Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday cat blogging!

Harriet Finlay

Ya know, he's got a point...

More from Leno

Sad to say, this is a good one:

A new study shows that the phrase most often used by President Obama is, 'Let me be clear.' The phrase he uses the least often? "Let me be specific."

-Jay Leno

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good ol' Jay

Oh, the snark:

It's getting nasty. Cheney said that when it comes to Afghanistan, Obama seems to be 'afraid.' Afraid? Isn't Cheney the one that was hiding in the underground bunker?

–Jay Leno

Hat tip to Lisa at All Hat No Cattle

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fox News: Shameful "journalism"

There's an article published on Alternet today entitled "30 Reasons Fox News Is Not Legit". Here's an excerpt:

For generations in this country, there has been a sort of a gentleman's agreement in terms of what constituted professional behavior among journalists. And there has been a sense of shame when members crossed those lines into unprofessional behavior. Bosses chastened those employees, people were fired, and ethics panels were summarily convened to make certain the transgressions didn't happen again. Fox News, though, has walked away from all of that. And guess what? The rest of the press hasn't said boo.

That's been the sad case for years. (
Playing dumb about Fox News' partisan pursuits now qualifies as a Beltway intramural sport.) Indeed, the loophole, or the caveat, to journalism's gentleman's agreement has always been that the guidelines were voluntary and self-policing. There was no governing body, either within journalism or without, that regulated the product. The only collective deterrent from producing bad journalism, aside from rather lax U.S. libel laws, is a collective sense of shame, a shared feeling that making a factual error -- or worse, purposefully pushing false information under the guise of journalism -- was both unprofessional and unacceptable.

But clearly, Fox News does not share that sense of shame, because it's not part of the larger journalism brotherhood. Fox News doesn't feel like rules such as
fairness, accuracy, neutrality, and independence apply, which is obvious since Fox News breaks those rules with stunning regularity. In fact, its programming day seems designed to break the traditional rules ad nauseam. That's what it's built to do. And if nothing else, Fox News is ruthlessly efficient.

There are a lot of particulars cited in the longer article itself. I recommend that you take a look. And also at the comments that follow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sensible approach to health care

I found this on Democratic Underground. The writer said it was fine to "steal" it. Here you go:

Hey, Congress!!! I don’t want to “shop” for health insurance in any kind of “market”! I want to pay a tax to support a trust fund which pays for care when and if I need it, just like I pay my property tax to support the fire department. In the event of fire, they send a truck out. Just the truck and people with the training required to put out the fire. No more or no less than what I would need in that circumstance. No personal responsibility questionnaires to prove that I’ve taught my kids not to play with matches, that I have my wiring up to code, that I don’t store oily rags in the basement and am truly eligible for and deserving of assistance. And especially no tripling of my property tax just for using the service. There is not one single logical reason why a heart attack should not be dealt with (and paid for) like putting out a house fire. The cheapest and most efficient way to pay for health care is to pay for it like we pay for any other public good, like schools, roads, libraries, fire and police protection, or any other part of our society’s infrastructure.

Now doesn't that make sense?

Monday, October 26, 2009

A congressman with some guts

Oh, my! I just love it:

Controversial freshman Rep. Alan Grayson, who has become famous for attacking the Republicans' health care plan, went on the attack again Friday night, calling former Vice President Dick Cheney a vampire for his recent criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the war in Afghanistan.

"I have trouble listening to what [Cheney] says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he's talking," the Florida Democrat said on MSNBC's Hardball Friday night. "But my response is this: he's just angry because the president doesn't shoot old men in the face. But by the way, when he was done speaking, did he just then turn into a bat and fly away?"

All I've got to say is this, Congressman Grayson: Don't get in any small planes, okay?

(The above excerpt is from the CNN Political Ticker.)

