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31 August 2008

Gustav Heading To Gulf Coast, NOLA

by: Foiled Goil

Hurricane Gustav

Tropical/Hurricane Advisory:

Statement as of 7:00 PM CDT on August 31, 2008

... Gustav continues northwestward... tropical storm force winds about to reach the southeastern tip of Louisiana...

a Hurricane Warning remains in effect from just east of High Island eastward to the Alabama-Florida border... including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect from east of the Alabama-Florida border to the Ochlockonee River. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours. [snip]

At 700 PM CDT... 0000z... the center of Hurricane Gustav was located near latitude 26.9 north... longitude 87.7 west or about 175 miles... 280 km...south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. This position is about 260 miles... 415 km... south-southeast of New Orleans Louisiana.

Gustav is moving toward the northwest near 17 mph... 27 km/hr. This general motion is expected to continue with a decrease in forward speed during the next couple of days. On the forecast track... Gustav should make landfall on the northern Gulf Coast on Monday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph... 185 km/hr... with higher gusts. Gustav is a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Some intensification is forecast tonight... and Gustav is forecast to be a major hurricane until landfall.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 70 miles... 110 km... from the center... and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 220 miles... 350 km. Data from hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that the area covered by hurricane force winds has expanded... particularly in the northwest quadrant of Gustav. Tropical storm conditions are about to reach the southeastern tip of Louisiana... and hurricane force winds are expected to reach the coastline after midnight.

The latest minimum central pressure estimated from Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft data is 952 mb... 28.11 inches.

An extremely dangerous storm surge of 10 to 14 feet above normal tidal levels is expected near and to the east of where the center of Gustav crosses the northern Gulf Coast. Above normal tides in the Dry Tortugas should diminish tonight.

Gustav is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over portions of Louisiana... southern Mississippi and southern Arkansas... with isolated maximum amounts of up to 20 inches possible through Wednesday morning.

Isolated tornadoes are possible over the central Gulf Coast tonight.

Repeating the 700 PM CDT position... 26.9 N... 87.7 W. Movement toward... northwest near 17 mph. Maximum sustained winds... 115 mph. Minimum central pressure...952 mb.

The next advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 1000 PM CDT.

Forecaster Franklin

Hurricane Radar


The Rumor about Sarah

by: Dark Wraith

UPDATE — September 1, 2008, 2:20 p.m. EDT: In what might be characterized as a remarkable coincidence, Sarah Palin, GOP nominee John McCain's running mate, has announced that her 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant. Rumors had been swirling in the Blogosphere that Gov. Palin had faked her last pregnancy to cover for her daughter, who was absent from school for almost five months with what the family claimed was a case of mononucleosis (see the main story below for details). Now, however, with the announcement that the unmarried Bristol was pregnant in April of this year, it would be impossible for Palin's latest child, Trig, who was born April 18, 2008, to have been Bristol's.

The Palin family is not releasing information about the individual who impregnated Bristol, other than that his first name is "Levi," and that he is going to marry Bristol. While the family's discretion in protecting the young man is admirable given that Gov. Palin is now making her daughter a public figure to kill a rumor, the question of his age is a matter of concern, given that Bristol might have been 16 years old at the time he impregnated her.

Nevertheless, the announcement of Bristol's pregnancy, as stunningly convenient as the situation is, should pretty much end any questions about who the mother of Trig really is.

At least for the time being.

*                *                *

The story is now making the rounds fast about John McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The gist of the gossip is that her last child is not hers, but is, instead, her daughter's. The basis of the rumor is that pictures of the Governor when she was supposed to be pregnant show a woman who has no visible evidence of abdominal enlargement, but in the same time frame, her 16-year-old daughter was absent for four months from school with a case of mononucleosis, a condition that, for most teenagers, indicates bed rest for a far shorter period of time.

The case gets more interesting. She was in Texas when she claimed her water broke. Instead of heading straight to a hospital to give birth, she got on a plane back to Alaska; and, once there, instead of going to a hospital in Anchorage, she went to a clinic in her home town. All of this after her water broke. (As commenter Labrys pointed out to me from her personal experience, many women giving birth to a fifth child would not have the luxury of deciding when and where to deliver after the water had broken.)

The rumors about Gov. Palin's pregnancy actually being her daughter’s were swirling before John McCain even heard of her, and no professional vetting group for a national politician would have wanted their man to be within light-years of a person with a rumor like that hanging over her head. This seems to confirm speculation, contrary to the more official story, that Palin was, indeed, a last-minute choice for McCain, a choice made without thorough prior investigation of the potential running mate's background. Regardless of whether or not the rumor about Palin's child had any truth to it, that rumor had legs. In Palin's role as governor, it was more or less a "gentlemen's understanding" that the suspect nature of her story about the child's parenthood would not be used against her except by malcontents, in somewhat the same way the rumors about John Edwards' affair were well known, but better journalists and politicians did not talk about the matter.

That standard has been around for generations among journalists and politicians alike, and it has often served better ends, although in some cases the widely known secrets have allowed venal people to keep doing venal things, as was the case with J. Edgar Hoover and others whose personal lives were at radical odds with their public positions and actions. Palin is, however, no J. Edgar Hoover, nor is she a John Edwards: her secret, if the rumor proves to be true, was arguably to the purpose of "protecting" her daughter, even though a cynic might point out that she was really trying to protect her own credentials among her conservative Republican supporters. Palin would not be the first parent who went to extraordinary lengths to hide a daughter's pregnancy, not for the benefit of the daughter, but instead for the protection of the family name and its reputation in the community.

The rumor about Palin has not, however, been proven beyond reasonable doubt, and it is only right to make that point very clear. First, she has been thrown into a national meat grinder, and a magnifying glass is being turned on her in the worst way possible. She is vulnerable precisely because she is brand new to national politics. That John McCain's team did not fully and properly vet her is an indictment of those so-called professionals, not of her.

Second, concerning that pregnancy, the claims that she did not "look" pregnant at the seventh month are not proof of anything: to describe Sarah Palin (and her husband, for that matter) as athletic is an understatement. Descriptions of her personal lifestyle point to someone with muscles that most flabby Americans would only dream of having, and that kind of body will carry a pregnancy far more tightly for far longer than most. For the typical, less-than-muscular American to use personal experience in assessing what a woman with muscular abs would look like pregnant is like the typical American male, who looks like an idiot sweating and gasping as he jogs the neighborhood, describing the runner's high in a 30-mile mountain marathon.

Finally, yes, teenagers can be down for months with mono. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Most signs and symptoms of mononucleosis ease within a few weeks, but it may be two to three months before you feel completely normal." Four months out of school, as was the case with Palin's daughter, is outside this indication, but the claim that kids get better in a few weeks is far too simplistic.

Unfortunately, the rumor mill is kicking into high gear, and already there are indications that the story of Gov. Palin's child is getting perilously close to the mainstream media, which might end up eating her alive if a few ambitious TV or big newspaper journalists have nothing better to do than grab this story and run with it.

I had no intention whatsoever of writing about this rumor here at Big Brass Blog because it had the taste of nothing other than sleazy prying into personal, family issues; but then something occurred to me that changed my mind, and I need to point this out: if Palin did, indeed, represent her 16-year-old daughter's pregnancy as her own, that's a personal if more than slightly questionable choice; if, however, the baby were represented in public filings (specifically, the application for a birth certificate) as hers when it was actually her daughter's, we are talking about a criminal act.

If that birth certificate was the evidence for acquiring a Social Security Number for the child, then a federal crime may have been committed, as well.

If the child is not Gov. Palin's, but she represented it as hers in seeking coverage under her health insurance plan, then she has committed insurance fraud, too.

In summary, once a lie like that starts, it becomes a cascade of lies that transforms almost seamlessly into a pattern of wrongdoing. Once the line between prevarication and criminal activity has been crossed, what was, upon casual consideration, a personal matter becomes something entirely different.

I am not sure this matter is going to get the vultures in the mainstream media interested right away, but it has explosive potential, and it could force McCain to change his mind and get her off the ticket. It could get ugly: circling media hounds; initial denials; then the tearful confession. In the aftermath, McCain—a man whose violent temper is legendary—will have the Tantrum to End All Tantrums in private meetings with his inner circle of advisers, and a wholesale shake-up of his inner cirlce will ensue, sort of like the centrifugal force experienced by the swirling material in a flushing toilet.

At the same time, the hapless public will be inundated with clueless media "consultants" talking about the "underlying issues" of teen pregnancy and parental support while assiduously avoiding the whole issue of a woman's right to choose. In the end, not one mainstream media personality will dare to mention the obvious: for Palin, an anti-abortion stalwart, "pro-life" meant "pro-lie."

No, John McCain's people certainly did not investigate Gov. Sarah Palin the way they should have. If they had, they would have been visited by an unmistakably clear vision of McCain's Straight Talk Express going straight over a cliff. Now, McCain and his team could very well experience that exciting ride in real time.

The Dark Wraith encourages everyone to step aside as the McCain Express flies by on its way to paydirt.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · · ·

Sunday Morning Musings

by: Debra

When is your last request subject to change?  When you happen to be a Catholic Cardinal who is one step away from "Sainthood".    It seems that Cardinal John Henry Newman had requested that he be laid to rest next to his long time friend Ambrose St.John and that's where he's been since he died in 1890.  Now that he's one step away, the Vatican wants to move his remains to a special sarcophagus in another town.  The Vatican's excuse?  So the remains will be more accessible for venerating faithful.  Hmm, sounds more like trying to remove any inference that he might be gay.  It almost cracks me up because it is so hypocritical.   Through the years Popes have had mistresses and even children, but that some people might think that one of the saints was a homosexual is something that must be covered up.   Religious tolerance is rarely tolerant or religious.

The first mention of Obama and his speechfound in my Google Reader News was at spot 26, Sarah Palin was the number two article.  The press has found a new darling and she's photogenic.  For a Republican.  I wonder how long it's going to take the Demowienies to learn how to play politics?  After so many years of doing the same old thing and getting the same old bad results you would think they could get a clue.  But time after time the Republicans manage to steal the stage and make the news world revolve around themselves.   The only way the Dumocrats are going to be able to steal the political stage back would be if Obama decided to either not run or appoints Hillary as his new Veep pick.  And we all know that isn't going to happen.  The Republicans got just what they wanted, which was to run against Obama and not Hillary and the American citizenry are going to get four more years of McSame. Oh joy.

There is one other thing that pissed me off about John Edwards and his "liason" with what's her name, and it's something I haven't seen mentioned in the news.  Has the man never heard of protection?  The all weather raincoat should always be used when liaising with anyone other than your spouse.  With an HIV infection rate of one American every nine and a half minutes, the odds are not on your side if you ride bareback.  Personal raincoats also reduce the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy, but I guess condoms might be hard to hide from your wife and buying them yourself or asking an aide to do it would have been a dead giveaway that you were having an affair.  You set more than a bad example of behavior by having sex after taking marriage vows and your wife having more on her plate than she should have to deal with in one lifetime, you have given the impression that unprotected sex is okay.  It isn't and many more children will be born with a disease that could have been prevented by a little forethought.  Something you didn't think was important.  That's why I'm pissed.  In that one, or however many it took, act, you showed a lack of leadership and glorified irresponsibility.

The list of noshows at the Republican Convention is quite impressive.  And it can't be blamed on Gustav.  Or the California budget crisis.  No matter how hard they try.  Minneapolis is nowhere near where Gustav is expected to make landfall.  And they can't really think that we would believe that they want to be available to help those who can't afford to leave their homes.  And that budget thing?  Total BS since the Republicans are the ones who are holding everything up by insisting that the poor make up the difference in the budget instead of those who can afford to pay taxes.

I was never a Warren Zevon fan until it was too late, but here is a video that Billy Bob Thornton made with Warren and John Waite and a few others before Warren's last appearance on the Letterman show.  It isn't the whole song, but you can tell everyone knew it was going to be the last time.  Knockin' On Heaven's Door. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes. He had some great friends.

And because I'm really pensive this morning, Johnny Cash and his rendition of Hurt by the Nine Inch Nails..


· · · · ·
30 August 2008

Shattered Dreams

by: Debra

Yippee! Life is coming back. I really enjoyed the show. It was as quirky as Dexter, but not as violent. Why ABC is touting it instead of NBC, the network it's really on, is beyond me. Whatever it takes to bring it more viewers attention is okay by me.

In the it's about time category, the Hubbard Act has been amended so that it doesn't punish the sole veteran survivors for the last 65 years. And Bush signed it without a veto threat, what a concept.

In regards to this experience to be President thing.  The only candidates that run for office and have the experience to do the job, are called incumbents.  Every single President has had to learn on the job.  Every single one, from George Washington to George Bush.  Nobody has a clue until they start doing the job.  Let's move on from a lack of experience to a lack of substance.  That applies to all the candidates.  Anyone who wants to be President, should be disqualified immediately.  I've known people who aren't in politics that could do a better job than the crop we've been saddled with since 1980.  Although I'm willing to admit that my life circumstances were so much better under Clinton.  Heck, I was living better than I am now when Carter was President.  I was even able to buy a house in California and make the payments.

Turns out mom had a slight fracture of her hip but the orthopedist didn't feel like doing anything about it (not even call and tell her to stay off of her leg, which I was already making her do) and when we went for mom's follow up with her primary care idiot, I had to beg for a walker for her.  We're on our way to get one now.    Pain medication was nonexistent for her and if it wasn't for a good friend who had some Lidocaine patches, she wouldn't have been able to function at all.  It doesn't matter if you have insurance or not, they just don't care about the patient anymore.  It's a good thing I have a medical degree or she would be toast.  Her doctor hates me and it doesn't bother me at all.  If I didn't speak up, they would just let her die.  Painfully.

How about a little music for the morning?  Back to the eighties with Johnny Hates Jazz.

29 August 2008

Sarah Palin, Round One

by: Dark Wraith

Andrew Sullivan reports that long-time Right-wing Whine Mistress Mona Charen has commented on John McCain's VP pick, first-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, by asserting that "Sarah is from America. Obama is not."

Let us now explore this theme with variants, herewith offered by Dark Wraith Publishing as a special, no-charge public service:

"Sarah is from Candyland. Obama is not."

"Sarah is from Alaska. Most other people are not."

"Sarah is from junior high. Many people made it through."

"Sarah is from Vogue. Barack is from Chicago."

"Sarah is from Anchorage. So are a lot of hoofed animals."

"Sarah is from Alaska. So is Ted Stevens."

"Sarah is from Alaska. So are cold fronts."

"Sarah is from America. So is Pee Wee Herman."

"Sarah was born in Idaho. So was Mr. Potato Head."

"Sarah won the Miss Wasilla (Alaska) beauty contest. Obama did not (but he’s moved on by now)."

Okay, ENUFFF! Point made.

Memo to Governor Palin: Tell your Right-wing flankers to shut up. The nastier they get, the better the jokes about you will get.

See if you can get your shills to stick to the issues. You'll still get eaten alive, but at least you'll get eaten alive with your dignity intact.

The Dark Wraith will enjoy it either way, though.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · ·

It's Finally A Horse Race

by: Debra

Ever since I realized we were once again going to get stuck with choosing the lesser of two evils, I've been saying that if McCain picked a woman it would do serious damage to the Democratic platform.  Since everyone decided that McCain was too old and might not be able to serve his term completely if he picks who I think he might, the Democrats will have a much harder slog uphill.  With a lot of unhappy women leaving the party in droves.  Bet the powers that be wish they had listened a little harder to the discontent of Hillary's supporters.

McCain and his advisers were smart, they picked exactly who I thought they would.  Sarah Palin.

So much for the convention bump.  We're gonna have fun now.  Yup, the Demowienies have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.


28 August 2008

I Looked but...

by: blackdog

Seems I read something from the Mule the other day. This is just for her.

Maybe also for others, enjoy.

Katrina 2005

by: Foiled Goil

"Mercy Now"
~Mary Gauthier

[ 5:51 ]
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note...

~Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I Have a Dream"

From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
"March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom"
August 28, 1963

· ·
27 August 2008

Flip Flopping John

by: Foiled Goil

Jukebox John keeps changing his tune

Steve Benen:

So why do McCain’s flip-flops matter? Because all available evidence suggests his reversals aren’t sincere, they’re cynically calculated for political gain. This isn’t indicative of an open mind; it’s actually indicative of a character flaw. And given the premise of McCain’s presidential campaign, it’s an area in desperate need of scrutiny.

The perception people have of McCain is outdated, reflective of a man who no longer has any use for his previous persona. What’s wrong with a politician who changes his or her views? Nothing in particular, but when a politician changes his views so much that he has an entirely different worldview, is it unreasonable to wonder whether it’s entirely sincere? Especially when there’s no other apparent explanation for six dozen significant reversals?

McCain has been in Congress for more than a quarter-century; he’s bound to shift now and then on various controversies. But therein lies the point — McCain was consistent on most of these issues, right up until he started running for president, at which point he conveniently abandoned literally dozens of positions he used to hold. The problem isn’t just the incessant flip-flops — though that’s part of it — it’s more about the shameless pandering and hollow convictions behind the incessant flip-flops. That the media still perceives McCain as some kind of “straight talker” who refuses to sway with the political winds makes this all the more glaring.
Here's the list*:

National Security Policy
1. McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.

2. McCain insisted that everyone, even “terrible killers,” “the worst kind of scum of humanity,” and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, “deserve to have some adjudication of their cases,” even if that means “releasing some of them.” McCain now believes the opposite.

3. He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

4. In February 2008, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding.

5. McCain was for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he was against it.

6. When Barack Obama talked about going after terrorists in Pakistani mountains with predators, McCain criticized him for it. He’s since come to the opposite conclusion.

Foreign Policy
7. McCain was for kicking Russia out of the G8 before he was against it. Now, he’s for it again.

8. McCain supported moving “towards normalization of relations” with Cuba. Now he believes the opposite.

9. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Hamas. Now he believes the opposite.

10. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Syria. Now he believes the opposite.

11. McCain is both for and against a “rogue state rollback” as a focus of his foreign policy vision.

12. McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty’s behalf before a Senate committee. Now he opposes it.

13. McCain was against divestment from South Africa before he was for it.

Military Policy
14. McCain recently claimed that he was the “greatest critic” of Rumsfeld’s failed Iraq policy. In December 2003, McCain praised the same strategy as “a mission accomplished.” In March 2004, he said, “I’m confident we’re on the right course.” In December 2005, he said, “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.”

15. McCain has changed his mind about a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq on multiple occasions, concluding, on multiple occasions, that a Korea-like presence is both a good and a bad idea.

16. McCain was against additional U.S. forces in Afghanistan before he was for it.

17. McCain said before the war in Iraq, “We will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” Four years later, McCain said he knew all along that the war in Iraq war was “probably going to be long and hard and tough.”

18. McCain has repeatedly said it’s a dangerous mistake to tell the “enemy” when U.S. troops would be out of Iraq. In May, McCain announced that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.

