Friday, December 12, 2008

Who shat in Katie Couric's cornflakes this morning?

Hey Katie,

What crawled up your ass today?  I saw your interview with the head of the UAW and hostile would be an understated description of how you questioned him.  I didn't know CBS' official position was that unions are bad and your attempts to put the blame on them for the piss-poor management of the auto industry is insulting to the news profession.

The UAW is fighting efforts to strip the unions of the hard-fought battles they've won in the past the same way they must fight every time contracts come up for negotiations.  The facts are these: the corporations will always try to swindle workers out of their rightly deserved benefits and they will use any downturn in the economy to impose these cuts.  Rarely when companies are making money will they suddently toss extra money and benefits to the workers so why should those same workers take a cut because management has screwed the pooch?

Also, when you tried to pick on them for their vacation days and holidays, tell me Katie, how many vacation days do you have a year?  How many holidays do you get to leave the evening news desk and go spend time with your family?  This was a shameful interview and your questions undermine the legitimacy of CBS as a news provider.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quebec Election Update

A big to-do is being made in the Canadian press about last night's victory for Jean Charest (that's the equivalent of John for you American readers) with words like "mandate" being tossed around and many reporters remarking the historic nature of a 3rd consecutive election win.

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

Out with the old!

Shame on you Barack!

I was trying to reserve judgement on your cabinet picks until you were actually President but now I am so repulsed by what you are doing that I can't stand it.  Robert Gates represents the the Bush Administration and the policies of President Bush's failed wars.  We need new leadership in the White House and in the Pentagon.  Get rid of Robert Gates and bring someone new in, someone who isn't tainted by the policies that were maintained after Rumsfeld was shown the door, and someone who hasn't been supporting policies that CANNOT work in the long term.

What am I talking about?  Isn't the surge a success?  NO!  The relative peace that exists in Iraq today is due to the gratuitous cash payments that are being made to the militias.  In effect, we are paying people not to fight us.  These cash payments are part of the giant cost of the Iraq occupation and need to be stopped, but once they are the violence will resume and the supposed gains of the surge will be wiped out.  

Get rid of Robert Gates!  Shame on you Barack!

And fuck you Joe Lieberman and the spineless democrats who voted to keep him!

Spam: Survival of the fittest

After reading about the recent lawsuit in which Facebook won a $873 MILLION verdict against Canadian spammer Adam Guerbuez (read about it here) it made me think about what a Malthusian challenge spam has created for our society. To date I have received dozens, if not hundreds of spam messages telling me that my Amazon account is blocked, or my credit card was used in a foreign country, or a friendly member of the Nigerian royal family wants to cut me in on a good business deal and never have any of these resulted in me divulging any information that would allow an online account to be hijacked, my money stolen, or my identity assumed by the spammers. And why have I been so fortunate as to survive these assaults that claim millions of people every year? I think the two best explanations are that I am not "click happy" and I have am sufficiently proficient in English grammar and spelling.

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

Turkey Day

As we ramp up for Turkey Day I jut wanted to share this little blast from the past. It came to mind when a friend of mine texted me about a "pilgrims and Indians" party she was hosting. While that might seem like a good time and just some light fun, it is also a sad reminder of our own historical past. Just as Prince Harry was chastised both for attending a "Colonizers and colonized" party and for wearing a South African military uniform (which looked a little too much like those of Nazi Germany), "pilgrims and Indians" should be no less offensive as a theme.
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

California Wildfires

STOP LIVING IN FIRE PRONE AREAS!

Watching all the news coverage of the efforts by the bankrupt state of California battling wild fires only leads me to one conclusion.  People should not be living in those mountainous regions that are prone to wild fires.  If they do choose to live there they should be responsible for footing any and all bills related to fighting the fire and should not be elligible for any federal disaster money.  If I build my home on a sandbar and the tide comes in I shouldn't get federal money to rebuild my home on that sandbar.