What you eat affects your mood

There's an article this morning published by Alternet entitled "Can Your Diet Make You Happy?" that explores the relationships between food and mental health. But the main thing I want to share with you is one of the comments:

The following quotes, facts, figures, and statistics are excerpted from Please Don't Eat the Animals (2007) by Jennifer Horsman and Jaime Flowers:

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

---Albert Einstein

"Each year, the meat industrial complex abuses and butchers nearly 9 billion cows, pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens, and other innocent, feeling animals just for the enjoyment of consumers. Each year, nearly 1.5 million of these consumers are crippled and killed prematurely by heart failure, cancer, stroke, and other chronic diseases that have been linked conclusively with the consumption of these animals. Each year, millions of other animals are abused and sacrificed in a vain search for a 'magic pill' that would vanquish these largely self-inflicted diseases."

---Alex Hershaft, PhD, president, Farm Animal Reform Movement

When analyzing 8,300 deaths in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany among 76,000 men and women in five different, large studies, researchers concluded that vegetarians have a 24 percent reduction in death from heart disease.

Similarly, in the famous Oxford Vegetarian Study, where 6,000 vegetarians were compared with 5,000 meat-eaters over nearly two decades, scientists found that the rate of death from heart disease was 28 percent lower in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.One study analyzed eighty scientific studies in leading medical journals. The analysis found that vegetarians had lower blood pressure, and were less likely to suffer from stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.

A large German study of nearly 2,000 vegetarians found that deaths from heart disease were reduced by over one-third, and that heart disease itself was far less than that of the general population.

Another large study examined the coronary artery disease risk of young adults ages 18 to 30 and vegetarians were found to have much higher levels of cardiovascular fitness and a greatly reduced risk of heart disease.

"The process of gradual blocking of the coronary arteries begins not in adulthood but in childhood...and the main cause of this arteriosclerosis is the steadily increasing amount of fat in the American diet, particularly saturated animal fats such as those found in meat, chicken, milk and cheeses. If there was another disease that caused half a million deaths a year, you can be sure that the public would be acutely aware of the danger, and that the cure or prevention would be universally practiced."

---Dr. Benjamin Spock, author, child expert

"I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives."

---Dr. Dean Ornish, author, Reversing Heart Disease

Stroke is the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. Vegetarians have a 20 to 30 percent reduced risk of having a stroke. Stroke, like heart disease, is associated with diets high in saturated fats, and the vegetarian diet is naturally low in these fats.The Oxford Vegetarian Study found cancer mortality to be 39 percent lower among vegetarians when compared with meat-eaters. The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer found vegetarians suffer 40 percent fewer cancers than the general population.

You know, it's not that hard to adopt a vegetarian diet. Just keep one vegetarian day a week for a while and later, when you're used to that, try keeping two days a week and so on. You can easily become a vegetarian in a year and it will be easy! (But first read up on how to do it sensibly and with good nutritional practices. It really won't do just to cut out the meat and then fill up on potato chips!)

Oh dear

This is interesting, to put it mildly, in light of the cartoon I posted last night (just below). The following headline appeared in my inbox this morning:

More Americans believe in haunted houses than global warming : A scary Halloween tale.

It's a very short article so I don't think I'll give you an excerpt but rather will encourage you to go read the whole thing right here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The First Family

I wanted to pass along this stunning pre-holiday portrait just in case you haven't seen it yet. It was done by that truly amazing photographer, Annie Leibovitz. You can see a larger version as well as read an interpretation of the symbolism right here.

The problem with "relentless positive thinking"

She's really got a point, I think.

And I also have a problem with the way women are infantalized by the health care system.

Oh my goodness! The title of her book suddenly made me remember the ending of The Life of Brian: "Always look on the bright side of life". (Ha! If you can't cope with a little irreverence, don't click through!) I saw that flick back when it first came out in the late 70s and laughed until my sides ached. Oh, it's rich!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Interesting photo

I found it over on Crooks and Liars.

Gratitude and the Earth

I am pondering gratitude this morning. And so I offer you the following:

To be human being is an honor,
and we offer thanksgiving for all the gifts of life.
Mother Earth, we thank you for giving us everything we need.

