Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Unappeasable right-wing radicals"

This is from a statement by Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva. I respect this man:

This deal trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it. Progressives have been organizing for months to oppose any scheme that cuts Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, and it now seems clear that even these bedrock pillars of the American success story are on the chopping block. Even if this deal were not as bad as it is, this would be enough for me to fight against its passage.
A clean debt ceiling vote was the obvious way out of this, and many House Democrats have been saying so. Had that vote failed, the president should have exercised his Fourteenth Amendment responsibilities and ended this manufactured crisis.

You can read the entire statement right here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Tax reality

I like this headline:

When will they learn lower taxes doesn't mean money in your pocket

Actually, "they" won't. That's the sad part.

Yeah, we get it

She has something to hide:

I'm running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency. Neither are my children. Neither is our business.

-- Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Congresswoman, who refused Thursday to answer questions about her family's business and finances

But seriously. Does she really think this will fly? People running for the presidency have been subjected (along with their families) to intense scrutiny for a long time now. That's just the way it is. Those who aren't prepared for this really ought not to run.

Thursday, July 28, 2011



These doors may close, the address may change, but the name, the legacy and, most important, the work and healing will endure.

-- John M. McHugh, secretary of the Army, on the closure of the historic Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington next month; the principal hospital for soldiers returning from Afghanistan will be moved to facilities in Maryland and Virginia

I lived in the Greater Washington area for many years and I'm so used to the hospital being in its historic location.

Here's a little background:

Walter Reed closing after 102 years helping troops

Sauce for the goose and all that...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Something Bill O'Reilly said

Well! He doesn't know history --- now does he?

No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder.

-- Bill O'Reilly, talk-show host, criticizing the American and European media for labeling self-confessed Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik a Christian extremist, despite Breivik's oral and written claims to believe in Christianity

Hey, Bill! Look up the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, okay?

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Security" atrocities

This is simply sickening:

Bladder cancer survivor has new run-in with TSA

It's a very short article. Just click through and take a look.

Why do we put up with this?

Oh wow; what a headline:

Plutocracy: If Corporations and the Rich Paid 1960s-Level Taxes, the Debt Would Vanish

Check out this bit:

This “debt crisis” in no way had to happen. No natural disaster, no tsunami, has suddenly pounded the United States out of fiscal balance. We have simply suffered a colossal political failure. Our powers that be, by feeding the rich and their corporations one massive tax break after another, have thrown a monstrous monkey wrench into our national finances.
So why aren't we taxing the rich? Why are we now suffering such fearsome “debt crisis” angst? Why are our politicos so intent on shoving the “fiscal discipline” of layoffs and cutbacks — austerity — down the throats of average Americans?

No mystery here. Our political system is failing to tax the rich because the rich have fortunes large enough to buy off the political system.

The whole picture is very discouraging because the voting population in this country cannot be counted on to educate themselves.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Interesting definition of recession

Here's something I found on someone's signature over on Democratic Underground:

To a conservative, a recession is when millions of workers suddenly decide to become lazy and irresponsible.

It's unattributed.

Tragically insightful, isn't it?

Something very important about Social Security

Right here:

The very idea that Social Security might be on the chopping block in order to pay the ransom Republicans are demanding reveals both the cravenness of their demands and the callowness of the opposition to those demands.

In a former life I was a trustee of the Social Security trust fund. So let me set the record straight. Social Security isn’t responsible for the federal deficit. Just the opposite. Until last year Social Security took in more payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits. It lent the surpluses to the rest of the government.

Now that Social Security has started to pay out more than it takes in, Social Security can simply collect what the rest of the government owes it. This will keep it fully solvent for the next 26 years.

It's from an article by Robert Reich who is currently a professor of public policy at Berkeley.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

A very, very, very important question

I found this over on Fire Dog Lake:

Should it be ok for a candidate to present himself as progressive and populist when grabbing for power, only to turn around once in office and not use that power to advance a progressive agenda for the benefit of the American people?

So, what do you think?

Union busting cruelty

You know, this is just plain sick:

Chicago Hyatt turns heat lamps on picketing workers

Here's what happened:

In winter, it can be awfully nice to walk by a luxury hotel that has heat lamps over its entryway. It would be less nice on a day with temperatures over 90 degrees and a heat index over 100 degrees, as workers picketing outside the Chicago Hyatt Thursday could now tell you in some detail after the hotel's heat lamps were turned on over their picket line.

And get this: it seems they turned the lamps off when the press arrived.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The proposed cuts to Social Security

Well, here's the article:

President Obama's Big Deal: Cuts for Social Security, But No Taxes for Wall Street by Dean Baker

And here's the part that really caught my attention:

The average Social Security check is about $1,100 a month. This would be less than an hour's pay for many of the Wall Street honchos whose greed and incompetence brought down the economy.

