Saturday, November 29, 2008

Praise God. It’s The Law.

I guess that separation of church and state thing doesn’t apply in Kentucky:
The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God's benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

Just curious, but if there ever is a terror attack in Kentucky, does God get the blame?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving In Kentucky

After the turkey and dressing and sweet potatoes, but before the desserts of apple and pumpkin pie, comes the obligatory course of firearms ....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Waving The Middle Finger

File this under “broken record department”: the day before Thanksgiving, I bought gasoline for $1.76/gallon.


What a difference two months makes. Gas prices have dropped over $2/gallon in just eight weeks.

This is a delightfully satisfying wave of the middle finger to OPEC , for whom I have no sympathy:
As Oil Prices Fall, Tensions Among OPEC Members Seem to Deepen

For the first time in a decade, oil producers are facing a real test of their unity.

As the OPEC cartel meets in Cairo on Saturday, exporters are being pummeled by a triple whammy of lower prices, falling demand and declining revenue. The group, whose members account for more than 40 percent of global oil exports, is desperately seeking ways to stop the drop in prices, which have fallen from their summer peaks at a record pace.

Oh, I’m so sorry. You poor dears.

It’s also a delightful wave of the middle finger to Newt Gingrich, whose book on “energy independence” was rendered obsolete on its release date (September 23, 2008). Ha ha. What a maroon.

Since “drilling here” has had nothing to do with the dramatic plunge in gas prices, the past two months prove how intellectually bankrupt Gingrich and his cohorts truly are. Because what we have here is proof that the best way to lower gas prices is to reduce demand. But that puts ExxonMobil and the rest of the oil industry, to whom Gingrich and the rest of the GOP are beholden, in a tight pickle. They don’t give a crap about “paying less,” if they did they’d be screaming for conservation reforms at the top of their lungs. But conservation doesn’t help ExxonMobil’s bottom line, does it? Of course not.

But here’s another fact: you can give the oil companies all of the Arctic wildlife preserves and miles off-shore that you want, as long as oil remains at $55/barrel, not one drop is going to be pulled out of the ground. Got that? Not one drop.

There’s a reason that stuff hasn’t been drilled yet. It’s expensive. It’s some of the most inaccessible, unprofitable oil we have. That’s why it’s still there. And with oil at $55/barrel, there’s no profit in drilling it.

So as long as demand remains low, I get to wave my middle finger at ExxonMobil too. Ha ha.

Of course, with gas at $1.76/gallon, the morons in Nashville, Tennessee are already pulling their Hummers out of the moth balls. I saw three shiny behemoths barreling down Thompson Lane on Wednesday, in the space of about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sales of SUVs and pickups are on the rise.

Boy, people can really be idiots. Here's a wave of my middle finger at you, too. You’re basically perpetuating the same dynamic that created September’s gas crisis. You're like children who stomp your little feet and cwy if you can’t have your toys.

Grow up, people. Quit acting like children. You know better. You can’t have your pudding if you won’t eat your meat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Holiday Thought

I don’t know how many of you will sit down to a ginormous feast this Thanksgiving, but it bears remembering those whose budgets are stretched tight this year.

Because, their number is growing:
Americans' Food Stamp Use Nears All-Time High

Fueled by rising unemployment and food prices, the number of Americans on food stamps is poised to exceed 30 million for the first time this month, surpassing the historic high set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.


"We soon will have the most food stamps recipients in the history of our country," said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, a D.C.-based anti-hunger policy organization. "If the economic forecasts come true, we're likely to see the most hunger that we've seen since the 1981 recession and maybe since the 1960s, when these programs were established."

I firmly believe our government has an important role to play in setting policies and funding programs to help those in need in this country. But we as individuals have an obligation, as well. For years in my family we’ve given donations to charity in lieu of holiday gifts--who really needs another ugly tie or bulky sweater, anyway? Mr. Beale and I also sponsor a family at Manna of Nashville through a program our church offers every year.

Two gift donation resources I love are Heifer International and Seva Foundation. I love the idea of giving a gift like equipment for a new midwife for my sister, who used to work in the medical field. Or perhaps a month of literacy classes for my mother in law, who is a teacher. How about a dairy goat for a child in Africa as a gift for my niece, currently working on her Ag degree?

Many of these projects are in Third World countries, but I’d love to help people at home, too. This year, I think such traditions are going to be more important than ever. It could be life or death.

So, what are you doing to help those in need this holiday? I’d love to hear about it and learn about other resources. Post ’em in comments.

FGF: Holiday Edition

I'm not a Feel Good Friday regular but this tune sums up my mood this holiday weekend:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Schadenfreude

There are no words.

No, really:
Ann Coulter's Mouth Wired Shut In Time For Thanksgiving

Ann Coulter's mouth was literally wired shut. Though the "leggy reactionary" can't talk, it's safe to assume she'd blame liberals.

Call me a bad person, but I don’t feel sorry for her. Not one bit. No word on how she broke her jaw and frankly I don't care.

Buh-Bye, Freedom’s Watch

Schadenfreude. It’s what’s for breakfast:
Freedom's Watch, the conservative group backed by Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson, is pretty much kaput, sources with knowledge of the organization said.

The group's dozens of staffers have been paid through the end of the year. After that, Freedom's Watch is likely to shut its doors permanently, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Technically an issue-advocacy group rather than a political campaign arm, Washington-based Freedom's Watch spent $30 million on television and radio ads in the general election, plus an undisclosed amount on mail and phone-call campaigns.
You remember Freedom’s Watch don’t you? The group of former White House staffers like Ari Fleischer, formed to push unpopular Bush policies like the surge and war with Iran down Congress’ throat? And then threw over $30 million at the election?

