Monday, August 31, 2009

In Texas, Evolution is Religion?

The folks in Texas have a knack of misunderstanding the separating of church and state, but this is ridiculous.

This article in the Sedalia-Democrat explains how the Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Brad Pollitt somehow thinks that removing t-shirts advocating evolution, protects the school district's mandate to remain neutral on the topic of religion. Huh?

Seems the theme for this year's high school marching band is Brass Evolution, so the t-shirt worn by the band members, designed by band director Jordan Summers, Assistant Band Director Brian Kloppenburg, and a store called Main Street Logo displayed this theme with a logo of clearly evolutionary characters over brass instruments.

When angry parents protested the design, the shirts were recalled, to the dismay of others who appreciated the play on words.

“I made the decision to have the band members turn the shirts in after several concerned parents brought the shirts to my attention,” Pollitt said.

Pollitt said the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned.

“If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” he said.

Band parent Sherry Melby, who is a teacher in the district, stands behind Pollitt’s decision. Melby said she associated the image on the T-shirt with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

Parent Alena Hoeffling said she is infuriated with administration’s decision to pull the attire.

“Whatever happened to the separation of church and state,” she said.

Hoeffling said she is both a scientific person and a practicing Catholic and enjoyed the “play on words.”

Oh Texas. Go ahead. Secede.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Video Shows Bush Katrina Warning

At this this time, shortly after the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as we head into another hurricane season, the BBC publishes a recently released video of events prior to Katrina. The Bush Administration is once again in the news, with Vice President Cheney once again defending himself after the release of more documents as makes the rounds of friendly talk shows, but little attention is paid (still) to Katrina.

The video, obtained by the Associated Press is of Bush being briefed about the upcoming arrival of Hurricane Katrina: the expected damages, preparations being made, what still needs to be done, and what cannot be avoided. He is told of risks to evacuees in the Superdome, and most tellingly, is told that the levees could be breached. Evidently--and this was made very clear to Bush by the Army Corps of Engineers and Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)--prior to the Hurricane, modeling suggested minimal flooding to New Orleans during the storm, but that counter-clockwise winds and storm surges after the storm could either breach the levees of Lake Pontchartrain or cause them to overfill, thus flooding the city--which is what happened. Bush was told that a breach was a "very, very, grave concern."

The video shows that not once during the briefings did Bush ask any questions nor express any concerns, but at the end, stated forcefully that the federal government was prepared to provide all necessary assistance with the clear implication that the assistance was based on the needs expressed by FEMA and the other agencies. As he always was during every August of his presidency, Bush spoke via video-link from his home in Crawford, Texas where he was vacationing.

The article by the BBC said:

In the past, the president has said that nobody anticipated a breach, but the video shows Michael Brown, the top emergency response official who has since resigned, saying the storm would be "a bad one, a big one".

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, shown the footage for the first time at a press conference, told Reuters he was "shocked" by what it revealed.

"It surprises me that if there was that kind of awareness, why was the response so slow?" he asked.


Mr Bush has accepted he shared some of the responsibility for the flawed response to Katrina and the White House has talked of the "fog of war" rendering decision-making difficult.

Michael Brown told AP this week that he did not "buy the 'fog of war' defence".

"It was a fog of bureaucracy," he said.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Glenn Beck is Projecting, and the Violence Will Escalate Because Of It

Unfortunately, it was a stunt, but he does not realize what he has done.

I can't recall a clip or quote of Glenn Beck's in which he hasn't called someone something vile. Fascist, racist (President Obama), ... or suggested that people trying to help this country were in fact trying to harm it.

It's one thing to have differences of opinion. That's fine. But Beck is either delusional or disingenuous. And by the way. It's not name calling to simply point out the truth.

When Obama legitimately won the election, Beck called for revolution. He claimed that the 2nd Amendment was under attack and incited fear to the point that 3 police officers were killed in Pittsburgh (the shooter claimed that he acted because of the ban on guns that Obama was planning, according to Beck). He stated that he hated 9/11 victim families and started a 9/12 movement (or tried). He suggested that FEMA was setting up concentration camps so President Obama (who he nightly called either socialist, Marxist, or fascist) could round up Americans in order to create his Totalitarianist society--something that he did not bother to "debunk" until weeks later. Beck joked about poisoning Speaker Pelosi, going so far as to set up a skit with a staffer in which Beck encouraged 'her' to drink poison-laced wine as he giggled at the camera. And on, and on, and on.

