...President Bush on Monday will lift an executive ban on offshore drilling that [has] stood since his father was president. But the move, by itself, will do nothing unless Congress acts as well...
There are two prohibitions on offshore drilling, one imposed by Congress and another by executive order signed by former President [George H.W. Bush in 1990...
Bush's proposal echoes a call by Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, to open the Continental Shelf for exploration. Democrat Barack Obama has opposed the idea and instead argued for helping consumers with a second economic stimulus package including energy rebates, as well as stepped up efforts to develop alternative fuels and more fuel-efficient automobiles.
Barack Obama and fellow Democrats have denounced proposals for offshore drilling as nothing more than a favor to oil companies.
Moving forward to today, 31 March 2010, the Associated Press article, "Recharging debate, Obama expands offshore drilling," reports stark evidence of the distinction between 2008 Democrat candidate Barack Obama and the policy-maker he has become as President of the United States:
Shaking up years of energy policy and his own environmental backers, President Barack Obama threw open a huge swath of East Coast waters and other protected areas in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to drilling Wednesday, widening the politically explosive hunt for more homegrown oil and gas.
Finally, returning to 2008, readers are offered a closing passage from the 16 June 2008 article, "Energy Horizons," published at The Dark Wraith Forums:
[M]any nations that are net consumers of fossil fuels will, for the time being, anyway, find that domestic exploration for oil and gas and wars to secure oil and gas fields and distribution routes will remain cost effective. The domestic exploration will necessarily entail conversion and occasional destruction of environmentally sensitive ecosystems, and the wars will necessarily construct, shift, and reconfigure at least some historical alliances... and result in combatant and civilian casualties. On the plus side, both exploration and fighting will lead to technological innovations in both beneficiary civilian and war-making industries... On the negative side, the need for access to more domestic areas of exploration and the requirements of managing states of conflict will entail an acceleration of global trends toward more authoritarian societies... whether the degradations of human and civil rights are open or hidden from common view.
Is the emerging world and its economic, military, and political dynamics complicated? Yes.
Must the world of tomorrow happen with persistently rising energy prices, wars, environmental degradation, and authoritarian management schema? Again, yes. The American people as a body politic seems to learn best through direct application of pain consequential to prior bad choices in leaders and their policies.
Sometimes, learning requires multiple applications of pain-inducing consequences...
In November of 2008, the choice of roads to the future seemed quite obvious. As it turned out, those two roads converged in a wilderness.
Is there anything more apealing? Well, yes, I suppose there is, but you won't be able to think of it when the toilet is overflowing. When you've got to fix the barn roof, or your hot water heater quits working, your new stereo is delivered in its various unconnected components parts, or your neibhbors are threating to barbecue your horses the next time they pop through the fence into their freshly planted garden---then the man with a the tool belt who can fix things will be the hottest fellow you've ever seen in your life. You will breathe harder when he gets the toolbox out of his trunk. He is your dream boy. But, you know, once the pieces are assembled the wires all connected the music is playing on your stereo and you realize that he claps on one or two, Handy Andy's out. It's time for a man you can dance with. Dancing Dave comes to your side, and the two of you dance a hole in your shoes.
Today at Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, the last step on health reform that provided fixes for some elements and which improved upon the core health reforms by increasing tax credits for the middle class, investing in community health centers, and strengthening efforts to fight waste and fraud. [snip]
The President explained that the government will reinvest the savings back into education by upgrading community colleges, increasing Pell Grants, and making it easier for responsible students to pay off their loans. Brian Levine from the Middle Class Task Force explains how the Income Based Repayment program will benefit students and help borrowers avoid unmanageable debt burdens here. [snip]
Joined by Dr. Jill Biden, who spoke on the boost for community colleges in a video here earlier today, the President explained that this law takes another important step to invest in the country's future through education:
For a long time, our student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions. Today, we’re finally making our student loan system work for students and our families. But we’re also doing something more.
From the moment I was sworn into office, I’ve spoken about the urgent need for us to lay a new foundation for our economy and for our future. And two pillars of that foundation are health care and education, and each has long suffered from problems that we chose to kick down the road.
With the bill I signed last week, we finally undertook meaningful reform of our health care system. With this bill, and other steps we’ve pursued over the last year, we are finally undertaking meaningful reform in our higher education system. So this week, we can rightly say the foundation on which America’s future will be built is stronger than it was one year ago.
Legislation will end government subsidies to banks for guaranteed federal student loans and free nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction
Today, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which delivered a significant down payment on the President’s ambitious agenda to make higher education more affordable and help more Americans earn a college degree.
This legislation strengthens the Pell Grant program, invests in community colleges, extends support for Historically Black Colleges and other Minority Serving Institutions, and helps student borrowers manage their student loan debt by capping repayments at 10% of their discretionary income. These efforts will be fully paid for by ending the government subsidies currently given to banks and other financial institutions that make guaranteed federal student loans and free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years. [snip]
This historic law:
* Invests more than $40 billion in Pell Grants to ensure that all eligible students receive an award and that these awards are increased in future years to help keep pace with the rising cost of college. These investments, coupled with the funding provided in the Recovery Act and the President’s first two budgets, will more than double the total amount of funding available for Pell Grants since President Obama took office.
* Ensures that Americans can afford their student loan payments by expanding the existing income-based student loan repayment program. New borrowers who assume loans after July 1, 2014, will be able to cap their student loan repayments at 10 percent of their discretionary income and, if they keep up with their payments over time, will have the balance forgiven after 20 years.
* Includes $2 billion over four years for community colleges to develop, improve, and provide education and career training programs. President Obama also asked Dr. Jill Biden to host a White House Summit on Community Colleges this fall to provide an opportunity for community college leaders, students, education experts, business leaders, and others to share innovative ways to educate our way to a better economy. Click HERE for a link to a video from the Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden.