Hah. Funny story. While Adelson was the group's primary financier, it seems he and his Sands Corp. are victims of the sorry Republican economic policies he spent millions to perpetuate:
The company has lost roughly 95 percent of its stock market value over the past 11 months, dropping Adelson's rank on the Forbes list of America's wealthiest people from third to 15th.

At the end of October, a New York compensation consulting firm estimated Adelson's net worth had fallen by more than $16.6 billion for the year.

Sands has suspended construction on projects in Las Vegas and Macau, and the company recently said it was in danger of defaulting on $5.2 billion in credit facilities.

Oh, so sorry to hear it. That, and last week’s news of layoffs at Focus On The Family, has me wondering if Republican CEOs will be rethinking their whole “Hey I know! Let’s start a 527!” approach to politics.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jungle Insanity

Take a close look at the middle of this picture. You will see a tiny spec that is a person. This person is hanging on to a small metal bar and zipping across a canyon in the Jungle. This person is insane. This person is me.

Mr. Beale said I owed him this adventure after our grand whitewater excursion (and we all know how well that went).

I have to say, the person who invented zip-lining as a recreational activity is psychotic. This is not something I recommend doing, nor is it something I will ever do again. As I am not Adventure Annie, I absolutely hated the experience and will never, ever do it again. At least I can say I did it once.

And Mr. Beale owed me a huge dinner afterwards.

(As always, click on the picture for a larger view.)

Jungle Blogging IV

Yesterday was a travel day, so I was unable to get online. We flew from Quepos to San Jose in a plane not much bigger than a Costa Rican cricket. The airport in Quepos is a small shack with a concrete floor and tin roof. Despite the banana republic vibe, we got to our destination safely and in about 20 minutes; it had taken us four hours to make the same drive five days ago.

Before we left we hit the jungle one last time. Here's some of the wildlife we saw. The coatimundi in the third picture were actually seen on the road to Arenal volcano. I'm not sure why they suddenly gathered in the middle of the road, as that couple were not feeding them.

And finally, my favorite picture--click on it for the full effect--is a set of Truck Nutz seen on the main highway out of San Jose. Truck Nutz!!! My husband didn't believe such things were real.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This Is Not The Ocoee

Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica is an entirely different experience than in Tennessee. For one thing, Class III and Class IV rapids are not something I'm used to doing. Ever.

This is fun. Really. Just don't let go! (Yes, that's my hand in the last photo, hanging on to the rope for dear life.)

Pardon Me

Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez have been indicted. And it’s not for the reason many of us thought it would be:
McALLEN, Texas — A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers.

The indictment criticizes Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.

Another indictment charges state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. with profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies.
The indictments were first reported by KRGV-TV.

Well I’ll be damned. I’d much prefer to see Cheney indicted for the Iraq War, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, etc. etc. etc. But I’ll take it.

But let’s be real here. Who doesn’t think Cheney and Abu Gonzalez won’t both be pardoned by President Bush?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Remember The Treaty Of Detroit

I blogged about this back in July but now that a bailout of the American auto industry appears imminent, it’s time to remember the Treaty of Detroit.

From Roger Lowenstein’s July 2008 New York Times column:
General Motors established its pension in the “treaty of Detroit,” the five-year contract that it signed with the United Automobile Workers in 1950 that also provided health insurance and other benefits for the company’s workers. Walter Reuther, the union’s captain, would have preferred that the government provide pensions and health care to all citizens. He urged the automakers to “go down to Washington and fight with us” for federal benefits.

But the automakers wanted no part of socialized care.
They seemed not to notice, as a union expert wrote, that if Washington didn’t provide social insurance it would be “sought from employers across the collective bargaining table.”

Okay, all of you conservatives blaming unions for the demise of the Big Three need to step away from the GOP talking point, especially since last year's labor contract “nearly eliminated the labor cost difference between the Detroit Three and the Japanese.”

I do think that the failure of America’s auto industry affects far more than just Detroit. It affects parts manufacturers, businesses dependent upon those manufacturing sites, retailers, etc. ... It will reverberate throughout the economy. I have no sympathy for General Motors or the rest of them, which I’ve blogged about many times. But just because I’m angry at the Big Three’s exceedingly inept management and decision making doesn’t mean I want to see the American economy thrust into a deep depression.

But if it’s true that the Big Three are partially to blame for America’s sucky healthcare system, well that ticks me off. And I don’t see why, instead of just throwing a bunch of cash at the automakers, we can’t kill two birds with one stone by providing universal healthcare for everyone, which would take that cost off of the automakers’ ledgers.

This isn’t my idea, it’s something Atrios mentioned this morning, inspired by Josh Marshall’s post about seeing opportunity in the crisis. Marshall wrote we should

use the 'company' as the vehicle for leapfrogging the US into the 21st century, non-hydrocarbon auto industry.


The danger is that we spend all the money and come out the other end still with a big region of the country tied to a dying industry, no true progress on the energy/climate crisis front and a lot more debt.

This is absolutely correct. The automakers’ backwards decisions related to healthcare, higher CAFE standards, gas guzzling SUVs, etc. are what sunk them, but these are problems affecting us all. So any “bailout” plan needs to be presented in a way that benefits us all in a more tangible way than just protecting us from the economic ripples of a dying auto manufacturing industry.

I think providing universal healthcare to all Americans would benefit the American people and it would benefit companies like GM that currently have to carry that cost. Let's make these bailout packages work for everyone, not just high-powered executives awaiting their golden parachutes.

Jungle Blogging III

They keys to the perfect vacation! The view is from our hotel pool. The poolside bar is fabulous: the kind where you swim up to the bar stools. The pool itself is fabulous. Everything is ... fabulous!

