November 30, 2008

Lying about Joe Autoworker

If you're a news junkie or someone who simply keeps an ear to media opinion, you've no doubt heard the latest from the right regarding the potential bailout of the big 3 American automakers.

Republicans are now attempting to distort and push their actual agenda by... yep, lying. (God, can't they stage some sort of intervention to get them to stop their addiction to lying to the American public?)

It seems, according to their prominent shills, that the entire economic meltdown the fault of the poor and Democrats due to a program designed to allow those who make less than $100,000 a year or so to actually get into a house.

Of course, that's preposterous, and as it nearly always turns out, utterly false. (The agency in charge of monitoring this program reports that a vast minority of "toxic" home loans originated with banks participating in this program.)

But more recently, we're now hearing from the usual wing-nut suspects that the reason automakers are going belly up is... yep, like a broken record... the fault of unions and assembly line workers.

If you shower before work, you're OK, if you shower after work, it's your fault.

To gin up some righteous anger and jealousy among those "low information" voters which are all they have left, the Republicans are spreading around the idea that the average autoworker pulls down $74 dollars an hour.

Obviously, if that were true, it would tend to make people think that workers were grossly overpaid (as if execs and CEOs aren't.)

But again, they're lying and playing us for rubes.

They arrive at the $74 an hour figure by being dishonest with their numbers (big surprise) That hourly figure represents:

-Salary... a workers hourly wage

The actual average hourly wage is about $26 an hour. Good pay, to be sure, but a damn sight less than the lie that it's $74.

-health benefits... which are good, but not extravagant.

-pension benefits in the future.

Adding these all together and dividing them by hours worked, it comes to a little less than $40 an hour. A good total package allowing a worker to enter the middle class and retire with some measure of security after decades of very hard work.

But that's not $74. How did they concoct that number?

Well, they're not interested in basic honesty, but they are interested in arriving at some figure which sounds absurdly high.

So they also added to the mix EVERY DIME paid to every worker still living, who once worked for GM, their entire cost of health care and pension.

THAT is where the $74 figure came from....

The total of every worker's hourly wage, health care benefits, pension benefits, PLUS the cost of every single retiree's pension and health care, all wrapped up together and then divided by ONLY the number of hourly wage earners CURRENTLY working.

Neat trick, eh? But clearly misleading and purposely dishonest. You can pretty much count on the fact that anything you hear these folks say is utterly false, to a greater or lesser degree, and most likely toward the greater.

So they take the sum total of every dime expended on all autoworkers, both those who are now working PLUS every retiree out there, and then divide this whopping total by only the number of current workers.

Now granted, this isn't to argue that the enormous labor cost of all of the above isn't a huge and fixed cost that's been an enormous burden for the corporations. But the fact is that they still posted gargantuan profits under this very setup for decades on end.

Now that management has been asleep at the switch and spent energy trying to preserve their place at the top of the heap and being allowed to sail along without having to change much in their vision or attitude, continuing to focus on gas-guzzlers and lobbying against milage standards, and doing all they could to eliminate any competition which didn't follow the gas guzzling model, they're aground on the rocks and want us all to haul their shaky ship back out to deeper waters.

In other words, the damn guy and woman showing up to do mind-numbing work on the assembly line aren't the ones who lead the corporations down the tubes! It's the management.

That's like blaming a sales clerk at Foot-Locker if the corporation went broke because he got a decent wage and benefits.

No, clearly the right is doing what they're congenitally programed to do, which is blame the poor, blame the worker, and in doing so, try to angle towards a position where they can further bust unions and break down workers rights to the point where the U.S. can become a banana republic with cheap, exploitable labor just likle China or Guatamala.

That's what all this garbage about blaming U.S. workers for the auto comany's woes is alll about. It's as though they're pissed as U.S. workers because they won't lay down and work as cheaply, with no benefits, in just as sordid and dangerous conditions as their Chinese and Asian competitors do.

Sure, they say that Honda and Toyota manufacture cars in the U.S. (with parts from Asia), and they pay much less per worker. Yeah, and they don't have generations of retirees drawing pensions either.

The argument boils down to expecting the average worker to take the hit and be taken a few more rungs down the social ladder, all so management, who gets paid millions to fail, can compete and keep the dividents coming for investors.

Bottom line? It's all baloney, to put it charitably.

Sure labor has to be a part of any restructuring or long-range plan for essentially bailing out CEOs for their failures. Unions are major stake-holders in all of this, naturally.

But for ONCE in this country, shouldn't those at the top be expected to shoulder a little of the burden and give up a little of their royal lifestyle too?

Or is it as they say, if you take a shower before work, you aren't expected to give up anything, even if you fail, but if you take a shower AFTER work, you're the first to be expected to take a hit in order to help the company?

November 24, 2008

Hillary of State?

