Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: April 2005

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Friday, April 29, 2005

Picture book...


I wonder if I can get one of them renderin' things done to that guy.

Ladies and gentlemen, America's teacher/first lady/cheater.

Cheney - Should we clean up the rest of that dirt?

Bush - Nah! If the dog don't do it someone will.

Rove - That's a great political slogan... I'll get right on it.

Welcome to Mount Bush, the only mountain that boasts a season that lasts 8 years! Current conditions include 18" bullshit base, with 36" of Packed Political Capital, 43 tax shelter lifts open (ok i'll stop with the ski metaphors now)

Dammit, why won't the laser beam come out of these glasses like Q said it would?


America This is What you Voted For! Or How a reporter can screw up a lot on an otherwise decent article!

I didn't follow any House or Senate races really closely but I doubt anybody who voted YEAYon this budget proposal told anyone they were going to do this:
A $2.6 trillion budget outline barely approved by Congress will cut projected spending on Medicaid for the poor, lock in tax cuts and — Republicans claim — put the country on a path toward lower federal deficits.

Democrats unanimously opposed the spending outline passed late Thursday. They said the budget reflects the president's misplaced priorities by freezing or trimming health, education and agriculture programs while cutting taxes by as much as $106 billion over five years.

The vote was 214-211 in the House and 52-47 in the Senate.

The budget resolution is nonbinding, but it sets critical guidelines for lawmakers as they make decisions on taxes and specific spending programs for the 2006 fiscal year that begins October 1. Equally important, tax and spending legislation passed under direction from the budget is immune from Senate filibusters.
That could make it easier to open the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and facilitate GOP efforts to reduce spending increases in Medicaid and other entitlement programs. About $70 billion of the $106 billion in tax cuts would be protected by resolution, meaning it could be approved by a simple majority in the Senate rather than the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.


The final agreement accepted by Smith would shave automatically increasing benefit programs by $35 billion over five years, with Medicaid singled out for a $10 billion reduction in the four-year period beginning in 2007. That would give a new commission and the nation's governors time to recommend cost savings.

The budget resolution also directs lawmakers to cull about $3 billion from agriculture programs and as much as $6.6 billion from federal pension programs, in part through higher fees paid by employers.

The budget lays out plans and priorities for spending $2.6 trillion in fiscal 2006, projecting a federal deficit of $383 billion. The spending includes $1.6 trillion in entitlement programs, $439 million for defense and $404 million for non-defense programs. The $843 million in so-called discretionary spending was up 2 percent from the current fiscal year, in line with Bush's recommendations.

The agreement drops several billion dollars that the Senate voted to add to education spending and assumes $50 billion in extra spending next year for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ok first I will say, using words like "misplaced priorities" do not a fair and balanced reporter make. This is fuel for that famous liberal media stuff the right pushes.

Then if tax and spending legislation is immune from Senate filibusters, why would the Senate need 60 votes to break a filibuster?

Then gion on to use the famous "republicans say." Which is the reporterspeak, fro "we aren't allowed to call bullshit on this one".

Plus, is it millions or billions?

Anyway thats how the article got screwed up by the reporter.

Onto the devastating blows these Republicans have dealt with this plan.

What the hell is going on here? I don't remember anything in the Republican platform about cutting health care, and education.

I remember at least one debate where the president said education was the key to a successful economy!

The word Stagflation is running around out there and these guys think this economy is the right one for us to be in? They push a budget that cuts every program except defense? And we get ANOTHER 50 BILLION earmarked for IRAQ? This is the budget for 2006 people. That means whatever we do in Iraq this year (80 billion), we will need to do about the same next year (50 billion). Just counting dollars we ain't even trimming the level of our presence in Iraq by half?

FOLKS LETS START PAYING ATTENTION HERE. The Republicans promised like hell to keep those tax cuts. That is one thing they promised that is in this budget. Everything else is a huge frekin surprise right? Can anyone remember any of this gutting of Medicaid stuff in the campaign? This is insanity.

Here is the Senate vote. Congrats to Democrats (finally showing some unity) and Ohio Republican Senators DeWhine and Voinevich, for siding with the smart people on this one! And where the hell was Lieberman on this one? What was he out getting coffee? That's probably all he's good for anyway.



Pozen a Question: Welfare?

I was an irresponsible blogger and didn't watch the Bush show last night. For that I appologize, instead I was drinking and dancing with my lady friend's law school communists (it was great). However, I heard the synopsis on NPR and I read that Bush basically wants to cut mine and your benefits (cuz most of us are in the middle class and I assume those reading this have internet access and everybody knows that only the middle class and above can afford internet access) and turn Social Security into thePozen Welfare system. YEAY! Just think of the juicy bits of goodness this will bring to bloggers on the left. Just think of how Media Matters will have millions of posts domonstrating the enormous quantities of flip flops the Bush appologists will have to be saying to defend this idea. REPUBLICANS ARE ABOUT TO SUPPORT A WELFARE PLAN. How the fuck is this supposed to play off the lips of people in Congress? This potentially could be the biggest assbaggery yet. This is one welfare plan the dems better not support (not that they shouldn't support welfare, this plan is useless and unneccessary for the many reasons I have stated before). Just think of all those wingers and freepers going ass to balls to the wall over backing a WELFARE system. WELFARE WELFARE WELFARE. The mother of all flip flops that ever a Republican spoke.

So if there are any libertarians left in the Republican party after the Terri Schiavo case, The Patriot Act, and everything else this crazy bastard president has done to GROW GOVERNMENT. How can you possibly defend a WELFARE system? I hate to say it but Pat Buchannan better not get on the McLaughlin group this sunday and support this stuff. Even he is tied up in knots.

So folks, congratulations, Bush has turned the Republican party into a WELFARE supporting government.

Let the media watch begin! Just think of the hits you will get in Lexis Nexis by typing in Limbaugh or Hannity, or Novak, or Conservative X, and welfare. Then just start tivoing or taping or watching for them supporting the President's plan. Where was super polster Luntz on this one?

Anyway, light posting today due to having to surgically remove myself from the computer in order to read crapsky stuff for work.



Buy A Number is an organization that is organizing a protest on May 15th to honor the eggs we broke in order to make the Iraq omlet. All 100,000 + of them. So get $10 bucks together (check in the couch), and go over to good folks at Counting the Cost. Unless of course you think that civilian deaths shouldn't matter when we wage war.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bad News & Good news

Bad News: Economy Grows at Slowest Pace in Two Years

Good News: If we keep going at this pace, eventually the social secutiry actuaries will be proven right in their ominous view of the future.


The Sphere... She is Round!

It is about that time when we go from not much a happenin except Popes a' dyin' to HOLY CRAPSKY's. So as is typically the case when there is lots of cute news that don't merit a post all on their own, here is another installment of "The Sphere... She is Round."

I think I will have to cancel my plans for spending my entire 401k account on getting my lady's law school friends drunk, the President will be on TV! Since his harder-to-get-into-than-a-vested-virgin-during-lent 60 cities in 60 days tour was an utter failure, Bush will address the nation during PRIME TIME. Words to keep count of:

Bankrupt, broke, and you can be rich too!

In case you somehow become convinced that the President is right after the speech, go here for anti-propaganda.

Speaking of using the media to boost your ratings, Air America (whose ratings according to right wingnuts have been tanking) will finally get some press. Looks like Randi Rhodes took a page from Howard Stern, by using controversy to get press. So what if she thinks it funny to do some audio editing with Bush and gun shots. He is the war president right?! What's fair is fair right?

