Friday, February 27, 2009

Republican Wingnuts

It's incredible - not only is the speaker irresponsible, but so is the audience. This week CPAC (some moronic conservative group) is meeting in Washington DC.

From the Christian Science Monitor...

Many news organizations have debunked claims that Obama was born in Kenya to his 19-year-old American mother and his father, a Kenyan. The Obama campaign released a certificate of live birth from Hawaii in June, which would seem to have put the issue to rest. Critics, though, contend the document is a fake.

Cafferty File: Are Republicans Hyporcties? D'oh!

When Governor Jindal spoke earlier this week, he evoked a reaction.

From Gawker...

Last night, America as a whole was introduced to Louisiana Governor and up-and-coming Republican superstar Bobby Jindal. And they couldn't stop giggling at him.

We know the liberal bloggers derisively compared Jindal to Kenneth the Page—but is that just regional elitism? Well, yes, but Republicans thought he was a joke too!

David Brooks's Op-Ed column in The New York Times started in September 2003. He has been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly, and he is currently a commentator on "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer."

Global Warming Debate

George Will has become a leader in the conservative pushback on the debate over global warming. Fareed Zakaria takes a more intellectual approach.

The Porn Consumers

I don't see anything wrong with pornography - there's a place for it and an audience for it. I hate censorship in most forms. So, I support the right of people to download, watch, enjoy, share and have fun with their adult entertainment. Everyone should have a choice.

But sometimes the hypocrisy about porn and sexual misconduct makes me laugh. This is one of those times. From Boing Boing...

According to a new Harvard Business School study, eight of the top ten states in terms of online porn consumption were ones where McCain won in the presidential election. Professor Benjamin Edelman analyzed anonymised credit cards receipts from a large online porn company. Based on their limited data, the largest consumer is Utah.

Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code's religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds.

Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage.

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behaviour."

Army Charity A Disappointment?

It's hard to tell who's at fault here, but it sure is disappointing that groups we depend on to support our active-duty soldiers and veterans can't carry out their duty responsibly.

From an investigation by AP via Yahoo News...

From 2003 to 2007, the charity, also known as AER, packed $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, records show. By contrast, smaller Navy and Air Force charities both put far more of their resources into aid than reserves. Also, more than 90 percent of AER's aid was given as no-interest loans, not outright grants.

Though tax-exempt and legally separate, AER operates largely under Army control, the AP found. Soldiers are squeezed for contributions, often rewarded for them in violation of regulations, and sometimes delayed in transfers or promotions when loans aren't repaid.

And do you know who else does this? The Red Cross. They hoard the donations they receive, pay huge salaries to their executives, and never give direct aid to victims of any emergency. It is not an organization that I will support.

McCain Getting Sued

During the 2008 election campaign, John McCain's team utilized a number of musical recordings at his appearances that did not have the permission of the writers and artists involved in the production of that music. Some of the musicians complained - loudly and publicly. In several cases, it turned out, McCain's staff had gotten rights from a publisher and so the issue seemed to go away.

But it turns out that perhaps the McCain campaign wasn't so careful after all. The following is from Music Net News...

The US District Court for the Central District of California has denied the motions of Senator John McCain and the Republican National Committee to stop the lawsuit filed by singer/ songwriter Jackson Browne for the unauthorized use of Browne's voice and song Running On Empty in a presidential campaign commercial. A legal victory for Mr Browne, who filed his suit in August, 2008 for copyright infringement, false endorsement and violation of his right of publicity. In a series of rulings on February 20, 2009, Judge Gary Klausner, rejected McCain's/RNC arguments that the First Amendment or copyright's fair use doctrine allows their unauthorized use of Browne's voice and song because the use occurred in a political campaign commercial.

Browne's attorney, Lawrence Iser, said; "The Court's decision is a solid victory for songwriters and performers and reflects an affirmation of their intellectual property rights and their freedom from being conscripted as involuntary endorsers of political candidates and campaign messages. We are happy that the Court recognized that persons and parties running for office are not entitled to violate an individual's intellectual property and publicity rights simply because they are engaged in political campaigns. We look forward to presenting Jackson Browne's case to the jury."

This Should Help

From Think Progress.

One of the conservative governors refusing some of the stimulus money has a better plan...

Following the lead of a number of his fellow Republican governors, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) has given some indication that he will not accept some of the money slated for South Carolina in the $787 billion economic recovery bill President Obama signed into law last week. “At times it sounds like the Soviet grain quotas of Stalin’s time,” Sanford said yesterday on Fox News.

On C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, Sanford received a call from a Charleston resident who said he lost his job because he has been taking care of mother and sister, both of whom have serious illnesses. The caller told Sanford he is “wrong” to decline the money. “A lot of people in South Carolina are hurting. And if this money can come and help us out we need it.” In response, Sanford could offer him only his prayers:

Yep - prayers. One has to ask however, if prayers are going to work, how did we ever get into this mess?

