Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No, it isn't very pretty what a town without pity can do

Now even the Right realizes that McCain's choice of Palin for Veep was lunacy. Maybe we can also say that Palin's acceptance was the worst sort of hubris.

Rebecca Traister, writing at Salon:
Is this the week that Democrats and Republicans join hands -- to heap pity on poor Sarah Palin?

At the moment, all signs point to yes, as some strange bedfellows reveal that they have been feeling sorry for the vice-presidential candidate ever since she stopped speaking without the help of a teleprompter. Conservative women like Kathleen Parker and Kathryn Jean Lopez are shuddering with sympathy as they realize that the candidate who thrilled them, just weeks ago, is not in shape for the big game. They're not alone. The New Republic's Christopher Orr feels that Palin has been misused by the team that tapped her. In the New York Times, Judith Warner feels for Sarah, too! And over at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates empathizes with intelligence and nuance, making clear that he's not expressing pity. Salon's own Glenn Greenwald watched the Katie Couric interview and "actually felt sorry for Sarah Palin." Even Amy Poehler, impersonating Katie Couric on last week's "Saturday Night Live," makes the joke that Palin's cornered-animal ineptitude makes her "increasingly adorable."

Um, no. She thought she was ready for the VP job. She said she was a pitbull. She deserves everything that everyone can throw at her. She in the big leagues, facing Frankie "KRod" Rodriguez, and he might throw at her head:
Sarah Palin is no wilting flower. She is a politician who took the national stage and sneered at the work of community activists. She boldly tries to pass off incuriosity and lassitude as regular-people qualities, thereby doing a disservice to all those Americans who also work two jobs and do not come from families that hand out passports and backpacking trips, yet still manage to pick up a paper and read about their government and seek out experience and knowledge.

When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude -- trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice -- well, then, I don't feel bad for you.

When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid -- or in Palin's case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling -- I don't feel bad for you.

When you don't take your own career and reputation seriously enough to pause before striding onto a national stage and lying about your record of opposing a Bridge to Nowhere or using your special-needs child to garner the support of Americans in need of healthcare reform you don't support, I don't feel bad for you.

When you don't have enough regard for your country or its politics to cram effectively for the test -- a test that helps determine whether or not you get to run that country and participate in its politics -- I don't feel bad for you.

When your project is reliant on gaining the support of women whose reproductive rights you would limit, whose access to birth control and sex education you would curtail, whose healthcare options you would decrease, whose civil liberties you would take away and whose children and husbands and brothers (and sisters and daughters and friends) you would send to war in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and wherever else you saw fit without actually understanding international relations, I don't feel bad for you.

McCain is the crusty old manager who put the new kid in to bat, so it's really not her fault. Most in the political arena would accept what seems like a great job proposal. But to continue the baseball metaphor, would a rookie playing their first season of A ball ever be called up to the World Series? Only as a stunt.

And that's McCain's fault.


Here are Keith Urban & John Fogerty doing Centerfield (Blogger eated the original video, found another version, and saved it):

"Put me in, coach, I'm ready to play"

Been dazed and confused for so long its not true

Are you stupid, or are you just dumb? Dazed & confused? A comment found at a popular Progressive blog:
Go ahead and elect the self admitted Muslim and see what happens with this country. You think we are in trouble now, wait until the most liberal senator starts implementing his social programs. I can"t wait to see how he does this. Hrmm, lower taxes for 95% of Americans and then spend like no other President before on new and existing social programs. I think Mr. Obama might want to take Economics 101 at the local community college before he makes promises that he obviously can"t keep. Also Mr. Hussein, I mean Mr. Obama is under the dissolution that we are not in a war with terrorists. Take our eye of that for just a couple of seconds and see where they strike next. You can say whatever you want about our current President but he has kept us safe on American soil and he doesn"t get the credit he deserves.

Wow. Just OMFG wow. Hopefully this person can't reproduce.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thank you sirs for the right to vote

Someone from Pam's work asked me to find out if she was registered to vote. Not as funny as it sounds, actually. I searched Teh Google™, found what seemed to be the right phone #, but alas, it wasn't.

Now, she can find out:

I tried it, works just fine! Send it to your friends. VoteForChange.com

So here's a funny story ...

... I met Paul Newman once, for about 15 seconds.

I was studio manager and chief engineer at SoundWorks in Las Vegas. One day this older balding guy came in and booked a few late night sessions, he was obviously down on his luck but he had cash and charts and just wanted the 'dark' hours we could spare at a discount rate.

As the sessions went on we got to talking and over a week or two I put together that he was trying to make a comeback after losing his house, wife and career to alcoholism. The guy's music was good, a little dated, but pretty good and the sessions were going well.

He always showed up in a taxi and since the sessions started so late and went on so long, one night I offered him a ride home. He accepted and I drove my client to a street near downtown LV. We were leaving at the same time and it wasn't far out of my way. The first couple of times he wouldn't even let me drop him off at his apartment.

Then one evening when I was going to be driving to the studio to meet him, I gave him a call and asked if he needed a ride. He hesitated, then said sure and I said I'd be there in 20 minutes. By this time I knew where he lived but I'd never been up to his apartment. I arrived, walked up the inside ratty, carpeted steps to his crappy apartment in this crappy apartment building, (almost as crappy as the place I lived in), and knocked on the door.

Paul Newman opened it. He said something like 'Dick's running a little late, hi, I'm Paul.'
I don't remember what I said, I sure as hell hoped it wasn't "OMG! You're Paul Newman!" as I'm sure he already knew that.

Right then my client came out of the back room dressed for the studio, (he always wore suits, slightly threadbare, but suits, to the sessions, sans tie), and said (more or less) 'I see you guys have met, thanks for coming by Paul, I'm back in the studio.'

Mr. Newman said something like 'You're back, good luck.'

To be honest, it's been a lotta years and I'm not sure of the dialog. And even at the time I was a bit stunned. As we drove away my client asked me not to say anything to anyone about the encounter.

I've pretty much kept that promise. I've mentioned it in private to family and my GF, but this is the first time I've said it in public.

Now that they both have passed I'm OK with publishing my memories of the encounter.

We all know that Mr. Newman was a great actor and a great human being. What strikes me about this encounter, (with my 15 seconds of knowledge), he was a really good friend.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war

Chuck Todd just now on MSNBC:
Washington is broken, the public now sees it. And John McCain is defending the status quo.