19. McCain was against expanding the GI Bill before he was for it.

20. McCain staunchly opposed Obama’s Iraq withdrawal timetable, and even blasted Mitt Romney for having referenced the word during the GOP primaries. In July, after Iraqi officials endorsed Obama’s policy, McCain said a 16-month calendar sounds like “a pretty good timetable.”

Domestic Policy
21. McCain defended “privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

22. On Social Security, McCain said he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Soon after, asked about a possible increase in the payroll tax, McCain said there’s “nothing that’s off the table.”

23. McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.

24. McCain supported storing spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Now he believes the opposite.

25. He argued the NRA should not have a role in the Republican Party’s policy making. Now he believes the opposite.

26. In 1998, he championed raising cigarette taxes to fund programs to cut underage smoking, insisting that it would prevent illnesses and provide resources for public health programs. Now, McCain opposes a $0.61-per-pack tax increase, won’t commit to supporting a regulation bill he’s co-sponsoring, and has hired Philip Morris’ former lobbyist as his senior campaign adviser.

27. McCain is both for and against earmarks for Arizona.

28. McCain’s first mortgage plan was premised on the notion that homeowners facing foreclosure shouldn’t be “rewarded” for acting “irresponsibly.” His second mortgage plan took largely the opposite position.

29. McCain went from saying gay marriage should be allowed, to saying gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed.

30. McCain opposed a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., before he supported it.

31. McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.

32. McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.

33. In 2005, McCain endorsed intelligent design creationism, a year later he said the opposite, and a few months after that, he was both for and against creationism at the same time.

34. And on gay adoption, McCain initially said he’d rather let orphans go without families, then his campaign reversed course, and soon after, McCain reversed back.

35. In the Senate, McCain opposed a variety of measures on equal pay for women, and endorsed the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision. In July, however, McCain said, “I’m committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work. That … is my record and you can count on it.”

36. McCain was against fully funding the No Child Left Behind Act before he was for it.

37. McCain was for affirmative action before he was against it.

Economic Policy
38. McCain was against Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy before he was for them.

39. John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated,” and “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a “very strong” understanding of economics.

40. McCain vowed, if elected, to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term. Soon after, he decided he would no longer even try to reach that goal. And soon after that, McCain abandoned his second position and went back to his first.

41. McCain said in 2005 that he opposed the tax cuts because they were “too tilted to the wealthy.” By 2007, he denied ever having said this, and falsely argued that he opposed the cuts because of increased government spending.

42. McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.

43. McCain pledged in February 2008 that he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Specifically, McCain was asked if he is a “‘read my lips’ candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?” referring to George H.W. Bush’s 1988 pledge. “No new taxes,” McCain responded. Two weeks later, McCain said, “I’m not making a ‘read my lips’ statement, in that I will not raise taxes.”

44. McCain has changed his entire economic worldview on multiple occasions.

45. McCain believes Americans are both better and worse off economically than they were before Bush took office.

Energy Policy
46. McCain supported the moratorium on coastal drilling; now he’s against it.

47. McCain recently announced his strong opposition to a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.

48. McCain endorsed a cap-and-trade policy with a mandatory emissions cap. In mid-June, McCain announced he wants the caps to voluntary.

49. McCain explained his belief that a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax would provide an immediate economic stimulus. Shortly thereafter, he argued the exact opposite.

50. McCain supported the Lieberman/Warner legislation to combat global warming. Now he doesn’t.

51. McCain was for national auto emissions standards before he was against them.

Immigration Policy
52. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants’ kids who graduate from high school. In 2007, he announced his opposition to the bill. In 2008, McCain switched back.

53. On immigration policy in general, McCain announced in February 2008 that he would vote against his own bill.

54. In April, McCain promised voters that he would secure the borders “before proceeding to other reform measures.” Two months later, he abandoned his public pledge, pretended that he’d never made the promise in the first place, and vowed that a comprehensive immigration reform policy has always been, and would always be, his “top priority.”

Judicial Policy and the Rule of Law
55. McCain said he would “not impose a litmus test on any nominee.” He used to promise the opposite.

56. McCain’s position was that the telecoms should be forced to explain their role in the administration’s warrantless surveillance program as a condition for retroactive immunity. He used to believe the opposite.

57. McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite.

58 In June, McCain rejected the idea of a trial for Osama bin Laden, and thought Obama’s reference to Nuremberg was a misread of history. A month later, McCain argued the exact opposite position.

59. In June, McCain described the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush was “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” In August, he reversed course.

Campaign, Ethics, and Lobbying Reform
60. McCain supported his own lobbying-reform legislation from 1997. Now he doesn’t.

61. In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving “feedback” on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he opposes his own measure.

62. McCain supported a campaign-finance bill, which bore his name, on strengthening the public-financing system. In June 2007, he abandoned his own legislation.

63. In May 2008, McCain approved a ban on lobbyists working for his campaign. In July 2008, his campaign reversed course and said lobbyists could work for his campaign.

Politics and Associations
64. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist John Hagee. Now he doesn’t. (He also believes his endorsement from Hagee was both a good and bad idea.)

65. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist Rod Parsley. Now he doesn’t.

66. McCain says he considered and did not consider joining John Kerry’s Democratic ticket in 2004.

67. McCain is both for and against attacking Barack Obama over his former pastor at his former church.

68. McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but then decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks.

69. In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.

70. McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.

71. McCain decided in 2000 that he didn’t want anything to do with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, believing he “would taint the image of the ‘Straight Talk Express.’” Kissinger is now the Honorary Co-Chair for his presidential campaign in New York.

72. McCain believed powerful right-wing activist/lobbyist Grover Norquist was “corrupt, a shill for dictators, and (with just a dose of sarcasm) Jack Abramoff’s gay lover.” McCain now considers Norquist a key political ally.

73. McCain was for presidential candidates giving speeches in foreign countries before he was against it.

74. McCain has been both for and against considering a pro-choice running mate for the Republican presidential ticket.

(* See the post for related links and more.)

26 August 2008

Hey, Whiners

by: Foiled Goil

Hey, Whiners:
John McCain's 12-Step Plan to Achieving the American Dream!

Melody Townsel:
Hey, Whiners™!

If you're like me, you felt the sting of Former McCain Advisor® Phil Gramm's calling us out for complaining about the current, piss-poor state of the economy. Whiner? Ouch! Color me red. Phil musta been standing the next pump over as I cursed the Shrub's name while paying $59 to fill up my tank last month. Or when I muttered a few more choice words about the price of milk at the local grocery story.

Once I got over the bite of Phil's words, though, folks, I knew he was absolutely right. What Whiners™ like us need is a personal economic recovery plan... say, a 12-step plan similar to the one Miz McCain entered to kick her addiction to stolen prescription drugs. The kind of plan only a bona fide POW® is capable of delivering.

Tired of whining? Ready to quitcher bitchin', roll up your sleeves and try a fresh stab at the American Dream -- ya know, a free-range chicken in every pot, a house worth more than the paper the mortgage is printed on and a cool $5 mil in the bank?

Well, then, the Gramps of Wrath has the goods. Snatch the pebble from his hands, grasshopper! I'm Talking Straight™ here: just 12 easy steps to Easy Street... and, since they worked for the Maverick, you KNOW they'll work for the 'Murican People℠!

Step 1: Dump your first spouse. Now...

Step 2: Remarry above your station…

Step 3: Make rich, amoral friends…

Step 4: Ride Your Rich, Amoral Friends Like a Rented Mule…

Step 5: Rich, Amoral Friend? Meet My Filthy Rich In-Laws. Filthy Rich In-Laws? Meet My Rich, Amoral Friend…

Step 6: Deepen the Ties that Bind. Your In-Laws and Your Rich, Amoral Friend, That Is…

Step 7: Caught Red-Handed With the Congressional-Influence Cookie Jar? Blame the Spouse -- Then Rub Your War Wound…

Step 8: You Pick Yourself Up, You Dust Yourself Off, and You Start All Over Again. Using Your Spouse's Moolah…

Step 9: Make an Even Richer Friend. With Even Fewer Scruples…

Step 10: Study at the Feet of the Master…

Step 11: Leverage Your New Buddy's Financial Thuggery…

Step 12: Relax and Enjoy! (In Any One of Your Seven-Plus Homes...)

You've worked hard. You've got your $5 mil and then some. You've got a War Wound and a group of rich, asshole buddies that work like get-out-jail-free cards in times of trouble.
But, but... you know I don't like to talk about it... but, I was a P.O.W.!

John McCain's extramarital affairs: [ 4:42 ]

John McCain and The Keating Five: [ 3:28 ]


A Note on Future Supreme Court Justices

by: Dark Wraith

In a recent article written by Father Tyme at the blog BlondeSense, the suggestion was made that supporters of Hillary Clinton should "stop and think" about their continued opposition to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama because "[S]he stands a rather good chance of becoming a Supreme Court Justice" if Obama is elected President. The writer explains: "A very good 62 year old 'liberal' would be in a position to not only help out the country in ways a president couldn't, and for possibly 15 to 20 more years, but it would make the Republicans gnaw their own legs off!"

Suffer me a minor point and attendant suggestion.

For a while—just for a while, mind you—perhaps we could set aside the idea of politically motivated paybacks, quid pro quo motivations, and ideologically driven hopes in appointing Justices to the Supreme Court.

I know, I know: Radical! OUTRAGEOUS, even.

Hear me out.

Perhaps, for just a few appointments, we could seek in potential Justices these three qualities:

a vast understanding not merely of common law but of its evolving arc across time in building an ever more refined rationale of rule by which people should interact with one another both in their capacities as individuals and in their small and large aggregates as groups;

a profound knowledge of the history of statutory law that may guide clear understanding of what laws mean, what intentions were purposely crafted in their enactment, and how that intent in application comports with the United States Constitution;

a keen insight into original intent of the Founding Fathers in writing the Constitution that we may have an unyielding anchor in documentary statement that was written by men of sufficiently great wisdom who were motivated to establish a nation that would not be drawn asunder from external enemies or internal strife.

Concomitant to these qualifications, and acting as an umbrella over them, we would in our search for Justices look for those who could masterfully balance strictly constructionist interpretation of statutory law against the desirable, if often impatient, impetus afforded by time and social evolution to advance the community from early brutishness to later, humane accommodations. In broadest summary of this most important, overarching selection criterion, and without any defect in the above three requirements, every person considered for position on the high court would always, unfailingly be dedicated to preserving at all possible opportunities the underlying interest those founders of this republic had in finding the means by which natural law could be respected in the maintenance of a civil, well-ordered society.

That last, overriding criterion would be the most important and the most difficult to fulfill because it is the tendency of the ignorant, the rash, and the harsh to imagine that individual freedom is anathema to a maximally civil, well-ordered society. It is not, but it is far easier to find a construction of law that permits license at the expense of order or, as is common in the present time, a construction of law that progressively subordinates freedom to the interest of government in security as a flawed proxy for order.

Such guiding principles in the selection of men and women for the high court would necessarily demand that radicals like Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, ideologues like Associate Justice Samuel Alito, political favorites like Chief Justice John Roberts, and imbeciles of political opportunism like Associate Justice Clarence Thomas be turned away. It is their kind who, in the cacophony of their opinions replacing judgment, beliefs replacing reason, and personalities replacing jurisprudence, deny this nation the opportunity to construct an arc of constitutional law that adheres as closely as possible to the principle that free people accorded their rights under natural law organize to the best nation and, consequentially, the best society.

In fear of bias to the Left, the conservatives cast their lot with the degraded men and women of the extremist Federalist Society.

In fear of bias to the Right, liberals are now planning their response with men and women who might promote this or that agenda.

In neither case, however, do we have any conversation about finding those who would, despite personal affiliations and background, locate a profound, consistent respect for liberty, a deep suspicion of the state in its authority, and a brilliance of mind to walk the narrow and harrowing path that would keep us safe as a nation and free as a people. That conversation is worth having.

As the alternative, we may continue a long, tit-for-tat, debilitating whipsaw of Supreme Court decisions from one case to the next and one era to the next in which event enduring natural law never emerges, while passions, agendas, and plans are paraded as the pale imitation of the rule of law.

I submit that it is in this degraded arc of Supreme Courts that the greatest harm will be done, for it is in this environment, where the rule of law is at auction, that justice cannot be aligned to its gravest duty, which is to hold at bay the ever-waiting state that would prefer obedience at the fist of law to compliance at the behest of freedom.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · ·

A Spoonful Of Sugar

by: Debra

Is supposed to help the medicine go down and the medicine must be pretty bad if the Democratic convention is any indication. 

I used to read about 182 feeds a day (can we say info junkie?) and geek that I am, I've been tracking my Google Reader Trends and can honestly say that in the past few weeks I've gone from a 100% reader completion rate down to less than 70%.  Which seems to reflect my attitude about the hype that most around the blogosphere lives for.  The same old stories, told over and over again.  Ad nauseum.  The only Olympics I watched were when I was at someone else's house and Michael Phelps was on for the few minutes I was there.  The same will probably hold true for the Demolympics and the Repubolympics the following week.  Almost like the Truman show except the buck never stops being passed around.    Though the pictures of our Commander in Chief trying to raise the roof or having to be helped from his seat by several men were pretty entertaining.

Fortunately the Dark Wraith (Ron Paul had the same reasoning of why Republicans should have voted for Kerry in 2004 and wasn't afraid to say so) published Ted Kennedy's speech (courtesy of YouTube) over at the Big Brass Blog so I didn't have to suffer through the constant inane twitter of the Dan Rather, Chet Huntley, Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley wannabes.  If today's"newsmen" had the talent of their predecessors, half their gravitas and any ability to research their own sources of information instead of reading a daily transcript handed to them from whichever contact person is in charge, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now.  Seriously, since when did an Obama child swinging the gavel and making the press corps laugh, become news?  Trust me, it's nowhere near the equivalent of JFK Jr saluting his father's casket as it went past.  Not even close.  And you can't make it so.

I tried to read the transcript of Michelle Obama's speech but found the reaction to be overhyped as well.  Letter perfect?   In whose language?  The Obamas are not the Second Coming and if the people who consistently ignored all the signs, portents, Katrina, extremely conservative Supreme Court judges, Executive Orders, an inept Attorney General, a politicized Justice Department, the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act until it was too late are now excited because they smell some sort of change in the air, they should check their diapers.  Because they are full of it.

Our country is in deep doodoo and instead of pointing out how, where, when, what, and why, we get...the promise of change.  No concrete plan, no pointing out the perpetrators of the country's downfall so people can see why there is going to be a difference between a Republican and a Democrat administration other than a somewhat historic black candidate.   Because there isn't one.  The Democrats enabled Bush and his crew without a clue and can't afford to point it out.  The Republicans won't miss that opportunity to point out the obvious next week.  Nope, instead we got a touchy feely opening, we are just like you speech.  I'm surprised she didn't say I feel your pain.

Obama has been so busy backpedaling, reversing promises he made to the progressives who helped him to get where he is, that he can't be trusted.  I don't believe a word he says, not that I ever really believe politicians.  For Obama, his FISA vote was an excellent example of him looking toward the future and making sure that there would be that much more power to grab than it was about standing up for the Fourth Amendment and what this country used to stand for.  There is not one guarantee other than his word that changes with the Republican wind, that we won't end up with more conservative judges and the elimination of the little that's left of the Bill of Rights.

Shirley Chisholm must be turning in her grave.


· · ·
25 August 2008

The Lion in His Winter

by: Dark Wraith

Now I'm Pissed

by: blackdog

CSEPP. Another shitpile government acronym that in this case stands for Chemical Stockpile Emergency Protection Program.

Here in Arkieville we ain't got much, sometimes not even enough to stuff into a pillow sack and lay your head on, but by gawd, we got this.

NCTR. Yep, that stands for the esteemed National Center for Toxicological Research, just northeast of stink city, Pine Bluff, where all trees should shudder before being pulped.

While attempting to watch the Dim National I was treated to not one, two, but fucking three 15-second spots about CSEPP. Mostly this is about how the good 'ol USA, who has no stockpiles of what are referred to as WMDs, either the nukuler or the chemical ones (we are the good guys) are now eliminating some of the unsaid nasties that we seem to somehow have found in our pockets from back in the bad years when we had to stare down the commies. Sometimes over a bowl of cherrios, no less. With Bullwinkle on the tube.

Interesting on how one can arrive here in Carlisle from the south on hwy 13 and hitting the stopsign at hwy 70 see CSEPP signs pointing west AND east. Mostly meaning that if the shit hits the fan, haul ass in almost any direction but southwest, that's where NCTR and the incinerator are, since the prevailing wind is usually (let's see, what hemisphere are we in?) from that direction it just might be the one you don't want to take.

Tonight I may check out my hole in the backyard to insure that it is capable of holding a corpse. That would suck now that several $$$$$$ have been spent on me just to allow me to spew this sort of shit.

If anyone says oops now, look out. I will be running like the devil itself is after me.

No links, Ma. There be a reason for that.

Might as well add this, it entertained me some years ago.

This is just fun as it was supposed to be, enjoy.


by: Foiled Goil

"Low growls and angry snarls assailed our ears on every side…"
~Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Gods of Mars

[ 2:06 ]

24 August 2008

Enough said by me

by: blackdog

This is well said, those that do not agree feel free to make comments.

My staples came out the other day and it was a real bitch. But at least I didn't burst and make a mess like the last time, now some parts are in the centerline where they are supposed to be and i can actually walk in a straight line.

Ouch,oh,shit,damn. Something like that. About 30 or so.

Bless all here at the 3Bs.

Flashback 18 Years

by: Konagod

It was on this day in 1990 when my life would change forever. However, at this exact moment 18 years ago I was a single guy still looking for the love of my life. Little did I know, my wait would only be another six hours or so.

I had only been living in San Diego about two months. But I knew I agreed to move there with a friend because I had a hunch I'd meet my soul mate on the west coast. I was getting a little antsy after 2 months because I've always wanted instant gratification.

My mood was so-so as I got ready to go out with my friend to a dance club called Metro in the Hillcrest area. We got there, had a few drinks, I danced for a bit, and then I sat down at a table alone on a dark side of the bar. I was facing a dark wall. I wasn't having a lot of fun. I just sat there nursing my drink until I happened to notice a person standing very close to my table.

I must have looked up at some point to see his face and had eye contact. I looked back down at my beer as my heart began to race. He was cute! And he was standing close enough to touch. His hand was dangling at his side close to where I was holding my beer. I reached over to touch his hand and he did not recoil.

Our pinkie fingers entwined. At that exact moment, I remembered why I moved to San Diego. And I had found what I wanted.

In Santee, California. September 1990.

And 18 years later, I'm still single in the eyes of the law. Just thought I'd mention that fact.