Thank you, deep blue waters around Mother Earth,
for you are the force that takes thirst away from all living things.
We give thanks to green grasses that feel so good against our bare feet,
for the cool beauty you bring to Mother Earth's floor.

Thank you, good foods from Mother Earth,
our life sustainers, for making us happy when we are hungry.
Fruits and berries, we thank you for your color and sweetness.
We are all thankful to good medicine herbs, for healing us when we are sick.

Thank you, all the animals in the world,
for keeping our precious forests clean.
All the trees in the world, we are thankful for the shade and warmth you give us.
Thank you, all the birds in the world, for singing your beautiful songs for all to enjoy.
We give thanks to you, gentle Four Winds,
for bringing clean air for us to breathe from four directions.

Thank you Grandfather Thunder Beings
for bringing rains to help all living things grow.
Elder Brother Sun, we send thanks for shining your light and warming Mother Earth.
Thank you, Grandmother Moon, for growing full every month
to light the darkness for children and sparkling waters.
We give thanks, twinkling stars, for making the night sky so beautiful
and for sprinkling morning dew drops on the plants.

Spirit Protectors of our past and present,
we thank you for showing us ways to live in peace and harmony with one another.
And most of all, thank you, Great Spirit, for giving us all these wonderful gifts, so we will be happy and healthy every day and every night.

And now let me remind you that today is the International Day of Climate Action. You can start participating right here.

If you're wondering about the number 350 in the photo above, it refers to the parts per million that is consdered by scientists to be the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. You can read about that right here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday cat blogging!

Hate Crimes Legislation Passes Senate

This is good news:

The Senate has voted to pass the The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention law as part of the Defense Authorization Bill, invoking cloture to produce a majority vote of 68-29. The bill will now go to President Obama's desk where he is expected to sign after vowing to support the extension of existing hate rimes legislation.

The hate crimes law, which was added to the $680 billion defense authorization bill earlier this year, would extend the scope of federal hate crimes laws to include assaults against an individual based on their sexual orientation or perceived gender identity, allowing harsher punishments to be dealt for bias motivated crimes. It passed the House two weeks ago on a vote of 281 to 146.

Most Republican senators voted against the bill, by the way, which will not surpise you.

Step in the right direction

This is from an AP article:

The Obama administration said Thursday it is designating more than 200,000 square miles in Alaska and off its coast as "critical habitat" for polar bears, an action that could add restrictions to future offshore drilling for oil and gas.

Federal law prohibits agencies from taking actions that may adversely affect critical habitat and interfere with polar bear recovery.

Assistant Interior Secretary Tom Strickland called the habitat designation a step in the right direction to help polar bears stave off extinction, while recognizing that the greatest threat to the bear is the melting of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change.

I cried when I first learned about polar bears drowning due to the ice floes melting. They are also starving in some places and turning to cannibalism.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Scary Truth Behind Balloon Boy

This is why I haven't watched television news in years:

Something to ponder

Here's a quotation I found a while back and saved. I think it's very powerful:

They must find it difficult…those who accept authority as the truth, rather than the truth as authority.

-- Gerald Massey

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quote of the day

This was in a Sojourners email today:

We’ve spent the last few decades shoveling money at the rich like there was no tomorrow. We abandoned the poor, put an economic stranglehold on the middle class and all but bankrupted the federal government — while giving the banks and megacorporations and the rest of the swells at the top of the economic pyramid just about everything they’ve wanted.

- Bob Herbert, "Safety Nets for the Rich"

There is something really wrong with this. I don't see how anyone can miss it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Consequences for the Democrats

Immediately after posting the video below, I came across an article entitled "Democrats Risk Electoral Disaster If They Drop the Public Option". I so agree. Here's a brief excerpt:

Indeed, if the Democrats abandon the public option for the sake of passing a bill like the one that came out of the Senate Finance Committee, they may be courting electoral disaster once voters grasp that they will have to wait years for the law to be implemented and then that it could lead to higher costs for much the same unpopular private insurance plans.