Starting July 1, all new federal student loans will be direct loans, delivered and collected by private companies under performance-based contracts with the Department of Education. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, ending these wasteful subsidies will free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years.
Click HERE for more information and fact sheets on this historic legislation.
This legislation means $40 billion more dollars in the Pell Grant program to ensure that eligible students receive an award, and that awards increase to keep pace with rising tuition. And a $2 billion investment over four years for community colleges to develop, improve, and provide education and career training programs. Students will be able to choose to limit their student loan payments to 10% of their income, with any remaining balance forgiven after 20 years. And public service workers can have their loans forgiven after 10 years.
Because special interests have been benefiting from taxpayer subsidies for too long, we’re cutting out the middlemen by ending government subsidies currently given to banks and other financial institutions that make guaranteed federal student loans. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, ending these wasteful subsidies will free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years. So these investments are not only paid for, but they’ll reduce the deficit in the long run.
Because of the legislation enacted today, we’re finally undertaking meaningful reform to our education system and making college more affordable and accessible.
For more information on these federal student aid programs, please go to www.studentaid.ed.gov, or call 1-800-4FED-AID.
"There is little difference between the ludicrous would-be poet Radovan Karadzic, who was a figure of ridicule in Sarajevo before the war, and the moronic Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. There is little difference between the Oath Keepers and the Serbian militias. We can laugh at these people, but they are not the fools. We are. (....) The blame lies with us. We created the monster."
From Jefferson Airplane: When the truth is found to be lies
And all the joy within you dies
When the garden's flowers, baby, are dead
Yes, and your mind, your mind is so full of red
Your eyes, I say your eyes may look like his
Yeah but in your head, baby
I'm afraid you don't know where it is
Tears are running, they're all running down your breast
And your friends, baby, they treat you like a guest
There’s a delicious bit of irony in some of these militia raids, soon (hopefully) to be arrested threateners of Congressional People and the fanatics who march against the government to protest their hatred of Democrats, intellectuals, racist hatred toward minorities and especially gays and lesbians.
Imagine if you will, a group of these anti gay protestors threatening someone in Congress and being arrested and jailed. We’ve just seen arrests of a militia (we shouldn’t call them that because they are to a militia what a group of 5 black robed men are to the Constitution) in Michigan. These rabble generally are homophobic. Their hatred of gays borders on fanaticism.
Now imagine them arrested because they do something "intelligent" like threaten to kill American Citizens to prove their extremist points (just like the terrorists they condemn), convicted and jailed. Some may even get life terms. Regardless, even a few years behind bars will subject them to one of the very things they rail against, homosexuality!
I wish each and every one happiness with their new-found life-style; becoming the wife of someone named Bubba or Rocco or Tiny (who isn’t) or any other incarcerated stereotypical moniker and possibly one of a different race. Yep! You Betcha! They may get to experience first hand what they protest.
Now that I think about it, maybe they really WILL become part of a Rear Echelon Movement!
Nothing all that unusual. Just a 28-year-old Georgia pastor shot during a rather botched arrest of a crack cocaine-dealing girl.
The minister's pregnant wife left to grieve.
Filthy rumors, maybe spread by apologists for the killers. The killers were undercover cops, the regular kind who like to play TV-type Bad-Boyz-Bad-Boyz complete with street clothes, ski-masks, and rather unevident badges during their take-downs of the worst of the worst types like street dealers hawking $50 worth of chemical malignancy.
Read the story and decide for yourself. Did the minister deserve an extrajudicial execution? That's what he got.
And by the way, have you ever seen what a guy with a gut wound looks like while he's dying? You ought to. It's pretty gruesome, what with that kind of pain and all. If the blood comes out black, he might be lucky and die a little faster. One way or the other, though, I'll bet that preacher learned a lesson he'll never forget from those cops.
But, hey, as long as they act under the blanket of the sovereign, the agents of the state who commit outrages to keep us safe simply must escape personal responsibility, personal jeopardy, and the pain of swift, certain, and severe punishment. Those standards are for the commoners, not our masters.
Praise the Lord! (We have to; the preacher can't because he's dead.) We have entered that new era, that new era of hope and change.
Tea Party activists and the GOP have already shown that they don't have a heart and the only courage they display is when they are in mob mode and feel they can spit on people without repercussion.
Why are the teabaggers so scared of a single payer system? Or any system other than the one we have now.? The VA health care I'm receiving is better than mom's Medicare. Whenever I go to the VA, my ID card is swiped once and I am checked in for everything and seamlessly move from one department to another. My records are computerized and every provider has access to the whole chart and the departments work together to provide the best possible service. Heck, I even have access to part of my records and the IT guys are working to make the rest of it available to me by the end of the year. I order my drug refills via the web and a few days later they arrive in the mail. Soon I'll be able to see lab results. What's not to like?
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my health and the experience I was having with the VA system. I cannot emphasize enough how well taken care of I feel. Last Tuesday (3/23) I reported to the surgical unit for a D and C. My check in time was 12 noon. I met the surgeon one more time and since I had completed my pre-op testing a few days before, we were ready to roll. I signed the final consent form and was led into the patient preparation area. There I met the anesthesiologist and the nurse who would be shepherding me from place to place.
We were having a discussion about what I would use for pain management and the next thing I knew I was wide awake and the procedure was completed. My doctor came in to tell me that everything looked good and barring anything untoward in the pathology report, I would be a good candidate for a new way of removing fibroids and that I wouldn't have to have a hysterectomy. Then they called my ride while I got dressed and by 3:30 pm I was home and in my own bed resting up.
