Friday, March 28, 2008

What the Hell is wrong with this woman?

(Six months ago)

Me: You know, I could deal with almost any of these Democratic candidates for President. Biden really knows his stuff, Dodd is long winded but honorable, this Obama guy seems on the ball, Richardson is really good, Clinton obviously has a lot of experience, and Edwards really seems to want to help the poor. Heck, even Kucinish and Gravel would be better than the Republicans.

My Lovely Wife (MLW): Huckabee's funny, and McCain nice - but yeah. I like just about everybody up here better, even than McCain.

(Four months ago)

Me: Well, I'm putting my chips on Obama. I like him. I like what he's saying.

MLW: Well, I like Clinton.

Me: That's OK.

(Three months ago)

MLW: Did you see this Kindergarten Gate thing? Where Clinton is going through Obama's kindergarten papers to make him look bad?

Me: And what about this stuff she's spewing about his pro-choice record - she's trying to make him look bad by making his votes be the opposite of what he did!

MLW: Well, I'm going to Edwards.

Me: OK.


Clinton Campaign: OK, so we were caught lying about Bosnia and the sniper bullet stuff. And, we blamed it on sleep deprivation when we said it 4 different times, clearly lying about it. But - Obama said he was a professor, and he was only a Senior Lecturer! He's a huge liar!

University of Chicago: Actually, just because his title was Senior Lecturer, doesn't mean he wasn't a professor. Because he was - just not one with tenure. So stop saying he wasn't.

MLW: What is wrong with the Clinton campaign?

Me: Don't look at me. Maybe it's war trauma from dodging all of those sniper bullets while carrying Sinbad to safety in Bosnia.

When Conservatives endorse Democrats

I don't mind the Conservative ideal. The real one - that less government intrusion into one's personal life is a good thing. We might disagree about how much the government is allowed to do (social programs as opposed to letting the market play out), but the political ideals I think are the same: the same civil rights for everyone. I just have a problem with the neo-conservative ideal, which boils down to "We get to do what we want because we are Good - and you should trust us even while we make tons of money and gather tons of power at your expense. Hey, we're the Good guys!"

That said, when conservatives give reasons why they should support Barack Obama because of the strength of his constitutional ideals, you know that something very, very strange is happening.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

When you can't tell The Onion from Reality: $300 million contract to a 22 year old

I know that the news has been talking about the fuses of a nuclear weapon that got shipped to Taiwan, but now we know why.

Evidently, the Pentagon awarded a $300 million contract to a 22 year old guy with no experience in working with sensitive materials, and who's Facebook page says "im a super nice guy!"

OK - I don't care that the guy has a Facebook account. 10 years from now, so will everybody in the military and politics. But - why did they give a 22 year old with no experience a $300 million dollar contract?

I'd like to blame this on the Bush administration - it sounds like the kind of incompetent things they'd do but - I can't. I don't know more than this.

But seriously. Guys - we want to keep nuclear parts *away* from people, not *mail them to them*. Luckily it was sent to Taiwan, not Terroristahn or something.

When in doubt - blame the Democrats

OK - you're a member of a party who's had majority power over all three branches of government for about 6 years. The war in Iraq hasn't turned out that well. The financial markets are shown not to have boomed during the last 8 years - but when you take all economic factors (fall of the dollar, rise of gold, cost of gas and other commodities) into account - the business of America is doing pretty badly.

What do you do? Why, blame the Democrats!

Just like Senator Kyl of Arizona. See, it was those mean old Democrats who told Americans to show patriotism by buying stuff 9-11!

No, wait - that was President Bush.

OK - it was Democrats encouraging people to go out and get home loans they couldn't pay back!

No, wait - that was financial industries trying to drive up revenue without any regulation or taxes, and now that they're failing they want taxpayers to bail them out.

Well, surely the Democrats did something to have caused this whole problem! I'm sure Kyl will find some way to pin this on the Democrats. And about the time that market regulations are restored, things settle down, rules are in place to keep banks and other financial industries from allowing short sighted greed to take everyone down with them, I'm sure that Senator Kyl will say it was all the Republicans doing.

Or - something like that.

It would be funny - if it weren't true

Corporate Casino

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We paid for control - you can't have it back!

It seems that major democratic donors are writing threatening letters to Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi, as you recall, came out recently and said that: would be damaging to the Democratic party for its leaders to buck the will of national convention delegates picked in primaries and caucuses

Evidently, this crazy idea of following the will of the people is such an offensive notion that Pelosi got a nasty gram from big wig Democratic donors, with a letter like this:

During your appearance, you suggested super-delegates have an obligation to support the candidate who leads in the pledged delegate count as of June 3rd , whether that lead be by 500 delegates or 2. This is an untenable position that runs counter to the party’s intent in establishing super-delegates in 1984 as well as your own comments recorded in The Hill ten days earlier:


We have been strong supporters of the DCCC. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August. We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters.


Hey, we've supported the Democratic party for some time. Now, we hear that people are on their own are giving donations to this Obama guy, giving donations to the Democratic party - and that there are more of these "poor or middle class people" than there are of us. Hey, *we* have more money, *we* bought the votes - so Pelosi, if you really think that the "public" is going to take power away from us, well, you'd better think again.

You know what I say?

Bring it. I just gave another $25 to Obama today. I'll put in $25 directly to the DNC month, and I'll alternate until after the election - and behind. And everyone else who really wants a say should to. $5 here, $10 there, $25 if you can.

Enough with people thinking that they can buy the votes, that they dictate policy over everyone else just because they think that Congress works off of their paycheck. *I* pay the candidate I want now, and support them, and march for them. And you know what? There's lots of other people like me.

Maybe it's because of Obama. Maybe it's because we've realized that if you don't take action, you get Katrina and the Iraq War and the housing crisis.

Whatever the reason, it's our country. It's our party. You want to participate, then good for you. Otherwise, get the hell out of our way - or else you'll get trampled upon.

Am I the only person buying a house?

Evidently, I am the only person in America buying a house right now.

Because the housing slump is - well, it's bad. It's not horrible - but it's bad.

A Superdelegate Primary?

I like this idea from Dan Gerstein:

Here, for example, is one idea for adding a big democratic dose of clarity, transparency and accountability to the superdelegate dilemma: Hold a superconvention.

Assuming neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Rodham Clinton can clinch a decisive advantage in pledged delegates once the voting is done in June, let’s convene a special summit of superdelegates around July 4 in Philadelphia (a little obvious symbolism is in order here). Get them off the phone and out of the proverbial smoke-filled rooms — and into full public view for the rest of the party.

To maximize this meeting's legitimacy, tap Al Gore — the party’s most senior and respected unaligned superdelegate — as chairman. Invite Obama and Clinton to give a full pitch as to why he or she is the best nominee for the party. Then, much like the individual state caucuses, give committed superdelegates an opportunity to argue for their candidate — and engage their opponents in free-flowing debate. Finally, at a predetermined endpoint, ask each superdelegate to choose sides and record their votes.

To maximize this meeting's transparency, broadcast the proceedings on C-SPAN and webcast them on the Democratic National Committee site so every Democrat can watch. What better way to turn closed and exclusive lemons into open and accessible lemonade — and allow average Democrats who feel shut out to tune into this decisive process.

I love this idea. I really do! It's transparent, it allows for open dialog (assuming that everyone agrees to make it about the issues), everybody gets a say who wants one, and then everybody knows the result. By July 7th, you could see the winner and loser shake hands, congratulate each other, pledge to work together, and then you're done.

So - what do we do to make this happen?

Gah. I'm going to get a house

Seems like the seller liked out bid the most - so now I get to have a house again of my own.

First thing to do: talk to mortgage folks.

Second thing: talk to contractor who's putting in the floors, etc.

Third thing to do: Figure out how to string CAT-5 cable everywhere :).

So - T-minus 45 days before the house is "mine", and then another month - about June - before we move in.

Breath, John. Breath.

No wai - sex makes babies?

Not only that, but abstience only education helps makes babies, too:

Stoking the fire, a study published in the April edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health found that those who received comprehensive sex education were 50 percent less likely to become pregnant than those who received abstinence-only education. The study also found that those who received comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to become pregnant than those who received no sex education at all.

Sorry, folks, but telling kids "just say no to sex!" doesn't work. It didn't work on me when I was a teenager, and I had every influence around me (from God on down) telling me it was WRONG.

