels in the attack. Her campaign rallies have become spectacles of anger and insult. “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America,” Ms. Palin has taken to saying.
Perhaps Palin needs to have her eyes checked.

What is her vision for the future? What is McCain’s vision for the future? I want a new boss that’s not the same as the old boss.

From Politics of Attack:
We certainly expected better from Mr. McCain, who once showed withering contempt for win-at-any-cost politics. He was driven out of the 2000 Republican primaries by this sort of smear, orchestrated by some of the same people who are now running his campaign.
We are already seeing signs of the future if McCain and Palin win. More abuse of power, just like Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

From Panel: Palin abused power in trooper case:
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin abused her power as Alaska's governor and violated state ethics law by trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police, a state investigator's report concluded Friday.
I’m sick and tired of seeing this America. Is it at all possible for politicians to have at least a shred of decency?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Religion And Voting

From More atheists are sharing their views by Peter Smith:

In recent years, religious practice has been one of the leading indicators of voting patterns.

The more frequently people attend worship, the more likely they are to vote Republican.

And while Democrats are struggling to regain some of that voting share, they won the religiously unaffiliated vote by a 75-25 percent margin nationwide in the 2006 congressional elections, according to exit polls.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Failure And Mass Destruction

From Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson, The Ultimate Election:

In the last year, the Bush administration's top officials have sunk much of their increasingly lame-duck energy into pacifying Iraq, and so getting it out of the news and the spotlight at least long enough for election '08 to happen (and undoubtedly long enough as well for them to get out of town in January). And then what happens? The administration is ambushed, not by Sunni militants or Shiite radicals but by its own people: investment bankers, lenders, hedge-fund managers, financial management types -- the very people for whom they organized the world and who had long been playing fast and loose (and profitably) with our economic system. The ambush, of course, took the form of a financial meltdown of massive proportions for which, as in Iraq in 2003, the administration had clearly done no significant preplanning or war-gaming. And, as with the insurgency then, so now they operated by the increasingly worn seats of their pants. Their attempted $700 billion "surge," as stock exchanges around the world indicated yesterday, wasn't likely to pacify a global financial system near cardiac arrest.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Some Things Never Change

Another Wild Bushman Ride

From The Fed Can Buy Commercial Paper Directly From Corporations: Who Knew? by Dean Baker:

Remember way back to last week when it was going to be the end of the world if Congress didn't pass the bailout package? Remember the Washington Post's account in which Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told President Bush, "there is no Plan B."

Well, it looks like the Fed has discovered a Plan B. It turns out that the Fed can buy commercial paper directly from non-financial corporations needing credit to maintain operations. This will keep the credit markets working even if the zombie banks aren't up to the task. In other words, the threat of a complete meltdown in the absence of a bailout was nonsense and the media once again got taken for a ride by the Bush administration.
Read the rest here.

My Friends

I’m really tired of hearing John McCain say “my friends.” It really bothers me for some reason.

This bit of information from MF'er by Paul Collins may help explain my negative reaction:

Perhaps that's why this Foghorn Leghorn-ish turn of phrase also finds popularity among conservative populists. Since its last major outing in 1989, the phrase's most notable public users have been Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan…
The thought of McCain, Limbaugh, and Buchanan as friends of mine makes me shudder. What a nightmarish scenario.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Henry Paulson - Bush Appointee

Political Animal on April 1, 2008:

No surprise there. After all, Paulson created his plan a year ago, well before the current crisis exploded last summer. Far from being a way to rein in banking industry excesses, it was originally a conservative wish list designed to "streamline" the federal bureaucracy and lighten the regulatory burden on Wall Street, which was, um, slowing down the growth of sophisticated new financial instruments that — that, er, were needed to keep the American financial industry in its place as the leader of the world.
But just for once, would it kill the Bush administration to address an actual problem, instead of merely using it as an excuse to jam some long-wished-for piece of money-con flim-flam through Congress?
From 'Paulson's new 'Global Banking Corp.' IPO 2009 by Paul B. Farrell:
1. Opening scene: Paulson and Goldman Sachs, 1974-2006

Harvard M.B.A., 1970. Then a staffer at the Pentagon and with Nixon. Joins Goldman in 1974. CEO in 1999. Paid $38 million in 2005. Federal ethics laws let him sell $484 million in Goldman stock tax-free when he left. Net worth, about $700 million.
And I have to pay taxes every time I sell any stocks, even if it is only a fraction of a share.

From A Loophole For Poor Mr. Paulson by Jessica Holzer:
But don't shed too many tears for Paulson. He has amassed quite a fortune--a roughly $700 million equity stake in Wall Street's premier investment banking house. And soon, he will have the chance to diversify a good chunk of those holdings without paying a dime to the Internal Revenue Service.

