August 28, 2007

Pompous Republican gasbag plead guilty to "lewd conduct" in Minneapolis toilet

The oh-so-rightous and preening Senator Larry Craig (R-Gloryhole) has always been particularly difficult for me to stomach as he delivers his stemwinders on the Senate floor as if he's Moses himself imparting the ten commandments.

Now add him to the incredibly long list of anti-gay conservative Republicans who are gay themselves. Not only gay or bi-sexual are many, but their desire for man meat is so strong that despite their lofty positions and the risk of being exposed as utter frauds, they still can't resist trolling for gay sex from strangers in parks, online, or in Craig's case, the ultra romantic setting of an airport toilet stall.

Here we see Craig crooning wholesome God approved all-American tunes with Trent Lott and John Ashcroft, striking what is, in light of the charges, a rather unfortunate pose. Maybe sometimes a microphone is just a microphone. (And aren't those flag vests just to die for? No wait. Maybe it's desecration of the flag like these same guys want to make a serious crime? I'm confused.)

Is there anyone out there who doesn't think that there's a particularly compelling pychological phenomena going on among the rightous right Republicans?

I find it supremely galling that these same buffoons who rode the wave of division and obsession with gays to elective power are routinely found out to be light in the loafers themselves.

Could it be that this steady parade of hypocritical conservative gays, perverts, rapists, and pedophiles might serve to get them to shut up their loud use of anti-gay rhetoric and legislation?

I have no possible way of knowing, but I could swear that it almost seems there's more gays in the Republican party than the Democratic party. And certainly more gays not only living a lie, but actively working to make other gay's lives less livable at the same time they're trolling public restrooms for gay sex.

Any observations on this or theories as to what it is about the conservative bible-thumping family values Republicans that attracts so many self-loathing gays?

August 27, 2007

See ya Fredo. We won't miss ya

Bush consigliere Fredo Gonzales is finally gone.

History won't be kind to Gonzales, but like all the others, I'm sure the Bush cronie retirement benefits will be great. Maybe George will give him a Medal of Freedom.

At last the Constitution can leave the battered document shelter now that her abuser can't molest her anymore.

August 26, 2007

Rock Island street's potentially fatal design flaw

Well, it happened again today.

While driving on Rock Island's 17th street between 31st Avenue just south of Trinity West (the old Franscican Hospital) and Black Hawk Road, I nearly witnessed a head on collision.

And this is the THIRD time I've had this happen, with a couple almost involving myself. This is particularly alarming considering that I rarely drive that stretch of road at all.

The problem is that the city decided it would be a nice idea to block off an entire lane on the east side of the street and add a bicycle lane on the west. What this did was create a two lane road where there used to be a more or less 4 lane street.

But the way they decided to design and mark this off has probably lead to some accidents already, and I'm all but certain that sooner or later, it will lead to a very serious accident, possibly fatal.

The road tricks people, apparently. The wide lane on the east side is marked by a wide white stripe, as is the bike lane on the west. The middle two lanes are separated by a dashed yellow line, as is proper. (But obviously people don't notice the distinction between dashed yellow and dashed white lines.)

The problem occurs when people pull out onto the road, or are simply driving down the curving and winding road and get the impression that there's two lanes heading south.

I have been driving north and encountered not one, but two cars barreling around a curve straight at me in my lane, one following the other.

Today I witnessed a car full of teens coming flying around the curve about to pass me on my right, oblivious to the fact that they were in the opposing lane. A car was approaching coming the other way from Blackhawk road and I laid on the horn to try to get the kid's attention. The car with the teens had to hit the brakes and actually pulled over to the left into the unused lane of the road while the oncoming car squeezed between us in the other direction. Not a good situation.

On one other occasion I also witnessed a car driving serenely in the oncoming lane, not realizing they were in the wrong.

Even I was momentarily fooled one time and almost pulled out into the wrong lane. It's clear that the way it's laid out invites drivers to mistakenly drive into oncoming traffic.

This simply has to be changed or fixed. As I said, perhaps a solid yellow center line rather than dashed would do the trick. I don't know.

When I've driven that stretch of road perhaps 5 times since they've made the change and on three of those occasions I've seen people driving directly into oncoming traffic, something's wrong.