Jungle Blogging II

Some scenes from Costa Rica. The weather is very tropical right now, warm but rains start in the afternoon.

No War on Christmas here:

Iguanas are everywhere on the beach:

Some foot blogging:

One of these days I'll figure out how to justify copy with images in Blogger. But not today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The War On Christmas Is ON!

And Focus On The Family has fired the opening salvo: their "naughty and nice” list:
On Thursday the Colorado Springs-based ministry's political action arm launched its second-annual holiday campaign by posting an online shoppers guide with three categories: "Christmas-friendly" retailers, "Christmas-negligent" retailers and "Christmas-offensive" retailers.

The "friendly" retailers are so designated because they prominently use "Merry Christmas" and other Christmas-specific references in their catalogs and in-store promotions. Those on the Christmas-offensive list use secular phrases such as "happy holidays" and have "apparently abandoned" the use of the word "Christmas," Focus said. Christmas-negligent companies "marginalize" their message by using "Christmas" in some cases and "holidays" in others.

Honestly, with retailers facing "the worst consumer environment since World War II” I really don’t think anyone cares what the Christmas Nazis have to say this year. Businesses are fighting to keep their doors open, families are struggling to put food on the table, senior citizens are choosing which medication they can afford, and all you phony Christians at FoF can worry about is what words are used to advertise the holiday season?


No wonder Focus On The Family faces its own round of layoffs. Truly I say unto you: Focus on your own damn business.

Jungle Blogging

Greetings from Costa Rica!

After a hellish travel day (you know, it really shouldn't take 14 hours to get from Nashville to Quepos, not in this day and age, thank you American Airlines, you suck), we arrived in our lovely hotel.

Last night this giant bug flew in our room. He's about as long as my hand.

More blogging as time allows.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Something's Still Wrong In Kansas

Customer returns shoes at Overland Park, KS, store. Reason code given by store's computer and printed on receipt: "dumb nigger."

See the video here.

I guess having an African American president doesn't mean there isn't racism in America.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Stupid Vortex

Yesterday I got behind a Cadillac Escalade with a McCain-Palin sticker and one of those “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” bumper stickers. The Cadillac Escalade gets 12/19 mpg.

Today I got behind a BMW X5 with a “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” bumper sticker. The BMW X5 gets 15/21 mpg.

You people are both assholes. Yes, you know who you are. You’re the eeedjuts who bought Newt Gingrich’s bullshit suckup to the bloated oil industry. Aaron Tippin is the asshole who wrote the theme song. All three of you make me laugh.

When I see those bumper stickers and hear that song, all I can think is: you folks are morons. Listen, I don’t feel sorry for anyone who can’t afford to fill up their Cadillac Escalade. Don’t drive it, then. Get a clue.

Here’s another clue: this week I filled up at $2.02/gal. On Sept. 29 I purchased gasoline for $3.89. So gas prices have dropped $1.90 in eight weeks. Did we drill here, drill now in the past eight weeks? No we did not. And yet, we are paying less.

Wow. Imagine that.

Why? Because demand fell.

Here’s another clue: with the price of oil dropping like a rock, oil companies will not “drill here, drill now” now matter how many bumper stickers you plaster on your SUV. Why? Because the oil that is left in America is too expensive to pull out of the ground (or ocean) at $56/barrel.

And then of course we have the greatest clue of all: drilling here, drilling now does not mean you will pay less, because oil is a global commodity traded on the global market. We do not have a nationalized oil industry in this country, which means ExxonMobil, Chevron and everyone else who drills here is free to sell it wherever they like. Chances are that will be China.

Suck it up, assholes.

Newt Gingrich knows this. He’s not a stupid man. And yet, he will push this fraudulent campaign on uninformed Americans who think drilling “our” oil makes sense, because they think it’s like making widgets or something.

And now we have the latest news most Americans won’t read from OPEC:
Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- OPEC, supplier of more than 40 percent of the world's oil, will probably announce plans to lower supply for the third time in as many months to prevent prices plunging toward $50 a barrel, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Hilarious! So, no matter how much we drill here, now, whenever, wherever, it won’t impact the price at all because OPEC, which controls 40% of the global oil supply, will cut production to keep prices high.

This stuff isn’t rocket science, but it does require you to pay a little bit of attention, people. And that doesn’t mean watching only Fox News: it means consuming a wide variety of news from a variety of places.

I have no patience for teh stooopid.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

American Airlines Sucks

I’ll spare you the sordid details for now. Just trust me on this: American Airlines sucks. They’ve basically screwed us royally on our vacation, 36 hours before departure.

In discussing how much American Airlines sucks, Mr. Beale and I realized that American Airlines has sucked on pretty much every major vacation trip we’ve taken. We don’t travel all that often, and yet they’ve managed to ruin virtually every trip. What are the odds?

They sucked when we were stuck on the tarmac for four hours at DFW last November. They sucked when we flew from Italy to London to Chicago to Nashville, delayed every step of the way until finally, we arrived home so late we had to wait on the tarmac for someone to bring those rolling stairs out because BNA was closed and there was no one to open a gate for us.

And now here we are, 36 hours before leaving for vacation, and American Airlines has ruined it for us again. And we’re not even at the airport yet.

I’m really tired of you people sucking. You know who didn’t suck? Continental. I flew to Scandinavia with no troubles at all. I’ve been a loyal AA customer for over 20 years, frequent flyer club member, Gold status, yada yada. I’m tired of being treated like shit by American Airlines.

I’m finished with you. You suck.

Fox Cancels Mad TV

Proving yet again that Fox brass wouldn’t know funny if it bit them on the ass, the network announced plans to cancel the long-running sketch show MAD TV, which was the only reason we ever tuned into Fox to begin with (sorry, American Idol).