Well, the poor press, left with nothing to go on but scraps and so much air to fill, have been beating stories and rumors to death and taking their reading of tea leaves and gossip and imagined machiavellian machinations to a new high in lows. They've talked and pondered and ruminated so much on the "will she, or won't she" game regarding Hillary Clinton's purportedly upcoming appointment as Secretary of State that it's almost painful to think about.

(a main reason I haven't posted much lately. It's all being done to death in the press and I don't figure people want to hear even more of it.)

It is an important choice of course, and along with Treasury Secretary, arguably the most important pick Obama will make.

So I'll throw it out there for your views on the matter.

Me? I'm against it. Why? Just have a bad feeling about it all.

Any time a president elect has to engage in endless negotiations, for God's sake, with someone as to whether they'll serve in the cabinet, maybe it's not a good idea.

And I just don't know if Hillary could serve in that position without sucumbing to the seemingly insatiable drive to make it more about her than Obama's policies, not to mention that along with Bill, they might practically try to run a shadow government on foriegn policy, no matter how much they swear they won't. They'll start thinking they're back where they truly thought they'd be, if it wasn't for that uppity Obama.

Add to that her all but certain permanent campaign for 2012 or 2019, and I foresee ickiness.

I just don't trust her. "Team of Rivals" theory notwithstanding, I don't see her carrying anyone else's brief, much less someone who soundly beat her for the office she obviously thought she had a God-given right to win.

Too much bad ju-ju with the Clintons. Double un-good.

Some say she could do more damage to Obama were she to remain in the Senate, and regard this as a prudent move for Obama.

What do you think?

Is bringing in the magical traveling Clinton circus into the Obama administration a good move, all things considered? Or not so much?

Right back at 'cha

There's a couple of illiterate juveniles who constantly try to write in comments as insulting as they can possibly make them (thankfully, they're more laughable than anything) and see how mean and idiotic they can be.

These couple of cretins always pop up after any mention of Sen. Jacobs and they usually continue their little hissy fits for a few weeks afterwards.

They can't spell worth a damn, and I'm not talking about difficult words either, they're almost certainly drunk when they leave their droppings, (they can't possibly be that idiotic sober. And this while accusing me of being a drunk.) and they're consumed with seething hatred towards myself and this blog. (Really... it's THAT important to them, which indicates some sick puppies to me and is a laugh in itself.)

They state repeatedly that no one reads the blog anymore and after telling me to quit or give it up a few thousands times, they apparently think maybe the 1,492nd time might do the trick. But it's mostly personal attacks of the most vile and exagerated kind which comically bear no resemblance to anything about me. Where it comes from is a mystery to me. But they sure love spewing it and finding newer, more crude and nasty ways to repeat the same long past boring little fit like some neglected kid with a loaded diaper.

I don't check my traffic numbers for the blog very often, and hadn't done so for weeks, and months before that. But after one of these bizarre hatetroids stated that no one read the blog other than he and myself, I thought I'd take a look. Who knows? They've written in thousands of comments which are laughably off base, they're sure way overdue to get at least something right.

When I looked at the chart showing visits to the blog over the past month, I immediately saw that the chart itself was the perfect response to these asshats.

It has less to do with the numbers, but more to do with what the shape of the chart resembles.

So here's to you, Ding and Dong, the crude and creepy, amazingly angry, disturbingly delusional, incredibly illiterate, and just plain batshit crazy bullshit brothers.

(and no, I didn't change a thing. That's actually how it appears. The spike is election day.)

November 21, 2008

American Idiot

Just when you thought Sarah Palin or someone around her would have gotten hip to the fact that she's making an utter fool out of herself with alarming regularity and staying on stage far past the time someone should have gotten out the hook, she reappears like a long lost girlfriend you'd thought you'd dodged for good.

After you get over the idiotic staging and slaughter in the background (gotta love the way the turkey guy keeps turning and looking right into the camera.), just TRY to figure out what the hell she's saying.

For example, listen to her answer on what her plans for the state are. Pure unadulterated gibberish in one long run-on sentence without end, and after all those words thrown together in no apparent order, she's said essentially nothing.

When asked what plans she had for Alaska, she was obviously completely taken off guard by a question that actually had to do with doing her job.

During her answer, Palin actually said, after some blather about "building the budget" while cutting the size of government, and hitting a dead end on the "plans" area, said, "... plans like that that have to do with governing this state and building this team which is continually being built.."

There ya go. As Chief Wiggums on The Simpsons might say, "That's some real fine governin'.

She also mentioned that it was "brutal" on the campign trail as the turkey was snuffed behind her. And later, a reporter asked what things might be on the "chopping block" in the state budget.

But at least it was "fun".

By the way, Palin was asked if she wanted to get a different shot that didn't show the slaughter, and reportedly replied, "No worries." No. The woman is so blissfully ignorant and full of delusions of grandeur that she saw no reason to avoid sharing turkey death spasms and blood troughs with kids and people everywhere on the eve of Thanksgiving.

The woman isn't bright enough to be mayor of Wassila. As a matter of fact, if any local mayor spouted such ridiculous phoney blather, I think people would question their fitness for office.