Not only is it obviously confusing to motorists, but to make the situation more dangerous, the road is winding, making for short sight distances, and the speed limit is 40, which leads to speeds up to 50 mph or more, plenty fast enough to make the likelyhood of a head-on higher.

The only grim "positive" about the situation is that at least there's a trauma center nearby.

Here's a rinky-dink diagram to help you visualize the situation if you're not familiar with the road. (click to enlarge)

I guess some drivers heading south mistakenly think that the big unused lane on the east side is for traffic going north towards the hospital, (and the white stripe there is the center line,) while the other two lanes separated by dashed lines are for southbound traffic. Perhaps they simply don't realize that yellow dashed lines means don't cross unless you're passing. I'm not sure how to explain it, but trust me, it tricks a lot of people.

I write this in the sincere hope that someone from the city is aware of this problem and does something about this before anyone loses their lives. I hate to say it, but it's simply inevitable that someone is going to have a head-on collision there.

And if any of you ever find yourself driving along this stretch of 17th Street, just be ready to take some quick evasive action.

I know there's been an amazing amount of close calls, because I see one almost every time I drive there.

Anyone else had this experience?

August 20, 2007

Rumler-Jacobs redux, and Lack comes after Boland. It's silly season again.

It's with a certain sense of nausea that I bring up the topic of the upcoming primary re-match between Sen. Mike Jacobs, the guy who apparently seems proud that the only way he knows to do business is by intimidation, smears, and bragging about what a rough and tumble guy he is.

Rumler has an abundance of dignity and tact, at least compared to Jacobs, and didn't crawl into the gutter last time, despite immediate and rather slimy efforts to challenges to even his right to run in the district which materialized within seconds of his announcement, to an absolutely dumb attempt to manufacture a false claim that he didn't use union printers for his campaign signs and make that into some horrid horrid fatal flaw, to every other sort of twisted and childish attack imaginable, including a few hundred thousand spent by a pro-choice group on Jacobs behalf to make thousands of robo-calls falsely portraying Rumler's stance on the issue.

That's one way to run a campaign, and Jacobs likely does it that way because it's worked in the past. (like the 1800's maybe) and the down and ugly method is no doubt sucessful if you're willing to stoop way down and get pretty ugly, which apparently is a attribute Jacobs and his cronie possess.

That and accepting a ton of money from just about anyone that will give it and amassing, with Dad's help, a mountain of campaign cash that literally dwarfed Rumler's assets.

So we get to see Rumler-Jacobs redux.

Will Rumler be a bit more visible this time?

Will he at least actively strive to, and will the press allow him to, at least show people who he is and what he believes this time, rather than being practically invisible and a big question mark to the public at large as he was last time?

Will Jacobs go back to the ugly and corny tricks and distortions that appear to be the only tools in his toolbox?

Or will we see a Jacobs that is slowly moving into the late 20th century, who can compete with ideas and a record, and a vision for the future articulately spelled out? Maybe exibit a little thoughfulness, which he no doubt possesses but seems determined to keep under wraps?

Will they debate this time in some sort of meaningful way?

Will the petty attacks and manufactured "outrages" drag this contest down again?

Will the discussion again be essentially ruined by obvious PR tripe written and made up by Jacobs, supporters, and his employees?

Or will there be a sane sensible and reasonable debate and discussion?

Hope springs eternal.

And then there's the news that Jerry Lack will be taking on Mike Boland.

This too is welcome news, even if you don't have a problem with Boland, just as Rumler returning is good news even if you like Jacobs.

I don't know a lot about Jerry Lack, other than he was a close aide to Lane Evans for a long time.

What do you think about his chances? Is Boland teetering and vulnerable?

Some stiff competition is good for democracy, and as long as the ideas are fairly presented and money and blatant lies and distortions don't completely skew the playing field, usually the best person wins.

So.... I'll hold my nose and let the silliness begin.

The article in the Dispatch regarding the incident at Rumler's announcement in the Dispatch has drawn a LOT of comments, (and not a one of them from me) and rather surprisingly, it's by far anti-Jacobs and pro-Rumler.

The story is that J.P. Jacobs, Mike's right arm, so to speak, showed up at Rumler's announcement at a union hall with a camcorder and was asked to leave.

I think most people realize that this is a big nothing.

First of all, as was demonstrated last year with the George Allen thing, videoing opponents appearances is almost standard practice, though it's fairly unusual at the state senate level. But nonetheless, it's not really a huge offense.