While the secret service is busy investigating Rhandi Rhodes, it seems the war on terror is failing.

Turns out the argument the government issued lawyers used to try and incriminate Arthur Anderson's shady clean up the office day (read: destroy thousands of Enron Related Documents) back in the Enron days is a crappy legal arguement. I find it hard to believe that the government's lawyers are sub-par when it comes to arguing legal cases that seem to be easily won.

Watch NOW (and most everything else that's on PBS, except Washington Week, its a terrible show that reminds me of something cable news would air). TIVO it, record it, I know it is on Friday nights, when most of us are busy being irresponsible by using alcohol or other illicit substances to escape from reality, but NOW is MUST SEE TV. This last week global warming and how the industry bastards causing it use their money, and might to cast doubt on the public, as well as Sen. James Inhofe fiction-based hoax.

The President issues a veto threat on a highway bill that could potentially reduce traffic, and thus reduce gas usage, then turns around and pushes an energy policy that says we need more refineries to refine the oil that we are importing to somehow magically reduce the oil we import. He says the highway bill is too expensive for our economy.


Today is bring your kids to work day! Which has to put a dent on American Productivity. Prediction, April's productivity number should be lower because of it. Besides that, how cool would it be to bring your kid into a meeting that turns into one of those passive aggressive power struggle shouting matches.

Atrios has been above his average superbness lately. He should be read daily by anybody who reads this poor excuse of a blog. Now I think these big blogger get enough readership, however, many times I would like to write about something, these guys who devote what seems to be their entire lives to this blogging stuff typically get to the idea first.

Whereas Instapundit gets worse daily. He thinks that by mentioning something (like democratization) in passing equals repeating something ad nauseum when discussing justification for war. He also thinks that anyone who does agree with him is a history revisionist. Psst Instapundit, here is the Instatruth. It is one thing to say eventually (after we bomb the shit out of it) we would like to see Democracy in Iraq. It is something entirely different to say things to the American public like "nuclear cloud", "Weapons of Mass Destruction", Imminent threat", and my favorite 'smoking gun." So who is the history revisionist now?

Though it seems like an overreaction post, Juan Cole, typically THE BLOG for all things Iraq, wrote a nice post about blogdom.

And finally, the most alarming thing in the news that won't sound off alarms (even though Chris Mathews should) is that the guy who is wanted in Jordan for massive extortion, played a pivotal role in pushing the US public opinion via Judy Miller of the NYT, gets appointed deputy Prime Minister of Iraq. Ahmed Chalabi congratulations!



Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Chucky, There are Trees in that there Forest

Someone out there needs to give Chuck Grassley a bit of a clue. Here he is sayin things like:
"Doing nothing is not an option, because doing nothing is a cut in benefits," the senator declared. "Grandpa Grassley gets Social Security, but my granddaughter, when she retires 56 years from now, if we do nothing, is going to get this cut that you're talking about. You can rationalize it all you want to, but by golly, she's entitled to what I got, because her dad and younger people are paying for it."

He is right! Doing nothing for the next 50 years will not solve Social Security 50 years down the line. Not changing Iraq policy, not changing tax policy, somehow magically controlling inflation so it doesn't change, doing nothing in terms of growing jobs. If we could freeze time, peoples wages, tax policy, and somehow miraculously freeze Health Care costs, Social Security would be insolvent in 50 years, and tha twould be bad for granddaughter Grassley. However, simple things like repealing the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans could really save social security. A simple maneuver that, given Iowa's financial situation, would hardly affect the majority of Chucky's constituents, not to mention paying granddaughter Grassley's Social Security check in full.

Perhaps Senator Grassley should focus on making the country's finances solvent, before tackling the daunting task of predicting the what lies 50 years into the future.


Scalia Foot In Mouth

Well if you get arrested and convicted in another country, The Supremes say you can't really be held accountable for that crime in this country.

First let's see what tghe lede says about the case:When Gary Small walked into a sports store in his hometown of Delmont, Pa., to buy a pistol, he probably did not see himself as the central figure in a Supreme Court case. But that is what he became.

Before walking out of the store with his 9-millimeter pistol on June 2, 1998, he filled out the mandatory federal form. It asked whether he had ever been convicted "in any court" of a crime punishable by a year or more in prison. Fatefully, he answered "no."
OK. Justice Breyer? What says the court?:
But today, the Supreme Court sided with Mr. Small, ruling 5 to 3 that the phrase "convicted in any court" applies only to convictions in the United States. "Congress ordinarily intends its statutes to have domestic, not extraterritorial, application," Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for a majority that also included Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Scalia, dissagreed (as usual):
In dissent, Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy said, among other things, that "any" means what it says. "Indisputably, Small was convicted in a Japanese court of crimes punishable by a prison term exceeding one year," Justice Thomas wrote. "The clear terms of the statute prohibit him from possessing a gun in the United States."

Hmm... Funny.

I think I remember a recent quote by Scalia on what the merits of international laws:
"I do not use foreign law in the interpretation of the United States Constitution"

Hey any means ANY!

Well I hope this case never makes it to Scalia's bench, I think he will find himself in bit of a pickle!


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Domination? How About Presence.

Consider the headlineSyria Ends Military Domination of Lebanon. Lede:
Syria ended its 29-year military domination of Lebanon on Tuesday as soldiers flashing victory signs completed a withdrawal spurred by intense international pressure and massive Lebanese street protests against a force that once reached 40,000.

Once was 29 years ago. More recently they have had what the article later admits to 14,000 troops in Lebanon.
The Syrians entered Lebanon in 1976, ostensibly as peacekeepers in Lebanon's year-old civil war. After the war ended in 1990, about 40,000 Syrian troops remained, giving Damascus the decisive say in Lebanese politics.

But international pressure and Lebanese anger over the Feb. 14 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri in a Beirut car bombing helped turn the tide against Syria's presence and Damascus pulled out its remaining 14,000 troops during the past two months.

Whoa, has the AP lost all its history books? There may have been harsh words on the other side of an ocean by Israel's ally and Iraq War President Bush.

Lebanon has had a democracy since at least 1943. Domination is a poor choice of words, perhaps presence would probably be better suited to describe the Syrian military in Lebanon.

It has become customary in this country to demonize, discredit, or just plain old turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to what other countries leaders have to say about themselves. However, I think Syria's chief of staff, Gen. Ali Habib was well within his right to make his point:
Habib stressed that the withdrawal does not mean an end to Syrian-Lebanese ties.

He then took a a swipe at the United States, saying, "Anyone who thinks that the history of people can be eliminated by statements made by this or that state is mistaken."
Not to mention Lebanese army commander Michel Suleiman who

lauded the role of Syria's military in Lebanon, crediting it with rebuilding the army, maintaining peace among the country's 17 sects and ending the 1975-1990 civil war.

He pledged continued cooperation between the two countries in several fields, including the fight on terror and opposition to Israel.

"Together we shall always remain brothers in arms in the face of the Israeli enemy," Suleiman said.

Funny how you haven't heard much about the Israeli Military Domination in Lebanon whenever Bush talks about "letting that young democracy flourish."


Minority Politics for Democrats Dummies!

