SocraticGadfly: 7/13/08 - 7/20/08

July 19, 2008

The future of Western GOP gets fractured

High Country News, the premier all-around progressive magazine of Western states environmentalism, politics and sociology, has an excellent take on the future of the conservatives vs. the ultra-conservatives of the GOP in the West, starting with the ground zero of Idaho.

Environmental issues, especially with mushrooming natural gas and coalbed methane production in a number of states, is at the top of fracture points between conservatives and ultras.

But, it’s not just conservatives vs. ultras. It’s also the stereotypical hook and bullet Republican against the big business one, or at least, the big extractive industries one.

That said, allegedly “green” Western Republicans still fall short. Witness Wyoming Republican Congressional candidate Mark Gordon:
The modern Sierra Club “is more ideological -- not talking about management (of grazing), but talking about getting cows off public lands. ... There’s been an incredible retrenchment on both sides.”

All straw man here, of course.

Sierra (and others) are about not letting you graze your cows on federal land at subsidized rates and above good carrying capacity.

Anyway, read the full article; it’s long but in-depth.

Then, consider subscribing to HCN.

Texas wind transmission lines may lower electric costs

Yes, you and I the electric customers will pay about $4 a month up front for this, but a new wind-transmission project OKed by the state will pipe enough west Texas windpower here to DFW to power up most of the Metroplex on wind alone, even on a hot summer day.

Longer term, we’ll save, in a couple of ways.

First with natural gas prices continuing to rise (state utilities get a fair amount of electricity from NG plants), and not coming down (North America hit Peak Natural Gas earlier this decade), it will ease the burden on fossil fuels.

Second, by reducing greenhouse gases, it could just reduce the load on your AC 20 years from now.

Nutroots Nation 2008 – ACLU takes a pass on Pelosi

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has apparently came, spoken and conquered at Netroots Nation earlier today. Per my blogging yesterday, I’ve heard nothing of the ACLU or ACLU of Texas, convening a press conference, let alone a protest, about Passive Pelosi™ and her FISA vote, or other things.

Note: Note only had I e-mailed the ACLU of Texas from my personal e-mail account more than once, asking if it had plans for a news conference, if not a protest or rally, for Pelosi visiting Netroots Nation, I also used my editor's newspaper company e-mail address yesterday. I got no response to either my personal or editorial e-mails.

Then, to add to the hypocrisy value, I get this e-mail from the national ACLU this afternoon:
Did you know that Congress has signed away our right to privacy?

It’s true! By making FISA law, the President and Congress have made it legal for US agencies to spy on our text messages, email, and phone calls to people outside the US, without any cause, reason or warrant. Does that sound like a right to privacy to you?

Help the ACLU overturn FISA by sharing your message of support now!

Well, I pretty much told the ACLU what it could do with the e-mail.

To me, I think the ACLU is becoming like the Sierra Club vis-à-vis younger, smaller and, yes, less co-opted environmental movements.

Has the ACLU co-opted itself at times? Well, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero teaching Fortune 500 companies how to “beat” the Patriot Act would say yes.

Now, the ACLU is not a fossil. But, on a lot of civil liberties issues in the Bush Administration, smaller groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights have often been quicker to the trigger.

Along with their other foibles, this is part of why, without being conscious of it at first, I’ve decided to drop my paid membership with both.

Nutroots Nation 2008 – TPM fluffblogging of Pelosi

Tis the season to be snarky, so you’re going to see some version of this post header and photo header a few more times this weekend.

I didn’t bother scrolling through the video, just read the text excerpts of Talking Points interview of Passive Pelosi™ down at Netroots Nation in Austin.

Yes, it’s true that Bush’s semi-acceptance of a “framework” in Iraq is not the same as timetables for withdrawal. But from the leader of Congressional Democrats who voted to continue funding the war, without timetables, pulled impeachment off the table, refused to put the War Powers Act on the table, and voted to amend FISA to put spies under your table, Speaker Pelosi has a lot of chutzpah herself. And, to not be interviewed about that?

Update, 5:51 CDT: I can admit either a mistake, or not having (in this case, not through my fault) complete information. TPM has now posted the full version of its Pelosi interview, including flagging that Pelosi was given some degree of grilling on FISA.

Hey GOP – forget France as a nuclear power exemplar

For the second week in a row, a leak has been found at a French nuclear plant.

Now, I’m not like the Green Party. I’m not against nuclear power per se. Nor am I against all government subsidies to nuke plants.

But, those subsidies shouldn’t be unrealistic. And, they shouldn’t be done at all until we straighten out the long-term waste issue.

That said, I oppose Yucca Mountain. Not primarily because of the faulting and storage concerns there, but because I think we need to get beyond NIMBYism. If Americans want nuclear power to be part of a solution for relatively cheap electricity, barring the Manhattan Project of conservation efforts, then they need to help pay the price. If that price for nuclear power includes a dozen long-term depositories around the country, and another three dozen versions of the WIPP site in Carlsbad, N.M., then that’s what it includes.

Alleged cold fusion producer gets academic discipline

Indiana University found that nuclear engineering professor Rusi Taleyarkhan committed research conduct. The conduct wasn’t actually in his allegedly finding cold fusion, but slapping another prof’s name, as well as his own, on the paper he produced later, as well as claiming his findings were independently confirmed.

They weren’t then, and they still haven’t been.

That said, with, $140/bbl oil, I suspect shysters will be trying to trot out cold-fusion powered cars soon enough.

Wyoming wolf ‘hunting’ is disgusting

Read here for more on hunting “plugging” wolves in Wyoming.

Ever since the gray wolves of the northern Rockies were removed from their “endangered” listing per the Endangered Species Act, Wyoming has had a kill-on-sight policy in official predator areas.

One guy claimed to have killed 10 in just a matter of days. As Derek Goldman notes, their only “crime” was being wolves.

And, this isn’t “hunting” in other ways either. With a kill-on-sight policy, no licenses are required, so no money goes to the state fish and game folks for conservation.

Finally, this isn’t “hunting,” because it’s kill-on-sight and not shoot-on-sight.

But, wolves have a reprieve moved back on the Endangered Species List by judicial order.

July 18, 2008

Porn King Phil leaves McCain campaign — at least partially

I’m sure the pushing was hard as Phil Gramm dug his fingernails into McCain campaign headquarters doorjambs, but he is gone as campaign co-chair.

And, Phil, don’t be a whiner about it.

