Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sign O'The Times

It's a little late for some Friday funk, but now's as good a time as any for The Artist Who I Think Is Now Known Again As Prince, or something (all I know is that he writes and performs great songs, including this one).

Send Paul To Help Clean The Barnyard

This letter appeared in today's Bucks County Courier Times.

After reading and researching the facts brought out in the news articles concerning 6th PA State Senatorial district candidates Paul Lang and Tommy Tomlinson, I will be supporting and voting for Paul Lang.

I am a registered Republican and one of many people having a "fed up" factor. Simply put, we are fed up with the way things are going with the Pennsylvania politicians and the "Harrisburg Hogs" currently serving in our state legislature.

Tomlinson, in his 20-plus years of being involved in politics, is not only out to lunch but out of touch with we middle class people. We are currently forming a group of voters known as Republicans and Independents for Paul Lang for State Senate. Our email address is

We intend to work very hard for Paul Lang until Election Day, Nov. 7. It is important for anyone disgusted with the way things are to register and vote for much-needed change. You can pick up a voter registration form at your local post office.

Linda Moore
To help Paul, click here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Night Video #2

Tom Waits again (why not...the perfect time of the day for his music), performing "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)" on "Fernwood Tonight" (the goofy talk show parody with Martin Mull and Fred Willard from the '70s also)

Friday Night Video #1

In honor of Mike Douglas, I present this clip of a performance by Tom Waits (the tune is from "Nighthawks At The Diner") in 1976, and the interview Douglas conducted with Waits afterwards (this was so typical of his show, with all different types of personalities feeling at ease and having a good time...where else were you likely to ever see Marvin Hamlisch, Glenda Jackson and Waits all together at once?).

Thanks, Rico

While amassing his impressive career statistics, I can recall Eric Desjardins playing through all kinds of injuries that probably would have left me and most other people unable to climb out of bed (typical for most athletes I suppose, but still remarkable). I can also recall him being matched with many defensemen while he played with the Flyers, and he managed to improve their game by playing alongside him (which is the mark of a truly great player...Desjardins single-handedly extended the NHL career of Chris Therien in this way long after it should have ended).

He stood up for the Flyers during the Eric Lindros/Bob Clarke fiasco (a big deal in these parts for a time) and truly played and conducted himself with as much class and professionalism as you could ever expect from an elite athlete, serving as the complete and total opposite of the self-centered prima donnas who populate sports these days (for an example, see Owens, Terrell).

And the fact that the Flyers never won a Stanley Cup during Desjardins' 11 years here is not his fault in any way whatsoever.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (8/11)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area senators were recorded on major roll-call votes last week. The House was in recess.

Gulf of Mexico drilling. The Senate passed, 71-25, a bill to open about 8.34 million acres in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas extraction while setting a 125-mile buffer zone between Florida and the drilling area. The bill (S 3711) now goes to conference with the House.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).

Voting no: Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).
As I said earlier today, Carper might as well be a Republican.

Minimum wage, estate tax. Senators failed, 56-42, to get the 60 votes needed to advance a bill (HR 5970) raising the hourly minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over three years, and exempting all but the wealthiest estates from taxation.
A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Voting yes: Santorum and Specter.

Voting no: Biden, Carper, Lautenberg and Menendez.
Once again, I give you Dr. Dean (and kudos to everyone who contacted their senators and told them what they could do with this).

And as far as Santorum is concerned...

Pension plans. Senators passed, 93-5, and sent to President Bush a bill (HR 4) requiring about 30,000 companies to fully fund traditional defined-benefit pension plans over seven years.

All Philadelphia-area senators voted for the bill.
This WaPo article explains that the bill, while providing the seven-year timeframe for companies to fully fund their pension plans, is ultimately going to allow companies to discontinue traditional pension plans altogether for many experienced workers (with maybe about 10-15 years or more into the work force) and those just beginning their careers. I have a feeling that that’s the reason why Barbara Boxer (who, aside from her recent Lieberman dalliance, has done a lot of good stuff) and Russ Feingold voted against it.

There were some other curious “no” votes on this, by the way, including Repugs Richard Burr of North Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas. Our ol’ Oakie buddy Tom Coburn also shot this down, but I have a feeling that it was because the phase “pension protection” sounded too much like “contraception” to him and he got confused.

Border fence. Senators voted 94-3 to spend $1.8 billion in the 2007 defense budget (HR 5631) on building 370 miles of triple-layered fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border and on scattered vehicle barriers along a 460-mile stretch.

All Philadelphia-area senators voted to fund the border fence.
How appropriate that this was the last bill they voted on before their vacation, since the problem comes from workers entering this country via plane and not via ground (or, as Bill Maher pointed out, they’re going to have a heck of a time getting the illegal/undocumented workers to do THIS for them).

Ahead. Congress is in recess until Sept. 5.
Thank God.

A Class Act Departs

I don’t know anyone who I grew up with in Philadelphia who didn’t watch The Mike Douglas Show in the late ‘60s and the ‘70s. He would come on at 4 PM, and we would drift in and out of the house depending on whether or not we were playing a game of “half-ball” or “wire-ball” or some variation thereof after getting home from school (maybe just a Philly thing…I don’t know) to see if he had a good guest on. If not, we would just keep playing, and then our parents would watch Eyewitness News at 5:30 with Vince Leonard while they got dinner ready, and you didn’t even have to change the channel (wow, am I going WAY back for this).

I mean, it was just what you did, right?

The CNN article discusses, among other things, the utter zoo of a week for that show when John Lennon and Yoko Ono co-hosted, in particular Douglas’ reaction to the appearance of Jerry Rubin; Douglas’s disgust with Rubin was plain, and I didn’t blame Douglas one bit for his reaction. Also that week, Chuck Berry appeared one day and joined Lennon for a version of “Johnny B. Goode” that got off to a promising start, but quickly descended into gonzo land when Yoko Ono started caterwauling near the end of a jam session with Berry and Lennon (my dad got so angry I thought he was going to throw a steak knife at the T.V.).

Other moments that stood out for me from the years I watched the show was when Douglas questioned Aretha Franklin about her abusive childhood and asked Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers straight up about his heroin addiction. As always, Douglas exuded class and empathy and did all he could to make his guests feel welcome.

Would that more men and women in the media imitated Douglas’s sterling example from what was truly (despite the unrest of the day) a kinder, gentler time.

Update: Not a good day for boomer TV icons...

Two Peas In A Republican Pod

(Note: The post title refers to a pic I don't have anymore - serves me right for "hot-linking," I guess.)

And that’s really sad considering that they’re both Dems (as of now, anyway)…

So let’s go down the list of Democratic U.S. Senators in this area and see where they stand on the winner of the Democratic Senatorial primary recently held in Connecticut, shall we?

- Bob Menendez (NJ) – supports Lamont (kind of a gutsy call since he’s in a scrap with Repug Baby Kean over a Jersey senate seat, and choosing Joe Lieberman could be “safe” for him)

Update 8/15: Speaking of Baby Kean, I think he's coming up a bit short in the "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" dept.

