Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
First of all, being elected a third time in the amount of time that one Premier would normally serve one term is nothing to be proud of. Mr. Charest, your elections have cost the province untold millions and have not made the province any richer or any better off. As far as winning a "mandate" do not forget Mr. Charest, that you won less than 45% of the popular vote and you squeezed into a majority by less than 10 seats.
The real losers in this campaign are the people of Quebec who once again were faced with no real choice. I'm sorry, that's not entirely true. If, for example, you are a right wing nut case and want to see everything that Quebeckers have fought for melt away so that a few corporations and some corrupt cronies can line their pockets in Quebec City, then you had quite a bit of choice in this election. You had the option of the Liberal Party of Quebec, whose name must confuse a lot of Americans, because they have been enacting all the conservative policies that warm Prime Minister Harper's cold black heart each night. You could have also voted for the Action Democratique de Quebec and championed the xenophobic policies of Mario Dumont. And if having those two options wasn't enough, you could have even voted for the Parti Quebecois whose policies have been increasingly conservative as more and more sovereigntists show their true colors and stop pretending that an independent Quebec would be a progressive Quebec.
Next, for those die-hard separatists on the left, there's Quebec Solidaire. A party that began as a worker's party and promised to improve the lives of the working class, but was sadly taken over by sovereigntists to become a poor man's Parti Quebecois. While their one seat victory in Mercier riding is encouraging for those struggling to make ends meet today, the fact that they jumped onto the independent Quebec has been like booking a last minute ticket on the Titanic or the Lusitania.
For the conservative separatists, as mentioned above, they have the PQ.
This leaves many Quebeckers out in the cold without a real choice in the election. Those of us who see the need for strong progressive policies but also a preference for staying with Canada have little options. Obviously, we could vote for the Green Party, but c'mon...seriously, we need a better option.
What is becoming more and more apparent is that that Parti Quebecois have learned from their unfortunate experiments in power and have realized that so long as there is "money and the ethnic vote" Quebec is not ready for sovereignty. Instead of working on behalf of Quebeckers to improve the province they would rather watch it burn and cry out that the only way to fix it is through breaking free of Canada. This is not a good argument. If you think you are prepared to run a country, then show it, but running a province. Take a referendum off the table for the first term and watch the votes flood in.
There are plenty of English speakers in Quebec who are the real victims of sovereignty politics because they vote for Charest and the LPQ out of fear. They do not want to be torn from Canada but they also don't like the policies of the Charest government. Unfortunately, until things get much worse, that fear of losing Canada works to both Charest's and Pauline Marois' advantage and against the good of the province.
The saddest thing about this election has been the timing. After such a momentous election south of the border, where change has taken root, for our election to be so static, and the issues before the voters so meaningless is truly depressing.
It is true, we are, or are headed for harsh economic times. Charest and the LPQ's plans to shove more Public Private Partnerships down Quebec's throat is only going to make matters worse. Marois and the PQ's chant of "sovereignty! sovereignty! sovereignty!" doesn't address the issues facing Quebeckers and detracts from any good policies they might have to offer. Quebec Solidaire and the Green Party are just too small for people to take a chance on and even if they would, Solidaire's stance on independence has lost it whatever support it might have found in progressive anglophones. This is a sad time for Quebec.
Congratulations Mr. Charest you won 3 elections in 4 years. Aren't your terms allowed to go for 5 years?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
My best guess is that over 95% of the spam/phishing/scam emails I receive are filled with terrible spelling and grammar that looks like someone threw a Chinese sentence into babblefish (does anyone still use that?) and translated it into 4-5 other languages before finally translating the last results into English. Those emails are also dreadfully inpersonal, typically addressed to "user" or "customer." From working in IT I know that businesses and organizations spend a shit-ton (that's a lot) of money to make their mass emails seem personalized. They also spend a good deal of money to hide user information in their mailings so if you receive something that's addressing something as serious as credit card or bank accounts, and you can see 30-40 email addresses in the CC: box, then you know that's fake too.
Ultimately, those who are not suceptible to these kinds of fraudulent attempts will continue to hold onto their identities and accounts while those who aren't will continue to be fleeced. I guess in a way that's the natural order of things and I imagine the same people who are being conned and hoodwinked today are probably similar to those that were tricked by the snake-oil salesmen of the past.
So while this Facebook lawsuit might deter some from scamming, it's going to keep happening so long as the "n00bs" out there keep clicking on links and giving away their account passwords, or opening the emails that say "Dude...you gotta sea this!!!!***!!!!"