Also, the fact that Jacobs was asked to leave is a yawn as well. The event was private, and they had a right to decide who they wanted there.

Rumler's campaign, to my knowlege, hasn't tried to make any sort of stink about J.P. showing up with a camcorder, with Rumler only explaining that he couldn't have asked J.P. to leave his announcement in '05 because it was in a public place, pointing out that, "The fact is the Jacobses are known for their fear and intimidation", which is a little like observing that the Earnhardt's are known for driving stock cars or the Ripkins are known for playing baseball. Kind of pointing out the obvious.

But of course, Jacobs has tried to make it a big deal, even having the gall to demand that Rumler appologize to his family, which of course is intended to.....well, intimidate Rumler.

Let the games begin. But be assured that not every cock and bull comment will get published. Try to keep it between the lines, and please, avoid trying the usual crap of pretending to be someone else that was "for" candidate x, but now you're not, and other similarly transparent attempts to pump up your guy with bullshit.

Rely on facts, or honest opinion based on facts, and you'll be fine.

August 19, 2007

Cheney vs. insane Cheney

For any of you who haven't already seen this covered in the press, and for those who might want to contemplate it a bit more, here's the two recently dug up clips of Vice President and obsessive Iraq invasion proponent Dick "Dick" Cheney from before he lost his marbles:

This interview from '94.

Questioner: Do you think that U.S. or U.N.forces should have moved into Bagdhad?

Cheney: "NO, because we would have been all alone...."

"It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq."

If you march in and take down Hussein, "...what are you going to put in it's place? It's a very volatile part of the world and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you can easily see pieces of Iraq fly off."

"It's a QUAGMIRE if you go that far and try to take over Iraq."

"The question was... how many additional dead Americans was Sadaam worth? And our judgement was not very many and I think we got it right."

What happened to this guy?

An author who has studied and watched Cheney's career says nothing. He's always been a cold, calculating person with a lack of humanity, and has always believed that America should be able to do whatever it wants without consequence. It's just that he'd always said what was politically expedient to aid his rise, and it was only as Vice President that he was in a position to finally bend the country to his rather warped will.

The above clip was from when Dick was Sec. of Defense under Bush daddy.

But there's a more recent example of Cheney expressing more rational thinking from an interview on Meet the Press after he'd become Vice President.

From Think Progress:
In 2000, Tim Russert asked Vice Presidential nominee Dick Cheney, “Do you regret not taking Saddam out nine years ago?” Here’s how Cheney responded:

CHENEY: I don’t, Tim. It was–and it’s been talked about since then. But the fact of the matter is, the only way you could have done that would be to go to Baghdad and occupy Iraq. If we’d done that, the U.S. would have been all alone. We would not have had the support of the coalition, especially of the Arab nations that fought alongside us in Kuwait. None of them ever set foot inside Iraq. Conversations I had with leaders in the region afterwards–they all supported the decision that was made not to go to Baghdad.

They were concerned that we not get into a position where we shifted instead of being the leader of an international coalition to roll back Iraqi aggression to one in which we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world taking down governments. So I think we got it right, so suppose it’s one of those things that’ll be debated for some time. But I thought the decision was sound at the time, and I do today. [Meet the Press, 8/27/00]

Desperate to run from his previous statements, Cheney is offering excuses that don’t stack up. Cheney must answer why he told Americans in 2003 that we would be “greeted as liberators” when he had previously expressed concern that we would be perceived as an “imperalist power” that would get stuck in a “quagmire.”

And if this sort of blatant duplicity and just sheer madness gets you down, there's always this clip from Cheney's visit to the ravaged aftermath of Katrina to lift your spirits a bit. Here a young doctor having noticed Cheney's enormous motorcade driving through the moonscape wreckage, stopped by to give old Dick a bit of his own medicine. A classic. (especially the non-chalant way he says it a second time.. cracks me up.)

And in a apt example of the ubiquitous video age we live in, the guy who made the comment to Cheney was shooting video that day and has the "as it happened" home video from his experience as well.

And last, I leave you with this musical tribute to our Vice President.

August 18, 2007


It's with red face that I again must admit that I've come across a whole crop of comments that escaped my notice.

I've bemoaned the lack of interesting and thoughtful comments, and so when I find out that I've overlooked a whole slew of them, I feel extra bad. Some were on posts from some time ago, though I hope that it's not too late for others to read them. They're worth looking for.