How does Jane and Isabelle's marriage affect yours?

With the renewed discussions about gay marriage in the national spotlight I find myself posing this question more and more: how does the marriage between 2 women or 2 men affect you and your marriage?  While I've heard a lot of bull shit in response to that question I thought I'd throw down the most common responses along with my evisceration of those reasons.

1.  It diminishes the meaning of marriage and therefore is an attack on my marriage:
Really?  Does your neighbor's divorce diminish your marriage?  Does your co-worker's infidelity diminish your marriage?  If an other's divorce or infidelity negatively impact your marriage are you for a constitutional ban on divorce?  Or criminalizing adultery?  My guess is you are not and so your stance against gay marriage is not only hypocritical but misplaced.  By including same-sex couples into the realm the marriage you add proponents for policies and issues that defend and support marriage, be they tax policies or public education for your children.  Ultimately the more people who marry the stronger the institution of marriage becomes.

2.  I don't want my children to go to school with the children of gay couples because it will teach them that there's nothing wrong with being gay:
This is one of the last forms of acceptable discrimination in our country.  I'm not saying that other forms of discrimination do not exist but most attacks on other groups (based on race or religion) are met with strong opposition in the public.  This line of argument points to a problem in your own life and your discomfort with gays and lesbians.  Most of the data show that younger generations are more comfortable with gays than their parents and grandparents, so chances are your children will encounter homosexuality during their time in school and be OK with it.  The easiest response to this argument is that there was a time not too long ago when the same arguments were made against integrating schools.  Complaints from (mostly) white parents who did not want their children in school with "Negroes" was the driving force behind maintaining segragation as long as it lasted.  Luckily we have, for the most part, agreed that this reasoning was bigoted and wrong and hopefully we will view the issues of homosexuality through a similar lens in the years to come.

3.  My religion/church/spaghetti monster tells me that a marriage should be between one man and one woman:
For starters, let's remember that most major religions were founded over a thousand years ago and that they also contained passages like the following: "Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death."  So the next time you want to use the bible or some other holy book as a defense for your discriminatory policies towards gays remember that there's a lot of rules and decrees found in any religious text and if you aren't following every single one of them who are you to judge someone who is breaking one of them?

4.  Studies show that children do better when raised by one man and one woman:
This study, which is often brought up by groups like "focus on the family" (side note: organizations with the word "family" in them tend to be very bad for families) as a reason to stop gay marriage.  What these studies usually look at is the presence of two parents versus one parent in the home.  I assure you that Rosie O'Donnell's kids or Ellen DeGeneres and Portia deRossi's kids will have a fantastic life and will not have any socio-economic issues despite the absence of a father in the home.

If you have or have heard any other reasons why two men or two women should not be wed please let me know.  I'm sure we can debunk them as well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The real Barack Obama

To all of you who are pretending to be so shocked that Obama is shaping up to be a rather moderate President and not the rabid leftist pinko-commie Trotskyite that Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly told you he would be all I can say is, you're a moron. If you actually "drank the koolaid", as Bill is so fond of saying, and believed that President-elect Obama was a Socialist then you obviously don't know what a Socialist is. And at the same time, if you are now shocked because you had hoped he would be a radical leftist then you too are a moron.

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.

WTF Black Californians?

Preface: I've been sitting here thinking about how to write this. I feel the need to tread lightly, but then because of that feeling, it seems more important than ever to take off the gloves.

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

Not our candidate but our President

Lately, a lot of McCain backers have gone out there under the guise of reconciliation and healing the nation after an often bitter campaign. Mike Huckabee recently penned a few words about how he will be supporting Barack Obama as President but he quickly sets that thought aside to go after President Bush's critics who "went beyond loyal opposition and engaged in angry, vile and mean-spirited hate." The problem with any comparison is the different manner in which Bush 43 got to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and how Obama 44 will.