Lately, it has been even more obvious that even in the minority, without power to bring legislation to the floor, the Democrats are still loosing the PR war. Not a sunday talk show goes by without a question to a panel Democrat about their lack of a plan for Social Security, and that question rarely gets answered properly. "What does it matter if we have a plan, we don't have the power to bring it to the floor anyway." Most Talking Heads bring up the point that the Democratic party is one starved of ideas. Touting Republican ideas such as bankruptcy reform and class action reform, as well as energy, tort, and education reform. All backed by plans (except Social Security). Granted, these Republican ideas and the plans that accomany them are in complete contradiction to what Democrats hold as their ideals for these issues. Republicans have no problem however, blatently lying about the reforms they bring about. Right there on the Senate floor, the master liar, Orin Hatch, will tell America that allowing millionaires to dissolve their debts is best for America, even though the law he pushed was putting roadblocks in the way of middle class Americans (who suffer more from such debts) from doing the same. Consider a millionaire goes bankrupt, they get the Donald Trump treatment, whereas a middle class American goes bankrupt, you get a homeless guy who becomes an even greater burden on society.

In either case the Bankruptcy bill is one that pontificates the problems with the Democratic party. First, it is obvious that by voting for a Republican law, you are instantly making that law a bipartisan effort. Bipartisan effort, a term that in the mainstream of thought shuts down any debate on any legislation. While at the same time instantly terming the debater as obstructionist, or anti-american or crazy left-wing commy bastard worthy of swinging from gallows.

So, the first thing the Democrats should do is shape up the party members to vote like Republicans do, right along party lines, up or down. We can still afford to have people like Benator and Joementum voting along with their Republican friends, but the rest of the Dems should vote along with party lines. Anything more than a 5% defection rate amongst members should be deemed unacceptable. Look at what Chris Bowers found, most of the senate votes along with the Republican Wing of the Democratic Party DLC (even though Chris posits the DLC is voting along with Democrats). Either way THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. Democrats have a full 20-25% deffection rate amongst party members. You bet your rosey red state ass that ain't the case on the other side of the aisle.

Enforcing discipline gets harder to do unless people in leadership roles vote along the party ideology. Yes ideology, while Bill O'Reilly has made ideaology into a 4 letter word, in tough times such as these, maintaining true to ideology is paramount. It is all you have, what is a party without a platform? And what is a Democratic party without a populist platform? These questions seem to escape Democrats and the people they put in front of television cameras.

On to ideas. Once they get their idealogy figured out, the Democrats should come up with ideas (MIT readers know I offer these from time to time). The excuse of being in a minority and thus not having floor priveleges can only take you so far, even though the Democrats haven't even used that excuse yet. Especially when the right wing attack machine is constantly blaring that Democrats are a party devoid of ideas.

This just isn't true. We have lots of ideas, lots of new ideas. I think biodiesel is a great idea that Democrats can use as a central point to their own energy policy. Along with that an alternative fuel development project should be pushed as John Kerry suggested during the campagn. These are ideas that are multi functional, along with addressing the energy problem they deal with economic development (agricultural, and technological), they also address environmental issues. Democrats are loaded with ideas on education and health care. They are full of civil rights ideas. However, they are not publicizing these ideas, and therein lies their second error.

Finally, use the press. Every Democrat that goes onto any television show needs to tout some idea, some legislation he/she is trying to put forth. Nothing sickens me more than when Sean Hannity tests his listeners by asking them what Joe or Jane Democrat has done during their tenure. Democrats should be spewing legislation ideas as if they needed to justify their exhistence to keep their jobs (isn't that their job anyway?). Then they need to always couple the phrase, "I would love to bring this to the floor but Bill Frist (or Tom Delay) and the Republicans in power won't let me."

If nothing else this is a strategy that will keep the right wing at bay, or at least force them back to their focus groups to rethink their media strategy. However, talk is cheap and in a political climate such as the one we are in today, words without the actions supporting them are counter productive. "I voted for that bill before I voted against it" and a nickle gets you on the T in Boston.

Simple strategies that Republicans are using daily, sticking together, showing conviction and downplaying the other side's lack of legislative ideas. These are seemingly basic strategies of politics. So why does it look like Democrats missed elementary politics school?

Conviction is lacking, and what is perhaps more damaging is the lack of discipline in their votes and during media appearances. He who shapes and guides the debate wins it. Democrats should be aware that Republican operatives will be analyzing voting records come 2006 and 2008. The party of the people would wise to follow the recomendations laid out here, unless of course they like their current power status.


No deal!

Just released yesterday this WaPoll has great numbers (for those of us in the opposition camp anyway). Many key figures are trending towards poopy for Bush&Co. This is nothing to really worry about if I were a Repugnican. I mean Karl Rove is in charge, and I am sure he can come up with something, like rainsing the terror alert or sending up another Osama Tape. Something like that to get the numbers a bit more favorable.

Noteable are that Social Security is tanking, ever the more harder, the people's view of the economy is also a-tankin', as well as other great thigns like how we are doing in Iraq. In any case perhaps the most noteable, and probably the one that Harry Reid missed is this one (mainly for the purposes of this post, since there are so many positive things in this poll for Democrats and Liberals alike):
36. would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier to allow Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominee's:
Support: 26

Oppose: 66

No Opinion: 10

Yet, Harry Reid (and others) are talking about making a deal with Bill Frist. In order to avoid the Republicans from going Nukyalar on that Senate ass.

Deal?! Yo Harry, Reid the polls (pun completely intended). 66% thats a pretty good frekin' start to taking the Repugnicans up on their threats. 66% of the country is going to be on your side if you let the bastards press the big red shiny button. That means in 2006 you can blow those bastards out of the Senate and take control of a now fillibuster free Senate.

Democrats, take heed, while lots of polls are wishy washy, 66% is a 2/3 majority. By cutting a deal with these notorious deal breaking Republicans (remember Medicare, and No Child Left Behind?) you would be going against the 2/3 majority of America. In essence the Democrats are filibustering the public AND themselves on this one!


Monday, April 25, 2005

Your's truly on the infamous Daou report! Under the Blogs v. Media section no less! Mind you this is a great achievement for Media In Trouble. In order to see it you need to go fast. The Daou Report. This screenshot should serve as proof. Daou has a fre pass click that you should all click on, its just a click through page to get your free day pass.  Posted by Hello


The Capital GONG!

I love it when the right can give you a perfect example of their double standards within the same hour of talk show tv.

Take this weeks Capital Gang. Let us concentrate on Bob Novak on Voinevich's "squishy not maverick" (as Malkin puts it) display of pausing the Bolton Nomination hearing:
NOVAK: I think [Republicans' chances of getting Bolton through] really probably less than half right now because they -- the White House is going to have to turn around two or possibly three Republican senators to get him out of committee, and they've done such a terrible job. Not to even know that John Voinovich was...

HUNT: George.

NOVAK: ... George Voinovich was in some trouble is ridiculous. Senator Voinovich is a great example of the senatorial style. He doesn't go to any of the hearings. He admits he doesn't go to any hearings. He just wanders into this last thing, and he says, Gee, from what I heard, I've changed my mind. What he heard was demagoguery. It was the slander by Chris Dodd against -- against Bolton. Anybody who is anti-Castro gets that business from Chris Dodd, who is the greatest apologist...

Forget the senior moment of Novak missing Voinovich's first name. I love the way he is less than loving about the Senator from Ohio's "senatorial style." It is of course in no way near the venom he spits at Chris Dodd, but that is besides the point. The fact that Voinevich is taking some heat from the right is the main point here.

