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31 October 2009

Hallowe'en 2009 Graphic #2

by: Dark Wraith

The Ghost of Cheney

Finally, on this last night of October, herewith is the second and final Hallowe'en graphic for 2009, following as it does my Hallowe'en 2009 Graphic #1, and continuing the tradition of my Hallowe'en graphics from years past, which include Hallowe'en Politics Graphic #1, Halloween Politics Graphic #2, and Hallowe'en Politics Graphic #3. In 2007, I created and published Hallowe'en 2007 Graphic #1, Halloween 2007 Graphic #2, and Hallowe'en 2007 Graphic #3. The 2008 round featured Hallowe'en 2008 Graphic #1 and Halloween 2008 Graphic #2.

And to complete this night of haunted horrors, readers might be wondering what would be something that would scare a person known on the Internet as the "Dark Wraith." That is a fair question, and I shall now share with you a partial list of things that give me, an economist, cause for nightmares.

Here we go: a list of things that go bump in the night, frustrating my fitfil bouts of unrestful slumber.

• The Federal Reserve announces in a press release that accommodative monetary policy will end immediately because of the looming threat of inflation. The notification explains that consumers and businesses should expect to see "aggressively" rising interest rates over the coming months. Cryptically, the communiqué from the Fed ends with the one-line paragraph, "All hail Cthulu."

• The U.S. Mint announces that the "In God We Trust" statement on the back of American currency will soon be replaced with "Pull my finger!"

• The entire staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers is arrested in a raid on an illegal off-track betting parlor on the south side of Toledo. The President's chief economic adviser, instead of keeping quiet during his arraignment, hollers to the judge, "Hey, we hadn't been paid in two months! What were we supposed to do?"

• In a strange twist on one of those conservative teabagger demonstrations, the entire crowd — including everyone in the liberal counter-demonstration — spontaneously, and all at once, starts singing Kumbaya, while they hold hands and sway in unison.

• The Chinese start importing bags of dollar bills to be sold at Walmart at low-low prices even the competition can't beat.

• Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, in an interview aired on 60 Minutes, appears to be inebriated and blurts out, "I want to have Sarah Palin's love child."

• In a bold move intended to stop antitrust actions being taken against Microsoft by the European Union, Bill Gates buys the European Union.

• After finalizing his purchase of the EU, Gates releases European Union 2.0. It immediately crashes all of Western Europe.

• Hackers crack into the central computers of the nation's largest banks; they then transfer all Tier 1 capital into start-up company Happy Weed Transgenics, Inc. (The company's IPO goes quite well the next day.)

• Congress taxes sex. When proceeds from the tax prove disappointing, Congress amends the legislation to tax only boring sex. Revenues skyrocket.

• On-the-scene security cameras at the New York Stock Exchange capture footage of Warren Buffet running across the floor of the Exchange screaming, "Sell! SELL! They're COMING!" The video goes viral on YouTube.

• The Treasury Dept. has increasing difficulties borrowing money, so it hires Hannah Montana to sell Treasury securities to kids in select, up-scale urban markets.

• Not to be outdone, the underwriting arm of Goldman Sachs hires Whitney Houston as the Featured Performer on digital versions of prospectuses.

• The Senate, in a desperate attempt to stave off bankruptcy, partners with a leading fast-food chain and renames the Senate chambers the "Taco Bell Senate Bowl."

• Not to be outdone, the House of Representatives partners with a well-known restaurant chain and renames its chambers the "Cracker Barrel House." Citizens across the country agree.

• Independent investigative reporters capture a grainy video of what appears to be President Barack Obama and executives of FOX News in a secret, late-night meeting at a Denny's on the outskirts of Peoria, where the audio seems to indicate details of their continuing operation of saying things that drive each other's followers bonkers, just so the apparent enemies can keep their respective ratings high. Rumors run rampant that the video also seems to show that the "waitress" serving them was none other than former Vice President Dick Cheney in drag, trying to figure out what the group was up to.

Okay, that's enough of my nightmares for one Halloween. I trust that you find these horror stories every bit as terrifying as I do.

Pleasant dreams, fellow lurkers in the night of Empire.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

A Fictional Letter?

by: Father Tyme

To My Bigtime Bank:

Do you guys happen to remember last year, when things weren’t going so well for you? When you needed help in the form of loans to keep you from failing? There was some problem with some of your investments. Some of the people you employ had a little trouble running your bank and because of that small problem, you didn’t have enough money to make ends meet, so to speak.

You guys were all worried and stuff. Many of you thought that you’d lose your jobs and maybe even not be able to find decent employment because of the recession. Things were pretty bad for you. Your credit really wasn’t worth much since you defaulted on some loans to businesses and the government even though you used to make regular payments on time and such. But one little problem and it makes you look bad; like you didn’t care or something.

Oh, you claimed it wasn’t your fault and maybe it wasn’t. It was just a situation you got yourselves into. And it almost cost you everything you owned. Almost, but not quite.
You see, a friend who used to work for you put in a good word to some very influential people and ignoring your current bad credit potential, he managed to convince those important people you were worth another chance. I mean, it’s not like you did anything on purpose to screw up financially, right? Everybody makes mistakes, you guys included. So when the possibility of help was offered, you accepted.

Though that help had some strings attached for repayment you agreed to it, because it’s only fair that when you needed the help, those who provide it should get something in return. And those who could provide you with that help got that money from us and you agreed to repay it.

Of course, you had your good names to back that up and the word of the friend who used to work for you. Forget that little problem with seemingly bad credit. Everyone goes through that at least once, eh? And you were happy to have those of us who helped you take into account the fact that with bad credit, the risk we took advancing you funds would be repaid in kind. Because your word was good. You told us so!
Well, the people who helped you managed to get some investors, us. Actually quite a lot of us to provide you the funds to keep your businesses going. We realized it was a lot of money but helped anyway, mainly because the one guy who worked for you found a way to make sure you got all the financial help you needed, at just about any cost. But it was worth it to you because without us sacrificing for you, you would probably lose everything.

And make no mistake. Those of us who underwrote your finances weren’t in very good financial shape either, but we still ended up providing you the resources you needed, and then some, to make sure you could continue to provide a meaningful service.

You got your money and you’re well on your way to recovery. You banks are doing so well that you can reward those who work for you, big time. They must be doing a great job! So now, you’re pretty much back to where you were before September 2008. Heck, you even had enough aid to make some shrewd deals to acquire other interests to help your endeavor grow. Yep! You betcha. Things look real good for you now, almost like that little problem never happened.

But now, here’s the point of my letter. It seems that I’ve run into a little problem of my own. Seems I don’t have a job and haven’t for a while. I’m sure it’s temporary and things will turn around for me shortly, like they did for you. Yeah, I know my credit hasn’t been sparkling the last couple of years, much like the questionable credit your little problem created. And yeah, I’ve had a couple of late payments on some minor utilities; just a few days late and I had to make some tough decisions just like you did. You know, those pesky little things like deciding to feed my family or pay my mortgage; pay the electric and gas bills to keep us warm or make the car payment to your bank. Oh yeah, you guys hold the title to my car and also have the loan on it until it’s paid up, right? It’s just like when you needed money to stay in business and maybe keep your jobs and houses and things like that that you really need to live.

Here’s my problem. I went down to your bank to just ask for a little more time to repay my mortgage and delay my car payment for a month or so, but you said you couldn’t do that. That confused me. But, OK. So I figured I’d just ask for a new loan to consolidate my bills at the great new lower rates so that I could make ends meet, you know, like you guys did, just for a little while.
For some reason, you turned me down. I know you have the money because I was one of the investors who helped provide you with that loan or bailout as you called it.

When I asked your manager what was going on, he told me that my credit wasn’t good enough because I was recently late on a couple of utility bills. Of course I was late! I didn’t have enough money and what money I had, I used to feed my family and stay warm. But the manager told me that a contract was a contract and since I was late, I didn’t live up to it and if I read the contract I’d know that there were late fees and that my credit could be hurt because of it. I told him it was only temporary but he said rules are rules and if he did it for me, he’d have to do it for everyone and then he wouldn’t have any money.
Now I’m more confused because his bank, one of the ones that I invested in, although not by my own choice but with my money, just bought out a smaller bank. Now how could they buy a smaller bank yet not have enough money to help me out? He told me that I was a credit risk and he might not get his money back if he lent me any of it. So I was turned down. He said he felt bad.

They took my car last week because I couldn’t pay for it. My unemployment ran out and the guy who got you the money, your friend, well his friends wouldn’t extend my benefits. And now I get this letter from you and your bank telling me that if I don’t pay the three months back mortgage payments, you’ll have to foreclose on my home. I have no where else to turn.

So here’s my question: when times were bad for you, I gave my money to help you even though I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I was told that as soon as you got better financially, you’d be making loans available again to help out those of us who were affected by this temporary recession. But you aren’t doing that, are you? You’re just keeping the money that I and others loaned you in good faith. Now I find that you may not even pay back the money all of us loaned you. I guess I have to live with that. But what I can’t live with is the broken promise that you would help me and others out after you got our money. Then you denied help to us.

My credit really isn’t as bad as yours was. I lost my job but still had to help you. I lost my car and stand to lose my home because you won’t help me after the sacrifice I made to help you. I really need a simple answer. Why?

· ·
30 October 2009

Too Cute Or Just Mean?

by: Foiled Goil

You decide.

29 October 2009


by: Foiled Goil

Honestly, I'm not surprised. Not even a little bit.

By Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti and James Risen:
Brother of Afghan Leader Said to Be Paid by C.I.A.

The Rachel Maddow Show:
U.S. working at cross purposes to CIA in Afghanistan?

Oct. 28: The New York Times reported that the brother of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is actually on the CIA’s payroll. Rachel Maddow talks about this revelation with Tim Weiner, author of "Legacy of Ashes." [ 7:09 ]

From the transcript:
The politics of the war took a turn so twisted and sensational last night that the new plot line sounds like it's straight out of the cynical, disillusioned American cinema of the 1970s.

According to reporting from the "New York Times'" trifecta of Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti and James Risen, the brother of the president of Afghanistan, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, widely described as a drug kingpin whose assumed corruption, undermines the credibility of the whole Afghan government and his brother, the president, Ahmed Wali Karzai-and President Hamid Karzai.

Mr. Ahmed Wali Karzai is also, apparently, according to the "New York Times," a long-time employee of us-specifically, of the CIA. Current and former American officials tell "The Times" that brother Karzai helps the CIA by doing lots of things, including operating a paramilitary group, renting out housing to U.S. forces and acting as a go-between for the Americans and the Taliban.

The allegations would be salacious at any time, but this week, after America just lost seven service members and three DEA agents while on an anti-narcotics trafficking mission, this week, the allegations are more than just salacious, they are explosive and they may have the political potential to affect the course of the war.

As national security reporter Spencer Ackerman put it today at the "Washington Independent," quote, "CIA money funds a politically connected drug dealer. Opium funds the Taliban. We are in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. How much CIA money has indirectly funded the Taliban?"

This nauseating question being asked just as the Taliban claimed responsibility for a daylight attack on westerners in Kabul which killed at least 11 people, including five U.N.-related workers.

Joining us now is Tim Weiner. He's author of "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA." He's also a former national security and foreign correspondent for "The New York Times."

Taliban Finances
The piece this morning on the Taliban's financial network reminds me of Napoleon's famous quote, "an army marches on its stomach". Without the up to $400 million from the opium trade, that is used to pay the fighters, the Taliban would be a far less serious threat.

Taliban finances, large graphic

Christiane Amanpour, CNN:
World failing to dent heroin trade, U.N. warns


Barack Roll

by: Jersey Cynic

28 October 2009

Gardasil Researcher Drops A Bombshell

by: Jersey Cynic

Full Story Here

This is not the first time Dr. Harper revealed the fact that Merck never tested Gardasil for safety in young girls. During a 2007 interview with KPC, she said giving the vaccine to girls as young as 11 years-old “is a great big public health experiment.”

At the time, which was at the height of Merck’s controversial drive to have the vaccine mandated in schools, Dr. Harper remained steadfastly opposed to the idea and said she had been trying for months to convince major television and print media about her concerns, “but no one will print it.”

“It is silly to mandate vaccination of 11 to 12 year old girls,” she said at the time. “There also is not enough evidence gathered on side effects to know that safety is not an issue.”

When asked why she was speaking out, she said: “I want to be able to sleep with myself when I go to bed at night.”

Since the drug’s introduction in 2006, the public has been learning many of these facts the hard way. To date, 15,037 girls have officially reported adverse side effects from Gardasil to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). These adverse reactions include Guilliane Barre, lupus, seizures, paralysis, blood clots, brain inflammation and many others. The CDC acknowledges that there have been 44 reported deaths.

Have you ever been "Rick-Rolled"?

by: Jersey Cynic

never have been. I didn't even know what it meant until yesterday. I was over at just surfing around during the wee hours (insomnia is back). I can't read anymore of the "top news stories" out there. It's making me crazy, so I go hang out at 'cracked'.

Anyway, they have a photoshop contest going on over there --
It's the not-to-distant future. They've turned off the Internet. After the riots have settled down and the withdrawal symptoms have faded, how would you cope? We asked you to Photoshop what life would be like in an Internet-addicted society learning to cope without it, and offered $50 to the winner. That winner is below:

I had just spent 15 minutes looking through all the entries leading up to the winner above. WTF??? I don't get it. All the other ones were, for the most part, self-explanatory and pretty funny --

Like this one -

and this one -

So, I started searching the comments to see if anyone else out there was as confused as I was over the winner.

"To be tricked, through any method, into clicking a link that takes you to the Rick Astley video "Never Gonna Give You Up".

"Rick rolling is the internet equivalent of a doorbell ditch. Instead of getting the video they thought they would, they get "Never let you down" or whatever that song is called. Just like when you doorbell ditch they get nothing instead of the visitor they thought they would get. Like nearly everything on the internet, it is massive waste of time."

OK, now I'm really curious. Let's head over to my other favorite reference site - Urban Dictionary - for some more insight:

*Originally, to trick someone into watching the extremely catchy "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video by the genius Rick Astley with a fake link (usually with the promise of an exclusive video).

Now used in a more general sense, for any sort of deception or trick.
"I asked for the newest Halo trailer and all I got was the Rickroll video."

"I really hope that J.K. Rowling hasn't rick rolled us with all this Dumbledore business. I would be so disappointed."

"I just rick rolled that guy into singing Evanescence at the top of his lungs in the middle of a Walmart by promising him a reward of $20,000."

Who the hell is Rick Astley?? OMG I love this tune -- I had no idea -- I always thought some big, handsome black dude sang this song.

Here's the "Rick-Rolled" video Embedding disabled by request (doh!)

Kudos to the photoshop winner! OUTSTANDING!!! (now that I get it)

PLEASE call Joe Lieberman's Senate office --202-224-4041

by: Missouri Mule

NOW is the time to call each of your congressmen & let them know YOU WANT REFORM NOW. It can't drag on, allowing the big insurance companies time to produce big lavish scary commercials against reform. Insurance companies have never done anything for you willingly. I have friends who've lost loved ones for lack of health care through no fault of their own. You cannot get a liver, kidney transplant in the emergency room, nor can you get dialysis.
CALL now - write now. DO IT NOW AND OFTEN

Please also e-mail him at his senate website

To let him know he is about to destroy any chance this country will have meaningful health insurance reform in our life time.His obligation as a senator is NOT to the insurance companies that have contributed millions to his campaign and are headquartered in Connecticut.His loyalty and obligation is to the people of Connecticut and to the people of the United States. The Democratic MAJORITY in this Country demand nothing less. Every single poll indicates the country wants health care reform and a robust public option.

The Democratic members of Congress have given him much more power than he would otherwise have after declaring himself an independent candidate to avoid getting voted out of office. They can take it back and work against him. HE OWES those Democrats his loyalty. The Democrats have spent months & months working on the health care reform bill and the
Congressional Budget Office has determined it will NOT increase the deficit. The Republicans have blocked health care reform now for years going as far back as NIXON, even blocking Nixon's health care reform proposals. Republicans did nothing on reform over the last 8 years after blocking the Clinton proposal. They NEVER intend to do anything because their pockets are being lined by Big Insurance. They also will never do anything about Carbon Emissions or Pharmaceutical Costs. BIG Oil, BIG COAL, BIG INSURANCE and BIG PHARMACY together with the ultra right moral majority, who have no tolerance for anyone other than their own, run the Republican party. Even moderate Republican want this reform.

27 October 2009

Going To The Dogs

by: Debra

Wow!  Republicans really are willing to cut off their nose to spite their face.  The comments are fascinating.  No matter how the NY-23 race turns out the GOP is dissolving from within.  I almost feel sorry for the them but it's their own fault.  They embraced the wackos last year, they tolerated and encouraged the fringe to express their anger, rage and hatred during the campaign and as with any rabid animal, it's biting the hand that feeds them.

They don't need another job, they need to live within their means.  I'm sorry that one can't live comfortably on $93K a year and while I admire the work ethic of getting another job to support your lifestyle instead of doing what the rest of us do which is to cut back or eliminate expenses, taking a minimum wage job that might keep a family on the lower end of the economic spectrum from becoming homeless, is part of why we are in the economic mess we are all suffering through.  Those that have always think they deserve more or that they shouldn't have to sacrifice.  Marie Antoinette would be so impressed.

The kerfuffle about the Obama boy's club amuses me.  I tried warning people that he had little to no respect for women and their opinions, so it doesn't surprise me at all that women are being cockblocked while decisions are being made in circumstances that have no official record.

Somebody has been watching a little too much television.  The story never says why the owner had to steal his dog from the pound under the cover of night instead of picking him up during normal business hours.  It doesn't sound like the dog's behavior was a problem since the animal society released the dog to a friend of the owner.

Speaking of dogs, is this normal sleeping behavior?


26 October 2009

Just a rant

by: Father Tyme

Meteor-Blades’ diary over at kos opens a sad thought. We spent nearly 5000 American lives, 30,000 maimed Americans and billions of dollars “rescuing” a corrupt country from its newly installed, Republican chosen leaders and criminal U.S. Corporations. The rich got richer and we forgot about the devastation done to the people. And Congress? Who went along with lies that allowed the destruction of these people’s lives? What have they done to help alleviate the suffering their ignorance caused? Nothing!

