Friday, June 27, 2008

A Great Way To Save Gas!

Not safe for work.

Feingold On SCOTUS 2nd Amendment Ruling

Senator Russ Feingold: I am very pleased the Supreme Court finally recognized that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms. This is an important decision for millions of law-abiding gun owners. Public safety must be ensured without depriving our citizens of their constitutional rights."

This is the perfect quote, especially in light of the FISA "compromise" bill currently in the Senate.

Do I believe in an individual's right to own a gun? Absolutely, but I also believe that government has a role to regulate who has that right. Anyone convicted of a crime should have their right forfeited and a mandatory five day waiting period for background checks is a must for everyone. Sometimes people wait longer when they buy a new car than when they purchase a firearm.

This ruling also takes the NRA's "they wanna take yer guns" argument off the table when critizing pro-gun control politicians. There is no excuse any reasonable person would give to oppose a short mandatory waiting period.

T Minus 207 Days

"I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace."

- Washington, DC, June 2003

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chris Matthews and Mastering the Language

Did you ever have an embarrassing slip of the tongue and were so traumatized by it you vowed never to say it again, only now it's in the back of your mind and dangerously close to the tip of your tongue seemingly at all times? Welcome to Chris Matthews' hell... and the Democrats' hell as well.

For two straight days now, Matthews has blurted out "Osama" instead of "Obama" while hosting his show. Can someone please give this guy a dribble cup and drill into his head that he should learn to use "Bin Laden" and "Bin Laden" only when speaking of the terrorist and use "Senator Obama" when speaking of the politician?

I wish I could say that this is a bit of a slip up and nothing to worry about with Matthews, but it isn't the 1st and/or 2nd time he's done this.

So the question is, "What the hell is going on at 'Hardball'?" I think it's time to start being a lot more careful when you use the Senator's name in your broadcasts, Chris, and it's best not to speak of the two different issues back to back. It might make things a bit easier for you. And please, wipe your bottom lip.

U.S. Taking North Korea Off Terror List

NY TIMES: TOKYO — North Korea submitted a long-delayed declaration of its nuclear program on Thursday, as the Bush administration said it would remove the country it once described as part of the “axis of evil” from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Now if Georgie would put Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on the list, we might be getting somewhere.

Them Filipinos Sure Can Cook

You can't make this shit up.

Here's our intrepid leader meeting with Filipino President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo this past Tuesday at the White House. President Arroyo was there to discuss aide in the recent typhoon disaster that capsized a ferry killing approximately 800 people.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Madam President, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to the Oval Office. We have just had a very constructive dialogue. First, I want to tell you how proud I am to be the President of a nation that -- in which there's a lot of Philippine-Americans. They love America and they love their heritage. And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the -- of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House. (Laughter.)


PRESIDENT BUSH: And the chef is a great person and a really good cook, by the way, Madam President.


The schmuck-in-chief referred to Filipino-Americans as "Philippine-Americans." That's the equivalent of a Germany-American or an Italy-American. Then he tries to make small talk (that's when he always seems to get in trouble) by letting everyone know how "Philippine-Americans" must all be talented cooks because his White House chef is a "Philippine-American" and she sure can cook up some good grub. He didn't have the decency to mention her name, probably because he forgot or doesn't even know it.

UPDATE: Here's the video. It's even worse when you hear Bush actually saying this shit, as opposed to reading the transcript. What a dolt.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vogue McCain


T Minus 209 Days

"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things."

-Aboard Air Force One, June, 2003

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dodd and Feingold To The Rescue?

Shhh... don't tell anyone, but it looks like Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold are going to filibuster the FISA compromise bill. But they're not using that word. Must be bad juju.

Initially there were reports that Feingold would not filibuster the bill. But in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, Feingold explained procedure:

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Feingold, will you filibuster this bill?

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: We are going to resist this bill. We are going to make sure that the procedural votes are gone through. In other words, a filibuster is requiring sixty votes to proceed to the bill, sixty votes to get cloture on the legislation. We will also—Senator Dodd and I and others will be taking some time to talk about this on the floor. We’re not just going to let it be rubberstamped.