Yeah. I did it anyway. I was stupid. Trust me - telling kids to wear a condom and showing them a banana and how to do it isn't going to make them have sex any more than they are now. Hopefully, though, it might cut down on teenage babies.

The market does not correct itself

Let's get that out of the way: markets do not fix corruption or bad ideas on their own. "The invisible hand" that moves the market from Adam Smith's words does one thing: decide the value of an item in the here and now.

It doesn't care about future consequences. The invisible hand doesn't care about environmental impact, doesn't care about the health of people, doesn't care that its actions might fall because somebody decided that their greed lets them make a really, really stupid decision.

And then, then that stupidity catches up with them, have institutions that caused the situation (like the current sub-prime mess) beg for a "bail out because we're too big to fail".

Mr. Drier has a very long, but very detailed post on the economics of the current financial meltdown, and what to do about it. Yes, it calls that if you're a bank or lending institution that wants a bail out, you're going to have to accept some regulation. Sorry, but that's the cost of taxpayers saving your butts: you have to agree to some oversight, so the next time you think that making bad loans is a good idea because someone else is going to save you, there will be someone say "Uh - no."

There's a lot to chew on in his post, but I highly recommend going through it all. And pass it along to others - maybe this can pervade the consciousness of people and our leaders. It's a plan similar to what helped us get out of the Depression, and kept us economically strong for many decades afterwards.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

House update

We just put in the bid - $203,000 - that's $165,000 for the house, $25,000 for repairs, $15,000 for closing costs/etc - and we'll put $5,000 to pay the fees and such, the seller does the rest. All conditional on the house passing inspection, etc.

This - is doable with my income. The question is: will the seller go for it? Evidently, they got a bid, and since the house is unlivable right now (without that kitchen), they're probably bidding low - but an outright buy, so its easier.

It boils down to the seller either just taking the money and running with it, or waiting 45 days to make quite more. Now we just wait and see.

Trust us. We're from the Company

Back in the 80's, Ronald Reagen told people The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" In that, was the message that government is the problem. That the noble business man and corporation were our friends - they would save us from the horrors of socialized medicine, from airlines bogged down with "regulations" that prevented them from providing you cheap airfare. That is only we removed protections from the credit and financial industry, the system would police itself just fine, and everything would magically correct itself.

This view has continued, and found its zenith in the recent Bush administration. No protections needed, to the point that when businesses went to assist the War in Iraq, it was spelled out that the companies operating there under US occupation wouldn't be held criminally liable for anything. At all. After all, the system would work! People who didn't like their jobs would quit. Those pesky "regulations" and "rules" only got in the way of honest business people.

And, as always, they always forget that for every 99 honest men, there is 1 that is not, and preys upon the rest. For 99 times that "the market works", there is the 1% when it fails, and fails utterly, and drags down the other 99% with it.

The newest point: Halliburton telling employees that contaminant was an irritant at work sites in Iraq. Turns out the stuff that was bothering the workers was sodium dichromate - a cancer causing agent.

It wasn't until people started having problems with nosebleeds, and ulcers, that they realized what was going on.

Oh, well - if they don't like it, they can just quit their jobs. That's how the market system works, right?

Only - the market system can only tell you the worth of something *right now*. It doesn't tell you the worth of something later. It's worth it to me to get an oil rig running *right now* for my money. Later, when I have cancer and I'm bleeding through my lungs, maybe that won't be such a good deal.

But hey, I'm sure the market will correct for that as well.

If you have Medicaid, it's OK to cut your benefits

The Supreme Court has ruled that if your employer wants to provide less health insurance because you have Medicaid - well, sucks to be you then.

I understand the thinking - if your already have health care of some sort, why should your business give you the same coverage as your coworkers (whom we can assume are all hearty and hale).

I'd be OK with this - only we know that seniors are already at higher risk. So we're saying "Look, just use the taxpayer dollars - we can now give you less as a company because I know it's being taken care of by everybody else."

If we lived in a country where there was complete health coverage, this would be fine. But we don't - we live in a country with insurance companies that make more money by denying claims, where health care costs are rising. So we're telling our seniors "That money we set aside for tax dollars to supplement your insurance or provide when you have none at all? Yeah - better hope that works out for you."

Air marshals missing most flights - and I'm OK with that

In breathless tones, the major news media outlets are relaying that only 1% of all US flights of undercover US marshals on board.

Um - good! I'm fine with that. Studies have shown that 99% of the time, it's the appearance of enforcement that reduces crime. The knowledge that you *could* be caught is even more effective than hiring a lot of police (though the latter is useful too).

It's like when you see a cop car on the street. That car might be empty - the police officer might be off duty, getting a cup of Joe, or anything. But we all slow down.

Knowing that there are marshals on board is a good deterrent. Maybe your flight is one of the 99% that *doesn't* have a marshal, so you'll be safe telling the flight attendant to screw off, sit without your seat belt, and act like an ass.

Or, this could be your lucky day, and you're about to be pounced by a guy with a taser with your name on it.

1% is a pretty good measure for security work - as far as getting the guys after the fact. All of the other stuff - checking flight lists with up to date lists (something we aren't doing), checking bags before the flights (which, to be honest, we're doing too much), and of course good old fashioned law enforcement (finding the bad guys *before* they strike) - that's the real bread and butter of good security.

1% of marshals on flights? I'm good with that.

Bring him in - even if we don't understand him

If you don't know what the guy is saying - why invite him at all?

So the Daily News asked, why Greenspan, that wasn't he off-base on the housing bubble, and here was her response:

"Not only that, but the Fed didn't act while he was there. But he has a calming influence still to this day on Wall Street -- don't ask me why because I never understand what he's saying -- but nevertheless people respond to that Delphic oracle approach. I think it would be wise to include him. And recently he's come out and vert smartly so that we have to deal with housing and maybe we need to have some kind of buyout mechanism for mortgages. So he's moved on his understanding and depth of the problem -- but you know you could pick three others. You just have to have some demonstrable involvement of presidential leadership...

So now we have John McCain saying he doesn't know much about the economy, and Hillary Clinton liking Greenspan even though she has no idea what he's saying -- God help the United States of America.Source: Philadelphia Daily News, through Politico

Wonderful. So between dodging sniper fire, she gets to not understand what Greenspan is saying after he helped launch this runaway train we call the failure of the credit/housing market. Heck of a job, Hilary!

Senator Clinton: I "misspoke" about sniper fire

From the Senator Clinton web page:

I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. -

Now, from Philadelphia Daily News:

Clinton acknowleged today for the first time that it was a "misstatement" when she said in a major prepared foreign policy speech last week that "I remember landing under sniper fire" but also tried to brush off the entire issue as "a minor blip." She also gave a revised account of her airplane landing and her tarmac greeting at the Tuzla Air Force base 12 years ago -- seeking to explain a picture re-published this weekend in the Washington Post showing her and daughter Chelsea calmly greeting an 8-year-old girl.

In her speech last week at George Washington University, Clinton maintained "[t]here was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. Today, she told our group at the Daily News that she was informed that we "had to meet this 8-year-old girl," so "I took her stuff and left." - Source: Philadelphia Daily News

The video:

Misspoke. We've gone from "I had to run from the airplane to the cars because I landed under sniper fire", to "Well, I took the kid's stuff from the 8 year old and left" - all the while the camera rolls, shows Senator Clinton strolling about, hugs for people.

I've mentioned her lies before - how her campaign sent out fliers saying Obama wasn't *really* pro-choice ("He voted present"), stating that Florida and Michigan "don't count" - until they do. Turns out she made up stuff about her trips abroad. About her work to get S-CHIP passed.

Enough - just come out and say you lied, Senator Clinton. You wanted to make yourself look good. You were padding your resume. We all do it. Now, the question is, are you going to step up to the plate? Or you going to do what Obama did, address the nation, say "Yes, there is a problem, and I didn't deal with it then, and I'm going to tell you why this is important, and go forward?"

Or are you going to shade the truth some more, try to rationalize it, try to hope it "just goes away"? Are you a politician, or a leader, Senator Clinton?

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm at home. And The View is on. And I'm shouting at the TV

My wife likes to watch The View when I work from home. I'm in the other room, and I hear Blond Woman talking about "the racist things that Reverend Wright preached".

"Like what?" I shout back at the TV.

They talk about having friends with opinions you don't share, or Republicans who didn't distance themselves from people like Hagee. And Blond Woman brings up "Reverend Wright's racism".

