Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
History has been made
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
By GARANCE BURKE | Associated Press Writer
12:59 PM EDT, October 11, 2008
WASILLA, Alaska (AP) _ The camera closes in on Sarah Palin speaking to young missionaries, vowing from the pulpit to do her part to implement God's will from the governor's office.
What she didn't tell worshippers gathered at the Wasilla Assembly of God church in her hometown was that her appearance that day came courtesy of Alaskan taxpayers, who picked up the $639.50 tab for her airplane tickets and per diem fees.
An Associated Press review of the Republican vice presidential candidate's record as mayor and governor reveals her use of elected office to promote religious causes, sometimes at taxpayer expense and in ways that blur the line between church and state.
. . . cont.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 10, 2008
Filed at 11:47 p.m. ET
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, the chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded Friday. The politically charged inquiry imperiled her reputation as a reformer on John McCain's Republican ticket.
Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report to a bipartisan panel that looked into the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.
. . . cont.
By Frank Schaeffer
October 10, 2008
John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.
At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.
. . . cont.
By RICHARD RICHTMYER – 22 hours ago
TROY, N.Y. (AP) — Who is running for president? In an upstate New York county, hundreds of voters have been sent absentee ballots in which they could vote for "Barack Osama."
. . . cont.
(How incredibly childish and petty and obvious.)
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Oct 7, 9:13 PM (ET)
By ANDREW TAYLOR
WASHINGTON (AP) - Less than a week after the federal government had to bail out American International Group Inc. (AIG), the company sent executives on a $440,000 retreat to a posh California resort, lawmakers investigating the company's meltdown said Tuesday.
. . . cont.
(And this comes as a surprise how?)
Flyer Warns of Undercover Police Presence at Polls on Election Day
By AVNI PATEL
Oct. 6, 2008—
Election officials and watchdog groups are bracing for the wave of sneaky or suspicious phone calls, leaflets and emails that typically hit battleground states in the final 30 days of the presidential campaign.
Young voters at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Penn. have already been targeted, with students reporting that flyers have been posted around campus warning that undercover police will be at the polls on Election Day looking to make arrests.
The flyer reads like a friendly letter to fellow students relaying a warning from an "Obama supporter": "He informed me that on the day of the election there will be undercover officers to execute warrants on those who come to vote based on the anticipated turnout," writes the anonymous student in the letter which was later posted on the Drexel College Democrats website. "He advised me if I had any outstanding warrants or traffic offenses I should clear them up prior to voting."
. . . cont.
Who You Callin’ a Maverick?
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: October 4, 2008
“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,” said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.
. . . cont.
Monday, October 06, 2008
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty
By TIM DICKINSON Posted Oct 16, 2008 7:00 PM
This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.
. . . cont.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Palin's Witch Hunting Pastor
McCain’s Suspension Bridge to Nowhere
By FRANK RICH
Published: September 27, 2008
WHAT we learned last week is that the man who always puts his “country first” will take the country down with him if that’s what it takes to get to the White House.
For all the focus on Friday night’s deadlocked debate, it still can’t obscure what preceded it: When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse. All he cared about was whether he might save his campaign. George Bush put more deliberation into invading Iraq than McCain did into his own reckless invasion of the delicate Congressional negotiations on the bailout plan.
. . . cont.
(Note: This editorial is at The New York Times which may require a login to read. Lots of people don't like creating accounts like this because they require you to give a valid email address. I have only one word to say about that . . . gmail . . . or maybe hotmail . . . or maybe even yahoo!mail. I have a junk account with gmail I use for these kinds of registrations. I recommend getting a junk account to everyone.)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Oh, please let this be true (say I with evil grin)
Friday, September 26, 2008
She’s out of her league.
By Kathleen Parker
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.
No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.
. . . cont.
Palin should step down, conservative commentator says
Posted: 06:20 PM ET
From CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) – Prominent conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, an early supporter of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin, said Friday recent interviews have shown the Alaska governor is "out of her league" and should leave the GOP presidential ticket for the good of the party.
. . . cont.
She talks, we cringe
Thursday, September 11, 2008
From Randi Kaye
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain criticized two of his future running mate's hometown projects in broadsides in 2001 against congressional "pork-barrel" spending, records from the Arizona senator's office show.
. . . cont.