The only bad part of my experience was coming home and reading the garbage the GOP was using to whip the masses into out of control mobs. The lies were unbelievable, unless you were an uneducated teabagger. or enjoy waiting weeks for authorizations from some clerk whose job is to increase corporate profits instead of ensuring that you receive the best health care possible. I've had a couple of surgeries in my life and I can honestly say that this last one was the most professional and comfortable one I have ever had. I go back on the 31st for a follow up and then it's on to the next problem. My neck.
I missed a phone call from the nurse in neurology who said she noticed that I have an appointment on April 1st at one o'clock and would it be okay if she scheduled my EMG test for twelve o'clock on the same day. I called her back and said that would be perfectly okay with me.
I honestly don't like the health care bill, but it is better than the alternative for 32 million people, which is nothing. I believe a single payer system would benefit everyone, from the patient to the doctor and the labs in between. Everyone except the insurance companies. You would think that everyone would want the experience that I and other veterans I know have had. But, you would have to have a brain.
President Scolds Senate GOP for Stalling Confirmation Votes on Nominees
Fed up with waiting, President Barack Obama announced Saturday he would bypass a vacationing Senate and name 15 people to key administration jobs, wielding for the first time the blunt political tool known as the recess appointment.
The move immediately deepened the divide between the Democratic president and Republicans in the Senate following a long, bruising fight over health care. Obama revealed his decision by blistering Republicans, accusing them of holding up nominees for months solely to try to score a political advantage on him.
"I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government," Obama said in a statement. [snip]
Both Republican and Democratic presidents have made recess appointments, which circumvents the Senate's authority to confirm nominees, when they could not overcome delays. President George W. Bush made more than 170 such appointments in his two-term presidency. President Bill Clinton made nearly 140.
Obama had been on record as warning of recess appointments if the Senate didn't act. He followed through at the end of a week in which his political standing was significantly bolstered by the party-line passage of a historic health care bill, a student loan overhaul and a hard-fought nuclear arms treaty with Russia.
The White House dropped the news in a press release on a quiet Saturday, with Obama at Camp David and lawmakers home in their districts. [snip]
The Senate's top Democrat, Harry Reid, welcomed Obama's move. "Regrettably, Senate Republicans have dedicated themselves to a failed strategy to cripple President Obama's economic initiatives by stalling key administration nominees at every turn," said Reid, the majority leader from Nevada.
Obama and Democratic leaders say he faces more obstruction, in terms of the number of pending nominees and the length of their delay in getting a vote, than Bush did. The hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington began long before Obama's presidency but remains as entrenched as ever, if not worse, during his term.
Fifteen Appointees Have Waited an Average of 214 Days for Senate Confirmation
Obama Administration appointees have faced an unprecedented level of obstruction in the Senate.
* President Obama currently has a total of 217 nominees pending before the Senate. These nominees have been pending for an average of 101 days, including 34 nominees pending for more than 6 months.
* The 15 nominees President Obama intends to recess appoint have been pending for an average of 214 days or 7 months for a total of 3204 days or almost 9 years.
* President Bush had made 15 recess appointments by this point in his presidency, but he was not facing the same level of obstruction. At this time in 2002, President Bush had only 5 nominees pending on the floor. By contrast, President Obama has 77 nominees currently pending on the floor, 58 of whom have been waiting for over two weeks and 44 of those have been waiting more than a month.
The President announced his intention to recess appoint the following nominees:
And the nominees are:
* Jeffrey Goldstein: Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, Department of the Treasury
* Michael F. Mundaca: Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Department of the Treasury
* Eric L. Hirschhorn: Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and head of the Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce
* Michael Punke: Deputy Trade Representative - Geneva, Office of the United States Trade Representative
* Francisco "Frank" J. Sánchez: Under Secretary for International Trade, Department of Commerce
* Islam A. Siddiqui: Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
* Alan D. Bersin: Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security
* Jill Long Thompson: Member, Farm Credit Administration Board
* Rafael Borras: Under Secretary for Management, Department of Homeland Security
* Craig Becker: Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
* Mark Pearce: Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
* Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
* Chai R. Feldblum: Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
* Victoria A. Lipnic: Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
* P. David Lopez: General Counsel, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Contrary to my general policy over at The Dark Wraith Forums, where I tend to avoid overtly sexual topics, I have just noted in my "This and That" sidebar column something salacious that had not come to my attention until this morning. I thought I would share it as a post here at Big Brass Blog, in part to stir the rowdiness of the crowd, but also in no small part because, for the life of me, this fetish, which is apparently a big thing among men in Redneck America, is beyond anything I can possibly comprehend. It's called "pedal pumping," and you can read all about it at The Daily Beast.
Do NOT tell me you understand this weirdness. I don't CARE what a frustrated woman looks like with her hair totally unkempt from yelling and pounding her fists on a steering wheel. I don't CARE how many times her leg goes up and down drilling the gas pedal on a car that won't start. It's not erotic. No, it's NOT. Redneck guys who think it isespecially when the wronged woman is wearing stiletto healsare too weird for their own good, even when the lady in the driver's seat is incessantly cranking the uncooperativeindeed, obstinatestarter on an old, rusty Ford truck with an 8-track player and four fresh cans of Vienna sausages in the glove compartment.
If you men reading this think those redneck guys are right about this whole scenario being some sort of turn-on, then you're a few ponies short of a carousel ride, too.
Sarah Palin will be hosting her very own Reality TV showa travelog about Alaskaon TLC, a cable channel of Discovery Communications, which also broadcasts under Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Discovery Health, Discovery Kids, FitTV, Investigation Discovery, Military Channel, Planet Green, Science Channel, and HD Theater, as well as through a global distribution network of media properties.
"TLC," the channel on which Palin will be featured, is the shortened version of what used to be The Learning Channel.
Being home from the hospital less than 48 hours after having facial surgery involving two incisions, two titanium plates, and two or more screws (I didn't inquire about the quantity of screws), it just doesn't seem right that I hurt everywhere except where I had surgery!