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

Poor Sarah

While I am tremendously relieved that Wasilla's Sarah Palin will not be our next Vice President, the recent attacks on this poor little fish (barracuda's are fish right?) out of water have really shown the GOP's true side.  By calling her names like "Wasilla hillbillies" the GOP presidential campaign staffers show their true feelings about so called "wal-mart moms" and those folks that live in the "pro-american" parts of the country.  They may have hidden behind their "Joe the plumbers" and "Lenny the lumberjack" but the true powers behind the would-be GOP administration is more elitist than any of Karl Rove's depictions of President elect Obama.

Move on America, and leave Sarah to her gubernatorial duties.  Stop giving any more attention and coverage to this nearly catastrophic candidate and let's focus on what's ahead.  We need the news media now to focus on the work ahead and how we as a nation can and must provide health care and education to all Americans.

And fuck you Joe Lieberman!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

YES WE DID


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.

Will a democratic president mean no more political satire?

NO!  Absolutely, unequivically NO!  All these recent blogs and news articles about how it would be difficult for the late night comedians (Stewart, Colbert et al) to make fun of Democrats is stupid.  Think back to the 90s.  They made fun of Clinton all the time.  They currently make fun of Obama, Pelosi and Reid as well.  It's nothing more than stupid thoughtless conjecture and takes the place of real news.  Please stop this nonsense.  The reason the Daily Show succeeds and the "Half Hour News Hour" (Foxnews' attempt at late night comedy) flopped so stupendously is because the Daily Show makes fun of everyone and the HHNH only made jokes about Democrats.  They are skilled comedians and the day to day business of government is always going to contain the c-span clips that provide comedy.  Just in case your mom was doing crystal meth when she was pregnant with you and you were going to cast a vote based on how funny Jon Stewart would be for the next 4 years, don't worry, he will be hilarious regardless, but President McCain will make puppies cry.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Catholics and Politics

I was watching c-span today and I caught a video broadcast of a Denver radio show called Calpis and Silverman.  It's a small radio show gets to be on c-span once a year (or so I understood from the clip I watched).  It fit the genre like so many other bi-partisan shows these days with one host on the far right and other to the right of center, it's an interesting sea saw with one guy on the end and another in the middle (leaning to the right).

Calpis was going on and on about what a radical Obama is and what radical Jeremiah Wright is but what really "ground my gears" (thanks Peter Griffin) was the focus of Calpis' abortion debate.  He talked about Bishop Chaput who has echoed the same nasty rhetoric that we heard back in 2004, that Catholics that support abortion rights or vote for a candidate that does should not be eligible for communion.  While I personally think that Catholicism is shit and that Priests are either child molesters, child molesters that haven't been caught yet, or secretely having sex with parishiners, this idea that if you disagree with the current teachings of the Catholic church you cannot be a Catholic would only make sense if the Catholic church had always been on the right side of history.  Even if they don't believe in evolution, I would turn Calpis and Silverman's audience to the flat earth/round earth debate.  If that was going on today, and the pope with his infallible words was proclaiming that the earth was flat and to think otherwise was heresy, why should that invalidate a person's belief that Jesus was the son of god and through loving him you can attain eternal salvation?

I'm sorry if it seems I'm picking on Catholics.  To be honest I think that all religions are a farce but if you want to believe in spaghetti monsters, your political views should not prevent you from doing so.

NON POLITICAL - Television Comment

I just saw a preview for the upcoming episode of "Heroes" and I just have  to vent my disgust at what I call "filler episodes."  If you have a show and there's a very engaging story arc DO NOT INTERRUPT IT for some mundane flashback kind of episode where you can reveal some things about your characters that you hadn't thought of in the first 2 seasons of your show.  All the shows do it and I don't understand why other than an excuse to let the writer's illiterate nephews and nieces write  an episode of their favorite show.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Letting the fox run the henhouse

If someone believes that government cannot work, don't put them in charge of running the government.  These "small government" acolytes hold near and dear to themselves the belief that no government can function and that we should privatize nearly every service in this country.  If you elect someone who thinks that the government shouldn't run the schools, expect your schools to fail.  If you elect someone who thinks that we should privatize social security, expect social security to fail.  If someone believes that the  government cannot manage health care, then expect to see more failures in medicare, medicaid and the VA system.