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 11, 1:25 AM ET
NORFOLK, Va. - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Wednesday accused Republican John McCain's campaign of using "lies and phony outrage and Swift-boat politics" in claiming he used a sexist comment against vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Calling it "the latest made-up controversy by the John McCain campaign," Obama responded to the Republicans' charge that he was referring to Palin when he used the phrase "lipstick on a pig" at a campaign stop Tuesday.
"I don't care what they say about me. But I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and Swift-boat politics. Enough is enough," he said.
. . . cont.
An American tragedy made into a political commodity
By Keith Olbermann
updated 8:20 p.m. CT, Wed., Sept. 10, 2008
As promised, a Special Comment about our sad anniversary tomorrow.
Or, more correctly, what our sad anniversary tomorrow has been turned into by the presidential administration, and the current Republican candidates for President and Vice President.
. . . continue reading or listen to it instead . . .
Sarah Palin opposes the issues I support. She does not speak for me nor does she represent who I am, what I think, or how I feel. I honestly believe she was chosen by the Republicans as a token to assuage the Clinton supporters and to attract more of the kind of voters who have helped the Republicans run this country into the ground. The Democrats showed how far this country has come by having both a black man and a woman vying for the highest elected office of the land. The Republicans had nothing to counter that except another tired old white man who is all for more of the same so they attempted to baffle us with bullsh*t by dangling a fresh young white woman, who is also all for more of the same, in front of us. In my case, it didn't work. Being a Texan, I know bullsh*t when I step in it.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
Land of the free, part three
As the police attacks on protesters in Minnesota continue -- see this video of the police swarming a bus transporting members of Earth Justice, seizing the bus and leaving the group members stranded on the side of the highway -- it appears increasingly clear that it is the Federal Government that is directing this intimidation campaign. Minnesota Public Radio reported yesterday that "the searches were led by the Ramsey County Sheriff's office. Deputies coordinated searches with the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
Sunday, August 31, 2008
In November, 2007, a small group of six citizens - two screenwriters, a physicist, a marine biologist, a philosopher and a science journalist - began working to restore science and innovation to America’s political dialogue. They called themselves Science Debate 2008, and they called for a presidential debate on science. The call tapped a wellspring of concern over the state of American science.
Within weeks, more than 38,000 scientists, engineers, and other concerned Americans signed on, including nearly every major American science organization, dozens of Nobel laureates, elected officials and business leaders, and the presidents of over 100 major American universities. See who here. Among other things, these signers submitted over 3,400 questions they want the candidates for President to answer about science and the future of America.
Beginning with these 3,400 questions, Science Debate 2008 worked with the leading organizations listed to craft the top 14 questions the candidates should answer. These questions are broad enough to allow for wide variations in response, but they are specific enough to help guide the discussion toward many of the largest and most important unresolved challenges currently facing the United States.
The Questions and Answers
Barack Obama's answers appear below. John McCain has said he will also answer the questions.
Read the questions and Obama's answers . . .
And a little closer to home
Blackwater Worldwide is currently seeking qualified law enforcement officers and security personnel to potentially deploy to provide security in the possible aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. This is the first time Blackwater has mobilized under its controversial Homeland Security contracts. Blackwater did deploy security personnel to assist New Orleans in wake of Hurricane Katrina and this resulted in great controversy since it was the first time a private military corporation had deployed on US soil.
Land of the free, part two
Thanks to the miracle of cellular technology, I was able to talk to a homeowner while his home was surrounded by police conducting an RNC-related raid.
I reached Mike Whelan, a waiter and army veteran, by phone at his duplex at 951 Iglehart Ave. in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Whelan invited independent observers from the group LegalWatch stay in one half of his side-by-side duplex while they monitor RNC protests.
Whelan describes himself as a supporter of the RNC demonstrations, but says he is not affiliated with any particular group. "I want to build a country that's based on good social values," he said.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The land of the free
Salon.com | Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis
Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets.
The New York Times | Dozens Detained Ahead of Convention
ST. PAUL, Minn. — On the weekend before the Republican National Convention, law enforcement agencies detained dozens of people and issued a series of search warrants aimed at groups believed to be organizing demonstrations while delegates and Republican officials are in town.
How stupid do you think I am?
When McCain's running mate was announced, my first reaction was, "Who?" My second was, "How stupid do you think I am? Am I really supposed to think you're not jumping on the bandwagon?"
The answer to my first question - "Who?" - was fairly simple. A friend sent me this link - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080829/ap_on_el_pr/cvn_veepstakes_palin and the answer was made abundantly clear. Palin is all for raping the land as long as no one profits illegally from it.