- Frank Lautenberg (NJ) – supports Lamont also (a principled stand for the party since he and Lieberman go back a bit)

- Joe Biden (DE) – supports Lamont as well (Biden has moments when he truly looks like the savior of the party, but then he turns around and does something stupid like voting to confirm Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA after showing initial reluctance…a “first-rate guy,” huh?)

- Tom Carper (DE) – supports...


Well, Carper supports...Lieberman.

And why should anyone be surprised? As I noted about a year ago (with more than a little bit of an assist from David Sirota)...

Carper has done a lot of things right. He has supported AMTRAK funding, voted against drilling in the ANWR (but I’ve found him weak on the environment otherwise, including his support for confirmation of Gale Norton as interior secretary), and voting against the GOP’s phony prescription drug giveaway to Big Pharma.

However, Carper has also voted to repeal the estate tax, and he also voted for rules restricting personal bankruptcies in June 2001 in addition to his recent vote. He also voted for the Iraq War, as did many of his Democratic colleagues. He also supported the so called partial-birth abortion ban unless the mother’s health was at risk, which wins politicians “sound bite” points but can sometimes prove to be a very difficult proposition in the real world when faced with catastrophic medical circumstances. And of course, Carper is also a member of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

Carper, as far as I’m concerned, is about as “pro-business” of a Democrat as you’re likely to find. However, the fact that he comes from Delaware, the richest state in the nation, doesn’t excuse him one bit as far as I’m concerned. And regarding the three bills I mentioned at the top of this post (CAFTA, the fraud bankruptcy bill and tort "deform"), he voted for all of them.
And as you can see, the 8/1/05 post discusses Lieberman also along with Dianne Feinstein.

Some of my lefty blogger “betters” have quite rightly, I think, said that, because of Lieberman’s recent filing as an independent candidate, he should lose any committee positions he holds in the Senate. But maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the Dems did that to any senators who support Lieberman also.

To show why I feel this way, I’m attaching this link to show you how the Repugs wield power against anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with them.

As noted, NJ U.S. Rep. Chris Smith used to serve as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. I say “used to” because Smith bravely stood up to Tom “The Hammer” DeLay, opposing a $750 million shortfall in services for our veterans. DeLay promptly yanked Smith’s chairmanship in response.

I realize this is an “apples and oranges” comparison and I wish to emphasize that Smith was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. However, I’m not saying this to discuss funding shortfalls for our veterans (important though that is). I’m mentioning this to show how a political party exacts reprisals, a lesson the Democrats sorely need to learn, I think, when it comes to Lieberman and the fallout from his defeat.

Besides, anyone who supports Lieberman now is, by default, a Repug (or a sympathizer at the very least).

Also, the Inquirer published some quotes yesterday from high-profile individuals who had a stake in the primary to one degree or another; as you might expect, I thought the most meaningful ones came from Markos Zuniga at The Daily Kos and John Nichols at The Nation. But to be “fair and balanced,” the paper published this bit of nonsense from Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard.

Jimmy Carter dodged the issue (Barnes’ concept of “softness on national security") in 1976, winning because of Watergate. But he lost in 1980 because he had proved to be weak on national security as president. In 1984, Democratic presidential aspirants debated who was first to endorse a nuclear freeze, an issue of interest chiefly to the peace-at-all-cost left. In 1988, Michael Dukakis lacked credibility on national security. ...
Oh shut up, Barnes, you toad (though, apparently, he served in the Army for two years, so at least he’s not a typical chickenhawk, but since he’s a kindred spirit, he might as well be).

The “peace at all costs” left, huh?

Let me introduce you to a prominent Democrat of an earlier era who served this country in the Air Force and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his service. Afterwards, he was tarred by Republicans for allegedly kow towing to Barnes’ “peace at all costs ‘left’.”

Maybe you’ve heard of him, Fred. His name is George McGovern.

Update 1 8/11: On my best day, I try to be as good as David Sirota is on a mediocre one for him.

Update 2 8/11: At the very least, this should automatically earn Richardson the VP spot on the Democratic presidential ticket in '08.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

An Updated Cover That Fits For Today

Preston and Steve on WMMR in Philadelphia have played this song by the band Disturbed a couple of times, and I just found the video on YouTube (this is actually a cover of "Land of Confusion" by Genesis in the '80s...kind of fits in a way when thinking about the stuff in London today and the Middle East, though the video doesn't really reflect that I realize, but is still cool by itself).

Still A Dick

I thought Arianna Huffington’s post today refuting Billion Dollar Cheney’s latest nonsense concerning the Lieberman defeat hit the nail right on the proverbial head.

And I’m sure al Qaeda is really concerned about the Pennsylvania Senatorial Election also…

Update 8/11: HRC has more testosterone than many of her fellow Senators (but you need to "straighten up and fly right" and endorse the Kerry plan to get our troops out of Iraq, lady).

Curtains For Castro?

Wouldn’t it be great if, while commemorating Fidel Castro’s 80th birthday this Sunday, he dropped dead right in the middle of the festivities?

Yes, I know, we’ve been hoping and praying for his demise for years in this country, and while doing so, he has managed to survive to the point where he is now the longest ruling leader of any country on earth.

His human rights abuses are legion, and you can read about them here. Beyond that, he has overseen truly horrendous deprivations that his people have had to live through on a daily basis, and all the while, he has maintained his support in large part by uniting his country against us (though we have helped by giving him plenty of reason in that unholy cause, especially recently under Bushco, and I’ll get to some of that later).

Reporter Jon Lee Anderson of The New Yorker wrote an extensive column on Cuba and Castro’s upcoming milestone in the magazine’s July 31st issue, and excerpts of that article follow. It should be noted that all of this preceded Castro’s recent medical setback, which may be for good this time.

So what was on Castro’s mind at the time? Anderson explains…

This spring, a friend of Castro’s, a veteran party loyalist, told me that the Cuban leader was angustiado – literally “anguished – over his advancing years, and obsessed by the idea that socialism might not survive him. As a result, Castro has launched his last great fight, which he calls The Battle of Ideas.

Castro’s goal is to re-engage Cubans with the ideas of the Revolution, especially young Cubans who came of age during what he calls the Special Period. In the early nineties, the collapse of the Soviet Union brought a precipitous end to Cuba’s subsidies, and the economy imploded. The crisis forced Castro to allow greater openness in the island’s economic and civil life, but he now seems determined to reverse that.
Of course; capitalism never solved a thing, right Fidel? And why is it some Marxist-Communist prerequisite to come up with some glorious sounding name and attach it to a failed, oppressive doctrine borne of bureaucratic stupidity?