So he brings on this psychiatrist to help us average people learn how to handle name calling. How to deal with the stress. How to cope.

What the psychiatrist should have talked to Glenn Beck about is something called projection.

Projection is when thoughts and feelings you are unable to acknowledge about yourself are assigned to someone else. Feel guilty about cheating on your significant other? You believe they are cheating on you. Think someone doesn't like you? You don't like them. There are different forms of projection; neurotic, complementary, and complimentary.

Neurotic projection involves your projecting what you (unconsciously) least like about yourself onto others.

Complementary projection occurs when you believe that everyone thinks and believes as you do.

Complimentary projection assumes that everyone else can do things as well as you can.

This last is socially helpful as social psychology teaches us that we typically think the best of people who are most like us so if we are around people and can project that they are like us, we are more likely to like them, and thus get along (the false consensus effect). People who organize the Tea Party events and the Town Hall protests are very aware of social psychology, as are , I'm sure, the people behind Glenn Beck.

Projection is of interest to psychologists and counselors, as it prevents real connection between people and interferes with the therapeutic process. Projection tends to occur in paranoia as they project their negative attributes onto others and believe that nobody likes them. Projection enables us to turn neurotic anxiety into reality anxiety and takes our internal locus of control (a position of strength) to an external, and thus weak, locus of control.

It's much easier to be anxious of something out there than have to deal with internal neuroses and moral ambiguities. If it is the government, or immigrants, or minorities who are at fault for everything that is wrong in your life, then you have absolutely nothing to do to fix your problems. The locus of control is external. It is out of your control.

Projections makes behavior about someone else, not about you. It's not your fault, it's theirs. If you respond with violence, you're entitled to protect yourself. They're out to get you. It feeds on itself and when the Glenn Becks of the world are given a national media platform assuring you that you are absolutely correct in this view, then the paranoia deepens, the projection widens, the behavior worsens. He has validated their beliefs. By adding a psychiatrist to his show to help his listeners (and no, dealing with every person and situation as you would with a drug addict is beyond ridiculous - it's called a one-note-wonder) he validated my belief that this man is just another extreme- right-wing operative, laughing all the way to the bank.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Glenn Beck Needs Medication

Okay. I know I'm not supposed to diagnose anyone unless I sit down and do an in-depth evaluation, but seriously folks. I think Glenn Beck needs medication.

In my previous post, I noted that the list of lost advertisers numbered 36. I was mistaken. It's 48. More have joined the list.

On his show Thursday, he spoke of Obama's army, showing clips of among other things, Black Panthers and Louis Farrakhan, and his trademark incomprehensible whiteboard scribbles showing links and secret messages if you line up words in some order that makes sense only in his mind, all to prove the President's secret plot to take over the country. The problem, which he seems not to comprehend, is that you could take any collection of words, line them up any way you want, and come up with all kinds of secret coded messages. The fact that Louis Farrakhan in one of his rants tells his audience that President Obama's election gives blacks power is somehow proof to Glenn that the President is taking over the country.

You see, in Glenn's world, if the words are spoken, they are true. But...

(Big but coming)

Words are only true if spoken by the right people. And I mean right in more ways than one. Pun very much intended.

What is so sad, is that we are a country of people raised on sound bites. Republicans care about power, money, and taking care of business. They discovered that by co-opting the Christian right, and pretending to values they neither own nor live, they have convinced a significant segment of the population that they share their values, that anyone who is different is to be feared, and the worst sin of all, that government is evil.

Even sadder, is that Democrats, coming from a perspective of inclusion and desirous of a Socratic method of developing consensus, look for the good in everyone. They come to public service with shiny bright ideals and want to reach out in peace and harmony believe that everyone truly wants to reach a compromise that has the best interests of the country at heart. After they've been there awhile, they learn how it really works and play the game.