That said, remember, he’s also been a Schmuck Talk “advisor” in the past. This could be a deal like Mark Penn “leaving” one role in Hillary Clinton’s campaign and keeping others.

Rocky Mountain wolves get reprieve from killers

For now, at least, Greater Yellowstone area wolves are out of the crosshairs of snipers’ scopes.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy has put the gray wolves back on the Endangered Species list.

It’s believed that more than 100 wolves, out of a population of 2,000, in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, have been killed since being delisted less than four months ago.

Read here for more on hunting “plugging” wolves in Wyoming.

‘Ten-cent patriotism’ part of political silly season

Ten-cent patriotism? Why do I use that phrase?

My newspaper column for this week explains, as I tackle flag lapel pins and “Obama is a Muslim” rumors.

Here’s why I call flag lapel pins “ten-cent patriotism.” (“Dime-store patriotism” is an acceptable alternative!)
Pull those flag pins off the GOP lapels, look at the back side of them, and over and over, you'll see the same phrase:

“Made in China.” (Blogger Bugsoup helps me out with this illustration of ten-cent patriotism.)

Considering the lapel pins probably actually cost about 10 cents to make, I think “10-cent patriotism” is the perfect phrase for such chintzy, surface-level veneration of America. (Oh, and if you were waving an 8-inch or foot-long plastic flag at a Fourth of July event, it wasn't “Made in the U.S.” either.)

As for the “Obama is a Muslim” rumors, I suggest he should take a stronger stance against them. I suggest a hypothetical statement I wish he would make:
“I'm not a Muslim, but so what if I am? Did we have this same whispering campaign eight years ago against our first Jewish vice-presidential candidate? No. I implore Americans of all political stances to reject outright such political bigotry, especially as directed against our nation's second-largest organized religion.”

(Yes, reputable surveys, with reasonable allowance for non-reporting, indicate Muslims outnumber Jews. No, I’m not getting into the issues of whether Mormonism is its own religion, not a Christian sect. Nor am I getting into the issue of secular humanism being a religion or not.)

Political silly season also means political pander season, though, so Obama won’t make such a statement.

In the column, I also get into the FISA bill and third-party voting.

Why I remain ambivalent about voting Green

Basically, it’s because for all the good Green Party positions, there’s plenty of nuttery, which might in part be excusable, but also hypocrisy that can rival the Republican-Democratic duopoly.

The GP platform (PDF) has details of the good, the bad and the ugly.

First, the good?

I definitely agree with withdrawing from Afghanistan with Iraq.

I wholeheartedly support ending the “War on Drugs,” medicalizing marijuana and getting rid of private prisons.

I totally support making sure workers get all possible rights to unionize.

Get rid of permanent vetoes for any U.N. Security Council member? I could be down with that.

Repeal the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act? Sign me up.

Fair trade? I’ve been decrying liberal squishes for more than a decade.

Civil rights of secularists? Of course; I am one.

But, then comes the nuttery, in a variety of forms, many of them involving some degree of detachment from reality.

For example, you CANNOT be hardcore about chastising the Bush Adminstration for failure to follow up on sound science on global warming and climate change, then turn around and be all woo-hoo, granola and New Agey (pejoratives intended) on wanting even more federal support for alternative medicine than now, alternative medicine that not only has no scientific support, but has plenty of scientific debunking, without being hugely hypocritical.

Nonetheless, the Greens continue to do this.
Health Programs and Medical Treatment
We support the availability of holistic health approaches and, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy and acupuncture.

No, federal support isn’t technically mentioned in that graf, but as the GP favors a single-payer version of national healthcare, it IS mentioned in the broader context.

Next, the GP looks like it’s been infiltrated by John Birchers:
Chemicals used in the fluoridation of America's public drinking water supplies are toxic waste by-products. The majority of these toxic wastes come from the phosphate fertilizer industry. Fluoride accumulates in the human body through ingestion and inhalation. A growing body of research suggests that fluoride may be associated with arthritis, hip fractures, bone cancer, kidney damage, infertility, and brain disorders. For these reasons, the Green Party opposes the fluoridation of drinking water.

Except now, Big Biz, rather than Godless Commies, are going to kill us with fluoride.

Actual proof? Whole nother story, or non-story.

Then, on nuclear issues, we have this:

The platform calls for phaseout of all nuclear power AND technology, without mentioning nuclear medicine. Oversight, straddle or hypocrisy? I will take either Choice No. 2 or No. 3. Disingeniousness, like hypocrisy, it would appear is not limited to major parties.

At times, the platform has a mix of naivete, willfulness and anti-authoritarianism that isn’t fully connected to reality.

Take, for example, the portion of the platform on homelessness:
Repeal laws that criminalize any facet of homelessness including where they sleep, or that deny citizens the right to help homeless persons.

Re-affirm and enforce laws that open public buildings for the homeless in freezing weather.

Open feeding stations that guarantee two meals/day to homeless people.

First, let’s state some actual facts about the homeless situation.

With some variations between parts of the country, seasons of the year, and economic conditions, sociologists and social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists, criminologists, and last but not least, addiction counselors will tell you that the homeless, like Gauls of Caesar’s day, are divided into three roughly equal parts:

1. The down on their luck;
2. The mentally ill;
3. The addicts.

That’s with some overlap between 2 and 3, and people who are originally in category 1 exacerbating their situation into Category 3.

OK. I’m not down with decriminalizing public drunkenness, which is going to include in some way, public drug intoxication these days. So, scratch GP point 1.

Public buildings? With food, no less? Larger cities have city-run homeless shelters. Even mid-sized cities have the Salvation Army, church missions, etc.

Problem is, many people in Category 2 and all active users in Category 3 don’t want to go into those places. People who are schizophrenic or in the manic phase of bipolar disorder are literally paranoid of them.

And alcoholics or addicts don’t want to quit, which shelters demand.

I don’t know what country some GP members live in; the homeless have at least some degree of safety net, but they have to be willing to use that net on the net’s terms.

I have other disagreements that are lesser-level, but still definite disagreements.

For example, the GP cut out calls for a gas tax hike from this year’s platform. I say keep it in, and use the money to subsidize lower-income people buying more fuel-efficient cars.

And, that said, a call to boost car gas mileage to 60 MPG by 2012 is ridiculous. Even Toyota can’t do that.

And, the claim that water can only be managed at a sustainable level at the local level? Wrong. That can produce water wars.

