horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Pam Spaulding takes on one of the haters, Letter from Peter LaBarbera
Come on, Peter. There is no Homosexual AgendaTM, any more than there is a "black agenda" or a "feminist agenda" to help children (and educable grownups) understand the changing world in which we live in and to tolerate and accept difference. Then, again, maybe you do believe there is a organized left-wing conspiracy to destroy our culture that includes gays, women and minorities. I just know that I have not received a special decoder ring, password or special orders telling me how to accomplish this goal of world domination/destruction. Yet.




Dean v. Bush: "Winning" in Iraq Or Winning Smart?
Actually, this debate is not about winning or losing. The maximalist goals of the Bush administration in Iraq have not been achieved and never will be achieved. Despite what Paul Bremer said, the US is not going to "impose its will on the Iraqis," and despite (probably) Irving Lewis Libby's silly allegation, the US is not manufacturing reality in Iraq

snip
Let me just suggest to him and others who are pushing this sensible plan that we call it "Winning smart in Iraq" rather than "can't win." What can possibly be won is the avoidance of a hot civil war or a regional guerrilla war that plunges the world into economic crisis. Winning that is in the best interests of everyone, Iraqis and Americans alike.

As for Bush's "winning" in Iraq, what did he want?

*He wanted to weaken al-Qaeda, which he said he believed received Iraqi state support. He was completely wrong about that, if he really did believe it and wasn't just lying. In fact, Bush has enormously strengthened al-Qaeda, and he has not captured its top leadership. The London July 7 bombers explicitly were taking revenge for what they saw as US and British atrocities in Iraq. Zawahiri was able to recruit them because Bush's actions in Iraq created such rage.

Well this is all very smart and nuanced and we all know by now the neocons don't do smart or nuanced.


Rampant corruption in a red state? Say it isn't so. Cronyism permeates THP, Bredesen says
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is rife with cronyism and a pattern of overlooking officers’ criminal backgrounds that has made it likely that felons are in uniform and patrolling the state’s highways, Gov. Phil Bredesen said yesterday.

Disclaimer: I lived in the Land of Elvis and Dolly for a while and it is a beautiful state, but this kind of cronyism, corruption, and looking the other way seems to raise up every few years like a wave. So much for red states cornering the market on morality, yet to hear of any state that can make that claim.

Republicans sinking in sleaze
In September Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful politicians in America, had to step down as leader of the House of Representatives after being indicted for violating election finance laws. He is vigorously contesting the charges.

Bill Frist, the Republican leader of the Senate, is also under investigation over insider trading allegations involving the sale of his stock in a healthcare company. Mr Frist has denied any wrongdoing.

How the Bush Administration led the country into the Iraq war, and Democrat accusations that the White House manipulated prewar intelligence, then dominated much of October and November after the indictment of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former chief of staff to Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, for his role in the Valerie Plame CIA-leak affair. Mr Libby was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, and he too has pleaded not guilty.

Pardon my realism, but for this current wave of corruption to have any effect on the electorate, a good part of the American public has to feel outrage. While there's some outrage out there, its about evenly matched by the excuse makers and rationalizers ( if thats a word .) These are people who are either professional or amateur pundits who feel its their patriotic duty to not only lie and obfuscate conservative corruption, but to smear Democrats while doing so. We all owe these members of the 101st Brigade of Conservative Obfuscaters some recoqnition for the culture of cynicism, whereby we can rely on a good part of the population to think that every indictment is merely the product of partisan politics. A big round of applause for those sticking the worst kind of moral relativism through the heart of democracy.

The Last Salute from Bush to the troops

The 1600 Crew {hearts} Our Troops
A local family said fallen soldiers and Marines deserve better and that one would think our war heroes are being transported with dignity, care and respect. It said one would think upon arrival in their hometowns they are greeted with honor. But unfortunately, the family said that is just not the case.

Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.

But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo.

John Holley and his wife, Stacey, were stunned when they found out the body of their only child, Matthew, who died in Iraq last month, would be arriving at Lindbergh Field as freight.
...
The bodies of dead service members arrive at Dover Air Force Base.

From that point, they are sent to their families on commercial airliners.

Reporters from 10News called the Defense Department for an explanation. A representative said she did not know why this is happening.

Dear members of the United States Armed Forces meet your abusive caretakers. They might love you, they're just totally incapable of putting words into deeds.

Friday, December 09, 2005

How healthy is the economy really ?

Goldilocks Economy? Hardly.
The public hasn't bought into the happy talk either.The so-called misery index reached a 12-year high of 9.8 in September. Michael Mussa, who served on Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers from 1986 to 1988, noted : "If you ask the classic Ronald Reagan question 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?,' a large number of Americans are in fact not better off.'