This is a huge disappointment, since MAD TV, which lampoons the media and pop culture, has often surpassed Saturday Night Live for biting satire. So I will miss MAD TV, although the show’s David Salzman says they hope to find a home at a cable channel.

In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite MAD TV skits from last year, the i-Rack:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Palin Fixation

OMG. Someone stop me. I’m still blogging about Sarah Palin.

It’s just that she won’t stop saying stupid things. How can I ignore the rambling, run-on sentences and word mash-up that have been the hallmark of her post-election interviews? It's like passing a car wreck on the interstate. Sue me for rubbernecking, I can't help myself.

Take this nonsense from her interview with Wolf Blitzer today:
BLITZER: You're not ruling out a run in 2012 for president of the United States, are you?

PALIN: I'm not ruling that out. But there again, that is based on my philosophy of it's crazy to close a door before you even know what's open in front of you. You travel in this road in life. And as you turn a corner and there may be something there that -- circumstances change. You've got to call an audible (ph) and you decide to shift gears and take another direction. I'm always open for that. But you've just got to be prepared. And when you see opportunity and preparation meet, that's how you know that a door is open and you're ready to go through it.

Hey, I think I read that in Chicken Soup for the Governor’s Soul.

And then there’s the lies. Here’s one from her interview with Matt Lauer:

LAUER: What was the biggest misconception that you would have loved to have corrected at the time?

Gov. PALIN: It started off with the rumors, the speculation, even in mainstream media, that Trig wasn't actually my child, that Trig was somebody else's child and I faked a pregnancy. That was absolutely ridiculous and it took days for that false allegation to ever be corrected.

And then rumors right off the bat, too, that, you know, I was some wacko, that as a city manager I tried to ban the books in our local library. And they listed the books that supposedly I tried to ban, books like "Harry Potter" that hadn't even been written when I was the mayor and the manager. And things like that...

First of all, Sarah Palin was not city manager of Wasilla. That was a man named John Cramer.

But then there’s the bigger lie. Palin was mayor of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002. In that period of time not one but four Harry Potter books had been released in the U.S.

Matt Lauer, of course, didn’t ask her to clarify what she meant. Neither did Greta Van Susteren, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, or any of the other so-called “journalists” who were on the receiving end of that lie.

In addition to outright lies, there was this general dishonesty:

"Some of the goofy things like who was Trig's mom. Well, I'm Trig's mom and do you want to see my medical records to prove that?" Palin told the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU Channel 2.
Yes, actually, quite a few folks did ask to see your medical records, and you refused to release any.

By the same token, Palin’s complaints that the media never gave her a fair shake or asked her to respond to these rumors is pretty ludicrous; Palin refused (or the McCain campaign wouldn’t allow) any interviews.

The more she talks the stupider she gets. Someone, make it stop. Please.

Liberal Media vs Conservative Media

Now that the Sarah Palin Redemption Tour is underway, I feel the need to remind folks of a few facts.

The “Sarah Palin doesn’t know Africa is a continent” story was broken by Fox News.

The so-called “source” of the story, Martin Eisenstadt, was revealed to be a hoax by liberal blogs Shakespeare’s Sister (back in June) , Mother Jones (back in July), and the Huffington Post (in November, when the Africa story surfaced).

Suck on that, Kelsey Grammer.

(For the record, I called bullshit on this story from the get-go.)

Nor do I believe that Carl Cameron was fooled by a hoaxster named Martin Eisenstadt. If you believe, as I do, that Fox News is the broadcast arm of the Republican Party, then you know the only source that Carl Cameron susses out is located at 310 First Street in Washington D.C. I do think a notorious hoaxster saw an opportunity to pull a fast one on the MSM by latching onto a national news story, taking credit for something he/she had nothing to do with.

I also think the Republican National Committee is terrified of Sarah Palin because they discern the fringe, wackadoodle wing of the party that loves her has lost its appeal with the American public.

Women did not like Palin, women voters are an influential block, and the RNC is trying to bury her. Fox News was only too happy to play along.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Denial: Not Just A River In Egypt


Heh. I guess it could be worse. In Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shuttered a newspaper for putting Obama on the cover.

Nope, that river runs through the heartland of America, too.

While America celebrates Barack Obama’s election victory, if not for political reasons than at least for the transformation in racial equality that it represents, certain stubborn pockets of the nation remain resistant.

First we have Sapulpa, OK, where the local newspaper refused to cover Obama’s victory:
The Sapulpa Daily Herald did not report that Barack Obama won the Presidential election in its Wednesday edition.

One paragraph on the front page did report the majority of Creek County voted for McCain.

"This is not only national, but it's also local. And this is our President; he's President of Sapulpa also," said Scott Gordon.

More than a dozen protesters stood in front of the Herald's downtown office Friday morning to get answers from publisher Darren Sumner.

Lest you think this is an isolated incident, my mother-in-law who lives in rural Western Kentucky reports that their local paper did not report on who won the presidential election, either. I’d say a lot of small town newspapers, steeped in denial, just couldn’t bring themselves to report the news.

It’s even worse a little further south in Mississippi, where teachers in Puckett and Pearl won’t even let students mention the president-elect’s name.

You guys do know that whether you talk about it or not, Barack Obama is still the president-elect, right?

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yes, I am celebrating my birthday today. I’m in good company: also celebrating on 11-11 are Leonardo DiCaprio, Calista Flockhart, Demi Moore, Deana Carter, Kurt Vonnegut, and (ahem) Charles Manson.

I’ve already been given the best present ever: Barack Obama’s victory last week and Nashville's first Trader Joe's opening up the street from me. I don’t even care that Tennessee is one of the handful to states to lurch further to the right, which was totally predictable. We're one of those states that's nearly last in everything, or almost first in everything horrible. I think we're a little slow on the uptake. Hey, it's not our fault, there's all sorts of crap in the water here.