Let's not forget Novak's recent column on the subject, in which he states:
Republicans, weak and disorganized, were ground down by the Democratic juggernaut. Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio was so impressed by Democratic demagoguery that he impulsively dropped his support of Bolton, ending the narrow 10-8 committee tally for sending the nomination to the Senate floor. But since Voinovich is notoriously quirky and prone to break his Republican leash, the question arises why the White House was not more attuned to making sure he was safely on board.

Presidential aides have met with Voinovich since he jumped overboard, beginning the difficult task of reeling him in -- as well as Senators Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Republicans who followed Voinovich away from Bolton. Even if the committee majority somehow is restored, Chairman Richard Lugar will have to defeat efforts by Democrats to bring in Bolton for an auto-da-fe.

The appologists are going batty at this stage. They see some of their own defecting and they hate it. Here in lies the double standard, after watching for another puke inducing half hour (every time Kate O'Bierne opens her mouth it triggers my lybic system to violently regurgitate, an urge that requires almost full energy reserves to overcome) we make it to my favorite part of the Capital Gang, Outrage of the Week. This segment is when the elite gang tries to say somethign in 20 words or less, most of the time they say nothing, but sometimes they say something, hardly ever is there anything learned from this segment. But appologies abound, quick fast paced, CNN style. Why this segment isn't cut to Rage of the Week and accompanied by nifty graphics and an ESPN crowd cheering "Rage Of ... THE WEEK!" is beyond me.

Digressing... Novak cutely chooses to out MoveOn.Org on their recent move to out House Dem Whip Hoyer for voting Yeay on the Bankruptcy Bill a.k.a. Everybody but Millionaires Pay their Debts Bill (or EMPT D bill).
NOVAK: The leftist has another batch of nasty radio ads attacking 10 Republicans, as usual, and not as usual one respected Democrat, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. He joins 72 other House Democrats voting for a bankruptcy reform that requires everybody to pay his bills. attacked Congressman Hoyer as a tool of the bankers. It was fun for Democrats taking Moveon's money supplied by leftist billionaire George Soros when it savaged Republicans, not so much fun when the poison is turned on a Democrat.

So, while it is OK for prominent conservatives to out their own Republicans in print, online, and on TV. It is not OK for liberal groups to do the same to their leaders. What's worse by doing so, organizations liek MoveOn are leftist, marxist, terrorist, browshirt, godless, Castro appologist demons for doing it, whereas conservatives are just "trying to keep the party in line".


MIT so easy to read!

So I saw a couple of people (like Kevin Drum) found a way to give your blog a readability test. Here are mine: Readability Results for
Readability ResultsSummaryValue
Total sentences 1,309
Total words 14,134
Average words per Sentence 10.80
Words with 1 Syllable 9,455
Words with 2 Syllables 2,801
Words with 3 Syllables 1,331
Words with 4 or more Syllables 547
Percentage of word with three or more syllables 13.29%
Average Syllables per Word 1.50
Gunning Fog Index 9.63
Flesch Reading Ease 68.75
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 6.35

14,134 words?! WOW. That's quite the output for just about 8 months. However, the words with 1 sylable probably contribute to the three boldfaced stats.

The Gunning Fog Index is supposed to be a rough measure of how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content. The lower the number, the more understandable the content will be to your visitors.

Here are some typical Fog Index scores:

8 Reader's Digest
8 - 10 Most popular novels
10 Time, Newsweek
11 Wall Street Journal
14 The Times, The Guardian

The reading ease index is supposed to be an index number that rates the text on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. Authors are encouraged to aim for a score of approximately 60 to 70.

The Flesch-Kincaid grade level is supposed to be a rough measure of how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content. (much of these explanations were paraphrased from Dr. Bainbridge)

In conclusion. If I am as foggy as Most popular novels and Time, right at the top of the readability index, and so Fleshy any 6th grader could spend days on MIT, Why the hell am I only getting 30 hits a day?

And why the hell can't I get big blogger's attention?

I am no writer but these stats are encouraging. However, I would prefer to sound I guess a bit more intelligent, since 6th graders don't realy vote, nor do they have political leanings, and by the time they are old enough to do both, they become so engrossed in a world of sex and drugs that probably nothing I have to say really affects them. Let me abandon this one before the LA police storm my neverland ranch.

But the reading ease score makes me happy. That means you don't have to spend so much time on MIT that your head explodes. I am probably clearler than many other writers, which means you don't have to go back and read a sentence twice.

Anyway Keep on reading and I will try to use bigger words to sound more smarter and stuff. (Dang I feel the average dropping already)


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Joe Scarborough thinks being Gay is a Sin!

Just in case you missed it, Joe Scarborough was on Real Time with Bill Maher last night.

Unluckily Bill doesn't offer transcripts. But I distinctly heard Joe say that he thought being gay was a sin. He said while trying to prove his case that if a majority of people around the country are against gay rights then they are right.

Bill Maher and Maureen Dowd both failed to remind Joe that when slavery was abolished there was much more than 75% of the populus against it.

For shame!


The Power of the Purse

"We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse," DeLay said at an April 13 question-and-answer session with reporters.

Power of the Purse.

Ironic. Just days later Tom Delay's energy bill passes the House. A bill he kept clear of measures like, bringing back the fuel efficiency of the 80's. Lessons learned from oil shortages in the 70's. Pesky things that were addressed in that time, however, only half-heartedly. They didn't go all the way back then and they aren't going to go all the way this time. If Reagan would have just gone the extra mile and pushed a serious goal of conservation and renewable energy investment, 9/11 could possibly have been avoided. WHOA! Speculation Silver! Most people on both sides of the spectrum will agree that dependence on middle east oil is a terrible burden on our national security. In fact that is part of the justification for another measure Tom Delay pushed into his bill. The Artic National Wildlife Refuge unique, one of a kind, pristine, will be open to tapping that earth for some more of the heroin this country seems to go into raging fits over, vomiting lies, sending entire batalions into other countries to satisfy the fix. Albeit a measly 6-20 month supply.

Power of the Purse.

Instead of a justified measure to reduce our dependence on middle east oil like forcing car makers to return to the gas miles of the 80's, big oil gets $22 billion to help them find more wildlife to disturb with their probosci.

Power of the Purse.

Terrorist funders are gloating at the actions of the Republicans. All the while donating to their jihadist brethren (probably tax deductible). The energy bill as written is more of a threat to national security than anything DHS can possibly handle.

Not to mention it does nothing to stimulate the economy or bring down gas prices, and plenty of people can think of plenty of other places that could use $22 billion that would get much better results than the "trial and error" dirt pokers.

Power of the Purse.

So why is it that instead of raising fuel efficiency which kills environmental and national security birds with one stone we turn the power of the purse onto judges?

Why is it that instead of drilling a one-of-a-kind pristine "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become" (genesis 6:5) piece of land, we turn the power of the purse over to the corporations who speculate on how much oil they can potentially find.

Why is it that while using one tongue to convince of us a funding problem in Social Security, they use the other tongue to vote yeay on a $22 billion dollar transfer of public funds to private corporations whose profits have tripled in recent times?

Why is it that Republicans could have possibly won the last election on National Security? Why is it that they are able to push bankruptcy by stating we need to take responsibility for our actions when they keep rewarding those who fuck up the most? When did a reward of $10 million for Osama Bin Laden dead or alive turn into we will sell you war planes so you can terrorize your neighbor to reward you for NOT FINDING THE GUY WE ARE PAYING YOU TO FIND?