Don't let foxes run the henhouses!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tax cuts (continued)

I just read some more tax cut nonsense at OColly.com and I wanted to remind people that this tax cut nonsense is a fake issue that the Republicans have been championing for years. It's great for those making millions of dollars and it hurt those making tens of thousands of dollars. In exchange for their new yacht your children lose their after school programs or the bridges go without vital repairs.

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

What Robert Carroll and the WSJ don't understand about Health Care

This morning's WSJ article about Senator McCain's health care plan was dripping with so much ignorance and misinformation it almost made me cry. Carroll's main argument is that McCain's plan will reduce health care costs by encouraging people to purchase less expensive medical coverage. His comparison to home or auto insurance and his question of "Do these cover routine spending on cleaning the gutters or tuning up a car?" completely misses the point that health care is cheapest when preventative care is encouraged and provided. By covering only catastrophic incidents many people will opt out of seeking regular medical care that will ultimately reduce the overall costs of health care. The problem with health care costs aren't the actual care that Americans receive but the endless paperwork and insurance company make-work that is absent from most other industrialized countries, allowing them to spend less and live longer. To propose reducing health care costs by reducing plan coverage would be like saying you can have a car for less money but it doesn't come with an engine or wheels.

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

Hannity's America (a place I would never want to live)

Sean Hannity's America is a terrifying place.  Let's ignore for a moment the fact that his Sunday night show's theme music is Martina McBride's "Independence Day" which for anyone who hasn't heard it is about a little girl who's mother is beaten to death by her father on July 4th.  Let's ignore that he is a shameless partisan hack that makes Tucker Carlson seem as impartial as a PBS news anchor.  Let's even ignore his fixation on any negative Obama news story that made him talk about Jeremiah Wright for months after the rest of the MSM did and his continued attempt to bring down Obama by talking about William Ayers every chance he gets.

Tonight he spent his entire broadcast going through a top ten reasons why he won't be voting for Barack Obama come November 4th.  He could have condensed all of his make-believe reaons that he went over in the show into a 30 second add and saved us all a lot of time.  Here's your real number one reason for not voting Obama: "My name is Sean Hannity and I work for Fox News."  

If associations are so important to you Sean why not mention Senator McCain's longtime connections to convicted criminals like G. Gordon Liddy?  That's why we as a nation typically shun the idea of guilt by association because throughout your life, especially a public life, you are bound to meet and work with a huge number of people.  One of the bigges travesties of all the Obama guilt by association nonsense has been the lack of defense of the people and organizations that he is criticized for knowing.  

Beginning with Pastor Wright, the outrage at his remarks were exageratted.  His sermons were honest and if they were hurtful to white Americans like Sean it was because of the truths they exposed.  Then came the Rezko nonsense.  Everyone who had anything to do with politics in Chicago and Illinois came into contact with Rezko or someone like him.  Now it's Bill Ayers, who did what he did because of his opposition to the murder of 2 million south east asians during the Vietnam war. 

So let's move off of this garbage and take a look at the issues.  Yes Sean, your taxes will go up if Obama's plan goes through, but 95% of your viewers will see more of their money stay in their wallets, which will in turn allow them to spend that money on your crappy books.  If those making less than $200,000 get to keep more of their money then they get to purchase more consumer goods which help those that produce the goods.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Register a corpse or disenfranchise a voter?

I think this is a fundamental question in light of all the ACORN trashing over their alleged fake voter registrations. The problem with accusing ACORN of committing voter fraud is that none of those fake voters like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck have voted. Unless there is some information that has yet to surface about a vast left wing conspiracy to send people to the polls impersonating the dead and the fictional, I don't see how any fraud will be committed.

