Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Stuff

Given this story, could what follows be the next new threat facing this country?...

...I thought this was interesting: Prof. Minqi Li discusses China's growth and the impact on that country as well as our own in the event of a prolonged US recession (might be time to "go to the mattresses," boys and girls)...

...K.O. again with "Worst Persons" (geez, Flush, too much trouble to even make up cheap cover for your lies any more? Also, ol' Rupert dyes his hair - zoinks! - and Scott Robert Erwin got a free strip show and STILL gouged the client who gave it to him)...

...Primal Scream ("Can't Go Back")

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (9/19/08)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes last week (getting back to this after a month's absence).


Tobacco trafficking. Voting 379-12, the House passed a bill (HR 4081) to crack down on those who sell tobacco products across state lines without paying state sales taxes. The bill virtually bans the mailing of those products, and requires vendors to notify tax officials in receiving states when they use commercial delivery services. The bill raises cigarette trafficking from a misdemeanor to a felony and empowers the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to inspect companies that distribute large volumes of tobacco products. The bill is now before the Senate.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Not voting: Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.) and H. James Saxton (R., N.J.).
The only stone I would throw, so to speak, at this otherwise worthy legislation is that I would hate to see precious law enforcement resources wasted over trying to find out if someone received a pack of smokes through the U.S. Mail. Otherwise, it’s all good.

(And as you can see, this passed as a productive week for Pancake Joe Pitts.)

Mexican truck ban. The House voted 395-18 to block an administration plan to extend a pilot program in which a limited number of Mexican trucks can travel throughout the United States. The bill (HR 6630) would confine Mexican trucking to border zones.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Saxton, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.

Not voting: Andrews and Pitts.
This extensive post on the pilot program for the Mexican truck drivers explains why it was cancelled (with President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History readying his veto crayon for this, no doubt); if you’re carrying freight over land in this country, play by the rules or don’t play at all.


National missile defense. Voting 39-57, the Senate refused to increase National Missile Defense spending by $271 million over the $9.3 billion already included in the $601 billion 2009 military budget (S 3001). The bill remained in debate. Backers sought to pay for the amendment by reducing other defense programs by $271 million, but left it up to the Pentagon to specify the cuts.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).

Voting no: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).

Not voting: Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.)
A wise vote to oppose another Repug “sacred cow” that is a boon to defense-related engineering and consulting firms and a bust to taxpayers (and I think the price tag is already too high as it is).

And as always, screw you, Arlen (and I’d be very surprised if we saw any votes from Biden for the rest of this session).

Military benefits. The Senate voted 94-2 to end a policy that reduces military spouses' survivor benefits by the amount received in Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. The former is an insurance annuity to spouses and children of deceased soldiers. The latter is a Department of Veterans Affairs benefit for spouses of active-duty personnel who die from a service-related cause. This vote occurred during debate on S 3001 (above).

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.

Not voting: Biden.
Oh, and just for the record (noted here), Repugs Crazy Jim (“High And Tight”) Bunning and George Voinovich voted no. I cannot possibly imagine why.

This week, both chambers took up energy bills expanding offshore drilling and raising spending to develop non-fossil fuels. The Senate continued to debate the 2009 defense budget.

And just as a reminder, more posts are here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Stuff

"The Pap Attack" gives us a lesson in deregulation (and "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser gives us a detailed - and sickening - look at Mad Cow Disease, by the way; Pap is referring to this)...

...K.O. tells us here that "Governor Hottie" "blinked" after all when offered the VP spot, as opposed to what she said to Charlie Gibson (this begs the following question as far as I'm concerned; can she and McBush TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT ANYTHING??!!); also, it sounds like "deja vu all over again" on FEMA, and there's more on the mystery of the anthrax laced with silicon...

...and didn't I tell you the other day that the Times reported that she wanted to be president (and she's supposed to be such a dynamic speaker? OK, I guess, but she sounds like a shrieking harpie more than anything else, IMHO)...

(Oh, and by the way, Senator McBush came up with this gem today, but here's the problem with that.)

...and this is actually some first-class reporting on "Governor Hottie" by NBC News...'s Indigenous ("Out Of Nowhere," with Mato Nanji on lead guitar - SRV lives!)...

...and as a tribute to Norman Whitfield, here's "You Got My Soul On Fire" by The Temptations (churning out that '70s funk).

Cómo puedo decir que está mal, Senator McBush?

(I believe that translates to "How do I say you're wrong," but I'm not positive.)

Usually I have to put in some work to refute the typical Friday mess from Christine Flowers in the Philadelphia Daily News, but I had a particularly easy time of it today, I must admit.

She attacks Barack Obama since he blamed John W. McBush and Dubya over their party's failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform when they ran Congress and the White House combined (and Obama actually has the affrontery, in Flowers’ view, to point that out; in typically propagandistic fashion, Flowers also goes out of her way to drudge up – pardon the expression – the infamous “guns, clinging, bitter” business concerning Obama, statements that, with only a word or two of alteration at the most, any white politician in this country could utter with impunity).

And as Flowers actually admits…

Neither Bush nor McCain were successful in their efforts because of congressional gridlock brought on by fierce public opposition.
And gosh, who exactly was it who stoked that “fierce public opposition,” Christine? I’ll give you a hint (here – sorry for the link, but I’m trying to make a point).