"Like what?" I shout back from the other room.

Why don't they ever bring that up? What did Wright say that was racist? What? Please, for the love of God. Someone hit that subject. Nobody ever says "What did he say that was racist?" Offensive? Sure - if you're a white person who thinks that saying "rich white people rule America".

*sigh* It's a very simple argument to ask about. But nobody ever does. Is that because nobody actually heard the words, and hear all the time "Wright's racist comments" - without knowing what they are?

A simple web ad request

Dear web ad makers,

Stop making stupid ass annoying banner ads. You know the ones I'm talking about. Like the one with the busty girl with a giant spider crawling up her blouse - and then she smiles at the viewer when the spider stops moving to tell you about low interest rates.

I get it - you need to capture our attention. Like with an animated referee who looks like he's blowing his whistle while waving his arms at you. You want me to look at your ad. But do you really think that hurting my eyes with your 4 frames of animation are going to make me "stop and take your survey"?

How about the ones where if my mouse drifts over, you expand your ad to block my view of the story so you can tell me about weight loss pills. If you were just at the side, I'd see you. Really I would. You don't have to get in my fucking way. If you were a guy in the theater pulling the same crap, I'd start flicking Junior Mint filling at the back of your head, so when you finally noticed your hair would be covered in minty snot like stuff. But you're just an ad, so I can just click the X or refresh the page and hope you go away.

And remember how much I hate your product. Whatever it is.

I don't install ad block software. I could, but I just haven't. I can usually ignore the "Punch the Monkey" or "Scariest Video" flashing in a way that would put me into a seizure.

Just - stop it. Look at Google. Do they annoy the fuck out of people? No. They don't. And they've made billions. With a B. Because people can look at them and actually go "Huh - diet pill. Sounds interesting."

It's interesting that as soon as Microsoft won the bidding to host ads on Digg, these annoying ass advertisements started. Hm - Microsoft and annoyance. Why am I not surprised?

Heck of a Job, Saudi!

Cheney thinks that Saudi Arabia has done a great job on oil production.

Today, gas is $3.26.

Good job, guys! Of course, I remember Cheney in debates back in 2004 saying that "conservation wasn't going to get us out of our gas problems." Maybe not - but we'd be a heck of a lot better off now.

Clinton: Hey, let's bring back Greenspan

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton called on President Bush on Monday to appoint "an emergency working group on foreclosures" to recommend new ways to confront the nation's housing finance troubles.

The New York senator said the panel should be led by financial experts such as Robert Rubin, who was treasury secretary in her husband's administration, and former Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker. - Source: Yahoo News

Greenspan. Really. The guy who was in charge while this whole mess started. The guy who said "Sure - cut taxes in war time. Why not?" The guy who had no problem with the deregulation of the markets and the credit industry - and now says he just didn't see it coming.

No. Sorry - no more of him. Let's have a discussion on what to do - but I'd like to keep Greenspan as far as the panel as possible.

Update: And to include Robert Rubin? Chairman of Citigroup? Oh, sure - no conflict of interest there.

Clinton: Hey, Rubin, what do you think should happen?

Rubin: Well, let's make it harder for people to declare bankruptcy. And I think a government bailout would be nice.

Clinton: I sure hope the bankruptcy bill doesn't pass, but I'll vote for that anyway!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Clinton in Bosnia II

This one is better:

Bush Administration: What endangered species?

The Bush administration has been silently removing plants and animals from the endangered species list, and for the last two years have added none to the rolls - even when scientists working in the administration have pushed them to act, and some species have gone completely extinct.

In other words - Bush policy as usual. Incompetent at best - or downright evil at worst. To actually use policy and procedural rules to say "Well, yeah, so this particular animal is vanishing because of what humans have done - well, I guess we showed it who's boss!" is horrible.

Oh, and what's their excuse? "Well, all of those lawsuits in the 90's made it hard!" We've seen this before. What is the reason now that President Bush says the FISA bill (the one he ignored with warrentless wiretaps) is being passed in the house without his precious retro-active immunity for the telcoms? All because rotten nasty evil trial lawyers trying to make a quick buck off of patriotic telephone companies pushed Congress to remove immunity for the telecoms. You know - big trail lawyers like the Electronic Freedom Foundation and the ACLU.

Right - I forgot, it's the Bush administration. When they're incompetent, they get medals. When they try to block real progress that would do some good for people (or endangered animals and plants) instead of business, well, it's someone else's fault.

Remember the Bosnian sniper fire Clinton had to evade?

The story was pretty hot - former First Lady Hilary Clinton, going to Bosnia to help negotiate the peace. Upon landing, she and her revenue have to run from sniper fire. Wow - she was so brave!

Hey - and look, there's video footage!



Friday, March 21, 2008

Wish me luck - House Looking

We found a house - "2.5" stories (basically, you walk into the middle with the living room/kitchen/dining room - with a porch on the back, upstairs is the bedrooms, and the bottom is the garage/big play room/back yard). It has a huge back yard - perfect for the kids, and plenty big enough to build a pool. There's a park literally across the street with basketball courts and tennis courts and an area to run. The place was built in 2001, and it being sold for $175,000 (worth $260,000).

The only problem is it will take at least $11,000 to make it livable - the kitchen has nothing - no cabinets, stove, nothing. There's almost no carpet (just floor boards), so if we get it, we'll have to sink money into it right away.

Anyway - we're hoping for a good rate on a mortgage plus a construction loan, so we can say "OK - put X in the kitchen, wood floors, build the pool, replace the windows - and we're there".

Oh, and a flat screen for my office. *cough*

Anyway, wish me luck!

That's it. Scarborough is a dick.

I'm watching "Morning Joe", and it seems that Scarborough has decided just to become Mr. Republican talking points. Richardson is going to endorse Obama - and he wants to talk about Wright. There's a security breach on Obama - and Scarborough wants to talk about racism.

The news article of Scooter Libby losing his license - and Scarborough says "Well, I could name Democrats who have had their license revoked."

For the most part, he was doing OK whenever I caught him. But it's like "Huh - there's six months left before the November election, I guess I need to start getting out those Republican talking points to make Democrats look bad."

Joe - get off the water skis before you jump over that shark! Please!

Yes, again on Wright - but now the complete story

You know the clips of "OMG - Reverend Wright is an angry black man racist" that have been around the Internet?

Turns out - that wasn't the whole speech. The speech was about the dangers of revenge, of the dangers of acting violently - and now we have the whole speech including where he was quoting Ambassador Peck when he was on Fox news about chickens coming home to roost.

Wait - you mean those clips were shown out of context?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

And - she's back!

Obama: In some ways this, this controversy has actually shaken me up a little bit and gotten me back into remembering that the odds of me getting elected have always been lower than than some of the other conventional candidates.

Clinton: OMG he says he was rattled - he's not electable because at 3:00 AM he'll pick up the phone and launch nukes at Nebraska by mistake because he's scared!


Caught torturing people? Blame the media!

Oh, Lynndie England. It wasn't enough you sicced dogs on naked men, or had pictures of naked guys in pyramids. Nope - you had to blame the media for your misfortunes.

Dang - don't you hate getting caught and exposed for torturing people?


I think I've been on an angry rant - I apologize, I think my stupidity allergy was acting up.

So, for something happier, I present to you - The Tragedy of the Commons as explained by the Smurfs!

Ferraro - go away. You're not helping

Ferrarro's still out there, complaining that she didn't get a fair shake:

In the speech, Obama sought to place the inflammatory remarks of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in a broader context, in part by placing them on a continuum with Ferraro's recent remark to the Daily Breeze that Obama is "lucky" to be black.

"To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable," Ferraro said today. "He gave a very good speech on race relations, but he did not address the fact that this man is up there spewing hatred."

That's right, Ferraro. Wright is a big, horrible racist because he says that black people are being treated unfairly, while you're the poor victim because you said Obama was only in the position he was in because he was black - and that's not racist at all.

Though, it is stupid.

I'm with Hagel on this one

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel thinks a new third party might be useful.

I've got to say - I agree. Traditional Republican values seem well and good - folks like Lincoln and Roosevelt. But this modern "anti-abortion anti-gay stick our nose into your business and tap your phones without warrants" Republican Party needs to break itself up, decide what is its real values, and then go for that.