Crossposted from konagod

What I Did Yesterday

by: Debra

First, I spotted a Smart Car in the wild.  Isn't she pretty?  I really want one these babies. It's all I need to get around town and parking looks like it would be a breeze.

Then, after making sure that all of the stop lights in San Jose were working, I went to my friend's house and we started pickling less than a peck of peppers. So we threw in other veggies.  Cucumbers, cauliflower, onions and garlic and soaked them in a salt bath.

 Then we filled the jars and topped them off with a brining solution that had Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar from Trader Joe's.


And put them in the water bath.


Voila' the finished project.  All the jars popped nicely and are now resting on various peoples shelves.

In the last few weeks I learned how to bottle my own barbecue sauce and salsa to store for the winter and now I'm working on learning how to pickle my veggies instead of letting them go to waste.  Next year should set me up nicely to weather the Depression.   Even if I don't have a home, I can still eat relatively well, as long as the jars don't break.

As a side note, finding jars was somewhat of a mission.  Between the economy and Alton Brown's pickling lessons this week, most stores were out of stock.

All in all, it was a fun day.


· · ·

"But I Could Be Wrong," by Tim Wilson

by: Dark Wraith

The Dark Wraith gives this two thumbs up.

· · · ·

Joe Biden For VP

by: Foiled Goil

Joe Biden in Springfield, excerpted from the transcript:
And ladies and gentlemen, these are no ordinary times, and this is no ordinary election. Because the truth of the matter is, and you know it, that American dream under eight years of Bush and McCain, that American dream is slipping away. I don't have to tell you that. You feel it in your lives. You see it in your shrinking wages, and the cost of everything from groceries to health care to college to filling up your car at the gas station. It keeps going up and up and up, and the future keeps receding further and further and further away as you reach for your dreams.

You know, ladies and gentlemen, it is not a mere political saying. I say with every fiber of my being I believe we cannot as a nation stand for four more years of this. We cannot afford to keep giving tax cuts after tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans while the middle-class America, middle-class families are falling behind and their wages are actually shrinking. We can't afford four more years of a government that does nothing while they watch the housing market collapse. As you know, it's not just the millions of people facing foreclosure. It's the tens of millions of your neighbors who are seeing the values of their homes drop off a cliff along with their dreams.

Ladies and gentlemen, your kitchen table is like mine. You sit there at night before you put the kids, after you put the kids to bed and you talk, you talk about what you need. You talk about how much you're worried about being able to pay the bills. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's not a worry John McCain has to worry about. It's a pretty hard experience. He'll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at.

Folks, again, it's not political sloganeering when I say we literally can't afford four more years of this non-energy policy written by and for the oil companies, making us more and more dependent from hostile nations on our ability to run this country and literally, not figuratively, literally putting America's security at risk; we can't afford four more years of a foreign policy that has shredded our alliances and sacrificed our moral standing around the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is no ordinary time. This is no ordinary election. And this may be our last chance to reclaim the America we love, to restore America's soul.

· ·
23 August 2008

Joe "The Senator" Biden and George "The Tan Man" Hamilton: Are They Related?

by: Dark Wraith

As can be seen in the graphic below, the resemblance is striking. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's choice for the VP slot, looks remarkably like ultra-cool, ultra-dashing actor and frequent companion of beautiful ladies George Hamilton, perhaps more widely known for his deep, perfect, always-there tan than for his roles in movies all the way from his uncredited debut in Lone Star (1951), to his notable role in The Godfather, Part III (1991), and more recent appearances in movies such as Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001) and The L.A. Riot Spectacular (2005).

Joe Biden and George Hamilton

Readers are encouraged to decide for themselves. More pictures of Sen. Biden can be found at France-Amérique, at the PBS Online NewsHour, and at In every one of these pictures, astute viewers will be amazed by how much the Senator from Delaware looks like George Hamilton, who can be seen in pictures at I Watch Stuff, at JAMD, and at

Is the likeness mere coincidence?

The Dark Wraith suspects otherwise.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· ·

Lazy Saturday Musings

by: Debra

I had occasion to use a very busy public restroom a few weeks ago, something I really hate to do, and finally understood something guys have been asking for years.  Why do women use so much toilet paper?  All around me you could hear the rolls spin.  Wheee!  I'm no Sheryl Crow, but unless I have to do more than blot, I only use two sheets.  They don't always use the best paper in these places and I don't like my fingers wet, but there is absolutely no reason to wrap your hand like it needs a bandage.  Just saying.  Sorry about the TMI.

Just finished The Race by Richard North Paterson.  The shenanigans behind running for President are more interesting in print than in real life.  At least until this "election".  First person he mentions as inspiration.  John McCain.  For being a POW.   Patterson wrote the book because he felt that politics as currently practiced are destroying America and the Republican Party is leading the way downhill.   It may have been fiction, but it was better than most of the reporting done by the established media.

Somebody needs to explain the definition of change to Obama.  Not that I was going to vote for him anyway, but Biden?  If McCain is smart enough to pick a woman this farce of an election is all but over.

Why do animals know what to with babies and humans have to be taught?  So much for those theories that animals can't reason the way humans do.

What's up with the weather?  It's the middle of August, it's a little after 9 in the morning and it is 61 degrees, overcast and windy.  Just like last year, I'm still waiting for summer.  In California.  Eight years ago we were roasting for most of the year (remember the blackouts?) and now we're lucky if we get two weeks over 90.  All year.  The tomatoes were growing well and now they are back on hold because the night time temperature just can't seem to make it above 59 degrees.

The tomato tart project.  All the ingredients except the tart.  I will make it from scratch next time, but I was intimidated and didn't have the correct pan.

And this is what we ate.  Pie crust was a little too crispy, so next time I will definitely make the tart.  It was still tasty as heck.  Yum!  And yes, the basil was from the garden also. 

Next up, I'm going to try and pickle the hundred or so serranos that are making the leaves touch the ground.


· ·
22 August 2008


by: Foiled Goil

McCain response continues to be Teh Suck

Kagro X:
The McCain Dungeons & Dragons gang fails its saving throw:
Group to spend $2.8 million on anti-Obama ad
The ad was supposed to be the response to McCain getting his ass whipped over weaseling out of answering questions about his four - seven - eight - twelve houses by pretending not to know how many he had. (A-duh. That's so much less elitist!)

But, uh... didn't work.
Organizers sought to air the ad on Fox News Channel, but a Fox spokesman said the network declined to run it.
Too sleazy for Fox. Hilarious!

How dare they suggest, ummm... something, something, P.O.W., blah-blah! Grr
McGaffe Card_KOS_tbctbc

( image credit: tbctbc )
America, welcome to "P.O.W. Fatigue."


Kagro X:

I can haz houses_K0S_KagroX
Yeah, McCain. Let's "get into a debate about houses."

Are you sure you're ready for it? We won't be laughing with you.

Let's go to town, people.

P.S. Bonus Video! And -- ZOMG!!!!


McCain also forgets his $5 million line

Kagro X:
Question one: How many damn houses do you have, Grumpy?

Answer: Umm, umm...

Sorry, you lose.

· ·
21 August 2008

Water Conservation Part 2

by: Konagod

Last month I posted about our water bill and the monthly usage, and I made a pledge to reduce it during the upcoming month. I didn't do everything I considered, such as keeping buckets at the shower to catch the cold water until it warms up, but I did consistently turn the water off to a trickle while shampooing and conditioning.

Here are the statistics:

6/12 - 7/14: 3,400 gallons at a cost of $10.61.
7/14 - 8/12: 2,700 gallons at a cost of $8.91.

The cost savings doesn't put a meal on the table but the important thing is that we saved about 700 gallons in one month. Imagine if everyone in drought-stricken areas did this.

The city of Austin charges the lowest rates for water based on the first 2,000 gallons. Basically 93-cents per thousand. Anything over 2,000 gallons the rates jumps to $2.43 per thousand. And I suspect there are higher rates at some other thresholds as there should be.

I would like to reduce by another 700 gallons and see if we can keep our consumption just under the 2,000 gallon per month level. At that point our monthly water bill would be less than $2.00 vs. the $9 to $10 which we average. That most definitely would buy us a meal.

Crossposted from konagod

Out Of Touch McLobbyist Express

by: Foiled Goil

McCain: ‘There Are Too Many Lobbyists In Washington’
— But 160 Of Them Run My Campaign

Think Progress:
In an interview with Politico* yesterday, however, McCain ripped lobbyists as “birds of prey,” adding, “I think there are too many lobbyists in Washington”:
“Whenever there’s a corrupt system, then you’re going to have these birds of prey descend on it to get their share of the spoils. [...]

“But the fact is that they are the symptom of a disease,” he continued. “As long as you have earmarking and pork-barrel spending and bridges to nowhere and money for DNA of bears in Montana and museums and all that, then you’re going to have lobbyists.”
But the “disease” has infected McCain’s campaign. While McCain claims “there are too many lobbyists,” he has at least 159 lobbyists — on leaves of absences — running his campaign, fundraising, and shaping his policies.
“I’m going to thank some corrupt unscrupulous lobbyists that are destroying America as we speak, everything we stand for and believe in.” [6/9/08]

[ 0:18 ]

* Ignoring reported favors to lobbyists, land-swap deals...

Media Matters:
Summary: Politico's Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's assertion during an "exclusive" interview: "Lobbyists don't come to my office. Because they know they're not going to be an earmark. They know they're not going to get a pork-barrel project. Senator Obama's gotten lots of 'em." Allen and Martin did not note that, to the contrary, lobbyists have reportedly received considerable benefits from McCain on behalf of their clients...

How many jets do You Own?

Top 10 Reasons You Might Be an Out-of-Touch Elitist

[ 0:57 ]

· ·

And That's The Truth

by: Debra

As a black female in America, many years of observation have honed my instincts and taught me which battles are worth my time to try and win, and which are worth fighting for but will never change minds that are permanently closed under the guise of everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  Guess which one this is.

The last few years have plainly shown that anyone who thinks that racial issues are okay in America, are obviously not one of the races that have been historically shunned in this country.  There has never been an Italian, Asian, Indian, Black or Hispanic President.  We can't even address the blatant sexism that exists and is glorified every day in this country by people who should know better.  If Muslim countries where the woman walks three feet back and to the right can elect a female Prime Minister or President, what's our excuse?  Other than the obvious?

One of the peculiar media memes of the past year has been a lot of tormented nonsense about whether the ascendance of Barack Obama means that race is somehow off the table as a defining issue in American life. Of course his prospective nomination is a historic moment, but I can't even begin to understand why this is a controversial topic. How can anybody suggest with a straight face that pervasive racism is not the reason why, in a year when every imaginable factor favors the Democrats, Obama is even or trailing in the polls behind an addled, war-hawk septuagenarian who is disliked by his own party?

To me it is Katrina that puts the lie to any fantasy of a race-neutral America. And it's Katrina, not 9/11, that displays the nation's potentially fatal 21st century weakness. While countless billions have been spent converting our society into a police state to prevent another unpreventable attack by a handful of neo-medieval wackos, the story of the ongoing destruction of a historic, majority-black American city -- before, during and after that storm -- has been briskly swept under the carpet or, more accurately, abandoned to investigative journalists, documentary filmmakers, NGO social workers, corrupt or incompetent bureaucrats and other irrelevant social debris.

As time passes on, it will be the blatant lack of response to Katrina that identifies this country.  Identifies her as the liar and hypocrite she is.  Today's Americans, having got their piece of the "pie", are determined to maintain the status quo by making sure that nobody else gets a slice.  They are no longer interested in the tired, the poor, the hungry or the hurting, it might upset the apple cart of their self induced superiority.  Unfortunately, compassion wasn't written into the Constitution and even if it was, it would have been eliminated right along with the rest of the Bill of Rights in a futile effort to protect us from a bogeyman in a cave half the world away. Because a frightening majority of the people in power, are determined to stay there.  No matter what the cost.

Our Founding Fathers must be so proud.  Not.


· ·

Rest In Peace, Stephanie

by: Foiled Goil

Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones dies of aneurysm

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat who was one of the few dissenting voices in Congress during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, died on Wednesday after a brain aneurysm, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Tubbs Jones, who represented parts of Cleveland and its eastern suburbs, suffered the aneurysm while driving her car in suburban Cleveland Heights, her office said earlier in the day. She was 58.

Tubbs Jones' condition declined throughout the day and she died at 6:12 p.m., Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman Eileen Sheil said in a statement.

Ohio Congressional Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones Dead at Age 58

Cleveland Leader:
Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the congressional representative for Ohio's 11th district passed away Wednesday after a brain hemorrhage. She was hospitalized Tuesday evening and remained unconscious early Wednesday morning at Huron Hospital in the Cleveland area.

Tubbs Jones' car veered off the road Tuesday evening, where police found her unconscious behind the wheel.

· ·
20 August 2008

McCain = Draft, More Wars, Less Veteran Benefits

by: Foiled Goil

McCain Doesn't Disagree that We Might Need a Draft

Brandon Friedman:

This is absolutely amazing. A woman told John McCain today that we might need a draft to accomplish all his foreign policy goals. And he said he didn't disagree.

So there you have it: McCain = Draft. Here's the response from VoteVets:

Veterans React to McCain's Admission That He'll Need a Military Draft - Press Release:

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans today reacted to John McCain’s statement that he doesn’t disagree that we would need a military draft to do everything he wants. At a town hall in Las Cruces, NM, a woman said she could not see doing everything McCain wanted, and would not have the troops under his plan to follow Osama bin Laden to the “gates of hell” without a draft. In response, McCain said, “I don’t disagree with anything you said.” The video of that can be viewed here:

[ 1:53 ]

Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of said, “At least Senator McCain is being honest. A vote for him is a vote for the draft. Period. Unless Senator McCain radically changes his worldview, there would be a draft to implement his plans.”

Soltz added, “When you take into account his indefinite military commitment to Iraq, his desire to send more troops to Afghanistan, record lows in recruiting and retention, and possibly more wars he is looking to get into, like “Bomb Bomb Bomb” Iran, his numbers don’t add up without a draft. Whether America likes it or not isn’t relevant – a draft is the only way to do everything Senator McCain wants to do. I give him points for being honest and upfront, though, that we’re going to need a draft if he is elected.”

This isn’t the first time that Senator McCain has hinted at a reinstitution of the draft if he is elected. Asked on September 29, 2007 in New Hampshire about the draft, McCain said he would, “consider it.”

Sill Officials Force Mold Whistleblower to Resign

Brandon Friedman:

On Monday, I wrote about the USA Today piece in which reporter Gregg Zoroya revealed that the Army seemed to be suffering from another barracks maintenance incompetence problem. This time, the issue was mold in the barracks for wounded soldiers at Fort Sill.

Not surprisingly, rather than address the root of the problem, the Army has now forced the whistleblower to resign from his position:
FORT SILL, Okla. - An Army social services coordinator here who told USA Today about poor conditions at Fort Sill's unit for wounded soldiers has been forced out of his job, the employee and base officials said Tuesday.

Soldiers meeting with Army Secretary Pete Geren here Tuesday said Chuck Roeder, 54, was a strong advocate for their problems and should not have been forced to leave.
Of course, the Army denies any connection:
Roeder's departure Friday, following his contact with USA Today, was purely coincidental, said Col. Sam White, an executive officer at Fort Sill. He said Roeder has a history of confrontations with base officials.
"Purely coincidental." Guess the guy just had it coming, huh?
"They can say whatever they want to say, but they're not being truthful," Roeder said. "I stand up for soldiers. I'm sure the word got out that I'd encouraged soldiers to speak."

Roeder, a retired soldier, said he was told to resign or he would be fired.
A long time ago, I would have erred on the side of the Army and its professional leadership. But not after the past half decade or so. Given its recent track record, I think the Army has to answer for this one: Why are we punishing people for trying to improve the lives of soldiers?

McCain Rhetoric vs. McCain Record:


Army Times: McCain Suggests Rationing Veterans Health Care. "Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain appeared Tuesday to suggest rationing of veterans' health care may be needed so combat veterans can receive the care they deserve." [Army Times, 7/23/08]

McCain: "We Need To Concentrate Our Efforts To Handle Those Wounds And Disabilities That Are Directly The Result Of Combat." During a town hall meeting in Rochester, New Hampshire, McCain spoke about healthcare for veterans and said, "So here's my idea, and it's not originated with me, but I've consulted with so many … others who are here. Look, we need to concentrate our efforts to handle those wounds and those disabilities that are directly the result of combat. We need to expand our ability to treat PTSD. PTSD is going to be tough in this war, you know that. And we need to treat the combat wounds. We need to increase that ability to do so." [CNN Live Feed, Town Hall (Rochester, NH), 7/22/08]

Lt. Gen. Robert Gard Jr. (USA, Retired): McCain's Idea Would Shortchange Other Combat Veterans. "These wars are the first to be waged in large numbers by a new generation of brave women - but 15 percent of our women soldiers that served on the front lines who walk into a VA facility screen positive for military sexual trauma. Is Senator McCain suggesting that we can't afford to give them benefits? Senator McCain's campaign did not return calls for comment about his statement, but these are questions he must answer. All veterans respect John McCain's service -- if he too respects ours, he should not be suggesting that we shortchange our soldiers with non-combat injuries who have served with such honor and dignity." [Huffington Post, 7/24/08]

Bush VA Secretary Calls McCain's Idea "Dangerous." "After touring the Manchester VA Medical Center, VA Secretary James Peake also said he is against giving veterans cards to let them receive treatment at non-VA facilities. 'That's called Yellow-Page medicine,' Peake said. "I think that potentially is dangerous." [Boston Globe, 6/24/08]


Bush and McCain Opposed GI Bill, Then Tried to Take Credit. "The Bush administration, and Sen. John McCain for that matter, initially opposed passage of the legislation, which was supported overwhelmingly by both Democrats and Republicans…McCain, campaigning last week, used language suggesting he supported the bill. In fact, McCain did not even cast a vote on the final measure. For Bush and McCain to try to claim credit now for a bipartisan effort they both opposed is a plain attempt to hoodwink the American voter." [Las Vegas Sun , 7/3/08]

Bipartisan GI Bill Covers The Full Cost Of Attending Public University; Under Alternative Offered By McCain, Vets Must Serve For 12 Years To Receive $2,000/Month. "Under the Webb bill, veterans would receive maximum educational benefits after 36 months of service and those benefits would be tied to the full cost of public school tuition and expenses in the veteran's home state. The Graham bill would require 12 years of service to garner a maximum benefit of $2000 per month, with increases in that figure tied to the consumer price index. Critics point out that the CPI has been steadily outpaced by tuition increases." [CQ Today, 5/14/2008]

McCain Admitted His Plan Was Designed To Strengthen Retention. "My proposal and others, Senator Graham, Senator Burn, is we'll place incentives for people to stay in the military." When O'Reilly said, "So the longer you stay, the more you get" McCain responded, "Yes, the more you get, because we want people to stay in…. We have to increase the benefits for the men and women who are serving and motivate those to serve." [Fox News Transcript, "The O'Reilly Factor," 5/8/08]


McCain Voted At Least 27 Times Against Veteran's Benefits. Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 1987, McCain has voted at least 30 times against ensuring important benefits for America's veterans, including providing adequate healthcare. [2006 Senate Vote #7, 41, 63, 67, 98, 222; 2005 Senate Votes #55, 89, 90, 251, 343; 2004 Senate Votes #40, 48, 145; 2003 Senate Votes #74, 81, 83; 1999 Senate Vote #328; 1998 Senate Vote #175; 1997 Senate Vote #168; 1996 Senate Votes #115, 275; 1995 Senate Votes #76, 226, 466; 1994 Senate Vote #306; 1992 Senate Vote #194]

McCain Has Voted At Least 15 Times To Prioritize Tax Cuts And Tax Loopholes For America's Wealthiest Over Funding For U.S. Veterans. Since his election to the Senate in 1987, McCain has voted at least 15 times in favor of keeping tax cuts and various tax loopholes for America's top earners, instead of providing valuable funding for United States veterans. [2006 Senate Votes #7, 15, 41, 63, 67; 2005 Senate Vote #343; 2004 Senate Votes #40, 48; 2003 Senate Votes #74, 81, 83; 1996 Senate Vote #115; 1995 Senate Votes #226, 465, 466]

· · · ·

Born To Serve

by: Debra

Once again the Demowienies are in the process of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  Why am I not surprised?  So much for that much lauded theory from the usual Democratic pundits who haven't rubbed elbows with the common man in years.  You know the theory that said that Obama had a better chance of beating McCain than Hillary would.  This election cycle has been rigged since day one and anyone who thinks that things are going to change in January needs to share their psychedelics with the rest of society.