But the indifference of our Congress and Administration isn’t reserved for Iraqis. Oh No! It’s practiced quite well here in the land of opportunity (for the few).
We saw the compassion our Republican Administration and Republican Controlled Congress showed for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina; survivors who couldn’t return favors or finances to the politicians. We continue to see the lack of concern the current Democratic Congress and President show for them 4 years later. The treatment of these Americans is unconscionable. And worse than the way politicians treat survivors of our attempted foreign conquests is the way they treat our own people.

Now we find millions of Americans asking for basic health and human services and decent treatment yet the plea falls on apathetic and in some cases disgusted political ears. How dare Americans ask for services that won’t return something tangible to the politicians…or corporations?
Americans ask for decent health care and a proposal is made toward that end. But some politicians say that would cost billions of dollars! We certainly can’t waste that kind of money…on common people! No. That kind of money is reserved for illegal wars, crooked politicians and corrupt businessmen and their kind.
For any number of reasons these politicians try to justify treating Americans like shit. We can’t just give something to them. That would be socialism. We can’t provide a government service for health care. That would cut the profits of and be unfair to American Business. No, we just have to ride it out. Just hang in there and someone will do something about it... sometime.

After World War II, we spent billions helping the Europeans. We helped the G.I.s who fought that war so they could get on with their lives here at home. We even helped the Germans and Japanese, our enemies, remember? Now the descendants of those politicians aren’t human enough to treat the Iraqis the same way. Worse, they can’t justify treating Americans the way we treated those who tried to kill us. We’re supposed to be able to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, Right? Just like Wall Street. Just like Big Oil. Just like the Health Care Industry.

How does it feel, America, to be treated worse than our World War II enemies; they way we now treat the Iraqis? Those of you who complain that we shouldn’t give illegal aliens care are now being treated by the very politicians you elected, like the illegal aliens you would deny help. How does it feel to lose your job, your home, everything you worked for, just like the Iraq war refugees?
Congress is telling you to your face you’re no better than the Iraqi refugees; you’re no better than the Germans or Japanese we fought even if you think you are. How does it feel to realize no one in Congress gives a rat’s ass about your life? How does it feel to be compared to refugees; to the third world poor; to be treated less human?

It is and was your money that the politicians used and use to wage these wars to enrich their friends; to use your money to help corrupt American Banksters and greedy corporate CEOs receive billions more tax payer provided bonuses for destroying your life; to use your money to help other politicians, industry and presidential appointees make decisions on ways to deny you a decent life. The Iraqis didn’t contribute one cent to these vermin so they get no help. The illegal aliens didn’t contribute. But you did. Now you’re being treated as badly as Congress treats them. And Congress and Big Business don’t care.
The Republicans, Blue Dogs and even this President show no respect for the sacrifices you’ve made yet they ask for more while doing nothing for you. “Just hang in there, it’ll get better”, we’re told. All the while trillions are going to Wall Street and Wall Street is responding with contempt that that money isn’t enough. To them you’re just a member of an unfortunate group of sub human drek left over from their latest investment schemes; offal to be ignored.

Do you deserve any respect for your sacrifice? They don’t think so. It appears the President doesn’t think so either or he would be doing something about it. And he and they show their lack of concern with hardly veiled contempt. They got theirs, their friends got theirs, now you have to get yours. What’s that? You can’t get yours? So sorry. It’s America, where everyone has the opportunity to make it big. If you can’t, it must be your fault. Just like the Iraqi People and those living in the third world.

What can you do about it…legally? Call you Senator or Representative and ask him or her why you’re being treated like the Iraqis; why you’re being treated like illegal aliens; why you’re being denied the same rights given to those who destroyed your way of life. Ask them why you have to continue to pay for Wall Street CEOs and Banksters; why you have to pay for politician’s health care but receive none; why they and their families eat steak while you stand in food lines hoping for a handout for yours. Ask them why they are treating you like the Iraqi People.

But try not to take up too much of their precious golfing time with your questions and be nice about it, too. Remember, they’re busy running this country...and lobbyists are waiting.
25 October 2009

Sunday Morning Geek Out

by: Debra

Zombies.  I wonder how much alcohol was involved.  Ooh, ooh, more zombies.  Why the heck are they so popular?  Piers Anthony at least made them funny.

In I Will Fear No Evil Robert Heinlein envisioned a world in 2015 where people lived in gated communities patrolled by private security forces to keep the riffraff out and the rich used their hovercraft to travel safely between them.  It's 2009 and hovercars are nowhere in sight, but gated communities patrolled by private security are here and being embraced by what's left of the middle class.  Mr. Heinlein grokked (spell check didn't even blink) the future pretty well.  The personal computer, the internet, Wikipedia and YouTube all appeared in his books long before they became reality.

The Dyson Sphere inspired some interesting science fiction, Larry Niven's Ringworld springs to mind as well as a plot device on Star Trek, and has always fascinated me, but not as much as the new Dyson fan.  No moving parts on the outside.  Just air in a cool rushing stream.  The price tag is a little steep, okay, it's way steep but if you have kids you don't have to worry about them sticking there hands between the blades.

If health insurers are operating with less than a five percent profit margin, why are the executives so handsomely overcompensated

Aspirin for dandruff, who knew?

Don't know what costume to wear for Halloween?  How about using your 42" flat screen and going as a working iPhone?  The whole getup weighs 85 pounds, but isn't worth it to win best costume?  Or maybe sushi is more your style.


· ·

Swine Flu Emergency Declaration

by: Foiled Goil

Provided below is some information in regard to the recent H1N1 swine flu declaration by President Obama:

National Emergency: Obama Makes Formal Declaration on Swine Flu

Blogs.ABC News:
White House officials said the declaration is a “pro active measure” to make sure health care facilities have the freedom they need to address the growing swine flu epidemic. They said the announcement “removes legal hurdles” for health care facilities as they decide on a case-by-case basis whether to implement emergency protocols to deal with swine flu.

The declaration itself does not allow facilities to bypass federal regulations. Instead, it allows them to apply for a waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services that will allow them to, as one senior White House official told ABC News, “establish alternate care sites, modified patient triage protocols, patient transfer procedures and other actions that occur when they fully implement disaster operations plans.”

You can read the official White House press release below:

* * * * * * *

President Obama Signs Emergency Declaration for H1N1 Flu

In keeping with the administration’s proactive approach to H1N1 Flu, President Obama last night signed a proclamation declaring 2009-H1N1 Influenza a national emergency. The proclamation enhances the ability of our Nation’s medical treatment facilities to handle a surge in H1N1 patients by allowing, as needed, the waiver of certain standard federal requirements on a case-by-case basis. A copy of the proclamation and the accompanying message to Congress are attached.

The foundation of our national approach to the H1N1 flu has been preparedness at all levels –- personal, business, and government –- and this proclamation helps that effort by advancing our overall response capability.

Please check for the most up-to-date news on H1N1, preparedness, and vaccine distribution.

Obama Declares Swine Flu a National Emergency

Obama: national emergency for swine flu; help for hospitals to speed treatment for infected

ABC News:
Administration officials said the declaration was a pre-emptive move designed to make decisions easier when they need to be made. Officials said the move was not in response to any single development.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius now has authority to bypass federal rules when opening alternative care sites, such as offsite hospital centers at schools or community centers if hospitals seek permission.

Some hospitals have opened drive-thrus and drive-up tent clinics to screen and treat swine flu patients. The idea is to keep infectious people out of regular emergency rooms and away from other sick patients.

Hospitals could modify patient rules — for example, requiring them to give less information during a hectic time — to quicken access to treatment, with government approval, under the declaration.

It also addresses a financial question for hospitals — reimbursement for treating people at sites not typically approved. For instance, federal rules do not allow hospitals to put up treatment tents more than 250 yards away from the doors; if the tents are 300 yards or more away, typically federal dollars won't go to pay for treatment.

Obama Declares Swine Flu a National Emergency (Update1)

The declaration is designed to help U.S. medical treatment facilities deal with a surge in H1N1 influenza patients by waiving government rules on a case-by-case basis, the announcement said. That might make it easier for hospitals to set up separate emergency facilities to deal with an influx of flu patients.

Obama declares H1N1 emergency
Obama's action allows Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements" to help health care facilities enact emergency plans to deal with the pandemic.

Those requirements are contained in Medicare, Medicaid and state Children's Health Insurance programs, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule.

Since the H1N1 flu pandemic began in April, millions of people in the United States have been infected, at least 20,000 have been hospitalized and more than 1,000 have died, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

October 24, 2009 - President Obama Signs Emergency Declaration for H1N1 Flu


Section 1135 of the Social Security Act [42 USC §1320b–5] permits the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive certain regulatory requirements for healthcare facilities in response to emergencies. Two conditions must be met for the Secretary to be able to issue such “1135 waivers”: first, the Secretary must have declared a Public Health Emergency; second, the President must have declared a National Emergency either through a Stafford Act Declaration or National Emergencies act Declaration. If these conditions are met, then healthcare facilities may petition for 1135 waivers in response to particular needs, and only within the geographic and temporal limits of the emergency declarations.

Under Section 1135:

The Secretary may tailor authorities granted under Section 1135 waivers to match the specific situational needs, but the requirements that may be waived include those related to Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These requirements provide important protections for patients during normal day-to-day operations, but they may impede the ability of healthcare facilities to fully implement disaster operations plans that enable appropriate care during emergencies. For example, requirements under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) would prohibit hospitals from certain rapid triage or sorting activities and prevent the establishment of off-site, alternate care facilities that could off-load emergency department demand.

* Waivers are permitted only to the extent they ensure that sufficient health care items and services are available to meet the needs of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP beneficiaries in the emergency area during the emergency period. The “emergency area” and the “emergency period” are the geographic area, in which, and the time period, during which, the dual declarations exist.
* Permitted actions include the waiver or modification of conditions of participation, other certification requirements, program participation requirements, pre-approval requirements for health care providers; waiver of sanctions for certain directions or relocations and transfers that otherwise would violate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA); waiver of sanctions related to Stark self-referral prohibitions; modifications to deadlines and timetables for the performance of required activities; and waiver of sanctions and penalties arising from noncompliance with certain Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations.

Examples of use of waivers:

* Hospitals request to set up an alternative screening location for patients away from the hospital’s main campus (requiring waiver of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act-EMTALA)
* Hospitals request to facilitate transfer of patients between ERs and inpatient wards between hospitals (requiring waiver of both EMTALA and HIPAA regulations)
* Critical Access Hospitals requesting waiver of 42 CFR 485.620, which requires a 25-bed limit and average patient stays less than 96 hours
* Skilled Nursing Facilities requesting a waiver of 42 CFR 483.5, which requires CMS approval prior to increasing the number of certified beds in a distinct part

Department of Homeland Security:
National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza [pdf] details planning for potential pandemics (Nov. 1, 2005).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
2009 H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)

National Institutes of Health:
Medical Encyclopedia Medline Plus: Swine Flu Encyclopic Information

Worst Case - Choosing Who Survives in a Flu Epidemic

U.S. News & World Report:
Think You Have the Flu? These 3 Websites Help Evaluate Symptoms

U.S. News & world Report:
FDA Warns of Bogus Swine Flu Products


One Frustrated View

by: Father Tyme

It looks as though the metamorphosis is nearly complete, the butterfly sits in the sun on an abandoned cocoon.

My choice for president during the run-up to the 2008 presidential elections didn't make it. Even so, I justified the choice of Obama as anything was better than McCain/Palin. After all, she was a crazy right winger that seduced what used to be a semi reasonable person. And after 8 years of rampant greed and insanity in the oval office, Alfred E. Neuman would have been more acceptable to me.

So, I jumped on the Obama bandwagon, cautiously hoping a new face would change the direction of this country. Even though I supported him and his "promises" I knew many would not be kept. But his overall theme was health care reform, a keynote of his campaign I believed in. His other desires, although well intentioned, left me somewhat skeptical as to the possibility of them coming close to fruition. Nevertheless, I felt health care reform would create a legacy for this man and the nation that could somewhat remove the stigma of the Bush years.

Once elected, rumors of his cabinet and adviser selections started making the rounds. I scoffed at the thought of people like Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers and positively "knew" that Bernanke and Paulson would be gone and in their place, a qualified, intelligent and non-partisan team of economic adviser's working for the people as Obama intimated be installed. Curiously, as the transition continued, more and more "right of center" people were chosen by Obama to head major departments and cabinet seats.

I started questioning this and was rewarded with derision by fellow commenters who stated that we needed to simply "give the man time" and things will be ambroserific!

Obama chose a man who worked for the Fed, Tim Geithner, to fix the bail out problem that he (Geithner) and the Republicans under George W. Bush set up for their colleagues on Wall Street. But rather than concern himself for the public, typical Conservative rationalization was used; take care of the big boys and the shit will trickle down. We tried that once under another Republican and the greed of the 80s created the current batch of greedy billionaires. So I was more than skeptical this would work. Still, a number of starry eyed commenters said "give the man some time."

As we gave him more time, more of the people responsible for crafting the mess we're in were kept in their current positions and other more than right of center former Bush people and Wall Street people were assimilated into the Borg. Bills were introduced in Congress that could help fix the problems we faced. But a funny thing happened. Obama tried for whatever reason to live up to one campaign promise; reach out to the other side for bi-partisan legislation, even to the detriment of the wishes of the Left. Why?

Now I'm no economist or psychologist but I have experienced a great deal in life and can see when things aren't what they should be . But it really didn't take a rocket scientist to understand the workings of the Right. Whether they understood or accepted Bush and Company had screwed the country and didn't want to admit it made no difference. That they would do everything in their power to make America forget Bush and blame it all on Obama should have been obvious to even an Ivy League Educated Man, if he were truly a man of the people who elected him. If it weren't, then there were only two possibilities; the first that the man was truly unready to be president and secondly, he had no intention of living up to what got him elected. I prefer to believe the latter based on what he's done.

We still have many from the far Right employed by Obama. For that there is NO excuse; federal prosecutors, department heads, military commanders who think themselves indispensable, infallible and not answerable to the commander-in-chief still make decisions as though Bush were still president and Cheney and corporations were running the country. 10 months later, this trash from 8 years of corruption and incompetence still adorn the halls of Congress, the Government and the Military when they should be in the private sector... or jail.

I, like others, had hoped for an accounting of the transgressions of the Bush people who so flagrantly violated every law they wanted. Yet I and others were told it would be better to let bygones be bygones; that it would only make the other side upset! We were to turn the other cheek and allow criminal acts to go unpunished for the good of the country. This set the stage for the continued debacle of Wall Street.

By now you'd think alarms would be going off in the mental caverns of others who supported this man. But not so. "Give him more time" and Nirvana is just around the corner. A better comment would be "Trust me!" Too late. The cocoon had opened.

Enter the Blue Dogs, a sub group of Democratic humanity who live under conservative rocks in the compost heaps of the Right willing to sell their souls and those of their constituents for pieces of silver offered by lobbyists. These vermin rode into power on the coattails of Obama. Once there, their true colors showed through the dung. They were more concerned with business contributions to themselves than working for the people they supposedly represented. Excuses were made to try to justify their positions against what the people wanted and for the lobbying powers of special interests.

Still I had some hope for the health care reform we were promised. But that promise was never really defined. It was much like Bush's statements of Iraq; "It's going as we planned"; "we're on track to accomplish our goals." Sounded like he meant, and we presumed, that the U.S. would win in Iraq and things would turn out well for the country. But in reality, what happened as "planned" was the plan of Cheney and friends to get the oil and enrich the coffers of their friends and any cost. Their goals were to make as many of the wealthy, even wealthier. So while not exactly lying to us, we mistakenly thought Bush meant he was on our side; the people's side. Foolish us.

Now comes the health care bill and after extreme pressure by the "grassroots" that got Obama elected, Congress has nearly come around. Except that the butterfly had no intention of fulfilling the promise of transformation. All the time, Obama felt it would fail and other interests (his and friends?) would prevail, even going so far as to claim to be still interested in bipartisan support, which turns out to be a single, deceiving senator.
Yet, now that victory for the people is within grasp Obama needs to make sure those he REALLY supports don't suffer because of the "people." So he supports a trigger mechanism that won't work…and he knows it.

Only now when it's too late do those who would give him more time realize they've been duped; that this "Democrat" is not really a Democrat in truth at all. His campaign and election appears to have all been a carefully crafted façade by those who got Obama into the limelight and who are now at his right hand reaping the rewards of their loyalty.

The butterfly has emerged. Enjoying sitting in the sun, when its wings are dry it will fly away to join with all the other butterflies, forgetting the metamorphosis he wanted us to believe in; and we're left in the empty cocoon with the "chains" he really meant.

Twilight Zone

by: Debra

I always wanted a leather teddy.


24 October 2009

Probably speculation...

by: Father Tyme

Executive Order

It seems Barry “last night signed a proclamation declaring 2009-H1N1 Influenza a national emergency.”
While this seems a pretty straight forward piece of executive operation, its ramifications could be huge.
Various interpretations have the president getting the power of literally life and death over all Americans during "national emergencies"; the control of every resource; the distribution of every item produced or used in the United States during the emergency; and, arguably, the ability to “nationalize” any and all industries to deal with the declared emergency.

Any and all government resources can be used to deal with the emergency…at the seeming discretion of the president and without any input from Congress!
Notably, there appears to be no time limit to the declaration of emergency! Meaning the “H1N1 Emergency could, theoretically, go on for months? Years? til 2012? Longer?

That executive order also gives the president total and full control over health providers with no indication of remuneration after the emergency is ended.
And while this gives Barry the power to do whatever he wants, it might also give him the power to do as he pleases with the health care industry. Think about that for a minute. Could that mean nationalization of some companies…or financial providers?

I don’t imagine he’d do it for a number of reasons; future repercussions; no balls. But if he did, couldn’t you see wingnut heads doing a “Mars Attacks” scenario?
This paragraph sort of sums it up:

From the Disaster Center:

"The President has the power to seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, call reserve forces amounting to 2 1/2 million men to duty, institute martial law, seize and control all menas of transportation, regulate all private enterprise, restrict travel, and in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all Americans...