The public option offers the only means for a reform to be quickly implemented and to demonstrate a beneficial effect for the people by 2010 and 2012. It has the potential for reducing costs, especially for small businesses and individuals who are now being soaked by private insurers or denied coverage.

I wonder if anyone is advising the President about the likely electoral consequences of not having a public option?

All this health reform business just gives me more and more evidence to reinforce my deep conviction that capitalism is intrinsically immoral.

A powerful ad

Want to help it get aired? You can do so right here.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Henri Rousseau
Image from Wikimedia Commons

That public option

From a New York Times editorial:

In the debate over health care reform, no issue has produced more fury and sound bites than the question of whether to include a government-run insurance plan. It is not indispensable, and its role would be limited. Even so, we strongly support inclusion of a public option — the bigger and stronger the better. That is the best way to give consumers more choices, inject more competition into insurance markets, hold down the cost of insurance policies, and save money for the federal budget.

Nothing like stating the obvious, huh?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

CNN QuickVote of the day

Well, this is reassuring:

Should the justice of the peace who refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple be dismissed?

Yes - 80%

No - 20%

Let's hope it happens.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday cat blogging!

"The Uneducated American"

It's from the New York Times and it's by Paul Krugman.

Just go read it.

This column stimulated 225 comments on Common Dreams. (Touched a nerve there, maybe?)

I must say, I agree.

Benjamin Day of Mass-Care marches in front of CIGNA's Newton office
to protest the company's stand on health reform on Thursday.

I found it here.

The Bush spending legacy

I just stumbled upon an article that was written in February of 2008 and it posits an intriguing (although obvious) idea. Take a look:

If you could go back in time to President George W. Bush's inaugural address and add one economic statement, what would it be? For me, there is an obvious answer.

If Bush had promised in January 2001 that the baseline of government spending that he inherited when he took office would be the cap during his term, then we would have a big budget surplus today. It would have been easy to do. He just had to say: "I will not spend one penny more than President Bill Clinton planned to. I will veto any bill that tries to.''

I have written before in this space that Bush has outspent Clinton by a mile. With government spending still out of control, the gap between where we are and where a disciplined nation could have been is getting bigger and bigger.

With a recession looming, the policy implications of the spending explosion are serious. If a deep recession occurs, we will have less wiggle room.

And, of course, the recession did not merely loom, it crashed in, it invaded, it took over, it practically decimated us.

The writer, Kevin Hassett (a conservative by the way), then runs an "alternative history" by imagining what would have happened if President Bush had restrained himself on government spending. You might like to go read the whole piece. It's short.

Hard to believe

Yes, it's hard to believe in this day and age but a justice of the peace has refused to issue a marriage license to an inter-racial couple. Take a look at his justification:

He said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. Bardwell said he came to the conclusion that most black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society.

“Yet, the children are innocent. They had nothing to do with that,” he said.

In many cases, he said, the grandparents or a relative ends up with the children.

“I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves,” Bardwell said. “In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer.”

He said if he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all.

“I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.

Yeah, right.

What can I say but good grief.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Nurses sue to refuse flu vaccine

Take a look:

Lorna Patterson is willing to take on New York's top health official for her right to be flu vaccine-free.

The registered nurse in Albany Medical Center's emergency room is among a group of nurses who plan to file a lawsuit against state Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines to prevent the mandatory vaccination of New York's health care workers with the H1N1 flu virus.

If Patterson and Kathryn Dupuis do not receive their shots within the next two weeks, they will likely lose their jobs in the emergency room at Albany Medical Center. Patterson said the vaccination was rushed into production in a matter of months and that its effect has not yet been properly studied.

Patterson said the vaccination could be dangerous for people, including pregnant women, and that more time is needed to understand its effectiveness. She said she is not willing to risk her health and does not think it is fair that she should lose her job.