AMY GOODMAN: Would you filibuster, though?

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: That’s what I just described.

A joint statement released by Dodd and Feingold explains that "they will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President's warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans."

Hmmm... so basically, they're going to filibuster without using the word "filibuster"... maybe it's bad luck to use the word "filibuster" on the Senate floor. Sort of like using the word "Macbeth" in a theatre.

Shhh... don't tell anyone, but it looks like Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold are going to "Scottish play" the FISA compromise bill!

Monday, June 23, 2008

David Brooks: Hack Of The Worst Kind

Dear Mr. Brooks,

Do I smell a bit of hypocrisy in your latest column, "The Two Obamas"?

Let's take each issue that you take offense with one at a time, and explain it so that even you can understand.

In your "column", you rail frantically against Senator Obama voting "present" while a member of the Illinois State Senate 130 times according to your count. I won't waste time looking for the actual number because it is irrelevant. Anyone bothering to look for an explanation can easily find one, such as this Republican State House leader coming to Obama's defense.

...Obama's former colleagues who still serve in the Illinois Capitol say that the attacks are off-base and that either Obama's opponents don't understand how things work in Springfield or they are deliberately distorting his record.

"To insinuate the 'present' vote means you're indecisive, that you don't have the courage to hold public office, that's a stretch. But, it's good politics," said state Rep. Bill Black (R), a 22-year veteran of the House and his party's floor leader.

In fact, he said, Illinois legislators get attacked for their "present" votes nearly every campaign season. "It's always been a campaign gimmick, really. If you vote 'present' once in 23 years, somebody will bring it up."

The "present" vote in Illinois is sometimes cast by state lawmakers with a conflict of interest who would rather not weigh in on an issue. Other times,
members use the option to object to certain parts of a bill, even though they may agree with its overall purpose.

"The 'present' vote is used, especially by more thoughtful legislators, not as a means of avoiding taking a position on an issue, but as a means of signaling concerns about an issue,"
said state Rep. John Fritchey (D), an Obama supporter.

And since we're on the subject of not committing to vote for a bill, I'll be awaiting your article on why John McCain didn't bother show up to vote on the new GI Bill, one of the most important bills to come to the floor this year. You'd think that a former POW and veteran hero like McCain would do all he can to help our soldiers, I mean besides voting against a ban on waterboarding.

In your next statement, you claim that Barack Obama first stood by Rev. Wright and then later "threw [him] under the truck" only when it was politically convenient. Nowhere in your article does it state that he originally stood by him but denounced his inflammatory remarks. Nowhere in your article does it state that because of the controversy that the media perpetuated, he daringly gave a speech considered a third rail in politics, discussing the issue of race and racism in our country that was widely hailed as one of the most important political speeches in the last 40 years.

Only after Rev. Wright continued to fly off the handle, giving a speech at the National Press Club to promote his upcoming book, did Obama finally cut Wright loose; only after another controversial appearance by guest speaker Father Pfleger at Trinity United Church, did Obama decide to leave the church itself not only for his own sake, but to avoid further distraction that it was causing the congregation.

It was a lose-lose-lose situation for Obama. Either he defends Wright and gets lambasted by the right wing, or he denounces Wright's comments which isn't considered good enough by the wingnut pundits, or he disavows him altogether and is accused of throwing him "under the truck." Either he stays with his church and is ridiculed by the likes of you, or he leaves the church is accused of doing it for political convenience.

Next you throw in some stupid line about Obama not being a "workhorse senator" and throwing his duties "under the truck" (always with the truck). Yet you give no examples of what you may be talking about. As for me, I'll refer you to the example above regarding McCain's non GI Bill vote and I'll throw this little tidbit of information your way: Senator John McCain, as of this past May 17th had missed 43 straight votes in the Senate just this year alone. At that point, that equated to missing approximately 50% of the roll calls. Before you try and defend the fact that he's been on the campaign trail, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had only missed just 6.4 percent and 1.8 percent of votes this year, respectively. What a "workhorse" that John McCain, huh? Perhaps he was napping.