And the Whiny-Ass-Titty-Baby Republicans are mad because Grandma Pelosi hurt their feelings:

Look, the moderate Republicans, the White House, and McCain all bet the farm on this bill. But the ideological Repubs who love them some Free Market™ sank this bill like the Titanic. McCain rode to the rescue like Alexander The Great. Instead he slinks away like Napoleon after Waterloo.

If this bill was supposed to save the free world, don't you think the entire "Party Of Lincoln(sic)" would have voted AYE?

But because Nancy was mean to them, they voted for the destruction of the entire known universe?

Bastards. It was a bad bill, they're bad guys, with a soft gooey ideological center.

Just for fun, here's Waterloo:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Update: Mom, the love she gave I love, She taught me right from wrong

John & Ruth Anderson, mid '80s


She came through surgery Sunday evening well, and was resting comfortably when we came home last night. The team of Doctors and Nurses caring for her is really great, as is the hospital, St. Joseph's, Orange CA.

And to the rest of my family, including bro Matt, who helped get her to the hospital; sis Johanna, who does so much to help take care of Mom on a daily basis; her great family: husband (& co-blogger Dancin') Dave, sons Jonathan & Christopher, and my honey Pam, I love you all.

People who hang around here have probably noticed comments from my mom. She identifies herself as either "Steve's Mom", or "Oldness". Her name is Ruth Anderson.

She just turned 82, is pretty wonderful, always adding to the conversation with wit, knowledge, and insight. She's had a pretty interesting life, and raised 4 interesting kids. She's a proud liberal. And she frequently sends me info that is helpful in this little blogging adventure.

Recently, she was hit with a Bad News/Good News scenario. Cancer, in the lungs and brain, was the bad news. Chemo and radiation would likely shrink the tumors, and add some quality time to her life, was the good news. More Oldness in the world would be a great thing.

She started chemo Tursday, and all went well. She even seemed to have some initial relief from the cough that had been bothering her for some time. But last night (Friday) she fell at home and broke her hip.

Luckily, my brother Matt was at the house, and called paramedics. She was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, and stabilized.

She's likely having hip surgery Sunday. And hopefully this will be just an annoying bump in the road for a great woman, who at age 82, isn't readly to call it quits. Anyone who wants to send her best wishes can, at oldness26@earthlink.net. She'd enjoy hearing from folks who follow our little blog.

We now resume our strategic and tactical blogging.

Friday, September 26, 2008

You were wrong, yeah, you were wrong You were wrong, baby, stayin' away too long

Obama to McMaverickypants: You were wrong!

Johnny get angry, Johhny get mad

McCain's vast ego was on display tonight. From Vagabond Scholar:

More fine pix at Vagabond Scholar's place. Go see them.

Well I've never been to Spain

Say the word, and you'll be free

Crazy ol' Grandpa goes dyslexic:

Money, its a gas. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.

Why the rush to bailout failures?

Let's do some numbers:
A $1.8 Trillion Bailout: Where the Money's Going

Following are details of actions, proposals and amounts:

—Up to $700 billion to buy assets from struggling institutions. The plan is aimed at sopping up residential and commercial mortgages from financial institutions but gives Treasury broad latitude.

—Up to $50 billion from the Great Depression-era Exchange Stabilization Fund to guarantee principal in money market mutual funds to provide the same confidence that consumers have in federally insured bank deposits.

—The Fed committed to make unspecified discount window loans to financial institutions to finance the purchase of assets from money market funds to aid redemptions.

—At least $10 billion in Treasury direct purchases of mortgage-backed securities in September. In doubling the program on Friday, the Treasury said it may purchase even more in the months ahead.

—Up to $144 billion in additional MBS purchases by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.The Treasury announced they would increase purchases up to the newly expanded investment portfolio limits of $850 billion each. On July 30, the Fannie portfolio stood at $758.1 billion with Freddie's at $798.2 billion.

—$85 billion loan for AIG, which would give the Federal government a 79.9 percent stake and avoid a bankruptcy filing for the embattled insurer.

—At least $87 billion in repayments to JPMorgan Chase for providing financing to underpin trades with units of bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers. Paulson said over the weekend he was adamant that public funds not be used to rescue the firm.

—$200 billion for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Treasury will inject up to $100 billion into each institution by purchasing preferred stock to shore up their capital as needed.

—$300 billion for the Federal Housing Administration to refinance failing mortgage into new, reduced-principal loans with a federal guarantee, passed as part of a broad housing rescue bill.

—$4 billion in grants to local communities to help them buy and repair homes abandoned due to mortgage foreclosures.

—$29 billion in financing for JPMorgan Chase's government-brokered buyout of Bear Stearns in March. The Fed agreed to take $30 billion in questionable Bear assets as collateral, making JPMorgan liable for the first $1 billion in losses, while agreeing to shoulder any further losses.

—At least $200 billion of currently outstanding loans to banks issued through the Fed's Term Auction Facility, which was recently expanded to allow for longer loans of 84 days alongside the previous 28-day credits.
1.8 TRILLION dollars! That's a one and an eight trailed by a parade of zeros, (loan) floats, (lax) standard bearers and hot air gas bags.
But what do the numbers really mean? Here's an excellent synopsis via AMERICAblog:
What is $500 billion? What's a trillion?

A reader asked what any of the bailout numbers represent in the real world. We know $500 billion, $700 billion or now the new Paulson plan of $1.8 trillion is a lot, but put this in terms that everyone can understand. A few examples for 2007:

* Microsoft generated $51 billion in revenue.
* Citi, who has been hit hard in the credit crisis, saw $159 billion.
* Walmart's 2007 total revenue was $388 billion.
* ExxonMobil generated $404 billion.

Those are the numbers for some of the largest businesses in the US. For the US budget, here are a few examples from Bush's budget in 2007:

* Veterans' benefits at $73 billion
* Education was $90 billion
* Interest on US debt was $244 billion
* Medicare $395 billion
* Defense was $548 billion
* Social Security was $586

In total, the 2007 federal budget was a total of $2.8 trillion.

Here's a slide show of what 700 BILLION dollars buys:What Does $700 Billion Actually Buy?