This additional pain started to kick in Friday afternoon when I awoke from my 2nd nap around 4:00 PM. It increased throughout the evening and into this morning. The worst of it was this morning when I was trying to get myself out of bed. It was dark outside and I had no idea what time it was. It hurt so much just trying to raise my head and turn it in the direction of the clock that I decided it just wasn't that important. I needed to urinate but not "like a horse" as the saying goes.
The pope's moves over abuse at Irish dioceses and seminaries were the most concrete steps taken since a wave of cases hit Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands but were met with deep disappointment by the victims in Ireland.
In a letter addressed to the people, bishops, priests and victims of child sex abuse in the overwhelmingly Catholic country, the pope did not make specific reference to Churches in other countries, particularly the pope's native Germany.
More at the LINK.
"Pope apology falls short for victims" Pope Benedict's apology to Ireland went further than any other papal statement on child sex abuse by priests, but still fell far too short for many victims of the scandals shaking the Roman Catholic Church across Europe. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62K0UF20100321
Reading and listening to DW the last 250 years, I've learned a few things. While I may not agree with him on everything, sound research is hard to beat. So when Stephen Roach comes up with this, I figured, because of his position, he'd be totally non-partisan and show that he really lives in a different time.
Hey Steve! Nixon's no longer president!
(snip) Here's Roach:
I think we should take out the baseball bat on Paul Krugman. I think the advice is completely wrong. The US has had a conscious policy here of maintaining, quote, a strong and stable dollar. China is saying basically the same thing in terms of its stable currency. Isn't it the height of hypocrisy for America to articulate to articulate a particular position in its currency but the Chinese are not allowed to do that, especially since they as a developing economy - with an embryonic financial system - need a currency anchor probably a lot more than a sophisticated, quote unquote, economies like the United States."
Why Fox doesn't snatch this guy away from Bloomberg is a mystery to me.
"Look around," the drill sergeant said. "In a few years, or even a few months, several of you will be dead. Some of you will be severely wounded or so badly mutilated that your own mother can't stand the sight of you. And for the real unlucky ones, you will come home so emotionally disfigured that you wish you had died over there."
"Mass Casualties" is not the first and is not going to be the last indictment of the US occupation of Iraq. There have been films, reports, books, blogs and dozens of testimonies at Winter Soldier events that have exposed various ugly aspects of the occupation as witnessed and enforced by the “heroes” in uniform. Each tale comes with its share of guilt, despair and remorse at having been complicit in wanton destruction under an obviously false façade of patriotism."
Dating back to 1798 and the Irish Revolution, "The Wearing Of the Green" is an anonymously-penned ballad:
The Wearing Of The Green
O Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that's going round?
The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground!
No more Saint Patrick's Day we'll keep, his color can't be seen
For there's a cruel law against the Wearing of the Green.
I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand,
And he said, "How's poor old Ireland, and how does she stand?"
"She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen,
For they're hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green."
So if the color we must wear be England's cruel red
Let it remind us of the blood that Irishmen have shed;
And pull the shamrock from your hat, and throw it on the sod
But never fear, it will take root there, though underfoot 'tis trod.
When laws can stop the blades of grass from growing as they grow
And when the leaves in summer time their color dare not show,
Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen;
But till that day, please God, I'll stick to the Wearing of the Green.
The Feds are on Facebook. And MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, too.
U.S. law enforcement agents are following the rest of the Internet world into popular social-networking services, going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather private information, according to an internal Justice Department document that offers a tantalizing glimpse of issues related to privacy and crime-fighting.
Think you know who's behind that "friend" request? Think again. Your new "friend" just might be the FBI.
The document, obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, makes clear that U.S. agents are already logging on surreptitiously to exchange messages with suspects, identify a target's friends or relatives and browse private information such as postings, personal photographs and video clips.
Among other purposes: Investigators can check suspects' alibis by comparing stories told to police with tweets sent at the same time about their whereabouts. Online photos from a suspicious spending spree — people posing with jewelry, guns or fancy cars — can link suspects or their friends to robberies or burglaries.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group, obtained the Justice Department document when it sued the agency and five others in federal court. The 33-page document underscores the importance of social networking sites to U.S. authorities. The foundation said it would publish the document on its Web site on Tuesday.
My father died, in the city of his birth, New York, at 3:50 EST this afternoon.
. . .
My Dad was predeceased last year by my mother, Marie, his wife of nearly 60 years. He died peacefully after a long fight against the complications that ensued after successful colon surgery last September at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. My sister Jenna and I were at his side, and I was reading him his favorite James Thurber short stories, as he left us.
. . .
He was my inspiration, and will always remain so. His bravery these last six months cannot be measured. He is as much my hero now, as he was when I was five years old.
March 11: Keith Olbermann explains how to draft a living will and why it's important and why it's a disservice to Americans to describe end-of-life consultations with doctors as "death panels" when such meetings are so crucial to life.
After pandering to a failed school district and its failed parents for firing the teachers, President Obama and his thuggish Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, want to "overhaul" the No Child Left Behind abomination of the previous administration. What this means is more testing-testing-testing and more pointing the fingers at the educators instead of at the parents and the administrators, especially the parents, where the whole child as a learner actually starts and ends.
Heaven forbid our New Age Neocon President would tell the parents to get off their fat, lazy asses and do their jobs, and Lord knows his Chief Bully in charge of the Education Department isn't about to tell his comrades in the fancy suits running school districts into the ground to actually construct schools that foster learning and not rote compliance and penetrating fear.
No, it's better to terrorize the kids with ridiculous, "zero-tolerance" (for being human) policies and terrorize teachers with mass firings for trying to do something with children of self-indulgent parents who expect everyone (including the government) and everything (including brain-sucking pharmaceuticals) but themselves to do the work of making their children ready to learn and capable every day of doing so.