Governor Paterson Adrift

I was hopeful when David Paterson stepped in to fill the shoes of Elliot Spitzer as Governor of New York, but lately he seems to be faltering - badly.

From the New York Times...

Almost a year into his governorship, Mr. Paterson still seems adrift, many who interact with him say, and even some in his own party are privately questioning whether he has the capacity to lead the state.

His poll numbers have tumbled in recent weeks, emboldening Republicans who are eager to win back the governor’s office next year.

In recent days, he has acknowledged he had a role in unleashing his aides to challenge Caroline Kennedy’s account of why she withdrew from consideration for a Senate appointment. And he has announced that he would bring back Charles J. O’Byrne, his former chief aide who resigned amid a tax scandal, to serve as a top political adviser.

Watching the Government

It long ago became apparent to me that we need watchdogs to keep track of what our governments (plural intended) are doing with out money. I had envisioned teams of accountants, hired to work outside of government, to watch over the money that is spent. The lost money in Iraq alone is evidence of the need.

So I liked it when I saw this on the ABC website...

Obama to Name 'Gumshoe' to Keep Stimulus Honest

February 22, 2009 5:45 PM

An Obama administration official tells ABC News that during his remarks at the governors event Monday morning, President Obama will announce that he's appointing respected Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney to serve as Chair of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board. Devaney has built a solid reputation for ferretting out corruption in the beleaguered Interior Department, which was part of the Abramoff scandal..

Bush Cronies Struggling To Find Work

I don't wish anyone ill, but if sombody must be out of work it seems as if it should be the crowd that contributed the most to the conditions that have created the current economy.

From Gabriel Snyder over at Gawker...

After ruining the economy, the country and the world, no one wants to hire former Bush officials. Reports the Wall Street Journal, "only 25% to 30% of ex-Bush officials seeking full-time jobs have succeeded."

One of these most unsympathetic victims of the economy he ruined is ex-Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, who's making ends meet these days by hustling for $25,000 speaking gigs and collecting pay as a director of the United Technologies Corp. But oh, the pain of unemployment:

"This is not a great time for anyone to be job hunting, including numerous former political appointees," said Carlos M. Gutierrez, Mr. Bush's commerce secretary. Previously chief executive of cereal maker Kellogg Co., he hopes to run a company again because "I have a lot of energy."

This is, let us remind you, the same guy who was in charge of commerce while the economy died. Back in October 2006, when it was clear that the housing bubble was bursting and the entire economy was in trouble, this is what was going through Gutierrez's energetic mind:

"We have a very strong, large resilient economy that can absorb a housing correction," said Carlos M. Gutierrez, the commerce secretary. "If you isolate the impact of the housing correction and look at all the rest, those are solid numbers."

Circular Reasoning

From Acerbic Politics

This Recession is Serious

I don't know if the majority of Republicans understand the depth of this recession - it doesn't seem so since they are so diametrically opposed to the stimulus, the bailouts and the financial rescue of the middle class. I read enough financial news to know and understand that there is still a very real chance that the world economy could collapse into a complete depression. Banks in Europe are even worse off than those in the US and if Europe goes under, our economy would collapse right behind them. Check out the chart below.

From Acerbic Politics

Keeping Up With The Times - Cartoon

From Acerbic Politics

Rush More Popular Than Ever - With Some Crowds

From Acerbic Politics

Joe's New Book

From Acerbic Politics

Reading News Online

I don't know if you get your news online,but there's a new reason to consider it. The New York Times has a new site up called the Article Skimmer that offers up headlines of the newspaper and makes it very, very easy to pick out the articles you'd like to read. Just click on any title and you're whisked away to the proper page.

I think that I read that this is a Beta version of the Article Skimmer - but I hope that means that it won't go away anytime soon - I really like this.

Skimmer - click on the link or click on the sample image to try it out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Prosecution of the Bush Administration?

From Acerbic Politics

The Plan For The Bush Memorial In DC

From Acerbic Politics

StartingWith Prayer

From Acerbic Politics

It's the Second Amendment

Only one thing I take issue with - it's not God given - it's Founding Fathers given.

From Acerbic Politics

Paying No Income Tax

This is interesting...

From Acerbic Politics

This graph leaves more questions than the ones it answers. Is this trend due to an increase in the number of poor families? Is it because of Bush's tax cuts? Is it because of huge loopholes for the wealthy (we've all heard about the corporations and millionaires who pay no taxes.)

The one thing that it does prove is that it shows us another of the reasons the government is running a deficit. If we want to balance the budget, folks have to pay taxes.

Rush Limbaugh - Voice Of The GOP

From Acerbic Politics

Palin Leads The GOP

From Acerbic Politics

Republicans Still Don't Get It

There are those who sailed on the Titanic who still didn't believe the calamity as their ship sank, for this was supposed to be the greatest ship ever built. There are still Republicans who don't understand the depths of the recession we suffering through as they still believe that uncontrolled capitalism will still work. And so they produce nonsense like this...