When Democrats have an opportunity to really accomplish something, as they do now, they've forgotten how to stand up for themselves. They've never learned how to use the sound bite, to fight back on the Republican playing field, and have no conception of what to do with all the power they hold in their hands.

That's why while Glenn Beck is losing advertisers, his ratings go up. His mental stability deteriorates and he earns praise. If this is an act, give this man an Emmy.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Fox Won't Fire Glenn Beck: Here's Why

A truly excellent post from the editors of Buzz Flash on why Glenn Beck is here to stay.

Before I discuss their post, let me explain a little bit about corporations and why they matter so much.

Most people don't understand the power of the corporation, its attainment of personhood, and the role of the GOP, and its mouthpiece Fox News in shaping the direction of our country, regardless of the results of elections.

In an 1886 Supreme Court ruling (or some say, clerk's misunderstanding of his notes) in the case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was extended to include corporations, granting them full rights of personhood.

What's the problem you say? Well, you're one person, one vote, one paycheck (okay, maybe 2 if you and significant other both work), one checkbook. You can get together with others of like minds and interests and form groups and parties and coalitions, organize grassroots efforts to effect change (maybe), but you're still one person. With the coming of the tubes, you can become a citizen journalist and if you have any skill at all, and follow the basic rules of blogger etiquette, eventually you can develop a following and some influence of your own.

A corporation, however, has formed expressly to protect itself financially and legally from you. You as "we the people." You as "the government." You as consumer. You as employee. As a registered "Inc.," a company has protected its management and board from being sued (or rather, from any financial liability if the company is sued).

If you sue a corporation, and by some fluke should actually win, the money isn't going to come out of the personal checkbook of anyone employed by the corporation--even if someone personally employed at the corporation is personally responsible for whatever damages have been done to you. It isn't even going to come out of the checkbook of the corporation. It will come out of the checkbook of the insurance company who has underwritten that particular liability for the corporation, and so on and so forth. This is the framework upon which our country is built.

I thought this was about Glenn Beck you say. It is.

Corporations by definition, are big. They have lots of money and can afford to pay to hire lots of lawyers and accountants and lobbyists (many of whom are former politicians) and advertising companies, all of whom have formed themselves into corporations themselves. Have you ever noticed when you go to the doctor, or looked at the doctor's bill, that they're usually a corporation? Small, but still. It's all about that layer of protection between you and them.

I was a corporation once--it's a sound business decision if your business is big enough and at the time, spouse and I had numerous reasons for forming our company that way. I say this in the interest of full disclosure and to say that corporations aren't in and of themselves bad. It's being granted personhood and what people have then done with that that is bad. There is a difference.

With corporations, then, their power is in their size and their resources. They have deep pockets, they have lots of attorneys on retainer, they have access to politicians, and access to the media through the marketing firms they do business with. They usually have whole departments devoted to public relations who can develop print and television advertising to get their message out in any way they want it out. They can overpower one person, or one group. If you sue a corporation, they can bury you in paper and wait you out. As one person, they participate in elections in a way that many say drowns out the voices of everyone else by virtue of the resources they have to draw on.

Not all corporations sell products or services. Not all corporations are known or understood and many are owned by multi-national conglomerates whose connections are so complex, that trying to figure out who is in bed with whom, is nearly impossible.

At this point, 36 companies have pulled their advertising from the Glenn Beck Show because he called President Obama a racist. After a short time off, he has been allowed back, but appears not to understand why he is losing advertisers, or to care. Boycotting a company works, for a time, but Fox News is counting on the fact that eventually, boycotts end, people forget, and advertisers will come back. They are also counting on the fact that they will be able to replace lost advertisers with others who won't care about possible boycotts.

And, according to Buzz Flash, Fox News is well aware of why he is losing advertisers and they are delighted. This is why.

  • He incites extreme right-wing hate
  • They can carry him indefinitely by advertising other Fox shows on his
  • He churns up so much hate and is so evil, he makes the rest of the Fox crew look nice; Hannity almost civil
  • By urging his followers to blame all the ills of society on the government, immigrants and minorities, he has diverted attention from the corporations fleecing society to others and propagated a philosophy of hate for the GOP to build on

So why on earth would they let him go? They are thrilled.