By accepting the Treasury post, Paulson is poised to take advantage of a tax loophole that allows government officials to defer capital gains taxes on assets they have to sell to avoid a conflict of interest, as long as the proceeds are reinvested in government securities or a broad array of mutual funds approved by the government within 60 days.

Technically, the tax kicks in once these replacement assets are sold, using the purchase price of the original assets as the cost basis, says Tom Ochsenschlager of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But why sell when you can avoid the tax altogether?

"The idea is never to sell," says Robert Willens, the top tax and accounting analyst at Lehman Brothers. "If you're able to hold onto the replacement assets until your demise, you never have to pay it."

The tax break was designed to ensure that the wealthy are not deterred from taking posts in government because they fear a big tax hit. But it amounts to a significant perk of public office.
From Can you trust a Wall Street veteran with a Wall Street bailout? by Kevin G. Hall:
Back then, Bush saw Paulson's Wall Street experience as a plus. "Hank will follow in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton and other distinguished Treasury secretaries who used their talents and wisdom to strengthen our financial markets and expand the reach of the American Dream," Bush said at the time.
Nothing like the wisdom and foresight of George W. Bush.

Has George W. Bush ever done anything positive for this country?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bailout Blues

George W. Bush and Henry Paulson and Congress don’t seem like the U.S. Cavalry to me.

From Stock crunch deepens by Aaron Smith:

Stocks were in for a bruising Monday after a deepening financial crisis in Europe heightened worries about a global economic slowdown.

The S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures - trading that gives an indication of how stocks may move in the early going - were sharply lower about one hour before the open. That followed a broad sell-off around the world on Monday.

Japan's Nikkei index plunged 4.3% to close at a four-year low. European indexes - the Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's Xetra DAX 100 and France's CAC 40 - were down about 5% as investors looked beyond the bailout, focusing instead on Europe's growing crisis.

"It's this fear factor ... continuing to grow," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for Avalon Partners. "It's becoming like a cancer which is spreading all over the place."
From U.S. bank failures almost certain to increase in next year:
Here's a safe bet for uncertain times: A lot of banks won't survive the next year of upheaval despite the U.S. government's $700 billion rescue plan to restore order to the financial industry.

The biggest questions are how many will perish and how they will be put out of their misery, whether it's outright closures by regulators scrambling to preserve the dwindling deposit insurance fund or in fire sales made under government pressure.
Congress does what Bush and Paulson want, and things get worse. You guys are doing a heck of a job. Perhaps McCain needs to cancel his campaign, not just postpone it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bible Verse For Sunday 10-05-08

Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians for the paps of thy youth.

Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side…
What the hell?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Without God On Their Side

From Atheist group sues Bush over national prayer day by Scott Bauer:

The nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics is suing President Bush, the governor of Wisconsin and other officials over the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued Friday in U.S. district court, arguing that the president's mandated proclamations calling on Americans to pray violates a constitutional ban on government officials endorsing religion.

The day of prayer, held each year on the first Thursday of May, creates a "hostile environment for nonbelievers, who are made to feel as if they are political outsiders," the lawsuit said.
Read the rest here.

Visit The Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Niche Dating Sites Thrive Online

From Pet-Loving Atheist Seeks Green Geek by Ki Mae Heussner:

Forget tall, dark and handsome. Try geeky, wealthy and Wiccan.

As the online dating marketplace continues to flourish, up sprout more and more sites that cater to nearly every belief system, hobby and lifestyle.
Are you a hardcore sci-fi fan? Trek Passions might be for you. Interested in meeting other atheists? Try Free Thinker Match. Hung up on horse lovers? Maybe you'll find Mr. or Ms. Right at Equestrian Cupid.

According to Internet traffic monitor Hitwise, the top-five dating sites enjoy about 46 percent of the market share. But literally hundreds of niche sites populate the rest of the online dating world, including services for vegetarians, farmers, plus size singles, geeks, golfers, Wiccans, bikers, the goth community, the incarcerated and the very wealthy.

Partisan Mischief?

From Florida 2000 Redux? by Daphne Eviatar:

You know it’s going to be a heated election when a state attorney general sues his own state agency for not cracking down on voter fraud. But that’s just what’s happened in Wisconsin. It’s indicative of the kinds of legal challenges now being brought in hotly contested states around the country. The outcomes of those challenges will decide whose votes get counted and whose don’t — and in a race as close as this one, that could make all the difference.

In each case, Republicans claim voter fraud is rampant and the government has to crack down on it. Democrats, meanwhile, argue it’s rare – and far less of a problem than intimidation and harassment of voters at the polls.
Read the rest here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Toxic Mess Is Your Own Damn Fault

At first I thought she had made a mistake, a slip of the tongue. She said Main Street when she meant Wall Street and vice versa. On reflection, I think otherwise. I think she is reaching out to those who believe this garbage, that basically it is poor people who caused the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.