Funny, but I didn’t see Obama or Democrats leading the opposition on common sense immigration reform. Any evidence that you saw that, Christine?

I didn’t think so.

This tells us, though, that, in yet another cave-in to “the base,” McBush has changed his tune, calling for enforcement first without passing the needed reform (which, to me, is like punishing people when they don’t know exactly what it is that they’ve done wrong; in 2006, he championed legislation with Ted Kennedy that made sense, though he’s sprinting away from that as fast as he can at this moment, which is particularly dumb because, as kos notes here, most of the rest of the country – those who aren’t acting like reactionary xenophobes – support it).

And by the way, Christine, I would say that, based on these numbers, most of this country sees through your little gambit of trying to blame Obama for this instead of the Malkinites and their ilk who are really at fault.

And McBush “has taken a step back to find some common ground?” Please. If you think that is possible with those standing in the way on the issue of common sense immigration reform, then Estás loco!

(And by the way, even though I posted this on Friday, I have no clue as to why it appeared on the site with a Thursday date - also, please check here for more posts.)

Update: Here's more from kos on this.

Honoring A Sacred Document

I neglected to mention that yesterday was National Constitution Day, and in that spirit, the following editorial appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Nancy Hopkins of the Pennsylvania ACLU (I also thought Matt Stoller at Open Left had some good things to say here)…

Americans celebrate Constitution Day today. Although it's not an occasion marked by a day off work or self-induced food comas, it quite literally defines us as Americans.

On Sept. 17, 1787, statesmen such as George Washington, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin signed the document that forms the basis of our government. But Constitution Day is not about those men or that day. It is about the rights and freedoms we enjoy every day we go to work, play with our kids, or complain about the government.

Most Americans know about the steaming hot summer of 1787 in Philadelphia and about the raging debates among the statesmen assembled there. But this is where memory fades and the story ends for most Americans.

The founders, however, recognized that the Constitution did not represent an end. To them, that summer in Philadelphia symbolized a beginning.

Over the last two centuries, activism, dissent and dedication have gradually but inexorably expanded the scope and depth of our liberty. We are without a doubt more free than our forebears.

But for the last seven years, the principles this day celebrates and the freedoms our Constitution enshrines and protects have been under siege. The government has grown more powerful, secretive and threatening.

During the course of his time in office, President Bush has, among other things:

  • Spied on American citizens without the approval of Congress or the courts.

  • Allowed the CIA to torture and abuse hundreds of people, including Americans, in secret prisons throughout the world.

  • Insisted that he, and he alone, has the power to declare people to be "enemy combatants" and hold them indefinitely, without charges.

  • Added millions of Americans to the "no-fly" list without an explanation or a meaningful opportunity to appeal.

  • Prevented doctors from offering patients comprehensive and accurate information about their reproductive health.

  • Constitution Day, unlike other holidays, looks to the future - to what our country can be. It challenges us to continually push forward the limits of liberty and freedom.

    With a new presidential administration beginning just four short months from now, we have an opportunity to undo the sustained damage inflicted upon our Constitution by the current one.

    And this week, 221 years after Washington, Madison and Franklin did, we have an obligation to look to the future and envision what the United States of America should be.
    And in a related development, as they say, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will receive the Liberty Medal tonight at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia (here).

    And I think we can expect plenty of vinegar from Gorby on the Russia-Georgia conflict; this recent New York Times Op-Ed lays the blame squarely on Bushco’s shoulders, and while I think Putin deserves the lion’s share of criticism instead, Georgia isn’t innocent either – Gorbachev also said that this is the time to sit down and negotiate an agreement between the two countries, and he’s absolutely right (again, of course, assuming adult leadership on our end, which we won’t see until 1/21/09 at the earliest).

    The Creekside Conundrum Continues (updates)

    The Bucks County Courier Times ran a story today on a protest at the county courthouse in Doylestown over the transfer of the polling station from the Creekside Apartments in Bensalem, PA to the Polanka Hall location approximately a mile away in 2007 (a background post is here).

    The story tells us the following…

    The protest was attended by more than a dozen national and county groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizens Coalition, the National Coalition for Jewish Women and Latin American Legal Defense Fund.

    On one side of the street, they stood with signs that read “Voting is an act of self defense,” “Bensalem discriminates against minority voters” and “Minority voters are Americans too.”

    On the other side of the road stood Commissioner (Charley “I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin, who watched — at times shaking his head.

    “I think it's pretty interesting that all these people can get up here from Bensalem to Doylestown. But they can't walk less than a mile to another polling place,” Martin said.
    A couple of points here, Charley: 1) Many of the Creekside residents are elderly and/or infirmed – try real hard now, but imagine transporting or arranging a ride for yourself to the Polanka Hall location while navigating with a walker, a wheelchair, a crutch or a cast, OK?, and 2) Always remember that, though Diane Marseglia is the minority party member on the Board of Commissioners, more people voted for her last year than you (and it bears repeating that, had Jay Russell decided to stay the hell out of the election and not siphon off votes, you wouldn’t even be serving at all and Steve Santarsiero would be instead).