By the way, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad is soon to be revisited by the Supreme Court--or at least the role of corporations in federal elections. In the upcoming session, the court will take up the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and a video about Hillary Clinton. It will be a case to watch, not just for constitutional reasons, but because it will be the first for Judge Sotomayor.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Let's Attack the Messenger. Rock on Regina

We have birthers and deathers, thissers and thatters. Some of the progressive bloggers focus on one issue, or one region, or one person. Many of the Alaska bloggers continue to focus on Sarah Palin, believing that she is not going away - and even if she never runs for political office again - she continues to do great damage.

One of the most interesting aspects of this fight (and yes, it is a fight) between the right and the left, the Democrats and the Republicans, is that rather than engage on the issues, or weigh fact against fact, is that it has become a battle (at least from the right) against individuals.

No matter where you stand on the issue of Trigg Palin's parentage (and I'm still not sure where I stand on that one, except to say that having given birth, I'm not convinced Sarah Palin's story of his birth is even close to the truth) but rather than simply release her medical records as every other presidential and vice-presidential candidate, or allow the hospital to make a statement, or even (OMG) release a birth certificate, Palin's team roots around and outs the bloggers, finds supposedly damaging information, and attacks the messengers.

Examples of these tactics are GOP101 as evidenced by any Fox Broadcasting talk show you happen to choose, Tea Party you happen to attend, or Democratic Town Hall Meeting video clip you see presented on the network news. Front and center are signs denouncing President Obama, his politics, his bill, his race, his history, his birth, morals, his ethics, or any other ludicrous idea you could think of. The same goes for any other Democratic leader, progressive commentator, or anyone trying to bring a level head and a calmer tone to the debate.

What happens, regardless of the subject, any subject argued by the left, is an attack on the messenger. President Obama wants health care? Attack. Senator Kennedy was responsible for more legislation in support of people than anyone else in our history? MaryJo Kopechne. Audrey at Palin's Deceptions speaks as a medical professional (and one involved in reproduction at that)and raises questions about Sarah Palin's outrageous claims regarding Trigg's birth that invariably lead to further questions? Attack. Shannyn Moore and Gryphen at The Immoral Minority simply repeat rumors, one about the possibility of a Palin divorce? Threaten to sue. And, don't even do it directly, but leak it via email to the media. Classy.

Don't like someone's politics? Attack their family, their person, their history. Drag up something they did 20-, 30-, or 40-years ago as proof of their character - never mind every other thing they may have done since - yet ignore recent (and repeated) actions of their own that demonstrate disregard for not only personal integrity, but the public trust (and the law).

Can anyone say hiking the Appalachian? Forgetting to tell your staff (and state) where you were for almost a week (Stanford)? Little going away presents to your mistress staffer's family of $96,000 (Ensign), a little trouble with prostitutes (Vitter), telling your wife immediately after cancer surgery that you're divorcing her (Gingrich), etc., etc.

The latest? A comment on Palingates lambasting Regina and other bloggers. It was perfect. It was precious. It should go on the front page of the Alaska Daily News. It was a comment posted by someone calling themselves Lambie and was so funny, Regina dedicated a whole post to it.

Lambie has left a new comment on your post "Looking into Sarah Palin's Ineptitude"

"Franklin Graham's circus" ?? Look in the mirror, Regina. What did you or your crowd DO about the plight of people caught for six weeks in the energy crisis in western Alaska? You blog while people starve. Some people carp, and some people act. If Franklin Graham taking action to deliver food and supplies was a circus, then I say less blogging and more circuses.

It was even more fun to read the responses and to respond.

I'm from California, but have supported the Alaska bloggers by linking from my blog, writing articles about national issues I care about and that I think deserve attention, and am extremely grateful for Regina, AKM, Shannyn, Gryphen, Celtic Diva, and others for keeping the spotlight on SP as she is obviously not going away.