Here's the clip. Nothing has been blurred to spare delicate consitutions... so be warned. It's not too terribly graphic, but it is disturbing if you're one who doesn't like to see something that goes on millions of times a day to bring food to your table.

"brutal" indeed.

By the way, I think the guy bleeding out the turkeys in the background is more deserving of attention than Joe the Plumber ever was. Get THAT guy a book contract.

He's obviously more deserving of attention than a non-plumber who lied through his teeth to bait Obama, never intended to buy his boss's business, and is so massively ignorant that he didn't realize that both he AND his boss will have their taxes cut under Obama's plan.

The grinning blood spattered guy behind Palin is 100 times more "real" than Joe the Dumber ever could be, and probably twice as intelligent.

Where's HIS book contract and all the interviews? Why aren't conservative know-nothings chasing him down to ask his opinions on world affairs like they did to the lumox Joe. (As if he weren't a phoney enough, Joe isn't even his first name.)

I don't mind about all the bizarro-world freak show that is Palin and Co. I find it entertaining in a rather disturbing way.

But what really is disturbing is that some people STILL think she's the future of the Republican party. And nearly all pundits have seemingly arrived at some secret pact to pretend that Palin is something other than a nattering buffoon, even though it's plain as day.

I hope we get to see more of her. It's like watching the contestants that didn't make it on American Idol.

November 18, 2008

Change indeed

During the Bush reign of error, books weren't exactly in favor, what with Bush reporting that his favorite book was "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", saying that he loved reading it as a kid - until it was shown that the book wasn't published until he was in his 20's. Well, he could still have been telling the truth, seeing as he's the biggest case of arrested development in U.S. history.

Literary Bush ain't, in spite of his wife's former status as a librarian and commendable efforts on behalf of adult literacy. (She apparently knew Bush was a lost cause.)

(Man! Kid's books ain't cheap. The price for Bush's favorite book (in hardcover) is around $3.40 a page! And the list price is nearly three times that.)

So it's been a novel situation (pun intended) to hear Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" being mentioned about every 5 minutes on cable shows for over a week. As a result it's shot to the top of the best-seller lists once again. Good for Doris. She deserves it.

The reason it's been the center of so much talk is that Obama has referred to it and Lincoln's example as something he'd like to emulate in his choice of cabinet members and other appointments.

The book of course, recounts Lincoln's choice of some of his most bitter political rivals, including those he'd just beaten in the presidential election and including some bitter opponents, to surround him in his cabinet, and how in hindsight, it was a brilliant move.

So apparently nothing can be said about the rampant speculation surrounding Obama's cabinet picks without mentioning Goodwin's "Team of Rivals".

I was glad to hear Obama mention the book months ago, as I bought and read the book a year and a half ago and even recommended it here a couple of times, first here where I recommended it before I'd read it myself, and including this post where I mention the fact that I was able to finish it due to a forced absence from my computer and any connection to the inter-tubes. (Sometimes it's good to get away from the infernal contraptions. A cyber fast if you will.)

As I said then, it's a very good book on a fascinating subject, and well written as are all of Goodwin's works. Even though it's a lengthy book, it reads well and it's almost a let down when you reach the end. I really enjoyed it at the time, and am glad to actually know what Obama is talking about, even if most of the pundits on the tube who constantly refer to it haven't even read it themselves.

So, the moral of the story is that steady readers of TID stay up to date, stay well informed, and find out the books they should be reading and are WAY ahead of the pundits.

Another book which Obama has said he's recently read is by a guy I've liked for a long time, Newsweek writer Jonathan Alter, who recently published his work on FDR, "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope"

One of the most important authors on the area of wealth and influence and the nature of true power in America is conservative thinker and author Kevin Phillips, and I'm glad that he's added another book to his many previous works which have been featured here in the past. His newest book is particularly relevant to today's financial meltdown. The title pretty much says it all, "Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism".

Take a look at the books mentioned above which I've included in the links in the sidebar to the right. I invite you to take a look at them and pick some up if you wish.

Another recent book is called, "The Collected Wisdom of Sarah Palin". It consists entirely of blank pages. (I'm kinda partial to this tee-shirt too.)

Imagine. A literate president. Ahhhh. One that not only can read, but can speak in complete sentences and actually pronounces "nuclear" "nuclear". Yes, change is good.

November 17, 2008

He's got bigger fish to fry, but who will replace him?

The Springfield Journal-Register published yesterday a letter of appreciation from Barack Obama to the people of Illinois upon his retiring his senate seat.
Today, I am ending one journey to begin another. After serving the people of Illinois in the United States Senate — one of the highest honors and privileges of my life — I am stepping down as senator to prepare for the responsibilities I will assume as our nation’s next president. But I will never forget, and will forever be grateful, to the men and women of this great state who made my life in public service possible.

I guess we'll be gracious enough to share him with the rest of the world.