Most [of these laws] remain a a potential source of virtually unlimited power for a President should he choose to activate them. It is possible that some future President could exercise this vast authority in an attempt to place the United States under authoritarian rule.

While the danger of a dictatorship arising through legal means may seem remote to us today, recent history records Hitler seizing control through the use of the emergency powers provisions contained in the laws of the Weimar Republic."

--Joint Statement, Sens. Frank Church (D-ID) and Charles McMathias (R-MD) September 30, 1973

· · ·
23 October 2009

Drink. Drank. Drunk.

by: Foiled Goil


h/t to HuffPo: Drunkest Guy Ever, Silent Film Version

22 October 2009

This 'N That

by: Debra

No wonder people have given up looking for work.  They did everything they were supposed to, they got more education so they could get ahead and now their resumes are the first ones discarded by employers looking to hire.  Because they might leave for a better job when times get better.  Like that's going to happen anytime in the near future.
The overwhelming response astonished him. He asked Cheree Seawood, one of his current assistants, to go through the résumés and help pick out several to interview. To make the task easier, he decided they should be even more rigorous in ruling out anyone who appeared even slightly overqualified (emphasis mine).
Key senators are not thwarting President Obama on healthcare, they are thwarting the will of the American people.  And it should be reported that way.  If the senators are worried about survival, perhaps they should vote the way their constituents want instead of pandering to the insurance industry.

Newsday is going to put its content behind a paywall, with access limited to people who subscribe to the print edition, pay for local cable, or you can pony up $5 a week, which is $260 a year.  If people wouldn't pay $50 a year for the NYTimes a few years ago, very few people are going to find Newsday to be worthy of $260 a year or $5 an article when they accidentally print something interesting.

What drugs are these people on?  For eight of the twelve years the Republicans controlled Congress they had a Republican president who claimed he was the Decider and they rammed bills, useless proclamations and tax cuts through to the detriment of the country.  And the spineless Democrats not only helped them, sometimes they gave them more than they asked for.
“We need more voices,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, one of the party’s up-and-coming leaders. “Our party’s challenge has been that we need to be more inclusive — we need to attract the middle again. ... When one party controls all the levers of power in Washington, they’re going to try and villainize whoever they can on our side. It gives us an opportunity now to try and harness the energy and point it in a positive direction, so that we can attract the middle of the country to the common-sense conservative views that we have been about as a party.”
As the Bible states (Job 4:8 ), those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it, and by pandering to the lowest common denominator the Republicans coddled a section of society which attacks its own instead of working together.  80 percent of voters do not identify with the Republican party or its ideals and unless there are some major changes in attitude those in the middle will run even further away.

Cheney wants Obama to quit "dithering" on sending more troops to Afghanistan.  Meanwhile, back in the real world, a majority oppose sending more troops off to die in another useless land war in Asia.

Singing for her supper. Or not.The Performance Royal Society caused itself a little bad publicity by telling a woman who sings while she stocks shelves in a grocery store that she needs a performance license. Meanwhile musicians also don't approve of the government using their songs for torture. Britney Spears and Eminem qualify, but the Bee Gees?

Someone is begging for a Darwin Award.  Dennis LeRoy Anderson outfitted is La-Z-Boy with a lawnmower engine, a cup holder and what every pimped out ride needs, a stereo.  One day he rode it to the bar and had eight or nine beers.  He tried to ride it home but a parked vehicle jumped in his way and with a blood alcohol level of .029, besides wrecking his ride, he received a DWI.


· · ·

Barack Obama Lowers the Testosterone of Male Republicans

by: Anna Van Z

Please - like that would be difficult? They're so mentally and emotionally fragile, I'd predict this happens any time they consider topics ranging from the "librul media" to the damn feminazis brainwashing wimminfolk to forget their gawd-given place.

Barack Obama Lowered Republicans' Testosterone
By Lauren Davis

If you voted for John McCain in last year's election, you may have felt a twinge of disappointment when Barack Obama took the stage. If you're male, that twinge was more than political disagreement; Obama may have lowered your testosterone.

A Duke University study, conducted on November 4th, 2008, measured voters' testosterone levels before and after the winner was announced. Participants were asked to chew a piece of gum at 8pm, when the polls in North Carolina closed, and then again at 11:30pm after Obama's election was announced. By analyzing the spit samples in the gum, the researchers were able to analyze the testosterone levels of the participants.

Men generally experienced a slight drop in testosterone over the course of the night, but the participants who voted for Obama did not experience a drop in testosterone. Male voters who voted for McCain or Libertarian candidate Robert Barr, however, experienced a significantly greater drop in testosterone than would be expected. Female voters did not show a significant change in testosterone, regardless of whom they voted for. See more at io9.
21 October 2009

Hallowe'en 2009 Graphic #1

by: Dark Wraith

Dark Wraith Publishing herewith continues what has become an annual Hallowe'en tradition of publishing frightfully scary digital graphics, each series a veritable festival of truly terrifying pictures that began during the Hallowe'en season of 2006, when I created and published Hallowe'en Politics Graphic #1, Halloween Politics Graphic #2, and Hallowe'en Politics Graphic #3. In 2007, I created and published Hallowe'en 2007 Graphic #1, Halloween 2007 Graphic #2, and Hallowe'en 2007 Graphic #3. The 2008 round featured Hallowe'en 2008 Graphic #1 and Halloween 2008 Graphic #2.

Submitted for your approval is the terrifying Hallowe'en 2009 Graphic #1, a vision of horror that should scare the living Hell out of just about any Right-wing lunatic.

Obama Harvest of Death

The Hallowe'en festivities have now officially begun here at Big Brass Blog.

Run for your lives, good people.

The Dark Wraith will bring more bad dreams to your bedside in the days to come.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· ·
20 October 2009

Chamber Plot

by: Foiled Goil

Aw, those guys play games all the time, but they don't like it when someone plays games back. Call the waaambulance!

The Chamber of Commerce Gets Punk'd

Kate Sheppard, MoJo:
The Chamber of Commerce stunned DC on Monday by calling a last-minute press conference to announce a dramatic about-face in its climate policy -- it would not only stop opposing the Kerry-Boxer climate bill but would work with them to make it better. But the whole thing turned out to be a hoax mounted by the Yes Men, a notorious band of anti-corporate pranksters.

Reporters received a press release early Monday stating that the Chamber would be "throwing its weight behind strong climate legislation" at an event at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, DC. But when I and others showed up, we were met by a fellow dressed in a suit looking like a typical corporate PR man. This wasn't Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue. And I recognized him as Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum. (I've written about the group previously.) He soon was telling reporters, "We at the Chamber have tried to keep climate science from interfering with business. But without a stable climate, there will be no business."

The Yes Men posted text of the fake speech on a fake website that closely mirrors the actual Chamber site. There were a couple of tell-tale signs that there might be some funny business going on: The speech was to come from "Tom Donahue," while the actual CEO of the Chamber is named "Tom Donohue." And as TPM pointed out, the press release announcing the event was issued by one Erica Avidus, whose last name is Latin for "greedy."

As one might expect, the real Chamber was none too pleased.

The Rachel Maddow Show:
Chamber of Commerce punked

Oct. 19: Kate Sheppard, reporter for Mother Jones Magazine, talks with Rachel Maddow about a prank press conference at which activists pretended to be representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, reversing the group's position denying global climate change. [ 7:23 ]

19 October 2009

They Say

by: Debra

What I don't understand about Republicants is that they say human life is sacred. Until it's born. Or in a country they believe should be bombed because they don't like its leader.

They say every child has a right to life and then do everything in their power to make life harder for the child to succeed after it's had its first breath. They say the poor and minorities have too many children as they restrict access to birth control and abortion. Viagra, on the other hand, will probably be available over the counter in a few years.

They wail and gnash their teeth about sixteen year olds having sex because they don't know the consequences of their actions, yet are perfectly comfortable sending thirteen year olds to prison for life. And are sad that the Supreme Court won't let them put them to death.

They talk about supporting the troops, which really means sending them into as many armed conflicts as possible so they can use as much replaceable killing equipment as possible, but don't want to do anything to support those same troops once they have been injured or have returned home to families that don't know them anymore and to jobs that no longer exist.

They say people should find jobs to support their families instead of using welfare and food stamps and then continue to make it easier for corporations to send their operations overseas leaving whole neighborhoods and towns to be decimated by unemployment. Then they give the corporations an even bigger tax break saying it will encourage companies to create more jobs. Overseas.

They say people should get an education to get ahead and then cut or eliminate programs designed to do just that. They say they want children to learn, as long as it doesn't involve free thinking, history, civics, biology or the arts.

They say you should support the president under any and all circumstances, until it's a president they didn't elect.

They say they believe in freedom of religion, as long as it's Christianity. They say they believe in freedom of speech, yet object when it's anybody but them speaking. They say they believe in freedom of the press, as long as it's printing their point of view. They say they believe in freedom of assembly, as long as you are a teabagger, birther or watch Fox New on a daily basis, not if you are against the war, oil corporations or the police killing unarmed civilians.

They say they have the right to bear arms while totally ignoring the well regulated militia requirement.

They say America is the land of the free, yet we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. They say America is the home of the brave, yet most decisions made since 9/11 have been based on fear.

They say...a lot of things I don't believe in.


18 October 2009

FOX News and That Obama Administration 'Obsession'

by: Dark Wraith

The Kansas City Star labels the Obama Administration's counter-attack on FOX News an "obsession" and calls it "a big mistake"; it then emphasizes this point by repeating the words "A big mistake" as a single, following paragraph.

Sentence fragment problems with Kansas City Star editors aside, I herewith weigh in, first making it clear that I am not a cheerleader of President Obama or of his Administration. Anyone who has read my articles about him knows very well that I take exception to his personnel choices and policies far more often than I praise them.

That having been pointedly noted, anyone with even a modicum of perception knows very well that FOX News broadcasts a consistent, persistent stream of vitriol against Mr. Obama, his staff, his policies, and his presidency. With the exception of media outlets that offer content by journalists like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, the august publications of the mainstream media pretend that FOX News is one of their own and above repudiation, much less condemnation. In so doing, those news sources diminish their own credibility by accepting within their ranks hate speech, hysteria, lies, half-truths, and acts that border in some circumstances on sedition and treason. If that sounds like hyperbole, let me point to the call Bill O'Reilly made for al Qa'ida to level an attack on San Francisco. Bill O'Reilly is still on the air; he is wealthy, accepted as a journalist, and still a free man.

Let me repeat that (and in a complete sentence, no less): Bill O'Reilly, a man who called for an attack by al Qa'ida on an American city, is still a free man. You can listen to him on FOX. What you cannot do is find an editorial in The New York Times, the Washington Post, or just about any other high-end, reputable news source where Mr. O'Reilly is permanently, thoroughly, and unequivocally condemned. (You can, however, read my article, "An Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly," where I do just that.)

Neither can you find anything other than cutesy smirks from the mainstream news media about the current rising star on FOX News, Glenn Beck, whose on-air behavior borders on the psychotic. Where is the black-out on his maniacal charges, claims, accusations, and antics?

Let me tell you about a couple of incidents in which I, myself, have addressed this problem with FOX News being treated as acceptable television in civil society.

Several months ago, I went into a Radio Shack to purchase some audio wiring. One of the display televisions was on, and it was blaring FOX News. What I heard was one negative "news" story after another about Barack Obama. It was appalling. After about five minutes, I walked up to the manager and told him that his choice of television stations was deeply offensive. I was loud but civil as I told him I was going to leave and not return to his store until he and his employees understood how to behave in public; I then explained that FOX News isn't really the problem: it's people like him who think their debased personal problems should be considered acceptable in polite company.

I subsequently shared that with corporate headquarters of Radio Shack.

A similar incident occurred at a Dairy Queen last month, where the customers were being harangued by a loud television tuned to FOX News. I went up to the manager and told him that children were in that dining area, and they should not be exposed to the vitriol that was pumping out of that television. I shamed him as I lectured him about respect young people should have for a good President who is trying his best to do good for a nation.

I told him that I would not return until I had assurance from the corporation that owns Dairy Queen that retraining would be brought to bear on the managers of outlets that believe vitriol from FOX News is appropriate for a retail establishment that appeals to families with children.

I will continue this approach to dealing with FOX News. The cowardly mainstream news media pretend the Obama Administration is inappropriately targeting some kind of legitimate journalism, so it is up to me — and to you — to set the record straight: If it's hate speech, free speech ends where I walk in the door.

They want my money? — then they had better act like responsible adults of a civil society.

That goes for those august publications of the mainstream media. If they can't throw the charlatans out of their club, the information products they hawk from the doorways in front of their party hall aren't worth my money.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · ·

White House Ordered New Law to Cover-up Torture

by: Anna Van Z

This is utterly, absolutely outrageous. It'll be interesting to watch the response of the lefty crowd to this. Will they continue to explain away these sorts of actions, and insist that "we just need to give him more time"?

From TruthOut:

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York) said in a floor statement that the provision to amend the Freedom of Information Act was stripped from an earlier version of the bill, but the language was quietly reinserted in recent weeks, "apparently under direct orders from the administration."

The Obama administration will likely drop its Supreme Court petition challenging the release of photographs showing US soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan now that lawmakers are set to pass legislation authorizing the government to continue to keep the images under wraps.

On Thursday, the House approved a Department of Homeland Security spending bill that included a provision to amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and grant Defense Secretary Robert Gates the authority to withhold "protected documents" that, if released, would endanger the lives of US soldiers or government employees deployed outside of the country.

According to the bill, the phrase "protected documents" refers to photographs taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009, and involves "the treatment of individuals engaged, captured or detained" in the so-called "war on terror." Photographs that Gates determines would endanger troops and government employees could be withheld for three years.

The legislation now heads to the Senate for a vote, which is expected to take place as early as Thursday. Obama indicated he would swiftly sign the bill into law when it passes.

Most notably, the $42.8 billion spending bill gave President Obama the authority to transfer detainees held at Guantanamo Bay to the United States to stand trial in federal courts, a measure that Republicans tried to derail before the vote and one easily defeated by Democrats.

The bill, approved in the House by a vote of 307-114, states that detainees may be brought to the US for trial "only after Congress receives a plan detailing: risks involved and a plan for mitigating such risk; cost of the transfer; legal rationale and court demands; and a copy of the notification provided to the governor of the receiving state 14 days before a transfer with a certification by the Attorney General that the individual poses little or no security risk."

Civil libertarians and advocates of open government, however, were sharply critical of lawmakers - and the Obama administration - for covering up what they said were serious crimes by allowing the provision, the Protected National Security Documents Act of 2009, to be included in the bill.

"It is disturbing that the House would pass legislation that so blatantly undermines the Freedom of Information Act," said Michael Macleod-Ball, acting director of the ACLU's Washington legislative office. "Authorizing the suppression of evidence of human rights abuses perpetrated by government personnel directly contradicts Congress's oversight obligations. We urge the Senate to stop this provision from being enacted, and urge Defense Secretary Robert Gates not to use this provision if enacted."

The ACLU sued the government in 2003 to gain access to photographs and videos related to the treatment of "war on terror" prisoners in US custody. The US District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the release of the photos in a June 2005 ruling that was affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2008.

The appeals court shot down the Bush administration's attempt to radically expand FOIA exemptions for withholding the photos, stating that the Bush administration had attempted to use the FOIA exemptions as "an all-purpose damper on global controversy" and "an alternative classification mechanism," which is exactly what the Obama administration, working closely with Congress, has done. See the rest here.
17 October 2009

Saturday Morning Observations

by: Debra

Hmm, Byron York in the Washington Examiner has an article about how lefty anger could sink the Demowienies in 2010.  As if the Republicants are happy with their choices for candidates.  Perhaps the problem is that all of the choices suck, it doesn't matter if you're Republicans or Democrats.  Maybe the reason why the congressional approval ratings are so low is because the majority of them are useless sycophants out to line their own pockets and don't represent the interests of the people who voted for them.  It's just a thought.

The H1N1 virus is killing people who are obese or morbidly obese more frequently than in the past and the doctors seem mystified.  Did they pay attention in medical school?  Earlier in the article it's stated that for the people at risk the H1N1 virus affects the lower lungs as opposed to the usual invasion of the upper respiratory tract.  As an asthma patient I can tell you that my lung function tests reflected an almost twenty percent increase when I lost fifty pounds.  With less fat in the way, my lungs had more room to expand and at the same time more carbon dioxide was expelled, which increased the amount of oxygen my lungs were able to take in.  One of the things I noticed during an asthma attack is that I tend to try and suck more air in without trying to exhale which means that the only the upper lungs are working.  The lower lungs are congested and when I focus on exhaling forcefully, I tend to get a deeper, more satisfying breath.  Being fat makes this more difficult.  Duh.

I'm confused.  Does the NY Times have a time machine?  Today is October 17, 2009 and at the moment it is 11:44 am.  How do they know for sure that the article on the overreaction to the H1N1 virus is going to appear tomorrow?
A version of this article appeared in print on October 18, 2009, on page A1 of the New York edition
It's written in the past tense. Writing it today is one thing but a lot can happen in the next twelve hours as I'm sure Thomas Dewey would have explained to them.  Or if this asteroid had come a little closer.

It's not that I think the H1N1 virus isn't a problem that might become worse, at least some lessons were learned from SARS, but a better focus might be how the many people who don't have health insurance are going to receive adequate treatment and if hospitals are strained already why isn't something being done to change that?  Eight months into the pandemic and still not enough ventilators.  That's like eight years into the Afghanistan debacle and the troops still don't have dependable weapons.  Too bad we don't manufacture things in this country anymore, these problems would have been nipped in the bud thirty years ago.  Viva la corporations!  There bottom line is everything and now Americans are at the bottom of the line.