And maybe the same could be done to the Democrats when they start ignoring what's good for the people. In fact, I'd like to see 6 or 7 different viable political parties. Anyone have a good idea on what other parties they'd like to see get equal time in our politics?

So who's Hilary been going to church with?

According to this article on Huffpost, Senator Clinton's religious study partners aren't so hot. So how did her bible study group get its start?

The Family was founded in Seattle in 1935 by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant and traveling preacher who had been working with the city's poor, and who feared that Socialist politicians were about to take over Seattle's municipal government.[2] Prominent members of Seattle's business community recognized his success with those who were "down and out" and asked him to give spiritual direction to their group who were "up and out." He organized Christian prayer breakfasts for politicians and businessmen that included anti-Communism and anti-union discussions. He was subsequently invited to set up similar meetings among political and business leaders in San Francisco and Chicago. By 1942, the organization had moved headquarters to Washington, DC, where it helped create breakfast groups in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. In 1944, the organization's name was changed to International Christian Leadership, then in 1972, to The Fellowship Foundation. It was at this time that the group's leaders decided to lower the Fellowship's public profile by decentralizing its leadership. Source: Wikipedia.

Oh, well - then it's OK - it was all about union bashing. Nothing to see, I guess.

The last thing I'm ever going to say on Wright

Unless, of course, someone tries to use it to say "OMG Obama's a racist because I'm scared of black pastors" again.

First, Glenn Greenwald points out the double standard about truly racist white pastor Republican comments - and Wright's angry about US actions comments, and how if you're a conservative, well, you can't hate America because you're a "patroit". But if you point out that America has done bad things internally and externally, well, you're a "racist".

Second, this article from this article on Obama and race, and this quote from 1995:

"Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and toward black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us and that white Americans couldn't care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing," he told an interviewer in 1995, before his political career had begun. "But cursing out white folks is not going to get the job done. Anti-Semitic and anti-Asian statements are not going to lift us up. . . . We've got communities to build."

Is there anything more to say? Good. I'm moving on. Sorry to have dwelled on this for so long, but the unfairness, hypocrisy, and dishonesty were really bugging me.

OMG - The Blue Dress Returns!

Of all of the stupid things to talk about:

Hillary At White House on 'Stained Blue Dress' Day.

Really. Of all the things to talk about. McCain not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shia and al Qaeda. Or maybe Clinton's appointment records showing her going to discuss NAFTA with 120 people not seen by the press. Or perhaps how Wright's angry comments about US actions abroad and on African Americans is racist but white pastor's comments about gay people causing 9-11 are not.

But no - we get the fucking blue dress again. Great. "OMG - she was in the White House while her husband was cheating!" No. Hell, no. This story is wrong. It has nothing to do with anything but embarrassing her.

Good job, ABC. You suck.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh, no - it's not about race at all

Showing Barack in cuts to make him look like he's stuttering. Then shots of Louis Farrakhan commenting about chickens, of Michelle Obama commenting how, as a black man, he could be shot going into a gas station.

And the guy who made it:

And despite the inclusion of Malcolm X, the black Olympians and a rap song by Public Enemy, Habeeb claimed he was not being suggestive.

"I didn’t do this to make him like a scary black man." - Source: Politico


This video is about racism. Why include Michelle Obama commenting about her fears of what would happen to Barack just because he's a black man in society - if not to play the "Oh, wah, black people playing the victim card again!"

Or the tie of "Hey, Wright talked about chickens coming home to roost. Farrakhan talked about chickens coming home to roost. Wait - they're both black, therefore, there's a connection, because white people *never* talk about chickens coming home to roost!"

And, for the millionth time, I'm still not getting what Wright said that was so scary. But I guess that's me. But for this Habeeb guy to claim this wasn't about racism - bullshit.

And this is how the conservatives are going to run the rest of the campaign. "Oh, *we're* not the racists - Obama is, and we *have* to point that out over and over again and show all of the black people he hangs out with. Big, scary black people who complain about social injustice, or that US policy might contribute to the terrorism problem. And it's the job of us, the noble, patriotic conservatives, to point out those loud, scary, black people who are *clearly* racist for having the audacity to point out how much it sucks to be black in America with those crumbling schools or areas of Chicago that get less services than white areas of town."

"Oh, and making sure we tie Obama to those big, scary black people as much as possible. Because remember, it's not the *conservatives* that are racists here - it must be Obama!"

What a bunch of bullshit.

McCain: Wrong, Wrong, and still Wrong

I can understand verbal gaffs. I make them - we all do. Today, I said "I dated my wife for one year, six months, and 4 days before we were married 14 years ago today."

(Side issue: I remembered our anniversary. She didn't.)

What my coworkers heard? "I did my wife for one year, six months, and 4 days before we were married."

Yeah - a little different. So when John McCain said that al Qaeda was going into Iran, this made no sense. See, al Qaeda is a Sunni group, Iran is a Shiite group. This is like saying that Protestants are assisting the IRA - it's incredibly wrong. It's like saying the Hatfelds are training the McCoys in how to fight off the Union. It's like Mario training Knuckles on how to defeat Sonic.

Right - makes no sense.

So when McCain said it three times, OK - that's when you know he just didn't know the difference. And even worse - his campaign is sending out mailers that still get the information wrong!

I think this stems with the idea that McCain just has no clue. He doesn't get the history of al Qaeda - where they came from, what they are fighting for (and no, it's not "they hate Freedom"), why they are in Afghanistan, and the rest. Spending 15 minutes on Wikipedia would go a long way to educating yourself.

I think it all boils down one thing: McCain, like Bush, doesn't really have a grasp of the foreign world. It all boils down to this:

America is the strongest nation in the world.
America can not lose a war.
America lost Vietnam because we gave up.
Therefore, we must Win in Iraq because America can not lose a war.

Who cares why we're fighting, or who. We must win in McCain's mind. And sadly, he'll drag us through another 5 years of battle if he wins - even if he still doesn't know why. Or against whom.

Hilary fibbing about Michigan Revote issues

OK, let's go over the timeline:


Dean: If Michigan and Florida move up their primaries, their delegates will be stripped.

Obama: OK.

Clinton: OK.

Michigan and Florida: Nyah, nyah, nyah - we're too important - you won't dare! Hahahaha!

Dean: Fine - no campaigning, no delegates. Everybody on board?

Obama: OK.

Clinton: OK - even though I'm not going to remove my name from the ballot in Michigan!


Michigan: Hey, um, we'd like to have a revote.

Dean: Fine - but I'm not paying for it. You figure out how that's going to work, and I'll support it.

Obama: I've got some questions on it - but I'll leave you guys to figure it out.

Clinton: OMG! Obama's trying to deny people's civil rights and is keeping the whole revote from happening!

Obama: What's she saying now?

It's a good thing that I'm not in politics, because I'd be tempted to say something like "Hey, moron - stop being a dick and lying all the time. It makes you look, I don't know, unpresidential or something." But that's me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The only thing Wright has ever said that might offend someone

Wright does have one thing that people keep harping on: his statement on AIDS. I can't seem to find it. Evidently, he said something akin to "AIDS was invented to kill black people." I don't know when he was suppose to have said it, so if someone gives me a chapter/verse, thanks.

That said, it sounds kind of insane. I mean - it's like not white people have given black people diseases on purpose.

Unless - you remember "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male", where black people with syphilis were given no treatment, not informed of the disease they had - and were allowed to go insane and die to find out what would happen.

I guess when you put that in perspective, maybe the fear that AIDS had been invented to kill black people stops sounding so crazy. Sure, it's a fallacy, and I really would love to know what Wright was suppose to have said it (the 80's? Might make some sense - nobody knew where it came form. By the mid 90's, that's a little odder).

Watching the talking heads

Before I jump onto the treadmill for a bit, I got done watching people like Scarborough and Rachel Madson on MSNBC talk about the Obama speech. And Scarborough said something interesting: "Obama had the best historic speech about race, the most important speech about race in 40 years - but he'll lose votes in Pennsylvania, because white people don't want to have real discussions about race."

Or - something like that. But it was interesting. See, Obama seems to be banking on the American people being better than that. That people in PA and the rest of the country can go "OK - I don't agree with his pastor on some things, but what he said wasn't racist - it was honest anger about the way that black people have been treated in the US. Perhaps some things might be wrong, maybe he got them right - but what Wright said wasn't racist, and that doesn't make Obama a racist just because they're talking about how things look from their point of view."