Here are a few other random birthday presents I’d like to have:

• From the news media: An end to the Sarah Palin stories. I’m tired of her, already. It’s time for her to go back to Alaska and worry about how she’s going to balance the state budget now that oil has dropped below $60/barrel.

• From my ISP: please fix whatever glitch has rendered me unable to access a host of blogs, including my own (once again, I can post but I can’t read comments). I have to go to a coffee house to read my own blog. Aargh. Second time this has happened.

• From E*Trade: Those talking baby commercials really freak me out. Find another spokesman, please. Giving cute little tykes adult mannerisms to sell us stuff is just creepy.

* From Rachel Maddow: More! Just ... more! Take that, Sean Hannity!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Following The Prop H8 Money

First Mel Gibson came for the Jews, and the Jews forgave him. Then he came for the gays?


Actually, probably not:
We managed to ferret out an "unemployed" Mel Gibson living in Cameron Park who gave $250 to the Yes side. Alas, this was probably not the star but a gay-hater of lesser means bearing the same name, as Cameron Park is a community about 25 miles outside Sacramento. Then again, you never know where the Malibu land baron might have a little pied-a-terre.

The search engine is fun, though.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Memo To The Mainstream Media

Dear Mainstream Media:

Now seems like a good time to remind you all that disgruntled departing Clinton-Gore staffers did not, in fact, vandalize the White House and loot Air Force One:
An official government investigation, however, reveals one major problem with these stories: They apparently never happened. According to statements from the General Services Administration that were reported on May 17, little if anything out of the ordinary occurred during the transition, and "the condition of the real property was consistent with what we would expect to encounter when tenants vacate office space after an extended occupancy."

Ironically, the investigation came in response to a request from Rep. Bob Barr (R.-Ga.), and many conservatives who had assumed that the wild rumors would be confirmed by an official inquiry. That wasn't the case. (The "looting" of Air Force One had also been denied months ago by officials at Andrews Air Force base -- Kansas City Star, 2/9/01).

By the way, that official government investigation came at a cost of $200,000 to identify less than $1,000 worth of “prank” damages.

I feel the need to remind you in the media of this, since most of you gleefully reported these allegations as fact in the days after President Bush’s first inauguration. Yet few of you bothered to correct the record when the GAO’s report was released.

Now, having just watched MSNBC’s story on the transition to an Obama Administration, I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot about missing “W” keys from keyboards and the like.

So please get the story straight this time.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cat + Box = Fun

I could watch this all day:

Joe The Fraud

Remember (not)Joe the (not)Plumber, who railed against Barack Obama’s “Socialist” policies that “spread the wealth around,” and even questioned Obama’s loyalty to his country? Heh heh. Funny story. Turns out (not)Joe, aka Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, has twice received welfare benefits.

I’d actually give him a pass on this because he was a child at the time, except instead of saying how he learned that being on the government dole is evil because it made his parents lazy and unwilling to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps, he actually defended it, noting that he’s since paid back into the system. Joe’s family “used” the system, not “abused” it, he said.

So in other words, social assistance actually pays for itself, because it provides a bridge to the middle class for struggling families who are able to get back on their feet and become productive, tax paying members of society.

This “socialism” argument is so great! It’s okay for me but not for thee!

Except, of course, there’s (not)Joe’s whole tax lien issue. I guess he feels he’s paid back whatever debt he incurred.

I’d say (not)Joe’s 15 minutes expired long ago, except Wurzelbacher isn’t ready to go quietly. He’s ditched the idea of running for Congress in favor of a new gig as a ”government watchdog.”

This should be fun.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Swift Boat, Same As The Old Swift Boat

I don't know how I got on a conservative e-mail list, but it has become a source of endless amusement to me. Take this e-mail I just got from Michael Reagan (bold face and underlined type is not my emphasis -- it's his):
From the Desk of Michael Reagan

Dear Conservative Friend,

It's official: America has its first truly Socialist president... and it's the Republican Party's fault.

No, scratch that -- it's the so-called "leaders" of the GOP who are at fault for this humiliating defeat -- and I say it's time to name names and make heads roll in our party. Because, my fellow conservatives, we have been BETRAYED by the very people who promised that, if we would just elect them, they would get into office and vote OUR conservative values.


Reagan goes on in this vein, and then invites me to visit his new website,, which, he explains,

is no wimpy little website with some news articles and a bunch of editorial writers griping about how bad things are. The time for "just talking" is OVER -- now is the time for ACTION!

Every day, we'll give the members of this site -- our own "Reagan Activists" -- the information they need in order to take real grassroots action to counter the greatest political threat we've ever faced within our own government. It won't take a lot of time -- usually only a few minutes a day -- but the political payout will be HUGE!

Oh, sorta like Got it.

And what will they do at this website? "Stop liberal bills ... Fight liberal executive orders ... Expose liberal corruption ... Counter the liberal media ..."

So much for naming names and making heads roll at the GOP. He just wants to attack liberals with more of the partisanship and divisive politics that have brought gridlock to Washington for the past 10 years. I sorta think that's what got these folks kicked out to begin with. Good move.

And then we get to the fine print. According to this e-mail, is part of a 527 called the Policy Issues Institute based out of Laguna Niguel, California. The brain behind the Policy Issues Institute is Floyd Brown, the guy famous for the Willie Horton ad, bringing Gennifer Flowers to national attention, and the same numnutz who thought hammering Barack Obama with William Ayers was a winning strategy for electoral victory.