(except maybe for Nico, who appeared to painfully feel Obama's absence during the campaign and was amazingly annoyed that Barack wasn't devoting 100% of his time in the Senate during his successful run for President. Wonder what he'll do without Obama?)

And of course, this raises the intrigue over who the wonder-Gov, Blagojevich, will appoint to Obama's seat. Hynes? Jesse Jackson Jr.? Himself?

Any opinions on who he should pick, and who he will pick?

November 14, 2008

QC Times swallowing Dispatch/Argus??


Move along folks, nothing to see here. A managing editor of the Dispatch/Argus swiftly responded to this post (see comment below) with the assurance that the D/A carriers beginning to also deliver the QC Times is just, "doing what makes sense in tough economic times."

From this it's assumed that no merger is in the offing.

(The editor also brought up the valid question of why it would be assumed that the QC Times was taking over the D/A rather than visa-versa. That question did cross my mind, but I felt that the larger corporation usually buys the smaller. But his point is of course a valid one.)


A It's come to my attention that word has been going around about a "big meeting" recently held between management of the Dispatch/Argus and the Quad City Times and it's sparked concern that they may be merging.

These concerns were heightened when Dispatch/Argus district managers recently announced that their carriers would begin delivering the Quad City Times paper in addition to the Dispatch/Argus beginning December 8th.

Is this simply a consolidation of carriers for cost savings, or does it portend something larger?

Anyone know what's going on or what may be in the works?

It can't be a good thing to have one company controlling all the print media outlets in the area.

November 12, 2008

New Bush autobiography leaked

News reports show that publishers aren't exactly chomping at the bit for the rights to George W. Bush's memoirs. Unlike both the Clintons, whose tomes fetched record-breaking advances in the tens of millions, and which in turn flew off the shelves, publishers have recently been quoted as saying that, though they'd be interested in something by Laura Bush (seeing as how she's actually literate), Bush might have to wait around 6 years for anyone to be interested enough to make it worthwhile.

During last night's Rachel Maddow Show, Kent Jones suggested that perhaps a Bush book might do very well were it something like this...

Hell, I might even buy that.

A shame that Bush would rather loofah Barney Frank's back in the shower in prime time on every network before he'd entertain the idea he's been wrong in any way.

November 11, 2008

Fascinating graphic display of election results

The NY Times has a nifty series of maps and graphs which display some of the more interesting data from the recent election, including a county-by-county map showing which showed an increase in Dem votes from '04, and which showed an increase in Republicans, and demographic data from swing states.

Worth a gander.

Looks like the Moonshine Belt(c) is the Republicans only remaining turf.

You also might enjoy playing around with TPM's interactive electoral results map where you can dig down and examine election results by state or county in House, Senate, and Presidential races.

November 8, 2008

Obama chooses company of Lane Evans on election night

It was spotted by an alert and helpful reader on the Flicker photo site where the Obama campaign had posted behind the scenes snapshots from Election Night in Chicago.

On this most historic moment, only hours after learning he had been elected president, and only hours prior to him going before the eyes and ears of the entire world on stage in Grant Park in Chicago, Barack Obama met personally with former congressman Lane Evans at the Hyatt hotel.

I can't think of a higher honor than having a president-elect include you in the very small group of people allowed into his hotel suite on election night, and find time to talk intimately with you, before such a history changing moment.

Obama is clasping Evans hands in his own as he leans forward, showing obvious affection and concern. A truly touching and revealing photo, and a testiment to the great respect our next president has for Lane Evans.

Breathtaking hypocrisy

Just try to believe what Sarah Palin said today.

Responding to constant leaks from McCain campaign staffers who have referred to her alternatively as a "diva", a "whack-job", and most recently described her and the spooky first-dude Todd as, "Wasilla hillbillys looting Neiman-Marcus from coast to coast".
"That's cruel. It's mean-spirited. It's immature. It's unprofessional, and those guys are jerks if they came away with it, taking things out of context, and then tried to spread something on national news. It's not fair and not right,"

Do I even have to point out the breathtaking hypocrisy and amazing lack of awareness this displays?

What has, after all, Palin done for the entirety of her campaign for Vice President?

Several times a day for weeks on end, Sarah Palin did exactly the things she labels others as jerks for doing.

She took things out of context, distorted them beyond recognition, then spread it on every single media outlet in the country. Going down her list, she herself has been cruel, consistently mean-spirited, and embarrassingly immature herself on a daily basis, and done so in front of international press coverage.

Well, she's got one thing right. It's not fair, and it's not right. And anyone who does such things is a world class jerk.

But she damn sure was ready, more than willing, and able to engage in exactly the behavior she now condemns when it's done to her, several times a day, every day, for months.

A jerk indeed.

Let Alaska have her.

As an aside, all the breathless concensus among pundits that she's going to be a big "star" in the future Republican party is bunk. The woman is popular with the very Republican consituency that the American people by this election has relegated to irrelevancy. Namely, angry whites scared to death that non-whites are assuming their place as Americans, and narrow focus know-nothing fundementalists who gladly let others do their thinking for them.