Go for it, Mr. President. Maybe all the failed parents like Sarah and Todd Palin and the tens of millions of others who want someone to blame but themselves will vote for you in 2012.
So Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA is unpatriotic. As one poster remarked, Glenn Beck has finally said something so stupid that even stupid people recognize its stupidity. You would think he had learned something after trying to insinuate that Revolution by The Beatles was a progressive plot to institute Marxism, but you would be wrong. I wonder if Beck has read the lyrics to John Mellencamp's Little Pink Houses. On second thought, his head is still attached to his body so I guess not. Beck needs a serious vacation time at one of those rehab facilities. Not to fix his stupidity, he's too far gone for that, but to give the rest of us a break.
Because we certainly aren't getting one from our elected "Representatives". No public option because Pelosi and company have given up. Their corporate masters are too strong.
If there was any lingering doubt as to whether the public option would survive the final health care motion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ended it on Friday morning.
"We had it. We wanted it," Pelosi told reporters at a press briefing. "It's not in reconciliation... We're talking about something that is not going to be part of the legislation."
Why? Was it late for dinner? More than a majority of the American people want the public option but they might as well be wishing for Santa Claus to be real. Or for the Tooth Fairy to leave something under their pillow.
The Supreme Court is going to hear the case of of a man who was forced to listen to, read obnoxious phrases on homemade signs, and in general was harassed while he buried his son on what is usually the worst day in any parents life by a group of so-called religious fanatics. What makes it even worse is that his son was a Marine who died in service to his country.
I am a strong defender of our First Amendment's rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. but I have to wonder why this is even an issue, much less, has become a case that for the Supreme Court. It brings to mind the famous phrase "You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" As a side note, the McCarthy-Welch exchange was quite insightful and reading it showed me just how far our behavior (and that of a certain South Carolina representative) has fallen from civility.
As the Supreme Court has been exceedingly liberal in its interpretation of the Second Amendment and now considers a corporation an individuals, it shouldn't be that much of a stretch for them to decide that the behavior exhibited by members of the Westboro Baptist "Church" and others like them goes against all decent human behavior and should be called what it is, the equivalent of falsely screaming fire in a crowded theater.
I've never had children, but I have known people who have lost one. My father's mother had a daughter who died at sixteen and my dad also died before she did. Her words at his funeral still ring in my mind. "I never thought I'd outlive him." She didn't speak much in her remaining seven years and she stared out into space as if she was lost. She still had her faculties but she wasn't the same woman.
I remember how I felt listening to the proceedings, carrying his casket to his final resting place and watching as the dirt covered him up. It still affects me the same way nineteen years later and I don't know how gracefully I would have handled the Westboro nuts if they had been picketing my dad's funeral. Probably not very well.
Since Liz Cheney can't keep her stupid mouth shut over things she knows nothing about, does this mean that John Adams was unpatriotic because he defended the British after the Boston Massacre? And successfully at that?
Now Cheney's daughter, Liz, has taken up the cudgel by heading what some are describing as a McCarthyite campaign to purge the government of lawyers who dared to defend men, and even a child, accused of terrorism. The lawyers drew particular ire by sometimes defeating in court the Bush administration's attempts to declare itself beyond the law.
Liz Cheney and her organisation, Keep America Safe, have dubbed lawyers who acted on behalf of accused terrorists, and who now work for the department of justice, the "al-Qaida seven". The group has rebranded the justice department the "department of jihad".
President Adams believed that we were a nation of laws, I'm pretty sure he would be appalled at the disrespect the Constitution has been receiving for the last ten years. You don't pick and choose who gets what rights, they should be apportioned equally and defendants must be treated equally under the law. It's what separates us from the savages. Why are she and her father so determined to sink lower than Al-Qaeda and and still act like they're taking the high road as they shred what's left of the Constitution?
Just because it snowed it doesn't mean that global warming isn't occurring. All it takes is a little common sense. Is the weather in your area the same as it was ten years ago? I doubt it. Places that were hot have not been as warm lately and places that were cold are warmer than they should be. Change is happening and just because it isn't happening overnight, doesn't mean it isn't occurring. Considering all the cuts to education that have eliminated critical thinking classes, it is no wonder that nearly half of Americans don't believe in global warming.
The stupid person of the day has to be the woman who crasher her car while she was shaving her pubic area. Isn't that one of the things you do in the shower at home?
Well of course Pink Floyd music should be sold in album form. Duh! All their albums tell a story and other than Money or Another Brick in The Wall, most people can barely name the albums and don't realize what the inspiration for music was. Most people can't tell you that Dark Side of the Moon is about a plane crash, mainly because they've never listened to the whole album in one sitting and when the songs are sold as singles, the interludes between songs are eliminated and the story is lost. And yes, playing Dark Side of the Moon while watching the Wizard of Oz Really does work. Amazingly so, at least until you past Dorothy meeting the Scarecrow.
The House passed legislation Wednesday that would ban misleading mailings designed to appear they're from the Census Bureau, following criticism that Republican groups were sending fundraising letters using the census name.
Under the bill, mailings marked "census" will be required to state the name and address of the sender, along with an unambiguous disclaimer that the survey was not affiliated with the federal government.
The legislation passed 416-0, after two Republicans who sit on the House panel overseeing the census, Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, agreed to co-sponsor the measure. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., has said he intends to move forward with legislation in the Senate.
"With millions of census forms due to hit mailboxes within days and a multimillion advertising campaign meant to encourage completion and return of those forms, too many nongovernmental organizations are trying to piggyback on that brand awareness," said the bill's chief sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP campaign arm, put out letters that were labeled "census document." The mailings made a plea for money along with a form asking voters to identify their political leanings and top issues.