In addition to the situation in Emmonak, it was the bloggers and volunteers with trucks (thanks Hope!) and donations from all over the country who helped out after the ice disaster in Eagle, not SP or the state. I could go on and on with Alaska issues that have been dealt with because of attention brought by bloggers.

All I'm able to contribute right now is my voice, and it's fading, but when we join together, we move mountains. Be careful when you attack. Bloggers do their homework and their research and on the progressive side at least, we have facts on our side.
Scratch a progressive and we get mad. The Democratic Party hasn't acquitted itself very well so far. Nor has President Obama in some arenas. But the more the GOP and their mouthpiece Fox News attacks, the stronger we become.

By the way. In case you missed it, it was bloggers that saved Emmonak, and Eagle, and ...

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Called An Election

Poor Glenn Beck. He's up to 36 advertisers who have bailed on his show, and is now pleading with his viewers to call a friend to watch his "week long special" about the "New Republic." Anything to get someone, anyone to watch. He seems not to understand that we were dissatisfied with the old administration and the old Congress, so we elected new ones. It's called democracy. The Democrats won, the Republicans lost, that's why he doesn't like the direction the country is currently going.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Far Left Side

Relevant I think. Comcast cable network changed their cable lineup. I'm not sure if they've done it in all markets or not, but Fox News is (and always has been) low down on the dial, in the low double digits. MSNBC has always been in the 100's somewhere. MSNBC is no longer part of Comcast's basic cable lineup so for anyone wanting to watch it, they'll have to pay on average $200 per year. NBC has stated it is a completely Comcast decision.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What's Up With That?

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was released from prison today after 34 years. A follower of Charles Manson, although not one of those who participated in the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others, she was one of his few (only?) followers who continued to correspond with him. Whether or not she still does is unknown.

Her crime? She pointed a gun at President Gerald Ford. There was no round in the chamber (she said she removed it in her apartment) although the gun had a full clip.

Why bring this up? Every day, more and more people bring loaded guns, including assault weapons, to the areas outside town hall meetings where President Obama is speaking. They are invited to appear on news shows where they proudly proclaim their right to bear arms and their state's open-carry law, and some legislator's are even now suggesting that more people should follow their example.

On Meet the Press yesterday, Senator Coburn, (R-OK), when asked his response to the violence, hate speech, representations of Obama as Hitler, and signs with swastikas, including the man (armed) with the sign with the Tree of Liberty and the accompanying Thomas Jefferson liberty quote, he ducked the question and mouthed some crap about how the government "earned it."

Has he forgotten that Timothy McVeigh wore a t-shirt depicting the exact same thing, with the complete quote on the back, which says: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed sometimes with the blood of patriots and tyrants" when he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, Senator Coburn's home state? There was obviously a statement being made by that shirt since he stood so proudly when he got caught.

What on earth are the Secret Service thinking? What about our legislators? It's bad enough when our left-wing talk show hosts snidely suggest violence, then turn around and say they didn't really mean it. Then our Republican legislators passively and not so passively sanction violence against their Democratic colleagues and the President.

Some say that these armed protesters are too far from the President, but are they sure? He's had more death threats than any other President. The level of racism and hatred is rising to an unprecedented degree. The hate speech allowed and encouraged in our mainstream media is astonishing and the more moderate voices remain silent. The networks continue to report ping pong news (he said/she said) rather than actual journalism (i.e., this is truth, this is false) and provide false dichotomies for the uninformed to wade through as they try to form an opinion.

And the fringe get angrier as the corporate lobbyists foment violence and fear, and more and more bring guns (with bullets in the chamber) to events with the President.

What is the Secret Service thinking?

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog - Fire Up The Email For The Public Option

I rarely (okay, never) copy whole blog posts or even big chunks of blog posts. But, this is too important and calls and emails and letters DO make a difference. Diane Feinstein is my Senator and she does actually respond to letters & emails (although not usually as rudely as below) if frequently months after the bill under discussion is either passed or dead. In any case, Bob and Lee are on top of this issue on a daily basis (as is Digby @ Hullabaloo and FireDogLake, addresses to the right). So, forget what you read in the paper, the public option is only dead if we let it be dead. Congress passes bills, not the President (thanks Bob for reminding us). Please make noise. Numbers below. Click the post title above to read the rest of the blog for other links and articles.