The American public is hardly a pessimistic lot; they are, however, deeply aware of their own financial situations.

Also picked up on this at Big Picture
This is precisely what I was referring to earlier this week when I noted that GDP has been propped up by borrowing and spending, rather than production.

I have never in my lifetime bought into the conservative jingoism of small government or that they were more fiscally responsible. Cultural issues aside I just looked at the record and asked myself, who better balances the interests of labor, business, and the envionment ? Its not Republicans.
The results are simple: Democratic presidents have consistently higher economic growth and consistently lower unemployment than Republican presidents. If you add in a time lag, you get the same result. If you eliminate the best and worst presidents, you get the same result. If you take a look at other economic indicators, you get the same result. There's just no way around it: Democratic administrations are better for the economy than Republican administrations.

Much of the job growth we're seeing is run on public sector, ie government hiring. While the appearance of economic growth is riding on the back of a massive borrow and spend binge by Bush and Congressional Cons. When consumers reach their max in spending, probably after the holidays its not going to be pretty.
Who would ever thought that the party that used the word communist like some people use the word bastard would place the economic well being of the USA in the hands of China. BUSH ADMINISTRATION BREAKS RECORD
Administration Borrows more from Foreign Nations than Previous 42 Presidents Combined

WASHINGTON D.C.- President George W. Bush and the current administration have now borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks than the previous 42 U.S. presidents combined.

Throughout the first 224 years (1776-2000) of our nation's history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions according to the U.S. Treasury Department. In the past four years alone (2001-2005), the Bush Administration has borrowed a staggering $1.05 trillion.

"The seriousness of this rapid and increasing financial vulnerability of our country can hardly be overstated, said Rep. John Tanner (TN), a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition and member of the House Ways and Means Committee. he financial mismanagement of our country by the Bush Administration should be of concern to all Americans, regardless of political persuasion.

Is the housing boom over ?

Bubble, Bubble -- Then Trouble
By October, agents had 2,908 existing Loudoun houses on the market, an increase of 127% over a year earlier. The average time on the market had climbed 62%, to 42 days, since the fall of '04. And in just two months, from August to October, the median sales price for houses dropped from $506,100 to $480,000. In kitchens and coffee shops from Purcellville to Leesburg, anxious homeowners swap stories about a market rapidly going soft: The real estate agent who gets 10 to 15 e-mails a day from developers now offering price cuts of $10,000 or more to move new houses. The sign installer who's putting up three "For Sale" signs for every two that he takes down.

What's happening in Loudoun is a rapid shift in psychology -- a classic sign of a market turn. The buoyant optimism that fueled speculation and expectations of ever-rising prices is now succumbing to the fear of being left standing when the music stops. Real estate, the hottest play of the century in Loudoun, is rapidly cooling.

For those that were hoping to make extraordinary profts on their homes this may be bad news, but for others it might not be in the long term. Housing prices, at least in the view of some, including myself, have been way over inflated the last five years especially. A drop in prices may allow a few more people into the home market, where they will enjoy the eternal pleasure started by French and British royalty, maintaining a lawn that has no practical purpose. turn your garden into a wildife haven

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Why are conservatives whining about not getting credit for the economy

Its amazing how much the average Jane or Joe knows and doesn't get credit for. Folks don't just have a gut feeling that things are not going all that great. The trickle down supply side economy just isn't working for the average worker. That is why Cons are not getting any credit, most Americans don't think they deserve it.

Bush League Economy
Health Insurance. The Census Bureau reports that 46 million Americans, almost 16% of the population, were without health insurance by 2004. That is a staggering increase from 40 million (14.2%) in 2000 and 32 million (13%) back in 1987, when the Bureau began tracking coverage. Meanwhile, employer health care costs are forecast to jump another 10% in 2006, offset in part only by shifting expenses to workers. With companies like General Motors looking to massively cut employee health care costs, the picture isn't getting any rosier.

Many folks are thinking great I've got a job, but if my kids or I gets sick tomorrow, I'm a few weeks away from homelessness.
Income. While personal debt was exploding, median household income actually declined over the last five years, from roughly $46,000 in 2000 to $44,389 in 2004. And from 2003 to 2004, only the top 5% of households saw their incomes increase.