Friday, November 21, 2008
As poor little warpath here demonstrates, the mythology of Thanksgiving has completely overtaken the history that accompanies the birth of this country.
On that note, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Barack Obama is, above all else, politician. Granted, he is a phenomenally better politician than George Bush, John McCain, Sarah Palin or Joe Biden, but he's still a politician. I believe he will make some great changes (or try to) for this country, and I believe that we as a nation will benefit from greater respect abroad, but he's still going to try and keep most of the country happy (or at least not angry).
He's not going to take your guns, he's not going to force you to abort your baby, he's not going to burn your church to the ground, and he certainly isn't going to get every last American soldier out of Iraq and Afghanistan in the next 4 years. These are the compromises that exist in American politics and we should be grown up enough by now to recognize them. Americans need to stop taking what they hear on the campaign trail as the gospel and start viewing it for what it is...campaigning.
At the end of the campaign Republicans were without a message so they ran ads calling Obama a risky radical. Not because they believed he was, but because they believed that would stop people from voting for him. Likewise, the Democrats pushed the notion that McCain was the same as Bush, not because they really believed it, but because they thought it would resonate with the anger people had towards this administration and be good for their candidate. If you want to be disappointed, fine. If you feel disgusted by it, fine. But it's just how the game is played.
The most important thing isn't getting someone elected but making them do right by you once they are in office. President-elect Obama has vowed to make his administration one of the most open and transparent administrations in American history. Good! Use that! Go to the websites, send emails, make phone calls and not just to his organization but to your local elected officials: your Congressman/woman, your Senators, your Governor, your state assemblyman/woman and your city councilman/woman. If you sit around with your thumb up your butt don't be surprised when nothing happens because despite what anyone says on the campaign trail, they are influenced by the voices that keep talking after the voting is done.
First off, let me say I'm sorry to the 3/10 of black voters in California who went to the polls and voted down Proposition 8. I'm sorry that for the past week and probably the next few weeks, you will be included in the many discussions about why a discriminatory ballot measure passed in large part due to the African American vote. Just know that it's not your fault and you voted with your conscience. If there is any fault to lay at your feet it's that you were unable to convey to your neighbors or family that importance of striking down discriminatory legislation even if it doesn't target you specifically.
To the 7 in 10 of your who voted for Proposition 8, I hope that a number of you misread, or didn't read, the ballot. I have always held the belief that for an oppressed group of people to turn around and discriminate against another oppressed minority is one of the most shameful things that can happen. Where was your empathy on November 4th? It was not that long ago that many states had laws banning interracial marriage on the books but people fought it, and some opponents of those laws may not have planned to marry across race but they fought it none-the-less because it was wrong.
Now I'm not going to try and make a case that gays are more discriminated against than Blacks or vice-versa, but I will say that if you believe in fighting for civil rights, AND you believe that your own civil rights still hang in the balance, then you have a moral obligation to support the civil rights of those around you. In my opinion, by not helping those around you gain equal protection under the law you deserve any and all bigotry, oppression or discrimination that befalls you.
For everyone one of you whose faith tells you to oppose gay marriage, remember that somewhere out there someone else's faith tells them to oppose your right to vote, or your right to marry, or your right to marry someone of a different race. Marriage today is a civil institution that carries with it rights and benefits granted by the State, not by god. If you want to close your church's door to gays and lesbians, so be it, but your church should not be in the business of stripping rights from people as it does a great disservice to the struggle so many of you have been involved with in using your faith and your church to fight discrimination.
So please, do not argue that we must take away someone else's rights because Blacks are still discriminated against. Do not argue that we must take away someone else's rights because our church tells us to. Do not argue that we must take away someone else's rights because the case was not made clearly to you. Recognize that whatever your reasoning, you took away some fundamental rights from a minority group and you should be ashamed.
Oh yeah. One more thing. Fuck you Joe Lieberman.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The facts are these:
1- Bush 43's photo-finish "victory" was in large part due to the disenfranchisement of numerous minority voters in Florida as well as user error on the part of many Florida voters who cast their ballots for Buchanan.
2- Bush 43 had a tremendous amount of support following 9/11 both from Democrats at home and from leaders abroad. He took this good will and used it to implement his idiotic invasion of Iraq despite the protests of people in this country and throuhout the world to let the inspectors do their job.