Fire Up the Email for the Public Option

Back in late June and early July, we successfully pushed members of Congress to support the public option. We, as a liberal community, had a serious impact. Remember how Diane Feinstein complained about all the calls she was getting about it? That was awesome.

With the public option on the ropes again, it's time to amp up our efforts. Because Congress is in recess, I strongly recommend emailing until they reconvene.

The New Coalition of the Corrupt & Spineless:

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

Harry Reid (D-NV) (just because)
Phone: 202-224-3542
Fax: 202-224-7327

Max Baucus (D-MT)
Phone: 202-224-2651
Fax: 202-224-0515

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) (supports public option, but needs reinforcements)
Phone: (202) 224-5521

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) (supports public option, but needs reinforcements)
Phone: (202) 224-4843
Fax: (202) 228-1371

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Phone: (202)224-5824
Fax: (202) 224-9735

Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Phone: (202) 224-2043
Fax: (202) 224-7776

Joe Lieberman (I-Douchebaggia)
Phone: (202) 224-4041
Fax: (202) 224-9750

Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Phone: (202) 224-5623
Fax: (202) 228-1377

Ben Nelson (D-NE)
Phone: (202) 224-6551
Fax: 202-228-0012

Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Phone: 202-224-5274
Fax: 202-228-2183

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (supports the public option, but needs reinforcements)
Phone: (202) 224-6542
Fax: (202) 228-3027

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954

Tom Carper (D-DE)
Phone: (202) 224-2441
Fax: (202) 228-2190

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Phone: 202-224-3441
Fax: 202-228-0514

Mark Warner (D-VA)
Phone: 202-224-2023
Fax: 202-224-6295

Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Phone: (202) 224-2353
Fax: (202) 228-0908

Anita Malachowski - The Racism Spreads

This is obscene. Last time, it was a GOP staffer sending out emails with racist Obama messages. This time, it is a police dispatcher from Canton, Ohio, by the name of Anita Malachowski.

She says in her email that she's "sorry...but this is too funny" so has to pass it on.

According to The Ohio Daily,

"This type of message is offensive coming from anyone, but coming from someone in the position of dispatching police and prioritizing calls, it's downright horrifying."

Going on to say,

"The North Canton police have a hard enough job as it is without rogue dispatchers trying to incite a race riot or stirring tensions during the hot months of summer."

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Palin's Imaginary Victory & Grassley's Imaginary Committee

You have to wonder about Senators who hold imaginary committee meetings when everyone else is on recess, and ex-half-term-governors who are for things before they're against them before they're for them again. Someone that dizzy surely needs national health care, or something.

Sarah Palin claims victory for changing the Health Care Reform Bill. No longer having access to the official State of Alaska website, and no longer tweeting (she's probably having a hard time trying to figure out how to tweet without using a no-longer-valid user name - someone should tell her that changing your user name on Twitter is way easy), she now sends out press releases via Facebook. I must admit, whoever her new writer is, the quality of the writing is much improved. Note, I said quality, not content.

In a Facebook post on Friday, August 14, Palin said, [emphasis added]

"I join millions of Americans in expressing appreciation for the Senate Finance Committee's decision to remove the provision in the pending health care bill that authorizes end-of-life consultations (Section 1233 of HR 3200)," ..."It's gratifying that the voice of the people is getting through to Congress."

"That provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation; it was just one of the more obvious ones," ... "As I noted in my statement last week, nationalized health care inevitably leads to rationing. There is simply no way to cover everyone and hold down the costs at the same time."

She goes on to claim that the only conclusion to this would be a nationalized health care system (which to maintain full disclosure, I am not totally against). The problem with Palin and other right wingers, is that they form one conclusion and refuse to see another. Nationalized healthcare does not inevitably lead to rationing, nor is rationing an evil word. Insurance companies ration care right now. Oh well, that's another post and a debate that should be taking place and would be taking place if the right wing noise machine would allow a civil discourse to occur at democratic town hall meetings.

Back to her post. A few problems.