Privately, many Cubans regard the Battle of Ideas, as a spectacle they must tolerate but which is irrelevant to their lives. Most of them do not earn enough money to eat well, much less live comfortably. As a result of the islands’ endemic shortages, almost everyone has some contact with Cuba’s black market. The tension of the public Cuba between (pro-Castro) rallies and tribunals and the hidden one is growing, and a number of Cubans and American officials I spoke to fear that the pent-up chaos could erupt into open unrest upon Castro’s death; looting, rioting, and revenge killings. Senator Mel Martinez, of Florida, who left Cuba as a fifteen-year-old in 1962, said, “My hope is that there will be one of those wonderful European revolutions, like the Velvet Revolution, without violence, but because of what’s going on – the repression and the iron grip of those in power for so long – there could be a vacuum, and that creates a potential for violence.”
Martinez is hardly an impartial player without blame in all of this as far as I’m concerned, as you’ll see when Anderson discusses the “Bush Plan” (yes, there is one for Cuba, though it’s possible that our beloved corporate media, obsessed with celebrity births, pregnancies, weddings, divorces, arrests and fleeting fits of spirituality, may have thought it wasn’t important and decided not to tell us about it).

In the past year, Castro – empowered by shipments of cheap oil from Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, and by Chinese investments – imposed a heavy tax on dollar transactions. This has made Cuba much more expensive for foreigners, although European package tourists continue to stay in all-inclusive beach resorts, where they have little contact with Cubans. This seems to be the way Castro wants it.
And by the way, when Fidel was recently hospitalized and handed power over to his brother Raul, did you see much reporting that gave you a clue as to what this guy was all about?

Well, as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (as Anderson continues).

If Raul is in charge, moderation will not be a foregone conclusion. Despite his reputation for warmth, Raul can be impulsive, dogmatic and, at times, brutal. In 1959, he oversaw the surrender of Santiago, Cuba’s second-largest city, while Castro made his way towards Havana. There, in the most notorious act of retribution to follow the guerillas’ victory, Raul presided over the execution of more than seventy soldiers and officers, who were machine-gunned and then dumped into a pit. More recently, in 1996, Raul orchestrated a purge of Party intellectuals, whom he accused of being contaminated by “capitalist ideas.”
And as for daily life under Castro…

In Havana, I visited a Cuban couple whom I’ve known for many years, and was shocked to see how they were living. Some of their furniture had been sold, and they both looked thin. Now in their sixties, they were getting by on the equivalent of sixty dollars a month – more, in fact, than most Cubans earn.
And (as noted in the article accessible from this link by Jeffrey Laurenti of The Century Foundation)…

…for nearly half a century Cubans have been the laboratory rats for Fidel’s hare-brained economic experiments, and like Lysenko’s Stalinist mice, human nature has not been genetically reprogrammed by Castro’s ruthless egalitarianism. It is not simply cranky intellectuals, but the hard-pressed masses of Cubans who feel suffocated in their daily lives.
So what does the Bush cabal have in mind for Cuba on the day that Fidel finally leaves this earth? Enter Martinez (and Colin Powell, who, as far as I’m concerned, has had an infinitely better career as a soldier than a politician and a diplomat).

In December 2003, President Bush appointed Senator Martinez as co-chair of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, along with Colin Powell. Their mandate was to find ways to “hasten the end of Castro’s tyranny,” and to develop “a comprehensive strategy to prepare for a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba.” The result of their work was a 500-page report, issued in May 2004, that included guidelines for everything from setting up a market economy to holding elections. It also recommends “undermining the regime’s succession strategy.”

In Havana, the so-called Bush Plan is regularly denounced on lurid billboards and by Castro’s deputies. Felipe Perez Roque said that the U.S. transition plan would “take away Cubans’ land and their houses and schools, in order to return them to their old Batistiano owners, who would come back from the United States.”

In a speech in March, Ricardo Alarcon, the president of Cuba’s national assembly, called the Bush Plan “annexationist and genocidal” (and Alarcon is actually somewhat friendly to this country, as stated in the article). In private, afterward, he was only slightly less adamant, telling me that it was “profoundly irresponsible, made up by people who prefer to ignore reality and who try to change it capriciously. Maybe it’s a Messianic thing.”
Indeed, and again, according to Laurenti…

With the administration’s track record in promoting democracy in places like Iraq, Cubans have good reason to tremble. Washington seems oblivious to lessons from its disastrous unilateral interventions. And the biggest worry on the island, and abroad, is that administration zealots may press a military intervention—a worry real enough that Iowa’s respected Republican congressman Jim Leach warns, “the key for America is not to attempt to coerce or bully but instead to extend a cooperative hand.”
Wow, a smart Repug; good for Leach (and Laurenti states it as clearly as possible here)

The United States needs to state plainly that it will keep its own troops at home.
Let us hope that Sen. Martinez, as well as crazed zealots like Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and others in Florida (as well as Bushco – yes, I can dream, I know) decide to let Cuba find its way to something approximating democracy on its own with the help of its regional neighbors and without our intervention after Castro’s wretched life finally and mercifully comes to an end (with his brother and other crazed Communist toadies following soon afterwards).

Wouldn’t it be nice to see this administration actually do something right for a change?

Thanks, Brits

Gee, Dubya’s sick, twisted misadventure of a war sure has made us safer, hasn’t it?

Only U.S. carriers were targeted on this; I would guess that Lufthansa and KLM, for example, don’t have as much to worry about because their countries (Germany and the Netherlands) didn’t help blow Iraq to pieces.

I’m sure the 30 percent or something who still think Dubya isn’t a disaster of a president will now erupt into convulsions of fear, wrap themselves in plastic and duct tape and stick their thumbs in their mouths, anxiously awaiting the five-year anniversary of 9/11 (even though there was nothing political about this near-disaster, count on the Repugs to try and milk it for all its worth into November).

Also, here is a link to information on UK travel restrictions, and here is a link to information on travel restrictions in this country in light of recent developments.

And Hunter at The Daily Kos has more...

Update 8/11: Need I say more?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Joe's Political Destiny Set To Music

I've been thinking about this song today as everything has played out with Joe Lieberman, including his filing to run as an "independent" candidate (wanker); actually, the guy in the video looks like him...well, a bit anyway.

You Get What You (Don't) Pay For

I’ve had this Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 30th on my mind for a little while now, and I finally want to say something about it.

The editorial "Worth a Bronx cheer" (July 13, about our trade and balance of payments deficits as I recall) barely mentions a minor detail affecting our country's deficit: We are at war. The Editorial Board's simplistic analysis of the economy over the last six years overlooks the impact of 9/11 and the war on terror.

In the liberals' world, President Bush can be blamed not only for terrorists' attacks, but also for having the gall to respond to them and for the resulting military spending.
In the liberals’ world, President Bush can be blamed for ignoring Richard Clarke prior to the 9/11 attacks while Clarke just about jumped up and down over an intelligence brief that stated “Osama bin Laden Determined To Attack the U.S,” and Dubya instead went on a month-long vacation. In the liberals’ world, Bush can be blamed for attacking the wrong country for the wrong reasons and fighting the wrong war the wrong way, giving birth to the terrorist insurgency that currently plagues us. In the liberals’ world, Bush can be blamed for the fact that Osama bin Laden still exists somewhere in this world, and is breathing with a pulse and a heartbeat.