Hydrogen car? It’s greenwash for carmakers, and the GP is dumb enough to fall for it.

Subpoena power to “neighborhood councils”? Uhh, folks like Posse Comitatus, Republic of Texas, various Freeman groups, etc., would all looovvee that one.

Some things, I just find interesting, like the GP saying education should remain a state-level issue. I think it should be more federalized than it is now.

I also think the GP, along with the ruling duopoly, misses the boat in not calling for a European-length school year.

Hawaiian sovereignty? The past is well in the past.

D.C. statehood? The Constitution provides (both for Greens and Jesse Jackson-type Democrats) for retrocession to Maryland.

Friday scatblogging — a pachydermic problem

San Diego Wild Animal Park, a subsidiary of the San Diego Zoo, has a big problem with elephants. And, lions, tigers, antelope and whatever else is in the park also can be a big problem, or at least part of a big problem.

No, not the animals themselves, to be precise, but their leavings. The elephantine version is pictured at left, in somebody's home! Ahh, the things you can find online.

And, it can’t be used for other things:
Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at the Wild Animal Park, said the park once considered using its copious animal dung to produce methane, a colorless, odorless gas that can be used for energy.

However, Rieches said, the large amount of undigested hay, bark and tree boughs in the dung of its two largest poop producers — elephants and rhinos — made the prospect untenable.

A baby Asian elephant like the one pictured at left, will grow up to produce 300 pounds of poop a day, making these animals the primary offenders

And, at the park, workers have to clean up not only after that, but a total of 6,000 pounds a day. That’s two and a half dump trucks worth of scat!
Though elephants eat about 100 pounds of food per day, they produce 300 pounds of dung, Ellyn Hae said. The extra mass is created by the 40 gallons of water the 4-ton creatures suck up each day.

Mmmm, fiber!

Oh, and given that we are talking about elephants, insert GOP joke here.

More seriously, children get educated in the various diets and aliamentary habits of the different animals.

Turley – Pelosi has already found Bush ‘not guilty’

Constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley still refuses to let top Democrats off the hook on President Bush’s war and civil liberties illegalities.

Turley says Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, aka Passive Pelosi™, needs a meaningful impeachment proceeding, but that, given the stance she’s already taken on the issue, it’s going to be a “fancy dress ball.”

That meat taste is all in your head

Well, maybe not all, but part of it certainly is.

Psychological expectations of status and power with meat cause at least some of its meatiness taste.

Don’t believe me?

Well, the vegetarian sausage placebo from the study says so.

Give Exxon the finger with your own Exxon sign!

Here¹s the backstory.

Here¹s how to do it.

You can obviously see the results.

July 17, 2008

FDA gives up on salmonella

Essentially saying that it doesn’t know what caused a major salmonoella outbreak and isn’t likely to find out, the Food and Drug Administration says you can eat all the tomatoes you want again.

Jalapeño and serrano chiles are still drawing some scrutiny, but not that much.

The part in italics is the main story. It’s just another symptom of our under-regulated, sprawling, Big Ag food supply chain.

Why Obama was late to announce his fund-raising totals?

While the $52 mil is a great haul, there’s a bit of fine print only $2 mil is for the general election.

Just a thought. We’ll see what his July numbers look like in a month.

Security-house raids continue

Federal regulators hit Wachovia Securities today. This coming on the heels of the FBI raid at IndyBank seems to signal some degree of concerted federal crackdown.

With Wachovia, it was the company’s failure to supply e-mails and other documents that produced the raid. Especially when you’re already the subject of a class-action lawsuit, it really isn’t a good idea to stiff regulators.

Meanwhile, Congress is mulling capping salaries of top mortgage broker execs.

Are ACLU, EFF protesting Pelosi at Netroots Nation?

Nancy Pelosi, the infamous Passive Pelosi™ herself, is at the formerly styled Yearly Kos, now known as Netroots Nation, taking place in Austin July 17-20 at the Austin Convention Center. Obama has been invited; no word if he will show up.

Question: will folks like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU be there to protest?

Even though the ACLU is filing a FISA lawsuit, I never heard anything in advance from the ACLU of Texas, if it was going to stand up for ACLU traditions and at least have a news conference, if not a protest.

If the ACLU of Texas gives me any info, I’ll let you know.

If you want to shame it for not protesting, give them an e-mail.

It’s evolution, not Darwinism

And, contra creationists and intelligent designers, a GREAT explanation of why it’s properly called “evolution” comes from Olivia Judson. It’s a long post, but a great one.

Judson notes the three main things Darwin didn’t know were genetics (impossible, of course, as DNA wasn’t discovered for nearly a century after “Origin of Species”), statistics (which has vastly evolved since his day) and computer science (which has recently been a massive boon, with evolutionary development simulations).

It’s really not the top of column from which to extract one quote. Besides, it’s Judson’s third in a series on Darwin, with the bicentennial of his birth (and one A. Lincoln’s) less than seven months away.

Frankly, most creationists and IDers use “Darwinism” on purpose, for one or more of several reasons.

One is in analogy with the word “Christianity,” to make it look like an allegedly infallible Darwin, or Darwinism, is being worshiped.

The second is to set up a straw man about such alleged infallibility.

Instead of an AIDS bill, why not AIDS itself?

I propose trumping North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s idea of naming an AIDS bill after Jesse Helms.

Let’s just name AIDS itself after Jesse Helms.

Arguably, he may have had as much influence on AIDS’ spread in the United States as any other single person, so it would be appropriate, too.

So, there you have it.

On this blog, until further notice, we will refer to Helms’ disease.

The flip side of Cedar Hill’s shiny new mall?

The flip side of Uptown Village? Some of its sluggishness in store openings may be a longer-term phenomenon.

The Journal is bearish on the “lifestyle center” concept in general, but notes that the trend in such places that are still being developed is toward larger-scale malls (c’mon, folks, that’s what they are), like Cedar Hill’s Uptown Village.

So, that said, let’s continue to be optimistic about Uptown. And, remember, places like Bailey’s Prime Plus didn’t get noted in the WSJ story.

Mourn not the Wal-Mart of beers

Hell, how do you think Budweiser got to call itself the “king of beers”? Rather than being a symbol of America right next to apple pie (maybe next to the faltering Chevrolet, though), it CRUSHED symbols of America, small-town, small-size beers, just like Wally-World crushed mom-and-pop five-and-dimes.
In 1960, there were 175 traditional breweries operating in the United States, most of them producing lagers not much different from Budweiser. As of 2005, there were 21, with Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors supplying 80 percent of the beer sold in taverns and party stores.