Yet, when President Obama preaches equality of sacrifice, it is the elderly and the poor who are supposed to do most of the sacrificing. His plan to change the annual cost-of-living adjustment formula for Social Security would reduce benefits for someone in their seventies by 3 percent, in their eighties by 6 percent and in their nineties by 9 percent.

These are huge cuts. The Republicans are screaming bloody murder because President Obama wants to raise the top tax rate by 4.6 percentage points. Imagine that he proposed raising taxes on the wealthy by twice as much. That is effectively what he is proposing for people in their nineties who are entirely dependent on Social Security.

What can I say? It's just horrible.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just a reminder, dear people:

You know, I think this is probably true:

You might like to check out the site mentioned about: Addicting Info. I just found it last night and it promises to be very interesting.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

And some people say gay marriage is a threat to "traditional" marriage:

Public workers and their benefits

Check out this headline:

Is Cutting Benefits For Public Workers Actually Wage Theft? Reframing the Right's Attacks On Unions

The short answer is yes.

And here's why:

Discussions about benefits cuts do not label them as what they really are: Wage theft. Public employees pay contributions out of their salaries into pension funds. They earned that money, they have documentation to prove they earned it, and their employers took it from them as part of the terms of an employment agreement that included pension benefits at retirement. When that money is not made available at the time of retirement, it is not simply a betrayal of a "promise." It is an active renege on a contractual agreement, and it is an example of wage theft.

Also, people are, from the get-go, willing to to public servant jobs - jobs that pay less than comparable ones in the private sector - specifically because of the benefits packages that go along with those jobs. So that right there is another form of wage theft.

Pity we didn't listen:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is this a spine I see before me?

Right here:

This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.

-- President Obama, telling Republicans he will stick by his insistence for a long-term agreement on the debt ceiling

I'm willing to hope, okay, but I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is that so?

I refer to the following:

I would be compromising my moral conscience if I participated in the licensing procedure.

-- Laura Fotusky, a former-town clerk in Barker, New York, on why she resigned from her job in the wake of New York legalizing same-sex marriage

Well, okay. At least she had the integrity to resign instead of demanding the right to keep her job while, at the same time, refusing to do what the job requires.

Hmm. I wonder if she had qualms of conscience about licensing divorced persons?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Betrayal by the president

Over on AMERICAblog, there's a post entitled "Dems afraid Obama is giving away their electoral advantage on Medicare" by John Aravosis.

He quotes the following:

Senators Murray and Schumer, along with other Dems like Debbie Stabenow and Mark Begich, have warned against deep cuts in recent leadership meetings, a source familiar with the meetings says, another sign of the unrest that the possibility of serious entitlements cuts is creating among Congressional Democrats.

“We shouldn’t be giving away our advantage on Medicare,” said a source familiar with Murray’s thinking, in characterizing her objections in private meetings. “We should be very careful about giving away the biggest advantage we've had as Democrats in some time.”

“For the first time in the past two and a half years we have an unmitigated advantage on a single issue where our entire caucus is united,” the source continues. “This is a case where the whole morale of our party was lifted by the fact that we were taking the fight to Republicans.”

I just don't understand. It's crazy. Apparently, there is talk (and from the president himself, no less) about raising the age for Medicare from 65 to 67. Needless to say, this will create a huge personal hardship for me (not to mention, millions of other Americans).
UPDATE: Here's the email I just sent to the White House:

Dear Mr. President:

I donated to your campaign, I campaigned enthusiastically for you, I voted for you with considerable joy. But I promise you, if you allow the age to be raised for Medicare eligibility, you will not only not get my money or my campaigning efforts, you will not get my vote. I'll stay home.


Sister Ellie Finlay, age 62, lifelong Democrat

Half of US social program recipients believe they " have not used a government social program"

(Click or double click on the image to enlarge it.)

I found this over on Boing Boing. Here's what they said over there:

"...this [is a] remarkable chart showing that about half of American social program beneficiaries believe that they "have not used a government social program." It's the "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" phenomena writ large: a society of people who subsist on mutual aid and redistributive policies who've been conned (and conned themselves) into thinking that they are rugged individualists and that everyone else is a parasite."

What can I say, folks? Go figure.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

About those campaign promises...

Ha! This is a new one on me:

It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while he's in love, drunk, or running for office.

-- Shirley MacLaine

"Of the rich, by the rich, for the rich..."

Just watch it. All the way through. Please:

Pity this sort of thing is necessary:

The comments at the YouTube location for this make me feel like despairing --- really.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Bachmann's favorite preacher:

You know, there's a real ugliness of spirit here. I truly don't understand how people can be attracted to this kind of message.

Remember the four freedoms?

Ah, here was a president:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want--which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants--everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.

Trial by jury

And right you are, Judge:

Juries aren't supposed to make decisions based on public-opinion polls.