Some Saturday musings.

by: Father Tyme

CT du jour.
This comes to me from a friend down under. We’ve all heard about the infamous CIA experiments of the 1950s of different bacteria and viruses people in the subways of New York were exposed to in order to “get ready” in case the U.S. was attacked biologically. But how’s this sit with ya? That the Health Companies are complicit in producing flu and various other diseases and infections on a routine basis to benefit from the sickness they, themselves, caused? (Sort of like State Highway Departments using inferior material to build roads that quickly spawn potholes so the highway departments can stay in business!)
I guess it’s not beyond reason. The health company’s track record which is slowly becoming public knowledge isn’t something most businesses would want exposed. Yet foreknowledge of health reform as early as 2006 could have scared the beejeebus out of them making them want to grab as much cash from us as possible. And what do you know! The Swine Flu just ‘happens” in Mexico right on cue! Think back to the Asian Flu, the Hong Kong Flu and all the other major illnesses of the last 60 years and note the profits the health industry has gleaned after these outbreaks. Probably just a coincidence!
So creating a condition that only they can cure would gather big bucks first from the gullible accomplices in our government then from the public who will pay just about anything to stave off a condition that may have been caused by the companies in the first place.
Far fetched? Maybe. But who stands to gain, and gain greatly, from these “outbreaks” of various bugs? Betcha you can think of someone! (Makes you wonder if they really, truly want to cure cancer!)

The real reason the Republicans are against this health care reform and especially the public option could be because if it passes and the public realizes the Democrats got them inexpensive, decent quality health care, no Republican candidate would have a chance of being elected in 2010. So we see the delaying tactics to stretch this out past election season 2010.

If people can be held responsible for debts of their parents, why can’t politicians have their spawn held responsible for bills they enact that cause hardship to the public or even lack of action on their part to prevent major disasters? Imagine if the children of Congress could be held responsible for the sub-prime debacle! Phil Graham’s kids could pay for it. Ken Lay’s offspring should be accountable for Enron. Jenna and Barbara for everything W did. Any and all medical bills to be paid for by Max Baucus and Chuckie Grassley’s brats for anyone denied health insurance. Sorry Joe, no bankruptcy for them or you, either.

Do we really need all the “required courses” that universities foist on the kids or are they really just more ways to grab even more money from the government and students?

Something that “Ailes” the country. If the FCC can fine CBS, et al., if someone says “Fuck” on the air (even though there’s no law against it) how can the FCC allow Fox to continue to broadcast seditious comments or call for the assassination of various politicians (because there is a law against that) without revoking their license? Maybe we should write letters to the FCC to demand it not renew any Fox affiliate’s broadcast license?

Now we hear the idiot from Iowa, Chuckie Grassley, even though he’s no lawyer, thinks Obama getting the “Noble” (intentional typo) Prize may be unconstitutional because the 10th amendment may be violated in accepting it. He didn’t seem to have any problem destroying the 1st and 4th amendments so why is he so concerned about number 10?

Lastly, George H.W. “I love Lee Atwater” Bush is pissed that MSNBC employs those “sick puppies”, Keith and Rachel, who say bad things about his boy! Say it ain’t so, Georgie! The hypocrisy from Daddy Warbucks is monumental.
Bush Sr. calls Keith and Rachel "sick puppies"

Have a nice day!

· ·
16 October 2009

When the rains come...

by: Father Tyme

Just a little diversion.



interns in love

by: astraea

do it for jesus.

(it's so sexy, spies undercover...)


"This guy spied on us for months, and the most they can come up with is that we're doing ordinary lobbying work on Capitol Hill?"

Citing Work Of Right-Wing Intern Spy, GOP Accuses Muslim Group Of Infiltrating Hill With Intern 'Spies'
Justin Elliott | October 14, 2009, 5:56PM

Four House Republicans are charging that the Council on American Islamic Relations is infiltrating Capitol Hill with undercover interns, and they're basing the charge on a WND-published book that itself is based on the work of a man who posed as a Muslim to infiltrate CAIR as ... an intern!

In other words, it's Intern Spy vs. Intern Spy.


interesting drama, the spying interns. first ACORN undercover via training at a "$1,200-a-month internship with the National Journalism Center, a training organization whose alumni include conservative commentator Ann Coulter" -- and now now Muslim Spies! sounds like a great sort of activist venue for the report you lefty professor kids. I venture the same money bankrolls them all. It's just so Young Republican.
15 October 2009

how we fix it

by: astraea

oh yes we can.

reading jeff sharlet's The Family. these smuggery ultra-inflated folks scare the bejeezes out of me, but reading sharlet, one thing becomes clear. what their "jesus-plus-nothing" movement really worships is power, and the free-market economy scam a way to get it.

look down. they already have us by the balls. and we're just standing here?


once again, thomas frank is right... and I posit, privatization of government is part of their planned progression to full frontal theocracy.

Thomas Frank Exposes Washington's "Wrecking Crew"
Isaiah J. Poole

When regulators literally allowed the Wall Street implosion to unfold before their eyes, Frank says, "They were asleep at the switch because they were supposed to be."

*** the blogger formally know as astraea of aporia heights

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

by: Debra

Two weeks ago my upstairs neighbor knocked on my door and asked me to call an ambulance.  He looked awful, was having trouble breathing and in my professional medical opinion he needed emergency help. 

I called 911 and they started asking questions.  I answered some and got his input on the others.  When they asked how long he had been in distress he said about six hours, since his roommate shoved him, but he didn't want his roommate arrested.  Well, next thing you know the police were there and then the ambulance arrived.  He was admitted to the hospital with six broken ribs and a fractured sternum. 

To paraphrase Ron White, "you have the right to remain silent, unfortunately his roommate didn't have the ability."  This tends to happen when you've been drinking Black Velvet all night long.  They took the roommate away for a mandatory twelve hour lockup and guess who he blamed?  Me.  The alcohol and his violent behavior had nothing to do his being arrested in his mind.  I would call 911 again in the same circumstances.

I'm the type of person that if you indicate you need help, I'll move heaven and earth to get there and help you.  Time of day, any illness that doesn't prevent me from driving, nor distance will stop me and I have friends who will testify to that.  I can even be persuaded to fly, which I won't do for me, but I will do for my friends or family.

Lucinda Rosenfeld (supposed advice columnist) is not that type of person.  Her response if you ever have the misfortune to need her help and you aren't a blood relative or swapping bodily fluids, is that you deserve whatever happens and that there is no need for a friend to pick you up at the hospital at 4 am in the morning after deserting you at the bar and the police have found you unconscious on the sidewalk after someone slipped you a mickey.  She has absolutely no compassion and has no business giving advice, even if it is not to read her column if you don't like her attitude.

I've had the unfortunate experience of being "mickeyed". My roommate took me to a local bar, had one drink and left.  It was happy hour so I ordered another one and went to the bathroom.  I do not remember leaving the bathroom, the bar, or any other part of that night though I seem to function pretty well in blackout mode.  I caught the 5:20 pm bus home, washed and folded four loads of laundry, cooked dinner for my roommates and their dates and critiqued one of their sexual encounters.  In person.  I was also sick behind a plant in the bedroom.  I woke up in the morning very disoriented, shaky and disturbed that I couldn't recall anything except entering the bathroom.  Not everyone is that lucky.

Several years ago I had what I thought was a friend.  It was right after I my accident and after the doctor did some research he called in a pain prescription that there was a good chance I wasn't allergic to.  I raced to the Kaiser pharmacy only to find that they had closed ten minutes early.  I was beside myself with pain.  I was crying on the phone that I couldn't take the pain anymore.  I got home, took Shai out to do her business and started to cook dinner.  I had the television on and was icing my knee when there was a knock at the door.  I limped over and there were two policemen.  They came into my house, turned off the television and stove, cuffed me, put me in the back of a patrol car in front of my neighbors and took me to the mental wing of the hospital. I was absolutely livid, almost shaking with anger but I knew that if I displayed even one adverse emotion I would be stuck there the whole time.  It took me three hours to convince the doctors to let me out, it's normally a mandatory 72 hour stay. 

My so-called friend had called the police and reported that I was going to kill myself without ever calling me again to see if I had been able to find an alternative to the missing pain medication.  I had.  I remembered I had a Valium somewhere and I found it in an unpacked box.  While most people know it as an anti-anxiety medication, it also works on pain. Besides, I've had kidney stones which hurt a lot more and didn't try to kill myself though I did want someone to put me out of my misery. Which the nurse did when she gave me a shot of Demerol.

Soon after I met this woman she had her knee replaced.  I showed up at the hospital, which was nowhere near my home, to keep her company.  I visited her in her home while she was recovering and was willing to help her out no matter what she needed.  When I looked like I needed help, instead of helping me herself, her response was to send the cops, give me a record that would prevent me from obtaining either life insurance or any type of job that required a thorough background check and have me incur a medical expense that I couldn't afford.  Nice "friend", wasn't she?  We haven't spoken since that day.

Ms. Rosenfeld also doesn't have the vaguest notion of what being a good friend is, even one of the editors was disturbed by her response.  Ms. Rosenfeld seems to be the type of person that if a criminal broke into your home and raped you, she would wonder whether or not you were wearing flannel pajamas and curlers to bed and that if you had, the criminal wouldn't have had the urge to rape you.  She is not an advice columnist, she's a female Limbaugh and should find, or be forced, to find another line of work.  Perhaps NAMBLA needs a spokesperson, she seems to be able to rationalize anything.


I'll Be Seeing You in all those old familiar places....

by: Missouri Mule

As many of you here at the Big Brass Blog know, Blackdog was a huge fan of Garrison Keillor. So in honor of Blackdog, here is a little something that I believe Blackdog would have enjoyed. I'm quite sure I'll never hear or read Garrison again without thinking about our much missed Blackdog.

"I'll be looking at the moon,
But I'll be seeing you........"

From Garrison Keillor:

"Evidently some people were disappointed that Dick Cheney didn't receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and believe me, I sympathize -- I thought Philip Roth should've gotten the literature prize instead of that grumpy Romanian lady with the severe hair -- but it was Mr. Obama whom the Norwegians wanted to come visit Oslo in December and stand on the balcony of the Grand Hotel and wave to the crowd along Karl Johans Gate, and, face it, Mr. Obama is going to draw a bigger crowd than Mr. Cheney would have. When a man has shot somebody in the face with a shotgun, people are going to be reluctant to line up en masse in his presence lest he get excited again. As for Mr. Cheney's boss, he was an unlikely pick for the Peace Prize after it was revealed by a White House speechwriter in a recent memoir that Mr. Bush once said, "I whupped Gary Bauer's ass." Boasting about ass-whupping is not the mark of a Nobel Peace Prize winner. The correct word is "whipping."

Going to Oslo in December and sitting through a black-tie banquet with a bunch of wooden-faced Norwegians and eating herring and delivering a speech larded with bromides about international cooperation and no jokes is not what I'd consider a whee of a good time, frankly. Oslo is rather dark and murky in December. The sun rises during the first coffee break and sets right after lunch and this does not make for a festive mood. Bell-bottoms were not invented in Norway, nor was the mambo, or the convertible. This isn't Carnival in Rio.

Some conservative pundit suggested that the president should've declined the prize, but it is not gracious to reject a compliment, one should accept it with becoming modesty, as Mr. Obama did, that's what your mother brought you up to do. The prize isn't about you, it's about Peace, or Literature, or Homecoming, or Champion Hog, or Male Vocalist of the Year, so walk up there and smile for the cameras, say thank you and sit down.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth that you hear among Republicans is 68 percent envy and 32 percent sour grapes. Here is an idealistic, articulate young president who is enormously popular everywhere in the world except in the states of the Confederacy, and here sit the 28 percent of the American people who still thought Mr. Bush was doing a heckuva job at the end, gnashing their teeth, hoping and praying for something horrible to happen such as an infestation of locusts or the disappearance of the sun, something to make the president look bad, which is not a good place for a political party to be, hoping for the country to slide into chaos. When you bet against America, you are choosing long odds.

A person can run down the list of all that's wrong with this country, including the lobbyists who cross back and forth from public service to influence-peddling like alligators on the golf course, or the bankers who lost their minds in the great mortgage mania, but the country has a history of rising to challenges and turning away from demagogues and doing what needs to be done. Because we are a passionately patriotic people, infused with a love of our history and our land, and so we have limited patience for fools, such as the ones who now dominate the right.

Conservatism is a powerful strain in American life that ordinarily passes as common sense. Save for a rainy day. Don't foul the nest. Don't burn your bridges. Don't sacrifice the future for short-term profit. But when it contradicts itself and becomes weighted down with bigotry and cynicism, then it doesn't hold water anymore.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." And conservatives tried to keep functioning through the Bush administration but the contradictions wore them down, and last fall, when the federal government wrote a blank check to stave off collapse of the financial sector, conservative principles came crashing to the ground, and now all they have in common is that they don't like President Obama. OK, but resentment of an American president being honored by the Norwegians is not a good point from which to build a Republican revival. Petulant fury isn't a winning hand in politics. Get over it."
14 October 2009

Anti-Trusting The Insurance Companies

by: Foiled Goil

Insurance Industry Report Promises To Increase Premiums By 111% Under Health Reform

New Ad Blasts Insurance Companies, Renews Push For Public Option
The ad, which is airing on D.C. cable in an effort to target lawmakers, concludes: “When health insurance executives fix the game, they get rich. Time for competition when it comes to health insurance. We need the choice of a public health insurance plan.”

The spot is designed to amplify the message — perhaps best delivered yesterday by Congressman Anthony Weiner — that the insurance companies made one of the strongest cases yet for a public option by essentially vowing to raise rates. The report also makes it easier for reform proponents to argue that the industry, which had been making nice with the White House, is a bad-faith actor not to be trusted.

It seems like a potentially big tactical error by the insurance industry, and it’ll be interesting to watch how proponents of the public option capitalize on it to pressure the White House and Senate leadership to put a public plan — or some form of it — into the final Senate bill that’s being negotiated this week. The public option lives!

FOUL BALL!: End the Health Insurance Antitrust Exemption [ 0:37 ]

Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
Grayson rallies support for public option

Oct. 14: Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., talks about his 90,000 signature position which urges Democratic unity on reform with a public option. [ 7:21 ]

A Congressman with guts:

Alan Grayson, For Standing Up and Not Backing Down, Wins BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice Award

13 October 2009

The Story Of My Life

by: Debra

From my friend Linda.  I represent this sentiment and it's way too good not to share.


Taitz Defies Court Fine

by: Foiled Goil

Geez. This woman has just dug herself a deeper hole. Maybe it's the air on Planet Wingnuttia? Next, maybe the judge ought to recommend a padded cell for her. She's certainly not running on all cylinders.

Judgment Day: Birther Taitz Fined $20,000 For Misconduct
Finally fed up with Orly Taitz's repeated frivolous and conspiracy-ridden filings in a Birther lawsuit, the judge in the case has fined the crusading attorney $20,000.

Opening with a quote from Justice Cardozo on the privilege of bar membership, Judge Clay Land of the U.S. District Court in the Middle District Of Georgia goes on for some length -- the order is 43 pages -- explaining his reasoning... [snip]

And here, as first posted by the Washington Independent, is Land's full order.

Orly Taitz Responds To Judge's $20k Fine: Shove It!
Reached on her cell phone by TPMmuckraker and informed of the $20,000 fine imposed on her by a federal judge this morning, Birther attorney Orly Taitz responded, first, with laughter.

"So he didn't recuse himself?" Taitz asked, after letting out an extended, nervous-sounding chuckle.

Still defiant after months of legal wrangling and, by our count, three written denunciations by federal district court Judge Clay Land, Taitz said she had absolutely no plans to pay the $20,000 fine. [snip]

Land wrote:

“If counsel fails to pay the sanction due, the U.S. Attorney will be authorized to commence collection proceedings. [footnote:] The Court does not take this action lightly, and in fact, cannot recall having previously imposed monetary sanctions upon an attorney sua sponte.”

Sua sponte is Latin for "of one's own accord" -- in other words, the court acting without prompt by any of the litigants.


Tuesday Quickies

by: Debra

A tax break I can get behind and not only because I have two dogs.  Shai Shai saved mom's life many years ago.  She didn't do anything special, she gave mom something to believe in and care for after finding the body of a friend of hers.  Both my dogs lower my blood pressure and give me high quality love and affection.  In addition to reducing the blood pressure of their owners, dogs also require exercise and they enjoy etting it with their owners.  This helps owners lose weight because while it may take three weeks for exercise to become a habit for humans, for dogs it's about three days.  Cats are great too, I just find it impossible to breathe around them.

Booman, while Obama was a slightly better choice than the McCain/Palin ticket that doesn't make him the best president and when he consistently behaves the way I predicted he would, I reserve the right to point that out.  He is Bush lite and that isn't good for the country.  I'm happy he got the Nobel and I understand the committee's reasoning, but that doesn't make him the be all and end all.   Obama's latest volley at the people who supported him and naively expected he was going to help them instead of himself doesn't surprise me in the least.  If he wants us to be sycophants, he has another think coming.

I enjoy Dollhouse.  A lot.  Yeah you have to think and pay attention, but as much as I enjoy the alphabet shows I occasionally want a little more.  I find the supporting players and the premise on Dollhouse to be intensely interesting as well as thought provoking.  Watching Enver Gjokaj's portrayal of the character Kiki last week was absolutely brilliant and eminently believable.  And Topher?  My favorite.  As Boyd (Harry Lennix, the guy most likely to portray Obama in a future movie) points out, when Topher has ethical problems you know you're in trouble.

Here's hoping that Christian Slater doesn't become the new Eric Balfour (another one bites the dust, I like him but his track record sucks) of primetime television.  I enjoyed My Own Worst Enemy and was sad to see it go, but The Forgotten is a rehash of Cold Case except without the music.  Hopefully the characters will develop and the show might get a full season.

Orly, Orly, Orly.  You need a good psychiatrist.  And medication.  Lots of medication.  Something heavy duty like lithium to help ground you and bring you back to some semblance of reality.

Saturday night has been pizza night lately and it's been a lot of fun.  I make my own sauce, I vary the toppings and mom gobbles it up.  It's raining today so I think I'll make some homemade bread to go along with the split pea soup for dinner.  I've only made bread once before and I don't have a bread machine so I think I'll start with something easy.


· ·

Star Trek 2009 Gag Reel

by: Debra

Update: Boo hoo! Paramount pulled the clip so I've added this one. It isn't as good but it's still funny.