Ironically, a liberal Editorial Board is concerned about deficit spending, ominously and cryptically warning that "it's getting late in the game." An even greater irony: The quickest way to eliminate the deficit (winning the war) is constantly being undermined by liberals like the mainstream media.
Proof? (Oh, sorry, I forgot, this is “freeper fantasyland”…how silly of me).

Not so surprising is the Editorial Board's solution: Raise taxes!

This calls to mind the left's hysterical opposition to Reagan's Cold War tactics in the 1980s, to the significant cost of our military build-up, and then finally to their denying him credit for bringing down the ruthless Soviet empire. I only hope that in future decades the alternative media spare George W. Bush from similar revisionist history.
The only thing Reagan ever did that made a negligible difference in our conflict with the former Soviet Union was to make a speech telling Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. And George W. Bush should actually pray for a healthy dose of revisionism, since his catastrophic presidency will necessitate a similar historical treatment.

Andy Horvath
Putting aside the neocon nonsense of that screed, I decided to do a bit of investigating into how this administration has calculated (actually, not calculated is more precise) the monetary cost of the Iraq debacle, and I came up with links to some other sites with some actual information as opposed to Horvath’s blather.

This Washington Post story notes that, because Bushco refuses to separate the cost of the Iraq War from the Now And Forever You Better Believe It You Stinking Commie Liburul War On Terror, it’s hard to get an estimate from this bunch for this among other reasons.

Also, here is a link from Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s web site (D-IL…bless her for this) with some quotes from the Bushco cabal that pretty much makes it clear that they didn’t know how much this tragic, misbegotten enterprise was going to cost, and I’m sure they STILL don’t and probably never will.

Finally, I’ve included a link to a Boston Globe story about projections of the war’s cost from Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Blimes. Basically, they think the war will end up costing four times what Bushco says it will (about $2 trillion), and, as noted here…

The Bush administration has not made the kind of long-term estimates cited in the new study and has sought periodic installments from Congress to keep the mission going.
Well, we all knew that, didn't we? Also…

Predicting overall costs when no one knows how long the war will last, or how many US troops will remain deployed and for how long, is an imprecise exercise.

But the range of some future expenses can be assessed, such as the likely medical bills and disability payments for the soldiers who have been wounded in the conflict.

Twenty percent of them, for example, have serious brain or spinal injuries that will require life-long care.

So you see, Mr. Horvath, your beloved George W. Bush and the rest of his incompetent lackeys led you and me and EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS COUNTRY right into the hopper over this, squandering a surplus handed to him by the Clinton Administration because of a catastrophic chain of events that began with the worst terrorist attack on our country’s soil that took place ON HIS WATCH!

And partly because of that, the men and women in our armed services were SOLD DOWN THE RIVER, and CONTINUE TO PAY THE HIGHEST PRICE OF ALL!

But I’ll bet none of this is going to get through to you, is it? You’ll still be ranting about “the liburuls” while Lebanon continues to explode and burn and new horrors commence involving Syria and Iran, creating new and ever-greater dangers for all of us because of Dubya’s incompetence.


Curt's A Creep - Scout's Honor

I received the following correspondence recently from the Sestak For Congress organization:

When Ross Doppelt, an 18 year old Sestak supporter, showed up for a Weldon event today, the Weldon team called the police - supposedly for fear that the native son and Eagle Scout was going to start a protest. There is more information in the statement below.
I also received a photo of Ross, but I will have to put that up tonight and link to it later (update: here's the link).

Statement from Ryan Rudominer, Spokesperson for Joe Sestak:

"We know Weldon has taken at least 30 plus trips to the former Soviet Union, and isn't used to having to be home to campaign, but hopefully this bizarre incident will remind him that in the Unites States members of Congress are accountable to the voters," said Ryan Rudominer, Sestak spokesperson. "So my message to Congressman Weldon: It may be appropriate in Russia to kick your constituents out of events when you're afraid if they disagree with you and call them spies, but in Delaware County we expect a bit thicker skin and more rational behavior from our representatives."

Ross Doppelt was born in Bryn Mawr Hospital in1987 and is a native of Havertown, where he has lived his entire life. He's an Eagle Scout and former class president at Haverford High School and is one of the 1200 Sestak canvassers who want change and are tired of Curt Weldon voting to raise his pay six times, traveling 34 times to foreign countries on the government dime and 56 times on special interest junkets around the world.

Earlier this week, Weldon made clear to Ross at a press event at Riddle hospital that Bill Bender attended,

"You're here as a guest; if you want to stay, don't record this." At today's event, Weldon approached Ross to bad mouth Joe.

By the way, Weldon sends his campaign workers to nearly all our events; they have protesters there and occasionally videotape Sestak. We welcome that. There was even a man yesterday who yelled out to Joe in the presence of two reporters, "how does it feel to sell out your uniform for personal political gain." It's a disgusting statement from a Weldon worker, about a man who has defended his country for 31 years with honor, but it is America.

Ross told me that Weldon confronted him asked where he was from.

Ross prepared the following:

- Born in Bryn Mawr Hospital December 9th, 1987
- Lived in Havertown for 18 years (that's my entire life minus the five and a half months I spent in New Orleans)
- From kindergarten through high school, I went to the township's public schools (Lynnewood Elementary School, Haverford Middle School, Haverford High School)
- I used to be a student at Haverford College


- Graduated Haverford High School with Honors, Class of 2005
- Attended Tulane University on a Distinguished Scholarship for Academic Merit
- While the University was closed following Katrina, I went to Haverford College
- I transferred out of Tulane and am now enrolled as an Economics Major at the University of Chicago

Political involvement:

- Worked for Rendell campaign in primary and general elections
- Helped the Kerry Campaign in 2004
- Sat on Haverford Township's School Board as a Student Representative

What I do outside of school:

- I'm an Eagle Scout
- In 2005, I received the Havertown Optimists Club's Youth of the Month Award
- In high school, I was class president
- I was a member of the National Honor Society
- I was on the editorial boards of my high school and college newspapers
- I'm a National Merit Commended Scholar and an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction
- I was evacuated from New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, and I did volunteer work in the Ninth Ward after I returned
And by the way, the Weldon organization recently criticized Joe Sestak for supposedly wearing his admiral’s uniform at a political campaign event, which is patently untrue. With his highly informed and respected commentary on this sad accusation is Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, distinguished combat veteran, and retired Navy Captain Wade Sanders.

Don't Forget To Hire A Vet

I happened to come across an article written for a men’s fashion magazine called Details by a writer named Ben Chase, and it had to do with the job search difficulties faced by returning veterans from the Iraq War; the article was called “Soldier of Misfortune.” It was excellent, but I can’t find it online at the moment. If you can pick up the magazine and read the article, I recommend it highly.

Mentioned in the article was the fact that Philadelphia, PA U.S. House Representative Allyson Schwartz has introduced legislation, along with Repug Joe Schwarz of Michigan, called the Veterans Employment and Respect Act that would provide up to $2,400 in tax credits to companies that hire returning Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans.

Update: Oops, it looks like the Schwartz bill will need a new co-sponsor (if the voters in Schwarz's district aren't rich, then they're drop-dead numbskulls for supporting a Club For Growth candidate).