And the second and third questions . . . Well . . . I don't do bandwagons.
So, if McCain had made his selection six months ago, the squeaky-clean governor meme would have made a little more sense. But, Sarah Palin is currently under an ethics investigation by the Alaska state legislature. The details of this investigation read like a trashy novel, and I suspect that the players will soon have newfound celebrity on the national stage. I’ll try to explain for all you non-Alaskans who suddenly have good reason to want to know more about Sarah Palin. For those of you not interested in trashy novels, feel free to skip ahead. Here it is…what we in Alaska call “TrooperGate”.
Sarah Palin’s sister Molly married a guy named Mike Wooten who is an Alaska State Trooper. Mike and Molly had a rocky marriage. When the marriage broke up, there was a bitter custody fight that is still ongoing. During the custody investigation, all sorts of things were brought up about Wooten including the fact that he had illegally shot a moose (yes folks this is Alaska), driven drunk, and used a taser (on the test setting, he reminds us) on his 11-year old stepson, who supposedly had asked to see what it felt like. While Wooten has turned out to be a less than stellar figure, the fact that Palin’s father accompanied him on the infamous moose hunt, and that many of the dozens of charges brought up by the Palin family happened long before they were ever reported smacked of desperate custody fight. Wooten’s story is that he was basically stalked by the family.
After all this, Wooten was investigated and disciplined on two counts and allowed to kept his position with the troopers. Enter Walt Monegan, Palin’s appointed new chief of the Department of Public Safety and head of the troopers. Monegan was beloved by the troopers, did a bang-up job with minimal funding and suddenly got axed. Palin was out of town and Monegan got “offered another job” (aka fired) with no explanation to Alaskans. Pressure was put on the governor to give details, because rumors started to swirl around the fact that the highly respected Monegan was fired because he refused to fire the aforementioned Mike Wooten. Palin vehemently denied ever talking to Monegan or pressuring Monegan in any way to fire Wooten, or that anyone on her staff did. Over the weeks it has come out that not only was pressure applied, there were literally dozens of conversations in which pressure was applied to fire him. Monegan has testified to this fact, spurring an ongoing investigation by the Alaska state legislature. But, before this investigation got underway, Palin sent the Alaska State Attorney General out to do some investigative work of his own so she could find out in advance what the real investigation was going to find. (No, I’m not making this up). The AG interviewed several people, unbeknownst to the actual appointed investigator or the Legislature! Palin’s investigation of herself uncovered a recorded phone call retained by the Alaska State Troopers from Frank Bailey, a Palin underling, putting pressure on a trooper about the Wooten non-firing. Todd Palin (governor’s husband) even talked to Monegan himself in Palin’s office while she was away. Bailey is now on paid administrative leave.
As if this weren’t enough, Monegan’s appointed replacement Chuck Kopp, turns out to have been the center of his own little scandal. He received a letter of reprimand and was reassigned after sexual harrassment allegations by a former coworker who didn’t like all the unwanted kissing and hugging in the office. Was he vetted? Obviously not. When he was questioned about all this, his comment was that no one had asked him and he thought they all knew. Kopp, defiant, still claimed to have done nothing wrong and said to the press that there was no way he was stepping down from his new position. Twenty four hours later, he stepped down. Later it was uncovered that he received a $10,000 severance package for his two weeks on the job from Palin. Monegan got nothing.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
I really had to laugh at this
Sunday, February 17, 2008
By Eliot Spitzer
Thursday, February 14, 2008; Page A25
Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.
Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.
... continue . . .
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
November 19, 2007
With overwhelming bipartisan support, Rep. Jane Harman's "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" passed the House 404-6 late last month and now rests in Sen. Joe Lieberman's Homeland Security Committee. Swift Senate passage appears certain.
Not since the "Patriot Act" of 2001 has any bill so threatened our constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Now playing: Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.
To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.
Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.
I don't need to comment about this, do I? It's way too early in the morning and I haven't even had a cup of coffee yet so I don't think I can work up enough appropriate vitriol to express what I truly feel about this.
What is the cost of an unfulfillable dream? What is the worth of an appendage or of sight or of a brain damaged?
Now playing: Filter - Take a Picture
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Don't be fooled by the name
Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.
HSUS is big, rich, and powerful, a “humane society” in name only. And while most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.
Instead, HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics. HSUS spends $2 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going.