On the other hand there is the very real danger of voter disenfranchisement. According to the Brennen Institute's report hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters will be or have been purged from voter rolls due to problems as insignificant as typos, some of which are made by government employees.

So you need to ask yourself, what's worse? Registering Popeye the sailor as a voter in Delaware or disenfranchising real voters? Which one does more damage to democracy? For me, the anology is whether it's worse to have a guilty person go free or an innocent person in jail.

UPDATE: for more on ACORN and GOP allegations of voter fraud check out TUCKER: Mickey won't show up on Election Day

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not my Congress

For months now we've been inundated by the news networks with grim statistics for Congress and America's approval of their job performance.  Night after night anchors and pundits, usually in an attempt to make Bush's abysmal approval ratings look a little better, made mention that Congress' approval rating was even lower.  How could this be?  Doesn't Congress enjoy a near 90% re-election rate?  Well, it's the nature of the question.

Think about it in terms the current President can understand.  If I ask you, after watching a news report about a school shooting, teenage girls showing explicit photos of theselves on mySpace or kids caught vandalizing street signs, "are American children out of control?" chances are you'll answer yes.  If I then ask you if your children are out of control, you'll more likely to answer no.  Why?  Because the first question lets you express your opinions about other people's children and not your own.  You have no responsibility for them, you did not raise them.  Similarly when you ask about Congress as a whole, you didn't elect most Congressmen, just your own.  Sharing opinion polls on Congress, without showing a poll next to it asking those same respondents about their own representatives is pointless because it does not show any useful information.

As Campebell Brown showed tonight when asked if Congressmen should be re-elected this year over 50% answered no.  When asked if their own Congressman should be re-elected the answer was more than 50%...YES!  So showing some statistics that Congress' approval rating is down around 11% does not in any way suggest that much will change in Washington.  For this reason Campbell gets another big props from PutridPundits.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some interviewers don't really want their questions answered


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.

It could just be that his massive ego requires him to fill up more than half the air time on the show, or, as I am starting to believe, it is so that he spew out a bunch of non-sequitors to communicate something to his audience.  Tonight he was talking with Karl abouthow McCain can win the necessary 270.  When they discussed Pennsylvania Sean once again brought up the comments Senator Obama made back during the primaries about the folks who cling to guns and religion.  He spent about 20 seconds rehashing this comment and then finished it up with asking how, after hearing something like that, could the people of PA ever vote for him.

Ed Rendell did a decent job of stuffing it back at Sean and before Sean could do his typical interruption Rendell shut him up by pointing out he hadn't interrupted Karl Rove.

Chris Matthews

Now for some levity.  Tonight on HARDBALL with Chris Matthews, Chris made a comment about winning Republican presidential tickets.  According to Chris the Republicans have not won an election since 1928 without a Nixon or a Bush on the ticket.  Where he goofed was when he made a comment to the viewers telling them to use that iformation later on the evening with their friends assuring them that no one would know it.  What makes that so true is the sad fact that nobody watches MSNBC so, likely, they would not have seen the segment.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pat Buchanan


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.


Tonight I watched him try and defend Sarah Palin's remarks about the role of the Vice President.  She was asked about how she saw the role of Vice President and she blabbered on about presiding over the senate and crafting legislation.  Sorry Sarah, but maybe you should read the Constitution, or watch an old School House Rock special because if you did either of those things you would know that the job of Vice President, despite what Cheney would have you believe, is to succeed the President should he be unable to carry out his office, and to break ties in the senate.