Too funny. (just in case they bring it back)

I am such a geek.



What Will You Do?

by: Dark Wraith

The Right Hand of Racism

They protest that any criticism they levy against the President unfairly opens them to accusations of racism.

They insist that their claims — no matter how ridiculous, no matter how contrary to facts, no matter how incendiary — be treated as legitimate contributions to the national debate.

Their enablers in the mainstream media take them and their Right-wing authoritarian followers seriously.

They pretend not to see the latent violence of their followers virtually boiling over in everything from open threats to public parades of firearms.

In the end, when the vile words those vile men and women spew on their radio and television talk shows, in their books and on their blogs, in their magazines and on their sycophants' protest signs, bring unconscionable tragedy, they will be righteously indignant as the blood from their toil is painted on the door of their greed-driven house of archaic incivility.

Now, here's the question: What will you do if that awful day comes when those hateful minions draw that blood?

What will you do?

Will you cower? Will you continue to believe that dignified discourse is the way to defeat bad people?

Or will you finally come to understand that evil is every bit as real as you are — that it thrives upon those who excuse their fear of direct, unapologetic confrontation by claiming dignified passivity or shallow, harsh rhetoric.

Yes, harsh rhetoric is good stuff, provided it rings its lousy melody well beyond the earshot of the wrongful hordes. Let those Right-wing seditionists prance on the stage of the national character and thereby turn it into an ugly, disgraceful thing. Howl from a safe distance.

What will you do upon that awful day if one of theirs erases the history of the future you tried to write?

You hope it won't come to that?

Yes, hope has gotten you a whole lot so far in this new century.

Just tell me what you'll do if the extremist leaders of the Right really do fulfill their destiny.

· · ·
12 October 2009

He ain't heavy, he's my fourth cousin twice removed

by: Anna Van Z

The bond
that links your true family
is not one of blood, but
of respect and joy in
each other's life.
Rarely do members
of one family grow up
under the same
-Richard Bach

I believe that the above quote represents a significant truth, one that many of us realize already, at least intuitively. Blood may be thicker than water, but nothing is thicker than the bonds that link heart, soul, and mind. Sometimes that includes those who are your blood kin; other times, it doesn't.

Having said that, I'll proceed to the point of this post, that being the fact that you and I are related to a whole butt-load of folks out there, most of whom you don't know and likely never will. In some cases, we might be appalled to know just whom that large group includes. And I'm not even referring to our more distant ancestors here. Just as an example, this is a list of some of the blood relationships, other than direct descent, between US Presidents.

America is said to be a "melting pot", because of the diversity in origins of its citizens. You can have one familial line that involves grandparents "right off the boat", alongside other lines of ancestry that include the earliest settlers, before there were even colonies. Including the Native American lines, which many of us have. Your ancestors most likely didn't all settle in just one area of the country, either. The further back that your ancestry extends in a particular region, the more likely it is that you sometimes interact with people with whom you share a kin relationship, even if it's a distant one.

What does kin relationship mean? It means someone that you share a common ancestor with, and that can be as distant as Ninth Cousin. Determining this gets complicated, which is why I love the genealogical grids that help us figure it out. I've linked to one example here.

But you can also figure it out without a chart. Let's say that James is your Great Great Great Grandfather. And let's say that James also is the Great Great Great Grandfather of Richard. Count the number of Greats in either case - 3 - and Richard is your third cousin. That one is simple.

But what about when the number of Greats is different? Then it works like this: If James is your Great Great Grandfather(Gx2+G=3, the number of greats PLUS the grand), but he is Richard's Great Great Great Great Grandfather(Gx4+G=5), then in this case, the lesser number of Gs determines the cousin level, which is 3; and the difference between the two numbers is the number of "removes", which is 2. Removed just indicates that two people are from different generations. So in the second scenario, Richard is your third cousin twice removed.

At the Great Great Great Grandparent level, you have 32 grandparents. At the Great x 4 level, you have 64. And so on. It's really not difficult to be encountering people that you're related to. It's just that most of us never know it. Once I was in a close, live-in relationship when I discovered my boyfriend was either a 7th or 8th cousin. We had a common ancestor from 18th century Virginia. Of course, that wasn't nearly close enough for us to get creeped out by it, but it was interesting, to say the least.

Here's an additional example: One of my ancestors, James Freeman, settled in Buncombe County, NC in the 1700's. Let's say James turns out to be my Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather. That's five greats plus the grand, for a total of six. Then let's suppose I meet a client, who has ancestors who were also in this region at that time. We start chatting about family histories, and because we both know many of the family names/surnames in our branches of ancestry, we find that James is also my client's Great Great Great Great Grandfather. That means we share a direct ancestor, back in the 1700s. Not a close kinship, obviously, but a kinship nonetheless. So my client is actually also my 5th cousin, once removed.

The odds of you interacting with actual blood kin in any given region are probably higher than what you think, especially if we're talking about primarily non-urban areas. But sometimes, maybe even then. Because some of my Dutch ancestors were among the first to settle in what was then New Amsterdam (New York), and intermarried heavily with other Dutch families there at the time (not to mention the Iroquois), I find myself a coat-tail relation of the Vanderbilt family. Far too distant to cash in, unfortunately, but it gives me a slightly different perspective when I visit the Biltmore House here in Asheville. (Although I mostly think, Damn! Is right for one buncha people to have so much loot?!) I would also predict that I'm probably kin to a great many New York area folks with some Dutch ancestry, as well. But thank you Jesus that I don't have to listen to that accent on a daily basis!

At the time of the Civil War, my Dutch ancestors who farmed and traded in early NY and NJ (and had subsequently expanded into the regions of PA, OH, IN, and MI), fought for the Yankees. My Celtic and British ancestors, who were among the earliest settlers in VA, NC, KY, and TN, overwhelmingly fought for the South. In some cases, members of the same family were fighting on opposite sides of that war. Around these parts, depending on what generation you're talking to, that still can be a bitter subject for some.

I wonder if our ability to coexist with the other schmucks in our sphere would improve somewhat, if we could act as if the people we're dealing with were our cousins. In some cases, they really are. Of course, some of these folks might be far too obnoxious for that to make any difference, no matter how you frame it! Just as it doesn't with our more immediate and tiresome relatives, with whom we have to interact at obligatory family gatherings.

As I said at the top, I believe that our deepest sense of kinship occurs from the bonds of the heart and mind. There's your soul family, and there is your genetic group. Those groupings don't always converge, although happily, at times they do.
However, it's a fascinating journey to learn where and with whom your genetic connections lie. It gives one a big picture perspective in a way that few other things can, and almost always reveals some incredible, heartbreaking, amazing, and bawdy stories in the process. Because honey, those ancestors of yours? They were a piece of work! It also reminds us what a miracle the fact of our existence here, at this point in time, really is.

The sequel to this post will address the use of DNA markers when we dive into the gene pool adventure. It some cases it may be helpful, but in others it will be useless, and that's what I'll address in the second installment.
11 October 2009

Discretion Advised

by: Lisa Ranger


--Levi in Vanity Fair (10.02.09)

Also weak in their minds
Also fake, also blind
Lies and lust and hate
--Autoerotic, Front Line Assembly

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool,
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules,
--Working Class Hero, John Lennon

Boys will be boys, bad boy, bad boy
Always gettin' so restless, nothin' but trouble
Boys will be boys, bad boy, bad boy
Leave me feelin' breathless, nothin' but trouble
--Bad Bad Boys, Gloria Estefan

[I really like this photo of Levi for the tattoo along his forearm -- "Johnston", just so he wouldn't forget.]

Friend Ranger says babies are "shit making factories." Many continue the behavior into their adulthood, both literally and figuratively. This, is a rant.

It is not that Ranger or any other progenitor is necessarily a bad person, but many are and do produce some unsavory specimens. This has been a week of seeing those results, hence the turn from my usual upbeat Sunday installment.

The bad behavior shows a predictable arc, from indulged (or neglected) childhood, to entitled adolescence and adulthood. Egocentrism is a normal part of childhood development, but if it is not contained and refined, it explodes into something very ugly.

Kids are mean, and sometimes, it just gets worse. Just ask Nicolas Godin, of the duo Air (Air Calls Kids Evil), who was quoted this week in Spinner of his salvation in music: "[Music] was magic when I was in class with all these mean kids 'cause kids are f---ing mean. Everybody loves kids but kids are evil. And I have kids! But it's true."

To begin: the littering ingrates who speed past my door every weekday morning and afternoon, to and from the neighborhood high school. Those in the BMW convertibles kindly slow down to drop their Burger King bags on my front lawn. The rednecks in the jacked up Fords offend with their Cherry Bomb Mufflers and "Dixie-blaring" horns. If I am home during these times, I must wear earplugs

Next are the adult vehicle offenders:
Those who block intersections (de riguer, in Tallahassee); those who blare their horns when they violate roundabout rules (we shouldn't have "traffic calming" roundabouts in the U.S. if people aren't taught how to navigate them), and those who are simply oblivious.

I've had to beep at numerous cars this week to even have them see me as they drifted into my lane unawares of my presence. I drive a small car, and was once hit by a cell-phone talking woman in a hulking SUV who said, "I didn't even see you." Well, you didn't even bother to look down from your precipice, did you?

Next are the figurative train wrecks: Levi to Pose Nude for Playboy (and here and here.) Alaska's favorite son, Levi Johnston, to be paid for baring his newly beefed-up body. Levi --what an utter failure. What a bunch of nothing, not even pap.

Ranger's response to hearing the news was, "He's not even a man." (How does that even matter in the realm of skin mags? I thought younger was better?) But Levi the person is not better. The fornicating baby daddy of a wayward once-governor who also shuns her responsibilities seems an unlikely candidate for heartthrob.

Which leads me to wonder: Who and what do we esteem today? Maybe we want ineffectual, non-adults. What does that say about our self-esteem?

The UK's Daily Mail speculates, "Taking the pill for past 40 years 'has put women off masculine men" It argues from a biological perspective that a woman's receptivity to masculinity is down due to her artificially regulated cycles. If so, then the Cherry Bombs are for naught. Maybe the men are becoming like girls, who primp mainly in competition with other women. Maybe our society is becoming perfectly autoerotic.

But that presumes Hollywood is totally responsive to the desires of the audience, versus creating that desire. And it presumes girls are the recipients of their mother's proclivities, as they themselves are not necessarily on the Pill. That presumes medicine is to blame.

I look at the aggressive monster truck drivin' rednecks offending me with their blaring gangsta rap or Alabama (a riven lot, those) and search for their counterparts in true masculinity; I come up wanting. We've gone from Steve McQueen and Sean Connery to Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Zac Efron.

Maybe everything is a pendulum, of greater or lesser arcs. Maybe we shut down our idealization of the Tough Guy after Vietnam. Maybe a lot of those guys left the game, too. That is not to say they reentered on any more authentic plane. Maybe they just bowed out, as the prototypes they had followed met with disdain and derision.

Where are we now?

There. That feels only slightly better.

Cross-posted from Ranger Against War

· · ·

Eight Years On

by: Debra

The Second World War lasted six years and long before it was over the American people had built airplanes, ships, tanks, bombs, guns and bullets to support the troops.  No effort was spared.  Rationing of sugar, butter, meat, milk, gasoline and rubber were endured by the citizenry (rich and poor alike) so that the troops could have what they needed to ensure a successful outcome as well as spreading the pain equally among the populace.

It's been twenty years since we had a president with direct experience on the battlefield and it shows.   Once you've had to dodge a few bullets or your plane has been shot out of the air you tend to appreciate your equipment and hope that it is the best there is.  Unfortunately, the troops of today don't have that confidence and haven't for many years.

Eisenhower warned about the military complex in his farewell speech to the nation while also pointing out their responsibility to the country.  Somehow the military complex has grown without holding up its share of the bargain.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
When I was in basic training they ran us through a simulated firefight using tracer ammunition. Even though I knew I wasn't going to be harmed it was still a terrifying experience.

We were on a night march and bombs started going off and there was incoming "fire". We were supposed to return "fire" while trying to make it to a safe outpost. Things were going okay until about five minutes into the firefight when my M16 jammed.  It's amazing what you can do when you're scared.  I cleared my weapon while on the run and after firing a few more rounds, it jammed again.  Thirty five years later and the troops in Afghanistan are having the same problems with their weapons except this is not a training exercise.  The M4 jams under duress and during last year's battle at Wanat, during a critical time in the battle, many of their weapons were rendered unusable due to jamming under heavy use and nine US soldiers lost their lives.

As I've stated before, the longer you are at war the more the enemy learns about tactics and the more willing they are to employ them.  In 2006 the Taliban pinned down a group of Green Berets, they repeated it in Wanat and once again this past week.  The absolute least, and I mean least, we could do for our troops is provide them with weaponry that works when they need them.  Every time.  A rifle is meant to be fired, not used as a club and it shouldn't get so hot that you are unable to clear a jam.  If shuttle tiles can be built to withstand the heat of orbital reentry, weapons designed for war should be able to withstand sustained usage under the conditions they are supposedly manufactured for.

Eight years on and our troops are still going to war with inferior equipment.  Mullah Omar may have retreated eight years ago but he's back now with experience under his robes and willing to use it.  No one has ever successfully invaded Afghanistan and we aren't going to succeed using equipment that doesn't do its primary job.  That we haven't learned that painful lesson is the second error of historic proportions and sending in 40,000 more troops with shoddy equipment isn't going to change anything except our troops increasing body count.


· ·

Prediction in 2010

by: Anna Van Z

This was put together as part of a presentation by some educators in 2006. Since we're almost upon 2010 now, it's likely that we're already close to, or exceeding many of these predictions for 2010.
Finally, here's an explanation for why some of us feel like our mental hard drives are becoming very, very crowded - they ARE. In 2006, the amount of technical information was doubling every two years. By the time we reach 2010, it will be doubling every 72 hours. Yeah. Good luck keeping up with that mess (please - like we were keeping up when it was every two years?!)

Sweet dreams are made of these, who am I to disagree...

by: Father Tyme

I had another dream last night. This one takes place in the future, maybe 40 or 50 years. America has recovered from the terrible recession and greed of the earlier Bush Administration.
Things have become better, Social Security has stabilized, health care is universal and public, the rest of the world is trusting us again and employment is nearly total. People are getting along better than ever.
Life is good. So what’s the problem?
A group of old health care executives, with long memories and unrequited vengeance have met to discuss a project they embarked on in 2008. Meeting with a special group of their research people, they were told the money from the Pentagon Hit in 2001 is now available and the DNA from Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the Neo Cons is being readied for cloning. They should be fully mature in a couple of years and ready to move into society.
I awoke screaming!

Get well, Peter.

· ·
10 October 2009

Favorable Signs of a Sustainable Economic Recovery

by: Dark Wraith

Notwithstanding the pessimistic tone and title of the October 3, 2009, CBS News article, "Unemployment Figures Cloud Recovery Hopes," the economic rebound is proceeding in the right way, as explained in my October 2 article, "Recession to Recovery: The Rough and Narrow Road Ahead." There, I wrote:
"Unemployment is as high as it has been in 26 years, and it is not likely to fall significantly for some time to come. Believe it or not, that's good news, if "good" can mean continued hard times for millions of Americans. No one is expected to cheer if, in the months ahead, news analysts keep talking about stubbornly high jobless rates, but a sluggish rebound in the jobs market could very well be the engine for a sustained period of robust economic expansion down the road."

The dynamics distill to a trade-off between timeliness of the recovery in the jobs market and inflation. An unemployment rate dropping too rapidly will ignite inflation, and the cure for inflation coming fast and furious would almost certainly throw the country right back into recession.

The graph below, drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics database, shows the corrosive effect on per-person output of the recession that is now ending and how the beginning of the recovery was led by the first increase in productivity since the beginning of 2008. For the second quarter of 2009 (the most recent for which data is available), the index of output per person in the manufacturing sector rose from 173.162 to 175.164, as workers still employed were pushed to produce more.

Output per worker, Quarter 1 1999 to Quarter 2 2009

This goes right along with what I wrote in "Recession to Recovery: The Rough and Narrow Road Ahead":
If [businesses restock declining inventories] with their existing workforces and maybe a modest increase in new hires, the workers doing their jobs will work harder, and the companies will see their profit margins start to improve as the inventories are sold; but if the companies have to hire lots and lots of workers to rebuild inventories, competition for qualified workers will heat up, and companies will have to start bidding up wages and salaries.

So far so good. Productivity per worker is going up, and this is happening without any increase in the overall rate of employment, which means it's the already employed workers who are pushing harder at their jobs. (That, of course, is not great news for working people, who are quite likely feeling as if they're being flogged to greater productivity in the national ship's slave galley right about now.)

What about labor costs, though? If this really is shaping up as a strong recovery, the other part of the equation, worker pay per hour, should be holding steady. In fact, labor costs had risen dramatically right before this latest recession in a typical Keynesian catch-up with other price increases earlier in the 2001 to 2008 economic expansion; but they have now leveled off, staying almost flat from the first to the second quarters of 2009, as indicated in the graph below.

Unit Labor Cost, Quarter 1 1999 to Quarter 2 2009

That means wage inflation is in check for the time being, so as other prices rise, workers will have to continue delivering greater productivity to hold on; and as long as businesses don't have to start furiously competing with higher wages for new workers, the unemployment rate can be brought down slowly without triggering the inflation spiral I described in "Recession to Recovery."

So, bad news really is good news, at least sometimes. Unemployed people really are suffering, and that is where public policy projected through assistance programs can blunt the damaging effects of joblessness and all the problems it creates for people, families, and communities.

We have the makings of a sustainable, strong economic expansion. The figures provide clear evidence of this, but the story isn't finished. Once the expansion gets its own momentum, the central bank of the United States will have to turn its attention away from providing liquidity to keep interest rates low and start the long, difficult process of draining from the economy an incomprehensibly large overhang of dollars that has been accumulating year after year, starting early in the current century.

That excess liquidity is much like a tidal wave still well out at sea. That rolling, roiling mountain of rising prices is headed right for shore, and if the unrelenting swell of pounding surf is not drained away long before we see it, the resulting inflation will be a debilitating, destructive force that only the most draconian and protracted of contractionary monetary policies can stop.