An untried, unproven (did you know he's black?) political upstart against a professional politician whose main claim to fame was to be shot down in Vietnam and held as a POW; who left his first wife while she was recovering from a car accident for his current and much richer wife; who can barely tell the difference between Iraq and Iran, much less Shia or Sunni;  was closely related to the Keating scandal and hasn't accomplished much since then except to keep running for office and now he's ahead in the polls.

And the best part?  The Republicans haven't even brought out the big guns yet.  One of Hillary's greatest strengths (yes, she had some to go along with her baggage), besides her experience and her previously shown ability to work well with others, would have been that they couldn't dig up any more dirt on her than has already been thrown.  Not so for the anointed one, have you seen the story about the brother? This is just the beginning.   I hope Hillary takes the Gray Davis approach and decides to live a life of happiness away from all the lies and selling of souls for votes.   She and Bill will be able to laugh sadly at the mess that people who supposedly knew better have created and left the American people to drown in.

As goes California, so goes the nation.  Down hill and into the sewer ditch.  Californians were so sure that getting rid of Gray Davis and installing Schwarzenegger would make things better for the state.  Several years later and now look at where we are.  No budget, deeply in debt and no way out except to either hurt the people who have nothing more to give or give to the people who keep finding things to take.  You remember the takers from when we all used to go to grade school together before they destroyed one of the best educational systems in the country.  They had all the best toys, hung around in cliques that the average (read poor) person couldn't get into and made sure they were the only ones on the cheerleading squads and running for school offices. The original '09ers. Obviously they haven't changed one bit.

What has changed is that the American people still believe in royalty and have decided to appoint those with money as the sole arbiters of what is best for the common man.  That would be the other 99% of America, soon to be known as the poor and downtrodden.  Or in the language of the Dark Ages, serfs.



The Rachel Show!

by: Foiled Goil


I'll never understand why this took so damn long.
Just in time for the closing rush of the presidential election, MSNBC is shaking up its prime-time programming lineup, removing the long-time host –- and one-time general manager of the network — Dan Abrams from his 9 p.m. program and replacing him with Rachel Maddow, who has emerged as a favored political commentator for the all-news cable channel.

The moves, which were confirmed by MSNBC executives Tuesday, are expected to be finalized by Wednesday, with Mr. Abrams’s last program on Thursday. After MSNBC’s extensive coverage of the two political conventions during the next two weeks, Ms. Maddow will begin her program on Sept. 8.

Rachel Gets Her Own MSNBC Show

Keith Olbermann:

Happy now?

The network will be formally announcing this tomorrow, but I am pleased to inform you in this fully authorized leak, that as of Monday, September 8, our mutual friend Ms. Maddow will become host of her own show, on MSNBC, at 9 PM Eastern Time. [snip]

Let me answer the key questions in advance:

1. No, she will not be serving as a VeeJay introducing music clips or cartoons.

2. No, I don't think we have the name of the show chosen yet. She wanted to use "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and I said, that's where I draw the line.

3. No, the format isn't set, though there have been a lot of discussions out there and they have all centered on how to best allow her to both give her laser-quality insights while soliciting the opinions of others.

4. Yes, I had something to do with it.

5. Yes, you had something to do with it.

6. Yes, this is why I never really responded to any of the 41,754 comments that all pretty much read "And get Rachel her own show, nitwit."

7. No, I'm not sure it will replay later in the evening but I bloody well hope so.

8. Yes, I did like the description of her in The Nation: "Everything about her radiates competence and a deft, bright careerism."

9. Billy Loes. A teammate of Hodges in 1950, an opponent of Adcock in 1954, an opponent of Colavito in 1959, a teammate of Mays in 1961.

10. No, this actually happened pretty quickly. Less than five months between first paid appearance and own show is pretty fast. I believe I still hold the MSNBC record: I came back to guest host for three days in 2003 and 39 days later I had a contract to do the 8 PM show. With people as talented like Rachel, getting it locked down quickly is a good thing.

11. No, I have no idea who will start guest hosting Countdown. Took me five years to find her. Dammit! Why didn't I think of this! She can't be the guest host any more! I knew I'd forgotten something!

12. No, there will not be pie. Well, you may bring your own pie, but I can't be bothered with pie now! I have to go find another guest host. Dammit.

· ·
19 August 2008

Sisyphus And I Are Related

by: Debra

My landlord could care less that the state hasn't paid me for taking care of my mother.  He wants me out so he can rent to someone who has a steady paycheck.   That used to be me.  And thanks to the state budget impasse, there is no where to take my mom while I search for another job.  Did I mention that the other day I came home and the house was full of gas because she didn't turn the stove off completely?  Caught her just before she lit a cigarette.  Or that she fell down a few weeks ago and can still barely walk? 

I hope the the California Governor and Republican representatives spend whatever afterlife there is in hell.  Pushing a rock uphill until it rolls back down and flattens them.  Time and time again.  I'm so glad I was in such a hurry to grow up and be responsible.  I'd run for office but as Kevin Costner put it so eloquently, I've lived a colorful life.  I believe that makes me ineligible since I'm not squeaky clean enough for the hypocritical voters.  To say nothing of the press.

Has anybody else noticed that the FDA lies?  Like the proverbial rug.  They don't care how many people die and they certainly don't care if it's induced by pharmaceutical companies or bad food.  Accountability, it's only for the people who weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

Nothing else matters.

Oh well, gotta run.  I just might be able to get food stamps.  For myself.  Isn't that special?  I've been boxed into a corner and there is no guarantee that I'll even have a place to cook the food if I qualify.  I'm really tired of fighting the same battles over and over again.  Getting my Masters was supposed to prevent that.  Instead all it did was saddle me with debt I'm never going to be able to repay.  Life is so wonderful.   I should have quit when I was sixteen.  At least the fridge was always full and the rent was always paid.



Grow Up, Senator!

by: Foiled Goil

Countdown Special Comment to McCain: Senator, grow up!

Other video and transcript at C and L:

Keith Olbermann takes on John McCain and his campaign managers with another powerful Special Comment on Monday’s Countdown. McCain has consistently voted against our troops, but he and his campaign continue to spread lies and distortions about Barack Obama, painting him as unpatriotic and anti-military, while glossing over his own betrayal of our military on the floor of the Senate.

More over, Senator McCain missed 10 of the 14 Senate votes on Iraq up to the middle of last year.

This year, he has missed them **all** — including one to honor the sacrifice of the fallen.

He has voted to table or oppose:

20 million dollars for veteran’s health care facilities.

322 million dollars for safety equipment for our troops in Iraq.

430 million dollars for veterans outpatient care.

One billion dollars in new equipment for the National Guard.

And, in separate votes: One billion, 500 million dollars in additional Veterans’ medical care, to be created by closing tax loopholes.

And one billion, **800** million dollars in additional Veterans’ medical care, to be created by closing tax loopholes.

And yet, Sir, you have the audacity to stand in front of the very Veterans you repeatedly and consistently **sell out**, and claim it is your **opponent** who has put politics first, and country second.

* * * * *

Rick Davis’s argument is, in short, illegitimate.

It is an attempt to pick a fight with the media, over the journalistic equivalent of chewing gum in class.

“This is irresponsible journalism and sadly, indicative of the level of objectivity we have witnessed at NBC News this election cycle,” he writes.

“We are concerned that your News Division is following MSNBC’s lead in abandoning non-partisan coverage of the Presidential race. We would like to request a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss our deep concerns about the news standards and level of objectivity at NBC.”

What Davis is **really** saying here, of course, is that he wants **no** level of objectivity, that the only campaign he wants questioned is Obama, and that “partisan coverage” consists of questioning whether McCain or his campaign support the stage whispers branding Obama as somehow ‘foreign,’ or whether McCain is to be inoculated from all criticism by dint of his military service.

* * * * *

The public sees through this nonsense, Senator — they see through it quickly.

NBC and MSNBC do not have the power to seriously impact an election.

If we **did** — Senator Pat Buchanan would already be serving **with** you.

Besides which, Senator, who in your camp thought it was a good idea to take a shot at NBC and MSNBC… **during the Olympics **on** NBC and MSNBC?!?

**During** the Olympics, Senator McCain, on which you have already run millions of dollars’ worth of McCain Campaign **commercials**… on NBC and MSNBC!?!

Senator, let me wrap this up.

You — and your campaign — need a serious and immediate attitude adjustment.

Despite what you may think, Senator McCain, this is not a coronation.

Despite how you have acted, Senator McCain, you have no automatic excuse to politicize anything you want.

Despite how you have whined, Senator McCain, you have no entitlement to only sycophantic, deceptive, **air-brushed** coverage in the media.

And despite how you have strutted, Senator McCain, you have no God-given right to the Presidency.

Let’s have an adult campaign here, in other words — and I am embarrassed to have to say this to a man who turns 72 at the end of this month — Senator, grow up!

[ 11:51 ]

· · · ·
18 August 2008

Tribute to Blackdogs

by: blackdog

My Woof has feathers and a long coarse coat. But he fools around with the best.

Now I have to lie down and be a good dog, I feel like shit warmed over, in a few days I have my staples removed, my recital of things to say may change as they are removed, but the venom implied will not. It's going to smart a bit for sure.

It's Okay, If You're a Bushevik?

by: Foiled Goil

Only the Busheviks Can Invade

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show on the Russo-Georgia conflict:

[ 4:40 ]

Readjustments in Pipelineistan

Andrew Bacevich, America and the World

· · ·
17 August 2008

Critical Thinking Went To The Dogs

by: Debra

Pot calls the kettle black.  With absolutely no trace of irony. Or shame.

Good luck with that.  If the courts think that committing treason by outing a CIA operative is okay, they won't give a flying fig about politicizing the Justice Department.  This is what happens when everyone kowtows to a leader whose objective was to destabilize the government, remove the protections of the Constitution and install extremely conservative judeges to prevent undoing the changes.  Things are going to get much worse and may never get better in our lifetime.

I personally can't stand Obama, but requiring him to dumb down his rhetoric so the Wal-Mart voter will understand him says more about how far behind America has fallen in critical thinking than it does that Obama is an elitist.  At the rate we're going, in twenty years our Nobel prizes will disappear and all our new doctors will be from foreign lands who go to third world countries to get a little experience.  That would be us.

I was wondering how long that would take.  As if building cities in the desert was a brilliant idea with long term potential during a global warming cycle.  There have been some rumblings recently and now McCain has decided to apply the economic plan for the poor to the water supply in the western states. But in reverse.  Take from those who have and give it to those who don't.  Because in this instance, those who don't, have the money and need the water for their playgrounds.  Next thing you know, they'll suggest taking it from the headwaters and divert it around the states that the Colorado used to run through. 

Hoo boy!  The Gateway Pundit must be desperate if the opinion of a man with questionable sexual history can be seen as more patriotic than a presidential candidate because he got goosebumps when he held his Olympic uniform for the first time.  Wow!  And then he bags on the the commentator as a liberal tool for asking the questions.  It's funny how conveniently El Pundito and his commenters, forget that said commentator was very good at an American sport himself and was considered a hero by those who watched him play.  And unlike the person he was questioning, he doesn't pretend he's an amateur at a sport that he has been getting paid millions for the last 12 years. Dumb de dumb dumb.

Our day has come and gone.  As an acupuncturist trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine I can say that yes, China is on the move and has every intention of dominating the world.  Both financially and power wise.  While Americans are content to think that history is last season's episode arc of Lost, the Chinese take the long view and include centuries of history in their decision making.  Then they plan for centuries in the future.  Unlike Americans whose idea of the future is January 20, 2009 and not much else.  The Chinese laugh at us because we like to wait until we're thirsty before we think about digging a well.  Or as our grandparents used to know it, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Which goes along with a penny saved is a penny earned.  Not borrowed.  From China.


· · ·

Nuclear Waste vs. Pig Shit

by: Konagod

If it were up to me, I'd go with pig shit.

French Mayor Patrick Fauchon of Flamanville, site of a $5.1 billion nuclear reactor under construction, downplays the impact of nuclear waste...

“At the regional level, some towns accept having nuclear plants and others oil refineries,” Mr. Fauchon said. “I don’t ask Bretons if they’re happy about having pigsties and raising pigs, which creates another source of pollution.”

Good Lord, how I wish it was that simplistic.
At a nuclear plant in Tricastin, in Provence, 163 pounds of untreated uranium in liquid leaked from a faulty tank during a draining operation, seeping into the ground and then into rivers that flow into the Rhône.

While the two-year-old Authority for Nuclear Security, an independent body overseeing civilian nuclear activities, called it a category one (out of seven) incident that posed no health risk, the local prefect banned fishing, irrigation, swimming and the use of well water. The ban lasted 14 days, and the government criticized Areva, the nuclear group that is mostly state-owned, for not informing local authorities quickly or adequately. The treatment station, which was old, was being replaced, and remains shut.

Other minor accidents occurred in quick succession: a burst underground pipe at another site north of Tricastin, which leaked a tiny amount of uranium inside plant grounds, and then another accident at Tricastin itself, when 100 employees were contaminated by radioactive particles that escaped from a pipe.

The government, Areva and EDF have played down the accidents.

An aid to Jean-Louis Borloo, the minister of ecology, described it as a "microevent," and went on to suggest we're the ones with the problem because we simply don't understand.
Our system of security is extremely responsive and transparent, and that the media and public opinion needed a training period to understand how the system of nuclear security works in France.

Right. Gotcha.

Crossposted from konagod.

Crises Threats To Democracy

by: Foiled Goil

Dedicated to 1st Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich
US Army, 1st Calvary Division
Killed May 13, 2007

[ 3:07 ]

His father, Andrew Bacevich — Colonel, US Army (ret), professor at Boston University — knows the truth of this war:

Bacevich on the Crises Threatening Our Democracy

Retired Colonel and foreign affairs expert Andrew J. Bacevich on Bill Moyers speaks about the crises that are threatening our democracy.

Profile * Watch * Transcript

August 15, 2008 - Preview from TPM:

[ 6:16 ]

Deployed Troops Donate to Obama 6-1 Over McCain

Jon Soltz:
News from the field makes its way through chow halls, and our men and women read it during the rare moments they get to check the internet. They know that the current course our military is on is not sustainable, and they're looking for a dramatic change. They've felt it for a long time, whether the media wants to acknowledge that or not.

I don't think this has as much to do with Obama and McCain as it does with continuing the current Bush course, or changing it. And our troops, who don't have a whole lot of money to give, are voting right now with their wallets.

So, do our troops hate the troops? No, of course not. Our troops love America, and that's the point.
(Jon Soltz is Co-Founder and Chair of

· · ·
16 August 2008

Truce Signed, Uncertainty Remains

by: Foiled Goil

Big Bad Russkies and Nasty Neocons

Steve Weissman, Perspective:
Now, in response to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili sending troops into the breakaway region of South Ossetia, the Russians have sent bombers, ships, tanks and troops against Georgia. The Europeans then tried to make a clumsy cease-fire work, while the Bush administration throws fuel on the fire by sending in American troops on a "vigorous and ongoing" humanitarian mission "to show to Russia that we can come to the aid of a European ally, and that we can do it at will, whenever and wherever we want."

It's déjà vu all over again, and none have taken greater comfort in the still-escalating crisis than John McCain, his foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann (whose firm lobbied for the Georgians) and the same neoconservatives who pushed Americans to flex our great power muscles in Iraq in even more disgusting ways than Vladimir Putin has done in Georgia. [snip]

As for Washington, it continues to pursue more material interests (especially the multi-billion dollar oil and natural gas pipelines that use Georgia to bypass both Russia and nearby Iran), while American hotheads like John McCain continue to give Saakashvili the impression we will back him even as he baits the Russian bear. The Pentagon supplies and trains the Georgian military, which sent 2,000 troops to fight in Iraq until Washington flew them home after the recent hostilities began. And, now, the Georgians are begging Washington to include them in the new anti-missile system the Bush administration is building in Poland and Czech Republic, a supposedly defensive system that could give the Pentagon a first-strike nuclear capability against Russia.

Needless to say, the Russians see all this much as Americans would view Cuban revolutionary agitators, a Russian anti-missile system and Chinese military trainers in Mexico and Canada.

Russians losing propaganda war

BBC, 15 Aug 2008:
The Bush administration appears to be trying to turn a failed military operation by Georgia into a successful diplomatic operation against Russia.

It is doing so by presenting the Russian actions as aggression and playing down the Georgian attack into South Ossetia on 7 August, which triggered the Russian operation.

Yet the evidence from South Ossetia about that attack indicates that it was extensive and damaging.

Blame game

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford has reported: "Many Ossetians I met both in Tskhinvali and in the main refugee camp in Russia are furious about what has happened to their city.

"They are very clear who they blame: Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili, who sent troops to re-take control of this breakaway region."
BBC Georgia Map

Russia signs up to Georgia truce

BBC, 16 Aug 2008:
Russia has followed Georgia in signing a French-brokered peace plan for ending their nine-day-old conflict.

* No more use of force

* Stop all military actions for good

* Free access to humanitarian aid

* Georgian troops return to their places of permanent deployment

* Russian troops to return to pre-conflict positions

* International talks about future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
But Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the withdrawal of Russian forces from deep inside Georgia depended on extra security measures being put in place.