As for town hall meetings? Maybe Obama would accept if he knew that the audience was impartial and not vetted or invited by the McCain campaign.

Fox News: The McCain campaign said it was taking random questions from the audience of about 200 people. But the questions and mood were decidedly favorable, as his jabs at Obama were frequently interrupted by applause.

One questioner praised his military service; another called him a “hero.”

The campaign later issued a statement saying it distributed tickets to “supporters, Mayor Bloomberg, and other independent groups.”

What a maverick that McCain is!

But then, Mr. Brooks, you save the best for last: Accusing Barack Obama of flip-flopping and backing out of public financing. Oh no! The evil Obama deciding not to accept any taxpayer money (a "small government" conservative's dream by the way). Weak, David. Weak. Let's slow this down so you can see how ridiculous this argument is.

First, let's talk about what Senator Obama actually did say he would participate in. In his Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire, question 1-B asked: "If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing

So the operative phrase here is "if... your major opponents agree to forgo public financing..." Here is his full answer after checking the "yes" box:

"I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

You got that, Dave? "Senator McCain has already agreed to accept this fundraising pledge." The only problem is that Senator McCain has been raising and spending unlimited monies in violation of Federal Election Commission laws after opting in for public campaign funds through the primaries (which end with the convention), used that pledge to secure a bank loan, and then opted out of public financing. Something that the Republican Chairman of the Federal Elections Commission calls ILLEGAL.

...McCain's maneuvering seemed to irritate FEC Chairman David Mason, a Republican, who wrote a letter to McCain in February saying McCain could only withdraw from public financing if he received the permission of the FEC and answered questions about the loan.

"The Commission made clear that a candidate enters into a binding contract with the Commission when he executes the Candidate Agreements and Certification," Mason wrote. "The Commission stated that it would withdraw a candidate's certifications upon written request, thus agreeing to rescind the contract, so long as the candidate: 1) had not received Matching Payment Program funds, and 2) had not pledged the certification of Matching Payment Program funds as 'security for private financing.'"

By the way, McCain was asked the same public financing question that Obama answered from the same organization and didn't bother to respond. Perhaps he was napping.

The fact is that McCain is gaming the system - first planning to opt out of public financing during the primaries. Then when fundraising got rough and he was out of cash, on August 10 McCain asked the Federal Election Commission for the authority to receive matching funds, and the FEC said he was eligible for $5.8 million. Although he never collected the money, he secured a $4 million line of credit with the agreement to reapply for federal matching funds if he withdrew from public financing and lost early primary contests. The agreement also held as collateral his list of contributors and a pledge by McCain to seek further cash from those donors to pay of the loan.

So cry all you want about Senator Obama opting out of public financing, or in actuality creating his own system of public financing without using one single dollar of taxpayer money. If the roles were reversed, no one would be batting an eye at the advantage of GOP coffers, but since the shoe is on the other foot, all we hear is whining from "pundits" with agendas.

I suppose that's why your columns are op-eds, Mr. Brooks. You may be entitled you your opinion, but you are certainly not entitled to your own facts.

I know the public financing fiasco is convoluted - here is Keith Olbermann and Howard Fineman explaining it a lot better than I probably did.


I guess Thomas Friedman has finally stopped defending Bush. Here's what he has to say about our awesome leader.

NY Times: Two years ago, President Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil,” and, by gosh, he was going to do something about it. Well, now he has. Now we have the new Bush energy plan: “Get more addicted to oil.”

...It’s as if our addict-in-chief is saying to us: “C’mon guys, you know you want a little more of the good stuff. One more hit, baby. Just one more toke on the ole oil pipe. I promise, next year, we’ll all go straight. I’ll even put a wind turbine on my presidential library. But for now, give me one more pop from that drill, please, baby. Just one more transfusion of that sweet offshore crude.”

It is hard for me to find the words to express what a massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy this is.

How incredibly bad is it when Thomas Friedman is ripping you to shreds?