And John McCain is shocked, shocked I tell you, that John McCain's campaign advisers and transition team are filled with lobbyists for the banking industry ... oops sorry, John McCain is outraged that American taxpayers would bailout these failing companies ... until he was outraged that American taxpayers wouldn't bailout these failed companies, and then he's ... what!?
"We cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else."
"We've got to get a more coordinated and a much more stringent oversight regime,"
"Government can play a very, very appropriate role in the oversight."
But wait, there's more!
Republican Sen. John McCain said he would suspend campaigning to help tackle a $700 billion bailout proposal
Well sure, if by 'suspend campaign' you mean going on talk shows, having your surrogates on every media outlet bragging about how you 'suspended' campaigning and continuing to raise funds and run campaign commercials:
McCain to do round of network interviews tonight

John McCain will appear on all three network newscasts tonight, a top aide said.

McCain is at the White House meeting with President Bush, Barack Obama and congressional leaders now and will tape interviews with NBC, ABC and CBS after the West Wing session.

McCain also appeared in a taped interview last night with Katie Couric on CBS.
We can debate about whether the 700 BILLION Dollar bailout is a good idea, but what is not debatable is the fact that the house and senate, republicans and democrats and the actual congressional committees involved had worked out a plan they could agree on ... until McCain sang "Here I am to save the day!" and derailed the whole process, about which he knows nothing and isn't on any relevant committees:
House GOP Aides: McCain ‘Not Familiar With The Details’ Of The Financial Bailout
BTW, that's the Senator John McCain who has been absent on more votes than any other senator.

His posturing to suddenly seem 'presidential' doesn't seem to be working, even with all the outside help he's being given:
Maliki Suggests Bush Pushed To Extend U.S. Presence In Iraq To Help McCain

Actually, the final date was really the end of 2010 and the period between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011 was for withdrawing the remaining troops from all of Iraq, but they asked for a change [in date] due to political circumstances related to the [U.S] domestic situation so it will not be said to the end of 2010 followed by one year for withdrawal but the end of 2011 as a final date.
We've learned over the last 7 years that there is no low that a rethuglican who wants to gain or keep office will stoop to.

Congrats to John McSame for lowering himself to a new low.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Money don't get everything it's true, What it don't get I can't use

The despicable sack of crap formerly known as America's Mayor™ has finally descended fully into Hell:
Rudy Giuliani is positioning his law firm to cash in on Wall Street's train wreck - a move that has become a gift to political enemies of his pal John McCain.

Even as the nation's $700 billion, taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailout was still being hashed out, the former mayor announced Thursday his high-powered law firm has set up a task force.
Its mission: to help corporate clients get a piece of the action - or keep the federal wolves from the door.

"Our team of former government officials and experienced attorneys in the fields of legislation, enforcement and finance are equipped to guide institutions in this quickly evolving and complex environment," Giuliani noted in a press release from his law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani.
Giuliani is not the only one poised to profit from opportunities created by the mega-meltdown, but he is the most politically famous.

Giuliani is a prime surrogate for Republican McCain, who has called the economic meltdown "the greatest crisis since the end of World War II" and has assailed Wall Street for "unbridled greed."
Unbridled greed? He should know:
Members of Giuliani's task force will include a number of Bracewell & Giuliani employees with deep connections to Washington in general and the Bush White House in particular.

They include Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan and the son of U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The elder Mukasey is one of Giuliani's closest friends and, as a federal judge, swore in Giuliani at both his mayoral inaugurations.

Another task force member will be Robert Clarke, a one-time director of the Resolution Trust Corp. - the government-owned outfit set up in the wake the last major government bailout, the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, to sell off assets.
Bracewell & Giuliani spokeswoman Melanie Hillis declined to say how much the firm would be charging.

Top-shelf firms like Bracewell & Giuliani routinely charge corporate clients fees topping $800 an hour for every senior lawyer's time - or a commission based on the value of transactions that could reach billions of dollars.

Entrenched operators, cashing in on their connections. That's the American entreprenurial spirit.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the lines on my face are getting deeper every day but i'm not at all delusional

Stephan Savoia/Associated Press
Rick Davis, left, with Senator John McCain in 2007.

John McCain is unarguably one of three things: Dumb, Delusional, or Dishonest:
One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.

Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.

They said they did not recall Mr. Davis’s doing much substantive work for the company in return for the money, other than speak to a political action committee of high-ranking employees in October 2006 on the approaching midterm Congressional elections. They said Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis & Manafort, had been kept on the payroll because of Mr. Davis’s close ties to Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who by 2006 was widely expected to run again for the White House.

Way to go, John. Align yourself with dishonest lobbyists, religious nut-jobs, and financial weasels.

That's some Maverickiness™ we can believe in.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Going to the chapel . . .

(Ellen schools McCain on Gay Marriage)

Ellen DeGeneres makes a point:
You know how usually I talk about cell phones or kitty cats or cheese pizza… well, this is sorta like that… without the cell phones, the cats, or the pizza.

There’s a California Proposition on the ballot that’s a little confusing. It’s Proposition 8. It’s called, “The California Marriage Protection Act” -- but don’t let the name fool you. It’s not protecting anyone’s marriage. Not yours. Not mine.

The wording of Prop 8 is tricky. It’s like if someone asked you, “You don’t want dessert, right?” But you do want dessert so you say, “Yes,” which really means you don’t want dessert. And if you say, “No,” which means you do want dessert -- it sounds like you don’t. Either way, you don’t get what you want. See -- confusing. Just like Prop. 8.

So, in case I haven’t made myself clear, I’m FOR gay marriage. And in order to protect that right -- please VOTE NO on Proposition 8. And now that you’re informed, spread the word. I’m begging you. I can’t return the wedding gifts -- I love my new toaster.

Pam's cousin Joy and her wonderful partner Shelley are getting married Nov. 2, we'll be there to cheer them on, have a drink or three.

Pam will probably dance, I won't. But I'll be proud that California has recognised that gays are people too.

You've lost that lovin' feelin

(George Will & crew on ABC's Roundtable)

While not losing sight of the hackery and quackery surrounding the Wall St. Bailout (Authorization to Use Financial Force, or AUFF), let's remember that there's still a Presidential election looming.

In good election news, John McCain has lost George Will:
Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that "McCain untethered" -- disconnected from knowledge and principle -- had made a "false and deeply unfair" attack on Cox that was "unpresidential" and demonstrated that McCain "doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does."

By extension, that means he's also lost the WSJ editorial board (John Fund's head is exploding). That the WSJ equates McCain with Obama is high praise, considering that they have tried to portray as a elitest traitor who would tax multi-billionaires, which is only partially true.

Will continues:
The political left always aims to expand the permeation of economic life by politics. Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain's party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history? The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism, this is necessary. That non sequitur might be politically necessary, but remember that government control of capital is government control of capitalism. Does McCain have qualms about this, or only quarrels?