The RNC appeal came in the name of GOP Chairman Michael Steele while the NRCC letter was from House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio.
This is what electing a piss-ass Republican president has done for this country in 9 years. Go over to Steve's post and read all the other comments. Some are so downright sad because they're so true. You may even have some definitions of your own.
UPDATING OUR POLITICAL DICTIONARIES.... Josh Marshall had a very short item the other day that I've been meaning to mention. He was helping readers understand the new political "lexicon."
"Jamming it through": to vote on a bill.
It got me thinking about how we should all update our understandings of political terms that had fairly straightforward definitions up until fairly recently.
"Obstructionism," for example, only refers to Democratic minorities opposing Republican proposals.
"Tyranny" is found when an elected Democratic majority passes legislation that Republicans don't like.
"Reconciliation" describes a Senate process that Republicans are allowed to use to overcome Democratic "obstructionism."
"Terrorism" refers to acts of political violence committed by people who aren't white guys.
"Bipartisanship" is found when Democrats agree to pass Republican legislation.
"Big government" describes a dangerous phenomenon to be avoided, except in cases relating to reproductive rights or gays.
"Treason" refers to Democrats criticizing a Republican administration during a war.
"Patriotism" refers to Republicans criticizing a Democratic administration during a war.
"Fiscal responsibility" is a national priority related to keeping our deficit in check, which only applies when Republicans are in the minority.
"Parliamentarian" is a seemingly independent official on the Hill who Senate Republicans are allowed to fire when the GOP disapproves of his/her rulings.
See how fun this is? Consider this an open thread for your own submissions.
She's a brick----house
She's the one, the only one,
who's built like a amazon --Brick House, The Commodores
She was a fast machine. She kept her motor clean.
She was the best damn woman that I ever seen.
She had the sightless eyes, telling me no lies.
Knocking me out with those American thighs --You Shook Me All Night Long, AC/DC
Girl, u got an ass like I never seen
And the ride…
I say the ride is so smooth
U must be a limousine --Little Red Corvette, Prince
Wanna pull up tough
Cause you notice that butt was stuffed
Deep in the jeans she’s wearing.
I’m hooked and I can’t stop staring. --Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-A-Lot
These hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man
and spin him like a top --Homage to My Hips, Lucille Clifton
Sometimes you have a day where everything coalesces into an answer you didn't know you were seeking. I recently had such a day. It may seem a disparate welter, but I promise I'll tie all this into the U.S. military policy at the end.
I recently opened my AOL mail last week to find this breathy exaltation:
Finally -- a Model Who Looks Like Us! the report cooed (this was actually from an issue last fall, so I don't know why it was back in the news). But Glamour magazine is getting with it!
"Wow, that girl looks real ... she looks like we look in our undies." A thousand readers readers exulted: "I wanted to shout from the rooftops!" Others wrote, "the most amazing photograph I've ever seen in any women's magazine," and "Finally a woman who looks like most American women."
Well, if you are a 20-year-old, 5'11" model who spends the rest of her day playing soccer, then, yeah. Otherwise, not really. This "now-famous page 194 photo" of the woman with buffed skin, beautiful hair and nary a blemish is leaning forward, displaying an ever so-slight belly pooch which would be unnoticeable in clothes, or if she sat upright. Why the rave? Why the "joy at seeing a woman's body with all the curves and quirks and rolls found in nature" -- are our bodies "quirky"? Is that a healthy point of view?
I've seen my mother naked; I belong to community pool where naked women of every age, size and shape share their encouragement in the locker room. I've seen my nekkid body! Real women have stretch marks and cellulite, skin tags and discolorations, bumps and scars. Ms. Miller is not your average woman, and undoubtedly her flawless presentation was airbrushed, anyway.
Why are women (people) so easily swept along on the bandwagon? I would protest Glamour's effort to show a "real woman" as a disingenuous sop to their readers. Any woman who looks like Ms. Miller would be quite pleased; she is definitely not your average.
We are a culture that dines at "Hooters". Sex sells everything from car parts to liquor. Take a look at this photo from an ad selling re-manufactured engine parts from a boating trade magazine (Trade Only):
Graffiti covers her body, and she wears only a chain -- a choke collar for her waist. Even more interesting was the text facing that ad concerning the fate of the luxury yacht trade today:
Writer Michel Weisz sadly notes, "I don't think there are going to be that many Rolex buyers for boats, meaning people are not going to buy boats anymore, especially large boats, which they simply dock and tell people they own. I think we are regressing to the point where people who buy these products actually use them and want them, and that's a much smaller segment than the group that had been buying these boats for the last eight to 10 years."
Tell me that's not sad -- the thought of actually only buying yachts that you use?
And from here, I took another leap, into the realm of film.
Now we have award nominees like the film "Precious," about a barely verbal 15-year-old incest survivor with two children by her father, who has given her the AIDS virus. This film earned a 15-minute standing ovation at Cannes. Then we have Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake in "Crazy Heart," an alcoholic down-and-outer who plays at dives you probably don't frequent.
These are depictions of two characters who do inhabit our world, but with whom most of the movie-going audience choose not to fraternize. This is not a new phenomenon -- it is the same genre as Mickey Rourke's "The Wrestler," Nicholas Cage's "Leaving Las Vegas," Jon Voight's Midnight Cowboy and Al Pacino's "Cruising". Most of us don't swim with these people, though they can be found in every town, yet we watch them with voyeuristic curiosity from afar, on screen.
It's like when we leer at the fatal luge accident at the Olympics, or car crashes at the Daytona 500. We get some kind of a kick out of it. Is it the vicarious adrenaline rush or the expiation of a collective sin?
