Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cardinal Threatens Obama, Calls Him "Aggresive, Disruptive and Apocalyptic"

The Catholic Church's extremist positions and authoritarian edicts should be enough for many members to switch religious affiliations. Wouldn't it be strange if Lutherans, or any religious denomination, to advertised their value system to fill up their pews with new parishioners?

Vatican Cardinal James Stafford, without consequence from Catholics everywhere, was able to say, "His (Obama) rhetoric is post-modernist, and marks an agenda and vision that are aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic ... what should we do with our hot, angry tears of betrayal?" Some might consider it a requested threat to the president elect. The Cardinal tries to sidestep the "hit" by saying, like most conservatives, the comment was taken out of context. He assumes we're all idiots and idol worshippers. He also says he stands by his comments. Can he have it both ways. Only to his followers it would appear.

Rev. Carlton, who has had his own run ins with authority, had this to say about the age old problem with the Roman Catholic religion.

Enough said.

Who is the "Angry Left?"

While cleaning out all the news clips piling up on my computer I came across this gem from the owner of Sinclair Broadcasting, Mark Hyman, on his explanation of the "angry left." Some of the more comedic moments include a shot at "nutty academics" and "so many (liberals) hope that only tradgety befalls our service men and women." Truly surreal.

Bill Collectors A Part of Republican Health Care System

The obvious answer to fixing health care in the U.S. is a single payer system, culling from the best plans around world, and making it our own. But strong ideological opposition from the Republicans has so far managed to destroy lives, bankrupt families and wipe out the middle class under a sea of high premiums and bills.

The conservative answer is break up large groups of buyers, put everyone out on their own into the market place, and shop till you litterly drop from your illness. They would also do away with regulation, letting the buyer beware. If you make a bad decision, you have only yourself to blame, so stop whining. But while free marketers distract everyone with the promise of people "making their own decisions," insurance companies and providers are also making their own decisions on how to maximize profits and lessen their risks with patients.

Watch this horror story from Bill Moyers Journal about hospitals dumping patients with late health care bills into the market place of bill collecting, with interest. This is a glance into the future of patient care; paying your bills even when you may never be able to and destroying a persons credit rating. All because you got sick. And this is just the beginning of shifting the burden onto the needy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Eve Bunting's "The Wall," IncredibleTribute to Vietnam Veterans Memorial

When my son and I were watching PBS's Reading Rainbow one day five years ago, I found myself sad and shaken by their reading of "The Wall," by Eve Bunting. I'm tearing up just typing in the below quote from the School Library Journal.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4-- A boy and his father have come to the Vietnam War Memorial to look for the boy's grandfather's name among those who were killed in the war. They find his name surrounded, but far from lost, in the rows of print that "march side by side, like rows of soldiers." "I'm proud that your grandfather's name is on this wall," says the boy's father. The boy agrees, adding, "but I'd rather have my grandpa here."

Right Wing Four Year Talking Point: Obama not a Citizen

I rarely deal in tin foil hat conspiracies churned by the right wing nut press and blogs, for reasons that are obvious. Yet the issue here has touched me personally: My old best friend and conservative born again, is yabbering about it now incessantly, calling me at least twice a day to see what I might have turned up in my research.

Not only is the following down the rabbit hole, and crazy to boot, it’s funny as well. So enjoy this “news” story from the conservative voice, the Sonoran News, whatever the hell that is.
Foreign national certified as presidential candidate: On Wednesday, Nov. 19, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas distributed Leo C. Denofrio’s renewed application for a stay of the election for conference on Dec. 5. If four of the nine justices favor review, a hearing will be scheduled. His first application was denied by Justice David Souter on Nov. 6. However, rules of the court allow for the renewed submission to a justice of choice.

Beginning in October, Denofrio made his way up through the ranks of the courts until his constitutional question as to the meaning of “natural born citizen” reached the Supreme Court.

He submitted an application for an emergency stay to prohibit the use of what he called “defective ballots” in the state of New Jersey because they contained ineligible candidates for the office of President of the United States, and asked that the court order New Jersey Secretary of State (SOS) Nina Mitchell Wells to remove the names of Republican candidate John McCain, Democratic candidate Barack Obama and Socialist Workers Party candidate Roger Calero from New Jersey ballots.

According to Denofrio, the three candidates are not “natural born citizens,” as required by the Constitution to hold the office of President of the United States.

I know, it’s crazy over the top stuff, but this is what you get when you go deep into the upside down thinking of people who still believe there’s a war on Christmas and Democrats are aiding the terrorists. Now for the "facts," as they’re presented by Denofrio:
Denofrio contends Obama, even if it were proven he was born in Hawaii, because his father was born in Kenya, having been born with split and competing loyalties, is not a ‘natural born citizen’ as required by Article 2, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution.” The Naturalization Act of 1790 stated, “… the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens ...” However, Denofrio points out the Naturalization Act of 1795 specifically repealed the 1790 act and replaced it with the same clause except with the words “natural born” deleted.

Denofrio states, “McCain is in the class of citizens who obtain their citizenship at birth, but not from the Constitution, but rather federal statute.” The Foreign Affairs Manual also addresses the issue of eligibility for president as such: “It has never been determined definitively by a court whether a person who acquired U.S. citizenship by birth abroad to U.S. citizens is a natural born citizen within the meaning of Article II of the Constitution and, therefore, eligible for the Presidency.”
This isn’t the first time someone has tried to use this Act to discriminate against political parties. Who could forget the Aliens and Sedition Act or:
The Naturalization Act of 1798 permits Federalist President John Adams to deport foreigners deemed to be dangerous and increases the residency requirements to 14 years to prevent immigrants, who predominantly voted for the Republican Party, from becoming citizens. In 1802: The Jefferson Administration revises the Naturalization Act of 1798 by reducing the residency requirement from 14 to five
Oh, and who’s Leo C. Denofrio: He retired his license to practice law to become a professional poker player. Picture above.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Republican Medicaid Solution: Some Will Die But Government Will Definitely Save Some Money

Cutting the cost of federal programs like Medicaid only shifts the cost to the individual. Who seriously believes this cost shifting solves the problem of health care or saves money? The Bush administration, that’s who. Behold the cold hard facts from the NY Times:
A new federal rule gives states sweeping authority to charge premiums and higher co-payments for doctors’ services, hospital care and prescription drugs provided to low-income people under Medicaid. The rule is expected to save money for the federal government and the states … But public health experts and even some federal officials predicted that many low-income people would delay or forgo care because of the higher charges. Many Medicaid recipients have chronic illnesses, use numerous prescription drugs and frequently visit doctors, so the burden of even modest co-payments can become substantial.

Are the experts right?
The administration acknowledged that “some individuals may choose to delay or forgo care rather than pay their cost-sharing obligations.”

Sounds like a “difficult but necessary” decision from the Republican administration. So some people lose, excluding fertilized eggs, and die a painful unnecessary death. Their grieving families will understand.
David P. Sloane, senior vice president of AARP, said, “Denying necessary care to people who are unable to pay is unconscionable,” as well as fiscally unwise.

But will it save money?
Public health experts said such delays could cause serious health problems, requiring more expensive care at a later date. But Jeff Nelligan, a spokesman for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said: This rule gives states more tools to help slow spending growth, while maintaining needed coverage.