    And as I also noted previously, Director of the Bucks County Board of Elections and Repug party appointee Deena Dean had no trouble acting with speed to move the polling place, but told us that she couldn’t act with haste the other way because “voter districts must conform with the decennial census,” or something.

    And I also never bought the argument about the crime statistics at Creekside; what, is someone going to try to steal your ballot or something? You use that argument, and you eliminate many of the polling locations in this country. Besides, people around the world have courageously exercised their franchise in much worse circumstances.

    And by the way, along with Diane, one of the people “going to the mat” for the Creekside residents here is Harris Martin, and to reward good behavior, click here.

    And I know I already put this video up last night, but I think it is applicable here also; here's Keith Olbermann interviewing Allen Raymond (you find out who he is) on "Countdown."

    Update 9/19/08: By the way, Cawley and Martin rated a "Thumbs Down" here from the Courier Times for yet another abuse of their authority.

    Update 9/23/08: The more we dig into this, the more it stinks to high heaven (re: deposition that GOP wanted the polling place moved).

    Update 9/28/06: The following letter appeared in the Courier Times today...

    I was a protestor at Bucks County Courthouse on behalf of resident voters at Creekside Apartments. Their polling place was moved to Polanka Hall, Knights Road, across Street Road and down two blocks.

    Most residents don’t use cars; many are elderly or disabled.

    The ruling Republican county commissioners, Charles Martin and James Cawley, stated, “The Bensalem polling place was too dangerous.”

    I request proof of a single crime committed during election hours.

    But, I witnessed something even more disturbing that I hope all decent voters will consider when Martin comes up for re-election.

    Martin stood across the street watching the protest. I thought I might appeal to (sic) his decision and ask him how to go about having it overturned.

    His answers were evading and misleading – disrespectful enough. But all the while he wore a slick grin of satisfaction!

    I was appalled and asked him why he was grinning, to which he did not answer and went on grinning.

    No matter how much he might disagree with some of his constituency, Martin owes the people he represents courtesy.

    Barbara Stakes
    Oakford, PA
    An online link to this letter is currently unavailable from, so I transscribed it from the hard copy of the newspaper.

    Update 9/30/08: Looks like the "old boys club" is turning on Dean - disgusting.

    Today's Housing Lies From Dana Perino

    You can always be assured of a trip through fantasyland with Bushco’s favorite PR snowflake (from here)…

    Q Well, I want to give you a chance to respond to what Speaker Pelosi is saying, because it really seems like the -- at least the sort of finger-pointing is ratcheting up, accusing Republicans, and it sounded like the White House, of mismanagement of financial-market regulation. It really seems as though there's a accusation that the White House is to blame in some way, or the Bush administration policy is to blame in some way. Your response?

    MS. PERINO: Well, unfortunately -- unfortunately, I don't think that the reaction of finger-pointing from Democrats to the White House is anything new.

    I would ask you to go back and look and ask Speaker Pelosi or any of the other Democrats who are pointing fingers, what specific regulation did they want that we blocked? What specific regulation did we eliminate?
    This may be factually true as nearly as I can determine, but for Perino or any other Republican to act as if they favor government regulation of the markets is absolutely to laugh.

    In response, I would ask that you consider the following statements from Barack Obama (from here – aimed more at John W. McBush, I realize, but it fits for his party too).

    In February of 2006, I introduced legislation to stop mortgage transactions that promoted fraud, risk or abuse. A year later, before the crisis hit, I warned Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke about the risks of mounting foreclosures and urged them to bring together all the stakeholders to find solutions to the subprime mortgage meltdown. Senator McCain did nothing.

    Last September, I stood up at NASDAQ and said it’s time to realize that we are in this together – that there is no dividing line between Wall Street and Main Street – and warned of a growing loss of trust in our capital markets. Months later, Senator McCain told a newspaper that he’d love to give them a solution to the mortgage crisis, “but” – he said – “I don’t know one.”

    In January, I outlined a plan to help revive our faltering economy, which formed the basis for a bipartisan stimulus package that passed the Congress. Senator McCain used the crisis as an excuse to push a so-called stimulus plan that offered another huge and permanent corporate tax cut, including $4 billion for the big oil companies, but no immediate help for workers.

    This March, in the wake of the Bear Stearns bailout, I called for a new, 21st century regulatory framework to restore accountability, transparency, and trust in our financial markets. Just a few weeks earlier, Senator McCain made it clear where he stands: “I’m always for less regulation,” he said, and referred to himself as “fundamentally a deregulator.”

    This is what happens when you confuse the free market with a free license to let special interests take whatever they can get, however they can get it. This is what happens when you see seven years of incomes falling for the average worker while Wall Street is booming, and declare – as Senator McCain did earlier this year – that we’ve made great progress economically under George Bush. That is how you can reach the conclusion – as late as yesterday – that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.
    I will, however, acknowledge that Gramm-Leach-Bliley had a lot to do with our current misery, and that was signed into law by Bill Clinton and not Dubya (and Gramm is that "nation of whiners" guy, just to remind you).