She can ride that train into oblivion, and I hope she does.

November 6, 2008

Now it can be told

Newsweek has an interesting peek at their "behind the scenes" access to the campaigns, reporting done with the agreement that none of it would be published until after the election.

For political junkies, and everyone interested in this truly historic election, from primaries to just a couple days ago, suffering the withdrawals from the end of the process is made a little more bearable by the prospect of dozens of books sure to be published detailing the backstory. With any luck, at least a couple will actually be good.

So here is perhaps the first of the "inside dope", so to speak, with some rather surprising insights, including the fact that the McCain campaign knew it was all over far earlier than might be imagined, and that Palin really did "go rogue" at times, that both campaigns sophisticated computer systems were victims of cyber attacks prompting FBI attention, and that the effort to portray Obama as a terrorist or worse resulted in a large increase in threats against Obama's life.

November 4th at a glance

From "The Political Carnival"...

November 5, 2008

Things up with which we will no longer have to put

There are many profound reasons to be joyful and grateful and proud today that we Americans finally got one right. But there are equally as many reasons to be glad for what we'll no longer have to endure. It's truly the end of an error.

Aside the election of a leader of grace, intelligence, and vision, it is a great triumph for humanity by simply ending the destructive, thoughtless, and incredibly belligerent and arrogant policies of the Republican era.

With radical fundamentalism, political, religious, and economic, having failed miserably and dealt a resounding, "Enough!" by the majority of Americans, the country and the planet will no longer have to suffer from Neo-con radicals and rigid right-wing ideologues twisting our country to fit their radical, flawed and doomed to fail theories and notions, which were, after all, nothing but dressed up rationales for indulging in selfish and violent attempts to increase their personal wealth and expand their hold on power.

Perhaps it's worth taking a moment to contemplate just what this momentous election signals the end of. Repudiating the ideas of, and removing from office, those who have perpetrated such gross offences and failed leadership is akin to removing a big boot from our collective necks.

Good riddance to bad garbage.

For instance:

First and foremost, no more George W. Bush and Dick "Dick" Cheney and the horse they rode in on. History's very worst president is through wreaking his damage on the country and the world. (NOTE: Not yet. It's revealed that he's busily repealing regulations on the environment and economic markets even as we speak, trying to do maximum damage before its too late. See "Where's George" post below)

Americans learned not to swallow their bullshit and refuse to be frightened into voting for candidates of a party who's very existence was built on deception, hypocrisy and fear. 'Nuff said. Into the trash bin of history with them all.

- No more Sarah Palin, the mute "First Dude", or Kick, Stoob, Click, Klack, Magnesia, Zamboni and their other kids. No more moronic and bizarre utterances in the yowling, overly-dramatic, sing-song, grammatically mangled, trying to sound like she knows something, drawl as if she's talking to toddlers, in such a horridly annoying tone of voice that you reflexively dive for the mute button. We no longer have to feel collectively embarrassed every time she "reared her head".

Bonus: No more will we have to witness the bizarre sight of Hank Williams, Jr. standing on stage like some redneck nightmare cigar store Indian, wearing various football jerseys tucked into his jeans an outsized cowboy hat and sunglasses indoors.

Truly a blessing.

- The ruinous and colossally misguided and impractical ideology of the right, and the toads who promoted them, Gingrich, Delay, et. al, it can be hoped, will fade to the obscurity they so richly deserve. They've already enjoyed attention and prominence WAY beyond what they deserved, will have a much more appropriate profile, in other words, Americans will hold them accountable at long last for the wrong ideas and massively failed ideology and they won't be taken seriously any more.

Unfortunately, if the past is any guide, there are many right wing figures who can be dead wrong with amazing consistency and yet they're still allowed plum positions in the media from which to continue spouting their half-baked ideas.

- The constitution wasn't completely shredded, and at least now the shredding will stop, and some repair will hopefully begin.

WE CAN FINALLY BE PROUD OF OUR PRESIDENT, instead of deeply embarrassed and apologetic that we had elevated such a blatantly shallow buffoon to the Presidency, not once, but.... (cringe)... twice.

- A media who, rather than being browbeaten and stampeded into pretending that right wing propaganda and lies make sense or should be given serious attention, have now been browbeaten and stampeded into actually calling a lie a lie, and a slimy distorted attack, a slimy distorted attack. (At least in some outlets.)

No one is served by a media that decides to pretend that, for instance, Sarah Palin really WAS qualified to be president, had foreign policy experience, and was more experienced and prepared than Obama. Sometimes, the truth is unavoidable and the press shouldn't be scared to stand up for reality.

- "Liddy" Dole is gone, marking the fact that America has at long last rid itself of having either a Dole, a Bush, or both in office for the first time in about 30 years.

- And end to e-mail inboxes packed with appeals for donations from every elected official above dog-catcher on a daily basis, with each warning of more dire consequences than the next. And of course, no more sickening, infantile negative ads.

...and the list goes on.