Here’s the breakdown: Medicaid recipients will pay more than $1.3 billion in co-payments over five years, and the federal government will save $1.4 billion, while states will save $1.1 billion. The savings would result not only from the collection of co-payments, but also from reduced use of services.

That’s right, the federal and state governments will save money from the reduction of service, the ones people will forgo or won’t be able to pay for. This is the Republican free market plan for health care. You’ve heard it before, “The co-payments will help Medicaid recipients become “more educated and efficient health care consumers,” the administration said.”

Oh sure, being forced to pay money you don’t have to become a more educated consumer about a system that changes the rules every year, in legaleze only a lawyer could decipher. What could go wrong?

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 13 million low-income people, about a fifth of Medicaid recipients, will face new or higher co-payments. Most of the savings result from “decreased use of services,” it said.

Needy people are desperate and frightened. So who holds all the power? Another example of Republicans preying on helplessness.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Bush Rogues Gallery 2001-2008

As we close out the Bush administration, an undisputed nightmare, wouldn't it be fun to look back on just how criminal the last eight years were? Now we can.

Rachel Maddow pleasantly reminds us with her "rogues gallery" list of Republican hypocrites and lawbreakers.

Remember this: The Republicans cannot deny the Bush years ever existed by replacing it with their own reality, and they cannot escape the inconvenient truth that Bush was the worst president in history. It's a legacy they will have learned nothing from.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It’s Okay to Be a Partisan Republican Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. Gableman Zealotry out of Closet

As the right wing tears into the justice system for “legislating from the bench,” it has been not so quietly taking charge of that system so it can legislate from the bench and interpret law their way. And, like running for political office, lying is a justifiable means to an end. Enter Justice Michael Gableman. According to the Wisconsin State Journal:

No other Wisconsin judge has faced the ethics violations now confronting Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman … no judge has ever faced Judicial Commission allegations that he or she made false statements about an opponent. Gableman has indicated he will fight the accusation on First Amendment grounds … If he maintains that position throughout the proceedings, that could mean he would have to answer questions under oath.

Am I being just a partisan blogger, going after a conservative Justice? Read this from the Capital Times Online:

If there was any question as to where newly elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman stands on abortion or, for that matter, on a host of other social issues, his choice of attorney should provide some clues. Gableman, who is facing charges that he violated the Wisconsin Judicial Code of Conduct during his spring race against incumbent Justice Louis Butler, is being represented by prominent Republican attorney James Bopp Jr. who serves as counsel to the National Right to Life Committee and the James Madison Center for Free Speech.

A lead partner in the Terre Haute, Ind., law firm of Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom, Bopp has become a familiar figure in national conservative battles. He recently represented Wisconsin Right to Life, the state's leading anti-abortion group, in its successful effort to rein in the scope of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which was intended to regulate the disclosure of political money, especially close to an election.

Opposing campaign finance laws has, in fact, become a specialty of Bopp's. According to his columnist bio, Bopp has "argued numerous campaign finance cases in defense of pro-life, pro-family, conservative and Republican Party groups, including four cases in the U.S. Supreme Court."

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court is a sad partisan joke, to say the least. The last two conservative Justices took their jobs under a cloud of ethics problems. We have another election coming up, and already the Republican candidate has accused his liberal opponent of “legislating from the bench,” as if he wouldn't.

Republicans are attempting to break down the legal glue that holds this country together, replacing it with a promise that they'll take care of us when the time is right, and you're at your most desperate. Of course, there will never be a "right time" to help, and that's the beauty of a small do nothing government of elitist conservative ideologues.

Thank You John McCain! Palin, like the Bush Years, Will Be Haunting Us For Years

Krauthammer Believes (hopes?) Obama WIll Be Crushed by Lobbyists

Fox News' Charles Krauthammer thinks everyone is as corrupt and power hungry as Republicans. Despite running against power and influence, Barack Obama won't be able to resist being bribed. Krauthammer ignores Newt Gingrich's K-Street project and shutters at the thought that lobbying is now "life and death" in Washington. It will be "the greatest lobbying effort and frenzy," "an explosion of lobbying." Hey Chucky, who made it like that?

Four years from now, he can say "you were warned."

What if the Right Wing Bizarro's Were Right About Obama?

Check out the rest at Salon.

Make this A Power Steering Fluid Christmas

Have you ever found yourself zoning out during the commercial breaks, waiting patiently for your show to return, when suddenly you realize something strange just happened. This is an ad that struck me "strange," considering these tough economic times, when you know most families are finding it hard to make ends meet. What do you reach for in times of need...power steering fluid leak stopper.

Hey, sometimes you've got to advertise to get noticed.

We are Watching the Historic Mother of All U.S. Bailouts.

The fiscally conservative Bush Administration are racking up dollars spent on a historical level. In this clip, Rachel Maddow puts in perspective the money spent on U.S. disasters. At least Bush and the Republican Congress are on the right list of debacles.

Sometimes A Headline Says It All: Perry concerned by plans to limit greenhouse gases

One of the biggest comebacks against the supposed free market system rhetoric shoved in our face from the conservative party may be a consumer’s complete inability to shop around for an energy provider. Utility companies always threaten to raise rates if environmental controls are forced on them, claiming the costs have to be passed on to the consumer. In most other industries, price increases would reduce their competitiveness in the market, keeping prices in check and affordable. Angry consumers in turn could shop around for better prices and service.

In most industrialized countries around the world, energy is partially or totally nationalized. Perhaps they know something we don’t. Take for example this story from Texas about controlling pollution. It’s a no brainer for most, but not Republicans. And like the auto industry that refused to change and become more fuel efficient in the face of rising costs, the energy industry refuses to budge from their use of outdated corporate models and inefficiencies. The grid breakdown was the warning shot now long forgotten.

Houston Chronicle:

Preparing for a new administration in Washington, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that regulating greenhouse gas emissions would have "devastating implications" for Texas' economy and energy industry.

President-elect Barack Obama is believed to be more receptive to clamping down on the gases that have been blamed for global warming. Perry warned the regulation of greenhouse gases, as outlined in a notice posted by the outgoing Environmental Protection Agency administrator last summer, would run Texas "right off the tracks, into the ditch." Perry said the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, posted in July, would harm the oil and natural gas production that is vital to the Texas economy and jeopardize jobs in the coal industry.

Sounds exactly like the argument given by the big three auto makers about fuel economy and pollution control doesn’t it?

He said national oil and gas supplies would be curtailed if the federal government were to impose a large tax burden on oil and gas companies. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal government had the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases. Last May, an EPA appeals board overturned a permit for a coal plant in Utah because the application failed to require any controls on carbon dioxide pollution.

Without regulation, the coal plant in Utah would have been built without any controls on CO2 pollution.

Damn big government.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Olberman Tells the simple story of Privatization and Profits, Medicare Costs Go Up

Keith Olberman made it easy for even conservatives to understand the problem with free market private sector health care. I know, they'll say they can't believe anything from the mouth of Olberman and dismiss the facts as prejudiced.