And finishes:
Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark.

One Last Bubble

One Last Bubble

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ships that pass in the night and speak each other in passing; Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness ...

... So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Update: I had written the Mystic Seaport museum asking for permission to post the images below. Today they got back to me and graciously granted it ... with a couple of requests that seemed reasonable.

This one's for the sailors in the audience.
Olin J. Stephens II, 100, the premier yacht designer of the 20th century who revolutionized the sport of yacht racing, died Sept. 13 in Hanover, N.H.
I mourn his loss but I think anyone who makes it to 100 had a pretty good run.

And what a run! What follows is a image series of a small part of Olin and his partner Sparkman's accomplishments:

(c) Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic, CT

(c) Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic, CT

(c) Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic, CT

(c) Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic, CT

I'll leave you with this:
"The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective." -Henry David Thoreau
There is so much more.

Sail on, sail on, sailor.

Addendum: The credit for the wonderful photography falls to Rosenfeld and Sons. at the Mystic Seaport Collection.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Around Blogtopia (y, wksctp!*)

Ohh, ooh, witchy woman:
skippy, VIA mudflats informs us of Sarah Failin's gushing remarks 3 months ago about a witch hunter who helped her get elected.

The witch hunter, aka Pastor Muthee, was the guest pastor from Kenya that appeared at Palin’s church, The Wasilla Assembly of God, and “prayed over” Sarah to help her become governor.

Muthee began his life in ministry in Africa by hunting down a local woman named Mama Jane after proclaiming her a witch.
“And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”

D.A.R.E. to investigate Cindy McCain's drug abuse scandal:
Raw Story finds the news about how McCain's Keating 5 lawyer pressured DEA investigators on wife's drug abuse

John McCain's powerful Washington, DC, lawyer, who secured a slap on the wrist for the Arizona Senator following the Keating Five scandal, was in close contact with federal investigators probing Cindy McCain's prescription drug abuse, throughout their nearly yearlong investigation, according to a new report Friday.

Digby at Hullabaloo finds that
John McCain still thinks Social Security should be 'privatized.'

Crooks and Liars has the transcript of 60 Minutes interview of John McCain where this exchange takes place:
Scott Pelley: In 1999 you were one of the senators who helped pass deregulation of Wall Street. Do you regret that now?

McCain: No, I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy.

And now for some good news! Happy blogiversary to Dr. Sardonicus & Pole Hill Sanitarium on his 2 years in blogtopia!**

* Yes, we know Jeralyn Merrit of Talk Left coined that phrase!
** yes, we know skippy coined that phrase!

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

And the walls came tumbling down...


The top ten list of the week.

And a quote:
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last week insisted that the price tag for bailing out Wall Street would come to a princely $700 billion - cha-ching! - a vast pile of cash that we could somehow never seem to find when it was needed for silly things like healthcare or education or fixing Social Security. But here comes Wall Street, cap in hand, and what do you know? There it is.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Donnie Was A Big Meanie

The Public Enema

London Telegraph:

A new biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, called Angler after his Secret Service codename, recounts how he and Donald Rumsfeld conspired to delay the military tribunals which the president had ordered to be set up to try the terrorist suspects.

Condoleezza Rice tried repeatedly to organise a meeting with the most senior figures in the government to discuss the tribunals, but Mr. Rumsfeld twice refused to attend, sending his deputy Paul Wolfowitz instead.

Pulitzer prize winning author Barton Gellman writes: "He did not regard her as an equal and barely hid it. The opinions of her staff did not interest him."

On finding Mr. Rumsfeld absent from a second meeting, CIA director George Tenet was so angry that he defied a direct order from Miss Rice to sit down and marched out of the meeting, declaring: "This is bullshit."

The book goes on: "Something happened to Rice's face, control melting away. Her eyes welled up and her next words caught in her throat. The men in the room did not know where to look.

'She started to cry,' said one of them. 'And she said - I can't remember the exact words because I was so shaken - something like: "We will talk about this again," and she turned and walked quickly out of the door.'"

Miss Rice had the last laugh. Mr. Rumsfeld was fired in 2006 as Iraq descended into civil war and Guantanamo Bay became a byword for abuse of power.

Making a girl cry...No doubt, one of the aspired-to platinum standards of testicular fortitude within the Bush administration.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

North to Alaska, They're goin' North, the rush is on

Alaska Women Reject Palin rally

Some years ago, a friend's wife was working on her Doctoral Thesis. The topic was based on the idea that junkies are the best liars; they would do/say anything convincingly for their fix.

In today's politics, lying seems to be reflex for some folks, especially on the Right side of the dial. Witness Sarah Palin:
Fighting back against allegations she may have fired her then-Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, for refusing to go along with a personal vendetta, Palin on Monday argued in a legal filing that she fired Monegan because he had a "rogue mentality" and was bucking her administration's directives.

"The last straw," her lawyer argued, came when he planned a trip to Washington, D.C., to seek federal funds for an aggressive anti-sexual-violence program. The project, expected to cost from $10 million to $20 million a year for five years, would have been the first of its kind in Alaska, which leads the nation in reported forcible rape.

The McCain-Palin campaign echoed the charge in a press release it distributed Monday, concurrent with Palin's legal filing. "Mr. Monegan persisted in planning to make the unauthorized lobbying trip to D.C.," the release stated.

Yeah, well. Except:
But the governor's staff authorized the trip, according to an internal travel document from the Department of Public Safety, released Friday in response to an open records request.

The document, a state travel authorization form, shows that Palin's chief of staff, Mike Nizich, approved Monegan's trip to Washington, D.C., "to attend meeting with Senator Murkowski." The date next to Nizich's signature reads June 18.

Kagro X at DKos thinks this may actually be a Palin ratf*ck:
Another backstab. Par for the course with Sarah Barracuda. Approve the trip, then claim you fired him for going.

How curious that she seems to have spent more energy bird-dogging and setting up Monegan than she ever did keeping Wooten away from her sister.

That's the real crime in the Palin family: getting in between Sarah and something she wants.

Someone better check the brake lines on the Straight Talk Express!

Maybe. There's other evidence that Palin knows how to administer the shiv:
In the middle of the primary, a conservative columnist in the state, Paul Jenkins, unearthed e-mail messages showing that Ms. Palin had conducted campaign business from the mayor’s office. Ms. Palin handled the crisis with a street fighter’s guile.