In other words, he's one of the guys who is "at fault for this humiliating defeat." Michael, dude, you're gonna listen to Floyd Brown? Didn't he say if you just listened to him, he would get your candidate into office? How'd that work out for you, Mike? Isn't this the very person who "BETRAYED our conservative values"?

If you need me to name some names so some heads could roll, I say start with Floyd Brown. And you can move on to Jerome Corsi and Andy Martin when you've finished.

You know, Floyd Brown, when I wrote my "Can You Hear Us Now" post, I was talking to you.

I'm really hoping the sleaze and slime tactics have lost their effectiveness. We all know how to use the internet and connect the dots. I've got my eye on you, Floyd Brown. You can hide behind Michael Reagan's skirts, but that doesn't mean I can't see your handiwork in action. And don't think I won't call you on your shit, either.

You're not going to get away with it. Not anymore.

OMG We’re Dooooomed!!!

Rush Limbaugh isn’t happy with President Obama’s pick of Rahm Emanuel for Chief of Staff. He thinks it means we’re all gonna die.

Let’s play a round of the Limbaugh Logic Game, my friends:
There are a lot of Muslims around the world who believe that they finally got one of theirs in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama.  They think that they've got somebody. They know he's a radical leftist, and they think he's at least sympathetic, because they, too, are downtrodden (they think) like African-Americans in this country are downtrodden.

Okay, got that? President Obama, whom we all know was a secret Muslim anyway, was Islam’s pick for president, which explains Limbaugh’s earlier (false) assertion that Hamas endorsed Obama. Which of course would be really sucky and scary for Israel, according to Limbaugh.

Okay, got that? Moving on:

So they think they've got a sympathetic figure, at least, in the White House. Somebody who is not going to have it in for terrorism as much as George W. Bush did. Somebody who isn't going to be as prone to use force.  They think all of this.  Now all of a sudden he names as his consiglieri, as his enforcer, his capo di tutti: Rahm Emanuel.  Rahm Emanuel is all the other things I said, plus he's Jewish.  Now, this sends a signal to the Arab world that conflicts with what they believe.

(It also conflicts with what Limbaugh believes, that Muslim-y Obama will be friends with Islamic terrorists. But I digress...)

They probably are going to give it some time here, but my guess is, my theory -- and I could be wrong about this, but my theory -- is that we also know in the Muslim world that... I forget the word for it.  They have a word for Muslims who flee the faith and join some other religion.  

Of course, they put out fatwas on them like Salman Rushdie and this sort of thing. I think it's entirely possible that when all is said and done, these people in the Islamic, Muslim world who think they've got a simpatico in the White House end up hating his guts. They're going to end up hating his guts. They're going to think that he's a sellout. They're going to think that he abandoned them. They're going to think that he somehow has sold them out.  Not personally, but in their strict code of conduct with their religion and so forth.  If that is the case -- and it's a big "if" and it's just my theorem. But if it's a big case, if it's true, then the Arab world might get even angrier at us than they already are. (laughing) So we shall see, ladies and gentlemen. We shall see.


We’re all gonna die. Because President Obama, who is not a Muslim, but is someone Muslims supposedly liked, picked a Jew as his Chief of Staff.


So we were safe from attack from the Islamic world by electing Barack Obama, but now he’s gone and blown it all by picking Rahm Emanuel?

But John McCain, who sang a little ditty about bombing Iran, campaigned with Joe Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew! Lieberman was even considered for his vice president! So if we play the Limbaugh Logic Game, that doesn’t anger the Muslim world, but making a Jew your chief of staff does?

You know, this game makes my head hurt.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

That Didn't Take Long

Get your Obama impeachment gear here.

Of course, you might want to wait for him to actually take office before looking for reasons to impeach him.

Barney's Not Happy Today

My Election Day Story

Two days after this historic victory for President Barack Obama, people are still talking about What It All Means. We’re hearing a lot from folks on the left about how emotional it was to vote in this election; Nashville blogger Sharon Cobb recorded her thoughts, offering this sentiment:
I was so overcome with emotion before going to vote, when I voted and after I voted, I decided not to show everyone everywhere what a complete sentimental old fool I am. The above tape is bad enough.

Meanwhile, folks on the right, still licking their wounds, are pointing fingers at the American people with such harsh indictments as

this election was about one thing and one thing only: Americans’ puerile need for unity through self-congratulatory, cathartic membership in a broad, transformative political movement.

A conservative friend told me he feels sorry for African Americans who

voted for Obama because of race. He is a weak sister who will not represent their hopes well.

I've read similar thoughts from conservative bloggers around the internet, although I’d counter that Obama has already fulfilled African American hopes simply by winning the presidency.

All of this being a long preamble to my election day story. I was a poll watcher for the Obama campaign this year (actually, my official permit said I was a poll watcher for Barack Obama, which made me feel pretty darn special). In our training they told us about ID requirements, told us most of the time we'd simply run into poll workers who didn't know the law on what identification is required to vote, and that most poll officials are good people who are just trying to keep the lines moving.

That was definitely my experience. They also told us if we do see a problem, we aren’t supposed to talk directly to voters, but must address all of our questions or comments to the poll workers and poll officials. That was a little odd because it felt like you were talking over someone, but it worked.

Mostly I learned that being a poll watcher is pretty boring. At every poll location I visited, turnout was light and everything went smoothly because at least 50% of the voters had already early voted.

I can say there was just one instance where my being at a poll made the difference between someone being allowed to vote or not. She was an elderly African American woman, probably in her 90s, and she just melted my heart. She could barely walk but here she toddled up to the poll to do her duty as a citizen. I thought, what a great day this must be for her.

She said she had been on her way to the store and realized she hadn’t voted yet today, but she didn't have her ID with her. The poll worker pleaded with her to go home and get her ID and come back. But it was already dark by this time, her ankles hurt badly, she was afraid she just didn’t have it in her to go home and then come back to vote.