As Edward McClellan notes, Falstaff, of all beers, once outsold Bud in St. Louis. So, how did Bud kick butt? (Until it got its butt kicked, that is.)
Budweiser was a triumph of marketing over quality.

As for quality, although I don’t drink anymore, NONE of the American big-name beers are that good, compared to not only European beers but American microbrews.

Specifically, just as TV made the NFL, McClellan said it made Bud, too. Also, affiliation with the baseball Cardinals, who WERE the South’s team before the Braves moved, didn’t hurt.

But today, those microbrews have fought back.
In 1980, America had eight craft breweries. A quarter-century later, there are over 1,300. In some cases, they've recaptured regional loyalties.

Read the whole thing for a great take on the rise and fall of the Budweiser Empire.

Obama Veepstakes gets feh again

Neither Sam Nunn nor Even Bayh says pizzazz as Veep. And, if you wanted the national security issue defused, with an attack dog, pick Wes Clark.

Beyond THAT, though, as TPM reminds us, is Bayh’s neocon past. Even better, listen to Bayh’s lame-o excuse:
“A lot has changed since 2003,” Bayh communications director Eric Kleiman told TPM’s Eric Kleefeld. “And Senator Bayh has acknowledged if we knew then what we know now, he wouldn’t have cast that vote.”

Didn’t Hillary Clinton say the same thing and get excoriated for it by Obamiacs?

Answer? Yes.

That said, given events of the last month, I would be totally unsurprised if B.O. actually tapped Bayh.

MoJo Dowd actually makes a bit of sense – and Friedman

And, her column about humor-challenged Obamiacs (especially, I say, the “What White People Like” types), juxtaposes nicely with Tom Friedman also actually making sense, for him, about Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Both dip their toes a bit into ethnic issues.

“There’s a weird reverse racism going on,” Jimmy Kimmel said.

And Friedman, deserving a longer excerpt:
But when it comes to pure, rancid moral corruption, no one can top South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, and his stooge at the U.N., Dumisani Kumalo. They have done everything they can to prevent any meaningful U.N. pressure on the Mugabe dictatorship.

As The Times reported, America’s U.N. ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, “accused South Africa of protecting the ‘horrible regime in Zimbabwe,’ ” calling this particularly disturbing given that it was precisely international economic sanctions that brought down South Africa’s apartheid government, which had long oppressed that country’s blacks.

So let us now coin the Mbeki Rule: When whites persecute blacks, no amount of U.N. sanctions is too much. And when blacks persecute blacks, any amount of U.N. sanctions is too much.

Well, maybe it’s an advance when NYT columnists have gotten past political correctness enough to wonder out loud about these things.

More reason for B.O. to lighten up over New Yorker

Timothy Egan shows Montanans get satire, even snooty elitist satire from the cover of The New Yorker.

In fact, rather than arguing that The New Yorker is elitist, I can wrong-foot Obamiacs, especially of the “Stuff White People Like” crowd, and argue that they’re the ones being condescending to people in the heartland.

“Poor, poor Montanans. I’m sorry that you wouldn’t understand the intellectual satire level of The New Yorker.

Brett Favre busted

The Packers are now REALLY playing hardball with Brett Favre, having just filed tampering charges with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell against the Minnesota Vikings, for what is, in reality, probably innocuous, but started by Favre.
The Vikings were informed late last week that the allegation is that Favre has had inappropriate dialogue with Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, a close Favre friend and former assistant coach with the Packers. Favre has sought his release from Green Bay and several rumors have swirled that Minnesota is his targeted landing place, largely due to his relationship with Bevell.

In all likelihood, the Vikings didn’t do anything wrong.

The Packers aren’t really going after the Vikes.

This is a shot straight at Favre.

They’re telling him that if he talks to anybody, even a janitor, from another NFL team, they’re going to file a charge.

And, now that he’s on the record as having done that with the Vikings, other teams are going to stay away from him like the plague.

If Favre didn’t get before just how much Packer GM Ted Thompson was pissed at him, he should now.

July 16, 2008

Can President do Moses act with California wildfires

President Bush is going to visit Redding, Calif., Thursday, for a photo op near ground zero of the northern California wildfires.

No, I’m not asking him to part the Sacramento River or anything like that.

But, in case you’re not familiar with Moses’ full bio, he got his religious call from …

A burning Bush.

All it takes is a shift in a fire line. Not that I would do that myself, or advocate it, lest the FBI or Secret Service be as tone-deaf to parody as Democrats glancing at the cover of the current New Yorker.

Obama riffing on Google with Big Brother-type cybercampaign

Like Google, which is playing Big Brother to you and I with your Google search parameters and Google ads, Barack Obama wants to run his presidential campaign by using selective advertising targeted on a developed profile of you.
You know, of course, that Obama has your e-mail address. You may not have realized that he probably also has your phone number and knows where you're registered to vote — including whether that's a house or an apartment building, and whether you rent or own. He's got a decent estimate of your household income and whether you opened a credit card recently. He knows how many kids you're likely to have and what you do for a living. He knows what magazines and catalogs you get and whether you're more apt to get your news from cable TV, the local newspaper or online. And he knows what time of day you tend to get around to plowing through your in box and responding to messages.

Fortunately, as of right now, at least, Obama’s cybercampaigning just appears to be targeted to people on his e-mail list.


What if Obama starts buying the e-mail lists of liberal activist organizations, such as the ACLU, Sierra Club, etc.?

For other reasons, I’ve not renewed my membership in either one of those. Given Obama’s FISA vote, it’s unlikely the ACLU would sell its list to him, anyway, beyond its privacy policies. But, Sierra? It’s got the stereotypical Volvo-driving, Brie-eating big money enviros that his campaign wants to cultivate.

In short, riffing to the “soccer mom” idea of four years ago, it appears the Obama campaign wants to target subgroups such as NOW- or NARAL-member soccer moms, Sierra soccer moms, hybrid-driving soccer moms, etc.

Not just that, but with geographic targeting down to the ZIP code level, or even voting precinct level, these days, voters on the Obama e-mail list, or purchased e-mail lists, are going to be targeted for their location.

Given that, I don’t doubt that, whether done by his campaign or some 527, Internet-based, or e-mail based, push polling, etc., is coming next.