Here's what makes me sympathetic: The manufacturers have been made exempt from any liability. That definitely raises red flags for me. And I remember the swine flu scare of 1976. One person died from the actual swine flu. Twenty-five people died from the vaccine and many more suffered serious adverse effects.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Some oxymorons:

What is WRONG with us?

Good grief. Good, good grief.

I want to call your attention to an article on Alternet this morning entitled "The Stupidity of "Zero-Tolerance": 6-Year-Old Suspended For Bringing Food Utensil to School" with a lead that says, "What can this teach us about U.S. foreign policy? Quite a lot, actually."

Here's how it gets started:

NEWARK, Del. -- Finding character witnesses when you are 6 years old is not easy. But there was Zachary Christie last week at a school disciplinary committee hearing with his karate instructor and his mother's fiancé by his side to vouch for him.

Zachary’s offense? Taking a Cub Scout utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about joining the Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary now faces 45 days in the district's reform school.

Reform school? Reform school?

Then there's this:

"Zero-tolerance" policy arose from the string of shooting sprees in American high schools. As usual, schools did not thoughtfully analyze what kind of school environment (complete with hierarchical sects and rampant bullying) is inspiring such horrific shootings. Rather, schools followed steps 1 through 5, and opted for a hyper-totalitarian state within a state where children are all treated as suspects, including little Zachary Christie.

Just go read the rest of it, okay? It's short. I'd love people's take on it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I must say, I like his style.

And now here's something else he's said:

I want to say a few words about what it means to be a Democrat. What it means to be a Democrat. It’s very simple. We have a conscience. We have a conscience.
When we see someone in need, someone who needs to see a doctor, someone who is hungry--- adult, a child… when we see someone in need, something within us says we need to do something to help that person.
We’ve known for over 3000 years that a good society, a civilized society, is one that shelters the homeless, feeds the hungry and that HEALS THE SICK.

Now, the other side may disagree.

They actually read books with titles like “The Virtue of Selfishness.” I didn’t make that up. “The Virtue of Selfishness”. They think that it’s good somehow, that you have a hard heart. Well, WE don’t have a hard heart. We look around and see another fellow human being in need, and we care. WE CARE. That’s what it means to be a human being.

Well, of course, I agree. Now we need more Democrats to speak out forcefully this way.

I found the above passage right here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oh, this is rich!

Our dear friend of the Center, Paul Rogers, sent me this. What a hoot.

Ha! When I was young we picked up the phone and the operator said, "Number, please." You actually talked to her for your number to be connected! Then when rotary phones came in, that was the best thing since sliced bread. (No, I'm not so old that I remember when sliced bread came in.....!)


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

"By any reasonable measure, Americans should be proud."

Quote of the day

It's from the Democratic National Committee:

The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists — the Taliban and Hamas this morning — in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize. Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize — an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride — unless of course you are the Republican Party. The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It’s no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore – it’s an embarrassing label to claim.

Well spoken, I say.

The Prize

By now you certainly know that our president, Barack Obama, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Maybe you will be surprised to learn - or maybe you wouldn't - that the conservatives are claiming that he doesn't deserve it. There is even the claim that Obama being awarded the prize is an example of "afirmative action".

Now will you believe they are egregious racists?

By the way, the Nobel committee said the following:

His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

It might be worth considering that the decision of the committee was a thorough rejection of the "cowboy diplomacy" of our previous administration.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Some very interesting poll results

Take a look:

Asked who they trusted to do a better job on the health- care issue, 47 percent said Obama, 31 percent said the Republicans. The president’s overall approval rating was 50 percent, unchanged from a similar survey in late July and early August.
The poll found voters support a government-run plan to compete with private insurers 61 percent to 34 percent. Obama backs creating such a program, which has been the focus of much of the health-care debate in Congress.

It's from an article entitled Voters Back Obama Over Republicans on Health Care, Poll Finds.