Joe Scarborough and others like him are betting that America *isn't* that mature. That people in PA will see the speech on their local news and go "Well, who cares - damn black people get affirmative action and I don't - I'm voting for Clinton."

Personally, I'm betting on the former. Sure, there are the 25-percenters - the people who support Bush no matter what. And even in the Democratic party, I'm going to bet that 25% are just as racist as Scarborough believes.

The rest, I'm betting, are going to go "Well, OK - let's think about it."

But that's me.

Dawlishgal nails it

Gee Flitt. If Arianna hasn't already answered your question, allow me to take a crack at it.

Perhaps Obama was naive enough to think that his minister could say the same kind of things as Bush's supporters Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson said, and that people wouldn't put those words in his, Obama's) mouth. Shame on him (as HC said) to have not recognized the utter sleazery of his opponent and her millions of bucks PR firm--the one that specializes in wallpapering over corporate (and now government) malfeasance-- and her desperate, deluded supporters. people who apparently will stop at nothing in their zeal for political power.

Apparently, Obama didn't reckon on the venom and the outright Rovian trickery of the Clinton herself and her PR flacks and her supporters, a sad bunch of ethics-challenged individuals who are looking for something/anything to stop Obama's momentum.. They even come here and whine about relatively trivial , relatively unrelated matters (perhaps as a way to keep from recognizing how many things in the Clintons lives, how many things that really matter, have been kept secret for going on 16 years now).

As but one small example:

Take a look at the records of Hillary's healthcare task force...the group that met in secret, was made up HC cronies, and ended up with --on purpose or not, how can we tell without the records?--a plan that was so flawed and moronic that we ended up with no decent healthcare AND empty pockets for almost a decade and a half.---much to the glee of the profiteering healthcare corporations

What we do know is that the big heatlhcare profiteering ripoff artists, including the drug companies and HMOs, NOW give more money to Hillary than they do to any other candidate, including Republicans. Yet, amazingly, NONE of the HC supporters seem to be the least bit worried about stuff like that, when HC could clear up the whole mystery by merely releasing the papers from that little so called "task force."- Is it a mere coincidence that big healthcare gives so much of THEIR money to a person who claims to want to improve OUR healthcare "our," I mean ordinary citizens, by "their," I mean her pals in corporate healthcare?

Whoops, we CAN'T take a look because these documents are (guess what) bleeping CLASSIFIED. In the meantime, we are free to assume that Hillary takes the money from big healthcare because she knows in her *heart of hearts* that big healthcare wants to give us the best, most economical healthcare ever. Nevermind that they spent millions of ad dollars lying about her previous plan, until enough dupes believed the false advertising and the plan was rejected. Source: HuffingtonPost DawlishGal, unedited

This sums up my feelings on the Bear Stearns issue quite well

So they have stopped investing. The biggest, most respected investment firms threaten to come crashing down. You can't have that. It's just fine to make it harder for the average Joe to file for bankruptcy, as did that wretched bankruptcy bill passed by Congress in 2005 at the request of the credit card industry. But the big guys are "too big to fail," because they could bring us all down with them. - Source: The Washington Post

I'm going to say it too

God Damn America.

When financial institutions get the laws changed so Joe Average finds it harder to declare bankruptcy, then the same financial institutions run to the Fed for money because they're "too big to be allowed to fail" ( ... ), and take the same tax dollars they claim they shouldn't have to pay from the same Joe Average they screwed over - then God Damn America.

When we have terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the US leadership decides that it's more important to go after Iraq - a country that had no bin Laden ties, a country that was contained, a country that had no WMD's and posed no "eminent threat to the United States" - then told you that if you dared questioned them you were "emboldening the terrorists" - then God Damn America.

When we are told that torture is perfectly acceptable (for the same things that we punished Japanese soldiers after World War II for doing), then when our soldiers are caught without proper training, without proper supervision - and caught torturing physically and sexually Iraqi prisoners, and we are told that *none* of the leadership of those soldiers are responsible - then God Damn America.

When US veterans come home and they are told they can't be elegible for the GI bill because they were 10 days away from being qualified, when US veterans come home and have to wait 18 months before it can be proved that the shrapnel in their head was caused by their service to our country, when US veterans come home and have increased PTSD and other mental issues - but instead we leave them in places like Walter Reed or without help, then God Damn America.

When we decide that someone having the audacity to speak out against these evils from a church pulpit, and actually say out loud that American actions abroad of removing democratically elected leaders and putting in our own (like Pinochet, like the Shah of Iran, like propping up the dictatorship of the Saudi royal family) solely for the means of financial gain, then wonder why we are attacked - when we say to a person like Wright who has brought up these truths "Well, you are a racist for daring to say we have responsibility for our actions abroad" - then God Damn you, too.

Personally, I'd rather speak out for the man who has the courage to point out evil for what it is and name it. And once we have done naming the evils of greed, and kleptocracy, and incompetence from people like Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, then we can go fight these evils for what they are. And on *that* day, then we can all proudly say God Bless America for doing the right thing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The biggest financial double standard of them all

When poor people go broke, the laws are changed to make it harder for them to declare bankruptcy. They are told "it's your fault for being greedy", while banks give them loans that the banks know they can't pay. Minimum wage is far below interest rates, and it's nearly impossible to live on. No health care for you unless you can pay for it - that's "socialized medicine" and doesn't work (except for every country that implements it outside the US).

But when the financial markets go bad, the banking industry calls out "save us, save us!". The banks are "too big to be allowed to fail", so other financial institutions get to have $30 billion in US banked loans so JP Morgan Chase can buy failing Bear Stearns for 2% of its value - if it doesn't work, then the US taxpayers get to pay for JP Morgan's loan. If it does, then JP Morgan gets an incredible amount of wealth.

Oh, and what gave Bear Stearns all of that debt? Buying up tons of bad house loans.

Sorry - this time, let them fail. Let the assets be sold off for pennies on the dollar, let new businesses rise up who can prove they can handle it better. Yes, there will be pain while this process occurs - but to allow people who have made billions in profit now fleece the taxpayers for their mistakes is certainly not "free market", or good for anyone save those who are in power.

Credit industry still being dicks

Seems that just before consumers were going to speak about how they were abused by the credit industry, Republicans wanted them to sign a surprise waiver that would have them give up their privacy rights to the same credit industry - forever. For some reason, these people balked. Can't imagine why.

They'll be coming back in April to testify again - but what's at issue here are some laws that prevent the worst abuses in the credit industry - like changing your rates without good cause (after tempting you in with a good lower rate), or fining you for paying you bill on time.

Who needs the money more?

Bush wants to divvy up $300 million for poor kids, and give $4.3 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% of the US population.

Who needs the money more?

The Wright double standard

More on the Reverend Wright thing - why is it when a conservative preacher says we should damn America or that the judgements of God will come upon us for allows abortion or gay people to exist, that's cool, but when a black preacher says "God damn America" for laws that hurt black people - that's racist against white folk?

Seriously. Am I missing something here?

Politicians: Gotta catch 'em all!

I don't know what I found this, but I love it.

Contact your senator on FISA

New votes coming up on the FISA bill - and our chance to keep telecom immunity *off* the table, and force the Bush administration and Republicans to swallow the lies that we *need* telecom immunity to keep us safe - or reward the telecoms for their patriotism (the same telecoms that yanked support when the US went a month without paying the bill).

Contact your senator and tell them to support the new House version of the FISA bill, which allows telecoms to submit evidence to the court that they had permission of the US government to warrantless wiretap. This removes the argument of "Oh, we can't unfairly punish the telecoms for doing what we asked them as a country". If we did, the telecoms can submit evidence to that effect in a secret court.

I mean, it's not like the Bush administration has anything to hide, right? Right?

Trying to figure out - was what Wright said racist?

A lot has been made in the last week about Reverend Wright's comments at the Trinity Church - the same one that Senator Obama goes to. What I've found odd is the number of people claiming that his comments are "racist".

Like Jeff Fecke, I don't think pointing out true things is racism. Rude to white people? Sure. A bit silly when he says that "Hilary has never been called a N****er" - that somehow Senator Clinton doesn't know what it's like to be discriminated against. OK, she doesn't know what it's like to be a black man, but she's been called plenty of names just because she's a woman aiming for a position in power.

I've been trying to figure out what was racist about what he said. Strong language? Sure. Offensive to some people? Probably.