    Returning to Perino…

    In fact, it was the White House that worked to try to get them to act on GSE reform as early as 2003. Unfortunately, they did not act on that until most recently when there was a crisis and we got the authorities that we needed in August of 2007. What we were looking for in that GSE reform was a strong regulator. That's what we wanted. It was more regulation, more transparency, and a stronger independent regulator who could actually look at the books of the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and tell us exactly what was going on.
    This tells us that former Dem Sen. Paul Sarbanes (of “Sarbanes-Oxley” for the uninitiated) warned that “ideologues” have created an impasse over trying to pass GSE reform legislation (GSE stands for “government sponsored enterprises,” but for our purposes, we’re basically talking about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System; the story also tells us that S.1508, the bill championed by former-Dem-turned-Repug Richard Shelby was opposed by Bushco because “its receivership provisions were not strong enough,” which, somehow, I think could have been addressed if they weren’t more concerned with scuttling it outright).

    This tells us of a 2005 fight over GSE reform in which “conservative Republicans (were) already bracing for a fight if Shelby’s bill contains any measure that would require the two lending giants to divert a portion of their profits.” And this tells us that the National Association of Home Builders opposed the 2006 bill from Shelby because it “failed to adequately address the nation’s housing needs” (not sure exactly what that was all about, but again, couldn’t that have been worked out with the NAHB first? After all, they’re a “trade association based in Washington, D.C.,” which automatically makes me inclined to think lobbyists and big bucks, the primary audience for Repugs and too many Dems also).

    So actually, Dana, instead of the “strong regulator” you appeared to be looking for, it looked as if you and your neocon-simpatico chums wanted to instead create the illusion of activity and nothing more (and by the way, as noted here, the House passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act a month ago).


    In addition to that, we wanted FHA modernization so that more low-income people could have their mortgages backed by the FHA. They didn't move on that until there was a crisis at hand. We wanted rules -- they're called RESPA rules, I can't remember what it stands for, it's Real Estate Settlement Act -- but it would help people understand what they're getting into when they have a loan. Unfortunately they didn't act on that. Hank Paulson's regulatory blueprint that he laid out early last spring fell on deaf ears to the Democratic members of Congress.
    Concerning RESPA, this story (last paragraph) tells us that it is “intended to simplify loan disclosures and make it easier for consumers to comparison shop for mortgages and settlement services like title insurance (see story).” However, “the industry is expected to fight aspects of the plan that would serve as incentives to package settlement services with mortgage loans (see special report).”

    And concerning Paulson’s “regulatory blueprint,” nobody acted on it because it set out to further deregulate the financial services industry instead of doing the opposite (as noted here).

    Say goodnight, Dana (and by the way, I posted earlier about an unfortunate development with Patrick Murphy here).

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Wednesday Stuff

    This is the sound of leadership, my friends...

    (And by the way, there aren't too many writers at HuffPo that I seek out on a regular basis, but Bob Cesca is one of them, and this post is brilliant - his question at the end nails it.)

    ...Hey Vermonters, get out and support Charlotte Dennett for Attorney General; if she wins, what Bugliosi is talking about here will come to fruition...

    ...K.O. and author (and convicted criminal) Allen Raymond give us a primer on "caging" voters on "Countdown"...

    ...Local H ("Bound For The Floor"; if Bushco has a theme song, I think this may be it).

    Update 9/18/08: Sorry, Barry, I'm dealing with a real mess over Blogger's policing of spam, so I had to reject your comment.

    John W. McBush's Greatest Flip-Flops

    Another hat tip goes out to Michael Morrill for this...

    On "The View" (last Monday), McCain challenged Joy Behar to name an issue he's flip-flopped on. ThinkProgress found 42 (from here).

    The flip-flop
    document notes that McCain has changed his position even on the four areas he cited — spending, climate change, the war in Iraq, and torture of prisoners:

    SPENDING: The McCain campaign has said that it will balance the budget by the end of McCain’s first time. But chief economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said McCain would balance the budget by the end of his second term.

    CLIMATE CHANGE: In 1999, McCain opposed lifting the ban on offshore drilling, saying that it was just the “special interests in Washington” that advocated it. In 2008, McCain announced that “there are areas off our coasts that should be open to exploration and exploitation.”

    IRAQ CONDUCT: He said in 2004 that Donald Rumsfeld was doing “a fine job” and was “an honorable man.” But by 2008, McCain was arguing that he was “the only one that said Rumsfeld had to go.”

    TORTURE: In 2005, McCain pushed President Bush to sign a bill that would prohibit “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” of anyone in U.S. government custody. But in 2008, McCain voted against the Intelligence Authorization Bill, which requires the intelligence community to abide by the same standards as articulated in the Army Field Manual and bans waterboarding.
    Steve Benen has compiled another flip-flop list here.

    Update: By the way, in the prior post with all of the YouTube links, the very first bullet actually does take you to a video even though I have it accidentally marked as deleted - I'd go back and change it, but Blogger lost all of my delete edits and I don't feel like going back and making them again.

    How Change Starts

    The latest from the Obama campaign...

    You'd be surprised how many people you know aren't registered to vote.

    Registration deadlines are coming up soon, and we need every single vote we can get to win this election.

    Tell your friends, family, and neighbors to check out
    our new one-stop voter registration website.

    Just forward this message. makes it easier than ever to register. Instead of tracking down the right forms, all you need to do is answer a few basic questions and you'll be ready to vote. You can also:

  • Confirm your existing registration

  • Apply to vote absentee

  • Find your polling place

  • If you don't know your own registration status or you'd like to learn more, take a minute to visit the site right now.