Congress is out of town. It's a little difficult to remove provisions in a bill when everyone is out of town. And, the letters HR before a bill number means House Resolution whereas the letters SR mean Senate Resolution.

She obviously got a little confused because Senator Charles Grassley (of the Senate Finance Committee) on Thursday announced at a Town Hall that he was responsible for having the provision relating to end of life counseling removed from the health care reform bill so no one had to worry about killing granny.

Chuck is jumping the gun just a trifle, as HR 3200 is not completely through the House, everyone is on recess, he hasn't done diddly, and he's forgotten the how a bill becomes a law process, too. Unless he held that imaginary meeting. He follows me on twitter, I follow him, but I must have missed that tweet.

So, to review. Once a bill passes the House, then it goes to the Senate. Once passed by the Senate, it goes to the President for his signature. (Along the way, there are things called markups...).

In the case of HR 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 referred to in Sarah Palin's Facebook post, it has meandered its way through markup through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Education and Labor. It is now in markup in the Committees for Oversight and Government Reform, and the Budget Committee, according to Thomas dot gov, and upon the completion of the August recess, will pass the House and move to the Senate where depending on the Blue Dogs, will be completed some time in late September or October.

Sarah Palin, like Senator Chuck Grassley who claimed victory for removal of the same provision, has nothing to do with anything to do with this bill, at this point. Palin never will, and Grassley not until it reaches the Senate.

So why are they each proclaiming victory for something they have nothing to do with? Politics. Grassley will be running for re-election in 2010. He knows that ultimately, he has no chance in stopping health care reform but is looking for sound bites and video clips for his base. He now has them - particularly rabid ones at that as he refers to health care reform "killing granny" - that he can use for the far right-wing of his constituents to "prove" that he fought against health care reform. He had to. The day before, President Obama had singled him out for praise as a voice of reason in the health care debate and he knew that anyone running against him would use that clip against him, so he needed to have some O'Reilly and Beck-type 'creds' to throw back. Never mind reality, or truth. It's just politics.

And Palin? It's the issue of the day. She created the "death panel" label that took the right wing by storm - even if she was against it a few days later until she realized that more people supported her for it than didn't, so she was for it before she was against it before she was for it again. Whew. Busy lady. Anyway.

It doesn't matter what she says or does. Or if it's true or not. Just throw a bunch of words around, terms that she heard someone say that sound important (never mind if she understands them - no one else will either) and post something that's really, really long and looks important (no one will read it anyway, or understand it if they do). It's just politics.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Ms. Toons (Michelle Bachmann) - Worst Person in the World

In case you missed (or don't watch) Keith Olbermann last night, Michelle Bachmann won the title of Worst Person in the World, a nightly feature in Keith's Top 5 roundup.

Each night, 3 people are selected to receive the bronze, silver, and gold for worse, worser, and worst persons in the world for their actions on that particular day - or for coming to the notice of the media (or Keith) on that particular day.

Ms. Looney Toons (not to be confused with the fine, artistic series produced by Leon Schlesinger for Warner Bros. that brought us Bugs Bunny and pals) in one of her entertaining tirades on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, speaking of a proposal to expand the Americorps Program, a program to help disadvantaged kids and provide jobs to college students, said of the program:

"[It's] under the guise of quote, volunteerism, but it's not volunteers at all," she said on the Sue Jeffers radio show in April. "It's paying people to do work on behalf of government. There are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people get trained in the philosophy the government puts forward and then they have to go work in these politically correct forums.
"As a parent, I would have a very, very difficult time seeing my children do this."

In an article on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, columnist Jon Tevlin provided the above quote, as he described the work of Americorp Teachers (from their website) while noting that Harrison Bachmann, Ms. Toons adult son, had been hired as an Americorp teacher as he praised him for his service.
So what, you say?
The Minneapolis Post, on Thursday follows up with a story about a fundraising plea from Ms. Toons, describing the 'hit piece' done by the Star-Tribune. On page 3 of her appeal, she says,

"But just as they did with Sarah Palin, the more I talk about the issues, the more they attack with below-the-belt personal hits. In fact, yesterday, a Minnesota paper gave a full column to a hit piece on one of my kids!"
Want to know what they said about her kid Harrison?
"For the first time, we have to rely on the charity of good kids like Harrison Bachmann to step up and help out at our schools."