From Acerbic Politics

Republican Desperation - We're No Longer Doing It The Bush Way

From Acerbic Politics

Obama's Mad Magazine Cover

From Acerbic Politics

The GOP Says We're Killing Liberty

From Acerbic Politics

We Don' Need No Stinkin' Stimuls

From Acerbic Politics

Size of the Stimuls

From Acerbic Politics

Who Do We Listen To?

From Acerbic Politics

We're Under A Tack

From Acerbic Politics

Dr. House on Religion

From Acerbic Politics

Rewriting History The Bush Way

From Acerbic Politics

Hillary's Cabinet Position

From Acerbic Politics

Al Gore Tells It Like It Is (Sort Of)

From Acerbic Politics

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Norm Coleman: Chosen By God To Serve?

Headzup: Bobby Jindal Rejects Money For State's Unemployed

Obama Girl and the Stimulus Bill Song

Political Figures Playing Wii Sports

Murdoch Rooting For Osama Assasination?

A clip from the Albany Times Union, with a reminder that Rupert Murdock owns both the NY Post and Fox News...

The New York Post published a cartoon Wednesday of two policemen who have slain the author of the stimulus package — a chimpanzee who lies in a pool of blood. The paper's defense: It was just good-hearted fun, no harm intended to the African-American president who devised and signed the package.

After two days of protests, the paper posted an editorial on its Web site Thursday evening saying the cartoon (on the Web at was meant to mock the federal economic stimulus bill, but "to those who were offended by the image, we apologize."

The editorial also says some media and public figures who have long-standing differences with the paper saw the cartoon "as an opportunity for payback." The editorial calls them "opportunists" and says: "To them, no apology is due."

Perhaps a better defense for this tabloid owned by Rupert Murdock's media empire would be to hide behind its record of both insensitivity, and suggested violence, toward people of color.

During the Democratic primaries in late May 2008, Murdock's Fox TV News also aimed assassination humor at candidate Obama. As co-anchor Liz Trotta signed off her "Fair and Balanced" news broadcast she urged that "somebody knock off Osama, um, Obama — well both, if we could." [New York Times, May 27, 2008, 20A]

It Really Is Ironic, Isn't It?

Republicans often make me laugh - they are such hypocrites.

From Washington Monthly...

BIGGEST. TAX CUT. EVER.... A few weeks ago, when the House approved the economic stimulus bill without any Republican votes, David Weigel noted that he literally couldn't remember "a time when the entire Republican conference in either house voted against tax cuts."

Are Taxpayer Dollars Really Funding the Bailouts and Stimulus?

When the conservatives scream about the stress on our taxpayers over the bailout (TARP) and the more recent stimulus, they, once again, are showing off their ignorance. Here's an article, from Motley Fool, on where the money is really coming from.

Taxpayers' rage over bailouts, TARPs, and daring housing rescue plans continues unabated. The nation's ire seems largely centered on the idea that our tax dollars are directly rescuing Wall Street banks like Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and subsidizing underwater homeowners.

Rabble rabble rabble
The problem with this argument is that our tax dollars have already been spoken for, and have been for quite some time. According to The Heritage Foundation, from 1965 to 2007, government tax revenues grew $1.9 trillion, but spending rose $2.1 trillion, resulting in average annual deficits of $167.8 billion on an inflation-adjusted basis. So even before the bailouts began, formal income tax dollars alone didn't fully pay for the government's spending. It's somewhat fascinating that it's taken us taxpayers some forty years to finally demand fiscal responsibility in Washington.

Read more - and find out where the money is really coming from - by clicking here. Hint - as investors have bailed out of the stock market to the tune of a trillion dollars, they've had to put that money somewhere.


Great Words - Humor

"Senator Roland Burris, who was appointed by Governor Blagojevich, could be in trouble for perjury and for giving conflicting statements in his testimony about campaign contributions. That's the trouble with politicians. They think the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth are three different things." --Jay Leno

"Bristol Palin, Governor Sarah Palin's daughter, in a recent interview said, "A year ago, I never would have thought I would become a mom or that my mom was going to be chosen to be a vice presidential candidate. Oddly enough, both things happened because some guy failed to take the proper precautions." --Jay Leno

"According to the Financial Times, Barack Obama is moving towards Swedish models of banking. A president moving towards Swedish models? That hasn't happened since the Clinton Administration." --Craig Ferguson

"After withdrawing his name for commerce secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg said he hoped he was just embarrassing himself and not President Obama, to which Joe Biden said, 'Don't worry about it. I do it all the time.'" --Jay Leno

"A new poll of historians just came out. And the poll has named former President George W. Bush one of the ten worst presidents of all time. But on the bright side, Bush was selected second best president named George Bush." --Conan O'Brien

"As part of a plan to close his state's budget deficit, New York Governor David Paterson is proposing a tax on Internet pornography. You see, this is why we can't have blind governors. I mean, no offense, but of course he's going to tax pornography. If he can't enjoy it, nobody can. What's next, a tax on rainbows?" --Jimmy Kimmel

"I saw an article last week that said, 'Is Obama's Presidency already a failure?' ... I think everybody should just calm down. Give Obama four years. See what he can do. Then if he's a miserable failure, we'll do what we did with George W. Bush and elect him to a second term." --Craig Ferguson

Read more by clicking here.