This country was founded on guilt-producing behavior ("Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God") and injustice for many (Native Americans, slaves, women.) So we watch in awe, applaud for 15 minutes and feel the catharsis wash over us. We've rolled in the mud for a few minutes and feel much better, thanks. My church friends do a yearly mission and return with photos of smiling natives and some happy trinkets, grumbling about all the vaccinations they needed and why can't the people learn to get clean water after all these years.
Perhaps we watch as expiation of our collective guilt, and tell ourselves we go to war to impose our better way of life, starting them out anew, thereby "doing it right" this time. But the problem is we don't honestly know who we are, or the genesis of our actions. We are, therefore, disingenuous.
The nexus of these topics (models, excess buying, viewing on-screen crash-ups, missions) is, The Lie. The lie that we are honest and accepting, reasonable and compassionate. These are all ersatz representations of said qualities. We are deluded into thinking we are better, more compassionate, than we really are.
If we don't know who we are, if we can't reach out and touch someone here, why project our force across the miles and pretend we will touch someone there? A people, a nation, must be authentic and clear in their intention. Our posture towards women, and charity cases and the damaged and those who don't fit into the paradigm is ambiguous, at best.
Who are we to claim solidarity and the morality to export what we don't know? We don't call a spade a spade. We are confused, and if we don't know who we are, how dare we think to export that which we don't understand?
As logician and mathematician Ludwig Wittgenstein said, "whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." He also said, "Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself." Both are pertinent to the discussion.
I'll bring it all together next week in a big roundup in a re-visitation of Susan Boyle mania. There's a connection, I promise.
Or a brain. Tom Delay, and by extension, most Republicans and the media that drools over their every word, believes that people prefer to live on unemployment checks that barely cover their rent and that they enjoy standing in line at food banks instead of getting a job. Like a true Republican he doesn't let facts get in his way.
"You know," Delay said, "there is an argument to be made that these extensions, the unemployment benefits keeps people from going and finding jobs. In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don't look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out.
Host Candy Crowley: Congressman, that's a hard sell, isn't it?
Delay: it's the truth.
Crowley: People are unemployed because they want to be?
Delay: well, it is the truth. and people in the real world know it. And they have friends and they know it. Sure, we ought to be helping people that are unemployed find a job, but we also have budget considerations that are incredibly important, especially now that Obama is spending monies that we don't have.
Perhaps if you and Bush hadn't given the rich people all those tax breaks or allowed American companies to move their headquarters and manufacturing offshore so they wouldn't have to pay taxes, there might be jobs available. I'm a person in the real world and as I drive around town I see empty buildings where businesses used to be. Mr. Delay, you aren't just willfully stupid, you are a jackass.
Walt Baker just couldn't keep his stupid under controleither. He just had to send an email comparing the First Lady with a chimpanzee. How a state as pretty as Tennessee can produce such backward people does boggle the mind. I almost feel sorry for its citizens.
And then here comes Texas,it might not be the largest state in the Union, but it is definitely trying to spread its stupid to every impressionable child. In a few years the United States will be completely out of the running in technology and medicine. Or hasn't anybody noticed that a good proportion of the doctors don't speak English as their primary language? And for those of you who believe that evolution is a theory and not true, I would like to remind you that gravity is also a theory and as of today nobody has said it doesn't work.
Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth's creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children "religious or moral instruction."
No wonder they don't understand the consequences of inbreeding.
Trying to pick the single most troubling aspect to our current toxic — downright spooky, actually — political environment is sort of like trying to pick the most obnoxious feature of Dick Cheney’s persona: there’s just way too much material out there to choose from. Still, if forced to pick the single scariest thing about today’s politics, I’d probably bypass the usual suspects, such as right wing teabaggers and gutless Democrats.
No, at the end of the day, the scariest thing about our politics today has to be the state of the Republican Party itself.
This nation has just two major political parties. That’s it — no cornucopia of choices, just two. And all talk of third parties notwithstanding, it’s likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. So it is a cause for some alarm that one of those two parties, the Republicans, seems to have lost all interest in serious governance. Republicans don’t even pretend anymore.
The modern GOP isn’t about policy. It’s about smash mouth politics, fear tactics and lies. [snip]
By the same token, you might think that given the fact this nation is facing its greatest economic challenge in over 60 years Republicans, as one of the nation’s two “great” political parties, would look for serious solutions to the crisis (even if they are conservative solutions). But once again, of course, no such luck. The GOP’s response to the current crisis has been little more than a repetition of worn out talking points. And the same goes for health care, financial regulation and for just about everything else — everything that is other than protecting a few super-wealthy families from have to pay a few dollars in estate taxes. Now there’s a policy they’re ready to fight for.
Republicans today simply have no interest in serious governance — of actually trying to accomplish something for the nation. They want power, alright. They just have no particular interest in using that power to make the lives of the American people better.
In a 78 - 10 vote late Tuesday evening, the Senate finally passed the extension of H. R. 4691 ( Temporary Extension Act of 2010 ) which includes extending unemployment and COBRA benefits, pay for Medicare doctors, funding for federal highway project programs and rural satellite TV among its provisions. Since last week, passage of the extension bill had been held up by Jim Bunning.
It's been a year since Blackdog left us. Those of you who didn't know him missed a great guy. Here's a repost of a bit of sentiment I penned back then.
Miss ya guy!
Excerpted from Thanatopsis:
...So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
It’s a cold, frosty morning as I sit at the old computer. For some reason, it’s difficult to see the screen real well, as it’s as difficult to type the words.
We lost a friend yesterday. A friend left us much too soon, even for all the problems he endured.
It shouldn’t be that hard to write about someone you never met in person yet I knew Brad maybe better than some people I see and have seen every day for over 50 years. Damn screen keeps blurring. Maybe I’ll get it checked.