"The pay's not bad for a recent graduate, but Harrison will likely earn it. According to the TFA website: "Our teachers ... go above and beyond traditional expectations to lead their students to significant academic achievement, despite the challenges of poverty and the limited capacity of the school system. Our mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort."
"Harrison must be a smart kid, a caring kid. Must have been raised well."

"As an AmeriCorps member, he won't be allowed to participate in politics or disseminate partisan material. Even if there were a "propaganda camp," as Jeffers called it, he sounds like the kind of person who could survive it."

"Thank you, Harrison, for your service. Here's hoping you inspire kids to dream, and get inspired in the process."

The Post goes on to conclude that,
"This [Tevlin's column] wasn't a hit piece on your son, Congresswoman — it was a hit piece on you. And not in your capacity as a mother, but as an elected public official."

You see? Looney Toons.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Far Left Side

And another from the Far Left Side.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Funnies from the Far Left Side

Extra Deluxe Sanctimonious Bonus Fabulousness
This sentiment cannot be expressed enough.

Extra Deluxe Methodological Bonus Fabulousness
Just in case you didn't know the difference.

From the The Far Left Side

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Patsy by Lee Stranahan

Another excellent video from Lee Stranahan. Short but to the point.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bill Maher on Birthers

I couldn't have said it better myself. I particularly love Rachel Maddow laughing so hard she's speechless.

Bill Maher holds nothing sacred, so if you offend easily - which you probably don't if you read my posts - you might want to take a pass.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Keith Olbermann Special Comment on Health Care

If you don't watch Countdown on MSNBC, this Special Comment by Keith Olbermann is worth watching. This is his longest special comment and a rare one as he doesn't often offer one outside the campaign season.


Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Way to Go Bill!

Ok, so I'm probably the only person who still liked Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky fiasco (I was one of the original Let's Move On posters on the NPR forums from which the MoveOn folk departed to form, well, MoveOn dot org). I always believed (and still do) that we don't deserve answers to questions we had no right to ask, and seriously folks, as the most investigated couple on the face of the earth, the only thing Bill Clinton was ever found guilty of was lying about having sex. Seriously.

Anyhoo. So Bill goes to North Korea, and less than a day later, Laura Ling and Euna Lee are FREE!! Way to go! Take that Republicans! They wanted to launch a few nukes, throw a few divisions of soldiers (although where exactly they expected to find them I'll never know) at them, and rattle a few other assorted sabers, somehow thinking that would make Kim Jong Il release the two journalists, but what it really needed, was a little level-headed diplomacy.

I expect that in the next few news cycles we'll see Fox News hosts and other assorted right-wing bloggers complaining about Obama's inability to exercise a strong foreign policy, or stand up to North Korea's so effective missile launches. They'll twist this and manipulate that and somehow make this a victory for Republicans and a misstep for Obama - how I cannot imagine - but they will certainly try. And fail. As usual.

But I say, way to go Bill! And welcome home Laura Ling and Euna Lee!

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) Upset Over Constituent's Ad

A constituent of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) filmed an ad detailing his experiences and concerns with current health care coverage and costs. A small business owner, Michael Snider, then received a phone call from Sen. Nelson which an aide later said was normal for the Senator. The aide said that the Senator often calls constituents who call, write, or email him with concerns. Mr. Snider said after the call,

"To be real honest with you, I don't know if he was just being aggressive or nervous but he just wanted to put out his position on the issue," Snider recalled in an interview with the Huffington Post. "He said he supported the public option but one that wouldn't affect the current plans of 200 million Americans."

"I told him I didn't understand. And he tried to explain it. He put his position out. He said if we went with a full public option -- which he called a government plan -- it would drive the price down and hurt private companies. I said, 'you mean competition.' And he replied that it would force people off the private plan and onto the government plan."

Senator Nelson, however, told aides that the ad made it more likely that he would "blow up the reform process altogether" although the article notes that he was less bombastic with Mr. Snider.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.