But look at what he said:

"Rich white people rule America." 100% of Presidents. 99% of all senators. 98% of all CEOs and board members. All white - so is he wrong?

"They put is jail and say its for drugs - and tell us God bless America? No, God damn America." Is thus a "I Hate America" statement - or a statement that the unjust laws and practices are worthy of scorn.

Wright's comments on 9-11 are accurate as well. The US props up dictators in Saudi Arabia. Overthrow democratically elected leaders and support dictators who support US policies ( remember the Shah of Iran and Pinochet?), then when the people of those nations take their country back, the US wonders why they don't like us - or why an asshole like bin Laden thinks that by striking America, he hurts his true enemies - the Saudi royal family that the US supports?

Was he rude? Sure. Racist for stating the facts of the situation or offering his opinion of US laws and current race relations? I think not.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Just coincidence - really!

City police chief in Britian investigates the (potentially) illegal renditions by the CIA (where you take a person you think may be a terrorist, yank them off the streets, have them flown to a country that allows torture, and let *them* do the dirty work).

Same police chief now dead from falling off a cliff on his usual morning walk.

Yeah. *Total* coincidence. Really!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Who would Obama be?

Pat Buchanan: People are interested in Barack Obama because he's an African American! And Ferraro - I've talked to women who are angry and bitter because they think that their girl - Hilary Clinton - is getting the shaft from the media because they've fallen in love with an African American!

Me: What a crock! They're not interested in him because he's African American - they're interested in him because he's charismatic, because he gives great speeches, because he writes good books, because he has good ideas, because he's had a good record in the state and national Senate, because he's charming and funny and can turn a good argument. If Obama had been a white guy with all of the attributes he has now-

My Lovely Wife (MLW): He'd be Bill Clinton?

Me: .... Yes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spitzer? Spitzer who?

How long did it take for Senator Clinton to remove traces that she knew Governor Spitzer?

Not that long - his endorsement is already off of her web site.

Hey, Spitzer, hope it didn't hurt too much when you were thrown under the bus!

Idiots on "The View"

I'm working from home, which means that about this time my wife starts to watch "The View". Usually I ignore it while I'm reading through my various documentation, but then the blond woman (I don't remember her name - I'll just call her Blond) starts to talk about the Sean Hannity "investigation" into Barack Obama.

Like - Barack goes to a black church.

No. Really.

It gets worse - this church has a value system about "black pride", and supporting "the black family". And then comes Captain Dumb:

"If this was said about White Pride, people would call it racist."

To which I'd say - yeah. It would be. But what if it was - Irish Pride? Or Hispanic Pride? Or Female Pride? Is that different?

There's a difference between ethnic or religious or community pride, and racism. I'm a Mormon. Pretty proud of it (Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck notwithstanding). So if we have a Mormon party like we had this Saturday, it's not because we hate Catholics or Jews - we're just sharing time with people with common beliefs and values.

The problem with "Well, Black Power sounds as racist as White Power" is the context. There is a clear historical context of the phrase "White Power" being a call to arms to keep other ethnic minorities down. You can have "Irish Pride", or "English Pride", or - whatever, and nobody will care because there is a specific context regarding the phrase White Power that does not exist in other ethnic/religious/community declarations .

Last time I checked, during the Hispanic Pride festival, they didn't have signs up saying "Gringo go home" - it was "Hey, this is what our history is about and the things we celebrate". The same with a black church celebrating Black Pride and Black Family - the things that they associate with being black in America.

So to make this argument of "saying Black Pride is as racist as saying White Pride" is silly because it ignores context. Sean Hannity isn't doing an "investigation" of Barack Obama - he's doing yet another neo-conservative hit job about "watch out - fear the black guy". I'm going to bet there's going to be a follow up on Farrakhan next, or on somebody who was considered a radical in the 1960's that Obama went to the same party with one time.

And for Blond on "The View" to be "so concerned" by what she's learning about Obama from Hannity just shows she has no clue where her news is coming from.


Are we *still* blaming Clinton for everything?

One Mr. Bezell of the Washington Post started out with a pretty good article explaining conservatives will have a problem voting for John McCain, and will likely sit this election out. It was full of historical references and examples, and I thought "Huh, this is some pretty decent reasoning".

And then - we found the dumb bomb:

But after eight years of Clinton's corruption, and facing the prospect of at least four more years with Al Gore at the helm, conservatives threw our support behind George W. Bush in 2000.

You mean all of the corruption that never existed? Whitewater - which only resulted in an investigation of a blow job? That "corruption"?

And then - it gets dumber. Evidently, the initial Dumb Bomb Blast was just a trigger for a nuclear Dumbageddon:

McCain must present a strategy to defeat the threat of radical Islam. He needs to call on the United States to rebuild its military infrastructure, so devastated by the Clinton administration.

Wow - the military is *still* devastated by the Clintons? It's interesting that after 12 years of Republican rule, that it took the Clinton's 8 years to "devastate" the military - something that Bush in his additional 8 years hasn't been able to fix.

Oh, sure, Bush and the Republican majority was able to fail on providing much needed and requested armored vehicles, to fail to plan for a war long enough so you have to lower your recruiting standards to make up the slack, and while you're at it, make contractors rich in a war even though they fail to do the jobs they are paid for like keep the water our troops use clean so they don't get sick.

Right - all the Clinton's fault. I mean, it's not like Bush and the Republican majority could have done anything about it - that would have required they actually act like competent people or something. Crazy thought, I know.

Psst - Clinton - glass houses, much?

A lot has been made in the Clinton campaign about Tony Rezko, the former contributer to Obama. Sure - Rezko is under indictment, and his trail started, and he did donate money to Obama. Granted, so far nobody's found any evidence that Obama did any favors, or that the donations were anything but legal. But Clinton has raised the specter time and again, in the attempts to show that hey, Obama's just as corrupt as any other politician! You can trust Hilary!

And then we learn this:

Since the name of Chicago defendant Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko has come up in national debate, it seems fair to look at donations from other defendants in Chicago’s "Operation Board Games."

Of the other five defendants, three have donated to the Clintons or to Clinton supporters, three have donated mostly to Republicans, and at least two have donated to Obama’s political opponents. None have donated to Obama.

Oooooo - I think there's more "vetting" to come.

OK - maybe trashing God's planet isn't such a good thing

About a year ago, the Southern Baptist Convention made a big stink about how global warming, even if it *was* real, wasn't man's fault and we should just leave it up to God to fix.

Evidently, they're starting to wake up to the idea that maybe, just maybe, you should clean up your mess before God gets mad about it.

It's funny its taken so long - heck, in Genesis, God is telling Adam he has "dominion" over the Earth. It's not "domination", or "dictatorship", it's "dominion", as in "you are responsible for it - don't screw it up".

Ah, yes - it's the gays fault. Again.

A nice little anti-gay rant by Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (even though she *swears* that she's not gay bashing - while she's gay bashing. Does that mean someone can say "I don't hate black people - but we got to keep niggers from the White House" and that's OK?) :

What I find funny is the "no nation on Earth that has tolerated homosexuality has survived more than a few decades". No kidding! I mean - Nazi Germany? They were *totally* OK with homosexuality - so much so that they rounded them up and sent them to prison or concentration camps (where they died). Surely they didn't fall apart afterwards, right? Or the Soviet Union - 5 years in jail for men, and enforced drug therapy for women who were gay. They *never* broke up!

Oh, wait - no, they didn't, because when you discriminate against one group, it's bad, and usually leads to your society using them as a scapegoat for their problems rather than fixing what's wrong. Like education in your schools - something that Oklahoma is trying to avoid by passing a law saying that you can use your religious beliefs as an answer in science class. I'm sure *that* won't have any bad repurcussions!

And if things do go wrong, I'm sure we can rely on Ms. Kern to lay blame on the appropriate party. Gay people - all their fault for declining science standards in Oklahoma, or lost jobs, or rising price in gas, or - something.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Finally done with Persona 3

I finally finished the game. I have to say - this game was one of the most selfish I've played.

If you haven't played it, let me give you the setup. In the year 2009, a group of teenagers discover an evil spiritual force that has the power to destroy the world, and only they can stop it (well, of course - only teenagers can save the world). They do this via a power called Persona, which is basically the psychic power of their personalities expressed as a creature. At first your Persona are small things that look like bio-mechanical humanoids, later on you can obtain more powerful Personas with names like Set (looks like an Egyptian god) or so on. Each Persona has strengths and weaknesses that you can use as you fight.