For a laundry list of obvious reasons, Obama’s campaign didn’t really want to talk to Salon’s Mike Madden for the story.

Put TxDOT under Lege control

Amen to the Sunset Advisory Commission suggestion that the Legislature directly control the agency.

The Rick Perry Era, namely on the Trans Texas Corridor, combined with the agency deliberately trying to claim it was almost broke this spring, shows why TxDOT needs to be out of the governor’s hands.

Now, will the Lege actually pull the trigger next year?

Lupe Valdez needs to put the shovel down

Sniping at her own employees is the latest example of digging her own hole deeper.

Is John Wiley Price unable to keep a lid on her?

And, I agree with the various employees’ associations. She should be at Commissioners’ Court meetings more during the budget process.

Calorie shock tops sticker shock in Big Apple

New York City’s law mandating calorie content be prominently displayed, same size as the price, with chain restaurant foodstuffs. Folks dropping in at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks for a pastry or something with coffee are finding out just how calorie-bloated many of the offerings are.

Restaurants are dragging their feet, but $2K fines are about to kick in. And, it covers sit-downs, not just Starbucks or fast-food places.

That said, the Apple is not the only large city (yes, pun intended) considering such ideas.

Meanwhile, here’s your latest inflationary sticker shock

Hypocrisy alert – Obama, New Yorker,

Barack Obama now says the “infamous” New Yorker cover is “n insult against Muslim Americans.”

That’s after being too afraid, until now, to call out the right-wing smearers who allege he’s a Muslim for being bigots. He has gotten so far as to admit that’s been a mistake, saying he’s been “derelict” in pointing out how hurtful those attacks are to Muslims.

As I blogged a week ago, though, he can do better. Accuse the right-wing smear machine of bigotry just as bad as racial bigotry.

Instead, we have B.O. repeating the mistakes of John Kerry and other Democratic presidential candidates of the recent past.

Hey, B.O., this is a presidential election, not a tea party. Kumbaya doesn’t cut it.

Charles Rangel — Congressional shakedown artist par excellence, part II

Fresh off getting a New York Times spanking for his plethora of rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, House Ways and Means Chairman Rangel is now the focus of a Washington Post piece about his apparent shakedown of corporations doing business before his committee — and on official letterhead, no less.

Plus, $30 mil ain’t a low-dollar shakedown, and the additional hubris factor of having the place named after yourself makes it more stinky yet. Yes, per one person in the story, he’s crossed a line. But, as the rent control story makes clear, he crossed that line years ago.

You know, it’s kind of hard to campaign against GOP corruption of the likes of Ted Stevens, at the national level, when you have a poster-boy fox guarding the henhouse like Rangel.

Dallas Peace Center challenges Cuba embargo

Via press release e-mail:
Dallasite Rev. Diane Baker and other members of the 19th US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan returned to the US July 14 after challenging the US blockade on travel to Cuba and delivering nearly 100 tons of humanitarian aid to that island nation. When they crossed through Mexico and reached the US border at Hidalgo, the members of the caravan were processed through US Immigration and Customs.

Responding to constant pressure from communities all across the US, US officials then returned to the caravan the 32 computers that had been seized on July 3 when they crossed the border on their way to Cuba.

"It's difficult for even the US government to enforce the blockade against us, since they know that we are acting on the basis of our moral principles — principles which are supported by the great majority of the US people," said Rev. Thomas Smith, president of the board of directors of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

Determined caravanistas then hand-carried the 32 computers across the International Bridge from Hidalgo, Texas, into Reynosa, Mexico.
The computers will be sent from Reynosa on to Cuba, which means that every item of the nearly 100 tons of humanitarian aid collected by the caravan from all across the US will in fact be donated to Cuba.

"We appreciate that the computers were released today. But our work could not be complete until we knew for sure that the computers would be on their way to their intended home," said Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., executive director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

The caravan program in Cuba included visits to different provinces, homes for the elderly, and health care sites. Caravanistas also visited the Latin American School of Medicine, where young people from 30 nations of the Americas and Africa are studying medicine on full scholarship in order to serve as physicians in their home countries. More than 100 of the students in this program are from medically under-served communities in the US, including one student from Dallas.

Pastors for Peace is a project of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), which has been working for 40 years in support of social justice.

For more information, and pictures of the trip, visit Pastors for Peace. For more on the Dallas Peace Center, go here.

Ken Burns coming back to PBS next fall

His The National Parks series, running 12 hours will air in fall 2009. Peter Coyote is narrator, reprising earlier partnerships with Burns. Tom Hanks, John Lithgow and Andy Garcia are among the people who will “voice” historical characters.

Civil War buffs take note — the series will include military units of the National Park Service.

Bush Library land issue on hold again

The Fifth Court of Appeals sent a land title case related to the Bush Library and Southern Methodist University back to federal district court.

SMU is downplaying the ruling as just a “technical” issue, but we shall see.

Time for Texas gay couples to plan a trip to Massachusetts

Those that want to be married, that is!

The Bay State is primed to trash its 1913 law restricting marriage in that state to Massachusetts couples, or two other couples on the condition they could only get married by the law of their home state.

The archaic law, originally used to keep Southerners of different ethnicity from getting around anti-miscegenation laws down South, was pretty much ignored in recent years until in 2006, when then-Gov. Mitt Romney ordered it enforced after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

The state House has repealed the law and the Senate is expected to follow. Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to sign, for two reasons.

One, he’s African-American, and anybody in Massachusetts this side of the Religious Right acknowledges the racist background of the law.

Two, his daughter is out of the closet as a lesbian.

Assuming passage, the “full faith and credit” law of the Constitution is going to hit the fan.

I guess we’ll see in 2-3 years, maybe less, just how fucking hypocritical Nino Scalia will try to be with “originalism.”

Phil Gramm down with porn

Or, I should say, “down low” with porn, right?

Via TPM, at The Nation Max Blumenthal has an expose about Gramm’s porn-bankrolling past.

Thank doorknob his head-swelling ego didn’t lead him to think about actually taking a part in a couple of his bottom-dwelling soft porn flicks, or we would all be tearing our eyes out at a YouTube vid.

Oh, the story even has a photo of the cover of the DVD version. Somebody re-released a cheesy 1970s soft-core B movie (B movie within soft-core porn of that era) on DVD?

July 15, 2008

Californios stay home — go ‘discover’ yourself

Irvine, Calif. is No. 4 on MONEY magazine’s best places to live.