That’s when she mentioned she was on her way to the store to cash a check. Oh, I told the poll worker, if the check has her name and address on it, that’s a valid form of ID. Sure enough it did; the poll captain checked it all out and she was able to vote.

I was feeling very proud of myself, imagining what a big day it must be for a 90-something year old African American woman to have the opportunity to vote for a black man for President.

That’s when this lady mentioned her eyesight was so bad she needed assistance to vote. So a poll worker read the ballot aloud to her: “Barack Obama for the Democratic Party and John McCain for the Republican Party,” he said (leaving of all of the other candidates, I might add ...)

The lady said: “Oh, what’s the difference! They’re all the same, aren’t they? You pick one.”


The poll worker said, “No ma’am, I can’t do that. You have to pick one.”

The lady said, “Oh, well, it doesn’t matter.”

I have no idea which button she pushed but I promptly went outside and applied a brick to my skull ... repeatedly.

All of which just proves that one person’s broad, transformative political movement is another person’s annoying errand on the way to the grocery store.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can You Hear Us Now?

John McCain said it best in his gracious concession speech: The American people have spoken.

No, we shouted. Can you hear us now?

We are tired of the politics of division. We’ve had enough of negative campaigning. Sleazy scare tactics and lies from partisan 527s will no longer swing an election.

Are you listening, Karl Rove, Jerome Corsi, Matt Drudge and Fox News?

We are no longer moved by hot-button “culture of life” issues. Abortion state amendments are not effective whips to rally the faithful on election day. “Moral values” issues include war, poverty, torture, and genocide, not just gays and abortion.

Are you listening James Dobson, Gary Bauer, and Donald Wildmon?

Elizabeth Dole ran a sleazy ad accusing her Presbyterian church elder/Sunday school teacher opponent of being an atheist. That not only backfired, it flipped the entire state of North Carolina blue .

Abortion bans in Colorado and South Dakota were crushed. Americans want women to have access to abortion, with only the most limited restrictions.

Are you listening John Roberts, Sarah Palin and George W. Bush?

We still have work to do, especially on issues like marriage equality. Americans wanted change, but not too much change. It appears California has voted to ban cramped cages for chickens but still won’t allow gays and lesbians to enter a legal contract known as marriage. We still have work to do.

But Americans voted for change. Americans voted for the better angels of our nature. We voted for unity and an end to bitter partisanship. The world has taken notice. Have you, Steve Gill, Bill Hobbs and Phil Valentine?

Have you heard us, Sinclair Broadcasting and Richard Mellon Scaife?

Americans voted to change course on our energy policy, for an economy grounded in new technology over the dying “drill baby drill.” We chose real science over faith-based initiatives.

Have you heard us ExxonMobil, Dick Cheney, and James Inhof?

After eight years of George W. Bush, America has turned a corner. I hope all of the pundits and opinion makers are listening.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President Barack Hussein Obama

Kerry States + Ohio + New Mexico = Obama win.

It's over.

Poll Report From Nashville

No big lines or waits here in Nashville. So many folks early voted that the polling places are reporting light activity.

The location I was assigned to poll watch voted about 20 people in 2 hours. I was told 65% of the precinct early voted.

This is good news, but I hope it doesn't inspire the Election Commission to cut back on early voting. People shouldn't have to wait in long lines to vote.


My second polling location was slightly busier but still smooth sailing. No long lines. Forgot to mention that all day long I've been seeing a lot of first-time voters, young people, and inactive voters reactivating their registrations.

Wolf Blitzer of CNN just told me to stay tuned for a discussion of Sarah Palin's "historic role" in this election. Yeah, if by historic you mean retreading ground set by the Democrats and Geraldine Ferraro 20 years ago.


Happy Birthday, Laura Bush

Today is First Lady Laura Bush's birthday. For her birthday I'd like to send her something new, fresh, youthful and energetic: A president named Barack Obama. Laura Bush has a lot of class, and I'm sure she will appreciate it.

Meanwhile, Obama racks up his first election upset of the day: tiny Dixville Notch, N.H. has voted for a Democrat for president for the first time since 1968. Obama won, 15-6.

Remember: if you vote today, you get free Starbucks, Krispy Kreme and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Compassionate Conservatives

Obama’s grandmother has finally succumbed to cancer. The “base” responds with their usual compassion:
To: Hardshell

I think she was just being kept alive on life support until now, start of the next news cycle. Just took a phone call to pull the plug.
Never forget the type of people the Rat are and what they will do to win.

17 posted on November 3, 2008 3:51:19 PM CST by Gasshog (Ah! the smell of liberal fear on the eve of the election)


To: Buddygirl

Karl Rove said the other day that he would know who is going to win by afternoon today. obama would have the same info....he had her snuffed out to eliminate her from spilling the beans if he wins. Perhaps obama knows he’s going to win? Not a good sign......or maybe nothing.

19 posted on November 3, 2008 3:51:38 PM CST by Doug TX


To: wagglebee; BykrBayb; 8mmMauser; Lesforlife; Dante3

You know, dehydration takes from a week to two weeks. Hopefully, that wasn’t initiated when he dropped by. He’s in the party of death, that’s all I’m saying. Poor dear, I heard she broke her hip and I guess after that, she was bedridden. Dehydration is done all the time, whether it is authorized or not. His big friend George Soros is a big proponent of euthanasia. This is all rhetorical but she is gone and he’s still a communist.

15 posted on November 3, 2008 3:51:00 PM CST by floriduh voter


To: Buddygirl

That's cold.
Had her put down the day before the election.
Probably figures it will be good for a few extra votes.
The rest of the Obama clan better head for the hills ASAP.
25 posted on November 3, 2008 3:52:20 PM CST by E. Pluribus Unum

There’s more that’s even worse. I’ll spare you.