It first came to my attention on AMERICAblog.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Conservatives rewrite the Bible

I read about this a couple of days ago and thought it was a joke. It's not. The article I'm recommending to you is called Conservative Bible Project Aims to Delete 'Liberal Bias' from the Bible and the story is simply unbelievable - except that it's true:

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

That famous line, attributed to Jesus in Luke 23:34, could well apply to the folks at Conservapedia -- the "conservative version" of Wikipedia -- who have embarked on a project to rewrite the Bible.

In an effort to rid the Good Book of "liberal bias," the group has set up the Conservative Bible Project, which aims to rewrite the Bible from a modern, conservative perspective.

"Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations," the
project's Web site asserts.

And the line quoted above is one of the group's targets for deletion in a truly "conservative" Bible. The "forgive them father" quote "is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible," Conservapedia states.

Yes, I checked the Conservapedia site itself and the project exists and it's serious.

Can you believe that the conservatives want to eliminate forgiveness from Christianity? Mercy!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Well, THAT'S putting it mildly

Isn't he just the master of the understatement?

"Some of these people are starting to put politics first and country second," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, taking particular issue with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

This was on All Hat No Cattle today.

Quote of the day

This was on the email that Sojourners sent out today:

Please make these people understand that it's cruel to make people wait like this for a health bill that may never come about. I signed for my final check, it was direct-deposited on Tuesday, all that money is going to my rent, and I don't even have money to buy food.

-- Ann McGilly, a New Jersey resident, received her last unemployment check last week and said she no longer has money to pay for her 17-year-old son's medication, wondering why the Senate is putting action on health care ahead of extending unemployment benefits.

Quote of the week (IMHO)

Take a look (and also at the brief video above):

It used to be that I felt I understood what conservatives wanted: strong defense, low taxes and no illegal immigrants. But now with their vociferous opposition to hosting the Olympics in their own country, I admit that I literally do not understand what the hell motivates them anymore.

It's the last paragraph in an article called "5 Crazy Right-Wing Freak-Outs in Just One Glorious Week" by Brad Reed. Do click through and read it. It's another eye-opener.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

What's wrong with simplicity, anyway?

I want to suggest that you go take a look at an article called "Democrats Ponder Health-Care Suicide" by Robert Parry. Here's an excerpt:

What Americans want is affordable health coverage provided in as simple a package as possible.

That was the finding of a New York Times/CBS News poll which discovered widespread confusion about the health proposals taking shape in Congress, but more than 2-1 support for a public option to compete with private insurers -- 65 percent for a public option, 26 percent against and 9 percent no opinion. [NYT, Sept. 25, 2009]

After all, one of the attractions of the public option is its relative simplicity and cost-effectiveness. It could piggyback on the existing Medicare bureaucracy and thus get started quickly and cheaply. According to congressional budget analysts, it is the only plan that offers significant cost savings.

Cost savings would not only help reduce the federal deficit but they would mean that more Americans would get the health care they need without going broke. In other words, it would save lives, reduce housing foreclosures, and protect families now being ripped apart by brutal financial pressures.

Yet, despite this common sense - and broad voter support for the public option - the Senate Finance Committee rejected the idea. Chairman Baucus conceded that the concept was appealing, but he joined other conservative Democrats in voting no, claiming a public option couldn't clear the 60-vote hurdle to stop a Republican filibuster.

So, instead of trying to rally the votes - or using the "reconciliation process" that allows a simple majority to enact legislation having budget implications - Baucus kept on cobbling together a nearly incomprehensible construct of tax credits, income formulas, fees and other mumbo-jumbo.

I really agree with that first sentence I've quoted above. I think it's true and I don't understand why the politicians don't get it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

An honest-to-goodness "missing link" (or branch or something like that!)

You know how the creationist fundamentalists are always saying that the absence of transitional fossils is evidence against evolution? Well, that's never been true, of course. There are scads of transitional fossils. But a particularly spectacular one has recently been found (recently as these things go, of course.) I recommend that you take a look at a delightful little article entitled "Move over Lucy, Ardipithecus is coming to town!" (The information about the feet just blows me away!)