Accountability? In case the class action lawsuit reform law that was passed wasn't enough protection for big oil, Delay and friends hands them a get out of lawsuits free card. Aimed at protecting the energy corporations from being accountable for polluting our water with MTBE.

These zealots are obviously using the Power of the Purse in the most perverse way possible. By turning their economic axes on the courts, how the fuck do they propose we use the "rule of law" stuff to incarcerate the terrorists they are supposed to be keeping us Safe from.

Power of the Purse? Where was that when they blew the economy to the moon?

How many more reasons do you need to usurp these people of that very power?

That power of the purse.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Starve the courts

The Christian Corps have a better idea than impeaching the courts. They say we starve'em so that they can't work. They somehow think that by disolving the courts they can replace them with more conservative judges and courts. After reading the article and slowly picking your jaw up off the floor, perhaps you can start to wonder if it really is worth fighting these guys for this stuff.

I like the fact they said the left is "organized to the teeth". However, one thing the left doesn't have is a satelite telecast that will be shown to millions of relidgiots around the country on the same day at the same time. Of course I am sure that anyone who misses the telecast will be able to rent out a DVD copy from their church. The telecast just so happens to include a speach by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist armed with statements pushing for the Nucyalar option to be used to get 10 judges nominated.

Hey I am the first person to go for crazy activism, so long as nobody gets hurt or injured I am all for nutty ideas on how to change government and stuff. It is great fun to see politicians go balls to the wall for constituencies they think matter or that they agree with idealogically. I am all for it. That is all for it when it goes along with the law or at the very least the Constitution.

That pesky Constitution. What was that passage they made me memorize when I was just alittle tike in 6th or 7th grade?
We the people,
In order to form a more perfect union,
Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
Provide for the common defense,
Promote the general welfare and
Secure the blessings of liberty
To ourselves and our posterity
Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Establish justice. I guess what Dobson and friends are trying to do is establish their own little version of justice by well dissolving justice first.

Now everybody serving in congress take up an oath, which if they violate can mean they loose their job, or even go to jail. And it goes a little somethign like this:
I, Loyal Citizen of the Republic, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Forget that so help me God crap, its the defending against enemies foreign and domestic that interests me. Now first the Constitution says we establish justice, Dobson and friends are trying to dissolve justice. And Frist and Delay (another guy who has been going against judges that Reagan though were conservative enough for the Supreme Court) took that oath to defend the Constitution against enemy's foreign and domestic.

Let's just pretend like (as we have for the last 4.5 years) 2+2=5 and that Delay or Frist or anyone who sides with anyone who wants to dissolve the judiciary can't possibly be held accountable.

If they had so much Goddamned support for this type of maneuver then why would they be in such a rush?
Dobson also said Republicans risked inflicting long-term damage on their party if they failed to seize the moment — a time when Bush still has the momentum of his reelection victory — to transform the courts. He said they had just 18 months to act before Bush becomes a "lame-duck president."

"If we let that 18 months get away from us and then maybe we got Hillary to deal with or who knows what, we absolutely will not recover from that," he said.

Well maybe they will have Hillary to deal with, God knows Hillary the satanic godess of feminist worship and national health care for the least of us (as Jesus would put it) would have none of this behaviour.

However, I hope they do this well ahead of 2006 midterm elections. I am happy if they do. I really am. Because then hopefully, the left will really get mobilized and organized to the teeth. Perhaps the silent majority will awaken and speak their minds.

Somehow optimism doesn't play very well to this scenario, perhaps skepticism is more apropos.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Drugs are bad mmkay?!

The use of a halucinogenic tea in religious practice and the legality of the imporation of said tea from Brazil will be heard by the Supreme Court.
The tea, known as hoasca, is made from plants that grow in the Amazon region and that produce a chemical listed by both the federal government and an international narcotics trafficking treaty as a controlled substance. The chemical, dimethyltryptamine, usually known as DMT, can also be produced in a laboratory, but followers of the Uniao Do Vegetal religion use only the naturally occurring version, which does not grow in the United States.

The case is an appeal by the Bush administration of a federal court injunction won by the 130 members of the church's American branch, who brought a lawsuit five years ago to prohibit the government from invoking the Controlled Substances Act to block the importation of their tea and from seizing the sacred drink. The church, which combines elements of Christianity and indigenous Brazilian religion, opened its American branch in Santa Fe, N.M., in 1993.

The Federal District Court in Albuquerque, ruling before trial, issued a preliminary injunction against the government. The order was subsequently affirmed by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, and last November was affirmed again by the full appeals court by a vote of 8 to 5.

A trial has still not taken place, a fact that would ordinarily pose an obstacle to Supreme Court review.

Forget that last part about a trial not taking place, pesky technicalities don't typically decide whether or not the Supremes hear a case.

However, the fact that the Bush administration is tryin to fight the War on Drugs, by infringing on the People's right of worship is worth a gander no?

Particularly when these religious zealots are trampling the country waging wars on activist judges based (in part) on supposed leftistWars on Christianity.

Let's just say that the Administration's goal is as innocent as keeping those people safe from the dangers of drugs. If so, which is safer?


Or This:

(thems is rattlesnakes o' da poisonous kind)

How about that Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . ."

United States Constitution, Amendment I

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18

The Supreme's declined to hear a case about snake handling, though it is illegal in some states. But if drugs are involved, the Supremes intervene. I guess we'll just have to see if there will more laughable commerce clause arguments.

More at Talkleft


Time Ragazine

There are lots of reasons to dislike Time Magazine. Putting President Bush on the cover as "man of the year" after waging war on two nations, one of which has ben proven time and time again as the wrong war at the wrong time predicated by the wrong information. However, this week they give us a fresh cover story to loath. Ann Coulter made this week's cover as M.s Right. Well I hope they meant that by Right they meant where Coulter stands on the Political Spectrum, however, it does beg the double entendre's other meaning. Being right is certainly not Ms. Coulter's strongpoint, and you don't have to go too far to find all the lies she has spewed in her time.

There is plenty of chatter on the left side of the sphere on this one. i am sure the right will call the left jealous that perhaps Michael Moore has not yet been hailed as worthy of front page glorification. But at least Michael Moore's arguments are based on fact. He may make inflamatory comments, however, he hasn't yet suggested where terrorists shoulddirect their attacks.

But I noticed that Time has a little poll on their Coulter page which goes pretty far into the reasons why Time should NOT have profiled her in the first place, let alone in any type or kind of political light:

Does Ann Coulter make a positive contribution to American political culture?

Controversy sells just about anything. However, with its dubious reporting, Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin' into the future Goldwater era?


War on Terror!

If you weren't feeling safer yet, too bad.
Bush administration eliminating 19-year-old international terrorism report

Why would the State department want to eliminate a report that tells us if we are indeed safer today than we were when Bush & Co. first got into office?

The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.


There has got to be a point where President Bush can stop saying things like "We are safer -- we are safer and the world is better off because Saddam is sitting in a prison cell."


Friday, April 15, 2005

Activist Judges!

Utah what a state! Judge's Decision Lifts Ban on Sale of Ephedra in Utah

Really the article does a great job of stating it all. Here are some of the gems:
A federal judge in Utah on Thursday struck down a Food and Drug Administration ban on the herbal supplement ephedra, an adrenalinelike stimulant linked to dozens of deaths.

Bruce Hough, president of the Nutraceutical Corporation [located in Utah], which brought the suit, said that it had no immediate plans to resume the sale of ephedra, which was pulled off the market a year ago this week.