Again folks see that there is something wrong. Raises and bonuses cut, some lay-offs, some jobs outsourced to India/China, yet the managers pull up in a new car every 18 months wearing the latest fashions. executive salaries have boomed the last five years, yet wage earners are struggling.
via Perspectives, The Straight Truth About the Bush Economy
I think it is unwise, however, to fail to acknowledge that much of the pessimism in the economy is not, as I wrote last August, a mystery we need Sherlock Holmes to solve. As Paul Krugman put it so well in his Monday column, “Americans don’t feel good about the economy because it hasn’t been good for them.”

There is something fundamentally wrong with an economy that rewards wealth and penalizes work. I am amazed at the maliciously ignorant portion of the population that praise the conservative approach to the economy and swear that we live in a "free market" economy. We live in a n economy driven by corporate special interests, all together now, say "Tom Delay and K-Street". K-Street only exists for corporations to get special and favorable legislation to protect them from market forces and gain special treatment. Labor is subject to special forces, not the guy with $2000 dollar watch.

After 25 Years, John Lennon Lives On
JOHN LENNON - from the song "Imagine"

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

This song always makes me think of those people, ranging from the far right or far left and the religious fundamentalists (Christian, Muslim, or whatever) that makes them think they can ever get the entirety of humanity to believe in one very rigid ideology.

Why didn't God build a better human being ?

by way of Kos An interview with Don Wise, creator of "incompetent design"
So is there intelligence in the design?
Yes! No, no there isn't. The thing that perhaps is closest to all of us is our own skeleton, and there are certainly all kinds of stupidity in our design. No self-respecting engineering student would make the kinds of dumb mistakes that are built into us.
All of our pelvises slope forward for convenient knuckle-dragging, like all the other great apes. And the only reason you stand erect is because of this incredible sharp bend at the base of your spine, which is either evolution's way of modifying something or else it's just a design that would flunk a first-year engineering student.
Look at the teeth in your mouth. Basically, most of us have too many teeth for the size of our mouth. Well, is this evolution flattening a mammalian muzzle and jamming it into a face or is it a design that couldn't count accurately above 20?
Look at the bones in your face. They're the same as the other mammals' but they're just squashed and contorted by jamming the jaw into a face with your brain expanding over it, so the potential drainage system in there is so convoluted that no plumber would admit to having done it!

I know very few people over the age of 25 that doesn't have some kind of at least intermittent back problems. Maybe the back was designed so that chiropractors would have jobs.

Jack Murtha for president? At least he has a genuine concern for the troops.


via Avedon Carol Steve Clemons confirms that no, Bush was not joking about bombing Al-Jazeera.

Crayola projects for kids: Christmas.

New mammal found. Came across this a few days ago and forgot to post it. Reason number two that I won't be working for CNN. Link has one of the better pics and a drawing. And if you like cute Photo in the News: Baby Foxes Going to the Dogs

Telcos Attacking the Open Web. I'm sure the radical conservatives will assure us that this is just the market at work, Bullsh+t, its the powers that be at work, getting special rights and privileges far outside what an ordinary citizen has. Power in the hands of the few at the expense of the many with little.

If the sun was shining Bush or a surrogate (like Condi Rice) would say it isn't. The guy just enjoys lying the way a coke-head enjoys a hit. He's addicted to lying and backed himself into a corner.Bush has created a virtual cottage industry of Bush Lies and We Apologize and Obfuscate Inc. Everytime he lies, there's a chorus of liars that rises up out of the dust bin to defend him; decent Americans have no choice but to conclude that children should not be allowed near the TV, radio or internet until 2008, because there's just too much to explain to them. The next generation will grow up saying that Preznit Bush lied all the time and had the support of people who claimed to be good Americans, so why can't they lie all the time too. Personally I preferred the good old days when all I had to explain was why the president couldn't keep his damn pants zipped.

Military recruiters are not bad for college campuses, even though the don't ask don't tell policy is discriminatory. the military needs more creative out of the box thinkers and the righties sure as heck aren't going to provide that element. Thinking prevents wars and wins them if they start, and we all know that freedom is not a product of stupidity. a wink and nudge to little Donnie Rumsfeld
"I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss."
-- General Joseph Hoar, a former commander in chief of U.S. Central Command; testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 20, 2004

Seems a little more blunt then anything Howard Dean has said.
Talking about a strategic redeployment of National Guard troops that shouldn't even be there in the first place sends exactly the right message to the troops -- that Democratic leadership will defend our security without abusing or misusing our military. Failing to properly equip our service members with the necessary body armor to keep them as safe as possible sends the wrong message to the troops. Cutting veterans benefits while we are at war sends the wrong message to the troops. Forcing wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital to pay for their own meals sends the wrong message to the troops.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

In an earlier post I noted that the anti-science crowd bullied and whined until they drove a stake through the heart of academic freedom in Kansas. Apparently that wasn't enough, some violent sympathizers decided to make it even more personal and attacked University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki. Professor beaten; attackers cite KU creationism class
LAWRENCE - A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said that the two men who beat him made references to the class that was to be offered for the first time this spring.