And think about saving it. Who knows? It might really come in handy one day.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Why isn't this obvious?

Please go read If the Russians Did This to Us, We’d Kill ‘Em by David Michael Green.

Here's part of it:

If the Russians had come here and done this -- if they had come and stolen our resources, if they come and enslaved our children into inescapable soul-numbing jobs, if they had left us with environmental degradation and a wrecked economy and destroyed education system and a crumbling infrastructure and a sieve-like healthcare regime -- if the Russians had come and done any or all of this, we would've risen up in anger and hostility and patriotism and nationalism, and we'd have loaded up our weapons and killed every last one of them.

But it wasn't the Russians that did it, it was our own overclass. And worse still, it was our own government acting as though they were protecting us from the evil bogeyman du jour, while in fact they were assisting the wealthy in bleeding us dry, until our anemia left us fit only for our profit-seeking hospitals.

Earlier, Green made this point:

...and not only are we not furious at them, we don't even notice the crime. Or, if we do notice, we're furious at some ridiculously inappropriate target, like a ‘liberal' president who isn't even remotely liberal.

All this seems so ridiculously obvious to me. I really don't get why it's so hard to see.

Now here's the part that really concerns me:

And yet, because he is being made out to be some sort of outrageously decadent liberal, and because Americans are too dim to figure out the ruse, this president -- who is failing to address the concerns of ordinary Americans, most especially because he's not working for them in the least -- is bound to fail, and is looking increasingly like the proud owner of a one-term presidency. And what we can expect in reaction to that failure -- ironically and disastrously and jaw-droppingly idiotically -- is a sharp turn to the right. When Obama fails, it will be framed, as it already is being, as some sort of grand failure of liberalism. In fact, of course, just the opposite is true. It's a grand success of the overclass's looting of America.

Go read the rest of it if you have time. It's worth it. I assure you.

Calling Democrats "nazis"

I just now came across an article entitled Republicans Have Decided to Call Anything a Democrat Ever Does or Says "Nazi". Has anybody thought how absolutely nuts that is? Nazis were/are right wingers in the extreme. How can you call someone a leftist and a Nazi at the same time? Well, I guess I ought to let go of ever expecting the Republican extremists to be logical. Here's how the piece gets started:

The cause du jour for the Republican Party is to make as many rapid-fire comparisons between the Democrats and the Nazis as humanly possible. There're the posters altered to make the President look like Hitler, Glenn Beck's use of Nazi imagery, and the GOP's tendency to parade around pliant Holocaust survivors, who are willing to lie and convince hapless boobs that they're seconds away from being loaded onto the trains headed to New Auschwitz, located... somewhere -- probably in those FEMA camps Beck has been trying to warn us about.

Crazy, crazy stuff. Insulting and dangerous, too. Such propaganda is insulting to Holocaust survivors, some of whom are rightfully upset by the Obama-Hitler contrasting. "I saw Hitler's soldiers. I saw swastikas every day. To call Obama stupid, even criminal -- OK, that's politics. But Hitler? It's hurting to anyone no matter who is president," a Holocaust survivor
told Times of the Internet.

The article goes on to report about the "How To Take Back America" conference that was held in St. Louis last weekend.

You know, there's an atmosphere in the country right now that gives me the heebie-jeebies. Really. I don't know how to describe it effectively but I do feel it. And I'm deeply concerned.

(Oh, and, by the way: those FEMA camps were built under the Bush administration.)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Nice change to that nasty old slogan

It's time we made up our minds to value teachers more.

A LOT more.

You can get one of these shirts right here.

Sojourners weighs in on the Polanski situation

Sojourners has published the only truly sensible article about the Roman Polanski arrest I've come across yet. It is entitled Roman Polanski and the Politics of Remembering and is by Gareth Higgens. I urge you to go over and read the whole thing because it really can't be excerpted very

It's a relatively short piece and won't take you very long to read.