We had many, probably a few hundred phone conversations over the last few years. They were always friendly; he was always upbeat even though I knew that wasn’t the case. To let on wasn’t what he wanted.
If many of you enjoyed his special way of writing about life, he spoke the same gentle way. Oh, he had harsh words for some that he felt deserved them but never wished harm to any, well any harm that his nine iron wouldn’t do...in a joking way.
He loved talking about the area he lived in; fishing, some relatives, some old times. I got to know a great deal about the history of the area around his town. I could picture, through his verbal paintings an old house built during the Civil War he remembered so fondly. Or the place where the town of Little Rock got its name, or so he told me; the Cyprus trees on a special lake he liked.
He used to tell me stories of his life working in California and living in the desert. We exchanged tales of that dry life and laughed about events that were all too similar to each of us.
He loved his dogs, especially Woof. He told me that Woof seemed to “understand” things. We never went beyond that. There goes that blur again. Really need to correct that; maybe in a week or so...
We talked about the possibility of getting together this year to meet face to face and he seemed hopeful even though I knew better.
Brad’s gone, now. I met him online, talked with him hundreds of times by phone, never knew what he looked like, yet he was probably a closer friend than many others I have and had.
53 is much too young today to leave this world.
Brad “blackdog” Turner – truly one of the finest kind I knew.
Is there anyone out there with a brain stem who doesn't grasp that everything we do to our environment affects everything else? That would be a humongous YES, based on the sheer number of morons I see out there, dousing every part of the outdoors they have access to with gallons of weed-killers, pesticides, and toxic "fertilizers".
These planet-killing toxins are ubiquitous, thanks to the somnambulistic and corrupt monitoring by Gov-Corp, who only bans what they are absolutely forced to. Then, they promptly allow the export of the banned toxic products to third-world countries. That way, their benefactors in the chemical industry can still profit, in spite of a domestic ban.
Even the minimally-alert among us are usually aware that the disastrous changes seen in aquatic life these past few decades are critical environmental red alerts for ALL life. The following is yet another case in point. Far more people need to be asking themselves why the sperm count of human males is 50% less than what it was in 1950.
Of course, when life as we know it is no longer sustainable on this planet, I'm sure it will be a tremendous comfort to your mutant hermaphrodite grandchildren that at least the major stockholders of Dow Chemical, Monsanto, and Union Carbide made some big-assed profits, back in the day.
From Cryptogon: Common Weedkiller turns Male Frogs into Females
Atrazine, one of the most commonly used and controversial weedkillers, can turn male frogs into females, researchers reported on Monday.
The experiment is the first to show such complete effects of atrazine, which had been known to disrupt hormones and which is one of the chief suspects in the decline of amphibians such as frogs around the world.
“Atrazine-exposed males were both demasculinized (chemically castrated) and completely feminized as adults,” Tyrone Hayes of the University of California Berkeley and colleagues wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
I caught the last few minutes of Southland the other day and the music made me stop and listen. I told my mom I thought it was Willie Nelson and due to the wonders of YouTube, I found it. I've listened to the Bob Dylan original and I have to admit that Willie does the song a little better. This is the version from the last few minutes of Southland, a show that I think I need to add to my viewing schedule.This is the full Willie version, I apologize for the German, but the video is definitely worth it.It baffles me how I can have Glenn Miller, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Dusty Springfield, The Monkees, Beatles, MC Hammer, Joan Baez,Three Dog Night, Whitesnake, Alvin and The Chipmunks, the Four Tops, Bobby Brown, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the Pretenders, Depeche Mode, Gnarls Barkley, Oingo Boingo, Peggy Lee and Finger Eleven on the old iPod. And who could forget Roger Miller?Love that song ever since I saw him on Red Skelton.
This one is for the teabaggers who have forgotten what it was really like in the fifties and early sixties.Debsweb
Can't all the major Left Wing Progressive Blogs ignore the ravings of the Right for even ONE FREAKING WEEK?
Liz "I know all about everything since my daddy's king" Cheney was on Fox again spewing bull.
George Will, Eric Cantor and Cheney appear more regularly than the Pa. Groundhog.
Sunday talk shows have Howard Morris Agents booking Neos, teabaggers and the usual cadre of Right Wing nuts into 2011!
We listen to the incessant blatherings of Limbaugh, the drooling insanities of Beck and other idiots from the right. No sooner do they puke idiocy than the Left can't get it into print fast enough. No Democrats appear (they have no balls or intellect) and if they do, the Right Wing Media IGNORES THEM! So the fools on the right don't hear anything about what Democrats want to do anyway (if the Left even wants to do anything).
But since nearly every Leftist Blog regurgitates the vile spewed from those on the far right, millions more hear that propagandistic tripe than could possibly ever get it from FOX.
The Left MUST stop giving a free pass to those on the right through the internet. More people follow left wing blogs than the right. More independents follow left wing blogs and all they get is the Himmlerian Propaganda these fools spout. And make no mistake about it, the mouthpiece of the Republicans, Luntz, knows this. That's why he gets the goose-stepping Right to mindlessly repeat his babbling. He knows his message will reach more Americans because the Left repeats it to a bigger audience than FOX.
Try it for a week. Quit bitching about what the crazies on the right are saying. Don't give them exposure. leave that to FOX.
Who are we competing with, CNN?
What are we becoming, the media we all despise?
Sunday, February 28, 2010
When I began this blog, I swore to keep it up until a certain thing happened. It happened. I have to stop now.
Many thanks to the supportive readers, especially to the ones who contributed.
I will leave the blog up for at least a week, just in case people want to download older posts. After that, I will hit the "Delete blog" button.
No comments will be posted. None will be read. No questions will be answered.
posted: 8:08 PM
11 COMMENTS - CLICK HERE
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posted by Anonymous : 8:54 PM
Good riddance, asshole
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