There were a lot of very good ones, thoughtful and interesting.

Again, my apologies to those who took the time to comment but didn't see their thoughts appear. They've been posted now.

It's not a very good excuse, but my mail program "stacks" up mail that comes on the same subject. Sometimes I read the top one, don't see any others (I'd have to scroll down) and move on to the next. I assume that's how I manage to miss so many comments.

I'll renew my efforts to be more thorough in the future.

August 16, 2007

Reality, Schmality. Let's write it ourselves.

The lies and double-dealing is so common as to almost be boring anymore, but in the latest bit of pure BS from the White House, the long awaited and much ballyhooed "Petraeus Report" is about to be issued as promised.

Well almost.

General Petraeus you'll recall is the guy held up by both sides of the aisle as a man beyond reproach, a stand-up guy, a gifted military leader, who, if anyone could, could finally get things together in Iraq.

He was pointed to over and over and over by the White House as essentially the guy running the "surge". Bush referred to him countless times, sometimes daily, as the guy in charge, the guy he was relying on in Iraq, making it clear that this was going to be Gen. Petraeus' report. He clearly gave the impression that he, Bush, had almost nothing to do with it.
As the Los Angeles Times, which broke the story today, suggests, this revelation is at odds with "Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker." In other words, the White House has repeatedly said that this report will represent the Gospel According To Petraeus -- except, of course, that it won't. At the White House gaggle today, deputy press secretary Dana Perino was asked to confirm or deny this -- and she dodged the question.

IN trying to sell his doomed surge idea, he'd throw Petraeus' name out like some sort of magic incantation to prove that it was a smart and needed thing to do. To critics, the White House would insist that this was Petraeus' plan, not Bush's, and that he should be given a complete chance to succeed.

And above all, Bush AND congressional members of both parties, relied on hiding behind Petraeus for cover and to avoid having to make any judgement on Iraq at all.

They were all waiting until September, we were told repeatedly, until Gen. Petraeus would give the report on the progress or lack thereof in Iraq, as congress had mandated.

As a matter of fact, that was the entire crutch that congress had hung it's approval of yet more hundreds of millions for the surge. "We'll see how it goes and get a report in September", was the political cover adopted nearly across the board.

Well, now the day is drawing near and we learn that the critical report, the one analysis that literally the future of our involvement in Iraq is supposedly hinging on, the vaunted Petreaous report so often and loudly referred to by George W. Bush, isn't going to be a report by Gen. Petreaus at all.

It's going to be written by the White House itself.

OH. I see.

It won't be known how much, if any, of General Petraous' observations or analysis will even be included.

So now, after the lives of hundreds of troops have been ended forever, their families devastated, and millions upon millions expended in Iraq since this "surge" was announced, after Bush and so many politicians hid behind Petraeus as the person who would give it a shot and then give an honest, unvarnished assessment of our course in Iraq and the success or failure of the surge, the White House tells us now that THEY'LL handle the "Petraeus" report, thank you very much.

The White House spokesbot tried to defend this saying that Congress ordered the White House to give the report, not General Petraeus.

But anyone who has watched TV or had the stomach to listen to Commander McFlightsuit and his mouthpieces in and out of congreass in the past few months has clearly seen and heard how Bush has made it appear that the report was going to be by and from General Petraeus himself, the guy who he's esssentially hidden behind for months now.

What does it say when such blatant bullshit and deception by this administration (in this instance in the cause of keeping the war going, no matter what) is so widespread and common that what would have been an absolutel national outrage a decade ago is now hardly noticed?

And what does it say when the fact that this won't be the Petraeus Report at all, but what it looks like once the White House gets done with it isn't mentioned in reporting on this story until near the bottom of the second page of the piece? Including the fact that (duh) people in the White House want to outright lie about so-called "progress" in Iraq?

From the LA Times:
Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

And though Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report's data.

The senior administration official said the process had created "uncomfortable positions" for the White House because of debates over what constitutes "satisfactory progress."

During internal White House discussion of a July interim report, some officials urged the administration to claim progress in policy areas such as legislation to divvy up Iraq's oil revenue, even though no final agreement had been reached. Others argued that such assertions would be disingenuous.