This should be a no-brainer, right? As the Details article explained, our service people can learn leadership skills performing the most dangerous tasks imaginable in wartime, assuming they aren’t killed, injured, or taken hostage, of course. Wouldn’t employers value those abilities?

The individual in the Details article whose name escapes me said that it took him about nine months to find a job that enabled him to break into the field of graphic design, though he knew that he could sign on for another hitch in Iraq and make much better money doing much more dangerous work (and also earn big money in Iraq doing dangerous work outside the skill set he was trying to develop). However, he declined and stayed in his stateside job, which was the equivalent of entry-level grunt work beneath what he’d done in his military service, because, as he put it, he figured he’d have a less difficult time in Iraq than he would trying to look for another stateside job again (which is perfectly typical based on what I know; the enormous difficulty of searching for a good job now is probably the most under-reported or outright ignored story by our august corporate media in this decade, both for veterans and everyone else).

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Veterans Employment and Respect Act is (you guessed it) stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee, and it has been since March of 2005.

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is Repug Bill Thomas of California, who just helped railroad through a pension “reform” bill (as I said earlier, it will favor younger workers only slightly while costing older workers closer to retirement). If you want to ask him when he’s going to “pull the stick out” and get moving on the Veterans Employment and Respect Act (and maybe ask him why he’s calling the Capitol police in the face of “disruption” by 75-year-old Democratic House Rep Pete Stark, as well as why Thomas once tried to get rid of employer-based health insurance), click here.

Way To Go, Ned!

Congratulations to Ned Lamont and the voters of Connecticut for a proud moment of "standing up" and making their voices heard!

And as far as "Holy Joe" is concerned, I thought this post by David Sirota on HuffPo today captured him in all his infamy (I didn't think it was possible for me to hold Lieberman in the same low esteem as I hold Bushco, but I suppose it is).

Also, this is a great analysis of Lieberman's self-destruction (despite the headline) from Dick Polman of the Inquirer (registration required).

Update: God, these guys are hilarious...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

While We Await The Final Result

Let's take a trip back to 1972 for this one ("primitive" isn't the word, and I don't just mean the chimp), and that would be "Elected," by Alice Cooper (in the spirit of the moment). Here are the lyrics:

I'm your top prime cut of meat, I'm your choice,
I wanna be elected,
I'm your yankee doodle dandy in a gold Rolls Royce,
I wanna be elected,
Kids want a savior, don't need a fake,
I wanna be elected,
We're all gonna rock to the rules that I make,
I wanna be elected, elected, elected.

Good evening Mr & Mrs America and all ships at sea,
The candidate is taking the country by storm.

I never lied to you, I've always been cool,
I wanna be elected,
I gotta get the vote, and I told you 'bout school,
I wanna be elected, elected, elected,
Hallelujah, I wanna be selected,
Everyone in the United States of America.

We're gonna win this one, take the country by storm,
We're gonna be elected,
You and me together, young and strong,
We're gonna be elected, elected, elected,
Respected, selected, call collected,
I wanna be elected, elected.

"And if I am elected
I promise the formation of a new party
A third party, the Wild Party!
I know we have problems,
We got problems right here in Central City,
We have problems on the North, South, East and West,
New York City, Saint Louis, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago,
Everybody has problems,
And personally, I don't care."
Property of Warner Brothers (and Alice DID swing with Dubya in '04, sadly).

The video file wasn't meant for upload, by the way - hence the link.

It Bears Repeating

Any death in any war is a terrible tragedy, but I think this poster offers food for thought.

And here are lowlights of today’s insanity (more death, more UN inaction and posturing, more undeserved praise for this Nasrallah character who is in charge of Hezbollah, more Israeli violations of basic decency as noted by the Red Cross, etc., etc., etc.).

Update 8/9: And by the way, I wonder what Little Green Snotballs would have to say about this great post by The Existentialist Cowboy, which states that the supposed kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers that started this mess wasn't a kidnapping at all, but a capture inside Lebanon (God, I'm so sick of being LIED TO about this stuff from our corporate media!).

Art The Indomitable

I don’t have much to say about this except that it’s a great story about Art Buchwald continuing in his role as auctioneer for the Martha’s Vineyard Community services auction for the 26th straight year despite his failing health, though he has rallied somewhat.

For someone who has either lived on the island or spent any time there at all, this is a big deal. Good for him.

Bend Over And Fill ‘Er Up

Amazing, isn’t it? The oil companies just keep making money upon money upon money, and no matter what happens, we end up paying more for gas.

British Petroleum has to close an oil field in Alaska because of ruptured pipes? That will tighten supply, so raise the price. The Israel-Hezbollah war raging? That will tighten supply, so raise the price. The Iranian nuclear threat heightens tensions in the region? That will tighten supply, so raise the price.

And on and on and on…

If you’re as sick of this nonsense as I am, then maybe you’ll want to read this Guest Opinion that appeared last Friday in the Bucks County Courier Times from a man named Don Mihalek; he lives in Yardley, served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves from 1988-1998, and has worked in law enforcement from 1993 to the present.

Right now, I am typing on a computer that is more powerful than the one used to land a man on the moon. I-Pods hold more than 2,000 songs, books, and movies. With a Blackberry, I can call the other side of the world, search the Internet or send a letter to thousands of people. I can do all this, but I can’t seem to find an economically efficient way to power my home and car without using fossil fuels.

I have researched solar power, wind systems, and hybrid vehicles. All promising, but still seem inefficient, impractical and, most importantly, not economical for average Americans.

Being conservation-minded and environmentally concerned, I signed up with PECO Wind. We have all my electricity generated from wind power, for a small additional charge of $2.54 cents per kilowatt hour used, which translates to an additional $20 per month. Nice incentive for trying to use a renewable energy source. If you want to promote renewable energy use, why charge an extra cost?

Forget about buying a wind turbine. Most of the wind energy market is owned and operated by large energy companies or you need to be at a certain sea level, with specific wind RPMs to be considered for a turbine. That leaves the generation of this power source to wind turbine farms and some offshore areas, like near Atlantic City. That doesn’t help regular Americans achieve the goal of using more renewable energy.

Solar power is a great idea. For an initial $45,000 investment with a southern exposure, through the Solar PV grant program, I could have a solar system installed. It would eventually power my home and feed clean renewable energy to the power grid. With the grant, a cumbersome and lengthy process, plus the tax incentives, my end cost is $15,000 plus future maintenance costs. Over time (a long time), I will get this back, but where is the incentive? It’s easier and cheaper to pay PECO. Why spend $45,000 for an energy system that at best is 20 percent efficient?

Hybrid vehicles and alternative fuels are making progress. Car companies are developing and producing more hybrid vehicles. But, you can’t use a Honda Prius for a family of four. Conversely, the average American family probably finds the gas costs for a Cadillac Escalade staggering. We either need more four (4) cylinder engines or get completely away from gas. Hydrogen fuel cell, Biofuels and Ethanol vehicles are down the road, but still have a fossil fuel component with high manufacturing costs. It’s ironic that we can’t perfect a different fuel source, but we can build an International Space Station.