A Contest Of Reason

Sarah Palin wore a great big flag pin. Now that the most important thing about last night is out of the way, let’s move on.

I like this definition of the word debate:

Debate is a formal method of presenting arguments in support and against a given issue (expressed in a form of a debate topic) in which debaters present reasons and evidence to persuade an audience or a group of judges.
How much evidence did we see last night? It all depends on who you believe. One side says one thing, the other side says it’s not true. The other side says something else, the other side says it’s not true. This is a debate? What is gained by this?

Perhaps the debates could stand to have a panel of referees. Someone to point out what is true and what is false. This is especially true in the case of someone’s voting record. The senators themselves probably don’t really know what they are voting for half the time, how are we supposed to figure it all out? How many members of Congress read the Patriot Act before voting on it? How do you weed out what’s really going on when there is so much pork attached to everything they vote on? Like wooden arrows for children. Last nights bickering about who voted for what does not add clarity, it only muddies things up even more. What is the average American voter supposed to make of all of this?

“Analysis” from the talking heads does not help at all. Style trumps substance in their world, and they try as hard as they can to make it be that way in our world as well. So the meme that spreads about last night is that Sarah Palin held her own. I think that Sarah Palin is Bush redux. Not only in substance, but also in style.

A debate is supposed to be a contest of reason. That’s not what I saw last night.

From George W. Palin by digby:
Last night Palin appeared to have mastered the art of George W. Bush style gibberish --- obnoxious, confident and dumb. And the conservative elite are all relieved. They were afraid they had a real problem on their hands --- a candidate who was timorous, insecure and dumb and that is a sure loser.

I'm going to start referring to her as George W Palin. She has every one of the characteristics that people thought were so refreshingly "authentic" when he ran in 2000 and which led us to disaster. This arrogant, empty, anti-intellectual faux populism has just proved itself to be inadequate for the presidency and yet they've put up another one.

I Missed Monday's Depression

“I woke up this morning
I woke up this morning
I woke up this morning with the Monday morning blues” Mississippi John Hurt

Did you happen to see it? The bailout didn’t happen over the weekend. There should have been a depression on Monday.

From McCain calls for debates to be delayed by Domenico Montanaro:

McCain advisors say they will do all the debates but the schedule is up in the air.
They also deny that there is a political calculation in this and say without action the country could slide into a Depression by Monday and added "we'll see 12 percent unemployment" if action is not completed.
As I write this no bailout plan has been passed. Yet, somehow the McCain campaign is no longer suspended. Have I missed the recovery also? Things happen so fast these days.

From David Brooks Has A Fetish by Turkana:
Anyone notice a theme, here? Of course, as Brooks already made clear, whatever reforms that would be later undertaken must necessarily not include too much regulation, so it's not clear what he means. Except that the bailout bill needed to be passed. But what's worse is that even after it failed, even after the market had already reacted, Brooks still wants the same bill! Now! Because whatever else happens, we must panic! Pass the "Patriot" Act without reading it. Invade Iraq for no reason. Allow spying on anyone and everyone. The key is to panic! And submit! And not think! And have that strong and powerful Big Brother making all the decisions. To make everyone feel calm, again. If not sedated...
I missed Monday's depression, yet for some reason I still feel blue and down. Too many lunatics running the asylum, I suppose.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sick And Tired Of Reading About The Bailout?

If you’re not, try the following tidbits.

If Bush is for anything, I’m usually against it. Never did trust the man, and now I trust him even less.

From Bush Presses House to Pass Rescue Package by Carl Hulse:

The day after the Senate strongly endorsed a $700 billion economic bailout plan, the administration and Congressional leaders tried to muster support on Thursday for the rescue package ahead of a crucial vote in the House.

Speaking after a meeting at the White House with representatives of American businesses, President Bush said it was essential that the House “get this bill passed so we can get about the business of restoring confidence” in the financial system.
From Salon Radio: David Cay Johnston on the bailout by Glenn Greenwald:
Glenn Greenwald: My pleasure. So, I want to begin with a piece that you wrote, actually last week, as the financial crisis was literally exploding, and you wrote at, at the Romanesko site, a place where lots of journalists talk to one another, and is a very popular site among professional journalists. And you essentially issued at the time an admonition in advance, about what the media should do and in particular what they should avoid in covering this financial crisis. And in particular, you said -- let's not make the same mistakes as were made with the run-up to the Iraq War, and the PATRIOT ACT that so eroded our credibility, in terms of how we cover this financial crisis.