To call these critins "men" is to give them more credit then they deserve. They're criminals, thugs of the religious right. They have committed an act of terrorism, plain and simple.
The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

They know they can't win through rational debate so they resort to what they do best, mindless violence, and two against one at that, and they didn't just use their fists, they used possibly a metal object..

Why do right-wing nuts keep attacking veterans ?

Speaking the Truth
O'Neill decided that instead of debating the merits of the war, he would instead point blame on Senator Kerry.

"There are a lot of kids out there, with Christmas approaching, that are in a more dangerous situation tonight because John Kerry chose to characterize them as terrorizing women and children. That's a comment that will obviously be played all over the Arab world."

Yet, many high military leaders agree with the John Kerry's position. Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, while serving as chief commander of allied forces in Iraq, said using American troops in raids could be counterproductive. "I started to get multiple indicators that maybe our iron-fisted approach to the conduct of ops was beginning to alienate Iraqis," Sanchez said, referring to military operations.

Over and over again, from Max Cleland to John Kerry the right-wing extremists prove they only care about veterans when they tow a certain ideological line. Why waste their time defending the right of the president to send our troops off to death and terrible wounds based on a series of clever lies, when they can just yell out the weekly slander against honorable Americans doing their best for America. Where are the conservatives that have values ?

The Right continues to Swift-boat John Kerry

Last week Harry Reid(D-NV) was a traitor according to the wombats, now they're back to John Kerry. For human beings that are willing to overlook the fact that Bush and Cheney twisted our national intelligence around and has gotten over 2,000 Americans killed. they sure are quick to throw around the word traitor. People that live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks, nor folks that don't have any more ethics then the average cockroach.




The Smallness of King George

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Another Chichen-hawk versus The Generals

How or why Mark Steyn has a forum to spew forth this drivel is only known to those wearing tin-foil helmets, Dems determined to ignore progress in Iraq .
Mark's jello mold brain is directly connnected to the Whitehouse disinformation machine,
There's an economic boom in the Shia south and a tourist boom in the Kurdish north, and, while the only thing going boom in the Sunni Triangle are the suicide bombers, there were fewer of those in November than in the previous seven months.

Mark needs to take his shoes odd the next time he wants to count something.

Where is the Iraq war headed next?

The President and his key aides were enraged when, on November 17th, Murtha gave a speech in the House calling for a withdrawal of troops within six months. The speech was filled with devastating information. For example, Murtha reported that the number of attacks in Iraq has increased from a hundred and fifty a week to more than seven hundred a week in the past year. He said that an estimated fifty thousand American soldiers will suffer “from what I call battle fatigue” in the war, and he said that the Americans were seen as “the common enemy” in Iraq. He also took issue with one of the White House’s claims—that foreign fighters were playing the major role in the insurgency. Murtha said that American soldiers “haven’t captured any in this latest activity”—the continuing battle in western Anbar province, near the border with Syria. “So this idea that they’re coming in from outside, we still think there’s only seven per cent.”

and who should we believe Private mark of the 101st Fighting No-nothings or the generals:
Many of the militarys most senior generals are deeply frustrated, but they say nothing in public, because they dont want to jeopardize their careers. The Administration has so terrified the generals that they know they wont go public, a former defense official said. A retired senior C.I.A. officer with knowledge of Iraq told me that one of his colleagues recently participated in a congressional tour there. The legislators were repeatedly told, in meetings with enlisted men, junior officers, and generals that things were fucked up. But in a subsequent teleconference with Rumsfeld, he said, the generals kept those criticisms to themselves.

Reading the right-wingers on the net is much like taking a trip with a saistic Alice through the looking glass. Just one wake-up call for the radical pretend patriots, the insurgents would subdues if American forces left. The Iraqis that the righties say they care so much about are doing most of the violence. The insurgents are kind of stupid, since if they stopped Bush would probably leave sooner, but ask the British about the occupation of Iraq in 1914, Iraqis have their own world view. That world view is that despite what ever factions that may exist internally, external forces like the British and Americans unite the internal factions against the occupiers.

Don't call that big green thing adorned with lights and becoming a bigger fire hazard every day a pagan tree in front of Bill Arrogant Crackpot O'Reilly

Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.

If you're selling pagan trees may God forgive you and hope that Bill and the Christmas police don't find out.

 
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