"There were some in the drafting of the report that said, 'Well, we can claim progress,' " the administration official said. "There were others who said: 'Wait a second. Sure we can claim progress, but it's not credible to . . . just neglect the fact that it's had no effect on the ground.' "

August 13, 2007

We won't have Turdblossom to kick around anymore

Herr Rove quits.

Quite stunning, actually.

But with Dems in congress waving around subpeneas, you just know little Karl heard the footsteps coming and thought it was a good time to duck out and start plotting a strategy to keep his venal ass out of prison.

All dirty roads lead to Rove, and he evidently knows that if he stayed, he'd be a one man scandal factory.

I'm sure that his resignation might thrwart the efforts to uncover the true depths of Rove's antics. I hope that's not the case.

It will be of interest to see just how much bile comes oozing out of D.C. in the coming months and years about Rove and his attempt to create a "permanent majority" for the Republicans, and how he tried to turn the office of the President of the United States into something more befitting a South American strong man.

Michael Tomasky of the Guardian puts it succinctly: "Karl Rove will be remembered for two things from his time at the White House: incompetence and duplicity."

Though it was always rather suspect and unprecidented to have a strictly political guy like Rove occupying an office just off the Oval Office in the White House, at least this black stain on all politics has to do his dirty work from another location.

And tell me Rove isn't secretly laughing his ass off at the fact he had the nerve to use the corniest, most insincere reason for his ouster, that he wants to spend more time with his family. (I didn't even know he had one. They might not want him to.)

George W. Bush, liberal

I caught Fearless Leader the other day making a semi-coherant statement along the lines that we need to affect the changes in the Mid-east that will prevent the young people in that region from becoming radicalized and mobilized against us.


Isn't that pretty much what some daring souls said in the wake of 9-11 and in the hustle to get George's war on?

If I recall, anyone who dared ask what we as a nation may have done to cause such extreme actions or wonder what it was that caused anyone to hate us to the extent they'd wantonly kill innocent Americans, and it wasn't many, for obvious reasons, was crucified unmercifully as a mush-headed liberal terrorist sympathizer and America-hater. A traitor to boot.

Of course, Bush quickly supplied the answer to the question of why they hate us with the thoroughly ridiculous and simplistic notion that they "hate our freedom". And sadly, many saps bought it.

But what Georgie doesn't get is that the thing that would have avoided handing Bin Laden an instant recuriting tool and propaganda triumph is for us to have at least tried to do something about what caused the unrest in the first place.

After all, it looks like we're going to have to anyway, and King George is only starting to pave the way.

First, a major grievance of bin Laden and others was the presense of U.S. troops on Arab soil, as in the major bases in Saudi Arabia. (Most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, lest you've forgotten)

Secondly, they were motivated to engage in terror tactics due to the fact that the U.S. has, and is, propping up incredibly backwards and brutal regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, not to mention Israel being a sort of 51st state of the U.S.

Then there was the ransacking of their nations for oil and resources, and no doubt a long laundry list of outrages.

But as it was, it was only a relative handful of radicals who were bent on attacking us.

Now, it's half the world.

I'd just like to tell our presnit that if he really wants to do something to prevent muslims from becoming radicalized, then perhaps he should at least think about trying to reverse his ham-handed invasion of Iraq, the effort to erect multi-billion dollar fortress/embassys in the mid-east, and otherwise get his foot off their necks.

Just a thought.

Or he can continue his cowboy non-sense and continue to make Bin Laden a savior for half the world by making his every anti-American warning come true.

And isn't it interesting that Bush has come out and essentially taken the same stance that Hillary Clinton so roundly bashed Obama for daring to utter, namely, being willing to go after bin Laden in Pakistan, including the possibility of military operations there.

August 11, 2007

Republican sex weirdos, Case #453990 Why is sexual deviency so prevalent in the Republican party?

Tell me there isn't something inherant in the mindset of many Republicans that leads them to be FAR more likely of being either A: A closeted self-hating homosexual who has uses anti-gay rhetoric and legislation to advance their political careers, B. a gay pedophile, C. a rapist, or D. Just generally twisted.

The list of Republican buggerers is so long that it would be beyond my abilitity to list even a portion of those who have been caught with their pants down, their mouths open, or otherwise engaged in things that are either illegal or hypocritical beyond belief.