Fundamentalist Catholic Church Bishops Right Wing Agenda Political, Republican

After watching the Republican Party marginalized by an extremist religious right agenda, noticeably devoid of public policy solutions, the bishops decided to march straight off the cliff with the loonies of that movement. This authoritarian and infallible religion has shown itself to be quite human. It all started when a Bishop sought division and confrontation against a president elect seeking peace and reconciliation. Go figure.
Faced with an incoming president who promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, an expansion of abortion rights, the nation's Catholic bishops are drawing a line in the sand. According to a list of points president Cardinal George of Chicago put together: "Aggressively pro-abortion policies and legislation will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans and would be interpreted by many Catholics as an attack on the church."

I wrote at the time:

After so many years of legal abortions, suddenly the Catholic Church feels Democrats are about to attack their religion on the abortion issue. These elitist authoritarian crusaders of God not only look like crazy right wingers, but have decided that their religion sure would make a nice political party. I hope this whole issue of abortion finally forces its members to say enough is enough, we’re outa’ here.

Going one step further, one Catholic Bishop in Scranton, PA has decided to boot out their school districts teachers union, the sworn enemy of conservative Republicans everywhere, because he wanted to.

Bishop Joseph Martino consolidated the district into one school, and did away with the union, surprising many in the community since the Catholic Church championed workers rights and unionization. Martino's response was typical after having many question his authority, "I have made a's final." He even whined about the "rhetoric" he had to endure.

What I found just as interesting were the conditions the teachers had to endure over the many years, settling for low pay and little help in the classroom. As one person explains, after 30 years of sitting in broken chairs and spending their own money on classroom supplies, removing the union was the last straw.

I think it says an awful lot about private education based on profits. If they cut corners there, what's to prevent them from doing the same to the students?

Cars are Safer and Technology Promises More of the Same

As usual, here's another car update, this time focusing in on safety technology.

CBS/AP-The insurance industry designated dozens of new cars and trucks, led by Ford Motor Co. and its Volvo subsidiary, to its annual list of the safest vehicles Tuesday, helped by the increased use of anti-rollover technology. Seventy-two cars, trucks and SUVs received the top safety pick designation for 2009, more than double the number of vehicles in the 2008 model year and three times the number in 2007.

Things can only get better too, if only the auto makers survive the Bush economic downturn.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Colbert Christmas' War on Christmas with Toby Keith

Voucher Supporters Need Reality Check: Some Private Schools are Just not the Same.

I knew there was an answer. Those who support vouchers and are often making simplistic statements about Barack Obama’s possible choice of a private school for his kids. JOHN M. CRISP, of Scripps News, has the simple answer:

Columnist Cal Thomas commends the Obama’s for resisting potential pressure from teachers unions to place their kids in one of Washington's "miserable" public schools. But he criticizes them for exercising a choice that -- he says -- they're willing to deny to millions of Americans who don't have enough money to send their own kids to private schools … it's very likely that the private schools the Obamas are considering -- at around $28,000 per year -- are far superior to the schools that we require the children of our poorest citizens to attend.

In fact, insisting that someone who doesn't support school choice should send his own children to a public school is to employ the same petulant reasoning that condemns people who support the improvement of public transportation: "If you like buses so much, fine; ride them and leave me alone to drive my S.U.V." To extend the comparison: people who never ride public transportation could just as logically insist that any public money used to subsidize transportation should be distributed as vouchers to all citizens. Similarly, a full-blown voucher system would probably mean the end of our public schools.

But the great failure of our public schools has been our unwillingness to provide quality schools for all students, largely because of the way in which public schools are traditionally funded. To oversimplify only slightly: rich neighborhoods have good schools; poor neighborhoods get by with inadequate ones. As their funding diminishes, public schools would be superseded by a haphazard assortment of private schools arranged hierarchically according to cost and, therefore, largely by quality, race, and class, as well. And that, many still believe, would be a bad thing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Do Liberals Prey on Weakness? Yes Says Mad Doctor and Author who says Liberals Suffer Political Madness.

Just like picking up the latest Onion newspaper, or Mad Magazine in the old days, I often times journey to for a surreal journey into the bizarre. I liked it so much that I have included it here as a favorite link. A little while back, the blogger wrote about the craziest new book about liberals titled “Liberals clinically mad, concludes top psychiatrist.” Remember, you are not reading the Onion. This is a real story, as only Worldnetdaily can deliver it. Here are a few of the “doctors” unbiased observations:

An acclaimed, veteran psychiatrist is making the case that the ideology motivating them (liberals) is actually a mental disorder. "Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded," says Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, "The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." "Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."

Rossiter boasts professional credentials and a life virtually free of activism and links to "the vast right-wing conspiracy." Rossiter says the kind of liberalism being displayed by both Barack Obama and his Democratic primary opponent Hillary Clinton can only be understood as a psychological disorder. "A social scientist who understands human nature will not dismiss the vital roles of free choice, voluntary cooperation and moral integrity - as liberals do," he says. "A political leader who understands human nature will not ignore individual differences in talent, drive, personal appeal and work ethic, and then try to impose economic and social equality on the population - as liberals do. And a legislator who understands human nature will not create an environment of rules which over-regulates and over-taxes the nation's citizens, corrupts their character and reduces them to wards of the state - as liberals do."

Dr. Rossiter says the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:

* creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimization;

* satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;

* augmenting primitive feelings of envy;

* rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.

"The roots of liberalism - and its associated madness - can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind," he says. "When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious."

After so much analysis, I have a question. Do Republicans Prey on Helplessness?You know, a bad economy, no health care and natural disasters. Just a thought.
So ends another trip through the broken looking glass, where everything is reversed, and seven years of bad luck actually turned out to be eight.

Republicans, Conservatives Continue to Fall on Their Own Double Edged Sword

Did you know there really isn't anything wrong with the Republican Party? It’s not their policies that are unsuccessful, it’s America's policies that needs fixing. That is the opinion of rising Republican star Gov. Bobby Jindal. The party of infallibility has learned nothing from the last 8 to 10 years. For them, it just needs to be a repackaged partisan agenda based on extremist social issues like gays, guns, God and ideology.

According to 2theadvocate:

Gov. Bobby Jindal told a “family values” crowd that he came to Iowa to talk about the American culture, not politics. The governor acknowledged the criticism that the GOP is evolving into a party of big government spending and Wall Street bailouts. He said America needs to be fixed, not the Republican Party.

America needs to be fixed? Does Jindal mean to say there is something wrong with it? He wants to change this great country of ours? I thought only liberals hated America enough to want to “fix it?” Is this another case of conservative hypocrisy?

At the incredibly entertaining and seriously ridiculous blog, dissectleft, this claim is made:
“Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it."

Somebody better tell Gov. Jindal. In fact....
Jindal blamed the economic meltdown on unchecked greed. He criticized what he sees as a coarsening of culture.

Jindal doesn't love America, but clings to his ideological fantasy of what America could become if it were less greedy. We don’t need additional regulations; we just need to convince people to voluntarily give up their greed in the face of obtaining untold wealth. It’s that easy. Or as dissectleft would say:
American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.”

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fox News Beats the Drum on Fairness and "Localism" in the Media

The panicking right wingers are not so subtly admitting that their lock on the radio airwaves is real, after years of denial, and they're not about to let the liberals cut into their 80 to 90 percent market share. So what do you do? Make something up, of course.