Tell us what you won't miss, what you'll say good riddance to, or what you hope this election will put an end to. In other words, the incompetent boobs and philosophy up with we no longer will have to put.

What other things can we expect to not have to deal with now that this election is over?

Who will Blago select to fill Obama's senate seat?

With Barack Obama moving on to a job with greater responsibilities, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will now be charged with appointing a replacement.

The Governor could conceivably pick himself or any number of elected officials.

Usually mentioned are Lisa Madigan or Dan Hynes.

Who's going to be the pick?

Also of note was some election night humor courtesy of Sen. Mike Jacobs and his father, former Senator Denny Jacobs. What cut-ups!! It's obviously humor. No one could possibly be that arrogant and full of themselves with such a thin record.

Apparently, to the Jacobs, Obama's victory means comic gold.

No sooner had Mike Jacobs learned that he had won re-election to the state senate Tuesday night than he began talking about running for governor in 2010.

“I think it is going to be a crowded field of Democrats seeking the nomination for governor. There may be five or six candidates, and chances are good that I'll be the only downstater running. If I can capture the downstate vote, I can win the nomination,” Sen. Jacobs said.
Sen. Jacobs said he soon will create an exploratory committee to weigh the possibility of a gubernatorial bid.

“Could Mike have a viable bid for governor? Well, yes, I think he could,” said the senator's father, former state Sen. Denny Jacobs. “Two years ago, who would have guessed that a man named Barack Obama would have a viable chance of becoming president of the United States?”

Mike Jacobs said a bid for governor would be an opportunity to spread his political wings.

“Until now, when I have run for election, many people have been voting on whether or not they like my family. If I run for governor, I'll be running based on my record. I think I would have a chance of winning. Not only am I a downstater, but I'm always good for a good for a good quote. The press loves that.”

Oh those Jacobs, always cutting up! It's funny that Sen. Mike, our own equivalent of George W. Bush, now wants to become our own equivalent of Sarah Palin. Hilarious!

And the best punch line? Denny comparing his son to Barack Obama!

The polls had barely closed on Obama's history changing election when Denny decided to try to throw his son on his coat-tails.

Not since Mike himself compared himself to Rosa Parks on her birthday have we heard such a whopper. Is this a trend? Ridiculous attempts to compare the senator to historic figures at the most unseemly times?

Thanks for the comic relief.

The hilarity never ends.

This seems like an instance where the old saying applies; "Don't vote for the guy, it only encourages 'em."

Airplanes for Obama

Just how cool is this...

Obama is right. It really IS about the people. The people did this. They organized, they got "fired up", and they found ways to do what they could. And most importantly, they DID IT.

In the midst of this historic moment, we should all pause to acknowledge the millions of ordinary people who broke out of their shell and sacrificed their time, money, efforts and talents to helping bring this moment about.

And the millions of volunteers from both campaigns are to be commended for their civic paticipation.

And last but certainly not least, are the most unsung and underappreciated group of all, those elected officials and millions of ordinary people who work to organize and provide the means for us to vote, and who served untold thousands of hours at polling places to ensure that the process worked.

It's a day to be proud of it all.

Hats off to those who helped make it happen.

Where's George?

With the Last Emperor reduced to a joke and remaining conspicuously out of sight, one might wonder what our national shame is doing. After all, he still has 75 days as of today (you can keep track with the countdown timer in the sidebar) to go before the country and the world is rid of him and all he represents.

You might even be grateful and relieved at the thought that at least he's not actively screwing things up and making our country and planet worse.

After all, Bush just pledged his "complete cooperation" with President-elect Obama.

But silly you. You'd be wrong.

President Bush’s aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others — few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball. We fear it could take months, or years, for the next president to identify and then undo all of the damage.

You might not want the buzzkill, but if you can deal with hearing what damage he's busily doing while no one is looking in the midst of the promise of change to come, read this sobering piece.

Like some surly three year old throwing a tantrum after being disciplined, here are but some of what this small man is doing in a last ditch effort to impetuously inflict more damage on the country and give his corporate and fundementalist masters what they want before he's unceremoniously tossed out of a position of power.

CIVIL LIBERTIES We don’t know all of the ways that the administration has violated Americans’ rights in the name of fighting terrorism. Last month, Attorney General Michael Mukasey rushed out new guidelines for the F.B.I. that permit agents to use chillingly intrusive techniques to collect information on Americans even where there is no evidence of wrongdoing.
THE ENVIRONMENT The administration has been especially busy weakening regulations that promote clean air and clean water and protect endangered species.
ABORTION RIGHTS Soon after the election, Michael Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, is expected to issue new regulations aimed at further limiting women’s access to abortion, contraceptives and information about their reproductive health care options.

How nice that this petty and shallow man, obviously concerned with nothing but the wishes of his small base of support, is thumbing his nose at the idea of accountibility and democracy and busily giving us all the finger all the way until the bitter end.

November 4, 2008


Fear just struck out, and the world's somehow a little more beautiful today.