As I told Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly:
The bright side is, at least a place in the Southland ranked in the Top 5, so a bunch of yahoo Californios don't have to leave their own back yards to "discover" some place.

If you look at the full list, many of the places are pretty white and pretty conservative Sun Belt suburbs.

Indeed, Madison, Wisc., is the largest central city to make the list, at less than 250,000.

GM undoes 86 years of history

For the first time since 1922, it has suspended paying a dividend on its stock. But Merrill Lynch says even that may not be enough to avoid Chapter 11.

Some business analysts agree.

One problem is that it could COST the General money in the short term to get rid of some of its brands, due to having to pay money to dealers. Plus, as the story notes, there’s no guarantee a Pontiac buyer will become a Chevy buyer.

Finally, GM won’t realize any major savings from new deals with its unions until 2010.

Texas doctors push for Medicare veto override

Via press release e-mail:

Texas Medical Association President Josie Williams calls on the House and Senate to override Bush’s veto of the Medicare bill:
“It’s unfortunate that President Bush chose to put the profits of health insurance companies before the needs of Medicare patients. Nevertheless, Texas physicians are very proud of and very encouraged by the commitment from Senators Cornyn and Hutchison to override the veto. Now, physicians and our patients call on ALL members of Congress from Texas to follow the lead of our senators and support the veto override.

“Texas physicians are standing with our patients — seniors, military families, and patients with disabilities — to ensure that their medical needs are met now and in the future. We recognize this bill is only a short-term fix. But it is a necessary step toward a long-term solution.”

If you have a wavering Congressman, contact him or her. And, don’t take TMA’s word for Cornyn and Hutchison; contact them directly to make sure they don’t go wobbly.

Kamiya says get over the New Yorker cover

I agree with Gary Kamiya’s assessment of the brouhaha behind The New Yorker’s Obama cover. His lede says it perfectly:
It’s official: The Bush era has made liberals so terrified of right-wing smears it has caused them to completely lose their sense of humor.

Another way to phrase it might be that this is political correctness at Warp 2.

And, if the lede isn’t good enough, add graf 3:
I don't know what lugubrious planet these people are on, but I definitely don't want any of them writing material for Jon Stewart.

Kamiya says there’s a bigger problem behind this:
Since the essence of satire is exaggerating negative stereotypes, this means that satire itself is off limits.

Kamiya then takes “liberal” bloggers to the woodshed, starting with the well-deserving Atrios, who has probably used the mag cover as a chance to throw an f-bomb or two and call people wankers. Beyond that, he calls the general reaction to the cover as “Manichean.”

Hey, bubba, any gays here in Carolina?

The cancellation of a gay-oriented South Carolina is laughable and head-shaking on so many levels.

The campaign, themed “South Carolina is so gay,” advertised the charms of South Carolina and five major U.S. cities to gay European tourists but landed with a resounding thud in the Palmetto State, not exactly known as a bastion of gay-friendliness.
The advertisements were timed for London’s Gay Pride Week, which ended Saturday. The posters touted the attractions of the state to gay tourists, including its “gay beaches” and its Civil War-era plantations.

First, did the employee who resigned over this think this would actually pass muster? Especially at a sensitive time?
The campaign drew special attention in South Carolina because it emerged only weeks after widespread debate over gay rights in the schools.

Eddie Walker, principal of Irmo High School, in suburban Columbia, announced that he was quitting rather than approve the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school, one of the state’s largest.

Read more of the story for the abundant hypocrisy of Walker and other school officials, as well as state employees claiming that they had never before seen anything about the ad campaign.

On the other hand, what if this is a gay employee? In that case, he or she should get the Medal of Honor for good intentions.

Cindy McCain makes out like a bandit on Bud-InBev deal

I joked about this yesterday in comments to a post at Washington Monthly, but it’s the real deal!

John McCain’s wife owns $2.5-5 million of A-B stock in addition to being heir to the nation’s third-largest Budweiser distributorship.

The stock has gained almost 50 percent from a February low of $47 to $67 Monday, with InBev’s final offer of $70. So, if Cindy McCain owned “just” $2.5 mil, she just cleared a cool $800,000. If her holdings are at the top of that range, she just gained $1.6 million.

Meanwhile, can Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill get off the wahhmbulance over the deal? It’s not primarily a weak dollar. It’s an underperforming company with crony capitalism management.

Beyond that, get off the hypocrisy of both dollar patriotism, and political exploitation.

But ‘impeachment is off the table!’ — July 15 version

So it’s now official. Pat Tillman’s death by friendly fire, not unfriendly, and Jessica Lynch’s non-heroics, were all official parts of the Bush-Rove Iraq War spin machine.

You think Passive Pelosi™ is going to actually start calling for impeachment, though?

Dream on.

Economy stripping its clutch

The Dow fell below 11,000 today, but then bounced back. The issues?

Ben Bernanke is still gloomy about housing.

Inflation hit its worst rate since the end of the Carter-Reagan recession, which in turn drove down spending by consumers.

The dollar continued to tank against the Euro, which threatens to offset any $10 drop in oil prices. That said, the inflationary push may drive the Fed to raise rates sometime before the end of the year — but, unless the pressure is huge, not until after the general election. Right now, I give 1-5 odds for such a rate hike in that time frame.

Juan Cole — Obama either idiot or Just.Another.Politician.™ on Afghanistan

Juan Cole tells Obama to get real about the idiotic idea of putting more troops in Afghanistan.

Shorter Cole:
1. We know bin Laden et al regularly cross the border into Pakistan.
2. We know Pakistan will not let us pursue
3. Ergo, we’re not going to capture bin Laden, destroy al Qaeda, etc.
4. And, don’t forget the Soviet experience.

Bet the United Methodist Church loves this

Not just a friend of George’s shaking someone down for a donation to the Bush Big-Little book room Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University, but, shaking down Kazakh “access player” Yerzhan Dosmukhamedov, who has connections with former Kyrgyzstan president Askar Akayev, long accused of vote rigging, per his Wiki bio.

No wonder Shrub refuses to reveal library donors.

Hurricane season getting longer

And, although it’s not officially been linked to global warming yet, that seems likely.

The warm pool east of the Caribbean is forming earlier in the year, and reaching farther east, both of which are nurturing tropical storms at the start and end of the season.

Read the full story for more on the issue.

Grand Prairie, Texas, in the Top 100 places to live

GP is No. 96 on MONEY magazine’s best places to live.