George Carlin Deat At 71

NY Times: George Carlin, the Grammy-Award winning standup comedian and actor who was hailed for his irreverent social commentary, poignant observations of the absurdities of everyday life and language, and groundbreaking routines like “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” died in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday, according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He was 71.

I'm really going to miss Carlin. Learning the seven words you could never say on television as a 12 year old was a coup for me (my uncle had his comedy LPs). His latest HBO special showed that he still had that acerbic wit and good timing. The video below isn't from that latest special, but it's a classic nonetheless.

No News Is Bad News In Iraq

NY TIMES: Reporters Say Networks Put Wars on Back Burner

Getting a story on the evening news isn’t easy for any correspondent. And for reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is especially hard, according to Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News. So she has devised a solution when she is talking to the network.

Lara Logan told Jon Stewart recently that war news is hard to get onto TV.
“Generally what I say is, ‘I’m holding the armor-piercing R.P.G.,’ ” she said last week in an appearance on “The Daily Show,” referring to the initials for rocket-propelled grenade. “ ‘It’s aimed at the bureau chief, and if you don’t put my story on the air, I’m going to pull the trigger.’ ”

Ms. Logan let a sly just-kidding smile sneak through as she spoke, but her point was serious. Five years into the war in Iraq and nearly seven years into the war in Afghanistan, getting news of the conflicts onto television is harder than ever.

“If I were to watch the news that you hear here in the United States, I would just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts,” Ms. Logan said.

According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The “CBS Evening News” has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s “World News” and 74 minutes on “NBC Nightly News.” (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

181 minutes of coverage in 2008. That's an average of one minute per day.

Remember when the race to take over Baghdad started? Embedded reporters were monitoring the progress trrops were making, Baghdad Bob was on Iraqi television telling the Iraqi pepole that all was under control while US troops were practically in the background giving him rabbit ears and posing for the camera. The daily video shots of "Shock and Awe" played on the airwaves so much, you would have thought it was a commercial for the evening fireworks at Disneyworld.

But since things haven't gone as planned, or in this case not planned at all, the coverage has diminished to the point that you wouldn't know we were at "war" in the first place. And people wonder why there aren't mass protests in the streets like there were during Vietnam. Back then, Vietnam was all over the television. It was nonstop. The combat coverage was graphic in nature, with wounded soldiers being shown airlifted out of combat zones. There wasn't a government ordered blackout on flag draped coffins coming home to families for final closure of a lost loved one. The propaganda coming from the White House now is even worse than whatever Baghdad Bob was going on about over five years ago.

Looks like these days, no news is bad news in Iraq.

"This case has had full analyzation and has been looked at a lot. I understand the emotionality of death penalty cases."

- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 23, 2000

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Is Obama Christian Enough?

Whenever I hear someone ask about Barack Obama's religion or religious beliefs , I always ask, "Why is that important? What difference does it make?"

Would you refuse to vote for someone on the simple point of his or her religion? If the answer is 'yes' then you don't know your history.

Article Six of the US Constitution states that " religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. " Our forefathers, religious men all, knew of the consequences of a theocracy and actually wrote a directive in our soon to be 222 year old Constitution to prevent such a thing happening in the United States as it happens in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

The reason I bring this up is because when I hear supposed "Christians" like Cal Thomas not only question someone's Christianity, but whether they are "Christian enough", I shake my head in amazement.

In a column published last week, Cal Thomas took a verbal swing at Barack Obama's claim to be a committed Christian. "He can call himself anything he likes," wrote the syndicated columnist, "but there are certain markers among the evangelicals he is courting that one must meet in order to qualify for that label."

..."... [T]here is a clear requirement for one to qualify as a Christian and Obama doesn't meet that requirement," stated Thomas. "One cannot deny central tenets of the Christian faith, including the deity and uniqueness of Christ as the sole mediator between God and Man and be a Christian. Such people do have a label applied to them in scripture. They are called 'false prophets.'"

Oh really, Mr. Thomas? He has to meet with the approval of evangelicals to "qualify" as a Christian? And which evangelicals would those be? Do you happen to have a list? Perhaps we can start with the more Christian ones and work our way down, seeing as you know who the real Christians are and who are "false prophets."