“I told her it looks like she did the same thing that Randy Ruedrich did,” Mr. Jenkins recalled. “And she said, ‘Yeah, what I did was wrong.’ ”

Mr. Jenkins hung up and decided to forgo writing about it. His phone rang soon after.

Mr. Jenkins said a reporter from Fairbanks, reading from a Palin news release, demanded to know why he was “smearing” her. “Now I look at her and think: ‘Man, you’re slick,’ ” he said.

Also troubling about this is that the Monegan backstab involved sexual issues. Alaska leads the nation in violent rapes, yet instead of this being a hot-button for Palin, it's a turn-off:
The governor did increase funding for victim assistance by 2% this year. But a larger and much more comprehensive anti-rape effort put together by the state's Department of Public Safety stalled when it reached the governor's office last summer.

Why? Because Palin famously didn't like the man who headed the department:

Days later, Palin fired [the proposal's] chief proponent, Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, after he declined to dismiss a state trooper Palin accused of threatening her own family members. Palin has said she fired Monegan because she wanted to move his department in a "new direction," and he was not being "a team player on budgeting issues." The dismissal is now at the center of a hotly-contested investigation by the state legislature.

The status of the plan, which would have "fast-tracked" sex crime cases via a dedicated group that included specially-trained investigators, judges and prosecutors, is unknown. "I'd ask the governor," said one official with knowledge of the plan. Numerous inquiries to Palin's campaign spokeswoman went unreturned.
Seems to me that moderate women voters may be interesting in knowing about this.

Palin seems to be tone-deaf on this topic. From Anchorage Daily News, 2007:
One in three Alaska Native and American Indian women will be raped during their lifetime and it's the federal government's fault, an Amnesty International study reported Tuesday.

. . . During the press conference, Larry Cox, Amnesty's executive director, recounted a brutal rape in a Western Alaska village in 2005, when a man beat his wife with a shotgun and barricaded himself in a house with four children. During the four hours it took troopers in Bethel to get to Nunam Iqua, 150 miles away, the man raped a 13-year-old girl on a bed with an infant crying beside her.

The slow responses, plus the lack of manpower, causes victims to underreport crimes. They have little hope attackers will be prosecuted, he said.

Walt Monegan, public safety commissioner, acknowledged there's not enough law enforcement in Alaska. He's drafting plans to create a system that will encourage villagers to become local officers and, eventually, state troopers. It will require legislative approval and should be introduced in Juneau next year, he said.

Gov. Sarah Palin hadn't seen the Amnesty report, said spokeswoman Sharon Leighow early Thursday afternoon.

Palin "has heard the message from the rural communities that they need more law enforcement" and is working with Monegan to increase law enforcement there, she said.

But that hasn't worked out so well for the women of Alaska. Again, the rape issue seems less important than it might. More from ABC News:
Evangelicals and social conservatives have embraced McCain's vice presidential pick for what they call her "pro-family," "pro-woman" values. But in Alaska, critics say Gov. Sarah Palin has not addressed the rampant sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence and murder that make her state one of the most dangerous places in the country for women and children.

Indeed, she's even been more than insensitive, she's been outright obstructionist. From Shannyn Moore's Alaska Report blog:
Much can be learned about the Palin Administration’s family values from reviewing their spending priorities. Former Chief of Police Irl Stambaugh included forensic rape kits (up to $1,200 per kit) in his budget requests. He was fired by Palin in 1997. In her termination letter, Palin wrote, “…I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasilla. Therefore I intend to terminate your employment. . . ” Staumbaugh headed the police department since it was created in 1993. Before that, he served 22 years with the Anchorage Police Department rising to the rank of captain. Sarah Palin hired Charlie Fannon as the new Wasilla Chief of Police and said it was one of her best decisions as mayor. Fannon eliminated the forensic rape kits from the budget. Though the number of rapes weren’t reported, Fannon claimed it would save Wasilla taxpayers $5,000 to $14,000 a year.

When Eric Croft, a Democrat Legislator from Anchorage, learned of Wasilla’s policy, he drafted HB 270, which Governor Tony Knowles signed into law. The new law made it illegal for any law enforcement agency to bill victims or victims’ insurance companies for the costs of examinations to collect evidence of a sexual assault or determine if a sexual assault actually occurred. Upon signing the law, Governor Knowles said, “We would never bill the victim of a burglary for the cost of gathering evidence, nor should we bill rape victims just because the crime scene happens to be their bodies.”

Wasilla Police Chief Fannon protested the new law stating it would require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams. Really? Are the true costs of sexual assault and forcible rape in a community only measured and reflected in the dollars spent on the forensic rape kit?

Alaska has the nation’s highest per-capita rate of forcible rape. A disproportionate number of rape and sexual assault victims are Native Alaskan women. Alaska Native people in Anchorage were 9.7 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than others living in the city between 2000 and 2003. Alaska crime statistics never seemed to make a “Northern Exposure” episode. But this isn’t about statistics-real lives were affected by Palin’s regressive policies. One thing Alaska can’t seem to export is the fundamental information around a woman’s rights. Alaska “liberalized” abortion laws before Roe v. Wade. Our dirty secret had to do with a woman’s right to be safe from rapists. This right to choose was not only threatened, but abolished with Sarah Palin’s archaic policy as Mayor of Wasilla. The rape kit included emergency contraception. To be sure, emergency contraception is not, nor does it cause an abortion. In fact, ec prevents pregnancy and therefore reduces abortions.

Under Palin’s Administration, “Life Begins at Rape” for women unable to pay for their forensic evidence gathering. Justice is served to women who can afford it and denied for those who can’t. I live in Alaska-the wealthiest of the 50 states! Forcing rape victims to pay for their own forensic rape kits is something one would expect to find in a fundamentalist country overseas. I have outrage fatigue. I can’t decide which facet of this policy is more upsetting. Is it the denial of justice for the poor? Is it the punishment of women who had been raped? Is it the political policies of a woman so entrenched in the “Pro-Life” movement she would deny justice to a victim? This is not a “Pro-Life” policy. This is a “Pro-Rapist” policy, and forced pregnancy policy.

It should be noted Joe Biden introduced legislation to fund rape kits to women in America. John McCain voted against it.

Seems Monegan was cut with a two-edged sword. Not only didn't he act on Palin's personal grudge, but he was attempting to help the women of Alaska who are too often the victims of rape. Both reasons seem to bring out Palin's anger.