The former head of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans pleading guilty to sexual battery on the day he was to stand trial for raping a colleague. But not, of course, before he attempted a loathsome campaign to smear the victim.

The newly elected President of the Young Republican National Federation, Glenn Murphy, (above) who has been a revered consultant to Indiana Republicans and who has used gay marriage as a wedge issue in campaigns, accused of sexually assaulting a young man as he slept. And apparently it's not the first time this fine young Republican has been accused of this behavior. The squalid details HERE and HERE.

Bob Allen, (above) public servant of the Republican cause, Congressman, and Florida co-chair of the John McCain campaign gets busted for offering an undercover officer $20 to let him perform oral sex on him in a park bathroom. (Much like the hard-core Republican who headed the effort to get Bill Clinton disbarred and solicited a cop in a park in Arkasas.) Then offers the racist excuse that he was afraid of black men in the park and ... I don't know... What's the logic? He decides that if he gave one of them oral sex they wouldn't hurt him so HE offers a guy $20 to let him perform oral sex on the guy? Ohhhhhhhh kaaaaaaaaaaay. Best defense ever.

Yep, that good old Republican "personal accountibility" thing.

And needless to say, Allen had a record of trying to legislate against gays.

The San Francisco Bay Times has a piece on both cases. And R.J. Eskow opines on the clinical mental disorder suggested by the constant parade of sexually messed up Republicans.

And of course, just the more recent examples of just what the "family values" Republicans value, like David Vitter repeatedly patronizing prostitutes (and his wife's priceless quote from the past about how she'd never let HER guy walk all over her like Hillary Clinton, that she'd be like Lorena Bobbit if she ever caught her husband cheating. Anyone notice if Vitter's voice was a tad higher when he admitted to his "sin"?)

And the good Rev. Haggard not only playing with gay prostitutes but scoring some meth to boot.

And then there's just the general scum-bag, like the top campaign guy for Giulianni (I think) who finally got busted after repeatedly impersonating a law officer, including pretending to be a cop and harrassing journalists, or the Giuliani state chair who got busted, not for using cocaine, but for selling quantities of the stuff.

It's the party of God, family values, anti-gay bigotry, racism, sexism, and above all else, rank hypocrisy.

Maybe people are finally beginning to see it.

August 7, 2007

AFL-CIO Democratic Debate analysis

For those of you who caught the AFL-CIO debate among Democratic presidential candidates from Soldier Field in Chicago, what did you think?

And highlights? Lowlights? Who most closely espoused the views that you personally believe in?

I was alternately nauseated and inspired. The format was of course, not condusive to anything resembling an actual debate, with the number of candidates and dictates of the TV network ensuring that the entire thing was rushed, and that candidates were under enormous pressure to try to frantically try to get their points out, which always results in sometimes ridiculously disjointed and nearly incoherant answers.

Hilary did OK. She had some strong moments, but a few faltering ones as well. Obama was likewise alternately strong and a bit faltering. Edwards had some strong moments, but didn't really catch fire. Biden was strong and came across as the most honest and authentic of the bunch, and the senator long criticized for his overly-windy responses cracked up the crowd when asked if he would eliminate no-bid contracts with a one word answer, no.

Keith Olberman did a simply outstanding job as moderator, and was clear and consise, as well as doing a good job of keeping things moving along. There were no cutesy trick questions dreampt up soley to ensure a politician faltered or was embarassed, though he did ask some legitimately tough questions.

Another thing that I came away with is that of all seven candidates on stage, the only one's who really seemed to have a grasp on reality and who sincerely stated that they'd address the problems that most needed addressing were the minor candidates. Kucinich routinely evoked roars of approval from the crowd with his pledges of a pro-labor White House, withdrawal from Iraq, and universal health care. I'd wager that a majority of people in the country, and at least a majority of Dems believe that addressing those questions are top priority, and Kucinich essentially said he'd deal with them all. But the candidate who is committed to giving people what they truly want and need is regarded as a joke candidate. I've never really understood why that is.

Clinton gave me a lot of doubts due to the fact that she truly seems the most "old-fashioned" of the field, in as much as she's incredibly scripted, disciplined in evry sylable she utters, and shys away from making any firm committments on issues for the most part. She truly is not altogether "up front" in my estimation, and seems polished in the ways of talking a good game while in reality pretty much endorsing the status quo and not being willing to make any major changes in the way things are done in this country. Of course her husband was a lot like that too, and he was able to do some good things for this country, despite his enacting NAFTA, and other dubious and decidedly un-Democratic measures he enacted. I imagine Hilary will be Bill Pt.2, which after all shouldn't be surprising.