He said Russian forces were encountering "problems caused by Georgia", and refused to put a timetable on their departure. [snip]

A simmering conflict between Georgia and Russia erupted on 7 August when Georgia launched an assault to retake its Russian-backed separatist province of South Ossetia.

It led to a massive counter-offensive by Russia, with Russia moving deeper into Georgian territory.

What Is Not Being Said About South Ossetia

Russia Signs Georgia Truce, Uncertainty Remains

· · ·
15 August 2008

Jackson Browne Sues McCain, RNC Campaigns

by: Foiled Goil

Jackson Browne files suit against John McCain and Republican National Committee

Dallas Morning News:
Jackson Browne filed suit Thursday against Republican presidential candidate John McCain and the Republican National Committee for what he contends is the unlawful use of his song "Running on Empty" in a campaign ad targeting Democratic candidate Barack Obama. [snip]

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that Mr. McCain and the GOP failed to obtain a license for use of the song in a television commercial, which mocks Mr. Obama for suggesting that the country conserve gas through proper tire inflation.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers suggested Thursday that Mr. Browne may have sued the wrong people. He said the ad in question is not a McCain campaign ad but one put together by the Ohio Republican Party.

Mr. Browne's attorney, Lawrence Y. Iser, told the Los Angeles Times, however, that Mr. Browne had not named the wrong defendant: "We have sued the Ohio Republican Party as well, and we have been informed and believe that McCain and his campaign were well aware of the ad. We are also informed and believe that the ad was broadcast on television in Ohio and Pennsylvania. ... The fact that it appears on the Internet means it also reaches an audience well beyond those states."

In addition to a claim for copyright infringement, the suit alleges that, by using a song famously associated with Mr. Browne, Mr. McCain and the GOP violated the federal Lanham Act by falsely suggesting that Mr. Browne is associated with and endorses Mr. McCain's candidacy. In addition, the suit says the use of Mr. Browne's voice violates Mr. Browne's right of publicity under California law. The suit seeks a permanent injunction as well as unspecified damages. [snip]

Mr. Browne's attorney told the Times that the lawsuit "is not politically motivated. It's a copyright infringement lawsuit, pure and simple, but the fact that Sen. McCain has used this song in a hit piece on Barack Obama is anathema to Jackson."

Mr. Iser also claimed that the McCain campaign "used a John Mellencamp song until he made them stop and he used an ABBA song and a Frankie Valli song – it's ridiculous and it's setting a terrible example," Mr. Iser told the Times. "It's shocking that they don't even attempt to get permission."
"Running On Empty" By Jackson Browne

[ 4:54 ]

· · · ·

New World Order

by: blackdog

Like this is something from the old world. You know, that one that isn't out there anymore. Press your adversary hard enough and you might get a surprise. Maybe you should consider just why you consider this an adversary at all. If this scares any of you, then good. It damn sure should.

BTW, that is Larry Hagman, they couldn't think of his name yesterday on NPR.

I am open to sharp and even stupid comments on this one.

For a more soothing effect I offer this.

There, I'm not a total bastard after all.
14 August 2008

Georgia On My Mind

by: Foiled Goil

McCain gets confused about the conflict in Georgia

Think Progress:
For anyone who thought that stark international aggression was a thing of the past, the last week must have come as a startling wake-up call.

Perhaps McCain is giving himself a wake-up call, since just yesterday he seemed to have thought that “stark international aggression was a thing of the past.” In a press conference with reporters, he said, “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.”

McCain: ‘In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.’

Think Progress:
In recent days, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) rhetoric toward Russia has mostly been overblown bluster, including an accusation that the country wanted to restore its old empire. However, since a cease-fire was announced and his predictions were proven wrong, McCain has backtracked, saying there won’t be a Cold War. To justify his new position, he told reporters in a press conference today:
In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.
As Matt Yglesias writes, “We all recall, of course, John McCain’s outrage when the United States violated this rule back in 2003.”

Daily Show: Invading sovereign countries is fine… unless they’re in Europe

C and L:
Jon Stewart recaps the current situation in Georgia (and the media’s ridiculous coverage of it), and calls out President Bush for having the chutzpah to condemn Russia for invading and disrespecting Georgia’s sovereignty — because only reckless bully countries with no disregard for international standards do that kind of stuff.

Was the War in Georgia a Neocon Election Ploy?

Robert Scheer, TruthDig:
Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser.

Previously, Scheunemann was best known as one of the neoconservatives who engineered the war in Iraq when he was a director of the Project for a New American Century. It was Scheunemann who, after working on the McCain 2000 presidential campaign, headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

There are telltale signs that he played a similar role in the recent Georgia flare-up. How else to explain the folly of his close friend and former employer, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, in ordering an invasion of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, an invasion that clearly was expected to produce a Russian counterreaction? It is inconceivable that Saakashvili would have triggered this dangerous escalation without some assurance from influential Americans he trusted, like Scheunemann, that the United States would have his back. Scheunemann long guided McCain in these matters, even before he was officially running foreign policy for McCain's presidential campaign.

In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia's membership in NATO. A year later, while still on the Georgian payroll, Scheunemann accompanied McCain on a trip to that country, where they met with Saakashvili and supported his bellicose views toward Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Scheunemann is at the center of the neoconservative cabal that has come to dominate the Republican candidate's foreign policy stance in a replay of the run-up to the war against Iraq. These folks are always looking for a foreign enemy on which to base a new Cold War, and with the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime it was Putin's Russia that came increasingly to fit the bill.

Yes, it sounds diabolical, but that may be the most accurate way to assess the designs of the McCain campaign in matters of war and peace. There is every indication that the candidate's demonization of Russian leader Putin is an even grander plan than the previous use of Saddam to fuel American militarism with the fearsome enemy that it desperately needs.

· ·

McLobbying Express

by: Foiled Goil

McCain’s ‘lobbyist problem’ manages to get worse

C and L:
There were a couple of weeks in May that were rather embarrassing for the McCain campaign. The presumptive Republican nominee had developed a reputation as a politician who had little use for high-priced DC lobbyists, but it quickly became obvious that his entire campaign operation was being run by … high-priced DC lobbyists. In one eight-day stretch, McCain had to fire five lobbyists from key campaign roles because of their lobbying clients.

And that was before Randy Scheunemann was added to the mix. He may very well prove to be the most problematic of them all.

Did Scheunemann Engineer McCain’s 2005 Nobel Prize Nomination Of Georgian President For Financial Gain?

Think Progress:
Sen. John McCain’s top foreign policy adviser prepped his boss for an April 17 phone call with the president of Georgia and then helped the presumptive Republican presidential nominee prepare a strong statement of support for the fledgling republic.

The day of the call, a lobbying firm [Orion Strategies] partly owned by the adviser, Randy Scheunemann, signed a $200,000 contract to continue providing strategic advice to the Georgian government in Washington.

Rove defends McCain’s Lobbyist friends by saying Obama has them too… yea, right!

C and L:
Rove tries to say that Obama has plenty of them working for his campaign like McCain, but of course that’s false. We’ve posted many stories on C&L about McCain’s Army of Lobbyists. Here are but a few:

The John McCain Institute of Lobbyists

McCain Campaign Manager’s Alleged Russian Mob Ties

McCain Caught Off-Guard About Campaign’s Lobbyist Problems

McCain makes a distinction between good lobbyists and bad

And of course this big one:
McCain: The Anti-lobbyist just loves lobbyists

Now the Washington Post follows that up with this:
In McCain’s case, the fact that lobbyists are essentially running his presidential campaign — most of them as volunteers — seems to some people to be at odds with his anti-lobbying rhetoric. “He has a closer relationship with lobbyists than he lets on,” said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.


Vacation Stunts

by: Foiled Goil

After Returning From Four Days At The Olympics, Bush Criticizes Congress’s ‘Vacation’

Think Progress:
Bush’s dig at Congress for being on vacation is ironic, as he rivals Ronald Reagan for the title of “presidential vacation-time record holder.” Some highlights of Bush’s time away from the office:
– Attended 95 sports-related events.

– Made 74 trips to his Crawford ranch, for a total of 466 days.

– Made 142 trips to Camp David, for a total of 450 days.

– Attended 327 fundraising events for Republican candidates and causes.
While congressional conservatives held political stunts on the House floor, Bush was kicking back at the Olympics.

Bush heads to Crawford for two weeks after slamming Congress for going on ‘vacation.’

Think Progress:
Yesterday, President Bush criticized Congress for taking a “five-week vacation” without voting on offshore oil drilling, despite the fact that he spent this week at the Olympics (while Russia and Georgia went to war). Today, Dana Perino announced that after a “day or two” delay because of the war, Bush will spend two weeks at his ranch in Crawford, TX:
President Bush is scheduled to leave tomorrow for Crawford, but he is going to delay his departure for a day or two.
Vacation time during crises is a common feature of the Bush presidency.

DeMint on possible gov’t shutdown: I think people will say ‘the heck with government, we need energy.’

Think Progress:
House Republicans are threatening a “government shutdown if the Democratic-led Congress doesn’t vote to lift a moratorium on new offshore oil drilling.” Just as he did in 1995, Newt Gingrich is leading the push for a government shutdown. Today, Fox News asked Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), “Do you think people would go for that?” DeMint responded:

I think the American people are mad enough that they would say, ‘the heck with government, we need energy.’ And if the Democrats are crazy enough to attach a ban on drilling to the end-of-the-year spending bills, then they’re the ones, I think, that are gonna get the blame for closing the government down.
As a Center for American Progress Action Fund report notes, the same House conservatives who are stumping for oil on the floor are swimming in oil contributions. Can oil money buy a government shutdown? Stay tuned.

Off-Shore Leasing Ban Dead in the Water?

Daily Kos:
Republicans love to wear their serious mask when they tell everyone how concerned they are about families being hurt by high oil prices. For more than a quarter century, with the assistance of some equally myopic Democrats, they've maintained an energy policy that has meant gung-ho support of Middle East dictators (brought to power by a coup d'etat when necessary), generated wars, contributed to global warming, coddled voracious energy corporations, and, most recently, left auto-dependent Americans gasping as they watched the pump numbers blur past while filling their tanks.

Behind the mask, they're secretly smiling. Because in a year when they've got precious little with which to woo voters, the steep rise in oil prices has given them one thing with which to hammer the Democrats, a wish come true: more drilling on off-shore taxpayer land. Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer nails it as the "drillusion." That it is. [snip]

Unhampered by its few internal dissenters, and despite ample evidence proving otherwise, the bogus GOP line has it that drilling for oil in previously protected areas of the outer continental shelf will reduce gasoline prices and lead to energy independence. So, drill, drill, drill is the chant, another example of the framing that the GOP has perfected over the decades. [snip]
"If they want to shut down the government, denying millions of senior citizens their Social Security checks, in order to side with big oil companies, then they should go right ahead," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said today. "But as Speaker Gingrich found out, the entire Republican Party will pay a terrible price in November for such a silly and desperate stunt."
The problem is that Democratic defections over oil leasing might make it difficult to get the ban renewal attached to the appropriations bill in the first place. [snip]

The smart money says we're headed for another lame energy policy, not a far-sighted, planet-friendly, grandchildren-friendly, well-integrated, comprehensive package of proposals but a mish-mash of contradictory elements that nudges us into a different lane of the disastrous road we've been hurtling down since we took our first sip of Saudi crude six decades ago.

· · ·

John's Affair: IOKIYAR Standards

by: Foiled Goil

Catching the Wrong John: When Are the Media Going to Talk about John McCain's Infidelity?

If John Edwards' infidelity is news, and he's not a candidate for anything, why isn't John McCain's?

Hannity Pwns himself over John McCain’s own affair. Double standard: Eruption

C and L:
Nothing John McCain did dishonestly in his life counts because he was a POW. So says Sean Hannity after he got caught attacking John Edwards and trying to play the average Amercian guy who just doesn’t understand how Edwards could have cheated on his wife and then lied about it. ”Why should we trust you?” SH says. Colmes attacked Hannity over this as the two argued.
Hannity: I’m not getting this. Explain to me and I’m wondering if you can’t keep the promise to your family, can’t keep your promise to your wife, you’re having an affair, you’re lying about the affair repeatedly, why should the American people trust you when you say you’re not going to lie to them? Why should we trust you?

Colmes: And by the way, that’s a great question Sean asks and so Amanda, if that’s true and you can’t trust somebody who had an affair. How can we trust John McCain to be President of the United States—he cheated on by his own admission on his first wife, he didn’t keep his martial vows, he didn’t keep his pledge to his first family…

Hannity: Thirty years ago after five and a half years of being a POW

Colmes: Excuse me Sean. You’ve had your chance to speak, I’m up. John McCain cheated on his wife, right. Amanda? So how do we trust John McCain? He cheated on his wife, why do you have a double standard and John McCain’s running for President? John Edwards is not. John McCain’s wife was in a car accident. John McCain’s running for President, what about his affair?

(H) After five and a half years in a POW camp.

(C) That has nothing to do with it. So it’s OK to have an affair on his wife.
So if life deals you some hard knocks anything is alright in Hannity’s book.

The wingnut mentality is a wonder to behold, no?

· ·
13 August 2008

McCain McLobbyists

by: Foiled Goil

Watchdog group spotlights McCain lobbyists

A campaign finance watchdog group that has been going after John McCain's campaign and its lobbyist connections reported this morning that his staffers, advisers, and top fund-raisers have received nearly $1 billion from domestic lobbying clients over the past decade.

Campaign Money Watch, analyzing data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, also said that employees and political action committees of the clients have donated nearly $12 million to McCain's campaigns over the years.

“The McCain campaign relies on big money lobbyists, and they’ll rely on him,” David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch, said in a statement. [snip]

The group launched a website today to focus more attention on McCain's lobbyists. “How can John McCain say he’ll reduce the influence of special interests in Washington, when he’s so fully dependent on lobbyists and their clients to finance his campaign?” Donnelly asked. “All candidates need to raise money, but is this exemplary of a candidate who claims he’ll tackle the special interests?”

"Puppet Masters" [ :55 ]

McCain's Lobbyists Raked In $1 Billion From U.S. Clients, Study Says


The non-partisan group Campaign Money Watch has come up with another startling figure for those who follow the presidential money chase.

According to an analysis performed by the group, McCain's top fundraisers and aides have collected nearly $1 billion in fees from U.S. companies in the past decade -- specifically, $930,949,819. Using numbers provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, the group also found that officials of those very same companies have given nearly $12 million to McCain's presidential campaign, so far.

"Exxon John" [ 1:13 ]

12 August 2008

Song of the Dragon

by: Dark Wraith

Lin Miaoke and her handler

China has suffered a minor embarrassment with the revelation that a comely little nine-year-old girl by the name of Lin Miaoke, who sang "Ode to the Motherland" at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing, actually lip-synched her way through the number. The actual singer, a seven-year-old girl by the name of Yang Peiyi, was deemed too unattractive to be seen by a global audience of perhaps hundreds of millions.

The large, cautionary tale enveloping this story will be lost, perhaps most significantly upon the free-trade globalists. The lesson is this: China will do whatever it must to present to the world what it thinks that world wants to see.

For years, American free-trade globalists have believed—in fact, they are compelled by their own, self-contained, self-validating trade theory to believe—that so-called "market reforms" the Chinese government was enacting would lead to a growing middle class that would then demand greater political and social freedom. Even as the Chinese year after year pegged the exchange rate of their currency against the U.S. dollar, thereby making their imports to the U.S. outrageously underpriced and our exports to China symmetrically overpriced, the globalists were convinced that it would all come to a good end.

The United States lost millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in industrial capital, all in the name of "free trade" with a nation run by classic mercantilists, who will say whatever they must to achieve their goals, which most decidedly do not include political and intellectual freedom for their own people, much less a better world for anyone other than the sublimely smiling brutes at the top of their corrupt, communist government.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama have as their chief economic advisers the same näive globalists who have brought this nation so much harm in the name of "free trade," "open markets," and "capitalism."

McCain will pursue the same international economic policies as his predecessors because he is inextricably in the thrall of multi-national corporatists who benefit from this degradation of the United States. Yes, he will trade our nation's economic sovereignty for the support of those who pay his way.

Barack Obama will pursue the same international policies as his predecessors because he is just plain stupid. Yes, he is a mental midget who suckers people with vacuous, meaningless, eerily messianic rhetoric about "Yes, we can!" without even the slightest clue about how to shepherd a nation away from the disastrous economic course upon which it is unrelentingly bearing.

The next time you see the face of that pretty little girl who lip-synched that song, let the lesson of the less attractive child in the shadows be on your mind: behind the façade of beautiful and worldly China is a fierce, merciless dragon that has already struck deep into the heart of our nation as our leaders sat back in mesmerized satisfaction at the alluring song of global free trade, even as we bled millions of jobs, hundreds of billions of dollars of American industrial capital, and, ultimately, control over the destiny of our own nation.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · ·

Tire guage

by: blackdog

I guess that is a device that gauges a tire, to determine whether it may be a pirelli, goodyear or whatever. Gawd forbid an underinflated firestone on a ford explorer.

I remember once someone referring to a temperature gauge, some would think of a thermometer. I guess that one is to determine how much bottled water you must ingest to avoid having to act like one of them, remember, you're either with us or a'gin us, and we have numerous gauges to tell the difference. And don't argue with me, this may hurt you more than me.

Reality gauge. Some would call this a reality check, but reality is a strange thing. It tends to shift around and avoid real detection. Most of us have this one built in, but the owner's manual was lost in the great flood and now we are stuck with the "huh?' mantra.

Hamburger beef gauge. This one is proposed to exist in the 24th century but since in the early 21st century there is a preponderance of roadkill and other sources of things that look and even taste like beef, who knows? This device takes a small bite out of a burger and reports dutifully to the D of Ag about whatever you might be eating at this time. Don't worry too much, beef, it's for dinner.

Can I go out on the porch and pee gauge. This was developed by Dr. I. P. Freely and is actually a sheet of absorbent paper that reacts to the pH of your pee, if acidic, it is psychedelic, if basic it is right wing conservative, which means that you have to study it to find the image of the christ that is most definitely there.

Which Georgia are we talking about gauge. This is a device that allows you to separate a really bad trip in the usa in a canoe from one in the Caucasian regions. Can you make noise like a pig? The gauge will register it.

Since I am running out of gas (ha!) the last, and most important gauge of all is, drum roll please, the when to shut up and get to fucking bed gauge. This one was invented by me in a more devious moment, it works by noticing head movements. When they get chaotic, as noticed by a motion sensor stuck up your nether region it reports to the NSA that you are prime material for inducement to one of the new lodges built with excess taxpayer money by the DHS for the pleasure of those that won't get to bed on time.

Makes me almost proud to be un amirikan. That's McSame speak.

Someone really ought to take the time to explain to the average dumbass just what a tire gauge does.


by: Foiled Goil

Mukasey: No prosecutions in Justice hiring scandal

Former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Tuesday.