With those two issues in mind, it is no wonder that millions of Americans who felt cheated by the 2000 election and then lied to in the lead up to the war would vent that frustration and anger with what Governor Huckabee calls "angry, vile and mean spirited hate." Still, even those that called (or continue to call) for his and Cheney's impeachment do not call him vile names like "terrorist" or try to stoke the flames of xenophobic fears to bring him down, and when they do call him a terrorist they do so because of the monumental civilian deaths he has caused in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to name a few.
So let us dispense with these false words of healing that begin by saying "I want him to be successful in leading our country," when you really mean to attack those brave Americans who from the beginning recognized the lies about Iraq and WMDs and tried, by whatever means they could muster, to stop American boys and girls from dying for Halliburton's bottom line. Doing everything within your means to stop your fellow citizens from unnecessary death is far more patriotic than anything Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity have ever, or will ever do.
Oh yeah, and FUCK YOU Joe Lieberman!
Friday, November 7, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
We've managed to change YES WE CAN into YES WE DID. Fantastic! Celebrate! Spend the next short while enjoying this monumental achievement of the American people...but not for too long. The work begins now! Now we have a chance to really steer our country in the right (not to the right) direction. President elect Obama and the new Democratic Congress will need to validate the trust we have shown in them and we will need to be there to guide their policy decisions.
Now is the time when our voices can be heard and attempts by the Congress to implement progressive policies will not be blocked by veto threats. We need to demand an end to this wasteful health care system that sees Americans spending more per capita than any other industrialized country but covering far fewer of the population. We need to demand an end to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to demand increases in funding to our education system and increased assistance for students trying to find a way to afford the skyrocketing college fees and truitions.
YES WE DID! But we must be careful not to bask in the glory too long. YES WE DID! But the work is just beginning. Stay organized, stay informed and stay alert. We've got our eyes on you now Mr. President elect. Do not let us down.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
I tried to explain my biggest issue with tax cuts in this election cycle at OColly.com and we'll see if the comments show up, but just in case they don't here they are:
The problem with all this nonsense about “wealthy people getting taxcuts and creating jobs” is that just because a big corporation or a wealthy individual has some extra money is no guarantee that they will invest in labor (american) or infrastructure. Given the downturn in the economy they might realize that no one in the bottom 95% of workers can afford their goods so they won’t need to hire any more employees or expand any operations. If the 95% gets more money back though, they will spend it on essential goods and services and boost the national economy. Companies expand because there is a demand for their goods or services, not just because they got a tax cut.
Monday, October 27, 2008
On top of this dismissal of preventative care, Carroll misses the mark on how the disappearance of employer provided health care will work in this country. One of the biggest obstacles to obtaining health care as an individual is the insurance companies' tireless efforts to screen out any risk. Individual insurance lacks the "market power" of an employer plan which leaves buyers more at the mercy of the insurance companies. An insurance company is not going to give people better care or lower costs out of the goodness of their corporate hearts so the collective bargaining power of a whole company can help ensure quality affordable coverage.
Dr. Carroll's comparison of the current tax subsidies versus the ones proposed by Senator McCain is flawed because he is comparing McCain's proposed plan (which he already noted would have higher deductibles and less coverage) against the current system. Therefore not only will people under McCain's plan be taxed on their employer provided health care benefits, they will also be paying larger sums out of pocket for care, which for many Americans will mean forgoing treatment they think they can live without. This is a horrific way to reduce health care costs.
I don't kow if Dr. Carroll simply didn't think of these issues or if he is cynically attempting to fool the readers of the WSJ but his analysis is fundamentally flawed. Senator McCain's health care proposal in the long run will reduce coverage, increase the price paid by consumers and force many companies to stop offering health insurance to employees, leaving many Americans with chronic illnesses or other health problems uninsurable. If you believe the GOP claims that they will force the insurance companies to insure the riskiest Americans then you clearly have not listened to anything they've said about the invisible hand of the market.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
One of Sean Hannity's greatest skills is to rant his monologue while making it appear to be a question. I'm not entirely sure why he does this so often. I used to think he just did it to people who might serve him up a smack down and it was his way to run the clock out, but he even does it to people like Karl Rove so I'm at a loss.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I spent a few minutes trying to think of a catchy title for this post...something like "Pat Buchanan - Moron" but with more pazazz. Finally, I just decided that his name was enough and would convey the intended message. Pat Buchanan, who ran an abysmal campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination in '96 and then his joke of an attempt at the Oval Office in 2000 by snagging the Reform Party ticket at the federal campaign money that Ross Perot earned with his '96 showing.