Will she get any support from women? Sadly, yes, hopefully no:
Palin supporters ought to be taking a much closer look at her record on these types of issues (charging rape victims for evidentiary examinations so their attackers can be brought to trial) than whether she can juggle five children and the vice presidency. This, more than anything, should push women, pro-life and pro-choice, away from the McCain-Palin ticket. It's one thing to oppose abortion on moral grounds. It's quite another to charge crime victims for their own forensic examinations. Such a policy is nothing short of outrageous.

funny pictures

And one of my best investigators, my Mom, sends me this email forward that is hopeful:
[The] Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage. Home made signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men. I had no idea what to expect.

The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It's probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally 'a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots,' and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received some nasty, harassing and threatening messages.

I felt a bit apprehensive. I'd been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it's a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren't sent by Eddie Burke, we'll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing 'socialist baby-killing maggot' haters.

It's a good thing I wasn't tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebody's trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn't honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn't happen here.

Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn't be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.

So, if you've been doing the math… Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin's rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery. Feel free to spread the pictures around to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans. The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say.

I Sold You and You Sold Me

I Sold You and You Sold Me

Friday, September 19, 2008

Running on a dark race course

In the early '90s, Kristin had a buddy that liked to bet on the ponies. Living in Orange County, Los Alamitos Race Track was convenient, so they sometimes went there on weekends.

One day, a Sunday, if I recall, she called me, excited:
"I won a car!"


"I won a car!!"

"How, where?"

"Becky & I went to Los Alamitos, there was a raffle, and I won!"

Actually, it wasn't a car, but a Toyota pickup. Not every girl wants a truck, but Kristin made it work for her, and she proudly drove it for many years.

Some wonderful things happened in her life, and some really crappy ones.

My beautiful sister, Kristin Carol Anderson, would have been 49 today.

We all miss you, Ms. Karrot.

Arrr, it's International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Pirate speak translator for Senator McCain's latest gaffe:
The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on McCain

When th' questioner spake, "Now let`s talk o' Spain" an' asked whether he`d invite Zapatero, McCain responded wi' a vague statement that he would meet "wi' them leaders who be our shipmates" an' then cited Mexican President Felipe Calderón as an example. Th' questioner tried several more times t' steer th' Senator aft t' a clear answer on Spain, but McCain neredirectly addressed th' nation, sayin', "What I would say be that me record be that o' someone who has worked in a friendly atmosphere wi' them who be our shipmates an' faced up t' them who aren`t."

From this, much o' th' Spanish press has concluded that th' Republican candidate, who hails hisself as th' experienced foreign policy choice in this election, confused Spain — a NATO member an' key ally in th' swashbuckle against terrorism — wi' one o' them troublesome Latin American states. That be certainly th' interviewer`s impression, fer she followed up wi' a gentle reminder that Spain be a country in Europe. As Spanish newspaper El País put 't, "In th' best-case scenario, [his answer] demonstrates his ignorance wi' respect t' Zapatero."

Oh, and happy anniversary honey!
(Artist's rendition of the happy couple)

Bush and Company to Reward Stupidity

The Dow has taken another giant leap upwards this morning (up $429 at this moment). Seems all the investors(including Warren Buffet) are glad to see Bush and his buddies reward the stupid greed that got us into this mess. Who knows how much this additional bailout will cost you and I, the American taxpayer.

We don't have any money to provide health care to ALL Americans.
We don't have any money to help out Americans losing their homes.
We don't have any money to do what's right for our veterans returning from a stupid and unnecessary war.
We don't have any money to fund SCHIP.
We don't have any money to repair our crumbling infrastructure.
We don't have any money to rebuild New Orleans.
We won't have any money to rebuild Galveston.
We don't have any money to even provide ice to the evacuees in Texas.
We don't have any money for food stamps for the poorest Americans.
We don't have any money to extend jobless benefits to millions of Americans.
We don't have any money for anything necessary.

We do have plenty of money to pay for an unnecessary two trillion dollar war.
We do have plenty of money to bail out Bears Stearns.
We do have plenty of money to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
We do have plenty of money to bail out AIG.
We do have enough money to bail out all the banks and money market funds that were stupid enough to buy derivatives and worthless mortgages and manage to pay their executives millions in salary and benefits.

When the average American working stiff needs a little relief or financial help, Bush and the rest of his devil's spawn tell us to get a job or cut back or even get a second job. No problem. They have theirs, the jets, the houses in the Hamptons and the little place in Vail. With their wealthy country club buddies though it is a different story. Where's the checkbook? What do you need? Only 50 billion, no problem...you sure we can't make it an even 100? Don't worry about paying it back the American taxpayer has you covered. Don't even think about returning the money you have salted away offshore or selling that 100 foot yacht.

Some estimates are that the American taxpayer is going to wind up taking responsibility for 2 TRILLION worth of bad judgment and greed with very little chance of getting any of it back or at best a few cents on the dollar.

I'm no economist but I do know something about money management and the concept of throwing good money after bad. This may be the right thing to do to prevent a total collapse of the system, as corrupt as it is, but it just seems to me that the villains in this whole mess aren't ponying up every last cent of their record salaries and options. Just yesterday it was announced that three of the big wigs at Citibank are going to share about 120 million dollars worth of golden parachute money on their way out the door.

cross posted at Fallenmonk

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Dark Side of the Moon

Richard Wright, the keyboardist whose somber, monumental sounds were at the core of the art rock by Pink Floyd that has sold millions and millions of albums, died Monday in London, where he had lived. He was 65.

The cause was cancer, said his publicist, Claire Singers.

Wright was a founding member of Pink Floyd, and his spacious, enveloping keyboards, backing vocals and eerie effects were essential to its musical identity.
Wright was also sole songwriter on "The Great Gig in the Sky," a hymnlike track with a soaring, wordless female vocal at the center of "The Dark Side of the Moon," the 1973 Pink Floyd album that has sold some 40 million copies.
I'll forego the divisions and recombinations of Pink Floyd, except to mention he was back in the band for the "Momentary Lapse of Reason" album and tour. I'd been a big fan for years and then I got a chance to work a part of the US part of that tour.

Before anyone gets excited I have to let you know I was about 6 companies away from working with Pink Floyd. I was just a freelance audio engineer and was hired by Stage Tech Personnel as an audio tech. I worked set-up and strike, but I was just an observer during the show. (Fun fact: that show took 5 days to stage and 3 to tear down. Two complete PA and light systems hopscotched each other around from venue to venue.)