The game is a combination dating sim meets dungeon crawl RPG. By day you move through your town, talking to people and making friends (or girlfriends). Pick the right thing to say, and you'll be better friends with them. The closer your friendship, the more powerful Persona you can make. A relationship with a little girl may strengthen your Hanged Man persona, while making the cute school treasurer your girlfriend will make your Justice Persona more powerful.

At night, your characters troll through a place called Tartarus (which is the high school during the day). Tartarus is just a series of randomly generated maps, and you move up the floors, finding treasure, destroying monsters called Shadows, and on and on. Each Shadow has a strength and weakness of your own, so the game becomes a catalog of trying to figure out the best way to beat a particular shadow. Every few floors, you'll find an extra powerful Shadow blocking your path upwards - defeat them, and you can go up to fight extra powerful monsters. Create new Personas, and keep going.

One thing to mention: the spellcasting. In order to bring our their Personas, the characters have to shoot themselves in the head. Yes, that's right: they put a gun to their head, and pull the trigger. The idea is that the gun isn't filled with bullets, but instead helps push their psychic powers out - but its a powerful visual.

So why do I find the game selfish? Mainly, the social interaction. Each person you are to befriend has different questions and responses, different kinds of gifts they would like. What struck me as odd is that in order to further your friendship, you often had to pick, well, pretty crappy choices. One of the kids in your class is having an affair with his teacher. Hey - bad! Very, very bad, right?

Only, in order to keep your friendship going stronger, you have to encourage him. So when he asks you if you think it's a good idea that he's trying to bonk his teacher, you have to say "Oh, sure - go for it!", instead of "What? Are you kidding? No! Stop it, you moron!"

But, if you want those all powerful Persona points, you *have* to do it. So you can either do what a true friend should do - tell them when they're being stupid, or be a bad friend and just nod your head. "Stick you hand in a blender? Sure - why not!"

In battle, you have to be just as selfish. You are the only one capable of using Restore Beads, which bring you back from unconsciousness (note: not death - sure, it's OK to have Satan and Lucifer as your Personas, but let's not have resurrection). If your character dies, that's it - game over. Evidently, the other characters can't figure out how to open up your backpack and bring you back to life. (Maybe they think it would be rude to go through your things.)

And to be honest, at times my fellow companions were, well, kind of stupid. If there's an enemy who's immune to, say, fire, they can either bash it on the head with a sword, or cast "Break Fire" (which removes that fire invulnerability), then cast Fire on it.

Of course, they do the stupid thing - instead of just bashing it, they waste time casting pointless spells. I had to keep tweaking their AI mid battle to tell them "Stop using magic" - and then of course when I got too hurt, I had to tell them "Hey, moron - how about a heal?" Setting their AI on "auto" was just too hard for them, I guess.

Still, an interesting game, with an interesting story, and the "dungeon romp" elements were enjoyable. Trying to figure out the strength/weakness of each enemy I was fighting got to be fun. And I'll probably pick up the upgrade "Persona 3: FES" later on (in May, I think). Since there's a "New Game +" mode after you finish it (so you get to keep all of your powers for a replay), that will make playing it with the new bells and whistles fun without having to grind to get strong enough all of the time.

OMG - republican politician didn't think Obama was bold

Today's "Stupid with Style" award goes to CNN, with the headline Fellow legislator saw little 'bold' about Obama.

Who didn't think he was bold?

But former Republican colleague Dan Cronin said the presidential candidate's campaign of bold change doesn't square with his past.

No wai - republican politician didn't think that the democratic politician was bold? I'm shocked - shocked!

The Ultimate Obama Strategy

I've been thinking about the last few days - and how to take on the Clinton smear machine.

Over the last two weeks, we've gone from "I'm proud to share the stage with Obama", to "Well, he's not a Muslim - as far as I know", "Shame on you, Barack Obama", "I have the experience to be President, John McCain has the experience to be President - and Barack Obama has speeches". Then there was the Nafta affair, which we now know was pretty much a smear on Obama - even though he had done nothing wrong.

Nice Hilary left the stage at the debates, and now it's nasty Hilary, all the time.

The problem is - how to fight this?

Kill her with kindness.

Every time she goes negative, instead of trying to do a "Well, she's blah, blah, blah", be nice. Say "Well, I'm sure she doesn't want to release her tax returns because she values a person's privacy, and feels that if you don't have anything to hide, why bother?"

If she hits you up about experience, discuss "You know, it's wonderful that she and John McCain have more in common - who's value she shares, such as voting for the war in Iraq, or voting to assist the finance industry by making bankruptcy harder for people."

Be nice - while you're being nasty. Rise above the "ugh, Monster" frey, and look down at her from the clouds with sad pity.

Then move on - and win.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bankruptcy is bad - except for us!

Seems that the financial industry has a real problem with bankruptcy. See, the idea behind bankruptcy is that if you find yourself over your head with no way out, you get a "do over". Sure, there are penalties (as I know personally), and it makes things harder - but at least you're not thrown into debtor's prison or made a serf for life.

That said, now Countrywide is being sued for "abusing" the bankruptcy process, while at the same time the financial industry lobbyists are up on capital hill, trying to keep the bankruptcy laws from being changed to allow judges from deciding that a home's value is far less than what the mortgage was made for - and give judges the power to do a "do over" for people who got suckered into bad loans.

Sometimes, I feel like the financial industry really does miss those days of debtor's prison and serfdom. Hey, if nothing else, it insured that people paid to you *forever*. That has to be good for the bottom line.

At least Canada can find the leaker

Undercover CIA operative's identity is leaked, and years later the Bush administration can't seem to figure out who did it (though they can deny the guy who lied about who leaked it lied about it).

Took the Canadian government only a week only a week to find the aid who leaked an internal memo on their impressions on what an Obama economist may have said about NAFTA.

And lost in the press hubbub about "Oh, noes, Obama really isn't against NAFTA" was this little gem:

Brodie allegedly also discussed musings by Obama's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, saying people from her camp also told Canadians to take her NAFTA concerns with a grain of salt.

Personally, I'm saying that nothing coming out of these meetings can be taken with a grain of salt about either Obama or Clinton, at this rate. Only that there's something hinky going on within the conservative Canadian administration to muck with the US presidential election.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Good for you, kids - show more cents

Some kids were upset that the school had cut lunch from one hour to thirty minutes. Their response?

Pay with pennies. By doing so, that forced the lunch staff to count the pennies, slowing things down even further.

The school then turned around and ordered disciplinary actions against 29 of the students for "disrespecting the staff" or some such nonsense. Enough public pressure was put on the school to make them pull back - and it's looking like the school might get their lunch hour back (at least, according to something I heard on NPR).

But good solution - no violence, no marching and disrupting classes. Just a simple, powerful way that shows that the students have some power as well. Good for them.

Is Obama waiting to dro the hammer?

After today, likely not much will be changed - Obama will be ahead by about 100 delegates, Clinton behind by about 100 delegates. Unless she gets big wins in Texas and Ohio - like, around 65% of higher, she'll walk into the convention still with 100 less delegates. Though, she does have a lead in super delegates.

Or - does she? According to Tom Brokaw, Obama is waiting with a 50 super delegate swing in his favor announcement for later in the week. Combine that with the announcement that while Clinton raised $35 million in February, it is likely that Obama raised $50 million (or more) during the same period.

Now, imagine if both announcements come out at the same time. This means that Obama would lead in delegates, popular vote, super delegates, money, and states won. It could be the final push to try and get Clinton to go out gracefully.

The question is - which Clinton will hear the message? The one that is proud to be with Obama and wants a Democrat in office no matter what - or the one that believes that John McCain and her have experience while Obama only has "a 2002 speech"?

McCain: Science? We don't need no stinking science!

Remember all of the buzz about "vaccines cause autism" crap that was spouted - even though there was no scientific basis for it? How studies finally proved that it just wasn't so, that there were other issues involved?