You have GOT to be kidding. Sure, you can watch concerts at Nokia or the ponies at Lone Star, but, I would NOT rank it in the top 100. Most the DFW suburbs wouldn’t get that ranking.

July 14, 2008

The romance of classical music and Vocalise

I was at the second concert of the Basically Beethoven festival here in Dallas Sunday. Most of the music was piano-cello duo, starting with the cello version of Rachmaninov's Vocalise.

Boy, "mush" and all as some people may say about it, I can never not be romantic about it.

Note to LISD Superintendent about ‘neutral’ grievance hearings

Uh, Supt. Larry Lewis? A “neutral” grievance by a teacher against the administrator CANNOT have the administrator presiding over the grievance!

Not even because you say so.

Ask Theresa Dobbs about the inanity of James Browden presiding over her grievance against … James Browden.

Better yet, ask Dobbs’ attorney at the Association of Texas Professional Educators. (And, no, just because she’s going to Grand Prairie doesn’t mean she’s foregoing her grievance.)

Or ask librarian Connie Fowler’s ATPE attorney, who is the same person. Or ask other people filing grievances.

And, what’s with moving Stephaney Norman to an elementary teaching position?

fine ‘opportunity’ for us, Sen. Obama

The “opportunity” Nouri al-Maliki is giving you is, contra your column, the opportunity to get ALL troops out of Iraq, not just “combat” troops.

Part of the definition of a “dumb” war is a war over which one continues to split hairs.

Josh Marshall takes a ride on the waaaahhhbumlance about AP

The Talking Points Memo jefe cries a river about the quality of Associated Press political coverage this year and points a sharp finger at Ron Fournier, who now heads AP’s Washington bureau.

But, the Politico story to which he links supports just the opposite, with specific examples such as his Katrina coverage, of Fournier’s past “liberal” bias. Now, the Politico story leans heavily on the WSJ’s James Taranto to try to “game” the “liberal bias” angle, tis true.

But, the story as written simply doesn’t support Josh’s angle.

To me, this is a clear case of, “if the shoe pinches…”

Did Josh complain about the political coverage in 2005, when Fournier wrote this lede?
A dispatch Fournier filed in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina began: “The Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes. The economy is booming. Anybody who leaks a CIA agent's identity will be fired. Add another piece of White House rhetoric that doesn't match the public's view of reality: Help is on the way, Gulf Coast.”


On the other hand, Josh may have legitimate reason to moan.

Any reporter playing suck-up with Rove just got himself a black mark in my book. Stay tuned.

Update No. 2: Fornier issues a semi-apology.

Beyond that, Fournier is just Washington bureau chief, he’s not the AP managing editor.

As for the merits of what Fournier is doing in general, while caution is needed, I think he’s got some good thinking points.

I’ve written more that way for years. Being at community weekly and semi-weekly papers, while I still try to follow the AP’s “inverted pyramid” on news content, I haven’t written “old style” AP ledes for years. So, to me, there’s really nothing new here, as far as journalism; it’s just new as far as AP journalism.

All is not harmony at the Idaho GOP

It’s a regular scrum between different party factions in the lead-up to the state convention. What passes for a moderate wing of the Idaho GOP is facing a big-time squeeze-out.

Could this really give Idaho Dems a chance at picking up some seats, whether Congressional, state legislature or whatever?


Just take a look at Kansas, which had a very similar GOP fracture a few years ago.

Kansas now has a two-term Democratic governor, with a former GOP gov serving now as Sebelius’ lite gov.

On the Congressional side, Walt Minnick may have a fighting chance in the 1st District against the divisive GOP incumbent Bill Sali. Contrary to Kansas, the Religious Right doesn’t have a big toehold in Idaho, but Sali bends hardcore that way.

He’s in his first term, so he’s vulnerable that way, and he won his initial general election by only 5 percentage points.

Pill-popping pets and their nutbar owners

For the denizens of Western civilization with way too much time, way, way too much money, and not enough sharp-thinking personal psychology on their hands, Big Pharma offers pet antidepressants.

But, it’s big bucks. Pfizer alone grosses a cool $1 bil a year off prescribing for pets.

Beyond SSRI or tricyclic antidepressants?

Xanax for dogs. Great, a generation of canine addicts.

Worse than this, though, is animal counseling.

For starters –
Dogs do NOT have childhoods.

Throwing Fido a doggy Prozac is bad enough; trying to do pet cognitive therapy, especially when the “patient” can’t talk back, is …


Veterinarian Ian Dunbar gets it right:
Modern owners are increasingly trying to “sterilize” pet ownership, he adds, trying to pharmacologically control dogs so that they don’t act like dogs. “What people want is a pet that is on par with a TiVo, that its activity, play and affection are on demand,” he says “Then, when they’re done, they want to turn it off.”

Government should take over Fannie and Freddie

Instead of a $300 billion bailout at the Fed’s discount window, a bailout with conditions Dean Baker favors is a better idea.

And, given his suck-up-itis to Big Finance, the fact that Chuck Schumer supports the bailout plan means it must be crap.

Raise the margin requirement — and put them under tighter Congressional oversight. Don’t hand all the keys over to the Fed. That’s the minimal amount of conditions.

But, Baker’s answer isn’t the best one.

Tanta’s is — make Fannie and Freddie straight-up federal agencies — again, in Fannie Mae’s case, since it started that way. And keep it well firewalled from the Fed.

Oregon Dems propose Healthy Forests lite

I didn’t think Sen. Ron Wyden could be that much of a sellout, though “weak-kneeded” is an acceptable description; well, he and Rep. Peter DeFazio are proposing timbering bills that would cut logging companies a big break

Traditional National Forest Service sales contracts will be used for “thinning.” But:
In order for a federal timber sale to attract buyers, the timber companies must be able to make money on the sale. But most federal forests are remote and steep. This means high logging and log hauling costs. As a result, in order to create a timber sale that will actually attract buyers, Forest Service planners must either log the larger trees or they must reduce the forest canopy radically by having loggers removing most of the trees.

But when you remove that much canopy shade small trees and brush sprout and grow prolifically. Within 5 years or so the risk of catastrophic wildfire has dramatically increased. Also, immediately after logging the open canopy increases sunlight and wind on the forest floor. Forest fuels dry sooner and this also increases fire risk.