Suffice it to say, even if Obama should win tomorrow, that just means our work is beginning.

Vote For Me

I've apparently taken the country by storm.

Bradley BS

I’ve been saying all along that the so-called “Bradley effect” is BS. This notion that voters would lie to pollsters about their willingness to vote for a black man is ridiculous to anyone who has ever done any phone banking. Let me tell you: people are not embarrassed in the slightest to tell anonymous pollsters who interrupt their dinner with an unwanted telephone call anything and everything that’s on their minds. Trust me on this one. I’ve done my fair share of phone banking over the course of three elections and I’ve heard some amazing things.

We are not a shy nation, at least, not on the telephone.

I lived in Los Angeles in 1982, and I remember that election. I don’t remember Tom Bradley being especially well-liked in Southern California, and it had nothing to do with race. I remember his daughter Phyllis was in the news a good bit then with a serious drug addiction that landed her in the county jail. He couldn’t even control his own daughter, the critics scolded; he’s a “typical Los Angeles liberal,” they said, who wants to take away our guns and is soft on crime. There were a lot of reasons Bradley lost that election, and race was not one of them.

Now Ken Khachigian, who was one of George Deukmejian's campaign aides, has written a column debunking the “Bradley effect” myth:
With a little more than a week left, I drafted copy for two new television commercials. The first built on Bradley's opposition to the death penalty and California's Victims' Bill of Rights, both of which had been overwhelmingly approved by state voters. Four former chiefs of Bradley's own police department had endorsed Deukmejian, the author of California's death-penalty statute and other tough-on-crime laws.

A second commercial sharply exploited the wariness that other major California cities felt toward Los Angeles, something that surveys by our pollster, Lance Tarrance, showed to be a sure vote-getter in San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area and growing suburbs across the state. Hence the tag line: "We deserve a governor for all of California's cities, not just one." It's noteworthy that no Los Angeles mayor has been elected governor in modern California history.

But rural California wasn't in line merely to reject Los Angeles. There were two other central concerns. First, guns. Gun control advocates had put an initiative to freeze handgun sales -- Proposition 15 -- on the ballot. The NRA and the firearms industry raised millions of dollars to run the "No on 15" campaign and, through California gun stores, registered 300,000 new voters, few of whom were likely to vote for gun-control advocate Bradley.

Add that to Bradley's unpopularity among Central Valley farmers -- he'd supported the United Farm Workers' grape boycott and couldn't escape being identified with vastly unpopular Gov. Jerry Brown -- and it's easy to see why rural California flocked to the polls to voice its opposition to his candidacy.

Interestingly, Kachigian points out that pre-election polls showed Deukmejian's Armenian ancestry had a higher negative (12%) with voters than Bradley’s race (5%).

I’ve been saying all along that the media is attached to this “Bradley effect” myth because they a) need a horse race to keep their ratings up until election day, and b) want to cover up for how lousy their polls were 20 something years ago.

Four months ago I was in rural Kentucky for my nephew’s wedding. This was East Jesus, Kentucky. Bumfug, Kentucky. Forty-five minutes-from-anywhere Kentucky. And at one point in the evening I looked around to see a room full of white 20-somethings all grooving to ghetto hip-hop music. That's when I knew that race would not be the election issue I had feared it would be.

Look, there will always be some racist nuts in this country. We all know one or two. But enough to swing an election? Nah.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Palin Punk'd

Good lord. I actually feel sorry for her.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Reagan Democrats

They’re baaaack ... sorta. Meet the former Reagan Administration officials who have endorsed Barack Obama:

Ken Duberstein, Reagan's Chief of Staff;

Colin Powell, National Security Advisor;

Douglas Kmiec , head of the Office of Legal Counsel;

Paul Volcker, chairman of the Federal Reserve;

Ken Adelman, Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under Reagan, and an advisor on the Soviet Union;

Peter Bridges, Reagan’s Ambassador to Somalia;

Charles Fried , Solicitor General of the United States;

Francis Fukuyama , advisor to Reagan on foreign policy and security issues;

Larry Hunter , Reagan's chief economist;

Terry Golden , Assistant Secretary of Treasury and Administrator of the General Services Administration;

William Ruckelshaus , EPA director, also acting director of the FBI and Deputy Attorney General of the United States;


William Weld, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts under Reagan and later Massachusetts governor.

I could go on but I think this list is impressive enough.

I’m just curious what those conservative McCain supporters who still revere Ronald Reagan think they know about Obama that these folks don’t. I’m not talking about differences on policy issues, I’m talking about those folks who say they can’t vote for Obama because he’s “risky,” “Muslim,” a “terrorist,” has “bad associations with scary people,” etc.

Is there a conservative out there who really thinks that Ronald Reagan’s former national security advisor would put America in the hands of an Islamic terrorist? Are there conservatives who truly believe that two of the folks who crafted the Reagan Doctrine would endorse a Communist for president of the United States?

Is there a conservative out there who thinks that Ronald Reagan’s chief economist would endorse a Marxist or Socialist? Or that Reagan’s former advisor during summits with Mikhail Gorbachev would want to see a Communist as president? Or that all of these former Reagan advisors and officials would endorse for president someone with supposedly “the most liberal record in Washington,” instead of the Republican--a Republican who was in Congress during the Reagan years, I might add?

That just doesn’t make sense to me. But I guess the average LIV doesn’t know about all of Obama's support from across the aisle, since it's not the type of stuff you hear on Fox News. But hey, McCain has Joe The Plumber, whom McCain called his "personal hero."

But don’t take it from me. Take it from Ronald Reagan himself.