Funny story from the West Wing...

[OMB's Peter] Orszag arrived for his first weekend of work on a snowy January day, [and] there were logs neatly stacked [in his new office].

“It still seemed a little suspicious. So I lit a piece of paper to see if it vented,” Orszag said. The smoke went up the chimney.

“So then we lit a few logs. It was venting. It was fine,” he said. The only problem: The Secret Service had capped the building’s chimneys. Smoke alarms started going off upstairs, and the building was evacuated.

And though Orzag wasn’t publicly named as the culprit (“Smoke Linked to Attempt to Use 2nd-Floor Fireplace,” was the Washington Post’s headline the next day.), the incident remains the source of much amusement inside the White House.

“Rahm asked me to send smoke signals to the Hill,” Orszag recalled.

From Politico via The Progress Report, 2/20/2009

Blackwater to Become Xe

It's been on the news - you've probably heard it - the mercenary outfit called Blackwater is going to change their name. Could it have anything to do with the fact that Iraq is tossing them out for their unmitigated, uncontrolled violence?

From Mother Jones...

What's in a name? A lot, particularly if you're a company accused of misdeeds. The best way out, as has been shown time and again, is simply to discard your name, adopt a new identity, and start again. It's a veritable capitalist tradition. Just ask the budget airline ValueJet, which, after one of its planes nosedived into the Florida Everglades in May 1996, killing everyone aboard, quietly became AirTran. Even cereal executives know the score: the breakfast favorite "Sugar Pops" became "Corn Pops" as health conscious mothers awoke to the idea that feeding sugar to their kids each morning was not a great idea.

What about repeated, questionable shootings of Iraqis? That, too, demands a blank slate... or so Blackwater has decided. Buried in the news Friday was Erik Prince's decision to rebrand his network of military contracting firms from Blackwater to "Xe," pronouned like the letter "z." Seems pretty lame at first blush, but perhaps it's a stroke of genius. Could it be that reporters' fascination with the Blackwater flows, at least in part, from the perfect symmetry of shady dealings and an ominous, Bond-villainish name?

Fighting the Strawman

It's funny, in a way. Conservatives tend to be so anti-intellectual that they actually seem to enjoy being stupid. Recently they have been writing and emailing Congress against the re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine, a law that used to require that TV and radio stations utilizing the public airwaves present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was (in the Commission's view) honest, equitable and balanced. But no one in Congress or the White House has actually put forth any bills.

Now some conservatives are on the war path to defeat mythical legislation that would broaden abortion rights.

From Time magazine...

The U.S. Catholic Church's crusade against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) has all the hallmarks of a well-oiled lobbying campaign. A national postcard campaign is flooding the White House and congressional offices with messages opposing FOCA, and Catholic bishops have made defeating the abortion rights legislation a top priority. In the most recent effort to stop the bill, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia sent a letter to every member of Congress imploring them to "please oppose FOCA."

There is only one hitch. Congress isn't about to pass the Freedom of Choice Act — because no such bill has been introduced in the current Congress.
Just think of the outrage the Church and the conservatives have built up - probably donating money to the cause, sitting down to write a torrent of mail (electronic and otherwise) all in the name of - nothing.

Defending the Stimulus

Richard Gibbons wrote an article at Motley Fool which supported the President's stimulus plan. Then he got bombarded by the conservatives and he felt he had to respond. He takes the issues point by point and I think his article is very intelligent. Here's just a taste...

No Marxists allowed
Probably the biggest misperception about the article was that it was a socialist manifesto by a berserk Obama fan. The problem with this rebuttal is that it doesn't actually address the thrust of the article.

Although I said that capitalism has the occasional blind spot, that's far from a condemnation of free markets. Few would argue that when Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) builds a gold mine, it should be allowed to let cyanide leach into the drinking water of nearby towns. There's nothing inherent in capitalism that prevents that sort of behavior. It's a blind spot that we correct through regulation. We have laws because complete free markets neither protect people's rights nor result in a stable society. So, it's unclear why saying that capitalism has blind spots should be controversial.

Click here to read the entire article - it's worth the time.

Tax Laws - So Complicated!

The Democrats have been getting hammered by conservatives and Republicans over the Obama cabinet nominees who didn't pay all of their taxes. It is, as they say, so easy to get it right that they must have just been trying to cheat. I've seen literally scores of cartoons excoriating Democrats posted by the cynics online.

But how's about the Darling of the Ball - Sarah Palin - from the Anchorage Daily News via Daily Kos...

Gov. Sarah Palin must pay income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received while living at her Wasilla home, under a new determination by state officials.

The governor's office wouldn't say this week how much she owes in back taxes for meal money, or whether she intends to continue to receive the per diem allowance. As of December, she was still charging the state for meals and incidentals.

Those Silly Republicans?