I know, oil was cheap so no one bothered or was motivated to change, and now we Americans are paying for it.

We are paying for our lack of imagination, motivation and leadership by depending on unstable governments. Those filled with radicals and dictatorial regimes, linked to our national security by the fuel they provide. There are arguments for more domestic drilling, but this seems a short term Band Aid fix that, I fear, will only lull Americans into a sense of confidence that we now have our own oil.

In 1974, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory began operating. This is a principal research laboratory for the Department of Energy. It has been in operation for over 30 years, since the last Mideast oil shortage. A shortage that was payback for 1970s American Middle East policy. It’s been 30-plus years since the NREL’s operation, yet I still have to use fossil fuels to power my car and home. Why?

My feeling is that American leadership in both government and private industry has abdicated responsibility. It’s not conspiratorial, just a failure of leadership and imagination. The same energy and urgency used to place a man on the moon needs to go into American renewable energy. From higher tax incentives, rebates and more research; the government needs to create the environment in which the American people can help and private companies will respond.

As a private citizen, why spend $45K for a solar system when a new furnace is $2-5K? Why build a hybrid car when they cost me more than a standard car? Why build energy self sufficient buildings when it’s not strongly encouraged? Consumers should have access to buying and installing alternative energy systems that are cost neutral with traditional systems. If the incentives were there for consumers, I believe the market would drive their implementation. Who wouldn’t want to stop paying utility/oil bills?

Until this leadership role is assumed, I will continue to dim the lights, leave the A/C at 78 and pay for PECO wind power, but this seems like “crossing the street” when I think we, as Americans, should be “shooting for the moon.”
And one more thing: I’ll be waiting to hear if Mikey’s energy conference last week ends up amounting to anything whatsoever that saves us any money (and I won’t be holding my breath).

Mikey The Coward

Well, well, well…how interesting it was to read the Bucks County Courier Times this morning.

Under the headline “Fitzpatrick Takes New Stance On War Policy,” we have this revelation:

“Freshman Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, R-8, Monday blasted (the paper’s description) President Bush’s ‘stay the course’ policy in Iraq, a strategy he has publicly supported throughout his first term on Capitol Hill.

‘I have reluctantly concluded…that when it comes to the war in Iraq, President Bush has been bold, principled, resolute, but mistaken in crucial ways vital to the success of our mission there,”
Fitzpatrick said Monday morning in a conference call with reporters. ‘I believe we need a new strategy for success in Iraq’.”

By the way, if you’ve guessed that I was unable to find a link to this story from the Courier Times’ web site, you would be correct.

Update: OK, they got me - they added the link later.

"However, Fitzpatrick offered no new strategy for America’s role in the war and criticized what he called the “cut and run” strategy proposed by Democrat and Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy, his opponent in November’s election.


Monday Murphy called
Fitzpatrick’s criticism of his exit strategy and his new-found opposition to President Bush’s war plan ‘politics at its worst.’

‘I think it’s the most transparent political ploy I’ve seen in all my years,’ Murphy said. ‘We’re 92 days from Election Day and Mike doesn’t even have the backbone to take a position after he stood with President Bush for two years.’


‘The families of Bucks County know where I stand and unfortunately we cannot say the same thing about our congressman,’ Murphy said.”
Given that Mikey has now flip-flopped on Bush and the Iraq War, I wonder what other positions he has that he may now be willing to compromise in the name of winning in November (and Above Average Jane gives us some food for thought on that one – yep, Mikey sure knows how to sign off on those resolutions against Darfur and in support of The Forever And Ever Never Ending For All Time You Goddamn Libtard You (still love that one) Global War On Terror, doesn’t he?

And what follows is a column that appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News last May from Jon Soltz, who is executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Political Action Committee (I’m republishing it here because you may have to register, and it’s too important not to read).

Supporting the troops should be more than a slogan

IT IS SAID that political debate should end at the water's edge, and once our troops have been deployed, we should all rally around them.

As a veteran of Iraq, I know my fellow soldiers appreciate that. Yet when we cross back to our own shores, we do not enjoy the same uniform support from many in the halls of Congress.

Sure, especially around campaign season, they talk about how they "support the troops." But I often feel like asking, "How?" I can picture them in front of me, stunned, trying to come up with an answer.

Right here in the Philadelphia area, two congressmen, who will likely face veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in November, are already trumpeting their credentials on veterans issues.

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, on his campaign Web site, claims that helping veterans has been "a top priority on his agenda." Fitzpatrick is likely to face Iraq veteran Patrick Murphy in the general election. Rep. Curt Weldon, who is facing Afghanistan veteran Joe Sestak, writes on his congressional Web site that he is a "leading advocate for vets." Unfortunately, the rhetoric doesn't match the reality.

It is useful to examine where our nation is, in terms of its ability to care for the hundreds of thousands of troops who have returned home from war and who will be returning home from war.

In early 2005, because of budget constraints, Department of Veterans Affairs facilities began to cut back on services to veterans, had to postpone construction and repairs on facilities, kill orders for desperately needed medical equipment and keep staff positions unfilled - just to stay afloat. These cuts affect our returning heroes, they wait longer to be seen or receive services, pay more for their prescriptions and now have to pay fees to enroll in the VA system.

Consider the case of one Iraq war vet, Robert Acosta, who lost part of his arm and had his leg shattered in an explosion when a terrorist tossed a grenade into his truck. The prosthetic he got proved faulty. When he visited the VA for a new one, he was told there would be a long wait. He ended up having to use duct tape to hold his prosthetic arm together because of the delays.
Duct tape to hold their prosthetics together, Mikey. And you’re really not backing away from Dubya anyway, are you?

Injuries are not always physical, though. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that one in three troops returning from Iraq will seek counseling within a year, though most believe the number may actually be higher.

Already, those with serious mental-health needs are being turned away because of underfunding. The result will prove to be the same as it was with the Vietnam veterans - many will be unable to cope with the transition back to civilian life and become drug addicts, alcoholics, homeless, or worse - suicidal.

IN THE PAST few years, there have been plenty of votes in Congress that might not completely solve the problem, but would go a long way toward giving veterans the care they need and deserve.

Both Reps. Fitzpatrick and Weldon repeatedly voted no on helping these 21st-century patriots. They voted no on a bill to extend the military health care program to members of the National Guard and reserves, on an amendment that would have increased funding for VA services by $2.6 billion, and another that would have increased funding by $3.1 billion.

Rep. Weldon also voted against adding $1.8 billion to VA health care in 2003, and for legislation in 2004 that cut a promised increase to the VA by half.

As an Iraq veteran, there is only one thing that gets to me more than being used as a political pawn - and that is having those who use us vote against us.

How is that really supporting the troops?
How indeed, and how is flip-flopping on your supposed convictions supposed to “support” them also?

At least, as one letter writer to the Courier Times noted today, Patrick actually has a plan.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Smoke Gets In His Eyes

Boy has the Inquirer sunk all of a sudden.