The question yet to be answered is whether or not there will be enough time: the economy must gather sufficient upward momentum to no longer need extraordinary stimulative spending by Congress accommodated by extraordinary liquidity provided by the central bank. If the Fed starts draining the dollar overhang too soon, the economic recovery will be slowed or even stopped; but if the Fed waits too long, the inflation spiral will be so embedded in labor and business expectations that the contractionary monetary regime will, once again, slow or even stop the economic recovery.

In a worst-case scenario where the Fed waited too long to face the inflation problem, the eventual clamp-down on the money supply would have to be long enough in duration to potentially be economically devastating as well as politically disastrous to the incumbent President and members of Congress, who would almost assuredly be blamed by the electorate for the collapse of the economy back into recession.

Right now, it looks like a controlled rollover by the Fed away from accommodative monetary policy can still be accomplished in such a way that the nascent economic up-swing can be sustained.

Unfortunately, the size of that tidal wave of liquidity mentioned above is not really appreciated by most people, and maybe not even by most policy makers in Washington. It is out there, still well over the horizon. It's coming; and just like tidal waves on the ocean, which have the odd habit of making the tide go out right before the massive wave hits, the dollar overhang will have the perverse effect of creating sporadic evidence of deflation in the months before the inflation comes in as a relentless force driving commodity prices, wages, food prices, and interest rates upward.

If it gets to the point where our public policy officials are fighting the tidal wave at the shoreline, we will have a hard, debilitating battle, indeed.

We should hope that our leaders in Washington will seize the opportunity now available to deal with the impending challenge before they have to manage an inevitable disaster.

· ·
09 October 2009

about that nobel prize...

by: astraea

Think about it. Mccain promised more wars, war for a hundred years, war without blinking an eye. That Obama won the election -- under his own steam, by going around the system, by taking the election back to the people -- should still be stunning. What the Nobel Committee recognized today is the difference between where the world would be under Mccain, verses where it is now -- by virtue of Obama. The award works to seed the future for peace, a peace hopeless without leaders who hope.

The Nightmare of Vista...

by: Anna Van Z

Can be succinctly summed up by the following: Gaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!! Sweet pygmy Jesus on rye, there has got to be a better way! And now Microsoft says they have it, and it's called Windows 7. Supposedly better, faster, with more XP-ish features, Windows 7 is being released on October 22. Current Vista users will apparently get a chance to upgrade - at what cost remains to be seen. The Wall Street Journal says that, "Microsoft's new operating system is good enough to erase bad memories of Vista".
Well, that remains to be seen, doesn't it? I wonder, will Microsoft also pick up the tab for treating the severe PTSD that using Vista has caused? I'm guessing not. Perhaps a class-action law suit is order?
Anyway, I'm waiting on the expert opinions of our resident techno-wizards here at BBB.

From WSJ:
A Windows to Help You Forget, by Walter Mossberg
Excerpts from Windows 7 review -
In just two weeks, on Oct. 22, Microsoft's long operating-system nightmare will be over. The company will release Windows 7, a faster and much better operating system than the little-loved Windows Vista, which did a lot to harm both the company's reputation, and the productivity and blood pressure of its users. PC makers will rush to flood physical and online stores with new computers pre-loaded with Windows 7, and to offer the software to Vista owners who wish to upgrade.

After using pre-release versions of Windows 7 for nine months, and intensively testing the final version for the past month on many different machines, I believe it is the best version of Windows Microsoft has produced. It's a boost to productivity and a pleasure to use. Despite a few drawbacks, I can heartily recommend Windows 7 to mainstream consumers.

Windows 7 introduces real advances in organizing your programs and files, arranging your taskbar and desktop, and quickly viewing and launching the page or document you want, when you want it. It also has cool built-in touch-screen features. It removes a lot of clutter. And it mostly banishes Vista's main flaws—sluggishness; incompatibility with third-party software and hardware; heavy hardware requirements; and constant, annoying security warnings.

I tested Windows 7 on 11 different computers, ranging from tiny netbooks to standard laptops to a couple of big desktops. These included machines from Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Sony. I even successfully ran it on an Apple Macintosh laptop. On some of these machines, Windows 7 was pre-loaded. On others, I had to upgrade from an earlier version of Windows.

In most cases, the installation took 45 minutes or less, and the new operating system worked snappily and well. But, I did encounter some drawbacks and problems. On a couple of these machines, glacial start-up and reboot times reminded me of Vista. And, on a couple of others, after upgrading, key features like the display or touchpad didn't work properly. Also, Windows 7 still requires add-on security software that has to be frequently updated. It's tedious and painful to upgrade an existing computer from XP to 7, and the variety of editions in which Windows 7 is offered is confusing.... See entire review here.
08 October 2009

Dark Voices Radio Program Note for October 8, 2009

by: Dark Wraith

Tonight's edition of Dark Voices Radio will again begin at 10:00 p.m. EDT instead of the unsual 10:30 p.m. EDT.

We should be back to the normal 10:30 p.m. start time next week (but, then again, that's what we thought last week, too).

Tune in, call in, and make yourself known. Your participation is important to the success of Dark Voices Radio.

You Betcha!

by: Father Tyme

Tip o' the Hat to

· ·

black wizards and governor races

by: astraea

We are engaged in a social, political, and cultural war. There's a lot of talk in America about pluralism. But the bottom line is somebody's values will prevail. And the winner gets the right to teach our children what to believe." ~Gary Bauer

The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church's public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship.
This is God's world, not Satan's. Christians are the lawful heirs, not non-Christians. ~Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics)

Jaysus. Hand the future over to them? This is the sort of crazy (gaze blank and pitiless as the sun) that's wrapped its slow thighs around the far-right flank of the Fundamentalist psyche. Literal materialistic C-St. Christianity -- without the Christ-part. A psychosis that's reached so far it's (once again) a danger to the world. An American Taliban -- and I'm not speaking of Walker Lindh, no matter how often CNN tries to steer the ever-momentary spot of American grokking there.


Lawyer Sues to Stop Dallas Group's Prayers That He Says Call for Violence, Death
11:42 PM CDT on Sunday, October 4, 2009
By DIANE JENNINGS / The Dallas Morning News
A former military lawyer who served in the Reagan White House and worked for Ross Perot is suing a Dallas-based religious organization in a case that could test the limits of free speech and prayer.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said he wants Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former U.S. Navy chaplain, to "stop asking Jesus to plunder my fields ... seize my assets, kill me and my family then wipe away our descendants for 10 generations."
The suit also asks the court to stop the defendants – Klingenschmitt and Jim Ammerman, the founder of the Dallas-based Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches – from "encouraging, soliciting, directing, abetting or attempting to induce others to engage in similar conduct."
Weinstein, 54, said his family has received death threats, had a swastika emblazoned on their home in New Mexico, animal carcasses left on their doorstep and feces thrown at the house.
Weinstein, who is Jewish, said the harassment started several years ago when he began protesting Christian proselytizing at his alma mater, the Air Force Academy. Weinstein started his foundation shortly after that to battle the influence of extremist evangelical Christians in the armed forces. (more)


The suit is against GORDON KLINGENSCHMITT, former US Navy Chaplain, of the pray in jesus name website. More about that at end of this post:



Saturday, April 25, 2009
Listen to the "godly", former US Navy Chaplain
(and Air Force Academy graduate) Gordon Klingenschmitt pray
that Mikey Weinstein's and Rev. Barry Lynn's "days be few."


"One-Minute Prayer: Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen."


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Listen to the "godly", former US Navy Chaplain
(and Air Force Academy graduate) Gordon Klingenschmitt
invoke Deuteronomy 23, proclaiming a curse against
Mikey Weinstein and 10 generations of his descendants.

"Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray your blessing upon the Chief of Army Chaplains, Major General Douglas Carver, who called for a day of prayer and fasting for our troops, then got falsely accused of violating the U.S. Constitution by the anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein, simply because he invited chaplains of all diverse faiths to fast and pray for our soldiers safety and health. God we proclaim Deuteronomy 23, that you will bless those who honor and obey your laws, and curse those who dishonor you,
in Jesus name, Amen. "

You may remember Klingenschmitt's April 25th "imprecatory prayer," in which he prayed that Mikey Weinstein's "days be few," and for God to "cut off [his] descendants." It appears that Klingenschmitt wanted to clarify his first hateful prayer with Deuteronomy 23's specificity:

3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, even down to the tenth generation. 4 For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim [b] to pronounce a curse on you. 5 However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you. 6 Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live.


If this isn't troubling to you, you don't grasp the full reach of this thing. You might have seen the Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military
by Jeff Sharlet in the May 2009 Harpers. (With Harper's you can't just say "09" when it's over 150 years old.)

As for KLINGENSCHMITT, please have a look at his pray in jesus name website. Again -- how is this not psychosis? Is this what we want for "our children"?

I noticed the pdf download for a voter guide for Virginia. I know. The media seems to be failing the locals on this. McDonnell is perfectly at home with Bauer-Northian political fundamentalism. He is, after all, a graduate of Pat Robertson's school. It's all there, in his thesis.
I wrote Roanoke Times:

McDonnell thinks he can speak for God

In the recent gubernatorial debate with Bob McDonnell, Creigh Deeds noted, "[McDonnell's thesis] contains a provision that says people don't want this kind of leadership, they're not ready for this kind of leadership, and you can't tell them what you're gonna do until you're elected."

This reminds me of Christian reconstructionist Gary North telling his fellow spiritual leaders in the '70s to give different political speeches to different groups. North lamented that it wouldn't work forever. But still, it was lament.

McDonnell's thesis defines the pro-working family Democratic position -- health care reform, minimum wage, etc. -- as negative, using quotations around the word family when the family in question doesn't fit his definition. He also uses the term "deviant."

What becomes clear is that he sincerely believes his version of the Republican position is God-given. (Other positions are not. I suppose they are deviant.) Which is to say McDonnell is willing to speak for God. That is the classic definition of irreverence.

Deeming man basically bad, McDonnell draws the conclusion that government, being man-made, should not be trusted. Why, I cannot help but wonder, would a man holding such beliefs seek to be governor?

Total Fluff

by: Debra

A long time ago I used to watch soap operas.  Mom was a fan of All My Children and my brothers watched One Life To Live until Meredith was killed off (I told you it was a long time ago) but it remained my favorite for many years.  My ex-husband and I used to race home from school to watch the ABC soaps and when they went to an hour we were ecstatic.  That is not to say that some of the story lines didn't wander in to "what the HECK were you thinking" territory.  Eterna?  Really?  On the other hand, Ryan Phillipe as the first gay teen in a soap opera and subsequent story displayed the best of daytime television.  As did Ellen Wheeler's portrayal of a woman dying of AIDS in 1988.

Soap operas have been both the training ground (Kevin Bacon, Morgan Freeman, Kathleen Turner, Meg Ryan, Christopher Reeve, Tommy Lee Jones, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Susan Sarandon) and the final resting place ( Ruth Warrick, Anna Lee) for many a great actor.  When Guiding Light went off the air a few weeks ago I'm sure a few people were surprised at some of the now famous stars who were doctors, lawyers, troublemakers and hearthrobs back in the day.  Judith Light turned in some of the best dramatic performances I've ever seen and did it day after day long before she was known for that stupid comedy.  And while most people know Nathan Fillion from Firefly, I remember him sleeping with his mother's same age mortal enemy.

Which brings me to Hans Gudegast.  Mom was a fan of 12 O'Clock High, Combat, and my personal favorites, the Rat Patrol and Mission Impossible, where he played a not so nice German in all of them.  For the last 29 years he has starred as Victor Newman on the Young and the Restless and due to the economy, irrelevant stories and corporate stupidity, the powers that be have decided that six months into a three year contract and having not violated any of the terms, his contract is no longer valid and want him to take a pay cut.  Like he dropped off the turnip truck this morning.

Sony is willing to cut off its nose to spite its face.  The genre is dying and they are eagerly tapping the last nail in the coffin.  The soap heyday has come and gone.  Luke and Laura are no more, Erica has married everyone in town and Viki doesn't have any more marbles to lose.  Their children have become whiny adults and nobody wants to watch them.  Instead of returning to what made soaps so entertaining, they shove hugely uninteresting characters down the viewer's throats in a vain effort to capture today's ADD (tweet tweet) youth market.  And the slide into oblivion will continue because once you don't care about the characters the story becomes moot.

Soap operas have killed off many a favorite character (or tried recasting), but Victor is one of the biggies.  You don't get rid of the star of the number one soap opera since 1988 and expect to stay in the top spot without a character that people love to hate.  Or hate to love.  Like most corporate decisions nowadays, it's about the current bottom line with no thought to the future or props to the past.  They think that by cutting salaries and benefits for the workers that the executives will continue to enjoy their outrageous bonuses and the piper will continue to play.  Unfortunately, history has shown that if you don't pay the piper the music stops and the greedy are usually left without a chair.


Keith Olbermann: Extended Special Comment

by: Foiled Goil

Health care reform in this country is not just about you or me or those we dearly love. It is about everyone in this country, supposedly the greatest one on earth, being able to have access to adequate health care. Everyone. No exception. No nonsense. No bull.

Health care is a basic human right.

We are going to to blast the moon Friday morning, at a cost of 79 billion dollars. For a “one shot” deal. And we can't afford to cover our citizens for health care? It seems like another screw up of priorities.

I'm sorry, but I have a bit of difficulty accepting shooting the moon, right now, as being anywhere near as important as the very lives of our people.

The entire Countdown show on Wednesday evening was an extended Special Comment by Keith about health care reform.

If you could not catch the show, here is the transcript and there are links below to the videos:

Health care reform: Saving American lives

Keith Olbermann on what really matters when it comes to health reform

This is the primary directive of life, the essence of our will as human beings, all perhaps that is measurable of our souls, the will to live.

Olbermann: Health care as basic as life itself

Oct. 7: In a Special Comment Hour, Countdown’s Keith Olbermann points out that there is no higher human priority than health and therefore no more basic government responsibility than ensuring the care of its citizens.

And there is the essence of what this is. What, on the eternal list of priorities, precedes health? What more obvious role could government have than the defense of the life, of each citizen?

Olbermann on America’s widening health gap

Oct. 7: Countdown’s Keith Olbermann warns that America is actually getting worse at addressing the health concerns of its citizens and is on track to surpass even the tragic conditions of Dickensian England.

We want to live. What is government for if not to help us do so?

Olbermann: Companies betting on employees’ lives

Oct. 7: Countdown’s Keith Olbermann outlines how the current American health insurance system is so much more focused on making money than making Americans healthy that in some cases companies actually benefit when their employees die.

We are moving backwards! We are letting people die because they do not have insurance.

Olbermann: Respecting pain and patient

Oct. 7: Countdown’s Keith Olbermann presents a personal perspective on the pain of illness and the difficulties of end-of-life decision making - physical and emotional pain worlds away from the insulting "death panels" debate.

And yet we let this continue. You and I. This society. Our country. Democrats and Republicans.

Olbermann: A wake-up call to Washington

Oct. 7: Countdown’s Keith Olbermann outlines his intention to show his support for American health reform by donating to the National Associations of Free Clinics to offer a free clinic every week in the capitol cities of the states of the six senators standing in the way of health reform in the Senate. Details for viewer participation to come.

God Bless Us, everyone.

· ·
07 October 2009

Monty Python Turns 40

by: Foiled Goil

On October 5, 1969, Monty Python's Flying Circus made its television debut:
...a show that branched into four feature length films, launched the careers of six very funny dudes and inspired millions of countless nerds to quote their most famous lines to death (myself included).

Dedicated especially to our Peter of Lone Tree:

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

06 October 2009

Get Well, Peter of Lone Tree

by: Dark Wraith

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 7, 2009 at 7:15 p.m. EDT: I spoke with Peter of Lone Tree this morning. He said he was recovering well, and he was in good spirits. Aside from only the slightest, brief speech difficulty, he seemed to be getting better just like he said.

He is delighted to hear of the comments made to this post, and I want to thank all of those who have wished him well, whether it is here, by phone, or by get-well card. I also want to extend special thanks to Missouri Mule, who called him to read him this post. I am hopeful that he will get to hear additional comments as they are posted.

Thank you all. I think Peter's going to live to see another day.

May you remain forever in fear, Bilderbergers; Trilateralists; Zionists; Council on Foreign Relations denizens; CIA operatives; Men in Black; NSA creeps; communists; black helicopter pilots and crew; soldiers of Joel's Army; and, yes, you aliens who live among us. You will be exposed. Peter of Lone Tree, Father Tyme, and the Dark Wraith, himself, live!

♦            ♦            ♦

Big Brass Blog contributing writer Peter of Lone Tree suffered a minor stoke last week.

He called me the morning it occurred to him that he was having difficulty thinking. Eventually, he went to a hospital, but he left after he wearied of being tube-tied in one of the warehouses that constitutes a modern healthcare facility.

He is now recuperating at the home of his son and daughter-in-law.

He called me this morning as I was preparing to go to a class, so I did not have much time to get into all the details, but he did grant me permission to let all of you know of his condition. From our conversation, it seemed to me that he was doing pretty well. Aside from a very slight confusion at one point, he was lucid, clear, and still in command of all his faculties. I cannot, however, comment on his appetite or libido, but I'll try to get him to disclose those things in our next conversation. As far as I can tell, he is still not a Republican, he remains a conspiracy theorist of the first order, and he thinks the girls here at Big Brass Blog are all hot.

What he doesn't know is that I am a double-agent, masquerading as a Freemason while working for both Mossad and certain, shall we say, "other interests," and that Father Tyme is a contract spy for the Trilateral Commission tasked to seducing Sarah Palin so she will become President and unknowingly carry out the full agenda of the Bilderberg Group. Father Tyme has been promised the regency of a small island in the South Pacific populated by nude Polynesians of questionable yet undeniably interesting culinary preferences, but he has declined even greater rewards that would be his if he would agree to set Peter of Lone Tree up in a compromising rendezvous with Michele Bachmann and several Eskimos known to Todd Palin as Bertha and Mabel, but known on the Internet as "Snowy, Twinkles, & Their Friend, Mr. Moose."