I'm SURE that there was no intent to help out anyone in Eric Cantor's family - it was all just a coincidence and we KNOW that we can always take the Republicans at their word.

WASHINGTON — A bank that employs the wife of Rep. Eric I. Cantor, R-Va., benefited from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout that Cantor helped steer through Congress last fall.

Diana F. Cantor runs a Virginia-based subsidiary of New York Private Bank and Trust. The New York bank received $267.2 million from the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program Jan. 9.

A spokesman for New York Private Bank and Trust told ProPublica, an investigative journalism Web site that first reported the relationship, Diana Cantor was “never aware that the parent bank was seeking or received [bailout] funding.” A spokesman for the New York bank declined to comment for this report.

From The Star Exponent

Are Republicans Misinterpreting Bipartisanship?

Biggest US Fraud Ever?

The Bush administration handled so many things badly, can this report from Raw Story be a surprise?

The US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), the Army's criminal Investigation Command and the Justice Department are investigating US soldiers and officials in the alleged misuse of a portion of the $125 billion initially sent to Iraq for reconstruction shortly after the fall of Saddam.

Monday, The Independent's Iraq correspondent Patrick Cockburn reported the inspectors believe misuse may account for over $50 billion, exceeding the scope of Bernie Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme and making it potentially the "greatest fraud in US history."

"In one case, auditors working for SIGIR discovered that $57.8m was sent in 'pallet upon pallet of hundred-dollar bills' to the US comptroller for south-central Iraq, Robert J Stein Jr, who had himself photographed standing with the mound of money," wrote Cockburn. "He is among the few US officials who were in Iraq to be convicted of fraud and money-laundering.

Islam - Religion of Peace?

I try to be accepting of folks who are different, but sometimes it is difficult. Muslim's often speak of being involved in a religion of peace, and yet I don't seem to read about any of them who are publicly working toward that peace. Bill Mahar of Real Time (HBO) last Friday night had an Arab correspondent on who spoke about the violent nature of the religion and the region and cautioned the viewers not to trust them - ever.

And then you see stories like this, posted on CNN...

The founder of an upstate New York TV station aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes has been arrested on suspicion of killing his wife, who was beheaded, authorities said.

Muzzammil Hassan has been charged with murder in the death of his wife, Aasiya Hassan.

Muzzammil Hassan was charged with second-degree murder after police found the decapitated body of his wife, Aasiya Hassan, at the Bridges TV station in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, said Andrew Benz, Orchard Park's police chief.

Why I Carry A Gun - The Other Side Of The Story

The guy who wrote this is probably proud of it - as is the fella who posted it (Tom's Journal). I post this for your enlightenment, though I find quite a few of the statements contained in this monologue to be, really, very poorly thought out. It all sounds like it comes from someone who is very paranoid.

(In the first line - did his grandfather really say that to him? Nobody in MY family EVER talked about "bustin' knuckles" and "bustin' caps." I guess we live in a different world where fighting was frowned on, not viewed as a badge of honor.)

Why I Carry a Gun

My old grandpa said to me, "Son, there comes a time in every man's life when he stops bustin' knuckles and starts bustin' caps and usually it's when he becomes too old to take an ass whoopin'."

I don't carry a gun to kill people. I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

I don't carry a gun to scare people. I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.

I don't carry a gun because I'm paranoid.. I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world.

I don't carry a gun because I'm evil. I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world.

I don't carry a gun because I hate the government. I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

I don't carry a gun because I'm angry. I carry a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.

I don't carry a gun because I want to shoot someone. I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.

I don't carry a gun because I'm a cowboy. I carry a gun because, when I die and go to Heaven, I want to be a cowboy.

I don't carry a gun to make me feel like a man. I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.

I don't carry a gun because I feel inadequate. I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.

I don't carry a gun because I love it. I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.

"Police Protection" is an oxymoron. Free citizens must protect themselves. Police do not protect you from crime; they usually just investigate the crime after it happens and then call someone in to clean up the mess.

Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take an ass whoopin'.

Remember the average response time to a 911 call is over 4 minutes.

The average response time of a .40 cal round is in the range of 1200 Feet Per Second.

How We Can Improve The US

You know one of the biggest problems we face as a nation? No, it's not the economy - it's not the wars we're involved in - it's not the lack of respect that other nation's have for our country - the problem is that we don't shoot enough of our neighbors.

Recently I posted that The Arkansas legislature is considering legislation that would allow folks to carry concealed firearms in church. Now Montana has decided that they really need to have more folks walking around with guns - especially former criminals and fruitcakes.

From Montana's News Station...

Firearms manufactured and used in Montana would become exempt from federal regulation under a bill being considered in the Montana House. The State House voted in favor of House Bill 246 in second reading on Saturday, and the bill could have the effect of releasing Montana gun owners from federal registration requirements. The measure applies to firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition that are made and sold in the state.

Wealthy Jerks

The damage done by the freewheeling bankers and investors around the world is probably immeasurable. I know I think about the lost value of my retirement savings every time I read about our economic crisis, and I am just a small player in the investment world.