Brit Hume is somewhat dismissive about the "fairness doctrine," but is concerned about something called "localism." Localism is nothing more than a simple federally mandated on air radio presence in a community. They are supposed to serve the people there. In return, the airwaves in those markets are free to the broadcasters to use, so they can make money, while serving the greater good. Local hurricanes, tornado's, natural disasters and amber alerts can be initiated immediately. Sounds a little like socialism, doesn't it?

To the Republicans, this public concern is overblown, and may upset the status qua dominance on the radio. Panic about fairness pretty much says it all. Remember too, it affects liberal talk as well, and that might pose the bigger threat to conservatives. Instead of being allowed to make things up without any analysis, their biggest fear are FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS. They will have to explain themselves, along with their big ideas. Talker Laura Ingraham mentions an obscure and ridiculous sounding bill called the Broadcaster Fairness Act, prohibiting the FCC from prescribing rules, regulations, or policies that would reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. Are they trying to be funny?

Still, on the 45 top-rated talk radio stations, there were 310 hours of conservative talk and only five hours of talk from liberals in 2004. That sounds fair.

Fox News stirs the pot....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Heritage Foundation Advocates All Labor Worth Around $25, but CEO's Can Get What the Market Is Willing to Pay.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative fringe organization, sent out their economic hit man James Gattuso, to bash blue collar laborers and unions. With a straight face, Gattuso said;

"There's no reason that a UAW worker should get a total compensation of $70 and hour when the average American only makes $25 an hour in total compensation."

It appears the Heritage Foundation would like to see everyone of us make the same low wage, while arguing that CEO's should make as much as the free market can bear, keeping government out of the business of removing incentives for people to make higher incomes. Chris Matthews is quick to make that case: "Sir, you negotiate your salary at the Heritage Foundation and they negotiate for their own salary where they're getting $70."

I loved Pat Buchanan's response, "Heritage is completely subsidized. What do you guys produce for heavens sake...?

Damn good question.

Maddow Worries, Fears Experience in Obama Administration. Guest Gladwell Offers Encouragement and Sanity.

I really love watching and listening to Rachel Maddow, but sometimes here doom and gloom cynicism about the future raises red flags were there really aren't any to begin with. Case in point: Barack Obama's tapping into too many established politicos, especially from the Clinton administration, to bring about real change. Apparently, Maddow would prefer less experienced people in place in a time of national and international crisis.

Thank god her guest and author of the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, offered up some very encouraging insights into Obama's selections. He basically made Maddow look like she should be wearing a tin foil hat.

Another Republican Criticizes Deficits, Warns Obama Spendings Trouble. After the Last 20 Years, Zip it.

Hardball's Chris Matthews has been red hot going after the Republican ideologues and their blatant hypocrisy when it comes to deficits.

Here we have another one of the many wondering strategists, John Feehery this time , ripping into Obama's plans to invest more taxpayer money into the future economy and lift the country out of this recession.

Of course Feehery now believes that this is not the time to increase the deficit, even though I remember clearly the Bush deficit was supposedly historically small, while Congress spent like drunken sailors without a presidential veto. This is truly a pleasure to watch.

NOTE: I've edited the stories for time, so you don't have to spend a lot of time watching unrelated issues or long exchanges. I keep enough in for context purposes.

Hagel Confirms What We All Knew: GOP Should Address Problems, Held Captive of Raw Partisan Paralysis

Add this to the list of many examples posted here of the Republican admissions that their party is dead. Chuck Hagel sounds the alarm to the blind, deaf and dumb right wing extremists.

Here's the play by play from CNN:

As his Senate career nears its end, Republican Chuck Hagel isn't holding back.

"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh. You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office," a sarcastic Hagel continued. "They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly. [The truth is] they try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."

Hagel also faulted Washington lawmakers for "raw, partisan, political paralysis."

"The American people don't like what is going on… they want us to start doing what leaders are expected to do, address the problems, find some consensus to governing. Get along. There will be disagreements, sure… but in the end we can't hold ourselves captives to this raw, partisan, political paralysis."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Canadian Conservatives Responsible for $4 Billion Deficit: Corporate Tax Cuts the Cuprit

Believe it or not, this is really bad news in Canada:

The report projects a deficit of $3.9 billion in 2009-10 and
$1.4 billion in 2010-11, with a return to modest surpluses of $1.6 billion in
2011-12 and $3 billion in 2012-13.
Here’s the kicker, and something Canadian conservative have in common with Republicans in the U.S., their inability to build up surplus’ for unexpected economic downturns and more corporate tax cuts. Predictable.

Though Canada's disappearing surplus is partially the result of a global financial crisis, the report says the minority Conservative government shoulders some of the responsibility because of policy decisions during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first term in office. It pinpoints the government's second one-percentage-point reduction in the goods and services tax and reductions in corporate income taxes for causing the lowest budget balance in the first five months of the fiscal year in recent times.

Proving my point again: There is a mental disconnect in the conservative mind, whether chemical or just a chunk of brain mass missing, that fails to acknowledge anything past the next election or sound money management (just a partial list).

Newt Gingrich Example of Conservative Intellectualism: Slick Marketing and the Air of Infallible Elitism

Newt Gingrich is what the right wing would call an "intellectual." What we really have in Newt is man who has integrated what are now failed ideological theories of free markets and religious zealotry.

That's right, he actually suggested the possibility of a gay and secular fascism in this country. A "very dangerous threat to traditional religion." From this insanity, flows the rest of Gingrich's poison filled donuts of wisdom, with a cool-aid chaser.

Let’s take a look at all the places this ideologue spreads his well integrated B.S., as presented on his web site:
Newt serves as a Member of the Defense Policy Board. Newt is the longest-serving teacher of the Joint War Fighting course for Major Generals. He also teaches officers from all five services as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at the National Defense University. Newt serves on the Terrorism Task Force for the Council on Foreign Relations. He is an Editorial Board Member of the Johns Hopkins University journal, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, and is an Advisory Board Member of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Recently, Newt was named co-Chair of the UN Task Force, a bi-partisan Congressional effort to reform the United Nations. As an author, Newt has published eighteen books including 10 fiction and non-fiction New York Times best-sellers. He was the architect of the “Contract with America.”

We all know how that turned out. Can you say bailout?

Recent films include Rediscovering God in America and We Have the Power. A third documentary, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, is currently in production.

We all know how the Reagan revolution turned out? Can you say bailout?

If Republicans Can Advocate Breaking Contracts With Auto Workers, How Good are the GOP’s Commitments on Anything?

It seems Republicans are quick to abandon contracts, agreements and good faith on a whim if they can no longer benefit from the situation. For example, let's look at their attempt to break up the auto workers unions. The AP opens with this misleading information:
The leaders of General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers union told Congress this week that a new union contract will virtually erase the labour cost gap between GM and foreign competitors with U.S. factories. That's not quite true, according to GM's own figures. Although the contract signed last year eliminates about two-thirds of the cost gap when its provisions take full effect in 2010, GM's labour costs will remain about $9 per hour, or 17 per cent, higher than Toyota's, according to GM estimates.