I'm still absorbing it all, drinking it all in.

Leave your thoughts.

Ok, there's so much to write, I'm not sure I could get it all in, so I'll do a shorthand version.

First I wanted to note that John McCain's concession speech was without a doubt the most gracious and responsible, even moving, consession speeches I've ever heard.
He not only displayed great humility, but proved that he has the wisdom to realize that, after spending months whipping it up, his responsibility now was to tell the angry and misinformed minions they'd so crudely mislead that in essense, it was all bullshit, and that they should support and give Obama the respect he's due and, as people who supposedly love America more than anyone else, they need to drop all the over-blown fear and anger McCain's campaign had worked so hard to instill, and instead be magnanimous and lend support to the countries next leader in perilous times.

McCain, after having his hour of a campaign, on the 59th second of the 59th minute, FINALLY stepped forward to try to dampen the ugliness his campaign has created, an ugliness that even he realizes poses a real threat to solving the many problems the country faces.

November 3, 2008

Indian Summer... ain't it cool?

A few from a trip to Maquoketa Caves yesterday...
Click 'em to blow 'em up.

A stumble down memory lane

Before we enjoy looking forward to the possibilities which will emerge tomorow, let's take a brief look back.

As far as this miniscule outpost on the web, who's proved to be right, and who's proven to have been dead wrong about this Obama feller and other matters?

Well, there's some evidence from the old archives here that's interesting to read in hindsight.

First, I asked way back in May of 2006, fully two and a half YEARS ago, what readers thought of the idea then being floated by Sen. Dick Durbin, that Barack Obama should consider a presidential run.

Go on and read the opinions from some of the faithful. There's a couple Republicans and a couple Dems. Guess who got things right?

The Inside Dope: President Obama?

I held off as long as I could, assessing the situation far past the point where I was willing to stake my reputation on a prediction. But there came a point where I was entirely comfortable in coming out and flatly stating that Barack Obama would be our next President of the United States.

Was it a couple days ago? Last week? After he won the primary?

No. It was eight and a half months ago.

The Inside Dope: Barack Obama is our next President

The following is a rant involving my long held conviction that the Democratic Leadership Council style Dems were making a fatal error in thinking that they had to adopt Republican tactics, Republican ideas, Republican positions, Republican views, Republican obedience to corporate and fat-cat wishes, and even Republican code words in order to be successful.

It's long and likely boring to most of you, so you can safely skip it if you wish.
But I feel my side of this argument has been vindicated and will only continue to be proven true as time goes on.

Over the past couple years, I've enjoyed a few heated arguments with some DLC type Dems that the idea of chasing Republicans, swallowing all their tripe and trumped up issues, running as fast as they can to the right to supposedly appease all the "conservatives" out there in the land was a horrible, horrible mistake.

(Alas, it would take a long time to unearth all the posts and comment threads where these debates took place. But if anyone really cares, I'm sure I could find a few.)

All these DLC type Dems wanted to do was to do and say whatever it took to get elected, even if they had to essentially become Republicans in Dem clothing to do it. They'd even parrot Republican talking points and happily join in the right's take-over of political language and framing.

For instance, the Republicans labeled the inheritance tax, the "death tax". It was a phonied up gimick like most of them, designed to benefit a nearly none existant minority of extremely wealthy families who resented having to pay taxes on what was essentially a gift of several million dollars.

These Dems would merrily refer to this sham as the "death tax", as if they wanted the cool kids to like them too. It was, and is disgusting and hard to watch. Yet they'd do it all the time. Competing to see who could ape the Republican tactics and positions the best, essentially giving up completely of ever competing with them as Democrats with better ideas, better solutions, and better guiding principles.

They threw all that aside, instead chosing to join the corporate money chase to try to compete with the Republicans, and in turn getting just as corrupted as they were. And of course, they threw all the core Dem issues right into the dumper, becoming pro-gun, pro-life, and on down the list, never bothering to stand up and argue the truth on guns for instance, that they were for modest COMMON SENSE gun regulation to stop the slaughter of thousands every year, instead trying to ape the phony macho "I'm a gun guy and I'm for guns and my gun's bigger than yours" bullshit.

They didn't stand for ANYTHING except saying and doing whatever they thought the supposedly conservative voters wanted to hear.

The only problem was that in most cases, the idea that there was this big conservative majority out there was a damn myth, and always has been. These types had actually been caught up by, and believed, the very crap the right wing was spewing daily across the country. They actually swallowed the Kool-ade that most of the independents and "just plain folks" were solid conservative Republicans.

That was, and is, a myth and always has been.

They actually were sucked in by the massive right wing noise machine and firmly believed that every rube out there who said they were conservative, was actually conservative, when the truth was that these people could be just as easily turned around into saying they were Democrats. (and most of them had been in the past anyway.)

It's about the same as someone saying they're a Cubs fan, and then moving to St. Louis and begining to tell people they'd always been a Cardinal fan.