    This race is too close and too important to stay home on Election Day.

    If you take the time to register and vote -- and make sure everyone you know is registered as well -- we'll be able to turn the tide of the past eight years.

    It's people just like you who will transform this nation.


    To learn more about the campaign, click here.

    Assorted John W. McBush/"Governor Hottie" Lowlights

    Lots to catch up on, so here goes (I'm not above stealing the pic either)...

    In case you missed it, check out the top clips we captured this week at McCain town hall meetings:

  • McCain Falsely Claims Palin's Negotiated Natural Gas Pipeline Will Bring "Clean Energy" (here).

  • McCain Leads The Crowd: "Drill Baby Drill" (here).

  • Palin Makes First Gaffe, Indicates Fannie and Freddie Are Publicly Owned (here).

  • McCain Lies, Says Palin Sold Plane On eBay… For A Profit! (here).

  • McCain Criticizes Obama For Wanting to Slow FCS Development (Which McCain Once Also Advocated - here).

  • McCain Exhorts: "Change Is Coming!" (x3) (but not in the way he thinks; my note - here).

  • Palin: VP Choice Says Lots About Pres. Nominee, And You Can't Call Biden An "Agent Of Change" (here).

  • Crowd Interrupts McCain With "Straight Talk" Chant (McCain Responds "That Sounded Rehearsed" - naaah! Ya' think? - here).

  • McCain: Palin Is "Right On National Security… She Understands Those Issues," Contrasts Her "Record" With Obama (here).

  • 'Reformer' McCain: Tired Of Gov't Not Responding To Disasters And Old-Boy Cronyism In DC? (here).

  • Palin Reminds People "Government Is Not Always The Answer… Too Often Government Is The Problem," Lists Her 'Maverick' Achievements (here).

  • Blast from the Past:

    With Palin saber-rattling on Russia and the foreign policy debate fast approaching, here are some old clips with new meaning:

    McCain: "There's Gonna Be More Wars"

    JOHN MCCAIN: "I'm sorry to tell you that there're gonna be more wounds and there's gonna be more wars. I'd like to tell you there's not gonna be any more wars. There's gonna be more wars.

    MCCAIN: "We are facing an implacable evil that wants to destroy everything we stand for and believe in, that wants to destroy America; and that confrontation is gonna have many manifestations in the years to come."
    (Rally; Florence, SC 01/18/08)

    To View, click

    JOHN MCCAIN: [...] Just a few hours ago there was an act of provocation by some Iranian ships towards the United States ships transiting the Straits of Hormuz. My friends, it came close to a military confrontation. [...] Let's understand who are enemies are! Let's understand that radical Islamic extremism is in many places in the world. And we were in two wars today combating it. And there are other places where we may have to [fight].


    I know how to treat weakness in me.
    (Speech; Keene, NH 01/07/08)

    To View, click
    To Download, click


    McCain Falsely Claims Palin's Negotiated Natural Gas Pipeline Will Bring "Clean Energy"

    JOHN MCCAIN: This Governor negotiated a $40 billion dollar natural gas pipeline that will bring clean energy to the lower 48 which will help alleviate America's energy requirements. I'm proud of that job, and that's the kind of job we can continue to do.
    (Rally; Fairfax, VA 09/10/08)

    To View, click
    To Download, click

    McCain Leads The Crowd: "Drill Baby Drill"

    JOHN MCCAIN: And we've got to do all of the above; wind, tide, solar, natural gas, flexible fuel, hydrogen, battery powered cars. And yes, yes, as that sign says over there my friends: drill, baby, drill. We've got to offshore drill and now, we've got to do it now!
    (Rally; Fairfax, VA 09/10/08)

    To View, click

    Palin Makes First Gaffe, Indicates Fannie and Freddie Are Publicly Owned

    SARAH PALIN: [...] [McCain] understands what to do about job losses and high energy prices and mortgage failures, the problems faced by hard-working, middle-class Americans--all of us! And that's why John McCain has been calling for years to reform things and cut bureaucracy, even at the lending agencies that our government supports. The fact is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--they've gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers. (cheers) The McCain-Palin administration will make them smaller and smarter and more effective for homeowners who need help.
    (Rally; Colorado Springs, CO 09/06/08)

    To View, click

    McCain Lies, Says Palin Sold Plane On eBay… For A Profit!:

    JOHN MCCAIN: You know what I enjoyed the most? [Gov. Palin] took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on E-bay! [laughs] And made a profit!
    (Meet & Greet / Rally; Cedarsburg, WI 09/05/08)

    To Download, click

    McCain Criticizes Obama For Wanting to Slow FCS Development (Which McCain Once Also Advocated)

    JOHN MCCAIN: This weekend Senator Obama was asked for an example of a time when he bucked his party. His answer was defense spending. He says now he wants to increase it, but during the primary he told a liberal advocacy group that he'd cut defense spending by tens of billions of dollars and he promised them he would "slow our development of future combat systems." [shakes his head while crowd boos] [...] my friends, this is not a time to slow our development of future combat systems. That's not bucking his party, that's telling em just what they want to hear. Senator Obama told the extreme left what they wanted to hear during the primary and now we think he's trying to tell you what he thinks you want to hear. My friends, you may not always agree with me, but you will always know where I stand.
    (Rally; Lee's Summit, MO 09/08/08)