Dr. Julian Bailes, chairman of neurosurgery at West Virginia University School of Medicine, said the ruling was "a green light to abuse this substance again."

Dr. Bailes's research established a link between ephedra - an ingredient in supplements said to aid weight loss, enhance sports performance and increase energy - and heat-stroke deaths among young athletes. Ephedra has been linked to more than 80 deaths, though estimates vary.

More adverse reactions were reported from the use of ephedra than from the use of all other herbal supplements combined, Dr. Bailes said.


Judge Campbell stated in her ruling that the F.D.A. had failed to prove that low doses of ephedra were dangerous. In fact, she found, the agency was caught in a bind. It suspected that all doses of ephedra posed a risk, suggesting that further research would have been unethical.

Unable to determine a safe dose of ephedra, the agency banned them all.

That, however, is not legal, Judge Campbell ruled. A 1994 law championed by Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, and Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, shields makers of herbal and nutritional supplements from strict adherence to F.D.A. rules that require drug makers to prove that their products are safe and effective.

Instead, the law defines nutritional supplements as food, which is assumed to be safe unless federal regulators can prove otherwise. After all, "if food producers were required to show a benefit as a precondition to sale, the sale of foods such as potato chips might be prohibited," Judge Campbell wrote.


Because the research on ephedra is incomplete, the drug agency could not prove that low doses of the supplement were unsafe. And because the burden of proof under the 1994 law is the agency's, its ban was illegal, the judge wrote.


Safety advocates have long complained that the law governing herbal and nutritional supplements allows their manufacturers to sell potentially dangerous products with little federal oversight.

Advocates of the law say that it provides needed protection for the companies that cannot afford to undertake the enormous expense involved in underwriting the clinical trials to prove that their products are safe and effective.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said Thursday's ruling showed that the 1994 law needed to be changed. At the time, Mr. Kennedy tried to include a provision that would have prohibited supplements that presented a "reasonable possibility of harm."

"If F.D.A. can't take a supplement as dangerous as ephedra off the market, then Congress needs to change the law to allow it to do so," Mr. Kennedy said through a spokeswoman.

But Mr. Hatch said that "the history of ephedra regulation has been tortured, and I do not believe it is a good example of how the government should resolve dietary supplement safety."

Yet somehow, Sen. Orin Hatch is a godsend but Sen. Ed Keneddy is a lunatic.

I just don't get it.

I am one of those people who says these supplements should be regulated just like medicines. There are many reasons to agree with this statement, the most obvious is the ephedra/death link. Supplements have also been proven to interact (sometimes dangerously) with other medications.

The judge is in disagreement with the FDA when it comes to their statement that further research would be unethical. As a scientist working in clinical research (the kind the judge would like to see furthered on the drug) I would have to say that it would INDEED be unethical to further research on ephedra. Think about it, I guess the study could titrate people Down from the dose of ephedra linked to death, to lower and lower doses until they find a dose that does not cause death in patients. However, death as an endpoint typically only applies to clinical trials involving terminally ill patients, and death is typically a quantifier. In other words, a trial using death as an endpoint attempts to prove the drug prolongs life when compared to placebo. Or alternatively, drug A allows you not to die as fast as if you just took nothing at all. Which in the case of ephedra, has already been proven. Patients who took ephedra died FASTER than people who took nothing at all.

But lets just ignore the pesky ethics of clinical research for the minute. Should this have been regulated like a pharmaceutical, the makers of ephedra would have to patent each new dosage and treat each of them as a seperate entity, performing trials first in animals, should it prove minimaly toxic, the FDA would allow further studies in humans, etc. However, all that research costs money! Money the supplement industry (largely located in Utah by the way) would rather give to Senator Orin Hatch to pass supplement friendly legislation, that would hold the FDA useless when it came to arbitrating wether or not a deadly substance is, in fact, a deadly substance.

And finally, the judge in this case compares supplements to food. The judge's statement that "if food producers were required to show a benefit as a precondition to sale, the sale of foods such as potato chips might be prohibited" demonstrates even further her ignorance. Food producers are not required to domonstrate benefit, rather they are required to demonstrate LACK OF HARM.

Supplements are hardly treated as food items, they look like pills and you take dosages. Its not like you walk into a Bistro, look at the menu and say, hmm I think I'll have the condroitin etoufee' served with a side of hGH-PH Complex in an Alpha Lipidoic Acid reduction garnished with freshly greated snyepherine.

So I guess the 80 people who have already died, and the people who will inevitably die from Ephedra use don't count in Orin Hatch's culture of life.


Picture book...

"Well, if this whole UN thing doesn't work out I can always take up the "Got Milk?" people on their offer."

Thoughts of a bored Vice President listening to Viktor Yushenko address Congress (without the aid of a translator no less): "Hmm... Dioxin. Dammit Dick why couldn't you think of that? Then again that gay loving frog Kerry didn't need any help looking ugly."

In a surprise move by the administration, Donald Rumsfeld was the unlikely representative when the Official Project to Impliment Unlimited Military (or OPIUM) agreement was signed today between Afghanistan and the US. The fitting backdrop of an upside down Poppy, representing the international symbol for permanent military presence. Though details of the agreement have not yet been made public, sources say that soldiers are volunteering for the assignment, citing new "pharmaceutical incentives" as the chief motive.


The Sphere... She is Round!

Look deeper there is something Google is trying to tell us today:

Sometimes the New York Times Op-Ed page makes me that much prouder of printing it out and leaving it in the men's room stall.

Great stuff from Krugman on Socialized Health Care systems such as those in Europe.

Friedman is starting to make sense, I am glad he dropped his Middle East beat, he was starting to loose touch with history.

A satirically clever argument AGAINST tax code simplification. Personally, I am for tax code simplification, but against tax simplification (ie: when the Bush-speak decoder ring says "Flat tax").

Some basic facts about The Estate Tax, at least the one the Repugnicans are trying to eliminate forever (more here) Oh let's just see who really is affected by the Estate tax today right from the IRS's horses mouth.
Which Estates Must File:
For decedents dying in 2004, Form 706 must be filed by the executor for the estate of every U.S. citizen or resident whose gross estate, plus adjusted taxable gifts and specific exemption, is more than $1,500,000.

Though it is a little late to do anything about it, Josh Marshall has had a Bankruptcy Bill Blog, which recently featured none other than John Edwards (the ex-presidential/vice presidential candidate, not the guy who talks to dead people). Check the vote roll for italicized names, see if you are lucky like I am to have a Democratic House member to chastise as a constituent. THANKS ROBERT MENENDEZ, (Leader by the way of the Democratic Caucus).

PSST, its tax day get those fat envelopes stamped.

Speaking of Decoder rings, I collected enough box tops of Honey comb cereal to send away for my Bill O'Reilly decoder ring. For only $2.95 shipping and Handling and 6 Honey Comb box tops you too can get your very own Bill O'Reilly decoder ring. So far I tried the good old "I never said that" on the Decoder Ring and the result... "I said that so long ago people MUST have forgotten by now."

Delay's House of Scandal.

David Sirota is really talking the way I wish most Democrats would be talking, always reminding us of why Democrats are in the minority, because they keep going along with things like this.

Why aren't other Democrats Lending Senator Carper a hand on his stonewalling of the EPA nominee? He is just reciprocating after all.