What did you mean by that, and have those admonitions been largely followed in your view?

David Cay Johnston: Well, what I meant was, the line I opened my piece was, "Journalists, start your skepticism." The core value of journalism, the first rule of a journalist is check it out. Just because the President of the United States says something doesn't make it so. And so my initial concern was, is there really a crisis going on, and if there is, let's hear the case - tell the government we want a comprehensive, comprehensible and clear explanation of what the problem is, and then journalists should begin questioning that, and checking things out, and cross-checking them, and then they should begin looking at the solution. We've been told there's only one solution. Well, a whole group of economists have come forward with solutions. I proposed one area that might help ease this crisis.

We've been seeing some of this. Some of the journalism has been better, some of it has been atrocious. And I'll give you an example of the fear-mongering I see going on now. Monday night, after the bail-out was rejected, Katie Couric opened up the CBS Evening News with the clerk reading the vote total, and said: "that sets off the biggest decline in stock prices ever." Well, it did not - it wasn't even close to the biggest decline. Brian Williams on the Nightly News said the very same thing - the worst single day drop ever. That's just wrong. And there's an enormous amount of just wrong reporting going on.
From Why the Bailout Sells America Short by Nomi Prins:
The $700 billion bailout bill that failed in the House after a dramatic Monday afternoon vote addressed many things, but not the regulatory vacuum that allowed Wall Street to get us into this mess. Wrapped in a bipartisan bow, this plan—dubbed a "rescue" package on the Hill and a "bailout" elsewhere—will neither save the economy nor permanently shore up Wall Street.

Across the media, the proposal has been described as the largest government intervention since the Great Depression, but it by no means delivers the financial stability to the banking system or the economic security to the general population that the post-Great Depression Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 did.
I really like the title of the following one.

From Why Bail? The Banks Have a Gun Pointed at Their Head and Are Threatening to Pull the Trigger by Dean Baker:
If you have a real story, you don't have to make up phony stories. That's pretty straightforward.

I've heard lots of phony stories. Much of the country's political and economic leadership has been running around raising the prospect of the Great Depression and a breakdown in the banking system (I actually had taken the latter seriously). These stories are absolutely not true.

There is no plausible scenario under which the no bailout scenario gives us a Great Depression. There is a more plausible scenario (but highly unlikely) that the bailout will give us a Great Depression. There is no way that the failure to do a bailout will lead to more than a very brief failure of the financial system. We will not lose our modern system of payments.

At this point I cannot identify a single good reason to do the bailout.
Perhaps Wall Street changed their aim, Mr. Baker?

From Wall Street Held a Gun to Our Heads by Dean Baker:
The $700bn bail-out bill is a victory for wealthy bankers who exploited fears of a financial crisis for their own gain.

Most authors of books on politics or economics are happy when they get one or two prominent members of Congress to endorse their work. It looks like I'm about to get majorities of both chambers to endorse my book, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (free download available). There is no other way to describe Henry Paulson's $700bn bail-out deal.

The point of my book is that the battle between progressives and conservatives is not about a policy of government intervention as opposed to free market policies. Rather, it is a battle between those who want to use the government to benefit the middle and bottom of the income distribution and those who want to use the power of government to redistribute income upward.

The bail-out is a big victory for those who want to redistribute income upward. It takes money from school teachers and cab drivers and gives it to incredibly rich Wall Street bankers. These bankers have in turn distinguished themselves by their incompetence, having driven their banks into the ground.
Steve Chapman sees a gun, too.

From Bailing out Wall Street with a gun to our heads by Steve Chapman:
The late comedian Jack Benny made a career of claiming to be a cheapskate. In one joke, a robber accosted him and said: "Your money or your life." Getting no response, the thug repeated his demand. Benny replied, "I'm thinking about it!"

That's the sort of dilemma posed by Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke in their proposed rescue of financial institutions. They predict dire consequences if they don't get their way. But the consequences of letting them have their way are so awful that the alternative doesn't look so bad.

What they prescribe is for the federal government to buy $700 billion worth of lousy assets from banks and other lenders, exposing taxpayers to a potentially crushing liability. This plan would nationalize the money-losing part of the financial sector, to the benefit of capitalists who have made spectacularly bad decisions -- fostering more bad decisions in the future.
And finally, I’m not sure if they were shot by a gun or not, but many subprime lenders are no longer with us.

From Subprime’s dearly departed by Ronald Campbell:
The list of major subprime lenders for 2006 and 2007 resembles the casualty roster from the Battle of Verdun in World War I. Only difference: way fewer walking wounded this time.

Of the 30 biggest subprime home lenders in 2006, measured by dollar volume, 22 have gone bankrupt, shut down, been sold or been seized by Uncle Sam. Most of the survivors have scaled back.