It was great to see Chris Matthews chew him up and just keep telling him how wrong he was.  Pat tried to make excuses for Palin by saying she was talking to 2nd or 3rd graders.  While Matthews pointed out that she in fact made those remarks during a tv news interview, the idea that it's ok to misinform children about the way our government functions is even worse in a way.  Children growing up today are horrifically underinformed as it is and they do not need a candidate for Vice President adding to that lack of knowledge.  Sorry Pat, the jig is up.  You can only hack so much for your side before you do something ridiculous like defend Sarah Palin's idiotic remarks.







Tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts

I am sick to death of all the focus on bloody tax cuts! Obviously, if i was earning the kind of money that the top 1% of America earns my views might be a little different since I'd be looking at millions upon millions of saving from a President McCain over a President Obama. But I do not make millions of dollars. I do not make hundreds of thousands or even a hundred thousand. So my potential "tax cut" (read unpaved roads and collapsing bridges) is likely to be a modest sum no matter who is elected. What's amazing is that this puts me in the same boat as most Americans but for some reason this great majority of the country is so easily motivated by a few hundred to a few thousand dollars that they'd give up countless investments towards their and their children's health and education, for a new Chinese TV from Wal-mart.

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

Thank you Campbell Brown

Apparently CNN Election Center's Campbell Brown is the only news anchor with the decency and the courage to denounce the ignorant claims that are still being made about Senator Obama's race and religion, namely, the allegations that the Illinois senator is a muslim and most recently, that he is an arab.  While McCain did correct his thinking impaired supporter and say that his opponent was not an Arab, he followed up by explaining that Obama was a "decent family man." 
While the news outlets were quick to show the exchange they were even quicker to point out how McCain denounced these comments.  What most of them failed to do was denounce the idea that being an Arab or a Muslim is itself a negative  trait.  This racism in the country and the media cannot stand if America is to live up to its founding principles.
So congratulations Campbell Brown.  Keep up the good work, at least one MSM anchor is.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Overt and Covert Racism

After far too much complacency by all parties involved I was thrilled to see Representative John Lewis' remarks last week about the tone of the McCain/Palin rallies and their campaign. The most upsetting thing about his remarks is the response they have received by McCain's camp and most of the media. At the same time that images like the Obama bucks are making their way into GOP publications and website the McCain campaign has the audacity to act the injured victim in this and denounce the honest words of John Lewis as "shocking and beyond the pale."

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

The Debates Part 1

,,,,,,,,

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

Sorry Tina Fey

Let me just tell you right now that this has been a tough idea to put down in words. I'll start out by apologizing to Tina Fey for even mentioning her here with all the douche bags of cable news and the kinds of political spin. That being said, she was superb in her impression of the Alaskan Governor on the season opener of SNL. I agree with Chevy Chase and hope that Fey does "descimate" Palin.
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

Cynicism vs the Palin derangement syndrome


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.

The new catchphrase from Fund was the "Palin derangement syndrome" which he attempted  to explain was attacking  someone new to the national stage.  This is yet another GOP talking point that they are probably trying to get out on the cable news channels and the blogosphere to let it echo around and hopefully increase its prominence to the point that it might start being used by cable news show hosts or, they are praying, by the evening news anchors.  It is disengenous and outright false as Palin has been coddled despite her lack of knowledge on all things outside of Alaska.   



Props to Janeane Garofalo for sticking up to John Fund and calling him out on his bullshit.  And thank you John Fund for reminding me why I created this blog in the first place.  It is because of talking heads like you that spew bullshit that I am driven to write about it no matter how few are reading.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ClintonDems.com are a bunch of cowards

A little break from the usual attack on pundits to focus on a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I did something against my better judgement to day and created an account at ClintonDems.com. I was intrigued about a group of people who could seem to be so adamantly in favor of Hillary's run for the nomination and so vehemently opposed to another Democrat, the junior senator from Illinois, Mr. Barack Obama. I couldn't seem to grasp how someone could support someone for President and yet seem to disagree with every policy she championed. Do these people not know what Senator Clinton's stances on things like abortion and health care are? Do these people hate Obama so much that they would give the country over to the right wing machine for another 4 years? And then it hit me, these people aren't democrats, Clintons aside, and they never were. If, and this is a big if, the people at ClintonDems.com ever did vote for Hillary in the primaries it was only because one of their leaders like Rush Limbaugh told them it would be a good way to mess with the Democrats.