Appeals court upholds CIA leak lawsuit dismissal

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday dismissed former CIA analyst Valerie Plame's lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney and several former Bush administration officials for disclosing her identity to the public. [snip]

The court ruled Cheney and the others were acting within their official capacity when they revealed Plame's identity to reporters.

Government employees who engage in questionable acts, such as abusing prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay facility or engaging in defamatory speech, cannot be held individually liable if they are carrying out official duties, the court said.

· · ·
11 August 2008

For Sak'art'velo

by: Dark Wraith

Republic of Georgia Freedom Victory

· · · · ·

I'm In Serious Trouble

by: Debra

I'm two months behind on my rent and just received the three day notice. I do not have the $1k or the ability to produce it in the next three days. The state of California owes me a month and half's worth of pay, in two days it will be two months they owe me, it's almost enough to make me laugh. They are making me wait and then only paying in two week increments, each starting after the previous check is paid. Something tells me that I will never get caught up and paid on a regular schedule.

I have phone calls out to different agencies but it doesn't look like there is going to be help available in time and I don't know who to go to for help. I can try and sell my car on Craigslist but then I would have no way to get mom to the doctor or to buy food. Those are problems I can deal with later, but I have nowhere to take mom if we become homeless. Now that I'm in full panic mode I can barely think.

Does anybody have any suggestions?
10 August 2008

R.I.P. Isaac Hayes

by: Foiled Goil

Pioneering musician Isaac Hayes dead at 65


Isaac Hayes, the baldheaded, baritone-voiced soul crooner who laid the groundwork for disco and whose “Theme From Shaft” won both Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday afternoon after he collapsed near a treadmill, authorities said. He was 65.

[ 4:38 ]

· ·

Drilling That Fancy New Slogan

by: Foiled Goil

Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now!

Yes! Do that:

[ 1:12 ]

· · ·
09 August 2008

Mahmoud Darwish Is Dead

by: Dark Wraith

Mahmoud DarwishPalestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has died at the age of 67. Perhaps more than any other Arab poet, Darwish gave poetic expression to the suffering of the Palestinians, but his works reached far beyond the pain of his own people to embrace the unheard cries of all who are oppressed in their own lands and in their own hearts. The following poem, "A State of Siege," is from his most recent book of the same title; it is about the siege of Ramallah, which he experienced first-hand:

A woman asked the cloud: please enfold my loved one

My clothes are soaked with his blood

If you shall not be rain, my love

Be trees

Saturated with fertility, be trees

And if you shall not be trees, my love

Be a stone

Saturated with humidity, be a stone

And if you shall not be a stone, my love

Be a moon

In the loved one’s dream, be a moon

So said a woman to her son

In his funeral...

The Dark Wraith encourages readers to explore more of the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish.

· · · · ·

The Massage and a Red Wine Vinegar Starter Kit

by: Konagod

I scheduled some time at 1:00 this afternoon with Seventh Sister for a massage and body work. Starting a new job, even one working from home, brings along some stress and other baggage and I needed to get that worked out. The last work I had done was in April I think, and that was prior to me starting the 9 1/2 week gig downtown at StressCity. And the first week or so at my home-based job wasn't without some intensity. So I needed some work done.

I've been a fanatic about massages since I worked in Santa Monica. I'd try to schedule time at the Burke-Williams Spa once or twice a year and get myself worked over. I never minded getting naked under a sheet and letting a stranger massage me because I knew I'd probably never see the person again anyway unless I went back a year later and happened to have the same masseuse.

You see, I'm a little self-conscious about human contact. Not sure why. It took years for me to get comfortable just hugging a friend. When I was a teen, one of my classmates was commenting about how pale I was and as she tried to put her arm next to mine to compare, I recoiled as if she was going to bite. So yeah, getting to the hugging phase was a big jump for me.

That being said, I'm not as bad as txrad. He was supposed to go with me today and get a massage. It was initially his idea, but that was under the influence of alcohol a couple of weeks ago.

Whenever I think of txrad getting a massage, I think of Alvy Singer in Annie Hall.
I never shower in a public place, 'cause I don't like to get naked in front of another man...I don't like to show my body to a man of my gender.

I knew it! It wasn't because txrad was concerned about our finances; he had about $1800 in dental work done yesterday, uninsured. txrad doesn't like to show his body to anyone of any gender! And I'm not crazy about the idea either, but a massage is like going to the doctor. You have to cast aside most of your modest proclivities and let them do their work.

I really like to focus on nothing but my breathing while getting a massage. I try to become a rag doll and let them fold me into whatever origami shape will make me feel better afterward. I don't think I've ever experienced pain or discomfort while being massaged and today was no exception. Perhaps if I were focused on the work being done I might think, "oh, that was intense," but by maintaining my concentration on my breathing, the work becomes something happening in the background, and it's all good.

Needless to say, when I got home, txrad asked me how it went. I told him it was wonderful. I felt intoxicated immediately after the massage. My brain had turned to mush and I could barely initiate sensible speech.

On the drive home I felt as if I were out of my own body, light as the wind, and just going with the flow.

txrad asked, "did she make you get undressed?"

At this point I knew where this was going. She didn't MAKE me get undressed but I was asked to take off my clothes and get under the sheet. Part of me was hoping she wouldn't because this was not an anonymous masseuse in Santa Monica, but a friend and fellow-blogger. But the wiser part of me knew I had to get with the program because if I wanted an effective massage, I couldn't allow my modesty to interfere, not could I focus on it or stress about it during the massage. That would defeat the purpose.

So I answered his question. "Yes, she did. And I had some major knots in my butt cheeks."

I sometimes like to get txrad wound up. But seriously, I am amazed at how all the body parts and problems are tied together. I've often had problems at the base of my spine and just below it... my "butt bone" as I call it. But I don't think I've ever thought of my ass cheeks as being muscle tied in with everything else. A deep butt cheek massage is something you can feel in your neck, legs and feet. And you should.

I don't like getting a massage on a full stomach so I didn't each lunch until mid-afternoon. On my way home I stopped at Schlotzskys and I was starving. Then I ran over to Home Depot because I've been craving a viewing of floor tiles for the kitchen.

As I was getting out of the car I noticed my shorts were unzipped. Oops. At least I was wearing underwear today. So much for modesty.

txrad: that's because you walk around the house all the time with your pants unzipped.

konagod: no, it's because my brain turned to mush and I was trying to gather all my belongings.

txrad: you could be stopped somewhere and get into trouble. there are people who get arrested for that.

konagod: i'd say i just had a massage and was out of my mind. oops, i forgot to put on underwear and i forgot to zip my pants. what can i say, i'm forgetful. pot does that.

Sounds like a good excuse. Anyway, at this point you're probably wondering where the red wine vinegar comes into play.

Seventh Sister said she had something she wanted to give me before I leave. So I got this red wine vinegar starter kit. I just need to sterilize the big jar on the left, then dump the red wine from the jar on the right into it, add some of my own red wine, and stash away for 90 days, with a towel fastened to the top to allow the contents to breathe.

Oh, and I also scored some homemade soap, and some clippings from a plant which I can start.

Not a bad haul for getting healed. I always think of the bucks spent for a massage as being a splurge. Far from it.

Crossposted from konagod

Dear John

by: Debra

What is it with politicians and their inability to keep their zippers closed?  After Gary Hart, how could you be so dumb?   I guess now we know why you dropped out of the presidential race so early.  Unless you are a Republican like McCain or Gingrich, being outed will derail a campaign.   You were probably hoping that the press wouldn't find out since they had proved incapable of researching the lies that led us into a war that you have admitted was wrong..  Surprise!  If you could admit you made a mistake about a vote that cost people their lives, why not admit you had messed up before it became a campaign issue?  For another candidate.

Along with most other people on the planet, let me express my disgust and displeasure at your actions and the sorrow it is causing the innocent members of your family.  As I'm sure you are well aware by now, you should be ashamed of yourself.   Did you think you were a Republican and could get away with it?

I know that Mark Foley's inappropriate behavior with male pages was glossed over and forgotten, that David Vitter's predilection for prostitutes and diapers has been forgiven and forgotten, and that Larry Craig's wide stance is considered more humorous than sexual, but you of all people should have known better.  The media loves nothing more than to run with a sex story, especially one that involves a candidate with expensive haircuts.  It saves them the hassle of reporting on stories that affect the country such as the Saddam forgery letter.  Or how bad the economy really is.

You were my preferred candidate, I thought the rest were pale imitations of a man with principles.  I hate when I'm proved wrong.  So, in the words of my friend L, don't let the doorknob hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.



Hat tip to one of the best

by: blackdog

Paul Newman says he will die at home
August 09, 2008 12:00am
PAUL Newman has finished chemotherapy and has told his family he wants to die at home.
The Oscar-winning actor was pictured being pushed from a New York cancer hospital in a wheelchair.
Yesterday, it was reported in America that Newman, 83, had only weeks to live and had returned home to his wife, Joanne Woodward.
"Paul didn't want to die in the hospital," a source said. "Joanne and his daughters are beside themselves with grief."
The source, described as a close family friend, said that the star had spent the past few weeks getting his affairs in order.,21985,24149703...

This guy is great.

08 August 2008

"Watch This Drive"

by: Foiled Goil

McCain Says He’d End His Vacation From Congress To ‘Drill Here, Drill Now’

Brad, Think Progress:

In eastern Pennsylvania yesterday [Aug. 4, 2008], Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repeatedly argued, “We need to drill here and we need to drill now.” His invocation of the slogan of Newt Gingrich’s right-wing 527 corporation, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), was coupled with the following call for Congress to “come back to town and come back to work”:
Congress should come back into session, and I’m willing to come off the campaign trail.
McCain’s call for action on behalf of Big Oil and right-wing billionaires hardly jibes with his record of absenteeism on major votes. In fact, McCain has been on the campaign trail and fundraising circuit a tremendous amount this session, missing far more votes than any other member of Congress. His vacation from his elected duty has included some of the most important legislation considered by Congress: [snip]

Voteskipper McCain shirked votes supporting renewable tax credits four times this session, letting them be filibustered every time. Twice the bill was blocked by a single vote. In the past month alone, he missed every single energy vote brought to the floor. Sen. McCain stayed on the campaign trail while his conservative allies filibustered each proposal — on energy speculation, low-income heating bills, and renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives — and he drilled for cash from the oil industry.

He's Baaaack

Still the face of the House GOP, Newt arrives to save the day:
He led Republicans into government shutdowns in the 1990s, and now, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich indicates his party is seriously considering another shutdown threat to force a vote on offshore oil drilling in September....

Gingrich did attract more camera crews, and he used the opportunity to point to what may be the GOP's next strategy: If Democrats refuse to hold a separate vote on oil drilling, Republicans could try to block the votes needed to keep government running past September 30.
Because that worked so well for them the last time they tried it. Of course, this time they've got a seriously unpopular President in office, but this time he's actually, you know, one of them. Except that even the Bush White House is smart enough to know this is a loser of a cause, and has refused to engage in the theatrics by rejecting calling for a special session of Congress over the issue.

GOP online revolution - now with links!

Kagro X:
So did you hear the one about how the House Republicans are using the latest online tools to spread the word about their hippie sit-in?

And a whole bunch of Republican Members left their mom's basements and their Cheetos behind, put on their suits, and came out to play Model Congress again this week. Because, well, they don't actually have any other jobs.

So there they were, busting their humps for their Sugar Daddies in the oil biz, but noticeably absent from the barricades was Republican Leader, Melanin Johnny Boehner.

Where was Boehner while his troops were Tweeting, streaming, blogging, IMing, and uploading?

For adjournment, before being against it

Ahh, the wingnutosphere's favorite wingnut, John Shadegg, is wasting campaign time by playing make-believe Congress in Washington D.C. [...]

So these Republicans are looking for any excuse to stay in D.C. with their oil industry lobbyist pals rather than go home and face their constituents. Yet they were singing a different tune not too long ago.

Shadegg, in fact, joined many of his Republican colleagues to try and adjourn the House on June 24.


In total, 12 of the 25 Republicans at their lobbyist-fueled DC party were hypocritical enough to have supported that early adjournment, while now crying about the House's regularly scheduled adjournment. [snip]

Hence, while Boehner plays golf back home in Ohio during this Republican "revolt", Shadegg is practicing his "leadership" chops.

Rove Baselessly Claims EIA Agrees That Oil Drilling ‘Would Bring Down Prices’

Ben, Think Progress:
...Karl Rove showed up on Hannity & Colmes to discuss the political topic du jour: gas prices and energy policy.

Co-host Alan Colmes noted that conservatives like Rove just want to drill for more oil with the “hope that seven years from now we bring down the price which Bush’s Energy Department says it wouldn’t do.” Rove then became agitated, saying to Colmes: “You’re wrong on your facts”: [ 0:31 ] [snip]

But it's actually Rove who is wrong — or misleading at best. The group Rove cites to back up his “facts” — the Energy Information Administration — says that new drilling won’t start until 2018, and won’t ever have much impact on oil prices.

The EIA’s assessment assessment of offshore drilling:
For the lower 48 OCS [Outer Continental Shelf], annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher—2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.
The EIA’s assessment of drilling in the Arctic Refuge in Alaska:
ANWR oil production is not projected to have a large impact on world oil prices. […] Assuming that world oil markets continue to work as they do today, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could neutralize any potential price impact of ANWR oil production by reducing its oil exports by an equal amount.

If We Drill in the U.S., We Don't Get the Oil

The oil that comes from offshore drilling will belong to the multinational firm, like Exxon-Mobil and will go to world markets, not us.

By Cenk Uygur, Huffington Post:
One thing has been driving me crazy about this drilling debate -- everyone seems to assume that if we drill for oil in the US, that we will get the oil. And hence, we won't be dependent on foreign oil anymore. But we won't get anything, Exxon-Mobil will.

The oil that comes from that drilling will not be United States property (Republicans aren't suggesting we nationalize the oil companies, are they?). It will be the property of whichever oil company got the rights to that contract. They can then sell it to whoever they like -- and they will. They will sell it on the world market, so the Chinese will have just as much access to the oil that comes out of the coast of Florida as we will.

The Democrats have done a decent job of beating back the argument that this will effect prices in the short run, or even in the long run. But no one has addressed the point above. The Republicans make it seem like we won't be dependent on foreign oil -- and that prices will go down in the US -- if we have our own oil. But it won't be ours. And it will be sold on the world market, so its effect on global oil prices will be even smaller.

When we ask the question of whether there should be drilling off the coast of Florida or in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we should ask the question this way -- would you be comfortable with the Chinese or the Germans or Russians or the Saudis drilling on American land? Because for all intents and purposes, they will be.

Large multi-national firms like Exxon-Mobil are not US property. They sell to the world and their allegiance is to corporate profits. So, when they drill, they drill for the whole world, not just us. Some might find that heart-warming, but it certainly has nothing to do with the US having more oil or lower prices.

Scheunemann Helped U.S. Firm Win Georgian Energy Deals While Lobbying For Georgia’s NATO Membership

Ben, Think Progress:
Earlier today, Russia sent troops into a breakaway region of Georgia “after Georgian troops sought to enter the capital of the pro-Russian enclave.” As Matt Duss noted at the Wonk Room, the invasion “raises some questions about how a McCain administration might deal with a crisis like this,” particularly because his top foreign policy adviser — Randy Scheunemann — has spent a number of years lobbying on behalf of Georgia and has publicly taken strong pro-Georgia, anti-Russia positions.
Randy Scheunemann is a registered representative of the Government of Georgia in the United States. Accordingly, Mr. Scheunemann has developed a very close relationship with President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and many senior Georgian officials. The WSE team has also begun negotiating possible deals with the Georgian state-run oil company, National Oil Company of Georgia, to assist in the development of Georgia’s hydrocarbon industry.
So what then does Scheunemann do on Georgia’s behalf? He tries to get U.S. politicians on-board with Georgia’s full membership into NATO. In fact, he has had success with at least one Member of Congress, Sen. John McCain:
In 2005, Mr. Scheunemann asked Sen. McCain to introduce a Senate resolution expressing support for peace in the Russia-influenced region of South Ossetia that wants to break away from Georgia, the records show. […] The Senate approved Sen. McCain’s resolution in December 2005.

Sen. McCain has endorsed Georgia’s goal of entering NATO, a matter for which the country hired Mr. Scheunemann to lobby. In 2006, Sen. McCain gave a speech at the Munich Conference on Security in Germany in which he said Georgia should enter NATO.
Helping a U.S. energy firm secure lucrative contracts with the Georgian government while lobbying American politicians for the former Soviet Republic’s NATO membership?

Know-Nothing Politics

Paul Krugman:
So the G.O.P. has found its issue for the 2008 election. For the next three months the party plans to keep chanting: “Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Four legs good, two legs bad!” O.K., I added that last part.

And the debate on energy policy has helped me find the words for something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid. [snip]

Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.

What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.” [snip]

But the state of the energy debate shows that Republicans, despite Mr. Bush’s plunge into record unpopularity and their defeat in 2006, still think that know-nothing politics works. And they may be right. [snip]

In any case, remember this the next time someone calls for an end to partisanship, for working together to solve the country’s problems. It’s not going to happen — not as long as one of America’s two great parties believes that when it comes to politics, stupidity is the best policy.

John Edwards, Man Slut

by: Dark Wraith

John EdwardsIn an interview with ABC News, former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has admitted that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter, who had been hired by as a videographer for his campaign despite her lack of experience in the field. Little information prior to 2006 is publicly available about her, although a first-person narrative by a character based upon her in a novel by her boyfriend at the time paints her as "an ostensibly jaded, cocaine-addled, sexually voracious" young woman; but Hunter, herself, claims subsequent 'spiritual quests' of an unspecified nature led her away from previous lifestyle choices.

Edwards, a former United States Senator from North Carolina, had previously characterized as "false" the allegations that he had engaged in an extramarital relationship with Hunter.

First reported last year, rumors of Edwards' extramarital affair were sourced to allies at the National Enquirer of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Edwards denied the allegations and his staff removed all references to Hunter from the his campaign Website. More rumors surfaced several weeks ago when the National Enquirer reported that Edwards and Hunter had been seen together at the Beverly Hilton, adding further fuel to stories that Edwards is the father of Rielle Hunter's illegitimate child, speculation that was disputed by Edwards' long-time friend, Andrew Young, who claimed the child was his.

John Edwards' campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination came to an end earlier this year after lackluster showings in early primaries. Prior to stepping away from the campaign trail, he and his wife, Elizabeth, had appeared together at an outdoor press conference to disclose that her breast cancer, which had been in remission since surgery in 2004, had returned in the form of what doctors believed were metastatic cancerous masses in bone and lung tissue.

John and Elizabeth Edwards have three children, Jack, age 7, Emma Claire, age 9, and, Cate, who currently attends Harvard Law School. A fourth child, Wade, was killed in a car accident in 1996.