A quick Google search of "Cal Thomas" reveals a few books he's written, his official website and various articles and appearances he's made on Fox News. His Wikipedia page reveals a very light biography stating that he was a reporter in the 60's and 70's and the Vice President of the Moral Majority from 1980-1985. There is no mention of schooling, whether secular or seminary.

And yet this man seems to know who is more Christian, less Christian or Christian at all. I don't claim to be a religious expert, but I'll defer to someone who commented on Thomas' website in regards to Obama's Christianity:

Posted by radar, June 20, 2008 4:36:41

First, let me say that I am a political moderate; with over 40 years voting, I have probably divided my votes equally between Republicans and Democrats, altho [sic] I have also voted for 3rd party candidates. I agree with Cal that no one should use their Christianity to gain political (or any other) advantage. While Obama may be headed that way, clearly the Republican Party has been doing this for years. I hope and pray that all guilty folks will stop, be they Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, black or white, or whatever. I also am moderate when it comes to my Christianity; my father and both grandfathers were ministers, and I have been in Baptist churches all of my 64 years, and currently serve as Chairman of Deacons in a Southern Baptist Church. Based on my 64 years of study and being taught at my ancestors' tables, I disagree with Cal as to our right to judge another person's Christianity; while we can judge someone's actions, to say someone is not a Christian when they profess to be is not our job. If someone who professes to be a Christian doesn't behave as a Christian, we certainly have a responsibility to confront that individual, but not to denounce him/her as being a non-Christian. I think Cal crosses the line when he writes that Obama is not a Christian.

Truly the Christian answer.

Perhaps it is Cal Thomas for whom we should be reserving the right to confront as "someone who professes to be a Christian but doesn't behave as a Christian." And even so, for the sake of argument, let's listen to those evangelicals Thomas speaks of and see what they have to say about those "certain markers... one must meet in order to qualify for that [Christian] label."

From the Washington Post:

This month, the Illinois senator held a closed-door meeting in Chicago with almost 40 Christian leaders, including evangelical heavyweights such as the Rev. Franklin Graham, publishing magnate Steve Strang and megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes.

..."I've never seen anything quite like it before," said evangelical author Stephen Mansfield, who wrote "The Faith of George W. Bush" and has a forthcoming book about Obama. "To be running against a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and to be reaching into the Christian community as wisely and knowledgeably as (Obama) is -- understanding their terms and their values -- is just remarkable."

Strang wrote in a blog, Obama "won over the loyalties of many. He came across as thoughtful and much more of a 'centrist' than I would have expected," Strang wrote, adding that he hopes McCain will host a similar gathering.

It seems that the religious evangelical leaders that met with Senator Obama were impressed by him, much more so than a crackpot like Cal Thomas would have been, with his preconceived ideas and his notion that he can decide who is a Christian and who is not. The fact is that Cal Thomas is a political tool, a pundit hiding in evangelical clothing, casting doubt on those he is told to cast doubt upon. He is a reporter, and a hackish one at that, using lies and smears for his political agenda. Is that how a Christian acts?

And speaking of acting like a Christian, if you're not planning on voting for Obama because of a religious question, that leaves John McCain. And is McCain a Christian? A man who cheated on and divorced his first wife after finding out she had a disfiguring car accident while he was a POW? A man involved in a savings and loan scandal that robbed thousands of their retirement funds and cost the US taxpayer $3.4 billion? A man who was tortured for five and a half years during the Vietnam War and spoke out against torture his entire life in public service until it was politically convenient for him to vote against a ban on waterboarding? Is that the kind of "Christian" man you would vote into the Oval Office?

As the first lines of the Cal Thomas/Obama smear e-mail I received state, "Please read this and take this coming election very seriously. Please pray about how you will vote." And for those of you who do pray, I hope you will pray for the strength to vote for what you believe is right, and not for what you are told to believe is right.

Also read: Keep Cal Thomas Away From Your Kids