This story in Gawker is just one of the two suicides I've read about following the Madoff scandal...

William Foxton, a 65-year-old retired British military officer, shot himself in the head after losing his life's savings in Madoff's $50 billion moneysuck.

His son Willard told Britain's Sky News that his father was distraught, telling his son "I've lost all the money, I might have to declare myself bankrupt."

Willard added a statement of his own:

"I want Madoff and others involved to know that they have my father's blood on their hands."

Copyright Law - A Quagmire

The Internet has created a real firestorm over copyright law. Bloggers, such as myself, often copy clips from other publications and use them to initiate a story, or to confirm facts or opinions being offered. It's not likely, without the fair use provision of copyright law, that blogs like mine would exist. I don't have enough original thoughts - nor do I do enough original research - to warrant publishing a blog on a regular basis without the use of material I find elsewhere.

Occasionally copyright claims are filed against blogs that clip information. Google got sued by book publishers when they tried to provide a database of hundreds of thousands of books by scanning them into their servers. Even though only small clips would be provided by a Google search for text in the books, the publishing companies still felt that having all of the books scanned into one database threatened their ability to make a living by selling the books.

Now a new copyright battle is brewing - this time over Amazon's production of the second-generation Kindle which will use text-to-voice software to read electronic books aloud. This is sort of funny - but also a bit threatening. If the publishers win, in the future you can't be sure that when you buy a book you really own it.

From Boing Boing (click to read the whole article - it's interesting).

Over on Boing Boing Gadgets, our Rob has the news that the always-retrograde Authors' Guild believes that Amazon is violating copyright law by shipping a device that can read text-files aloud using text-to-speech, because "that's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."
Forget for a moment that text-to-speech doesn't copy an existing work. And forget the odd notion that the artificial enunciation of plain text is equivalent to a person's nuanced and emotive reading. The Guild's claim is that even to read out loud is a production akin to an illegal copy, or a public performance.

If a machine reading a book creates a derivative work, why not a person reading a book?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Speaking of Saving Your Money

Again, from The Motley Fool, a great article on the economy with some info that I hadn't seen elsewhere...

Good news. No, great news!

The personal savings rate is exploding. In fact, we saved more in the last three months of 2008 than in all of 2005 and most of 2006 combined. Consumers saved an annualized $310 billion last quarter, or 2.9% of disposable income. As a percentage of disposable income, that was the highest rate since early 2002.

But then...

There are obviously more factors involved here, but consumers’ slamming their wallets shut has been a driving force in the economy's collapse. In an economy that derives 70% of GDP from consumer spending, the correlation between increased savings and economic fallout is painfully clear.

A Really Sound Marriage

From the Motley Fool...

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we get word of what sounds like a perfect partnership. Bernard Madoff’s wife, Ruth, allegedly withdrew about $15 million from the bank suspiciously close to the moment when her husband’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme came to light. Honey, you’re the best!

Ruth Madoff withdrew $10 million from Cohmad Securities (which, according to regulators, was "intertwined" with Bernie Madoff’s company) the day before her husband was arrested in December. A couple weeks beforehand, she had taken out $5.5 million.

Democratic Scandal

I hate this crap from either side - and I especially despise it from our side. Shame on Murtha - he had the potential to go down in history as one of the good guys. From ABC News...

The FBI raided the offices of a defense lobbying firm with close ties to Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Penn.), sources tell ABC News.

The FBI searched the Virginia headquarters of the PMA Group in November, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. PMA was founded by former Murtha aide Paul Magliochetti and specializes in winning earmarked taxpayer funds for its clients.

Good government groups have long criticized Murtha's cozy relationship with a handful of lobbyists and defense firms, ties that see millions of dollars in government spending go out from Murtha's office, and hundreds of thousands in campaign donations come in. Murtha has said his earmarking has helped revive his economically depressed district.

Ann Coulter Under Investigation for Vote Fraud

From Gawker...

Everyone's favorite scary conservative harpy may have tried to subvert democracy, twice! Property records and lawsuits show that Ann Coulter voted in Connecticut while living in New York. Now officials are investigating.

Records dug up by private investigator Joseph Culligan and posted on showed Coulter entangled in a lawsuit over rent in 2003 while she was supposedly living with her parents in New Canaan, Conn. Property records also showed her owning an apartment in Manhattan while voting in the neighboring state.

Obama Calls Jessica Simpson Fat?

I think someone manipulated this video...

More From the Party of Family Values and the Christian Right

From the Colorado Independent...

Police arrested the former manager of Sen. John McCain’s Pueblo presidential campaign office Wednesday on charges he sexually assaulted a 5-year-old boy left in his care so the boy’s mother could attend a rally for McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, The Denver Post’s Howard Pankratz reported Thursday afternoon.

The Religious Want To Lead Us

Our religious brethren wish to lead us - to take greater control of our nation. They claim moral superiority and a righteousness that those of us with less inclination to trust that God will guide us intelligently do not possess.