These people had no core beliefs, they had no special love for Republican policies. They were just BRAINWASHED essentially. They had this tripe pumped into their brains literally for 10 or 12 hours a day. Their ignorant friends at the shop started saying they were Republicans because if you were a Dem, you were a pussy or worse.

And a lot of people went along to get along.

I argued strenuously that this was not the case, that probably 80% or more of the so-called "Reagan Democrats", "Independents", or "swing voters" that the political hacks were so hot on were just as easily swung to saying they were Dems.

IF the damn Democrats ever had the spine to stand up and say what they stood for and STAND BY IT, instead of waffling and adopting positions based on which ever way the polling winds were blowing that particular day. No one repected such phoniness and "me too" bullshit pandering to what they thought was a conservative majority.

They thought the Dems were losing because they were too liberal, when in fact, it was because they were pandering, craven, no principle pussies who wouldn't even take their own side in a fight!

Bush won twice largely because he had his simple beliefs and stuck to them unambiguously. People liked that a lot, even if they didn't even know what he was talking about or realize that his ideas would hurt them and the country.

I feel I've been proven right on that issue as well, as there's a groundswell of people who had described themselves as "conservatives" or Republicans, simply because it was the cool thing to do or their friends were, etc. even though they really had no core committment to the Republicans and didn't know squat about their policies. And the main fact that the DLC Dems ignored.... they really favor Democratic policies and philosophy overwelmingly more than Republican right wing theory.

They just were conned into thinking they'd be pussies if they admitted supporting Dems.

They just thought it felt right at the time.

But as I've been arguing for years, these people could just as easily be pursueded to say they were Democrats and support Dem candidates, IF, the Dems weren't so obviously calculating and weasly and just spoke the truth and stopped kissing corporate asses and ran on behalf of the average American.

Obama found a way to do it. A way to get campaign cash without thinking you have to be a craven corporate ass-kisser to do so.

And now even rural whites and other demographics who called themselves Republicans are suddenly coming out from under the rock they'd been scared under and realizing that gee, I really DO prefer Democratic positions and ideals.

What the DLC types like the utterly nauseating Harold Ford Jr. and Evan Bayh and others didn't realize is that the way to win these lapsed Dems back wasn't to essentially try to say, "Hey look, I'm just as conservative and believe all the backwards crap the Republicans you love do!", but to stand up and say, "Listen, you've been fed a load of B.S. all day, every day for years now. The Republican policies are dangerous, make us less safe, and are destroying the economy while they reap billions among their cronies and you and your communities suffer.

Stop being the selfish jerk-ass consumed by the worst part of your nature that the right wing media has relentlessly encouraged you to be and remember the person your Mom taught you to be.

Let Rush and Hannity and all the rest of the flying monkeys be collossal butt-munches and morons. Just ignore them. You knew they were wrong all along anyway.

When the Dems stand up for themselves and their ideals, they win.

When they are so bankrupt of ideas that the best thing they can come up with is trying to out-Republican Republicans, then it's over.

Thank God Obama has prevailed and not idiots like Ford, who, for example, after watching McCain deliver THIS God-aweful train-wreck of a speech, said it was the most powerful speech he'd ever heard McCain deliver.

Of course the party can't suddenly lurch to the far right. Not only shouldn't it, but it's impossible. But they sure the hell shouldn't run like scared bunnies from the basic, common sense, principles that have made it such a progressive force for the good of America's citizens for hundreds of years, instead of the party who fought tooth and nail AGAINST civil rights, AGAINST minimum wage, AGAINST the right of workers to organize, AGAINST constitutional rights, FOR torture, and on and on.

The bastardized Republicanism of the Bush junta is dead and gone, with the tragedy being that it was allowed to last this long.

Let's dance on the grave of the likes of Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, and yes, Rush and Hannity and Coulter and Malkin and all the other fruit-bats.

Dare we hope that some semblance of sanity returns to our politics?

While I'll certainly be among the millions across the planet who will be jubilant and exhultant at the ushering in of an Obama presidency, I'll be equally thankful and inspired by the tawdry exit from the political landscape of all the right wing crack-pots, con men, perverts, hypocrits and thieves that has seemed to populate the upper reaches of the Republican party.

And I'm confident that there are legions of Republicans that will feel the same relief and hope that they will have the chance to rebuild their once worthy party into something less destructive, less ugly, less corrupt, less ignorant, less miserable and less theocraticly obsessed with ideology before and above basic common sense and blatant evidence of it's utter failure.

So when you're celebrating only a few short hours from now and thinking about what possibilities are to come, count your blessings as well for the rot that we, the American people, have managed to rid ourselves of at long last.

November 1, 2008

One too many screetching Palin speeches....

....and even this poor Gourd-American couldn't take it.

(pumpkin by a creative, if slightly twisted, TID protege.)

And here's how my stab (no pun intended) at a Barack-o-lantern turned out. It got a lot of positive reactions from the various princesses, swashbucklers, spooks and ghouls and their parents.

Fresh carved...

After dark...

Real dark...