-- Belvin Perry, the judge for the Casey Anthony criminal case, on the jury's unpopular decision to acquit Anthony of charges that she killed her daughter; Perry has expressed concern for the safety of jurors and postponed a decision on whether to release their names

How many times do we have to say it? A "not guilty" verdict does not mean that the jury believes the defendant is innocent. It means that the prosecution didn't prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt according to that jury. And that's our system. That's our system. None of us (if accused of a crime) would want a system in which we were considered guilty until proven innocent.

Would we?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

My sentiments exactly:

Claim for lightning strike made

This kind of superstition really annoys me:

Lightning strikes tree near Caylee Anthony memorial site

Here's the pertinent bit:

"It could be a sign from the angels that they aren't happy with what's happened," a visitor to the site told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. "The rain, the lightning, the storm – it's the heavens indicating they aren't happy."

Yeah, I know. That's just one person. But somehow, this made the news.

I like a certain follow up observation as follows:

There are more lightning strikes in Florida per square mile than in any other state, according to

Whatever happened to the Age of Enlightenment? Sad.

How Republicans exploit the religious right

There's nothing hugely new here but it's very nicely summed up:

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Something I just found:

Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.

-- Isaac Asimov

It is discouraging when people can't grasp the concept that a given word can have more than one definition depending on the context. In science, the word "theory" does not mean just a hunch. But, of course, I might as well be beating a dead horse with this one...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Well, well, well

It will be interesting to see how THIS one turns out:

I want people to listen to me, because I have, perhaps, finally, a chance to be heard.

-- Tristane Banon, a French writer who will file a criminal complaint on Tuesday accusing ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape; he was arrested in New York City in May on a similar charge

It will especially be interesting to see if Strauss-Kahn is able to undermine her credibility as well.

Monday, July 04, 2011

In honor of the day:

Hat tip to John who posted this on Facebook.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Prime candidate for a "Darwin Award"

Just look at this:

Motorcyclist Dies On Ride Protesting Helmet Law In New York

Here're the main details:

Police say a motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he flipped over the bike's handlebars and hit his head on the pavement.
Troopers say Contos would have likely survived if he had been wearing a helmet.

Now get this. A lot of people left comments to this article insisting that people should have the right not to wear helmets -- that it's a "freedom" issue.

Good grief.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Definitely something to think about:

This is just WRONG:

Memphis lays off nearly 100 vocational tech teachers but will hire 100 TRA recruits


Tenured teachers with many years were let go with no warning. Some were not yet vetted for pensions. Yet they hired 100 TFA teachers with 5 weeks training.
There is not a single Democratic leader speaking out against tactics like this.

I'm so glad I'm no longer in the profession. It grieves me to say that but it's true.
UPDATE: This is un-freakin'-believable. Here's how they're handling the reality that these "Teach for America" recruits, in fact, don't know what they're doing:

Teachers-in-training will have their very own personal angel to discreetly coach them through new lesson plans, with the same ear-bud wiring that feeds live information to NFL coaches. Teach for America is hoping that private coaching will speed up the painstakingly slow process of teacher development, allowing teachers to get both tailored instruction and the experience of being at the head of the classroom, without risking a disaster for students."

Once a teacher understands what it feels like to be successful, it takes root immediately," Monica Jordan, coordinator of teacher professional development in Memphis City Schools, told Education Week.

The experimental group of teachers is willing, if hesitant. "I thought, what if they say something in my ear and I lose my train of thought?" said algebra teacher Cynthia Law. "And then I thought, so what if I lose my train of thought, I'll figure it out," Law continued, confidently, "I'm not a play-it-safe person. I'm willing for my kids' sake to look foolish."

I have a radical idea: Instead of trying to walk into the classroom with five weeks of training, why not do what the rest of us did and go through both the academic and supervised student teaching requirements to qualify for certification?

A health care "Wow!"

Just look at this:

One Small Town in America Quietly Enjoys the Health Care We All Dream Of

It's a very short article and it will knock your socks off.

Here's just a little bit:

You see, a vermiculite mine had spread deadly airborne asbestos that killed hundreds and sickened thousands in Libby and northwest Montana.
Residents of Libby don't have to be 65 years old or more. They don't have to wait until 2014 for the state exchanges. There's no 10-year roll out for them — it's immediate. They don't have to purchase a plan — this isn't a buy-in to Medicare. It's free. They don't have to be disabled for two years before they apply. They don't have to go without care for three years until Medicaid expands. They don't have to meet income tests. They don't have to apply for a subsidy or pay a fine for failure to buy insurance. They don't have to hope that the market will make a plan affordable or hide their pre-existing conditions. They don't have to find a job that provides coverage.

It is outrageous that, in this country, health care is tied to employment.

It is more than outrageous - it is obscene - that so much of our health care is on a for-profit basis.