No official statement has been issued by Elizabeth Edwards concerning her husband's admission of infidelity.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · ·
07 August 2008

The Sublime Nature of Stupidity

by: blackdog

In the past, and most likely into the future I have been one to say that being stupid takes no skill at all, it comes easily. Automatic behavior lends itself to making mistakes of all kinds, especially when you really are not paying attention to the little signs and flags that your consciousness is attempting to make plain to you.

This morning I had an appointment with the docs over at UAMS, thinking that they would remove my staples so I headed to the shower with the intent of sprucing up some for the lovely event to take place, I had this cool tube of pale green stuff that worked as a shampoo and wash that I had taken home from the hospital, and I was going to use it.

So I get the shower going, step in and lather up my head with my normal shampoo, closing my eyes and just enjoying the sensations so far. Then I grabbed the tube and with an unpleasant noise squirted a large dollop of material in my left hand.

Now this is where the first flags flew, something was not kosher at all, but like the average idiot I spread it through both hands and began to apply it all over me, stopping once to fill my hand with more. About then I realized that there was no lather at all, and the feeling was not soapyness, but of some thick creame.

By now I had spread this stuff all over me, when in the shower I don't fool around, I took a chance and opened my eyes, got an immediate eye burn from the real shampoo and saw that I had just spread a large amount of Aloe Vera Skin Conditioner all over me, and this shit don't wash off in water.

I spent the next 20 minutes or so scraping as much of this crap off as I could, amazing stuff when used in the proper fashion, I had at least a months worth on me now.

Needless to say that my hide now is approaching a baby butt in texture and should remain there for a week or more. I have taken that tube of goo and replaced it where I cannot get it into the shower again.

Then off to the the appointment and they don't want to remove my staples for another two weeks. Guess I get to practice some more 2, 3, and 4 letter words to describe my feelings when they do come out.

But, sometimes being a dumbass has it's perks.

I shouldn't be able to beat this one for a few days.

Indict, Impeach, Imprison

by: Debra

Sounds good to me.  Riddle me this.  If you've lied about WMDs, lied about al-Qaeda involvement, lied about outing a CIA officer, why should I believe you when you say that you didn't forge documents to start a war under false pretenses?

From the nucking futz department. The crew without a clue is putting every American outside the country a moving target. For torture.

I've been a poker player for about 18 years and absolutely loved the game until Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker with a 7-2 offsuit.  It was a disaster for the game.  Now everyone and his brother wants to play poker and go all in on almost every hand, even if they're playing $3-$6..  Odds don't matter, logic doesn't matter, position doesn't matter.  A big stack you can bully someone with does.  The San Jose card clubs are in a word, deficient.   From the food to the lack of services.  There are so many rules and regulations, they can't even replace your drink if the floorman knocks it over.  You don't even get a deck of cards when you make a Royal Flush.  Nothing, nada, not even a picture.  If they would let us have jackpots, bring back the masseuse while playing, anything, and if I had money to play I wouldn't mind the proposed tax hike in the card rooms to save city services.  But what do the players get in return?  Higher table fees that don't go into the pot, which will mean less players per hand.  49 tables sounds nice, but shouldn't there be some money in the pot to fight over?  Otherwise, what's the point?

Oh joy, another taser death.  Aided and abetted by police brutality.  I guess he was supposed to yell fire instead.  With the usual cover-up.  The Swissvale police also don't seem to understand the First Amendment.  Specifically the part that deals with peaceful assembly.  I guess they think that since they aren't Congress, the Amendment doesn't apply.  To people without badges.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Oysters get herpes?

At the usual place.

· ·

Waking Up To Reality

by: Debra

Yesterday Pravda the New York Times, the wonderful paper that gave us Judith Miller and forgot to cover the facts that led us in to an illegal and devastating war, had an editorial about the Hamdan monkey trial
It is impossible, in any case, to judge the evidence against Mr. Hamdan because of the deeply flawed nature of this trial — the blueprint for which was the Military Commissions Act of 2006, one of the worst bits of lawmaking in American history.
At least when John Adams was defending the British soldiers of the Boston Massacre he had a snowball's chance in Hades to win and was able to use something called proof so that justice could be served.  Such liberties are not encouraged by the diaper wearing crowd that purports to be the "daddy" party (And we found out what they meant by that, didn't we Misters Craig, Vitter and Foley?)are currently destroying everything that our Founding Fathers held dear.  The truth is no longer self evident.  Nor are we created equal, especially if you believe in the wrong maker, have brown skin or wear a turban and a beard.

For seven years Bush and his cronies have ridden unbridled through the Constitution, laying waste wherever they went.  From the Patriot Act forward they have done nothing but seek more and more power with less oversight than almost any junta in history.  Currently Bush is in China blowing smoke out his ass by chiding them gently (since we need their money to survive) for human rights violations.  Cynical people might consider this more than slightly oxymoronic once one remembers Katrina, the destroyed country of Iraq, spying on American citizens at will before 9/11, outing CIA operatives for revenge, the highest prison incarceration rate in the world, his gleeful enforcement of the death penalty while Governor of Texas and since becoming President bringing death penalty cases in states that don't have the death penalty, and then because it continues to be bad, New Orleans.  Yes, our bobble head in chief is giving advice in humanity.  As if he knew what it was.

A dire assessment, but unless he quits pandering to the right, probably accurate. Then we'll end up with McCain and even less of the Constitution will apply to the average American, who isn't going to be what they think it is.

Majority rules.  But what happens if the majority changes? It's like the old saying.  Be kind to your kids, they're going to pick your retirement home someday.


· ·

The McCain Plan: Homer Simpson without the Donut

by: Missouri Mule

(More reasons why Greg Palast is the only man I ever really loved)

By Greg Palast
[Thursday, August 7, 2008. North Shore, Long Island]

I’m guessing it was excessive exposure to either radiation or George Bush, but Senator John McCain’s comments from inside a nuclear power plant in Michigan are so cracked-brained that I fear some loose gamma rays are doing to McCain’s gray matter what they did to Homer Simpson’s.

On Tuesday, the presumptive Republican candidate descended into the colon of a nuke to declare we need to build 45 new nuclear plants - that this is the way out of our energy crisis. Nuclear power, declared the senator, is a “safe, efficient [and] inexpensive” alternative to oil.

Really? We can argue all day about whether nuclear plants are safe (they aren’t –period). But there can be no argument whatsoever that these giant radioactive tea-kettles are breathtakingly expensive.

Nuclear plants are cheap until you actually try to build one. Not one of the last 49 nuclear plants cost less than $2 billion apiece. I’m looking down the road at the remainders of the Shoreham nuclear plant which took nearly 20 years to build at a cost of $8 billion – or close to $7,000 per customer it was supposed to supply. When I say “supposed to,” it was closed for safety reasons after operating just one single day.

We’re told that the new generation of plants will be different. Just like an alcoholic child-beater, the nuclear plant builders promise us that, “This time it will be different.” Sure. And McCain believes them.

I don’t. Maybe that’s because I headed the government racketeering investigation of the Shoreham nuclear plant’s builders. Stone & Webster Engineering and its partner paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle the civil racketeering claim over the evidence we found of fraud and perjury. Now Stone & Webster will cash in big-time under Plan McCain.

The other big builder which will hit the jackpot under the McCain scheme is KBR, the one-time subsidiary of Halliburton, whose best known project is the rebuilding of Iraq. (Halliburton dumped KBR last year. Can’t blame them.) KBR has built many nukes –not one within a mile of its promised cost.

But that doesn’t bother McCain. So who is McCain getting his energy advice from? I’m looking at a photo of the perplexed senator inside the control room, looking like Homer without a donut, getting a lecture on the wonders of nuclear energy from a power company CEO, one Tony Early. Early is the former President of LILCO, the very corporation the Feds and State of New York charged with civil racketeering. (We did not name Early as a co-conspirator. When the government got him on the witness stand, it was clear the guy was too clueless to recognize he was in the midst of a billion-dollar swindle. McCain’s got quite some team.)

Now, you Obamaniacs might not want to read this next paragraph:

While McCain is pushing nuclear power, a Senator from Illinois who shall remain nameless (skinny, just gave up smokes), was already embracing radiation as the solution to pollution. This Senator voted for George Bush’s energy bill, a law which contained massive giveaways to nuclear energy, legislation which diss’es and dismisses conservation. Indeed, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate has been derided as the “Senator from Commonwealth Edison,” the Chicago company which is the nation’s largest operator of nuclear plants – and whose executives were the money backbone to his early presidential campaign.

So, we’ve got both candidates hawking the nuclear snake oil. But there is one difference between them. A big big BIG difference.

McCain’s ready to spend a hundred billion dollars on nuclear power, no questions asked. But Barack Obama puts a crucial condition on his approval for building new nukes: an affordable method of disposing the new plants’ radioactive waste.

That’s not small stuff. While The New York Times reporters following McCain repeated his line about “inexpensive” nuclear power without question, a buried wire story on the same day noted that the Energy Department is putting the unfunded bill for disposing nuclear plant waste at $96.2 billion – nearly a billion dollars per plant operating today. And no one even knows exactly how to do it, or where. Obama has the audacity to ask about the nuclear waste’s cost. “Can we deal with the expense?” he said on Meet the Press.

McCain’s plan to spend endless billions on nuclear plants without a waste disposal system in place is like building a massive hotel without toilets. I suppose you can always tell the guests to poop in buckets until someone comes up with a plan for plumbing. But the stuff piles up. And unlike the fecal droppings of tourists, nuclear waste will stay hot and dangerous for a thousand generations.

So there you have our election in a nutshell. We have two candidates who rise above their parties - only to agree on a ludicrous pro-nukes energy plan.

06 August 2008

Newt: a small amphibian with a big tale

by: Foiled Goil

After Failed ‘Contract With America,’ Gingrich Rallies The Right Behind New Contract With Energy Industry

Think Progress:
Gingrich is back, armed once again with a flashy slogan that purports to help America while actually serving the interests of lobbyists. As chairman of a 527 organization called American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), Gingrich has invested his resources in a campaign to “Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.” He claims to have 1.4 million Americans who have signed onto his petition.

Today, Gingrich appeared as a “guest star” in the political theater that House Republicans have been engaging in since Congress adjourned last week. Applauding the political stunts of the past few days, Gingrich said, “I’m very proud of the House Republicans.”

* * * * *

Newt’s takeover of the right is forcing conservatives to outsource their energy policy to Big Oil. McCain has flip-flopped on offshore oil drilling, and as a result, has been rewarded with almost $1 million in oil money. For more information on McCain’s sell-out, see here.

Gingrich Cites Big Oil To Claim That All Economists Support Drilling

Think Progress:
Today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich promoted his “Drill Here, Drill Now,” dirty-energy-funded plan on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and Fox News’s Fox and Friends. On both shows he touted the work of an intern at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, who Gingrich claimed “understands more more about economics than most of the politicians in this country.” His proof? The intern found a paper arguing that “the price of oil will drop almost immediately” if the U.S. expands domestic drilling.

The paper, however, was rejected by the Energy Journal. Gingrich said it was because the principle “is basically understood by every economist in the world.” “Everybody who is a professional economist knows” that more drilling will make oil prices come down “immediately,” Gingrich declared.

* * * * *

Gingrich’s claim to have “every professional economist” on his side was too much even for Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson, who replied, “I find it interesting that more economists are not on the record saying that.” In fact, it’s much easier to find economists who say on the record that Gingrich is lying:

· · ·

"Broken" Boomerang

by: Foiled Goil

McCain 26 years in Washington and did nothing - Re: Broken ---- Thanks to people like you we are all BROKEN !!!

[ 1:42 ]

· · ·

The Old Wrinkly White-Haired One

by: Foiled Goil


From Politico:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

The Old One:

[ 1:22 ]

· ·
05 August 2008


by: Debra

My back goes out more than my car does.

Yes, I can't afford the freeway and no, I don't have a lot of money.

Mom's birthday is Saturday and I can't afford to buy her a card, much less take her out to dinner or do something really nice for her. I don't even have a truffle from the Minstrel hidden away to surprise her. No matter how much I do for her, I still feel like a failure. She falls at least once a day and her eating and drinking are slowing down to almost nothing, which is a pretty good indicator that even if she makes it to her 78th, it will more than likely be her last.

And no, my brother didn't get in touch with her for his birthday on the first and she's been pretty depressed not being able to talk to the baby of the family since he graced her with a phone call for Mother's Day. I think he's 47 but he's acting more like 4. Just the way I remember him.


· · ·

On The Backs Of The Poor

by: Debra

Our lovely Governator is proposing an immediate "temporary" one cent hike in one of the most regressive taxes known to man, the sales tax.   And this is right after demanding that state workers earn the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour in a state where the cost of gas is still well over $4 a gallon and Los Angeles is intent on removing the dollar value menu from poor neighborhoods.  Because no food at all is better than Latinos being fat, isn't it?

Why are poor people and those who the governor intends to make poor, expected to bail out the economy of a state that has so many millionaires?  Why can't the rich pay a little more in taxes on the exorbitant amounts of money that they spend on vacations, expensive cars they don't know how to drive and eating at restaurants featuring edibles that aren't really food?  Why are the people at the bottom of the economic ladder expected to bear the brunt of the state's fiscal mismanagement and political grandstanding by having their benefits cut to the bone and then adding insult to injury by taking what little money they have go to support prisons and corporations instead of being funneled back into programs to help them make everyone's lives better?  Things like real education for children, public transportation and rebuilding the infrastructure.

Democrats have been open about their desire for higher taxes to help solve the deficit, though the sales tax is by no means their first choice. The Democratic budget proposal includes $9 billion in new taxes, but they are aimed mostly at corporations and the wealthy. Sales tax increases, by contrast, tend to hit lower- and middle-income residents harder because they spend a bigger share of their income on taxable sales.

One political analyst said the governor should explain his tax plan to the public, rather than having it leak to the media.

"This is Mr. Salesman, the guy who could sell anything," said Tony Quinn, co-editor of the California Target Book which analyzes legislative races. "If he's going to sell his party on a sales tax, and the Democrats who view it as regressive, he ought to lay it out before the people."
Nope that's called honesty with a dash of cojones and it isn't something that politicians are known for.   Requiring a two thirds majority to pass a state budget when all the Republicans are interested in are playing games with people's lives and pretending that they have the people's best interests at heart has not worked for the people of California for many years.  Every July we go through the same thing and meanwhile the state is falling down around our ears.

Eventually, like when the state isn't considered a player in the world economy and only the movie stars have money to spend on purchases that aren't required for daily survival, things are going to have to change.  Unfortunately, it's going to be too late for the majority of Californians.  They will have already moved to Mexico in order to have a better quality of life.


· · ·
04 August 2008

Elephant Clown Act, Part Deux

by: Foiled Goil

The GOP clown party is still at it:

Republicans Playing More Games On House Floor

Crooks and Liars:
Oh those silly Republicans, trying to show how seriously they take their job...

Bush Rebuffs GOP's 'Boston Tea Party,' Won't Request Special Session For Oil Drilling Stunt

Think Progress:
These conservatives are desperately trying to convince the American public that this crude political stunt is actually important. To do so, they are casting the protest as historic, akin to what happened at the founding of the nation...

* * * * *

But even the White House refuses to endorse this political theater.

* * * * *

The conservative stunt is a waste of time. As even the White House has admitted, there is no “short-term” solution to high gas prices. Both the Energy Information Administration — and McCain’s own economic adviser — have stated that expanding offshore drilling “would not have a significant impact” on oil prices.

GOP won't let go of its new tire-gauge toy

Carpetbagger Report:
Atrios asked this morning, “Does anyone understand why Obama suggesting that people keep their tires properly inflated is some sort of hilarious gaffe?”

I’ve been trying to figure out the same thing for days.

* * * * *

There’s something deeply wrong with these people.

Let’s review. The other day, Barack Obama mentioned to voters in Missouri that there are things individuals can do to help conserve energy, including bringing their cars in for regular tune ups, and keeping their tires properly inflated. It seemed like a rather unremarkable thing to say.

But at this point, Republicans can’t seem to stop commenting on just how remarkable they think this is.

* * * * *

Obama was observing that coastal drilling would save us so little oil and so little money even twenty years from now, that you can actually save more money immediately by doing “simple things” such as keeping your tires properly inflated.

Where did he get that crazy idea? From George Bush’s Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency…. Their joint site is loaded with fuel-saving, money-saving tips. Keep your tires properly inflated, for example, and you can save up to 12 cents a gallon.

Compare that immediate savings from that single tip, with what coastal and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling combined would get you two decades from now: 6 cents a gallon.

And that’s being generous, because Bush’s Energy Department says we can’t expect any impact on prices from coastal drilling until the year 2030.

In their knee-jerk mockery, conservatives are flying closer to the truth then they intend to.

Obama Camp Hits Back At "Tire Gauge" Rhetoric

"And while the McCain team may is busy amusing themselves, the fact is that the idea they’re attacking is supported by, among others, top McCain surrogate Joe Lieberman, conference call host Mike Rogers, Governors Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Department of Energy, and NASCAR — all of whom have urged Americans to help save energy by minding tire pressure," the Obama team continued in the email. "But hey, who ever let the facts — or supporters’ positions — get in the way of a political attack? Aboard the Low Road Express, that’s no problem at all."

So, don't forget the mockery, but do remember to check your tire pressure -- because tires just don't get enough respect:
Savvy consumers are seeking to increase fuel economy and the life of their tires by paying more attention to those rubber objects that are attached to their vehicle [...]

Tires that are underinflated by 6 to 7 pounds per square inch increase tire rolling resistance 10 percent or more, increase tread wear rates and tire fatigue. When a tire is underinflated, the tire's road contact zone and cyclic stress level changes resulting in undesirable loss in tire and vehicle performance [...]

With escalating fuel prices, the time is now for drivers to focus on simple things like proper tire pressure to maximize tire performance and increase fuel economy.

Talk about inflated:

Multiple Oil Company Executives Gave Huge Contributions To Electing McCain Just Days After Offshore Drilling Reversal

TPM election central:
Ten senior Hess Corporation executives and/or members of the Hess family each gave $28,500 to the joint RNC-McCain fundraising committee, just days after McCain reversed himself to favor offshore drilling, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

· ·

Baghdad: City Of Walls

by: Debra

By way of the Guardian.  You will never see this on American television.  It isn't entertainment, it's reality.  The reality of living in Baghdad after years of war.  First you can't get around.

The graves of those who were killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the wrong religion, the wrong whatever.

And then there are the children.  The true innocents and the ones who are paying the highest price. The orphans being recruited to continue the terror that was visited upon them. By us.

What have we done?