    To View, click
    To Download, click

    McCain Exhorts: "Change Is Coming!" (x3)

    JOHN MCCAIN: Let me offer an advance warning to the old big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd: Change is coming! Change is coming and it's coming to our nation's capitol! And we're cleaning up! Change is coming.
    (Speech; Fairfax, VA 09/10/08)

    To View, click
    To Download, click

    Palin: VP Choice Says Lots About Pres. Nominee, And You Can't Call Biden An "Agent Of Change"

    SARAH PALIN: You know the choices that presidential nominees make for a running mate, they say a lot about them. And when our opponent made his choice, he went for a fine man, a decent man, Senator Biden can claim many chairmanships across many, many years in Washington and certainly many friends in the Washington, but even those admirers would not be able to call him an agent of change.

    PALIN: Senator McCain has called the two of us a team of mavericks. John McCain knows that we've done some shakin' up in Alaska. And, as governor I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau. I had to stand up to the special interests and the lobbyists and the big oil companies and the good ol' boys' network. And true reform, though it is so hard to achieve. [...] With the support of our citizens we put the government of our state back on the side of the people. And I came to office promising major ethics reform. To end the culture of self-dealing up there. And today, that ethics reform is the law. And while I was at it, we got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I just didn't think our citizens should be paying for. Like that luxury jet, it was a little bit over the top. So I put it on Ebay. And, I love to drive myself to work, and you may have heard we did lay off the governor's personal chef, though I do admit with that one, my kids aren't starving but they sure do miss her. I came to office promising to control spending, too; by request, if possible, but by veto, if necessary. Hundreds of million of dollars of vetos later, and Senator McCain too, promises to use that power of veto in defense of the public interest. As a chief executive I can assure you that it works. This is a moment that requires that kind of toughness and strength in the heart of the American president. And my running mate is a man who has shown those qualities in the darkest of places.
    (Rally Colorado Springs, CO 09/06/08)

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    Crowd Interrupts McCain With "Straight Talk" Chant (McCain Responds "That Sounded Rehearsed")

    JOHN MCCAIN: These are tough times. Youre worried, youre worried about keeping your job

    [Crowd interrupts with chanting of Straight Talk!]

    MCCAIN: That sounded rehearsed.

    MCCAIN: My friends, for a moment of straight talk, these are tough times, you're worried about keeping your job, finding a new one, struggling to put food on the table, even stay in your home. Today were looking at costly government led restructuring of our home-loan agencies. We need to keep people in their homes but we can't allow this to turn into a bailout of Wall St. speculators and irresponsible executives.
    (Rally; Lee's Summit, MO 09/08/08)

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    McCain: Palin Is "Right On National Security…She Understands Those Issues," Contrasts Her "Record" With Obama

    JOHN MCCAIN: [Obama] was wrong on Iraq, he was wrong on Iran, and he was wrong when he made a moral equivocation between Russia and Georgia when Russia invaded. My friends, he's wrong on national security, and he has a record. This person is right on national security, and she's been right and she understands those issues and I'm proud of her.
    (Rally; Fairfax, VA 09/10/08)

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    Reformer McCain: Tired Of The Old-Boy Cronyism In DC?

    JOHN MCCAIN: All you've ever asked for government is for it to stand on your side and not in your way. And that's just what I intend to do, stand on your side and fight for your future. We must reform the way the government does business, whether it be the Air Traffic Control system-- how many of you are tired of standing and waiting in an airport for 6 or 7 hours? We gotta fix it. How many of you are tired of the fact that government cannot respond to disasters in away it should? How many of you are tired of the same old business, the same old old-boy cronyism that exists in Washington DC? You're sick of it, I'm sick of it, well bring about change.
    (Rally; Fairfax, VA 09/10/08)

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    Palin Reminds People "Government Is Not Always The Answer…Too Often Government Is The Problem," Lists Her 'Maverick' Achievements

    SARAH PALIN: As mayor, I shook up the good ol' boy system—had to kinda take that on. I reminded people that government is not always the answer, in fact, too often government is the problem. So here's what we did: we got back to the basics and I put the local government there back on the side of the people.

    PALIN: I eliminated taxes on property; on personal property. I eliminated taxes on those small business inventories; this was hurting small business. We took that tax away. Property taxes were way too high. So every year I cut rates for six years in a row and those reforms worked and our communities soared. We started takin' off.

    PALIN: So then, as governor, I brought that same agenda of positive change to the state level. We took on the old politics as usual in Juneau and we broke the monopoly that had controlled our state; that was the lobbyists and the special interests associated with big oil companies. We came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of closed doors and self-dealing and today that ethics reform is the law of the state. We cleaned it up!

    PALIN: I thought it was important also, as mayor and governor, to try to lead by example. So what I did, as mayor, I took a voluntary pay cut, which didn't really thrill my husband and then, as governor, I cut the personal chef position from the budget, which didn't thrill my kids and then I put the state's government checkbook on-line for all to see, which didn't thrill a lot of the bureaucrats and, as you may have heard, the luxury jet that came with the office: I put it on eBay.