Peter, you need to get well as soon as possible. It's not the same without you.

Big Brass Blog needs its writers. All of them. We need to show the world a united front of intellectual depth, maturity, abstinence, sobriety, and everything else that makes this diner on the edge of Empire's twilight live up to its description: The Lair of the Poisonous Scribblers!

· ·

Offensive, but funny? or Funny, but offensive?

by: Father Tyme

Just a coincidence? or Gad! What tyming

Little Red Riding Hood was tripping her way through the woods to Granny’s house. All of a sudden a Big Bad Wolf, with huge fangs leaped in front of her, stopping Li’l Red in her tracks.
“Hey little girl! Where do you think you’re going through my woods?” asked the Big Bad Wolf.
Red, quite calmly replied, “I’m going to Granny’s house with my basket of goodies.”
“Oh no, little one,”said the Big Bad Wolf, “Coming through my woods makes you mine!”
“So what’s your plan, Wolfie?” asked Little Red.
“First, I’m going to take you to my lair and take all your clothes off. Then I’ll tie you up.” Slobbered the Big Bad Wolf.
“Then what?” asked Little Red, somewhat taken back.
“Then”, said the Big Bad Wolf, “I’m going to eat you! How about that?”
“Aw geez! Eat, eat, eat!”, said Little Red. “Doesn’t anyone just wanna fuck anymore?”


Updates: Sibel Edmonds

by: Foiled Goil

Brad Friedman at Brad Blog has all the latest updates and details on the Sibel Edmonds story:

10/5/2009: FBI Veteran Executive Calls For Special Counsel Investigation, Prosecutions in Sibel Edmonds Case
Details panic inside the Bureau, executive effort to 'keep this whole thing quiet' when matter first came to light in 2002

Further confirms FBI translator/whistleblower's allegations, credibility...

18-year counterintel/espionage manager John Cole further confirms Edmonds credibility, accuracy
of charges, panic at Bureau when allegations first surfaced in 2002, and the need for prosecutions...

10/4/2009: VIDEO: ABC's Diane Sawyer on Sibel Edmonds, FBI Whistleblower, First Amendment 'Heroine'
Includes 2006 testimonials on 'First Amendment heroine' from U.S. House Rep. Maloney, Sen. Lautenberg, Paul Newman...

10/1/2009: Schmidt v. Krikorian Hearing Continues...
UPDATED: The recommendations from the Ohio Election Commission are in...

9/29/2009: CIA Vet: FBI Whistleblower Edmonds 'Very Credible'
Longtime counterterrorism agent Phil Giraldi comments on FBI vet John Cole's recent confirmation of Bush official targeted in 'decade-long' espionage probe

9/28/2009: Former FBI Agent Confirms: Bush State Official Was Target of 'Decade-Long' Espionage Probe
Longtime counterintel official acknowledges evidence behind key aspect of allegations against Marc Grossman made by former FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds

Bureau vet says investigation was 'buried and covered up,' calls for new investigation, 'accountability'...

9/28/09: VIDEO: Schakowsky Publicly Denies Affair With Turkish Agent as 'Total Fantasy,' 'Totally Made Up'
FBI whistleblower Edmonds stands by allegations, challenges IL Dem Congresswoman to 'bring a libel suit against me'...

9/24/09: Edmonds Issues Formal Response to Schakowsky's Denial of Lesbian Affair with Turkish Operative
Formerly-gagged FBI translator/whistleblower invites Congresswoman to 'pursue facts' of the case, use her position as member of House Intel Committee to find the truth about allegations of bribery, blackmail, nuclear espionage

UPDATED: Schakowsky's office replies to Edmonds letter/invitation...

9/22/09: Exclusive: Schakowsky Responds to Edmonds Claim, Vehemently Denies Lesbian Tryst With Turkish Agent
FBI whistleblower rebuts Illinois Congresswoman's response with details, specific questions, and polygraph challenge...

9/21/2009: Exclusive: Cover Story on Edmonds 'Outs' Video-taped, 'Blackmailed' Dem Congresswoman; Alleges State Dept. Mole at NYTimes; MUCH MORE...
'American Conservative' mag's description of interview with previously-gagged FBI whistleblower as 'explosive' may prove to be a gross understatement

Blackmail, bribery, infiltration, theft, and sale of nuke secrets by Turkey, Israel explained in clearer detail than ever before...

· ·
05 October 2009

Guano Loco

by: Debra

Orly Taitz.  Watching her on the The Daily Show made me suspect she didn't have both oars in the water and now I'm pretty sure she's missing the plastic thingy that holds a six pack together.

Jon Gosselin.  I don't watch TLC (or any reality shows) so I haven't been following the trials and tribulations of Kate Plus Eight except what pops up in the entertainment section of GReader.  What I do know is that no matter how difficult Kate may be, Jon is nothing but a whiny crybaby.  He does not have his kid's best interests at heart and seems to think that his wife owes him a living while he cavorts with babysitters and publicity whores.  He has spoken on national television about how he doesn't love (the actual word was despise) his wife and that he loves his newest bed mate more than he ever loved his wife.  Taking $230,000 dollars from the joint bank account and leaving his children without a source of income while he cavorts unencumbered by responsibility shows a narcissistic personality disorder and severely impaired judgment. 

McDonald's next to the Louvre.  That should wipe the smile right off of the Mona Lisa.

Overcriminalization.  A six month federal investigation and two years in the federal pen for growing orchids without the proper paperwork.  What's next?  Two years for not putting the proper sticker on a UPS package? Oh wait, that was in the story too.

Anyone who thinks that the insurance companies are in the business to provide affordable health care.


04 October 2009

The Attack on Iran

by: Dark Wraith

In a recent comment, Big Brass Blog contributing writer Debra offered the following information from an article at Raw Story:
Two senior Republican senators say the United States, and not Israel, should attack Iran if military action becomes "necessary."

They also say a simple strike at the country's nuclear capability wouldn't be enough — the US would have to launch an "all-or-nothing" war against Iran with the aim of crippling the country's military capabilities.

"I think an Israeli attack on Iran is a nightmare for the world, because it will rally the Arab world around Iran and they're not aligned now. It's too much pressure to put on Israel," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News' Chris Wallace.

He continued: "Military action should be the last resort anyone looks at, and I would rather our allies and us take military action if it's necessary."

But Graham doesn't think an attack should be limited to airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. "If we use military action against Iran, we should not only go after their nuclear facilities. We should destroy their ability to make conventional war. They should have no planes that can fly and no ships that can float," said Graham.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, agrees.

"The problem with military action also is that you're probably not going to be able to stop the production of uranium by just a simple airstrike," Chambliss said on Fox News Sunday."Lindsey's right. It's an all or nothing deal. And is it worth that at this point in time, when we know they have the capability? We can slow them down, but a full-out military strike is what it would take," said Chambliss.

Given that the two Republican warhawks have had their say, speaking in my paleo-conservative persona, I shall now have mine.

The "all" in "all or nothing," of course, refers to the use of nuclear weapons, which would be the only means by which we could possibly destroy the incredibly hardened, deep-underground facilities where Iran is producing its nuclear fuel.

To accomplish the mission these fellows imagine, we have to do more than compromise certain Iranian defense systems: we would have to utterly destroy not just the entirety of the Persian nation's command and control environment, but also the entirety of its shoreline perimeter defense systems, including everything from its still-deployed but aging Silkworms to its unstoppable Sunburn and similar high-speed, anti-ship systems, which, if left even in small numbers, would undoubtedly destroy just about any targeted ship in the U.S. naval fleet. Notwithstanding our hubris concerning our ship defense systems, they would not stand a chance against a small flurry of the ultra-fast killers in the Iranian weapons inventory.

Try maybe 2,000 sorties in a span of absolutely no more than 48 hours.

Think about repeated conventional bunker-buster hits followed by nuclear strikes on those underground facilities.

Think about every manner of horror as we tried to contain the attacks to "military" facilities, but nevertheless ended up having to hit downtown Tehran to kill key political and military leaders and level telecommunications, transportation, and distribution centers.

Remember 2003, with just about everyone in America watching TV stations running "Shock and Awe" 24/7 like it was the National Football League playoff game of the decade?

Maybe we'll get to do it again. Americans love that reality TV stuff, and so do the media moguls: no salaries for script writers because — hey! — there's no script.

Now, let's get this clear lest my liberal friends start singing Kumbaya! while I'm still in the room.

Iran really is working fast and furious on both nuclear weapons and intermediate range ballistic delivery vehicles. Shortly, their missiles will achieve Mark IV status, and all of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia will be in the nuclear shadow of the Persian bullies.

Under what presidency did it come to this?

Oh, yes. That would be the administration of George W. Bush, who pissed away our military readiness on a useless, wasteful war based entirely upon lies.

And how did Bush's dumb pit bull, Dick Cheney, handle Iran?

Ah, yes. That would be with covert goon squads tasked to blowing up strategically meaningless things, capturing strategically meaningless people, and paying big money to narco-traffickers fresh from the poppy fields of the vertical opium monopoly that is the Afghanistan that George W. Bush created with a war to catch a crippled, self-important little rich boy who, when all was said and done, was too wily for the entirety of the United States armed forces.

Strut your stuff, neocons.

Piss about your teabags, Right-wingers.

Pray to your false vision of Jesus, evangelicals.

You've done a darned fine job.

Now, all we've got is a huckster from Chicago to clean up your stinking mess of the world.


· · · · · ·
03 October 2009

This is a real program. No, seriously.

by: Anna Van Z

Adopt-a-Liberal: A Liberty Counsel Prayer-In-Action Program

Introducing a powerful new prayer initiative that will soon have many thousands of participants...

Liberty Counsel is proud to introduce -- and invite you to participate in -- a vital new prayer program solidly built upon St. Paul's admonition to pray for our national leaders:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.
-- 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Since the landmark 2008 general election, there can be no doubt that a very large percentage of our Nation's leaders have a liberal mindset. The undeniable fact is that the 111th Pelosi-Reid Congress and the Obama Administration demonstrate a far left political philosophy. And since the President nominates federal judges and Justices of the United States Supreme Court, the judicial branch of government could take on a decidedly more liberal bent as the Obama Administration wears on.
Liberty Counsel has therefore named this special new prayer-in-action program Adopt a Liberal. And that's exactly what we invite you to do -- adopt a liberal who is in authority for regular, intense prayer in accord with St. Paul's admonition to his disciple, Timothy. In fact, we expect that many of our friends and supporters will choose to adopt many liberals as subjects of regular prayer!
Here's How it Works...

Pick one or more of the liberals from the list we have posted online at, or choose your own liberal(s) to adopt. If you are led to choose one or more of the liberals we have selected for consideration, please read their brief biographical statement, including the reasons they stand in need of prayer.
Pray earnestly and intensely for them! Pray that the Lord would move upon them and cause them to be the kind of leaders who will encourage others to lead "a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." We encourage you to seek the Lord's guidance on how to pray for your liberal(s), always allowing Him to temper your prayer with His love and mercy.

Join Us as We Pray for God's Powerful
Intervention in Many Liberals' Lives

Please pray daily for the liberal(s) of your choice, so each can become a good influence on our Nation's culture. Prayer is powerful! It allows God to change the minds of those for whom we are praying. In fact, we fully expect that many of our adoptees will "graduate" from this prayer program with vivid testimonies of God having changed their lives and worldviews!
We will continue to add new subjects to our Adopt a Liberal program. Please feel free to nominate one or more liberals for prayer by emailing us at liberty[a@t]LC[d.o.t]org, giving us the reasons you feel they qualify for the program.
Here are just a few representative liberals to further illustrate how the Adopt a Liberal program works.
Choose a Liberal from the Following List: See the rest.

*See the org's main website here.

So I'm wondering... if they adopt one of us, does that mean we can hit 'em up for a little cash? Cause I'm thinking we should get some kind of allowance...
02 October 2009

Recession to Recovery: The Rough and Narrow Road Ahead

by: Dark Wraith

Jobs NowThis is, indeed, the earliest stage of an economic rebound from a particularly rough recession, one of the meanest since the Great Depression. Unlike the last hard economic smack-down, which occurred at the beginning of the 1980s, this one was not induced as a cure for a spiraling corkscrew of inflation that had created economic stagnation; this latest one was born of somewhat more complicated parents, the cruel child of forces that had been building because of irresponsible monetary, fiscal, and regulatory policies converging with an increasing reliance in the public and private sectors on debt-driven growth sustained by global trade imbalances and imprudent financial opiates in the homeland.

We still have incomprehensibly large work to do to reform and modernize financial and public institutions, and politicians on both sides of the aisle will do anything and everything they can to avoid taking on the underlying problems.

It is not just the public sector that is excitedly declining the opportunity to reform rather than repair long-standing, self-destructive policies; but neither those who hold elected office nor those responsible for the safety and security of their own households seem permanently committed to relying less on debt and more on a certain degree of character-building austerity.

In these very tentative steps of the newly born recovery, the numbers will swing between bad and good. On some days it will sound from the news stories like we're still in a recession. The most difficult part of this recovery to explain to the average person is that some of the bad news will actually be good news, at least for the long run, and some of the good news might be cause for quite a bit of concern.

Unemployment is as high as it has been in 26 years, and it is not likely to fall significantly for some time to come. Figures released earlier this week indicate that the labor market is still suffering: unemployment rose in September to 9.8 percent from 9.7 percent in August.

As counterintuitive as it might sound, that's good news, if "good" can mean continued hard times for millions of Americans. While no one should be cheering if, in the months ahead, news analysts keep talking about stubbornly high jobless rates, a sluggish rebound in the jobs market could very well be the bellwether indicator of a sustained period of robust economic expansion down the road.

The Great Depression opened the doors of national political dominance to the long-backbenched Democrats, led by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States who brought with his administration a new kind of economics, set forth by a man named John Maynard Keynes. We call his economic policy prescriptions "Keynesian economics," and greater or smaller tools in the Keynesian relief kit have been used by both Democrats and Republicans ever since. In theory, the policies distill down to some relatively simple ideas. In recessions, the government should run deficits by cutting taxes, spending money on jobs programs, helping the poor and unemployed, and generally stimulating the economy. In boom times, the government should pull back on all the fiscal stimulus by raising taxes to keep the economy from running too hot, pay off the federal debt, and build a surplus; and the government should back off all the generous jobs programs, big benefits, and grandiose public projects, at least to some extent.

This is called "countercyclical policy," and although it has had an unfortunate bias toward stimulus even in good times, it has unarguably served to greatly shorten the boom-bust business cycles, make recessions quite a bit milder, and cause the periods of expansion to be considerably longer by comparison.

It has a dark side, though, and even Keynes, himself, described the crucial nature of this part. He described a phenomenon he called "sticky wages," the tendency of compensation to labor to lag behind rising consumer prices and rewards to other factors of production. This stickiness is critically important because, if prices are rising all around people, but their incomes are not going up in lock step, they will have to work longer and harder to maintain their lifestyles, pay their fixed obligations, and keep their lives running relatively smoothly. It is this rising productivity that propels the economy into a period of expansion without inflation being fed by rising wages and salaries.

That means, if we see the unemployment rate falling too fast in the coming months, the economic recovery will be stymied before it gets momentum, and here's why. A recent statistic released by the government showed that business inventories are falling, and if this trend continues, companies will have to start boosting output levels to restock. If they do this with their existing workforces and maybe a modest increase in new hires, the workers doing their jobs will work harder, and the companies will see their profit margins start to improve as the inventories are sold; but if the companies have to hire lots and lots of workers to rebuild inventories, competition for qualified workers will heat up, and companies will have to start bidding up wages and salaries.

A rapidly falling national unemployment rate will sound like good news at first, but once wages and salaries start catching up with other rising prices, that means inflation will have begun to take on a life of its own because those rising compensation levels will give households more money with which to buy goods and services, and the increasing demand pressure will start pushing prices at the consumer level up even more. Making things even worse, that building demand by households for goods and services will induce businesses to hire even more workers to keep up with the demand that's clearing inventories at an increasing rate.

More workers being hired means more wage and salary increases, which means even more demand for final goods and services, and the cycle begins to take on a self-feeding inflationary aspect.

But all of that is only the prelude to the real problem: inflation, as mean and annoying as it is, pales in comparison to its muscular after-shock, which is expected inflation.

The central bank of the United States is called Federal Reserve, or the "Fed" for short, and one of its most important responsibilities is to conduct monetary policy. If it allows the growth rate of the money supply to exceed the real growth rate of the economy, that so-called "excess liquidity" will eventually become inflation, since each dollar's value will be watered down, meaning more dollars will be required to buy things. When the Fed wants to help the government pull the economy out of a recession, it will print money at an unusually high rate and use that money to help fund the government's deficit spending. Done right, the Fed can then drain that excess liquidity back out once the economy gets back on its feet. But therein lies the tricky part: interest rates are the "price" of money, so if the Fed, in its effort to prevent inflation, reduces the supply of money too fast, interest rates will rise too much and too quickly, and the economic recovery will be killed in its tracks. We've probably seen this happen in the past. The result is called a "double-dip recession."

On the other hand, if the Fed acts too slowly to claw the overhang of dollars out of the economy, the inflation lingers long enough for both businesses and workers to start expecting it, which means everyone will be pushing up their prices because they want to get in front of everyone else pushing up their prices. This makes the Federal Reserve's job of stopping inflation quite difficult: not only does it have to drain the excess liquidity, but it also has to hold the choke for a while longer to convince businesses and labor that it is serious.

That was what happened in the recession of 1981-82: years of expansionary monetary policy had caused inflation to get so severe by the end of the 1970s that no one believed the Fed would finally deal with it once and for all. So when President Jimmy Carter appointed a tough guy named Paul Volker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Mr. Volker had to throttle down the money supply fast and hard, which drove interest rates through the roof, and he had to hold the money supply down for months and months until not only was all the excess money drained out of the economy, but also the entrenched expectations of inflation were flogged out of planning by businesses and labor.

As a side note for history buffs, Jimmy Carter was defeated in the presidential election of 1980. Therein lies a cautionary tale for our current President, Barack Obama: it's good to do the right thing, but if there's going to be pain involved, it's better to do it considerably before voters go to the polls. Unemployment isn't just for the private sector.