"I didn't hear any plan to fix Social Security." - Bush, Third Presidential Debate on Kerry's explanation of why privatization would be a disaster. Today AP
President Bush signaled Thursday he is not ready yet to reveal how he would fix Social Security's looming insolvency, saying he has to first persuade people there is a problem.

So you see... SHE IS NOT FLAT!


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Open letter to Censorship happy bloggers

In case you haven't already noticed there is a debate goin on between Matt Yglesias and Amy Sullivan about wether or not Dems should make a move regarding Censorship (of the video game kind). Now it is all over the frekin left hemisphere. So I wrote the nice bloggers Atrios, Digby, Kilgore, Munz, Jesse, and Amanda. I figured they may be inclined to take a different topic up for discussion.

Hey guys,
You all seem so enthralled by Matt and Amy's pissing contest. I think both their blogs are generally widely read by your audiences and I don't think they need the extra linking to their debate.

I think a potentially good thing to do would be to say something like, Matt and Amy are having a debate on wether or not dems should make censorship an agenda item.

Then add your 2 cents and be done with it.

Is there a bill up for debate or vote or comming out of committee on censorship that I missed?

Granted that censorship is a great debate to have and one that no doubt Matt and Amy will shed copious ammounts of light on, but last I checked Congress isn't interested in making any laws on this topic so far.

However, this week there are things that can potentially really trully affect Democrats and their base with votes on such matters as Bankruptcy, John Bolton. I hear Delay is trying to push another MTBE exception into the energy bill in the house.

There are other things happening this week that can be potentially, oh I don't know, important to democrats and their voters besides the non-agenda item of censorship.

So how about stopping THIS circle jerk which though I haven't checked yet I am sure will wind up on Judy Woodruff's show or MSNBC's connected if y'all aren't careful.

Last I checked the right blogosphere is still bashing all things liberal this week. And having a debate amongst ourselves on what the position of the democratic party should be on censorship is unimportant. Particularly since the only person who brought it up was Amy Sullivan.

Last I checked she ain't writting any bills on the Hill.

Let's move on folks. Please this is making pope-a-palooza look like a good alternative.


Granted, my asking them to write about anything is arrogant in and of itself. I just hate to see the blogosphere suffer the same ills as the mainstream media. That being groupthink on completely irrelevant issues.


Filibuster This!

It appears at least 2 Republican groups are against the NUKYALAR option. Combined the groups have about 2.5 million members. Hey, they aren't the American Conservative Union, American Values, Americans for Tax Reform, Free Congress Foundation, Focus on the Family, Eagle Forum and the Family Research Council, all of whom already wrote the GOP a letter supporting the NUKYALAR option. However, 2.5 million is a whole lot of votes the Repugnicans can count on not having should they go NUKYALAR on that Senate ass.

In any case, I say they should go for it. Get rid of the filibuster. I am all for it. Let this country see the Repugnicans run amok, perhaps people will start paying more attention to politics the minute any majority starts pushing their agenda so far up America's ass they wake up with sore throats and their tonsils on their pillows. Perhaps we will lurch back into the days of slavery, or better, we can start passing laws that lynch gays, or get the bible a front seat to science in public schools. Only good can come of it.

Press the Big Red SHINY Button Bill Frist. You know you want to. You NEED those 10 activist judges on the federal bench don't you.



This story has lots of meat in it, however, the headline"DeLay Challenged on MTBE Liability Bill" if it's all you read, obscures the real injustice, the bill itself.

MTBE, or methyl tertiary-butyl ether, is an oxygenate widely used in gasoline to reduce air pollution. But it also has been found to contaminate drinking water supplies, sometimes leaving communities with expensive cleanup bills. Traces of MTBE have been found in water in almost every state, with levels high enough for potential cleanup problems in about half the states.
A draft Republican energy bill would protect MTBE makers, including several major oil and refinery companies in Texas, from lawsuits that contend the manufacturers knew the additive would contaminate drinking water, but pushed to have it widely used anyway.
Besides the product liability shield, the draft GOP bill calls for phasing out MTBE use by the end of 2014 and giving manufacturers $1.75 billion in transition assistance. The legislation also calls for expanding an existing federal program that deals with leaking gasoline storage tanks and funneling more of that money into MTBE cleanup. Democrats say those funds are inadequate to deal with a cleanup task that could eventually affect thousands of communities.

What is this giving manufacturers money to clean up their own mess? What is this business of shielding anyone or anything from lawsuits that will figure out wether or not these corporations were KNOWINGLY poluting our drinking water with carcinogens?

And why OH why are Democrats saying the funds are inadequate to deal with the mess? ALL Democrats should be saying something along the lines of
"These provisions represent a direct assault on the nation's safe drinking water supply," said Rep. John Dingell (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., "MTBE producers have known for years that MTBE was a problem. They should not be asking the taxpayers to now pay for cleanup or for (a) corporate handout."

Then adding: Do you like your water filled with chemicals? Vote Republican.

You may want to check if your Rep is on the Energy and Commerce Committee and give them a call if he/she is.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Delay is he really so bad?

If you have been in a cave recently or just watching Cable News Popearama, you may have missed the fact that almost daily some new dirt is being dished out on Tom Delay. This is a smear campaign against a sleazy man who didn't get to his powerful position by necessarily playing by the rules.

However, all this stuff about him paying his wife and daughter $500,000 from his PAC, or getting trips paid by lobbyists for Russian junkits, while raising eyebrows is unfortunately completely LEGAL. Now, this is where my internal conflict is aboil.

In a way, I don't want any politician to take favors from lobbyists because those lobbyists in turn want favors like bad legislation. However, I think that if a politician is going to be taking money from anybody for say travelling expenses, I prefer those expenses be paid by a private investor than by tax dollars.

So, while Democrats are using the Gingrich playbook on Delay, it is important to not let the Delay cloud obscure things like President Bush spending millions of tax dollars to sell Social Security Privatization.

UPDATE: Remember all that talk during election season about helping small businesses? What I don't remember is any talk about privatizing Social Security at the expense of small business.


Who's Wal-Mart Is It?

Sirota brings to light the fact that it may just be Our Wal-Mart HOO!

Turns out that by compounding slave wages along with deficient health care benefits, Wal-Mart is costing EVERYBODY some tax payer dollars. Wal-Mart apparently employs the most Medicaid beneficiaries in America. Now, before you go blaming the welfare state for supporting people with jobs remember, Medicaid has a means test. It only applys to poor people. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart pays its executives at least $20 million a year.

Not only that, but by being the number one exporter of jobs, Wal-Mart succeeds in yet another usurping of tax payer dollars to pay unemployment benefits to those people who loose their jobs to the China/Wal-Mart manufacturing connection.

Wal-Mart and other corporations are also constantly seeking tax breaks from local governments, using jobs and expected economic development as justification for these cuts. So tax money that would be instantly generated by a Wal-Mart's property taxes, is reduced instead hoping for the increase in employment making up for that tax revenue somehow. This is something I hardly understand, since most Wal-Mart's cause people to stop shopping at local mom and pop shops which actually do pay taxes, forcing many of them to close down. Eventually local governments loose even more tax revenue and as such loose twice. But people get minimum wage jobs and that I guess keeps the politicians who make these decisions in power. A job is better than NO job. These are the same people that prefer ostratization of Gay people to economic security when they visit the ballot box.