· ·

Are The Trains On Time Yet?

by: Debra

Nothing says politician like reversing yourself to meet the results of a poll.  Even when they know the poll is hogwash, that the resulting answers are bogus and that it won't solve the problem at all.  In true political fashion, Barack Obama once again sways with the breeze in his effort to become the Decider's heir.  I remember how badly I was treated when I pointed out on another site that the closer to the election the more of his true self would be revealed.  That he would say or do anything that gets him closer to the goal.  Opportunistic?   Most definitely.  Between FISA, drilling off the coasts, and now wanting to let the Florida and Michigan delegations have full voting powers restored to" reunite" the Democratic party (under his banner), some of them must be feeling a little betrayed by now.  Betrayed by their own naivete.  I can hardly wait until his VP pick when the shaft slides all the way in.

Um duh!  Low wage workers usually tend to be people of color and are therefore more likely to be predisposed to liking Obama over McCain.  For those who are melanin impaired, it's easier to identify with someone who hasn't always had a silver spoon in their mouth.  And after years at the bottom of the economic ladder, poor people  realize that rarely does a change in presidents improve their individual lives.  Nice of the WaPo to point out the glaringly obvious.

Another strike against the consumer.  All in the name of progress.  Wherever Orwell is, he's probably sitting in stunned amazement with mouth agape, bewildered by not only was his book off by several years, but it would cover areas he never thought about.

"Some insurers can make a decision in the same day, or right on the spot," Franzen said. "That's the real 'value-add.'"


When an insurer makes an online query about an applicant, Ingenix or Milliman's servers scour the data and within minutes or less return reports to a central server at the company. The server aggregates the information going back as far as five years, including the drugs and dosages prescribed, dates filled and refilled, the therapeutic class and the name and address of the prescribing doctor.
Obviously that decision will be no.  There is a new world order and the have nots won't be eligible for it.  The really sad part?  There didn't used to be so many have nots.  Isn't it wonderful how the Republicans and their Demowienie enablers have been able to cull the herd in such a short amount of time?


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03 August 2008

Gimme One

by: Foiled Goil

Eric Clapton and Tracy Chapman

[ 4:21 ]
02 August 2008

A Percocet Moment, or maybe I was just confused

by: blackdog

As I came out of general anesthesia I noticed my dad sleeping in a chair across the room from me, the next thing I noticed was the christmas tree of liquid bags hanging on my IV gizmo, the third and most relevant thing I noticed was that I hurt like all hell.

And just to rub that one in, about this time along comes an urge to cough. I tried to control my breathing but it won and I succumbed to it. The pain was remarkable, I was able to keep it just a tiny cough, but still. I turned my head to the left and noticed a device with a green button wrapped around the sideboard of my bed, EUREKA!!! A PAIN BUTTON!! I traced the wire back to the IV unit with my eyes and yes, that is just what it was, so I pressed the button. 15 seconds later when usually you will notice something, I felt nothing. Another 15 seconds and a nurse comes in who had noticed activity on her board and came in to check me out. She explained that the pain button would release morphine about every six minutes or so if I called for it, I tried to tell her that it seemed to be having no effect at all, but she took off and left.

The next two days I tried to get someone to listen to my story that this was a friggin' waste of time, I had hit that damned button hundreds of times and my pain was still severe. On the third day of recovery someone actually listened to me and the morphine unit was removed and I was allowed a big fat percocet every three hours. It worked, the pain was now backed off in a corner where I didn't have to deal with it for awhile. It was wonderful.

After a week in recovery I am told that tomorrow I will be discharged, great news, I would rather suffer at my folks house than at the hospital anyday. So I have it all planned out, ASAP I will get home to my place to rescue the Woof, the weather here is getting hot as all hell. That afternoon I lay back in my bed and evidently drift off for a bit.

Next thing I know I'm up, it's late at night and I am passing by the nurses' desk, I have not a clue as to where I am. One of the nurses asks me if I need anything and I request the Woof's leash. For some reason I think I am in Carlisle, in fact I am sure of it, even though I am not dressed, my wallet and keys are at my folk's house, all I really know is something is terribly wrong.

Several nurses then jump me and I have to struggle to not become excited or violent, I am sure that I am right and am being lied to. They are all trying to get me to go back into my room, just across the hall, and I have become aware that this is so, but I still have this horrible fear that something is so wrong. Instead of following their requests I sit down in an available chair and beg them to just let me sit for a minute and come back , if I can, to my senses. A Doc shows up and takes charge, thank gawd, these nurses are more than I can stand, as hardheaded as I.

She succeeds where they could not in convincing me that I have never left the hospital and everything is OK, but it takes me several minutes to accept this, even from her. I attempt to reconcile reality, what ever that is against what I have accepted as reality, I do notice that many parts of what I am experiencing do not add up, I finally lean on the idea that in a hospital gown and with the knowledge that I am to be released tomorrow maybe she is telling me the truth, so I allow her to lead me back to my bed where she stays for about 20 minutes and we talk, helping me more to come to terms with this slip.

It worked. If there is one thing I fear the most it is that for whatever reason I could lose my mind. I had a small taste of that then.

I realize I might have worn this out for some, but not for me, the beauty and freshness of this I have craved, it aids my sanity.

Serena, who looks like Julia's little sister Virginia.

Circus Leaves Town, Clown Party Stays In Dark

by: Foiled Goil

Congress exits after impasse on gas prices

Via AP:

Lawmakers sped for the exits Friday as Congress was to begin a five-week recess after a summer session noteworthy for bitter partisanship and paralysis on the issue topmost in the minds of many voters: the cost of gasoline.

As its last major act, the House passed by a 409-4 vote its first spending bill, a $72.7 billion measure awarding generous increases to veterans programs and military base construction projects.

More noteworthy however, was what Congress failed to do: pass energy legislation and other measures aimed at lowering the price of gasoline.

Senate Republicans blocked a bill aimed at curbing speculation in oil markets, while a similar bill and several others by House Democrats — including a plan to encourage drilling in already available coastal areas and in Alaska — failed to advance after party leaders brought them to the floor under procedures that required supermajorities to pass. That procedure blocked Republicans from forcing a vote on opening new areas to oil drilling.

Republicans have been pressing to allow oil exploration in areas that are currently off limits, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. They have been relentless in their assault on Democrats over the topic, even though opening the Outer Continental Shelf to new exploration wouldn't put any oil on the market for a decade or more.

The Revolution is not being televised!

Kagro X:
I'm informed via InterTube e-mail that House Republicans are playing Model Congress (yes, like in middle school) on the House floor, having the "energy debate" they feel they were denied in the actual House.

Naturally, in their version of "debate," there are no opponents. The House is adjourned, and everyone has gone home except the protestors, who, though they're dressed in suits and ties, are staging a full-on hippie freak-out sit-in. Power to the people who can charge the fees for changing their airline departures to the federal government, man!

House Conservatives Engage In Political Stunt, Demand A Vote On Gas Prices After Obstructing A Vote

House conservatives engaged in political theater today, storming the floor after Congress was adjourned “to attack Democrats for leaving town without doing something to lower gas prices.” Politico reports, “At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark.”

House GOP revolts over gas prices

Patrick O'Connor:
A small band of Republicans, protesting the decision to adjourn without an oil vote, started to speak from the well — even though the lights weren’t on, the microphones were turned off and most of their colleagues were scrambling to catch flights out of town.

An empty floor is one thing when TV cameras are there, but C-SPAN’s cameras, which typically broadcast every word uttered on the floors of both chambers, were not allowed to broadcast the revolt since the chamber was officially closed for business.

Turn out the lights, the party’s over (or perhaps not)

Steve Benen:
There’s probably a general impression among voters that the House of Representatives is a silly, dysfunctional institution, made up of a few too many people who love to hear themselves talk, but aren’t especially fond of governing.

Today is perhaps the single best example in recent history of lawmakers going out of their way to prove that caricature right.

* * * * *

Before you rush to C-SPAN to watch the circus unfold, don’t bother — C-SPAN isn’t broadcasting this. In fact, no one is actually watching this unusually stupid display except the Republican House members, their staffers, some tourists in the gallery, and some reporters who happen to be around.

But the GOP seems quite excited to play this little game, whether anyone can see it or not.

* * * * *

The point of the spectacle is … well, it’s not quite clear what the point is. Republicans apparently want some tourists to know that they support drilling the coasts for oil. It wouldn’t lower the price of gas, and wouldn’t help consumers in any way, but darn it all, they really want to talk about drilling anyway.

* * * * *

It’s hard to overstate how truly ridiculous these unhinged fools really are. One wonders how long it will take for the Republican Party to rediscover the value of acting like grown-ups.

Since when do Republicans oppose routine auto maintenance?

Steve Benen:
Barack Obama reminded an audience yesterday that American consumers can save money and improve fuel efficiency by keeping their tires inflated and getting regular tune-ups. I thought this was just common sense, and one of those simple steps that everyone already knew about.

Apparently, Republicans have decided that it’s worthy of mockery.

* * * * *

Well, Obama didn’t say we could break our dependence if we inflated our tires; he said we could save money and improve fuel efficiency. It won’t “break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil” if we open up more of America’s coastlines to oil drilling, either, but it’s suddenly become the basis for McCain’s entire energy policy.

But it seems Republicans really are worked up about this tire thing. Here’s Newt Gingrich on Fox News.

[ :33 ]

While Gingrich ranted, you could hear one of the Fox News personalities laughing a bit, as if the notion of routine auto maintenance, as a method of improving energy efficiency, was necessarily hilarious.

I feel like I’m missing something here.

Fortunately, Ben at TP set the record straight.
Is making sure your car tires are inflated properly to save energy and gas money “loony tunes?” The federal government doesn’t think so. Neither does the auto industry.

· ·

Made it Back

by: blackdog

But I'm weak as a kitten just yet, got the Woof in and the A/Cs on, mostly just glad to be home. Haven't been paying attention to anything much beyond the end of my nose, what's inside that zone is taking most of my attention.

More later as I can.
01 August 2008

Jaw Dropping Crap

by: Debra

Asking if  Congress deserves a vacation is like waking up and smoking a joint to decide if you want to smoke a joint.  Shouldn't they have to do some work first?  At least occasionally?  In the never ending run for the White House, how many votes have McCain and Obama missed while they were running for another office because the one they're in isn't good enough?  And please, using the example that the Demowienies don't want to cave in to the Republicans is foolish since there are more than enough examples to go around.  Fortunately 472 of them are up for reelection this year, maybe they'll get a surprise at the polls.

Things are getting better all the time.  Pretty soon the only people employed in America will be those who provide personal luxury services to our overlords.

The police are sticking with their story that the kid with the broken back and foot tried to get up and walk into traffic so that's why they had to taser him 19 times.  Do they drug test cops?  Because if they don't, they should.  On a daily basis.  Especially hallucinogens.

Hmm, I see the cojone missing stormtroopers have struck again.  What possible excuse (other than revenge) could there be for placing a compromising package (you know they did it), bursting into the mayor's home and then shooting his two Labrador Retrievers, one of whom was hunted while running away, to death?  No arrests were made.

I joined the Army in 1974 and I can honestly say that other than a few bawdy jokes (that I enjoyed because they were funny) and the occasional "accidental" brush against my tits, only one person ever harassed me and he ended up at Leavenworth doing hard time for a few years. Hhis conviction ostensibly had nothing to do with me since my First Sergeant wouldn't take me seriously, but I knew something else that caused his incarceration and had no hesitation about making sure the MPs found out about it.   Other than that, my troop mates were my friends and they treated me just like the other guys.  Now it seems that a woman serving in the military is as likely to be assaulted by the people who are supposed to be watching her back as she is to be killed or wounded by a terrorist.  I thought it was supposed to be you were more likely to be killed by a terrorist as to get married after forty?  Methinks that order in the military isn't what it used to be.


· ·

McDesperate Campaign Ploys

by: Foiled Goil

War and terrorism have replaced social issues in the conservative culture wars.

Will "character," the culture wars, and security fears help elect the most woeful Republican candidate since Bob Dole -- and in a country that not only increasingly doesn't think much of Republicans, but has never cared to vote old? (Ronald Reagan was the exception to this rule, always running young and vigorous, whatever his age.) McCain, in a golf cart being piloted by 84-year-old George H.W. Bush, actually looked older than the former president. And, gee, you might go for the jugular early, too, in a year in which the Republicans don't even control the political machinery of the state of Ohio.

Now, let Ira Chernus take you on a magical mystery tour of the strange world of American "values," American "values voters," and a mainstream media that values the value-voter story above all else.

-- Introduction by TomDispatch editor, Tom Engelhardt

Desperate McCain Tries to Play Terror Card One More Time

Ira Chernus, Tomdispatch:
The centrist and even liberal media are as busy as conservatives propagating the idea that, to be one of the average, ordinary Americans, you have to prize (white) working-class values considered "Republican turf" since the late 1960s: individualism, self-reliance, hard work for "modest" (which means stagnant or falling) wages, faith, and a patriotism so strong that it will never surrender.

The American Everyman, the hero of this year's media story, is an underpaid worker who may very well vote Republican against his or her own economic interests, and all too often against the interests of loved ones who hope to come home alive from Iraq or Afghanistan.

* * * * *

Of course it may turn out that the old melodrama of an "experienced" Vietnam hero against the "summer of love" no longer draws much of an audience, even with both campaigns and the mainstream media so focused on it. No matter how things turn out on Election Day, however, it's beginning to look like the big winner will -- yet again -- be the conservative "culture war" narrative that has dominated our political discourse, in one form or another, for four decades now. With Obama and both Clintons endorsing it, who will stand against it?

For the foreseeable future, debates about cultural values are going to be played out fiercely on the symbolic terrain of war and national security issues. The all-too-real battlefields abroad will remain obscured by the cultural battlefields at home and by the those timeless "ordinary American values" embedded in the public's imagination. It's all too powerful a myth -- and too good an election story -- to go away anytime soon.

* * * * *

It does no good to complain about "spineless Democrats" who won't risk their political careers by casting courageous votes against war. Their job is to win elections. And you go to political war with the voters you have. If too many of the voters are still trapped in simplistic caricatures of patriotism and national security created 40 years ago -- or if you fear they are -- that's because no one has offered them an appealing alternative narrative that meets their cultural needs.

Liberals didn't think about alternative narratives of America that could be meaningful across the political board. Now, they reap the harvest of their neglect.

It does no good to complain that such working-class views are illogical or stupid or self-destructive. As long as progressives continue to treat "ordinary Americans" as stupid and irrelevant, progressives will find themselves largely irrelevant in U.S. politics. And that's stupid, because it doesn't have to be that way.

What can be done to change this picture? Facts and logic are rarely enough, in themselves, to persuade people to give up the values narratives that have framed their lives. They'll abandon one narrative only when another comes along that is more satisfying.

* * * * *

No matter who wins this year's election, the prevalence of the "ordinary American" voter story should be a useful wakeup call: It's time to do something similar on a much broader scale. This election year offers an invaluable opportunity to begin to grasp some of the complexities of culturally conservative Americans. Equipped with a deeper understanding, progressives can frame their programs of economic justice and cultural diversity within new narratives about security, patriotism, heroism, and other traditionally American values.

That will take some effort. But it will take a lot more effort to stave off the next Republican victory -- or the next war -- if the project of creating new, more broadly appealing narratives continues to be ignored.

· · ·

Dysfunctional Stagflationomics

by: Foiled Goil

In a Perfect Storm of Economic Stagflation, the Yachting Set Says: "Let Them Eat Pizza"

Officially, "stagflation" is a thing of the past, but a deeper look reveals a different, very current reality for most Americans.

Joshua Holland, AlterNet:
Stagflation in America? Well, unless you're among the wealthiest, you're soaking in it and have been for quite a while.

But you're not likely to hear much about that story. Officially, the U.S. hasn't experienced stagflation -- a long period of rising prices amid sluggish economic growth -- since the 1970s. The word conjures up images of gas lines snaking around corners, a weary Jimmy Carter looking droopy and forlorn in the Oval Office and the general sense of "malaise" that sunny old Ronald Reagan exploited so adroitly to give rise to the New Conservative movement.

But looking beyond the official numbers -- the data on growth and inflation that most economic reporters bandy about --reveals a deeper truth about the American economy. The reality is that those who aren't at the very top or the very bottom of America's economic food chain have been mired in a long period of painful stagflation. Bit it's a reality that's obscured by the ways in which we measure our nation's economic health.

So while anyone who draws a paycheck knows that prices are rising fast and salaries haven't kept up for a long time, the S-word is never mentioned in our economic discourse. There are two reasons for that. First, a number of government benefits like Social Security payments are indexed to inflation, and since the dawn of the Reagan era, a series of changes were made to the way the government measures it, largely as a back-door way of keeping the growth of entitlements in check without pissing off veterans' groups or the AARP.

Second, while our overall growth has outpaced inflation, America's income has also become much more highly concentrated at the top -- the paychecks of 9 out of 10 Americans have actually declined over the past three decades. It's been Bill Gates and his set who have done extremely well during that time.

As a result of both of these shifts, there's now a significant gap between the economy in which most Americans live and work and the one discussed in the business pages and on the cable news blab-fests.

* * * * *

In his eye-opening book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, anthropologist Jared Diamond argued that societies don't fall apart because they find themselves faced with daunting challenges; they fall apart when their leaders are unable -- too conservative, too inflexible -- to rise to those challenges and overcome them.

The United States, especially, faces deep structural problems, and there are no quick fixes. Forget about "subprime" loans and economic "slowdowns." Forget about the kind of tinkering around the edges that our political establishment offers as solutions. We need some bold new thinking in order to dig out of these messes. We need new energy solutions and new economic models that place human welfare, rather than abstractions like GDP or the Dow Jones Industrial Average, at their center. We need to make consumption a means to an end rather than a goal unto itself.

But none of that can happen until we accept that our current social and economic arrangements are dysfunctional. As long as decision-makers are tied down to the principles of yesterday's tired old "New Economy" -- the globalized, trickle-down economy touted by Democrats and Republicans alike for the past 30 years -- and as long as the economic pain most of us are dealing with is obscured by suspect measures of inflation and growth, none of that will happen.

"Stagflation" is a powerful concept -- a jarring wake-up call.

* * * * *

Understanding that most of us are soaking in a long period of stagnant growth while struggling to keep up with rising costs is crucial to starting that process.

America's Economic Free Fall

William Greider, The Nation:
In their haste to do anything the financial guys seem to want, Congress and the lame-duck President are, I fear, sowing far more profound troubles for the country. First, while throwing our money at Wall Street, government is neglecting the grave risk of a deeper catastrophe for the real economy of producers and consumers. Second, Washington's selective generosity for influential financial losers is deforming democracy and opening the path to an awesomely powerful corporate state. Third, the rescue has not succeeded, not yet. Banking faces huge losses ahead, and informed insiders assume a far larger federal bailout will be needed -- after the election. No one wants to upset voters by talking about it now. The next President, once in office, can break the bad news. It's not only about the money -- with debate silenced, a dangerous line has been crossed. Hundreds of billions in open-ended relief has been delivered to the largest and most powerful mega-banks and investment firms, while government offers only weak gestures of sympathy for struggling producers, workers and consumers.

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