Yeah. John McCain didn't get the memo.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I was wrong - she'll go lower

From Time (by way of Politico), a new radio ad from the Clinton campaign:

This is an election news update with a major news story reported by the AP. While Senator Obama has crisscrossed Ohio giving speeches attacking NAFTA, his top economic advisor was telling the Canadians that was all just political maneuvering. A newly released document from the Canadian government shows that Obama’s senior economic advisor met with the Canadian Consul General and made clear that Obama’s attack on NAFTA were just, quote, “political maneuvering,” not policy. Political maneuvering, not policy. In fact, the document shows that Obama’s advisor also assured the Canadians that these attacks against NAFTA would not continue. Obama would not want to be, quote, “fundamentally changing the agreement.” As Senator Obama was telling one story to Ohio, his campaign was telling a very different story to Canada. How will Ohioans decide whether they can believe Senator Obama’s words? We’ll find that out on election day. Paid for by Hillary Clinton for President.

That's right - the "election news update from the AP" is an advertisement from the Clinton Campaign. Bad enough that it holds information that I've already proven to be pretty false - but to make it sound like a news report when it's really an ad - that's just dirty.

And Hilary shows just how low she will go

Barack has a speech. McCain wants to keep us in Iraq for 100 years - and all Barack has is a speech (just ignore the community activism, his years in the Illinois Senate passing laws like health care for children or getting all police interrogations taped so you didn't have any forced confessions or people *claiming* abuse where there wasn't.

Or his time in the US senate where he got an earmarks transparency bill passed.

No, evidently, all he's got is "a speech he gave in 2002". And I guess all Senator Clinton has is a losing campaign to show for her "experience".

I might get house lucky

We may have found a place about 10 miles down the road that's going into foreclosure. It's on about 3 acres, 4 bedroom 2200 square foot place. Only downside: No high speed internet access *yet*, but it's coming later in the year. It already has a pool - I'd have to see about AC and such, but - hmmmmmm.

We were planning on a house next year, but at a possible deal like this - might be worth it to get in now. We have about $10K in cash, plus another $5K in stock, and by the time we'd actually sign papers and move in, we'd have another $5K saved up.

I love my mechanic

Let me say I love my mechanic - South Shore Auto Repair. I thought I'd have a $500 bill. Nope - just $150. They don't screw you on labor, they do good work and actually take the time to say "OK, here's the part that's bad, here's why it went bad, here's what you need to look out for."

Love these guys. Love 'em.

Clinton paying for blog comments too?

Vote for Hillary Online is so dedicated to making sure Hillary Clinton wins this election that we've started a program that rewards those of you who post positive replies about Hillary on political blogs.

OK, this one is from November 20, 2007 - but after reading the Clinton campaign paying for black marketers to hold her signs, it's just - woah.

Clinton campaign paying for all-black sign holders?

...Another thing immediately apparent, especially because of the race and gender issues in this presidential election, was that each person holding a sign was black.

I rolled down the window to ask one of the men what group the sign-holders belonged to, and he told me Southern Fried Marketing. I asked if they supported Hillary Clinton for president, and he replied: "Paid for."
(Source: Daily Kos)



I mean - uh - ...

I guess I've got nothing more to say on this.

A bit on the NAFTA Obama Fallout

A few days ago, people were running a story that said that Senator Obama had met with Canadian economic officials, and told them he wasn't *really* against, NAFTA - he was just saying that to get elected.

The Obama camp denied, Canandian government denied, it was over.

Then it turns out that Austan Goolsbee, an economist with the Obama campaign, did meet with some Canadian officials. And, according to someone's memos in the meeting that got leaked to the press, Goolsbee is the one that said that the anti-NAFTA talk wasn't that big of a deal, don't get all concerned.

Now, people are freaking out (24 hours to an election? Hmmm - interesting timing, like the plagurism stuff from two weeks ago). And I'm trying to figure out why.

1. Obama has never said he would repeal NAFTA - but would modify it so that US labor and environmental interests were equal across all three countries.

2. The memo was not written by Goolsbee, it was not a direct quote - it was someone else's impressions.

3. Even in those impressions, the memo reads:

On NAFTA, Goolsbee suggested that Obama is less about fundamentally changing the agreement and more in favor of strengthening/clarifying language on labor mobility and environment and trying to establish these as more "core" principles of the agreement...

Which is consistent with item #1. Obama isn't out to throw out NAFTA - but modify it.

So - what's the uproar? This is like when Obama said he would pursue an agreement about public financing. He didn't say "I will absolutely accept public financing", it was "I will pursue an agreement on public financing". But somehow, even saying that much is a big deal to the McCain people. Or how he said he's pursue bin Laden into Pakistan, and authorize missions if Pakistan didn't support - and suddenly that became "Obama wants to bomb Pakistan" by Clinton and McCain.

So am I missing something, or is this a molehill people are trying to scale like it was Everest?

Conversation with a gentleman over health care

I dropped my car to get worked on this morning, and while I was waiting for my shuttle ride home, I sat next to an elderly gentleman who was looking over a pile of insurance papers.

"Looks like you have fun reading," I mentioned.

He looked up, looking tired. "Yeah, right." He gestured at the pile on his lap. "My wife used to handle all of this. I gotta say - I was never a supporter of socialized medicine, but now that I have to deal with it, it doesn't seems like such a bad idea."

"I know - heaven forbid we should have decent affordable simple health care like other nations, right?"

"Yeah - I'm actually ashamed now I voted for Bush over Gore back in 2000. Man, that a dumb thing that was."

"Hindsight is 50/50," I mentioned.

"You mean 20/20."

"Right - sorry, I was thinking about my wife's eyeglass prescription."

We chuckled a bit. But I keep having conversations like this with people, strangers. "Man, Bush is terrible. You know, getting our of Iraq isn't a bad idea. Universal health care sounds pretty good about now."

I can't help but wonder if I'm just running into like minded people - or if there isn't something really happening out there.

You're tougher than you think

Remember - politicians who use fear ads during the campaign aren't bad people - they're horrible people.

OMG! Obama's a total anti-semite!

Or, so the news networks would have you believe. Tom Tomorrow has a bit on this in today's "This Modern World".

Yesterday, I caught a rehash of the Lou Dobbs show. Dang it, but Dobbs drives me crazy. I like the populist "corporate interests should not be above individual freedoms", but then he pulls crap like he did yesterday. Basically, the show boiled down to "Hey, Obama's minister said nice things about Farrakhan. Farrakhan said anti-semite things. Therefore, Obama must have issues with anti-semitism!"

It seems that any time there's a black man in the media, they seem to think that they know every other black man. Kind of like how Tim Russert, on "Meet the Press", waited two weeks after Harry Belafonte called America a terrorist organization to ask Obama about it. Why Obama? Why two weeks?

Oh, that's right: they're both black. They must hang out in the secret "black person organization" room after hours, swapping stories or something. At least, that's the only thing I can imagine that's going through Russert's and Dobbs's minds.

And all the while, McCain cozying up to anti-catholics like minister Hagee gets all but ignored. The closest thing I've seen was a bit on Wolf Blizter that went "Hey, this Hagee guy likes McCain - but that's not McCain's fault!"

Yeah - because unlike Obama who both "denounced and rejected" Farrakhan, while McCain accepted Hagee's endorsement.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Would Huckabee Help Texas Creationists - or not?

I ran across this article on Time about how Huckabee's campaigning in Texas could help get creationism in schools.

The idea is actually fairly logical: Huckabee believes in Creationism. He tends to draw in the Evangelical votes. On March 04, Texas is going to hold a vote not only on the primaries, but on a measure to rewrite the Texas schoolbooks and, like Kansas, decide that evolution doesn't need to be in there. (Just ignore that it accurately predicts everything from DNA findings to fossil locations to all sorts of things, while Intelligent Design - doesn't.)

So if Huckabee draws in more evangelicals, and they see the measure, they'll likely vote for it.

There's just one question I have on this issue: what about the Democrats?

So far, in pretty much every primary - even in the "red states", Democrats have been turning out in greater numbers than Republicans. In Virginia, the numbers of Democrats voting buried the Republicans by huge margins.

What if the people voting mainly for the Democratic primary turn out in huge numbers like Texas - and then those "let's throw out evolution from the textbooks" measures find themselves being looked at by more liberal thinking people?

I'm not educated enough about Texas either way, but it would be interesting to know.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Left 4 Dead looks awesome

I haven't talked much about games lately, and all I've been playing is Disgaea for the PSP and Persona 3 for the PS2 (and almost done with both). I've heard a little about this game - but this trailer looks pretty cool. Finally, a zombie game with fast moving, very pissed off zombies. And now that Valve bought them, I think we can be assured of some good stuff.