But other candidates, such as Obama, Edwards, and Biden, all displayed a bit of what appeared to be genuine passion behind their stances. With Hilary, you get the impression that she could pretend to be passionate about an issue and then do exactly the opposite once in office. Not so much the others. They seemed to not only talk the talk, but be more than willing to walk the walk.

That's just my first impressions to get you started.

What are your thoughts and impressions?


Scott McFarland attended the debate and has a write-up on his blog here.

August 4, 2007

Court rules on search of Jefferson congresional office, House Republicans have a fit

A Federal appeals court has ruled that the FBI must return legislative items seized in a search of corrupt congressman William Jefferson, concurring with my opinon on the issue way back when.

Story in the Trib here.

On a tangentially related matter, the Republicans in the house went bananas a night ago over a screw-up with voting on a motion to reconsider. The presiding officer, a Democrat, called the vote for the Dems before all votes were in. It was later corrected, and Dem. Steny Hoyer even called for a re-vote just to put things straight.

It was messed up and not the proper thing to do, but the thing was absolutely benign compared to what the Republicans did with a bill last session, holding open the vote for something like 4 or 5 hours, in direct violation of house rules, in order to let disgraced crook Tom DeLay twist arms, and in at least one case, outright threaten another Republican that if he didn't vote Delay's way, the Republicans would ensure that his son, who was planning to run for office, would have everything but the kitchen sink thrown against him.

Not a peep out of the pious Republicans then.

But how refreshing to hear the Democrats actually admit that this procedural snafu was a mistake, take responsibility for it, and appologize and try to make it right. Hell, they're even calling for an investigation of it themselves!

This is what decency was like before the Republican era. This is the measure of integrity and class that was banished from the House by Newt Gingrich and the radical right.

A hell of a lot more honorable than the Republicans, who needless to say, are far too petty, dishonorable, and small to every do such a thing. And of course, they're too childish and petty to ever understand and move on. Instead they walked out of the house in a snit, accomplishing nothing, but ensuring that nothing got done in the House.

August 1, 2007

Are anti-abortion activists suffering from cognitive disconnect?

In this video clip, a reporter asks anti-abortion protesters if they think abortion should be legal or illegal. When they predictably say illegal, he asks them what the punishment should be for women who have illegal abortions.

You gotta see this.

What do you think this reveals about those who clamor to criminalize abortion?

Why do Republican politicians and George W. Bush hate children?

Krugman (subscription required)
When a child is enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (Schip), the positive results can be dramatic. For example, after asthmatic children are enrolled in Schip, the frequency of their attacks declines on average by 60 percent, and their likelihood of being hospitalized for the condition declines more than 70 percent.

Regular care, in other words, makes a big difference. That’s why Congressional Democrats, with support from many Republicans, are trying to expand Schip, which already provides essential medical care to millions of children, to cover millions of additional children who would otherwise lack health insurance.

But President Bush says that access to care is no problem — “After all, you just go to an emergency room” — and, with the support of the Republican Congressional leadership, he’s declared that he’ll veto any Schip expansion on “philosophical” grounds.

It must be about philosophy, because it surely isn’t about cost. One of the plans Mr. Bush opposes, the one approved by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Senate Finance Committee, would cost less over the next five years than we’ll spend in Iraq in the next four months. And it would be fully paid for by an increase in tobacco taxes.

The House plan, which would cover more children, is more expensive, but it offsets Schip costs by reducing subsidies to Medicare Advantage — a privatization scheme that pays insurance companies to provide coverage, and costs taxpayers 12 percent more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare.

Strange to say, however, the administration, although determined to prevent any expansion of children’s health care, is also dead set against any cut in Medicare Advantage payments.

Note that cigarette smokers are paying for the entire cost of providing expanded health coverage for children. What happens when draconian and over-reaching anti-smoking measures kills the goose that lays the golden egg?

Beyond that, is there any possible argument for Republicans trying to defeat this program? Krugman posits that the reason they oppose it is that they always oppose any program which will show that government can provide desperately needed services more effectively, and more efficiently, and at lower cost than big corporations. True?