That $9 per hour difference is enough for Republicans to risk bankruptcy, massive job losses or a dramatic decrease in market share for U.S. auto makers. But that $9 difference is what workers earned as part of their pay package, not a handout or charity promised from GM, Ford or Chrysler. To hire someone at an agreed to wage, and then years later, pay them less is exactly what Republicans are proposing. AP continues:
The remaining difference largely is due to "legacy" costs, the cost of a 100-year-old company paying its retiree pensions … The labour costs were singled out by opponents as a reason why the Detroit Three can't be competitive with their Japanese rivals …GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said, "While legacy seems to be a dirty word of late, it also means we support hundreds of thousands of people via pensions, health care and good jobs."

While Republicans whine incessantly about being able to keep more of their hard earned money, they’re more than willing to take away that same hard earned cash from workers for the corporate good and race to the bottom.

As the AP article states:

“…that's still $9 more than the $53 per hour that GM estimated Toyota now pays in the United States.”
Could it be the Republican Party’s ultimate goal is to break up the unions?

Here's a compilation of arguments from both sides. Can you point out the vacuous, morally bankrupt Party hell bend on fulfilling one of their ideological goals?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Conscience Clause Bush Style

Imagine a health care system where your doctor or hospital can refuse to treat you because they don’t believe it would be morally right. Sounds chaotic? This has been the dream of far right religious zealots and the more radical Republican Party leaders, like the Bush administration. In many states, it’s called the conscience clause. It may sound like a threat to the public health, but that hasn’t stopped these nut jobs from leaving the Obama administration with even more things to to “fix." The NY Times explains:

A last-minute Bush administration plan to grant sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections.

The proposed rule would prohibit recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to perform or to assist in the performance of abortions or sterilization procedures because of their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.” The Ohio Health Department said the rule “could force family planning providers to hire employees who may refuse to do their jobs. ” Pharmacies said the rule would allow their employees to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives and could “lead to Medicaid patients being turned away.”

It would also prevent hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices and drugstores from requiring employees with religious or moral objections to “assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity” financed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

But three officials from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including its legal counsel, whom President Bush appointed, said the proposal would overturn 40 years of civil rights law prohibiting job discrimination based on religion.

The protest from the commission comes on the heels of other objections to the rule by doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, state attorneys general and political leaders, including President-elect Barack Obama (who) said the proposal will raise new hurdles to women seeking reproductive health services, like abortion and some contraceptives. Aides and advisers to Mr. Obama said he would try to rescind it, a process that could take three to six months.

To avoid the usual rush of last-minute rules, the White House said in May that new regulations should be proposed by June 1 and issued by Nov. 1. The “provider conscience” rule missed both deadlines. Under the White House directive, the deadlines can be waived “in extraordinary circumstances.” Administration officials were unable to say immediately why an exception might be justified in this case.

It will be interesting to see what happens in this country when this new rule is put in place, even for a few months. And you thought trashing the White House by the outgoing administration was bad form (even though it really didn't happen when Clinton office).

Lame Duck Bush Concentrating on Legacy and Library of Disasters

TheDailybeasts' Tina Brown casually mentioned what President Bush is into now, and that is an unhealthy preoccupation with his legacy and library, while Rome burns.

Her vision of that library is featured here:

CNN's Magic Touch Screen Gets the Best of Daily Show's John Oliver. We'll Miss Him.

This Daily Show bit with John Oliver is so good, like an episode out of the Twilight Zone, that I had to include it here.

Republicans Won't lift a Hand to Overpayed, Benefit filled Union American Work Force

The new face of the Republican Party appears to be more mean spirited than ever, acting like an animal backed into a corner, this time in the form of Rep. Phil Gingery of Georgia.

What can you say about the party of small government and free unregulated capitalism, that turns its back on paying for the mess they created, and treating that irresponsible behavior like a badge of honor. They're quick to blame the home buyers and union auto workers for the crisis in a vain to distract attention away from their own misdeeds. It's not working though.

Gingery complains the auto workers have benefits packages and are overpaid, not seeing the irony of the cadillac benefits he receives in his cushy job as a member of our taxpayer supported government. Take a look:

Rep. Robert Wexler: "...misplaced blame if we're talking about putting this on the automobile workers."

Rep. Phil Gingery: "They have also given a great deal to the Democratic Party in the past elections... so don't ask my people to be supportive of that."

It's time to get even, isn't it Rep. Gingery? What I can't understand is this: President elect Obama wants to reach across the isle to these snakes?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lieberman's Nine Senate Lives are Up, Connecticut Voters Will Play Cleanup. Where are You Ned Lamont?

Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman was allowed to keep his committee chairmanship, allowing for a possible filibuster proof Senate, leaving the fate of "turn coat Joe" to the voters in a few years.

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 11/11-13. Likely voters. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Lieberman is doing as U.S. senator?

Approve 36 (45)
Disapprove 61 (43)

If the 2012 election for U.S. Senate were held today would you to reelect Joe Lieberman would you consider voting for another candidate or would you vote to replace Lieberman?

Reelect 35
Consider Someone Else 18
Replace 48

I'm hoping we get to see this ad from Ned Lamont again and again and again...

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Future of Republican Party? Yes, "Back to the Future"

Congressman Paul Ryan has been mentioned as an up and comer in the Republican Party. Being a fellow Wisconsinite, I have taken it upon myself to watch close-up just how he has perfected his sales pitch, even at the risk of my sanity. You'll see what I mean after watching these short, but telling clips.

In this clip, Rep. Ryan justifies sending taxpayer money to Wall Street, to prevent a "deep" recession, but sees no value in fixing bridges and providing food stamps. "More spending from the federal government, whether its bridges or food stamps or whatever, that doesn't create jobs, that doesn't grow the economy-that grows the deficit."

Jeezes Paul, how wrong can you get it? Getting people back to work and buying food does NOT stimulate the economy?

In this clip, only the first 30 sec., Ryan says this: "Yet Congress has made it illegal to drill in most of America. I wanna lift the ban..."

That sounds pretty general, sweeping really, in scope. Is this Ryan's plan to beautify America?

These aren't new ideas, they're crazy old ideas ideologically driven, pure and simple.

trashes his own districts GM Janesville plant closure by opposing the bridge loan to auto makers,

Just for Fun, All the Colbert McCain Green Screen Entries

College Republicans View Spineless Congressional Democratic Compromisers as Partisan. Think of Themselves as Fair Over the Last 10 Years.

Republicans are on the defensive these days, not because they are in the minority, but because they’ve had their ideological rug pulled out from under them. Nationwide the negative campaign ads exposed their prejudices, racism, bigotry and anger. Sure these were desperate moves by desperate candidates, but that was no excuse to accuse half the country of siding with terrorists. Which brings me to this revealing look at the next generation of Republicans. is reporting that a poll by Washington Square News found 86 percent of students on the NYU campus voted for President-elect Barack Obama.

But Republicans on campus (say), “Republican policies aren’t racist, cold-hearted or mean-spirited, despite what many students at NYU believe.”

Apparently the alternate reality referred to by the Bush Administration is alive, thriving and doing well in the real world where the conservative ideology has proven itself to be a complete disaster. After 10 years of Republican political dominance, and our current economic crisis, it’s hard to imagine anyone making the following statement:

CAS sophomore and College Republican member Annie Peck said. “We need a multitude of ideas in order to make the best possible decisions for this country,” Peck said. “With the same ideology in every facet of Washington, I don’t think there will be enough deliberation and discussion that is typical of a bipartisan government.”