Here's a taste of the religious who claim to guide us down the moral path...

The founder of an influential Catholic religious order, who was disciplined in 2006 for sexual abuse of boys and men, also fathered at least one child with a mistress, his order acknowledged on Wednesday.

The latest scandal to rock the Roman Catholic Church concerns Father Marcial Maciel, founder of Legionaries of Christ, who died last year at the age of 87.

Republicans Ready To Work Together?

Do you think that the Republican party is willing to do what it akes to rescue America from its economic problems and its two wars? Guess again. The following is from The Corner...

We are quite literally after two weeks teetering on an Obama implosion—and with no Dick Morris to bail him out—brought on by messianic delusions of grandeur, hubris, and a strange naivete that soaring rhetoric and a multiracial profile can add requisite cover to good old-fashioned Chicago politicking.
But I love the following even more. Did they say anything like this when it was the rich bankers and fat cats on Wall Street getting bailed out?

Second, was the "stimulus" (the euphemism for "borrow/print money") that was simply a way to go into debt for a generation to shower Democratic constituencies with cash.

Republicans A Little Slow

Republicans still believe they should have the right to unilaterally rewrite the US Constitution. I don't believe any of them have ever really read it - or they wouldn't take positions such as this one from Fox News...

A provision in the House-passed stimulus bill -- banning money to be used to renovate schools from being spent on facilities that allow "religious worship" -- has ignited fury among those who claim it discriminates on the basis of faith and violates the right to free speech.

A Story In Photos

The following is from a site called Feministe.

It's pretty intriguing - just notice the differences.

Signing the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003
From Acerbic Politics

Signing the the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

Raising Money

The Onion has a great plan, presented in the form of a humorous news article, to raise capitla so the US can afford to fund its bailout plan - build a carnival style "dunk tank" and replace the clown with Dick Cheney. I'm sure the former Vice-President would oblige, since he loves the country so much.

Here's the first paragraph which you can click on to link to the Onion piece.

WASHINGTON—Organizers reported Sunday that the 44th White House Carnival was a rousing success, raising a record $800,000,066,845 for the federal government—$800 billion of which came from a dunk tank featuring former vice president Dick Cheney.

Another Outrage

This video is actually full of outrages. It begins with the fact that Goldman-Sachs owns Burger King and underpays BK's employees as often as it thinks it can get away with it while doling out billions in bonuses to it's Wall Street brokers and administrators. Watch and see if you don't think this is a major problem with America today.

Bristol Palin: Abstinence Doesn't Work

A couple of posts ago I referenced a Crooks and Liars piece about Bristol and Sarah Palin on Greta Von Sustern's show on Fox which featured Sarah trying to control the interview. The video below completes the picture and features Bristol's quotes about abstinence-only sex education which are in conflict with her mother's views.

I only point this out because abstinence-only sex ed is such a retarded idea.

via Adult Christianity

"I Want Some TARP" by Bill Zucker

Michelle Bachman - Intellectual of the GOP

Michelle Bachman is a Congresswoman from Minnesota and it is great that she's in Congress - she's almost always worth a hoot and a holler. Blow is a clip in which she claims that America may go broke because we're running out of rich people to tax.

Mom and Grandma Palin

From Crooks and Liars (click the link to read more)

Why does it bear repeating that the entire Republican Party is completely out of touch with reality?

It's understandable that some critics of the Left think we progressives have an unhealthy hatred/fascination with the Palin family. And certainly, the children of former vice-presidential candidates are off-limits ... except when they are willingly interviewed by Greta Van Susteren at FOX News.

But the big "news" of the interview is that, gasp, Bristol Palin thinks "everyone should be abstinent but it's not realistic... [sex] is more and more accepted among kids my age."
There's a video associated with the story in which Grandma Palin tries to control the interview.

Obama's Elf

This short (18 second) video has been all over the Internets Tubes in the last week. You've probably seen it, but in case you missed it, here it is again...

Foreclosure Hypocrisy

A few weeks ago the cable news channels were promoting the news that the home foreclosure problem in the US was catastrophic. It was promoted as the catalyst which triggered the liquidity problem in the nation and the world. Now, all of a sudden according to the cable news channels, Obama's plan to rescue people facing foreclosure is going to be a phenomenal flop and disaster. It's pretty clear that it is in the best interest of the cable news networks to promote dissension. This builds outrage and keeps viewers tuning in.

In the meantime, Americans are suffering.

Presidential Outtakes - Part 3

Presidential Outtakes - Part 2

Friday, February 20, 2009

US Presidents: Outtakes and Gaffes (Part 1)

This video runs 9+ minutes.

Barack Obama Commemorative Coins

Did you jump at those ads hoping to make a killing 100 years from now? What do you figure those coins will be worth at Antiques Roadshow in 2110? Could be a mint. Or maybe not.

There's a video out there (couldn't embed it here) that discusses at least some of them and the fac that they might be a ripoff.

Click here
to watch the video.