My first show was in Tampa Stadium. After working the set-up I had the show off ... in the PA/video/lighting tower I'd helped to construct and wire ... listening to Pink Floyd play from the quad stacks I'd helped to set-up and wire. The show was awesome! The music, the engineering, the KEYBOARDS, the lighting, FX, were everything I'd ever imagined a live show could be. "When pigs fly" is a common way of saying that something is impossible. Pigs flew that night, literally.

Immediately after the show ended I was on the crew that took the stage first, (after PF's personal techs), and I still remember looking out from the stage at 80,000 people while coiling mic and monitor cables and thinking ... ... ... actually I wasn't thinking. I was coiling the cables by habit and just in awe that I was on the very stage that Pink Floyd had played on.

When I started this post it wasn't supposed to be about me, and it really isn't. It's about the how much Richard Wright has affected my life. From my teens thru adulthood and now into middle age I still listen to Pink Floyd, and my favorite albums are the ones he played on.

There are very few musicians I can say had an effect on my life, (my career, quite a few;-), but Richard Wright is one of them.

Thank you Richard. "The Great Gig in the Sky" has always been yours.

p.s. Richard, the guy playing trumpet with you with his back to the audience? Yeah, that's god, he thinks he's Miles.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Nice work if you can get it, And if you get it --Won't you tell me how?

Carly Fiorina is the gift that keeps on giving. Sam Stein writes at HuffPost:
Carly Fiorina, a key surrogate for John McCain on economic issues, said on Tuesday that Sarah Palin does not have the experience needed to run a major company like the one that Fiorina formerly headed.

"Do you think [Sarah Palin] has the experience to run a major company, like Hewlett Packard?" asked the host.

"No, I don't," responded Fiorina. "But you know what? That's not what she's running for."

As Howie Mandel used to say,'No, wait!"
Fiorina went on MSNBC to defend her comments and decides to double down, arguing that John McCain, Barack Obama, and Joseph Biden couldn't run Hewlett Packard either. The Obama campaign, seeking to compound the fallout of her earlier statement, highlights just the portion where she talks about McCain.

"If John McCain's top economic advisor doesn't think he can run a corporation, how on Earth can he run the largest economy in the world in the midst of a financial crisis? Apparently even the people who run his campaign agree that the economy is an issue John McCain doesn't understand as well as he should," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Problem is, Fiorina couldn't run HP either. Oliver Willis sets the record straight:
She was brought on board to grow HP, but instead laid off people then pushed the company into a merger with Compaq that turned into a mess and was opposed by Walter Hewlett, son of HP co-founder and tech pioneer Bill Hewlett. A little after that she was effectively fired by the board of directors.

And yet, this is the leading voice on the Republican side for business and economics. She must have some freaky pictures of someone or something, because even the McCain people can’t be this stupid.

Here is a chart of HP’s stock performance during Fiorina’s tenure (July 19, 1999 - February, 10, 2005):

And here is HP’s chart post-Fiorina (July 19, 1999 February, 10, 2005 - present):

So how's this all playing for Carly? Not well:
"Carly will now disappear," this source said. "Senator McCain was furious." Asked to define "disappear," this source said, adding that she would be off TV for a while – but remain at the Republican National Committee and keep her role as head of the party’s joint fundraising committee with the McCain campaign.

Fiorina was booked for several TV interviews over the next few days, including one on CNN. Those interviews have been canceled.

A third source said "it was another bad day for her, and important people are mad because the timing is horrible… But I would not necessarily buy the Siberia storyline."

It's like standing in the rain, while dismissing the idea of gravity. You look stupid, and you get wet.

Here's a great movie version of the title song "Nice Work If You Can Get It" from A Damsel In Distress (1937) featuring some guy named Astaire:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh oh Telephone Line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight

Not only is John McSame delusional, but so is his entire campaign staff.

According tp Doug Holtz-Eakin, here's McCain's great accomplishment:
Asked what work John McCain did as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that helped him understand the financial markets, the candidate's top economic adviser wielded visual evidence: his BlackBerry.

"He did this," Douglas Holtz-Eakin told reporters this morning, holding up his BlackBerry. "Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you're looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that's what he did."

Al Gore, call your office.

(Courtesy of Amie Parnes, on the trail with McCain)

Indeed. Well, we now know it happened a long, long time ago:

But how big a deal is the Blackberry? From Gawker:
The AP is already comparing this to Al Gore's "I invented the internet" claim, which as everyone but Maureen Dowd hopefully now knows, was actually mostly true, in that Gore actually said he "took the initiative to create the Internet," in the context of his being the only Senator in the 1980s who kept babbling about the importance of national computer networking initiatives.

. . . The Arizona senator's handling of regulation and deregulation of that industry in particular left him with the skills to help revive the economy amid a mortgage crisis, an energy crisis and a Wall Street meltdown, the adviser said.

In other words, by being a stalwart slave to the telecommunications lobby, McCain allowed them to write their own regulatory policy and therefore create the BlackBerry, a shitty piece of limited and overpriced techonology lightyears behind what's available in Western Europe and Asia. GOOD WORK.

And there's more:

Engadget :
Politics aside, we're totally cracking up that McCain policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eaken told reporters today that his BlackBerry was "the miracle that John McCain helped create" -- dude, BlackBerrys are Canadian.

Wired :
The comment met with immediate derision across the internet.
"McCain economic adviser claims McCain invented the Blackberry. I'd vote for him if it was the iPhone,"joked "mnoreen," on Twitter.

And someone else has started a running joke with the word "#invent" on the micro-blogging service. Hundreds of sarcastic comments are pouring through the service.

Seriously, is this the best they can do? Lying, incompetence, buffoonery. Ah, the smell of Republicans in the morning.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Four More Years

Four More Years

The Bush Doctrine Formula; Jus ad bellum

Bush Secret Order To Send Special Forces Into Pakistan

A secret order issued by George Bush giving US special forces carte blanche to mount counter-terrorist operations inside Pakistani territory raised fears last night that escalating conflict was spreading from Afghanistan to Pakistan and could ignite a region-wide war.
Following Bush's decision, US navy Seals commandos, backed by attack helicopters, launched a ground raid into Pakistan last week which the US claimed killed about two dozen insurgents. Pakistani officials condemned the raid as illegal and said most of the dead were civilians.
The move is regarded as unprecedented in terms of sending troops into a friendly, allied country.
This latest invasion, against a country that Bush has said:
- July, 2008 "Pakistan is a strong ally and a vibrant democracy."