Sorry, but I don’t recall hearing those same complaints when Republicans controlled everything in Washington. Drumming out moderate Republicans and discriminating against Democrats on K-Street is hardly bipartisan. In a party that creates its own reality, would it surprise you to hear this next observation?:

Stern freshman Andrea Catsimatidis hopes for a Republican transfer of power in the 2010 midterm elections. “Voting for Obama became a fad and people did it because it was cool, even though they might not have known what he stood for,” Catsimatidis said.

Actually we knew what Obama stood for because we listened to his explanations and went to his web site for a detailed breakdown of his policies. That’s all anyone really had to do. Andrea of course doesn’t stop at just one talking point:

“I think that people will realize this and since Republican houses have a history of fixing problems, America will elect a Republican house in two years once they realize the detrimental effects of instating an extremely partisan government.”

Sorry Andrea, fixing the gay marriage problem isn’t what America vote for this time. What can you say to someone who didn’t think Gingrich, Bush, Cheney, Delay and Michele Bachmann weren't partisan?

Honda's Natural Gas Car Can Be Filled Up at Home

I know this is cruel, but while the American auto makers are trying to stay afloat, Honda is pushing the expansion of natural gas cars. With more cars rolling off the assembly line, the price might come down, and with a little help from energy tax credits we all might someday be in the market to buy.

They even have a way to retrofit your homes natural gas supply so you can tap into it and fill up at home, instead of driving all over hells creation looking for a station. Check it out:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Disaster Capitalism: Republicans Want Auto Industry Bankrupt to Break Up Unions

Let's talk about the auto industry bailout. Think Progress layed it out this way:

Congress and the Bush administration are currently considering whether to spend $25 billion to rescue Detroit automakers. The proposal has generally been met with stiff resistance from conservatives, who have increasingly been pinning all the blame for the crisis in Detroit on labor unions.

Nice try guys, but that's not the half of it, and there in lies the problem.

Response 1: Come on, say it, the Republicans have found another disaster opportunity to break up the unions by having them file for bankruptcy and restructure. They are willing to bring down the industry and it's many affilitates and suppliers so they can break the unions.

See how easy that was. Say it everytime you're asked about the bailout and the Republican response

Reponse 2: Republicans want to take the money already given to the auto makers to make fuel efficient competitive cars to sell so they can get back on their feet and use it for other purposes.

That's right, forget about long term planning, just keep them afloat long enough to go bankrupt so they can restructure themselves. Retooling for the future, are you crazy. Ever wonder how the country got to this point? Now you know.

Stephen Moore Is the Court Jester of Conservative Chaos

The Wall Street Journal's own Stephen Moore strutted his goofy stuff with Stephen Colbert. Here's a guy that will admit to anything in the spirit of having fun, never realizing just how sad and sick he really looks to America. We've moved on Moore, or haven't you even noticed?

Auto Industry Out of Touch, Chevy Volt Troublesome Future Savior

The Frontline special "Heat," took a look at why the auto industry is going bankrupt right now, along with it's future savior the Chevy Volt. It's not looking good for either.

Not only are some of the people interviewed stuck hopelessly in the past, but shockingly, the Volt stalled during the Frontline demonstration. Democratic Congressman John Dingell, in supporting the auto industry opposition to raising CAFE standards, failed the people he tried to protect from losing their jobs. Even though higher mileage cars were determined to be a common sense solution since the 1970's, Japan thought so, Dingell couldn't see past the profit motives of GM.

Sadly, he's a major reason why the auto industry is in shambles. I'd ask how he is able to sleep at night, but apparently, he still doesn't get it.

Bailout Money Used for Bank Bonuses! How Dumb is Congress?

Stop payment on some of that bailout money, NOW!
That should have been the response by the House Oversight Committee's Chairman, Henry Waxman, when he found out that $108 billion of the $125 billion of taxpayer money given to the banks would go to employee compensation and bonuses. But instead, typical of almost all Democratic responses, this polite letter:

Mr. John G. Stumpf
Chief Executive Officer
Wells Fargo & Company
Dear Mr. Stumpf: Earlier this month, the Treasury Department announced plans to invest $125 billion of taxpayer funds in nine major banks, including yours, as an emergency measure to rebuild depleted capital. According to recent public filings, these nine banks have spent or reserved $108 billion for employee compensation and bonuses in the first nine months of 2008, nearly the same amount as last year.

Some experts have suggested that a significant percentage of this compensation could come in year-end bonuses and that the size of the bonuses will be significantly enhanced as a result of the infusion of taxpayer funds? According to one analyst, "Had it not been for the government's help in refinancing their debt they may not have had the cash to pay bonuses."

While I understand the need to pay the salaries of employees, I question the appropriateness of depleting the capital that taxpayers just injected into the banks through the payment of billions of dollars in bonuses, especially after one of the financial industry's worst years on record.

Henry A. Waxman

The only thing Waxman left out was the XXX & OOOO!

Down the Rabbit Hole with State Rep. Fitzgerald: "you can't cut or tax your way out" of budget deficit. What's Left, Magic?

It's time to hold Republicans feet to the fire. They talk there usual game, tax cuts, but are never forced into telling the American public just what they'll cut.

Case in point: Newly installed Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald contradicts his own comments, all in the same statement, about the possibility of raising sales or income taxes and making cuts in our state budget. In fact if you take Fitzgerald at his word-"you can't cut your way out or tax your way out," than there really is NO SOLUTION, since these are the only two option legislators have. Ooops. No wonder they're a minority party.

Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald: "It's a non-starter for us (sales tax increase)... when you're dealing with a $5 billion deficit I think, you really can't cut your way or tax your way out of that. You really need to grow the economy... to try and grow your way out of the deficit."

Typical Republican "top down/trickle down" rhetoric, ignoring the fact that if we're in an economic slump, businesses won't be expanding and hiring more people to make products and goods no one can afford to buy. More importantly, Fitzgerald clearly states, "you can't cut your way out or tax your way out" of the budget deficit, yet proposes just the opposite.

Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald: "The first thing you have to do is to stop the spending... that's what we have a problem with."

Oh, you mean "cut" our way out of the problem, which you just said would not be enough? For a party that wants to do away with the income tax and replace it with a sales tax, Republicans seem to have a problem raising that sales tax a .5 to 1 percentage point higher for some reason.

Bottom line: If you can't raise the sales tax to increase the state budgetary coffers, and you slash Medicaid and educational funding while removing more business taxes from the rolls, just where does that leave us? Alabama?

The press and the Democratic majority have got to stop leaving their comments alone and literally badger them into exposing what they want to eliminate. And don't stop there, ask them to convince the public that their cuts will benefits our quality of life.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Big Health Care Providers Squeeze Insurance Companies, Raising Customer Premiums

Michael Moore had it right: Get the profit out of health care insurance. The following story was basically off my screen until I found it, and surprisingly, market forces continue to rack up more cash by gaming the system (any system). This time insurance bows to the big health care providers. The Boston Globe uncovered this:

"A healthcare system badly out of balance,” Elite hospitals are paid much more for care that is often no better than average. It is the best kept secret in Massachusetts medicine.