Let's be honest, things like the Economic Stimulus package that dropped 600-1200 bucks in the laps of all American workers was not a stimulus to the American economy but rather, a giant hand-out to the Chinese economy that produces all the crap Americans spent their checks on. The same goes for tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans. We don't need a $600 check because a $600, or even a $6000 check is not going to mean the difference between sinking and swimming in this day and age. On the other hand, taking that money and investing it into our communities, whether it be through infrastructure improvements like roads and bridges, or hiring more teachers, or creating after-school programs would all create jobs here in America and improve the standard of living of the country as a whole.
What's the point of chanting some assinine phrase like "united we stand" if at the same time we are unwilling to help our fellow countrymen. What possible excuses can we make for America's embarssingly poor statistics on infant mortality? How can we the majority sit back and say "thank you" for a thousand dollar tax cut while people like Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers receive millions?
Someone once asked me why not have a flat tax? Why should you be taxed at a higher rate just because you earn more? Well so far my best reasoning behind progressive taxes are the following:
1) The rich have far more control over how tax dollars are spent
This may come as a surprise to some people who have never watched the news or read an article, but the rich of this country have a far louder voice than the poor in determining how the nation's treasury is spent. Not only is a $200,000/year salary seen as poor by Senate standards but the rich, through expensive fundraisers and the lobbying system have a framework to get their concerns voiced in Washington with a far greater level of efficacy than anyone earning the nation's median income.
2) The rich benefit to far greater extent from the nations spending
Since they have more control over how the country spends its money it is little surprise that they benefit from that spending to a greater degree than average citizens. Owners of large corporations can lobby politicians to receive government contracts and subsidies. American corporations benefit greatly from America's presence overseas as they gain access to new markets and consumers. Were it not for America's military superiority (an enormous amount of our annual spending) American corporations would not be able to set up shop so freely throughout the world and rake in so many profits.
These are just 2 reasons for maintaining the progressive tax structure but there are many more. For these reasons I am asking the American people to please stop voting based on a tax cut. It's not helping you. The American people have received more tax cuts over the last 8 years than they did in the previous 8. What has happened in that time? The national debt has balooned from $5 trillion to "ten toushand billion" dollars as the British would say. The economy is in crisis and people are feeling poorer than they have in ages. STOP ASKING FOR TAX CUTS! THEY AREN'T HELPING! The only people who benefit from tax cuts are those making hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Are you?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
The facts are these:
1) McCain cannot win this election without a strong turnout at the polls by the ugliest aspects of America, namely the racists and biggots of this country that are too ignorant and hateful to help themselves and their country move forward.
2) For every action Senator McCain takes to "rein in the hateful element at his rallies" Governor Palin gives as many if not more speeches that stir up that sentiment he is purportedly disagreeing with.
3) McCain's "denouncements" have not even denounced the racist tenor of his supporters. Case in point, when the slow witted woman in the red shirt stuttered through her idiotic comment about Senator Obama, John McCain's response was that Obama was not an arab and was in fact a decent man. He failed to address to more serious problem with his supporters and their overwhelming belief that arabs are not decent people and are, due to their ethnicity, horrible dangerous people who do not love their families.
So given these facts the climate of this campaign will only get worse and America should be ashamed of itself for treating 3.5 million of its citizens (who are of Arab descent) with this kind of hatred and distrust. It seems to me that if you're going to go after Senator Obama for having a fundraiser at Bill Ayers' house or for serving together on a board dedicated to reforming education then perhaps you should make sure that your own supporters don't own a bunch of white sheets and hoods.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Well, hopefully I wasn't alone in watching the first Presidential Debate away from the jabbering nonsense filled cable news channels. PBS had, in my opinion, the best coverage of the debate as they had the fewest graphics on screen and I get an HD version of PBS. C-Span was going to be my first choice but even they had a big graphic in the middle of the screen while PBS only had a faint watermark on the bottom right.
I couldn't help but pop over to the cables noise networks to see what intricate idiocy they had come up wih and CNN, you won hands down. Not only did they have a FoxNewsish "live opinion tracker" that Frank Luntz has gotten so good at displaying, but they also had 6 pie charts that allowed 6 CNN experts like Paul Begala, Donna Brazile and some other CNN pundits give the canadidates plus/minuses throughout the debate. The sole issue of interest here was the enormous amount of deviation between the pundits. While some gave the candidates 3 or 4 pluses each and about as many minuses, Donna Brazile felt that McCain had over 15 pluses and Obama more than 20. What CNN didn't realize was that any quantification of opinion is quite meaningless without some standardization. Perhaps if Wolf had chosen the moments for them to pick, or the question that they should judge it would have made some sense.