    PALIN: What I had done was promise to control spending when I came into office so I didn't want to just be walking the walk. We didn't want to just talk about it. We wanted to actually do it by request, if possible, and by veto, if necessary is how I would control spending and today our state budget is under control and we do have a surplus and I put the veto pen to nearly half a billion dollars in reckless spending.
    (Speech; Lebanon, OH 09/09/08)

    To View, click
    As always, a hat tip goes out to Michael Morrill at Keystone Progress for this stuff (and I actually have more like this, believe it or not).

    Update: Sorry about the broken links - I just checked the post again, and I think I either removed them or noted where they are.

    Another Slick Repug Oil Scam

    The Murdoch Street Journal never disappoints when it comes to seeking out reality-challenged commentary; this piece published today was written by House Repug John Shadegg of Arizona, one of the leading “Drill, Baby, Drill” proponents (as you can see from here, that $119K buys a lot of influence)…

    The Democratic proposal (which recently passed, by the way; my note) is not a death-bed conversion, it's designed to solve their political problem. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her members in August that they can say they are in favor of drilling, but that she wouldn't allow a vote on a drilling bill. Now that she has been forced to, she knows her environmental allies will block new drilling from going forward.

    Indeed, incessant legal and administrative challenges make true the Democrat claim that oil from newly opened areas will not reach the market for years. These groups make use of a wide range of laws and regulations to challenge development. And they will make sure that the Democrats' proposal is meaningless.
    As far as the fact that no oil would be yielded in the near term under the “Democrat” proposal (nice one, Shadegg, you creep), this Media Matters post tells us that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) decided as follows concerning drilling in Alaska (by the way, his position of now favoring drilling in the OCS represents yet another flip-flop by John W. McBush)…

    "The projections in the OCS [Outer Continental Shelf] access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017." In assessing the likely impact of drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf area, the EIA further stated that "despite the increase in production from previously restricted areas after 2012, total natural gas production from the lower 48 OCS is projected generally to decline after 2020." The EIA continued: "Although a significant volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and natural gas resources is added in the OCS access case, conversion of those resources to production would require both time and money. In addition, the average field size in the Pacific and Atlantic regions tends to be smaller than the average in the Gulf of Mexico, implying that a significant portion of the additional resource would not be economically attractive to develop at the reference case prices."
    And as you can see, contrary to Shadegg, the lack of impact on available gas or prices has absolutely nothing to do with potential environmentally related litigation or legislation.

    Shadegg continues…

    The Alaskan OCS contains 26 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
    However, this post tells us…

    There’s no reason in principle not to explore the OCS in light of what we know. But exactly what we know isn't the rose John McCain is showing us. The numbers thrown about by McCain and the McCainStreamMedia derive from a 2006 report of the Minerals Management Service, which in turn “updates” in terms of technology and energy prices, a 2003 assessment of the same service.
    Oh, and just call me a suspicious, filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but given these recent revelations about the Minerals Management Service, I would tend to question their veracity at the very least (I mean, just how “coked up” were they when they came up with these projections?).

    And by the way, in case you were wondering about Shadegg, he’s also working for the current campaign of another Arizona Republican politician (and facing a corruption scandal – surprise!), as noted here.

    (I also posted today about Gen. David Petraeus at Wordpress here - just an FYI).

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Tuesday Stuff

    I hope to be back posting tomorrow here at Blogger (if it cooperates and they get rid of that stupid word verification for posts - I feel for commenters out there, but I have to do it, particularly given Blogger's ridiculous ultra-policing of spam these days) and probably Wordpress also; some last-minute stuff came up today.


    OK...soo, it apparently is OK for "Governor Hottie" to take up space in Alaska for about half a term, a reason for her (or so she thinks) to crow about how Senators Obama and Biden don't have "executive level experience" (and by extension, that applies to John W. McBush also), but it isn't necessary that she possess the skill set to run a Fortune 500 company? So, "Senate is bad, Fortune 500 is bad, but governor of a state with a population the size of Memphis, TN for two years is good?" Are you as confused about this as I am (here)?

    And by the way, please keep this in mind about Carly Fiorina...

    Update 9/17/08: Tee hee hee (h/t Atrios).

    ...and OMG, forget about AIG and Lehman for a minute: THIS is the really bad economic news ("Juck Fenna?")...

    Economists Warn Anti-Bush Merchandise Market Close To Collapse

    ..."Worst Persons" again (yes, Gordon, Obama's birth certificate from Hawaii is real FOR THE THOUSANDTH FREAKING TIME!!, Eddie Burke (sp?) is truly a scumwaffle, and if "Governor Gidget" has S.A.D., we'd damn well better know about it - glad K.O. ditched the black frames from last night)...

    ...and here's G Love ("Peace, Love And Happiness"; no cover tonight, and I wonder what skyline that is?)

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Monday Stuff

    "The Pap Attack" gives us some "straight talk we can believe in" on the economy, my friends (I'm waiting to hear more of that "angry roar" myself; I don't see it in the polling numbers yet, but hopefully I will)...

    ...God, I thought this was hilarious; a Fox Noise trifecta on K.O.'s "Worst Persons," with Hannity, Orally and Rupert Murdoch hisself (aaarrrrggghhh!)...