In addition to the item below where the Editorial Board basically told the Democrats to sit down, shut up, play nice and vote for Holy Joe Lieberman, now blogger Dan Rubin gives kudos to Little Green Footballs because the freeper blog detected a problem with a Reuters photo of a bombing in suburban Beirut in Lebanon.

Of course, as you might expect, LGF is highly outraged over the photo which turned out to be doctored (and the Reuters news agency has owed up to it), and in typical “persecution complex” mode, blames (along with kindred sites) the “MSM’s” use of local photojournalists who surely have an axe to grind against Israel (they say), under the pretext that these news organizations have slim budgets and have to use locals for the pictures.

I’m sure that that’s the reality of the situation (though I should point out I’m not omniscient and cannot guess as to the political instincts of individuals taking the pictures who I’ve never met in a country to which I’ve never traveled).

Also, another right wing site called Shape of Days criticized a Reuters photographer for taking a photo of a child killed by a collapsing building that may have been shelled by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The criticism of the photo is that it was “disturbing.”

This is war. What do you expect?

The photo of the dead child was taken in the Lebanon city of Qana, and this is noteworthy because of this link to a site that describes how the IDF has now stated that it lied in its account of the recent bombing of that city. This is dutifully ignored by Rubin and LGF of course; Rubin casually links to LGF in his post when mentioning the controversy over Dubya’s National Guard service and the forged documents from Bill Burkett (though I believe Mary Mapes, news producer of the controversial CBS report, stood by the docs - and what exactly does this have to do with the Israel-Hezbollah war anyway?).

(Also, there's a reference in the "LGFWatch" link at the end to a "Green Helmet guy" who, according to LGF, is someone who is making sure that everyone knows where the Israelis bombed in an effort to continue to make the IDF look bad for propaganda reasons against Israel. To be honest with you, though, I think the "LGFWatch" link listing all of the IDF retractions over the Qana bombing does that pretty well all by itself.)

I realize that Rubin's sourcing of LGF is a product of the inevitable blurring of news and opinion due to the influence of high-profile blogs on either side of the political spectrum, but before we worry about doctored pictures, I’d pay more attention to doctored news accounts first.

Update 8/8: See, freepers, a news organization like Reuters actually has its own internal controls and procedures for this sort of thing (and I got a kick out of the fact that they gave no credit whatsoever to Little Green Snotballs for it, who of course will continue to shout that this is the latest "liberal media conspiracy.")

Torch This "Straw Man" For Good

I currently have the Editorial page of yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer spread out in front of me. I’m rereading it, and I still can’t believe my eyes.

(Note: This is another Lieberman post, so be advised; I’m hoping this will be the last one, and I DEFINITELY hope that there will be no need for any others after tomorrow.)

I realize it’s a long shot that any members of the Inquirer editorial board are actually reading this, but if by some chance they are, I have a request (probably vain and futile, but a request all the same):

Cease and desist now and forever with these “side by side” columns where you try to lambaste both liberals and conservatives at the same time. You published something like this months ago in which PA Repug wingnut Pat Toomey (who almost defeated Arlen Specter in ’04 in the primary) attacked conservatives, and someone named Chuck Williams attacked liberals.

Yesterday, you published (under the mystifying heading “Civility Under Fire”) side-by-side columns concerning the latest incarnation of the Swift Boat Lying Liars for Lies attacking John Murtha for speaking out against the failed Iraq war, and next to the Murtha column, one appeared blaming those looking to boot Joe Lieberman from office; you concluded that the only reason for Lieberman’s trouble was his support of the war. In doing so, you implied that there was some sort of non-existent equivalency between the people smearing Murtha and those supporting Ned Lamont who want to see Joe Lieberman tossed out of office (of course – why miss an opportunity to take a shot at those nasty, unkempt, profanity-using liberal bloggers again, that sad rabble that is grinding our august democracy into the dust, actually going out and reporting in its fashion on the news THAT YOU REFUSE TO REPORT YOURSELVES??!!).

Your Toomey/Williams set of columns was a joke, but this is even more ridiculous.

Apparently it is necessary for me to link back again to the L.A. Times article written by Duncan Black that explains that Lieberman’s trouble is not with the bloggers, but with the voters of the state of Connecticut who are TIRED of his “Repug-lite” act.

If you want more reasons to be unhappy with Joe Lieberman, here are a few:

- As Cenk Uygur points out here (in this very detailed and well-sourced post), there is no indication that Lieberman would vote against John Bolton’s official confirmation to the U.N. (which should be a no-brainer given that that entire area of the world is in flames, and rather than bringing an extinguisher, Bolton could be counted on to top it off with a heaping dose of lighter fluid, so to speak).

- Lieberman also hasn’t renounced the delusional neo-con fantasy of attacking Syria and Iran also, as Cenk notes (are their fantasies of this type anything BUT delusional?).

- Also, Lieberman opposed emergency contraception for rape victims because, according to Joe, it was unnecessary because victims could just take “a short car ride to another hospital” for emergency care.

- Oh, and do you even need to ask whether or not Lieberman supported the confirmation of "Strip Search Sammy" Alito?

So no, Inquirer editorial board, people aren’t just POed at Lieberman for his support of, in your words, “this fiasco of a war.” And it’s not as if Lieberman isn’t losing support from longtime Senate colleagues also, including Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey as noted here (and I love the quote from Holy Joe about "looking at what reality is,” or something like that…why should Lieberman break with tradition?).

Finally, I think it’s worth noting that, as stated in this story, this campaign has led to an increase in Democratic voter registration in Connecticut (and this is bad?).

To argue that the opposition to Lieberman is solely because of his support for the war and his tendency to speak “a kind word to the other guys” across the aisle in Congress, as the Inky puts it, is rank disinformation.

I’m grateful that there was a time in my life when the craft of journalism was practiced impartially and across the board by courageous men and women of conscience and dedication, particularly during the period when this country last fought a highly divisive war halfway around the world. Under this current climate, if Walter Cronkite had said that Vietnam was lost, he would have been unceremoniously fired and possibly clapped in irons after enduring every time of media scorn imaginable.

Actually, truth be told, I think what the Inquirer published yesterday was more than mere disinformation (bad enough as that was). It was their attempt to shame those who have called out the phony Lieberman for what he is, and to me the only reason why they would engage in this slovenly exercise is, ultimately, to silence dissent.

And speaking of Walter Cronkite, his mentor had something to say about that.

This Explains Why We're Screwed

As far as I’m concerned, Dubya entered “25th Amendment” territory with this latest cringing moment of idiocy. For him to make this statement indicates to me that he is completely divorced from reality at this point.

The 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, by the way, provides for the executive branch of the government in the event of the death, resignation, or either temporary or permanent incapacity of the President of the United States while in office. However, assuming that Dubya would never voluntarily relinquish his official office, Section 4 indicates that “the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” would make the determination that Dubya, at long last, needs to go.

And we know how much chance we have of “Billion Dollar Cheney” (this has sound) and the Bushco cabal committing political suicide, don’t we?

Update 8/8: Take the hint, Dubya (I can dream, can't I?).