.... Call it the best-kept secret in Massachusetts medicine: Health insurance companies pay a handful of hospitals far more for the same work even when there is no evidence that the higher-priced care produces healthier results.

This payment pattern has become a driving force in the state's galloping healthcare costs, and it raises hard questions about why certain hospitals and physicians receive premium pay for care that is no better than that of their competitors. Until now, the growing pay gap has not been subject to public scrutiny because contracts between insurers and hospitals typically include confidentiality agreements. But dramatic payment gaps have emerged over the last decade as hospitals pushed, with varying levels of success, to offset federal budget cuts by boosting their income from insurance companies, health executives say. The resulting wide range of payments for the same services reflects a healthcare system in which deregulation and lax government oversight have allowed the hospitals with the most clout to extract big increases from insurers while everyone else falls behind....

Health insurance premiums paid by the average Massachusetts family have jumped 78 percent since 2000, and a significant portion of the rise has been driven by hefty insurance payment increases to dominant providers, who use the extra income to install the latest technology and expand, often on rivals' turf… officials say that they steadily lose doctors to those that can pay more, and that they constantly struggle to keep pace with advances in costly medical technology.

The hospitals that are paid at the highest rates all share one trait: They have the bargaining clout to demand higher insurance payments. Often, that clout is based on a powerful brand name and elite reputation....

The other source of bargaining power is geographical isolation. No company has thrived more in this sharply competitive world than Partners HealthCare, a company formed in 1994 to fight back against what its founders saw as the stinginess and lopsided power of insurance companies, which had brought many hospitals to their knees. By bringing together two of the most prestigious hospitals in Boston - the Brigham and Mass. General - Partners became what some called the "800-pound gorilla" of Massachusetts healthcare, able to bend insurers to its will.

Partners' dominance became clear in 2000, when executives of Tufts Health Plan had the temerity to refuse Partners' demand for a substantial rate increase. Partners countered by declaring it would no longer accept Tufts insurance at its hospitals. Within days, as thousands of Tufts customers threatened to change insurance rather than lose the right to treatment at the two famous hospitals, Tufts gave in to Partners' demands. Since then, Partners has negotiated one big pay increase after another from insurance companies fearful of a similar humiliation.

"Some are able to spend more than others," said Jack Connors, Partners' longtime chairman of the board. "It's our fortune that we're probably in the lead on those investments. And several hospitals aren't able to keep that pace. And that's what I, as a businessman, call market forces, if you will."

Anonymous GOP Leader Hides from Angry Touchy Feely Appeasers and Peaceniks

Not only did Republicans run without mentioning their party affiliation in their TV ads and take on Democrats in the Democratic primary in Milwaukee, they’re even afraid talk to the press and allow their names to be mentioned publically. No, really.

In an Isthmus article “Dane County's secret GOP chair” by Bill Lueders, we are treated to a surreal and amusing tale of frightened Republicans playing the victim to the hilt again, this time threatened by liberals who are against violence, guns and war. These are the same myths of "threats" we heard from our own Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, traveling anti-intellectual David Horowitz and columnist Jonah Goldberg. It’s a way for them to appear more heroic, as they take the fight to the party of inclusion, intellectualism and progress. For a country that is center right, this would appear to many as contradictory and somewhat paranoid.

Enjoy this tale from the outer edge of Bizarro Land:

Perhaps the most bizarre part of last week's Election Night Watching Party sponsored by the Republican Party of Dane County (see post, wasn't the guy overheard saying, "You know, it wouldn't surprise me if the Democrats started using the Koran," or even the handout evoking the eerie parallels between the rise of Adolf Hitler and that of the "abortionist" Barack Obama.

Rather, it was the effort made to shield the identity of the group's top official — its elected chairman.

He was there, all right, periodically addressing the audience from the podium. But he was not wearing a nametag and never said his name. Bill Richardson, the group's spokesman, told Isthmus the chair's name, but asked that it not be used. Other media were asked not to photograph or quote anyone without permission, expressly to prevent the negative consequences that could ensue from being exposed as a Republican.

The chair’s name appears on the party's website only in its archived newsletters. Richardson attributes the man's reticence to two factors.

First, he doesn't like dealing with the press: "He gets so passionate and so upset he's afraid he'll say something stupid." Second, says Richardson, the chair works in business construction (according to the newsletter, he's a commercial banker) and "depends on being able to get along with a lot of different people in Madison." And that's hard for a Republican.

"Most of the people on the city council and County Board are very far left folks," explains Richardson, and others in Madison are similarly intolerant. "If they find out he's the chairman of the Dane County Republican Party, they'd say, 'No way are we going to do business with this guy.'"

Other Dane County Republicans, avers Richardson, live in near-constant fear. "Their cars get keyed, all the time," he says. "Their homes are painted with obscenities. Things are burned into their lawns. Their kids are scared half to death."


Oh, yeah. According to Richardson, the chair's car was vandalized. Richardson himself, a former UW-Madison music professor, once had a guy on a bike "start screaming at the top of his lungs" because he didn't like his "Vote No to Cut and Run" bumper sticker.

"That happens over and over in Madison, all the time."
For this reason, Richardson asked Isthmus to please not print the chair's name. With the poor man's livelihood if not his life in jeopardy, due to the sheer wickedness of local liberals, that's the least we can do

Then why do local officials give millions of dollars in subsidies to developer Terrence Wall, a self-described "Ronald Reagan conservative" who enjoys picking fights with the left ("Up Against T. Wall," 10/2/08)?

Says Richardson, "He's big enough to make things happen."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Obama Reaches Out to 7 Year Old Blogger

Then there's the story of the 7 year old blogger Stanislaw Gunkle, smart kid, who gets a surprise letter in the mail from president elect Barack Obama. Here's a kid who builds environmentally friendly Lego communities, waxing (blogging) political. He even compared McCain and Obama platforms and felt Obama's would be best for the country. Great story.

Free Market Greed and the Formula for Making Money on Education Through Charter Schools: Vilify Teachers and Public Ed

While Republicans focus on attacking the teachers unions and over abundance of critically important school administrators, the educational community is working overtime fixing the problems that have plagued the system.

While conservatives see education as an opportunity for exploitation and profit, i.e. private school vouchers/charters, educators are feverishly trying to improve the public school systems in order to keep up with promising new teaching advances and European competition.

So far as I can see, free market/small government principals have not only wiped out state and federal budgets to advance necessary educational investments, but it has also made it almost impossible for inner city and low income families to focus on their kids learning while struggling to hold down multiple jobs. Let’s face it, economic status is the elephant in the room these ideologues refuse to acknowledge, so they have a reason to blame schools and teachers for high drop out rates and low performance. It’s that simple, and that sick.

So my question to those who want to make money on private, home and unregulated e-schooling: Just how much do you want to spend on research and technology to stay competitive in the global economy? Without massive public funding and investment, bottom lines and investor profits in the private sector, will expose education to downsizing and budget cutting.

Take what’s happening in Minnesota for instance, where 1 in 5 charter schools are failing. Some teachers are unlicensed, which is against state law, but still teaching with the full backing of school administrators. They think he’s a good teacher and is qualified anyway. Don’t you love free markets?