Returning to the present, we have a large overhang of dollar liquidity swirling through the economy. Some of this is the result of recent Fed activity to support the economic stimulus package enacted earlier this year, but a huge amount is the result of years of expansionary monetary policy to help pay for year after year of federal budget deficits. (The share of the deficits not covered by the Federal Reserve's money printing machines has been picked up in large part by foreign central banks that hold American dollars earned by their businesses exporting more to us than we sell to their people.)

The money the Fed has printed in excess of what was needed for transactions among businesses, consumers, investors, and workers in the American economy is the liquidity that has to be drained out because it will be the fuel for a spiraling inflation. If the Fed starts that grim work too soon, interest rates will rise rapidly, and the U.S. economy will nose over back into recession; but if the Fed waits too long, seeping inflation will become a flood as unemployment drops too quickly, causing wages to join other prices going up, and the economic recovery will evaporate into a spiral of inflation that will push up every price, including the price of money, which is interest rates.

Inflation-driven increases in interest rates will stagnate the economy, and we will again have, as we did at the end of the 1970s, a bad economic situation called "stagflation," for which the only cure is the old-time gospel of tough, sustained, contractionary monetary policy, which will drop us into another painful recession.

Is this the inevitable path of the current economic recovery? Certainly not.

As long as the unemployment rate drops slowly, the Federal Reserve will have time to keep interest rates low for a while longer to let the economy get back on its feet, and as long as the Fed's eventual pattern of draining the excess dollars out of the economy is carefully planned and not the result of panic-driven work to stop an already-building inflation spiral, we can have a recovery that becomes a genuine economic expansion with reasonably stable prices, sustainable growth in American jobs and, with that, more tax revenues to help close the large federal budget deficits we are now running to get us out of this recession.

It might require the proverbial wisdom of Solomon for our leaders in Congress, the White House, and the Federal Reserve to execute the necessary economic policies at just the right times, but we must hope they know what they are doing and have the will to carry through with their responsibilities.

While the road ahead for American workers may be difficult for some time to come, a sustained economic expansion serves not just our own interests, but those of the generations that will benefit after us.

As much as we want a solid foundation upon which we, ourselves, can stand, we must also appreciate that we are building a bridge to the future for our children. That bridge should be not only strong enough to support their needs, but also wide enough to accommodate their hopes.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · ·

A Democrat With A Spine And Guts

by: Foiled Goil

More, please.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on the offensive and not backing down. Yes!

The Ed Show:
Grayson on non-apology

Oct. 1: Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., joins the Ed Show to discuss his refusal to apologize to Republicans for his critical depiction of their health care plans (or lack thereof). [ 7:45 ]

Alan Grayson, Bio:

Read the Harvard study on the 44,000 people in America that die annually from a lack of health insurance...


Tony for President (of Europe)

by: Father Tyme

From an article at Huffington Post via one of those European sites we can't link to:

Tony Blair set to become Europe's First President

Remember when the Europeans slammed us for electing Bush?
The stupid has crossed the pond

· ·
01 October 2009

Dark Voices Radio Program Note for October 1, 2009

by: Dark Wraith

Tonight's edition of Dark Voices Radio will begin at 10:00 p.m. EDT instead of the unsual 10:30 p.m. EDT.

Don't ask why. I'm still not sure, myself.

Anyway, tune in, call in, and enjoy.

report your lefty professor!

by: astraea

I saw the ad lurking on Talking Points Memo. Report your professor, win $100. Well, Halloween is coming up. Witch hunt?

Being curious, I joined. Maybe they'll give me my own little tea set.


Have a look. Wow. They've got money and muscle. And that most effervescent of things -- jobs!

They help you organize, report and rate your lefty professor, their books, their lectures. You can have fun with fellow Campus Reformers shouting down speakers and stuff.

What are they reforming? Let's see...

Activism Ideas


Combat Leftist Abuses and Bias on Campus

Most colleges and universities are not what they pretend to be.  In fact, they are leftist indoctrination centers which systematically attack and often exclude ideas and people favorable to limited government, free enterprise, strong national defense, and traditional values.  Identify, expose, and combat leftist abuses and bias.
Learn more

 activism idea

Bring a Speaker to Campus

Hosting a speaker is an excellent event for any conservative or libertarian group. It will attract the attention of the media and generate interest in your group. You can do it at any time of the year.
Learn more

 Movie Night

Movie Night

A movie night can be an effective, relatively easy event for any type of group to hold, and fun. It can raise awareness about a particular issue through the screening of a documentary, or it can be a feature movie which contains a conservative theme--a good social group building event for groups with a low budget or a large influx of new members.
Learn more


Research and Publicize the Political Contribution Pattern of Your School’s Faculty and Staff

Research and expose the political contribution pattern of your school’s faculty and staff.  The United States is narrowly divided between two major political parties, yet one would not know this looking at the political environment on America’s campuses.
Learn more


Protest Continued Funding of ACORN's Corruption

ACORN receives significant funding from a number of large banks, many of whom received bailout money.  This means that even if the federal government defunds ACORN, tax dollars will still be funneled to this criminal organization through these banks.  Take action against this corrupt organization today!
Learn more


Constitution Day

A Constitution Day celebration is a great event for any type of group to hold in celebration of the creation of our nation’s governing document.  Leftists largely ignore the principles upon which our country was founded.  Why not remind them by celebrating Constitution Day?
Learn more


Tea Party Tax Revolt

While many Americans agree that taxes are far too high, politicians continue to raise rates. Tea Parties are great ways to take a visible stand against taxes and tax hikes.
Learn more


The Price is Wrong (for Government Waste)

Make a street theater set analogous to the classic show, “The Price is Right.”  Ask passersby to participate, guessing the cost to taxpayers for various government programs.  Depending on your group’s focus, you can emphasize outrageous examples of wasteful spending.
Learn more


Second Amendment Awareness Day

(omg! is that Precious?)
Raise awareness about gun rights and the Second Amendment! Your group members will encourage students passing by to shoot a pyramid of cans with a Nerf gun. Prizes are then given out in the form of water guns and/or Second Amendment material.
Learn more


Health Care Wheel of Misfortune

Make a street theater set with a game analogous to the classic show, “Wheel of Fortune.”  Ask passersby to participate by spinning the wheel to reveal the potential dangers of government-run healthcare.  Make each section of the wheel highlight a negative effect of national healthcare.
Learn more


March Liberal Madness

Play off of college basketball’s “March Madness” with this basketball-themed event designed to highlight liberal madness.  Create a bracket which pits leftist figures against each other.  Be sure to find as many absurd quotes as possible.  Encourage students to vote at your table or at an online polling site.  Repeat the process until you have a champion!
Learn more


Intellectual Takeout aims to arm college students with the intellectual firepower to discuss and debate academic subject matter in real time.  The site provides an online library of sources that defend individual rights, limited government, and the free market.
Learn more


Tax or Treat Halloween

Give out free Halloween candy and attach salient information about current tax issues.  This is a non-confrontational way to educate people on the benefits of limited government and lower taxes.
Learn more


The Dirty Dozen List

Pick twelve instances of liberal bias on your campus and bring them to the attention of the student body.  Do the majority of student activities fees go towards sponsoring liberal speakers?  Let this be known to the news media and your fellow students.
Learn more


White Rose Sale

Help support a local crisis pregnancy center or another conservative organization of your choice by selling white roses on your campus.  This event has several benefits, it does not require many volunteers, so it is easy for a beginning group to accomplish, it is non-confrontational, and it fosters good will on campus.
Learn more


Military Appreciation Quilt

The Appreciation Quilt is a positive event that draws almost universal support from the community and will give the student body a good impression of your group.  Encourage members of your campus group(s) and other students to create a quilt square in honor of a family member or friend that has served our country.
Learn more


Celebrate a Conservative's Birthday

Pass out literature and treats in honor of a famous conservative's birthday.  For example, Barry Goldwater was born January 1, 1909, Ronald Reagan on February 6, 1911, or Russell Kirk on October 19, 1918.
Learn more


Terrorism/Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week

Bring the horrors of Islamo-Fascism to the center-stage and express your opposition by hosting a keynote speaker, showing a film, or organizing a protest.  Given the current political climate, this event is likely to provoke some hostility among campus leftists.  Be sure to capture any confrontation on film.
Learn more


Anti-Anti-War Rally

Leftists love to bash our troops and our involvement in wars that keep Americans safe.  Why not hold an event to counter the leftists’ hostility towards the American military?  Rally support on your campus for the advancement of freedom and democratic ideals.
Learn more

freedom week

Freedom Week

The Young America’s Foundation’s Freedom Week is anchored around two significant dates: The Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and Veterans Day.  Bring the failures of communism to light and question why leftists on your campus still advocate its ideas.  Educate your campus on these two important days.
Learn more


Anti-Vagina Monologues Event

The Vagina Monologues, an episodic play by Eve Ensler, vehemently promotes an anti-male worldview, portrays women as perpetual victims, and is unapologetically anti-heterosexual.  If this offensive play is being held at your campus, take action!
Learn more


Pigs Against Pork

Find local or national pork projects that are particularly foolish or wasteful, and use posters and handouts to bring them to the attention of your fellow students.  It can also be insightful to find what bills these projects were attached to.  Often, a bill has little or nothing to do with the attached project.
Learn more



It is no secret that the left would like to make it as difficult as possible for students to become involved with programs like the ROTC and JROTC.  Find speakers that can speak to the success of the program. Many professionals in non-military careers were impacted in a positive way by ROTC and JROTC.
Learn more


Diaper Drive

This simple event requires your group members to facilitate the collection of diapers and other baby supplies for a local crisis pregnancy center to support their operations.  Crisis pregnancy centers assist parents dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and provide accurate information about their options.
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Global Warming Beach Party

Throw a “beach party” serving frozen non-alcoholic margaritas and pina coladas from a tiki hut.  Set up a kiddie pool as decoration and pass out pamphlets and papers explaining the truth about “global warming.”
This event could be held at any time of the year, but it is most effective when held in light snow.
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Anti-UN Day

Set up a plywood board made into a bean bag toss with the faces of dictators from around the world which the UN has failed to influence significantly. This is an excellent event to point out the UN’s hypocrisy, ineffectiveness, and negative effects on the United States.
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Genocide Awareness Project/Justice for All Exhibit

The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) and Justice for All Exhibit are a traveling photo-mural exhibits which compare the contemporary genocide of abortion to historically recognized instances of genocide.
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Charity Bandits

This is a street theater project in which two or more members of your group dress up as bandits, complete with ski masks, black from head to toe, and very obviously toy water pistols.  They then hold up anyone who passes by to demand money for the poor.  This is designed to illustrate how government taxation and charity constitute theft rather than real charity.
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Rock for Life

Rock for Life

Rock for Life is a fun and nonconfrontational way to spread the pro-life message at colleges and universities which has the potential to reach hostile students in a way an event with less widespread appeal could not.
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ACLU Nativity Scene

Instead of the Mary and Joseph, set up Gary and Joseph.  Instead of the three wise men, place Stalin, Lenin, and Marx by the manger. Throughout the scene, you should replace the traditional characters with leftist political correct options.
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Empty Holster Protest

For the empty holster protest, members of your group wear empty holsters throughout the day and hold a rally for concealed carry on college campuses.  This is an easy event to organize and a great way to get media attention.
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Pro-America Rally

Leftist professors love to bash America.  Why not hold an event to show what the student body thinks of our country?  This event is always popular and draws wide support from the community.
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Gun Raffle

Gun Raffle

The gun raffle is a good event for Second Amendment groups, general conservative groups, and libertarian groups to gain publicity and raise awareness about current Second Amendment and gun rights issues.
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9/11 Tribute

General conservative groups can set up a memorial exhibit for the victims of 9/11 on the anniversary of the attacks. The exhibit will consist of nearly 3,000 miniature flags, one for each victim. In addition, your group can hand out ribbons and “Never Forget” stickers.
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2nd Amendment

Second Amendment Awareness Day

Your group members will encourage students passing by to shoot a pyramid of cans with a Nerf gun. Prizes are then given out in the form of water guns and/or Second Amendment material. Other group members pass out free Second Amendment literature to passersby.
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Bake Sale

Affirmative Action Bake Sale

This event is fun for general conservative groups or libertarian groups which highlights the unfairness of reverse discrimination which occurs through affirmative action programs.  The bake sale has “affirmative action prices” which favor minorities and women over white males.

Wow! Working together! It's fun, and you'll have friends! And they give you your talking points. Intellectual takeout packages it all in plain little saucy bite-size boxes! Yum! You don't even have to think!

I'm still not sure exactly what "leftist" means. But it's ok. They'll tell me.

(Shhh! Just don't say you're Republicans!)

Speaking of which, I'm looking backwards, remembering the young republicans, where they took us...

From Campus Reform's about page:

Q. What is the Leadership Institute, the organization behind

A. Established in 1979, the Leadership Institute seeks to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists across the country. To do that, LI identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media, enrolling more than 74,000 students in its unique programs since its inception.  It's 2008 enrollment was more than 9,200.
Under the direction of its founder and president Morton Blackwell, the Leadership Institute has become the premier training ground for tomorrow’s conservative leaders. Conservative leaders, organizations, and activists rely on the Institute’s seminars and workshops for the preparation they require for victory in the world of public policy.
In addition to conducting programs nationwide, the Institute helps conservatives launch their careers. LI’s Employment Placement Service and Intern Program can open doors to an exciting array of opportunities to further the conservative movement.

So who is Morton Blackwell?


salon, may 2005

My right-wing degree

How I learned to convert liberal campuses into conservative havens at Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute, alma mater of Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, Jeff Gannon and two Miss Americas.

  • Pages 1 2 3

May 25, 2005 | One recent Sunday, at Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute, a dozen students meet for the second and final day of training in grass-roots youth politics. All are earnest, idealistic and as right wing as you can get. They take careful notes as instructor Paul Gourley teaches them how to rig a campus mock election.
It's nothing illegal -- no ballot stuffing necessary, even at the most liberal colleges. First you find a nonpartisan campus group to sponsor the election, so you can't be accused of cheating. Next, volunteer to organize the thing. College students are lazy, and they'll probably let you. Always keep in mind that a rigged mock election is all about location, location, location.
"Can anyone tell me," asks Gourley, a veteran mock electioneer, "why you don't want the polling place in the cafeteria?"
Stephen, a shy antiabortion activist sitting toward the rear of the class, raises his hand: "Because you want to suppress the vote?"
"Stephen has the right answer!" Gourley exclaims, tossing Stephen his prize, a copy of Robert Bork's "Slouching Toward Gomorrah."

go. educate yourself. 

The world is only 6,000 years old, remember?

"View" this...

by: Anna Van Z

Look, if you're the sort of person who thinks child-raping pedophiles shouldn't have to face prosecution when they're rich, famous, and old, then please - just nut up and say so. Don't try and pretend what happened wasn't really a crime, or that a drugged child can meaningfully and legally consent to sex. And just because said child had the misfortune of having a messed-up, idiot excuse for a mother doesn't mean the reprehensible conduct of an opportunistic, predatory adult is somehow mitigated. Gimmee a break.

From Alternet:
The View Takes on Roman Polanski, Whoopi Comes Up With New Definition of Rape
By Tana Ganeva

There's rape according to Whoopi, and then there's "rape-rape."

Some of the most complex issues of our time have been tackled (and figured out!) on The View. So it's no surprise that on their Monday morning show the hosts weighed in on the Roman Polanski arrest scandal.

"He had a terrible time, and he's a wonderful director." says Joy Behar. "But, he did rape a 13-year-old child." Rhetorician/legal scholar Whoopi Goldberg has a problem with that seemingly non-controversial point: "The language that we use here is very important, because, that is not the allegation ... "

There's some more back and forth, during which Goldberg continues to berate the other guests for talking about Polanski as if he ... raped a 13 year old? Guest star Melissa Gilbert appears similarly hesitant to come down hard on Polanski, making the points that the girl's Mom was in the building. And it's been a pretty long time since it happened. And, you know, years later the victim doesn't want deal with it, so ... (A large picture of the victim flashes on the screen to underscore the sensitivity of that point).

Whoopi Goldberg manages to outdo that brilliant reasoning by coming up with a really good legal defense for rapists: "What I'm saying is that he did not rape her, cause she was aware, and the family, apparently was aware ... "
After more back and forth, Goldberg finally comes to her point: "He was not charged ... I know it wasn't rape-rape. I think it was something else ... but I don't believe it was rape-rape."

As Lindsay on Jezebel notes, while it's very, very good that Goldberg insists on using precise language and dealing with facts over hype, it's very, very bad that Goldberg implies that a 44 year old having sex with a drugged 13 year old is not rape....

For a really good take-down of all the absurd defenses spun in the day and a half since Polanski was arrested, check out the following piece by Little Light of Feministe, It's Still Rape: A Much Needed Dose Of Sanity On Roman Polanski.

Here are some choice parts:
But, can’t we just drop a mere statutory rape charge after thirty years? You mean because the other charges were dropped on a plea-bargain, drugging a girl and having sex with her stops counting as a flat-out rape no matter what her age?

But, she's grown-up now, can’t we just drop it? She wasn't then. And if she were, it would still be rape.

Isn't this just stuffy Americans judging a brilliant man on sexual peccadilloes like they always do, because Americans can't handle sex as a culture? Yes. Absolutely. The rest of the world thinks raping kids is a-okay, whoops, our bad, we're just too uptight about drugging people and forcing sex on them. You know us Americans. We're always up in arms about sexual assault this, consent that.

But he's an old man now. Yes, and due to the Oldness Exception Act of 1967, old people are no longer accountable for felonies and shouldn't face consequences for doing things that are wrong.

But he’s really talented, and I really like his movies. That's. Nice.

But we don't know all the facts! That's what a trial is for.

Democratic Backbone?

by: Father Tyme

Alan Grayson goes on CNN...and rocks

Looking for someone on the Democratic side to get behind? Here's one that deserves some credit.
All we need is for a few more to open their mouths and put more Republicans and "dumb-dits" on the defensive. Maybe the media would start covering the REAL side of the debate instead of the insurance industry side.