So CNN, thank you for dumbing things down lower than even FoxNews.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Frankly, it was a skit we all saw coming since Jon Stewart introduced McCain's choice for VP as the co-creator of the hit show 30 Rock. That being said, I would think that on a day with as bad financial news as Yesterday, perhaps the news media should have been covering news stories instead of each showing the same clip of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. It would have been bad enough for the clip to only air during those awful segments by Jeanne Moos, the ones that are repeated over and over throughout the night, but then CNN Election Center and AC360 each had a segment on it so not only was there the actual segment where he and Erica Hill bantered about the skit, but of course they had to promo it the requisite 2 or 3 times.
It's really too bad, because it was a very funny sketch but CNN is not supposed to be E!'s "The Soup" or some VH1 special called "I remember the SNL sketch." Give us some real news please and leave the playbacks of comedy shows to the comedy shows, or at the very least, limit it to once per evening.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Watching Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday I was thrilled to see Bill take John Fund to task for being a cynic. In Bill's words that meant the people like John and David Brooks who "know better but know that the 'stupid people' don't," so they make arguments that appeal to the misinformation that is already out there. The issue came up during a discussion about Charlie Gibson's interviews with Sarah Palin in which she was flumoxed about the Bush Doctrine. John Fund was trying to pretend that he didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was when Bill interjected and accused him of being a cynic in an effort to downplay Sarah Palin's giant gap in foreign policy knowledge.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Last night I turned on CNN to see the always irrelevant Wolf Blitzer take up his entire broadcast asking what is Senator Barack Obama going to say to the NAACP. Well Wolf, why don't you report on some actual news, watch the speech and then tell us what he said, instead of wasting an hour telling us about what he may or may not say and the implications or ramifications of those possible comments. What good does it do to fill the airwaves (or cable wires I guess) with senseless hypothesizing when there is so much else going on in the world. So much time on the cable news channels is spent with talking heads ranting endlessly about what might be said and how it might be responded to. I realize they need a job and they need a reason for the networks to pay them but it's absolutely insane. Americans need to voice their disgust with this method of information distribution. Demand more news from our cable news outlets. If we want senseless dribble we can always tune our sets to VH1 and find out who the next Mrs. Flavor Flav will be.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
So once again, congratulations Erica Hill, for setting journalism, women journalists, and pretty faces pretending to be a journalist back decades.
Monday, June 30, 2008
I'm glad that Jon Stewart had the balls to take him to task on some of the ridiculous things he's said in the past but clearly that isn't enough. FoxNews - stop paying him for his opinions and his hypotheses as they are absolute bullshit.
Friday, June 27, 2008
She contributed nothing to the discussion in her 3 minutes of non-response to Larry King's ill-fated question. All she did was attempt to drive a wedge between Clinton and Obama supporters. She added to the criticisms of Bill Clinton in the wake of his lack of vocal support for Obama and she made silly mentions of Obama's right to pick his own nominee for Veep. Both comments are clearly designed to anger Clinton supporters who think Bill should be left to grieve his wife's unsuccessful campaign and those like Lanny Davis who think that Hillary must be the Veep, no matter how disastrous that would be.
Later on in the program the fossil asked what Hillary Clinton can do now that she is no longer going to be President. Kellyanne slowly, and clearly enunciated not that 18 million people had voted for Hillary but that 8 million women had voted against her. Again, what use is it to ask a republican strategist what Hillary should do since their ultimate goal would be for her to get bumped out of the Senate at the very least.
Well, that's as much Larry King as I can stand to watch so I'll end this post here.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I've thought for a while now about creating a blog and jotting down my daily anger from watching, almost religious the 3 cable news channels. I try to catch all the big shows, from the 6 o'clock curmudgeons like Lou and Britt to the shout happy Chris Matthews, and the always caring Anderson. I even watch the frenzied ravings of Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly as well as the dementia suffering Larry King. Last but not least of course is the ever tough talking Keith Olbermann who survives due to the ever-presence of Bill O's insanity.
Through it all we get the asinine opinions of the political pundits whose canned speeches truly exemplify what "party hacks" are. They're the perfect target for anyone to love to hate because what they say is so full of nonsense and they are so often asked to comment on things they have no business talking about - just watch the next time FoxNews asks Karl Rove to discuss the problems facing Obama.
So, I hope you will enjoy the posts in the coming months as we ratchet up for the November election and get fed shit-filled bowl after bowl in the news channels' attempts to do as little journalism as possible.