I realize that Wal-Mart is something of an economic experiment. One that asks are we better off having good paying jobs? Or are we better off with with cheaper stuff? The experiment is obviously dependent on a quid pro quo. Loose good paying manufacturing jobs, but maybe get a lower paying job. Afford a Big TV or afford a smaller TV made in China. It doesn't matter because you will be able to buy cheaper (albeit lower quality) stuff. You get what you pay for, right? So in the end after 5 years your Chinese TV may break but you bought it for half the price of a potentially American made TV so you make out about even.

I have to say the Wal-Mart experiment is tipping into a very dangerous territory. Local, State, AND Federal tax dollars are indirectly falling into Wal-Mart's coffers. By saving money on expenditures like health care benefits, living wages, and property taxes, the bottom line looks better to investors and as such more money goes into the coffers. CEO's get bigger bonuses and We The People flip the bill for the stuff Wal-Mart should be paying for but isn't.

There is a fine balance between business rights and labor rights. Business needs laborers but laborers need businesses to work for as well. This is the basis of any capitalistic society. However, when tax dollars are being used to subsidize that balance in favor of a few coroporate CEO's that the benefit to society becomes a bit foggier.


Monday, April 11, 2005

They're on to me?!

The bastards who pay me for staying in a file room with 10 other people apparently have discovered I blog often. They have blocked anything related from work servers. This also means that there may be other people at my job who are blogging through blogger. Or at least I hope that is the case, it cannot be that my traffic to blogger could have raised enough flags for them to block it from the servers. After all I only visit to post and thats only about 3 or 4 times a day on average.

SO. What to do? I am obviously blogging most of the time between the hours of 9 to 5. Have no fear trusty MIT heads, I have another way of overcomming the seeming hurdle my employers have placed in front of me. Blogger conveniently allows you to post to your blog via email. The only reason I didn't post using that feature today is because I had forgotten the special email addy to send posts to, and for that I needed to access blogger.

In any case, ramblings should continue on a regular basis, however, my editing capabilities will be limited.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

When is Bush going to wake up...

How bad is it when millions of people at a funeral for a person who is heralded as the most forgiving man of the 20th Century BOO LIKE CRAZY at you. These are Catholics in grieving, mourning the death of their holy leader for the last 30 years, yet they somehow cannot find it in their hearts to just stand their idly while they show Bush's face on the screen during the funeral.

It is amazing to me. These people are in the middle of praying and they say, hold on, thats the biggest mother fucker on the planet. He deserves a BOO, that is what the Pope would have wanted anyway right? AMAZING. In the middle of mass. In the middle of some passage being read or some hymn being sung, these people all decided BOOOOOO was more deserving of their breaths.

President Bush. Millions of people whose religion's first priority is fogiveness, can't seem to find it in their hearts to forgive you.



Friday, April 08, 2005

Schiavo Memo Redux

Media Matters has a great summary of events of the recent Right Hemisphere Bungled attempt to scalp another real reporter.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Energy Schmenergy

Not a bad idea, but they could have gone further. Changing the Daylight Savings Time day back a month may halp to save 300,000 barrels of oil but why not do it for more months? How about adding another month towards the end of Daylight Savings Time. Why not tweak our winter hours by like half an hour? Too complicated I guess.

But the real gem of this aritcle is the following:
The committee voted down, 39 to 12, a separate amendment to require the federal government to find a way to cut U.S. oil demand by 1 million barrels a day by 2013. The amendment offered by Democrat Henry Waxman of California aimed to reduce imports of crude oil.

Lawmakers with automakers in their districts led the fight to defeat Waxman's proposal, arguing it was backdoor way to require U.S. mini-vans, sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks to improve their fuel efficiency.

The amendment did not mandate any specific action to reduce oil consumption, but supporters said raising vehicle fuel efficiency standards was an option.

Some lawmakers argued it made sense to tighten the mileage requirements of new vehicles because gasoline demand accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. oil use.

Granted, this means at least 13 Democrats voted with Republicans on this one. Which falls right in line with what they are diong on just about every other issue. Repubs all in a row, Dems, uh wait, uh, Yeay, uh Nay, uh... EVEN WHEN THE AMMENDMENT IS PROPOSED BY A FELLOW DEMOCRAT?!?!

This is disgusting enough. However, almost everyone is agreeing that becoming independent from foreign oil is a doubleplus good for our National Security. That is the case Republicans are making for drilling ANWR right?

However, National Security seems to take a back-seat when it comes to protecting automakers from installing technology that already exists on their gas guzzling cars, even though this was not specified in the ammendment.

Two things. Dems STICK TOGETHER DAMMIT. Republicans how about pushing back a bit, everyone will still buy cars even if they guzzle a little less gas.


Powerline Blog of the Year!

So it seems a staffer for Mel Martinez (R-FL) wrote the "Schiavo is a good issue for Republicans" memo. Hindrocket-in-the-ass over at Powerline is still whining about it. Stating things such as:
Assuming this is for real, it solves the mystery of where the "talking points memo" came from. It leaves open the question of why ABC and the Washington Post reported the memo the way they did. Mike Allen, the Post's reporter, has previously said that the memo came from a Democratic Senator who said he got it from a Republican Senator.

JEEZUS CHRIST! What the hell does this guy want? Why they reported it the way they did? What the fuck is this asshole talking about? They reported it like... our sources tell us this memo came from Republicans. And then a republican says it came from his office. What the hell did ABC and WaPo do wrong here?

This is exactly why the blogosphere gets a bad name. Idiots like this who bash reporters for actually um... reporting. He was stupidly wrong instead of owning up to it and saying, hey this time the media actually did their job and protected their sources, NO... he says, Michelle Malkin agrees with me so I am right. NADDY NADDY POO POO.

I think HINDERAKER should be cut-off from publishing anything in any magazine let alone The prestigious Weekly Standard. As a matter of fact, you should let the Weekly Standard know that John Hinderaker shouldn't be allowed to publish anything else, particularly of the "scalp a media figure" nature. His whole recent job on this particular story borders on libel and if I were Mike Allen of the Washington Post I would be talking to my lawyers. Perhaps it is time for media to decapitate a blogger.

In this case I would be all for it. This guy is giving bloggers a bad name. What he did here was based on complete grabbing-out-of-the-ass investigations. Lots of "Mike Allen deserves to die because in reporting this story he failed to tell us that Mars and Venus decided to be orbitally alligned along with Jupiter, however, it is nothing will come of it because the media controls the alignment of the planets, and everybody except the left wing moon bats know that." He is now perpetuating his argument based on semantics of wether "party leaders" should be used to describe where the memo came from if it only came from one republican. When newspapers are wrong they publish corrections. Bloggers who think they are better than newspapers, should do the same.


Is someone at the Daily Show reading MIT?

Sorry for the non-posting I was suffering from severe case of bronchitis, which I thought was one of the reasons I quit smoking. Apparently my body decided to give me one last shot of bronchitis... for the memories.

Anyway I was able to catch up on lots of DVR recordings of Emiril Live and Daily Show and on Tuesday I saw this and thought... HEY?!

They stole my headline!

Such is life. I am feeling revitalized and noticed that there seems to be a double standard about which dead people are allowed to be put on television news channels. I distinctly remember pictures of caskets covered in American flags being a controversy.

Yet somehow someway, LIVE video of and ACTUAL DEAD BODY (belonging to the pope) is shown without discretion at each and every commercial break on each and every cable news channel throughout the entire day and night.

This dead body is disturbing as it is to me. I can only imagine what I would have explain if I had children.