In my attempts to figure out who these people were I submitted a post entitled "ClintonDems.com = Republican pawns" because after reading over a few of the diaries on the website, I quickly noticed they were not just pro-Hillary but were actively pro-McCain/Palin. When I logged back in to see if my post had generated any comments, I found that I couldn't log in. I tried searching for my post and to my surprise it was gone; so were the comments I had posted on other posts.

This site is so afraid of people exposing them for the Republican hacks that they are that they delete accounts of anyone who doesn't post an article called Biden likes lipstick too. So I did what any stubborn red blooded American would do and I recreated my account, added another post about them being afraid of dissent and waited for the comments to come in and the account to be deleted. This time, I saved a copy of the post and waited for them to delete the account and then reposted. I may do it a few more times to keep them seeing a little bit of real democratic thinking.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ed Rollins is a sack of shit

Yesterday CNN ran a "commentary" by Republican strategist Ed Rollins about Barack Obama's choice for VP. In his pathetic attack piece Rollins tries the current Republican ploy of dividing the democrats and angering Hillary's supporters. It is exactly this kind of shitty journalism that makes these pundits so putrid. Perhaps if Ed Rollins had something critical to say about McCain/Palin, or Paul Begala some interesting comment on Obama/Biden it might make some sense to have these wind bags on television, but since all they do is spout out some little "zinger" that Rove emailed to them it doesn't make any sense for us to listen to them. CNN, please stop paying them and get them off the air. Try giving the American real news for a change instead of the constant speculation that passes for news these days.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mindless chatter


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

CNN 8-9pm 2008/07/03

Way to go Erica Hill for pitching a slowpitch softball to RNC hack/Iraq War Group member Cliff May. She asked him "is this a manufactured issue?" referring to the coordinated charges from the McCain camp and the RNC that Obama is flipflopping on a myriad range of issues. What did she think he was going to say? Suppose it was a manufactured issue, would she expect this RNC strategist and contributor to our needless, senseless war in Iraq to say "yes Erica, it is manufactured. I wish you hadn't asked me that question as I am obliged to tell you the truth."

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

Bill Kristol

First off, thanks to desperado for mentioning this sound byte of Bill Kristol's on foxnews. It's stupid comments like these from stupid people like Bill Kristol that really requires us to ask "what the hell are pundits on news shows for?" As has been pointed out by so many people I couldn't even begin to count, Bill Kristol has been wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong about almost everything having to do with Iraq and the Middle East. Why then, are we still listening? Why, then is he still given face time to spew his nonsense?



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

Quick thought


Seriously CNN, why is Candy Crowley shown on television? It isn't radio!

Larry King 2008/06/26

So I just got back from seeing Get Smart and when I turned on my TV and hopped over to CNN. It being between midnight and 1 I got to see some Larry King talking with 4 female pundits, one of which was Kellyanne Conway. The very first sentence of her Wikipedia page is "Kellyanne Conway (b. January 20, 1967) is a Republican strategist and pollster," yet what does Larry King ask her? Does he ask her about John McCain? No. Does he ask her about the strategies for the Republican party this year? No. He asks her about what role Bill Clinton should play in the upcoming campaign to help Senator Obama. This exemplifies my problem with these pundits because I think that perhaps, just maybe, there is a role that these partisan hacks could play in our news media but answering questions about what a member of their opposing party should do, with some misguided belief that anything they say will be anything other than their attempt to benefit their candidate serves no use to the much needed debate about politics and policies in this country.


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

Greetings

Hello Blogospere,

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 who's canned speeches that truly exemplifies what a "party hack" is. 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.
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