Furthermore, economic considerations often cause Forest Service planners to forgo requiring the timber company purchasing the timber sale to remove or burn slash - that is, the limbs and small trees left on the forest floor after logging.

The increased wildfire risk which result from excessive “thinning” will persist for 30 or more years until slash decomposes and trees grow enough to form a closed canopy which once again shades out highly flammable brush.

No wonder Wyden doesn’t want to talk about his own legislation.

Oh, let me take this chance to plug High Country News, the premier magazine on Western life and environmental issues.

Naked lady parade request raises issue of ‘tragedy of the commons’

If a lady wanting to go topless in a parade on the Fourth of July offends the commonweal, then, doesn’t driving a Hummer all over doorknob’s green earth offend the commonweal in spades

A ‘green’ plane?

Bombardier claims it’s building one.
“The CSeries family offers the greenest single-aisle aircraft in its class,” said Gary Scott, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

“These game-changing aircraft emit up to 20 percent less CO2 (carbon dioxide)... fly four times quieter, and deliver dramatic energy savings,” he added in the statement.

Boeing claims this is a Bombardier claims time of opportunity to build such planes. Will it deliver?

Southwest could use its leverage to try to force Boeing to come out with a much greener version of the 737.

Not all American airlines may be around to benefit, though.

In the first story, Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson predicted that:
There will be “some spectacular casualties" in the airline industry. “One of the big American carriers will almost definitely go.”

July 13, 2008

This Bud is for all you naïve hyperpatriotic suckers

Otherwise known as “For a Few Dollars More, St. Louis Version.”

After trotting out every patriotic flag in the book, and getting Missouri’s Congressional and Senatorial delegations to follow suit, Anheuser-Busch decided it was hunky-dory. with a takeover by InBev, for a few dollars more of $70 a share rather than the original offer of $65.

You flag-waving hyperpatriotic types got a well-deserved hypocrisy smackup.

Brett Favre: An owner’s perspective

Friday, I blogged about the Green Bay Packers, rightfully in my opinion, calling Brett Favre out on his “release me” bluff.

I also said I disagreed with ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski on Favre’s actual value as a quarterback.

But, that’s not the only value Favre has.

He puts keisters in seats.

To take one example. Wojo says Favre wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over Jon Kitna in Detroit. (That’s after insisting, with a straight face, that Favre would be much better than Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.)

But, he would be some sort of upgrade, right?

And the Lions play in a big barn stadium that they don’t always sell out.

Would Brett sell it out? Hells, yes.

And, in the friendly confines of an indoor stadium, he might not through quite so many INTs.

Or outdoors. Is he an upgrade over Rex the Wonder Dog Grossman or Brian “Oops, that was a stair” Griese?


So, if I own a franchise with a potential for mediocrity or better, rather than the crapper, and don’t have an A-list QB, and don’t sell games out right now, don’t I have to look at No. 4?

Think of Hank Aaron ending his career with the Brewers.

I get e-mail anti-Semitic hate mail from a Buchananite

After Amazon got my review of Pat Buchanan’s new mystery disguised as history, “Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War,” posted, St. Patrick of Bigotry’s worshipers, including his anti-Semitic ones, are starting to come out of the woodwork.

Here’s an e-mail I got from “Mister GAF”:
Hi Jew Snyder,

Please remove any mention of Socrates or Socratic school of thought.

The poor man must be rolling over in his grave.

It’s obvious that you are a fucking idiot with no credentials.

I won’t bother e-mailing this bigot back, but don’t let me stop YOU from doing so.

Send “Mister GAF” some e-love if you want to.

Earthquake prediction closer

Seismologists claim they are getting close to the point of being able to give hours of advance warning about earthquakes. Color me skeptical, as we’ve been hearing stories like this for a generation.

Nonetheless, if you’re interested, follow the link to the NPR interview.

Freddie Mac in trouble Monday?

The feds aren’t sure whether or not it can sell $3 billion of short-term debt.

In the worst-case scenario, we’ll have bailout-lite with the Treasury itself buying the debt notes.

It takes a thief to trip up a thief - Irony Alert

Steal a 400-year-old First Folio of Shakespeare? Check.

Apparently steal other high-dollar items? Check?

Live in a modest house, apparently to keep a low profile? Check.

Shoot that idea in the foot? Priceless:
The man lives in a modest home in a working-class neighborhood – the ancestral town of George Washington.

But there was a silver Ferrari in his driveway and Armani suits in the closets.

Read the full story for more on the saga of the stolen Shakespeare.

U.S. backtracks on Iraq timelines opposition

In exchange for agreeing to timelines (which are not that set in stone anyway), BushCo gets a trade-off from Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

His agreement to a more temporary arrangement than a full-blown status of forces agreement. He likes this because it doesn’t require a two-thirds vote of the Iraq Parliament. BushCo has to like it because it’s the best it’s going to get.

The agreement would last through the end of 2009.

Oh, and on a related topic? Barack Obama, if you’re elected president, and Gen. Petraeus, as head of CentCom, resists your suggested speed of drawdown?

You ARE the Commander in Chief. You CAN reassign him.

A delusional Obamiac tool makes unwarranted progressive voter assumptions

Mike Stark, creator of the “vote no on FISA” subgroup on MyBarack Obama shows his ignorance about progressive voter options:
The progressives who constitute the Democratic Party's activist base learned a lesson from the 2000 election; Ralph Nader will almost certainly not be a factor in the 2008 presidential election because left-leaning voters are not willing to throw their votes away. That said, there is – or should have been – another side to the Nader coin.

The name is “McKinney, Cynthia,” Mr. Stark, and she is the official Green Party nominee for president.

I will NOT consider my vote wasted if, as is likely, it is cast for her.

Hey, Mr. Stark. You’re a tool. An enabler. Deal with it.

BushCo myths about Social Security shot down from inside

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Russell Beland tells us the truth about those beloved GOP myths about “Social Security is going broke.”

Shorter version of Beland:
1. The actuarial assumptions are so fine-tuned that making any long-term prediction is dicey at best;
2. The surge in retirees will NOT overburden Social Security;
3.Boomer retirement will actually be GOOD for the economy, including providinga scarce labor market that could drive up wages. (Editor note — That said,look for the drumbeat in favor of immigration to surge amongst the big businesswing of the GOP in coming years.);
4. This surge in wages will increase payroll taxes, thereby directly benefiting Social Security.

So, there you go. Read the whole thing for a handy list of talking points to refute GOP friends, bloggers or whomever.