Help An Executive

Republican Instructional Film: Women Know Your Place

Will Ferrell Wraps Up Bush Impressions

Rush Vs. The Homeless

Wanda Sykes (She's No Economist) On The Bailout

But she does make some sense...

Bailed Out Bankers Getting Screwed

Joe Scarborough: Republicans Don't Know What They're Talking About

Tom Metzger - Republican or Democrat?

Rethinking the War in Afghanistan

On Joe The Plumber

Joe the Plumber, like so many Republicans, has a warped view of the world. When he takes government handouts, it's not welfare. When you take it, it IS welfare.

Republican Talking Points

Performance Issues

Yep - Republicans think that our economy is just having "performance issues" and we ought not waste our time trying to help anybody out. I think the Republican position on the economy is that our dying economy will cause the death of lots of poor people - and we can just let God sort them all out.

Fighting Back

It's about time we stopped the Republicans from ruining everyone's right to equal treatment in the US. Here's a great video on the topic.

Robert Gibbs Mocks CNBC's Rick Santelli

Rick Santelli, a Republican horse's ass from CNBC, tees off on having the government help out the poor instead of sending his rich friends some more money.

And here's Robert Gibbs setting Santelli straight...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How Much Is 1 Trillion

Congressman Badgers SEC Executives

Dear Cabinet Members

Jake McIntyre aka Trapper John over on Daily Kos had a really funny post. I hope that he doesn't mind that I ripped it off because I'm giving him full credit...


To: Anyone who sent his or her resume to my transition team
From: The President of the United States

Please pay your taxes. We kinda need them, what with the financial crisis and the massive stimulus spending and whatnot. Thanks.


PS: In case you're confused -- personal gifts are things like sweaters and bottles of wine, or -- if you're really lucky -- maybe a Wii or Sox-Yanks tickets or something. If you're honestly deluded enough to believe that daily use of a goddamn Town Car and a goddamn chauffeur is a "gift," you're probably too divorced from everyday reality to work for the people of the United States.

kthxbai, POTUS

Stimulus Bill - Cartoon

Wall Street Journal Philosophy

Great Words

She Knows Her Place!

Cheney's Philosophy

Great Words - Humor

“How about President Barack Obama’s first primetime press conference last night? He was cogent, eloquent, and in complete command of the issues. I’m thinking to myself, what the hell am I supposed to do with that?” –David Letterman

“How about this? A celebrity birthday. Today is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s birthday. I’m not saying how old she is, but from her house, she can see 50.” –David Letterman

“Yesterday, when President Obama — this is true — was getting into his helicopter, he accidentally bumped his head on the door. It was in the news, and when he heard about it, President Bush said, ‘See, it’s complicated, right? It’s not so easy. Doors are hard.’” –Conan O’Brien

“How about this? It’s a good example of how strange things are and how time flies. On this date in 2006, then-Vice President Dick Cheney shot his buddy in the face. Tell me again why he’s not in jail? How did that work?” –David Letterman

“And in Minnesota, Republican Norm Coleman, who is in a legal fight with Al Franken over who won the election for Senate, said, ‘God wants me to serve.’ But here is my question. How bad a candidate are you if you can’t win an election when you have the creator of the universe on your side?” –Jay Leno

“And an elderly man in Boynton Beach, Florida, was arrested after he called 911 to report that the Burger King he was standing in had just run out of lemonade. It is so sad to see what’s happened to John McCain since the election.” –Jay Leno

Maybe It's Just Me....

Maybe it's just me - where I grew up (northeast US), the church I attended, my parents, etc. but I find some of the southern religious stuff really very funny. It is just so incongruous to me. All you need to see where I'm coming from is the headline from Raw Story (click the link to read the article).

Arkansas considers allowing concealed weapons in churches

Heh. Talk about the shoot-out at the O.K Corral - we might next have a movie about two folks getting pissed off about the way they each said the Lord's Prayer and having a shoot-out at the Abraham First Baptist Bible Church. Whooppee!!

Another Crooked Politician

A Democrat this time. Why do they do this? Are most people crooks to some defree, or is just that politics attracts most people with the tendency to be crooks? Maybe they're really good people who get tempted by the big money available when you're a politician?

I don't know but I don't like it. This from the Boston Globe...

Cosmetics executive John Walsh and public works contractor Jay M. Cashman were among the members of Boston's business elite who gave former state senator Dianne Wilkerson contributions to help her pay off personal debts, according to people who have been briefed on the transactions or questioned by federal authorities.

Wilkerson had previously said that any financial help she had received to pay off federal tax debts came from personal friends. But in the case of Walsh, Cashman, and some others previously identified, the donors also had major financial interests in the workings of state government, raising questions about their motives for giving checks as large as $10,000 to the powerful senator.

Walsh, in particular, received key help from Wilkerson when he found himself in a high-profile battle to gain entry into an exclusive Beacon Hill co-op. When residents of the building blocked him from buying an apartment, Wilkerson added her name to Walsh's cause - adding some credence to his allegation that he was the victim of discrimination.