    ...doing a "180" here; if His Fraudulency were any kind of a man, he'd meet with Mr. Scripsick and Mr. Henthorn (but we know he's nothing more than a lying opportunist, of course)...

    ...and yeah, I'd like to hit Bob DeMoss and Mark Whitlock with something a little heavier and more destructive than a spatula, if you want to know the truth (though, again, I officially don't advocate the violence that conservatives would happily inflict upon liberals).

    ...Backdoor Slam ("Outside Woman Blues"; God, these guys knock me out)...

    ...and as a tribute to Richard Wright of Pink Floyd, here's "Run Like Hell" (also live) from 1980.

    That's Using Your Head...Not!

    This story in today’s New York Times tells us about a court ruling in India, in which a woman was sentenced to life in prison under the following circumstances…

    The woman, Aditi Sharma, was accused of killing her former fiancé, Udit Bharati. They were living in Pune when Ms. Sharma met another man and eloped with him to Delhi. Later Ms. Sharma returned to Pune and, according to prosecutors, asked Mr. (Udit) Bharati to meet her at a McDonald’s. She was accused of poisoning him with arsenic-laced food.

    Ms. Sharma, 24, agreed to take a Brain Electrical Oscillations Signature (BEOS) test in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra. (Suspects may be tested only with their consent, but forensic investigators say many agree because they assume it will spare them an aggressive police interrogation.)

    After placing 32 electrodes on Ms. Sharma’s head, investigators said, they read aloud their version of events, speaking in the first person (“I bought arsenic”; “I met Udit at McDonald’s”), along with neutral statements like “The sky is blue,” which help the software distinguish memories from normal cognition.

    For an hour, Ms. Sharma said nothing. But the relevant nooks of her brain where memories are thought to be stored buzzed when the crime was recounted, according to (Sunny) Joseph, the state investigator. The judge endorsed Mr. Joseph’s assertion that the scans were proof of “experiential knowledge” of having committed the murder, rather than just having heard about it.
    And by the way, Ms. Sharma insists that she’s innocent.

    And in case you were wondering about whether or not Bushco is “on board” with this (I'm sure you already know the answer, though)…

    Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States has plowed money into brain-based lie detection in the hope of producing more fruitful counterterrorism investigations.

    “I find this both interesting and disturbing,” Henry T. Greely, a bioethicist at Stanford Law School, said of the Indian verdict. “We keep looking for a magic, technological solution to lie detection. Maybe we’ll have it someday, but we need to demand the highest standards of proof before we ruin people’s lives based on its application.”

    If brain scans are widely adopted, (Mr. Greely and his colleague Judy Illes) said, “the legal issues alone are enormous, implicating at least the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”
    This tells us about brain-based lie detector test conducted by No Lie MRI (clever) in Philadelphia in July or August 2006; no further word on that. Also, this tells us of further funded research into this experimental science in '07, and this tells us that…

    Police may soon be able to monitor suspicious brain activity (not only by people watched by hidden surveillance cameras, but) from a distance as well. New neurotechnology soon may be able to detect a person who is particularly nervous, in possession of guilty knowledge or, in the more distant future, to detect a person thinking, "Only one hour until the bomb explodes." Today, the science of detecting and decoding brain activity is in its infancy. But various government agencies are funding the development of technology to detect brain activity remotely and are hoping to eventually decode what someone is thinking. Scientists, however, wildly disagree about the accuracy of brain imaging technology, what brain activity may mean and especially whether brain activity can be detected from afar.

    Yet as the experts argue about the scientific limitations of remote brain detection, this chilling science fiction may already be a reality. In 2002, the Electronic Privacy Information Center reported that NASA was developing brain monitoring devices for airports and was seeking to use noninvasive sensors in passenger gates to collect the electronic signals emitted by passengers' brains. Scientists scoffed at the reports, arguing that to do what NASA was proposing required that an electroencephalogram (EEG) be physically attached to the scalp.

    But that same year, scientists at the University of Sussex in England adapted the same technology they had been using to detect heart rates at distances of up to 1 meter, or a little more than three feet, to remotely detect changes in the brain. And while scientific limitations to remote EEG detection still exist, clearly the question is when, not if, these issues will be resolved.
    And if all of this isn’t scary enough, it looks like this guy would be making his “expertise” available on this stuff given what he said here to the late Tim Russert (snark).

    (By the way, Blogger seems to be cooperating for now, but they’d better get rid of this goddamn word verification for my posts or else I’ll post at Wordpress exclusively from now on; this is definitely not a “spam blog” – please take a look at this on “Governor Hottie,” if you would.)

    Update 9/16/08: And speaking of Coburn, he's a total assclown for opposing this.

    More McBush Distortions

    Hat tip to commenter Kurt over here for this...

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Sunday Stuff

    (And once more, as a reminder, I'll be spending most of my time here.)

    Every American should watch this; as far as I'm concerned, as bad as Governor Gidget's lies are (along with McBush also, of course), consider the very real possibility that, were the Repugs to win the White House again in November (God help us), Palin would be president in a very short period of time...

    ...Kaiser Chiefs ("I Heard It Through The Grapevine").