- July 2008 Pakistan has been a strong partner in the fight against violent extremism

-September 2006 This President is a strong defender of freedom and the people of Pakistan, and I appreciate your leadership.
The Bush Doctrine specifically delineated the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan as 'preemptive war' when they stated that
"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent."

Let me be clear: Analysts differed on several important aspects of these programs and those debates were spelled out in the estimate. They never said there was an imminent threat.
Bush would have done well not to make that distinction, since it is the difference between a just war and "Due to the speculative nature of preventive war, in which the adversary may or may not be a future threat, preventive war is considered an act of aggression in international law"

If there is not an 'imminent threat' it is a "Preventive war", which is illegal.

And now Bush has taken his doctrine to a whole new level by attacking what he has said is a sovereign, democratically elected, ally in the war on terror.

Preemptive war v. Preventive war.
This is not just semantics, it is the definition of the difference between a international war crime of aggression and defending your country against an imminent threat.

(h/t to The Vidiot for the inspiration for this post.)

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Here's 50 million dollars - go'n leave us alone (Do U wanna, do U wanna - golden parachute)

Evidence continues to mount: If you want something to fail, you hire someone who knows how to fail. GWBush has done this throughout is mal-administration.

Carly Fiorina's presidency of HP (Hewlett-Packard) was an Epic Fail. Yet in another example of right-wing economics, she was rewarded with a Golden Parachute valued at $42 million.

Marcy says today:
John McCain and Sarah Palin both came out today to condemn CEOs who get golden parachutes. Here's McCain:
We will stop multimillion dollar payouts to CEO’s who have broken the public trust.

And here's Palin:
We're going to reform the way Wall Street does business and stop multimillion-dollar payouts and golden parachutes to CEOs who break the public trust.

Seems to me McCain could put that campaign promise into effect right away. One of his top advisors, Carly Fiorina, who laid off 20,000 HP workers, oversaw huge losses, and engaged in corporate spying. Sure sounds like she "broke the public trust" to me. And for her troubles, HP gave her $21.4 million in severance pay, plus another $21.1 million in stock options and other benefits.

Over $42 million for--as John McCain describes it--breaking the public trust.

Call John McCain's campaign at (703) 418-2008 and demand that McCain stand by his promise to stop this practice. Ask him to demand this his campaign advisor, Carly Fiorina, give back her loot to HP's stockholders.


Marcy & I have started a Facebook group: Make McCain Close Carly's Golden Parachute.

Please join, wake the neighbors, tell the kids. We'd like to get other bloggers, and anybody else on board, who think that McCain and the Republicans surrounding him are hypocrites.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Doctor my eyes

John McMaverickypants doesn't want you to have the health care he's had his entire adult life. And he doesn't want Iraq veterans to have that same health care.

Don't you think we're entitled to know what our tax dollars have been providing him?

From the great folks at Brave New Films:

John McCain has not yet released his medical records to the public. McCain is 72 years old, and has been diagnosed with invasive melanoma. In May of this year, a small group of selected reporters were allowed to review 1,173 pages of McCain's medical records that covered only the last eight years, and were allowed only three hours to do so. John McCain's health is an issue of profound importance. We call on John McCain to issue a full, public disclosure of all of his medical records, available for the media and members of the general public to review.


It's the season of the lie

When even Karl Rove says you've lied, you're a liar:
WALLACE: What does McCain do that goes a step too far?

ROVE: McCain has gone, in some of his ads, similarly gone one step too far in sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100% truth test.
[Fox News Sunday, 9/14/08]

John McCain: Dishonor before country.


At His Infernal Princeling's Convenience

At His Infernal Princeling's Convenience

'As a step toward underworld environmental awareness, henceforth all commode paper in Outer Hades will be recycled from the vast supply of discarded copies of An Inconvenient Book - The Management'


Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm on the hunt, I'm after you

Some Palin supporters will dislike this commercial, others won't give a damn:

I find her actions horrid, hateful. But the ones who won't care are Palin's Christianist Dominionst end-times evangelical brethern and sistern(sic), who are firmly caught up in the Biblical idea that we (humans) are stewards of the earth.

But rather than what the word "steward" actually means, many of them believe that, since the end times are near, instead we can plunder, pillage, devastate the earth and most of its inhabitants for our own pleasure and needs.

Even when its manifestly stupid and short-sighted. Drill, Baby, Drill, indeed.


And you never ask questions When God's on your side

Normally I would say, let's not waste time on Sarah Palin. Her main claim to fame is as a skirt for McCain to hide behind, and to use dog-whistle language to excite the Rabid right in this country.

But then stuff like this happens during the Charlie Gibson interview:
"I would never presume to know God's will or use God's words".

Right. Because that's a sin. Except that people, pastors and congregants, in evangelical churches do it all the time.

I heard the leader of one of the largest evangelical churches, based in Costa Mesa, CA, say to his flock, in re: the Second Coming (paraphrasing):
Now, we're admonished to not try and predict when Jesus will return. And I won't. But my reading and study of the Bible leads me to conclude that I have a pretty good idea when it will happen.

Hubris, I guess, when you can listen to what the boss says and still try and spin it your way.

Thing is, Sarah said the Pipeline is God's will":

And she said the Iraq War is God's Plan:

When Charlie Gibson questioned her on this, she demurred (and here's the first quote above):
GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words.

But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.

That's what that comment was all about, Charlie.

GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln's words, but you went on and said, "There is a plan and it is God's plan."

PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, Charlie, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That, in my world view, is a grand -- the grand plan.

GIBSON: But then are you sending your son on a task that is from God?

PALIN: I don't know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.
Let me explain this in simple terms: SHE LIED!!!! She believes what she said in the church video.

I guaran-damn-tee someone got on Teh Google™ immediately after hearing the quote from the church video, probably typed every combination of "God", "war", "will", "plan" , to see what they could find. And they found the Lincoln quote:

It appears that the Lincoln quote is apocryphal. In other words, while I can find the quote everywhere, I can find no solid scholarly reference to it anywhere. It appears to be either made-up, or unsubstantiated. Joe Garofoli at SFGate.com has this:
OK, so which Abe quote is it?

Abe, in his second Inaugural address said:"Neither [side] anticipated that the cause of the conflict [i.e., slavery] might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.

In any case, it seems to be a wonderful phrase that supports the Christian Right's world view, that everything they decide is God's Work is, indeed, God's Work.

I suppose we should bow down and worship even unto them, for they are Holy and know stuff that we don't.

Better yet, we should tell them to leave us the Hell alone.