Now playing: Loreena McKennitt - The Dark Night of the Soul
Thursday, July 05, 2007
The text of the commentary can be found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19588942/.
To quote just a few of the statements directed at Mr. Bush:
I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but to stifle dissent.
I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.
I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Scooter go bye bye
by John W. Dean
On June 5, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton will sentence Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who has been convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury, as the result of the Special Counsel investigation arising from the revelation of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent. I suspect that Judge Walton's actions will create a difficult and delicate problem for the White House.
Needless to say, I have no crystal ball. But it is plain that the White House must be bracing itself for Libby's being sent to prison. Moreover, it appears that high-powered friends of Libby and Cheney have figured out the White House's dilemma, so they are trying to help keep Scooter out of prison in a manner that will not have criminal consequences for anyone involved.
No one has been more active in this undertaking on Libby's behalf than former Tennessee Senator Fred D. Thompson, who has strong Presidential aspirations. Yet, to my surprise, Thompson is either being blatantly dishonest, or he is remarkably uninformed about his efforts. Unfortunately for Thompson, neither state of mind ought to commend itself to Republicans clamoring for a conservative with stature for the GOP nomination in 2008.
Just another brick in the wall
Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge
Located within the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Tijuana Slough is a beautiful 1,500-acre wetland, home to many endangered birds and one endangered plant. It is located in Imperial Beach where the Tijuana River meets the sea and is southern California’s only coastal estuary not bisected by roads and rail lines. More than 370 species of birds have been recorded on the refuge and in the adjacent river valley. Endangered birds include the light-footed clapper rail, California least tern, California brown pelican, Belding’s savannah sparrow, and an endangered plant—salt marsh bird’s beak.
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Estuary is an essential breeding, feeding, and nesting area for resident birds and for the thousands of migratory birds moving along the Pacific Flyway. Over 370 species of birds have been documented in the Reserve, some of which are endangered and threatened. The light-footed clapper rail, a resident bird that depends on marsh cordgrass and may be the most endangered bird in Southern California, is found here in numbers unlike any other wetland is San Diego County.
Folks, it's time to get political again. Tell your congresspeople you will vote them out of office if they agree to this travesty. The only thing walls are good for is building fear and suspicion and hatred. Enough is enough.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
It's already a circus and the fools outnumber us all
"Trying to hush up and punish fellow Americans for exercising the same democratic right we're trying to instill in Iraq is not what we're all about," said Gary Kurpius, national commander of the 2.4 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars.
"Someone in the Marine Corps needs to exercise a little common sense and put an end to this matter before it turns into a circus," Kurpius said.
. . .
Col. Dave Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman, said Kokesh is under administrative review because he wore his uniform at a political event, which is prohibited. And, Lapan said, when a senior officer told Kokesh that he violated military regulations, Kokesh used an obscenity and indicated he would not comply with the rules.
"It's the political activity that is prohibited, not the type of event that it was," Lapan said. "If it had been a pro-war rally, it would still have been a violation."
. . .
A second Marine who was at the same event was also called about the violation, but told the officer he was unaware he was breaking the rules and said he would not do it again, Lapan said. That Marine has not been called to an administrative hearing.
. . .
"We all know that people give up some individual rights when they join the military," Kurpius said. "But these Marines went to war, did their duty, and were honorably discharged from the active roles. I may disagree with their message, but I will always defend their right to say it."
May I ask one question? Have the military personnel Bush and other politicians have standing around them when they make their speeches been placed under "administrative review" for wearing their uniforms during a "political activity"?
Brownback vs. Darwin
By SAM BROWNBACK
Published: May 31, 2007
The New York Times
While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.
A Thinking Reed | Brownback vs. Darwin
Each individual human being comes into existence by way of natural processes, but that in no way justifies treating their individual worth as somehow diminished. So why should the fact that the species came into being by natural processes diminish the worth of human beings as such? If we can say that God intends my particular existence, even though I came into being through natural processes, then why can’t we say that God intended to bring human beings as a species into existence by means of natural processes?
Monday, May 28, 2007
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Politics . . . a definition
Sometimes someone has such a clear vision of a truth that you wonder at its simplicity. As definitions go, this quote from Ernest Benn encompasses the meaning of politics more elegantly, though succinctly, than any other I've ever come across. The only definition that is shorter and more to the point is not as elegant. It is also very evocative of a Texan, especially the rather blunt one keeping this blog.
"Politics . . . BS bought and sold." -- M. E. Houston