KAAL TV reported this:

A school made a bold and public response to Thursday night’s 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation.

A sign welcomed students to North Lakes Academy in St. Paul in the morning. It read ‘License shouldn't matter, knowledge does, save Mister Engen.’ Dave Engen is one of the unlicensed teachers the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation uncovered was working at a Minnesota charter school.

The North Lakes Academy director said Engen is qualified, even though he hasn't had a valid teaching license in five years.

When the Minnesota Department of Education heard about the sign, they sent a letter to the director that states, "Your school's mocking of state laws and regulations, is disturbing." The letter also warns that if North Lakes Academy doesn't comply with teacher licensure laws, the state will withhold funds.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow Asks U.S. to Get a Clue from Rest of the World

We heard Gov. Palin mention over and over in stump speeches about American Exceptionalism, as though it provided the answers to everything, including the economic debacle. In truth, it's this extremist kind of thinking that isolates us from the outside world and alienates us from them, rejecting their solutions as "not our way." This "go it alone" attitude is holding us back.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow offers up a short list of "good government" areas of involvement, that would make life a little better for everyone.

Shhh! GOP is Dead, Pass It On...

You may have noticed my pronouncements here that the Republican Party is dead. I have been providing video examples of an ideology in its death throws, the deniers and enablers, the hacks and delusional. The cute little huggable teddy to the right, from, is a wonderful sleeping companion for those who want to stop the nightmares.

The other reviews are coming in now, and this one stood out:

RIP: GOP - Thank you, Christian Right!!!! by the national gadfly,
That giant sucking sound that you hear, is the hole in the ground where the GOP used to be. The Christian Right (CR) took them over and instead of spreading out to envelop the entire country, the greedy, intolerant, deceitful hypocrites have killed the GOP. Moderate and independent citizens have spoken with their votes. It turns out that Americans really do want equality for all.

The GOP has collapsed as a direct result of the unholy marriage between the oil / defense industry GOP hacks and religious zealots seeking to install their religion into government. They both sought to fleece the other, like two grifters each assuming that the other one had money. Barack Obama was too tempting for them. They couldn't help themselves but to be stoke fear and hate in an ever intensifying downward spiral. They have lost almost everyone except white racists and apologists for corporate corruption.

The collapse of the GOP promises to be a grand spectacle indeed. There are still a great deal of GOP faithful that still haven't caught on that they are being used by people in their party and religious leadership. Once they start to really figure it out, the party will get even smaller.

I think the final nail in the coffin is this: the world has one universal currency - ideas. The country that can think and create better than every other country will have the advantage in production, quality of life, prosperity, security and longevity. The GOP & Christian Right do not support an educated population. They do not want their autocratic rule to be challenged. We Americans have seen that ignorance is not bliss, it is a cancer. So too, is the GOP today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Republican Mike Paul Has Fomula for Change, While Pat Buchanan Laughs. Are They Their Own Worst Enemy?

Chris Matthews had Republican strategist Mike Paul on to get his take on the direction the party might be taking after its two recent election drubbings. You know, what are some of the changes the Republican Party might have to make, to gain back any credibility in the future.

The old guard crazy Pat Buchanan tried in vain to convince Paul to get back to the roots of the Republican platform, ignoring the public signal that something has just gotta change, while rudely telling him to take a look at himself instead of the Grand Old Party. Paul articulated a promising message of change instead.

Young College Republicans the Future of Party? God I hope Not.

Here's a little clip from the recent Lee Atwater documentary showing a few twisted scary representatives at the 2007 College Republican Convention. What kind of political party of Americans would push this kind of frightening propaganda and think they were sane?

Prop 8 Supporters Fighting Back, Forcing Bigots out into the Open via Public Records of Donations, on Blacklist.

When the tables are turned on the anti-gay marriage zealots, feeling like an outsider and bigot for supporting Prop 8 should give them pause, and maybe a little social rejection.

According to CBS News:

For supporters of same-sex marriage, the Election Day loss in California seems to be energizing their campaign rather than ending it. Now the anger is moving to the Internet, where supporters of same-sex marriage are posting blacklists - the names and businesses of those who gave money to help Proposition 8 pass. Chris Lee, an engineer who is an immigrant from China, was shocked to see his name on the Web site after he gave $1,000 to the campaign to end same-sex marriage. "I was completely disgusted," Li said. "This sort of blacklist should only appear in communist countries, should not be found in the United States."

I think Li is a little confused. After all, he just created a government protected form of discrimination, just like in communist countries.

In Los Angeles, demonstrators called for a boycott of a restaurant whose manager made a personal donation of $100 to the "Yes on 8" campaign. "She didn't think it would be public record," said Jeff Yarbrough.

Anger over the blacklists brought out demonstrators in Sacramento, where Scott Eckern resigned as musical director of a local theater when he was identified as a donor.

While it isn't clear who is behind the blacklisting Web sites, political donations are public record and publishing them is legal. But this campaign is making even many supporters of same-sex marriage uncomfortable. "I understand the anger, but I think we need to channel it," said Molly McKay of Marriage Equality USA. "Into conversations, into moving forward because, you know again, hate vs. hate produces more hate."

Funny thing though, the blacklist isn’t a hate list, just a list of bigots who are afraid to stand up for their beliefs. Public records are just that. If anything, they should feel a sense of pride making a gay person a second class citizen, along with being a constitutionally protected form of discrimination. Bravo!

Those campaigning to end same-sex marriage drew up their own blacklist, sending letters to large donors to the campaign to save same-sex marriage, demanding equal money or threatening to publish their names.

Wow, threatening to reveal the names of those who aren't bigots, and blackmailing them on top of that. These people really are nuts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bush: "Not more Government. It Should Be Smarter Government." Huh?

The lesson from this failed, miserable, callous and ideologically driven President and Republican Party: Free market capitalism FAILED.

In the clip, Bush warns us not to inject government into a slightly flawed capitalistic system (some highlighted comments are written below). Bush is followed by Financial Regulation Consultant Paul Equale, Rich Lowery and a few others. Fox News of course does its best not to blame Bush or Republicans, as you'll see when the host cuts off Equale's criticism of Bush for not regulating the markets when he knew he had too, and then throws in the "Democrats are equally to blame" for the meltdown.

Rich Lowery merely proves how capitalism really works, inadvertently, when he says Paulson 's plan is just a slush fund for every failing business in America. Gee Rich, if businesses were so in love with deregulated and tax free capitalism, why are they rushing to get government handouts?

Are they hypocrites?

I loved this exchange:
The host also injects, (the president did say) "This is not a failure of free markets."

Fox pundit:
"It's almost cyclical. He says let's remember we had 60 years of prosperity, there have been a couple of occasions in the 30's and I think he referenced the 80's and also now, a few months of bad times. Don't let them overshadow decades of prosperity."

Bush nuggets on capitalism:

"History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market, it is too much government involvement in the market."

" The surest path to that (economic) growth is free markets, and free people."

"In the wake of the financial crisis, voices from the left and right are equating the free enterprise system with greed and exploitation and failures, by lenders and borrowers and financial firms and government and independent regulators. But the crisis was not a failure of the free market system...capitalism is not perfect, it can be subject to excesses and abuse, but it is by far the most efficient and just way of structuring an economy."