It's "Third And Long," Joe

This isn’t really a sports post, but I should start by pointing out that I had a few minutes at the end of yesterday to watch some of the Hall of Fame football game between the Eagles and the (Oakland/LA/Anaheim of LA/whatever they are) Raiders (I mean, the parts of the game that actually WEREN’T filled with commercials, but when it comes to sports on TV these days, I know that will never change).

It was in the fourth quarter, and the Eagles had a guy in there at quarterback named Chang who I’d never heard of. Well, I expected Al Michaels, John Madden, and some sideline-roving, faceless female voice to provide some information on who this guy was as well as what it was that was taking place on the football field at the time (yes, I know it’s only pre-season, but isn’t that what their job is supposed to be?).

Instead, they were yakking about these CEO types who were in the running to be named as the next NFL commissioner (see, Paul Tagliabue of the august, mighty and oh-so-self-important National Football League is apparently going to make an announcement to that effect today). And all three voices were talking about these guys like I’m supposed to care about whom and what they are. And a graphic appeared onscreen with these guys’ names and percentages next to them, like that’s what the percentage chance is of their getting named according to some poll or survey or something (and by the way, I never did find out who this Chang guy was).

And then it hit me; this should be Joe Lieberman’s next job.

Tagliabue should tell all of these other CEOs and insurance salesmen or whatever they are to “hit the bricks,” because this is the perfect job for Lieberman after he loses to Ned Lamont tomorrow. I can’t think of a more appropriate job for a whiny, self-righteous sellout like “Holy Joe” than that of head of a bunch of vainglorious egomaniacs who, though they pay a high physical price as players I’ll admit, are nonetheless compensated in absurdly exorbitant ways for their remaining days on this earth, all in the name of playing a game for about three hours one day a week for a maximum of about 20 weeks a year.

Besides, Joe, your “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on the Iraq war isn’t going to pay off. You will NEVER get Rummy’s job. It’s clear that The Defense Secretary You Have can do ANYTHING and NEVER be fired from this nightmare of an administration.

So there you go, Joe – pick up the phone and call Paul Tagliabue today. Besides, most of the games are televised on Fox, so if they need you for an interview, you’ll feel right at home.

And by the way, this is too little, too late.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Today's Reason To Vote For Ned Lamont

Joe Lieberman thought that the order to remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was in accordance with the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Lieberman makes a good point in this clip about the importance of a living will, I have to admit. However, in typical two-faced fashion, he once opposed their legality in the '70s when they were first introduced.

Mikey’s Shell Game Exposed

Aside from the Guest Opinion supporting Patrick Murphy, this also appeared in yesterday’s Courier Times…

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick and other House Republicans voted to pass a bill increasing the minimum wage while slashing the estate tax for the wealthy. The Senate killed the entire bill because of this tax giveaway to the rich.

The minimum wage, frozen at $5.15 since 1997, has been eroded by inflation. Nobody can afford to live on $5.15 an hour. Republicans have blocked Democratic efforts to increase it for several years. But they found a way to appear to support the increase by linking it to an estate tax cut, which doomed the entire bill.

If it had passed, the bill would have eliminated the estate tax entirely for estates under $5 million and would have cut it by more than two-thirds for most estates larger than $5 million. The tax breaks would have cost $268 billion over 10 years – totally irresponsible at a time when our government is already running enormous deficits. Such losses would ultimately have to be paid by us, our children and our grandchildren.

Does Mike Fitzpatrick think that voters can’t see through this? Voters who really want to raise the minimum wage without an enormous giveaway to the wealthy will replace him in November.

Daisy and Don Grubbs
Middletown, PA
I know this issue is dead for now, but still, Dr. Dean's words bear repeating here.

Swing For Patrick, You Sinners!

This fine Guest Opinion appeared in yesterday's Bucks County Courier Times from a lady named Eleanor Guerriero of Levittown, PA (I should point out, though, that I don't think it's possible for Karl Rove to feel shame about anything).

The other day, I answered the door and was met by a well-dressed, middle-aged woman who asked me if I knew I was a sinner. She then recited some Bible passages about the end of the world and asked if I knew where I was going after death. To tell the truth, I didn't know. She knew where she was going. With a saintly smile on her face, she told me about the wonderful place she was sure to go.

It seems you get a ticket to go there if you join her church. I wanted a ticket, but the thoughts of walking through Levittown in wind and rain and sleet, knocking on doors and asking people if they were sinners seemed like too much work for me. All those doors shut in your face and the likely verbal abuse is not for the timid, which I am. And then, who knows if the smiling evangelist really had a ticket to heaven!

It used to be so much easier in the old days. The Jews went to temple, the Catholics to Sunday Mass, and the Protestants to services. When did they get out of the pews to walk through the streets armed with the New Testament to save us from ourselves?

America has always been a religious nation, fortunately, a nation of many religions. The early Americans did some heavy duty sermons, usually about the fires of hell. It seems Americans came out of the churches, into the streets and began evangelizing more and more in the last 20 years.

They're everywhere, at the door, in the park, on the radio, TV, even in the White House. Abraham Lincoln, that most wonderful of presidents, probably wouldn't be elected today because he didn't attend a particular church. Being brilliant and caring about the nation to the point of anguish would not help him win the presidency unless he redeemed himself with prayer breakfasts or explained complex issues with simplistic, inflexible, values-laden statements. It is good Lincoln was born before stem cell research, gay rights, flag burning or Roe v. Wade. He probably would have lost to the religious right.

There were always colorful preachers in America who quoted the Bible, set up tents, spoke in tongues and performed cures. American Literature is full of wonderful stories of those evangelists. Some of them are still out there in small town America. The new American preachers are a more political, judgmental bunch. Their campaign methods would put Karl Rove to shame.

They can focus on an issue that scares the heck out of the people and gets their blood boiling. One that is always good for one more lick is gay marriage. I went to a wedding last year and the minister kept saying that it was a marriage between a man and woman. After about the fifth time, the man next to me said, "All right already. We get the message. It's not two women."

Lately I noticed some letter to the Courier Times have been quite judgmental about Congressional candidate Patrick Murphy. Several have questioned his Catholicism. Here we go again! My man is more prayerful, more values laden, more holy than your man! Instead of focusing on issues like the war in Iraq, the huge deficit or the medical care crisis, we are bashing gays, checking on candidates' religious compliance and bringing back the old, tired issue of flag burning.

Now really, how many flags are burned in America? Didn't we go through this when we voted for president? We got a man in the White House who was approved by the Christian right and now we are deeper in debt, in a war that's gone bad, and a country that is more divided than ever.

I'd like to see us focus on Patrick Murphy's views on the war, on Social Security, on veterans' affairs, on funding for social programs and on the national healthcare crisis. Patrick is a sincere man who will listen to more than one side of an issue before making a decision. Can we please focus on the candidates' stands on issues that will affect us and our children for years to come? Can we take care of all Americans - Jews, Christians, Muslims, black, white, men, women and gays?

We Americans are diverse. We live under a Constitution with checks and balances. Patrick Murphy is a man who will represent us all.
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