Atlantis Alumni

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Progressive Argument Against The Bailout

NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have
to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from
losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance...This
bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been
accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who
own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions
and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and
struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the
bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them
end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

- Michael Moore

Brooks: What Now?

The only thing now is to try again — to rescue the rescue. There’s no time
to find a brand-new package, so the Congressional plan should go up for another
vote on Thursday, this time with additions that would change its political
prospects. Leaders need to add provisions that would shore up housing prices and
directly help mortgage holders. Martin Feldstein and Lawrence Lindsey both have good proposals of the sort that could lead to a plausible majority coalition.
Loosening deposit insurance rules would also be nice.

I rarely agree with David Brooks, conservative columnist at the Times, but today he gets it right. The "bailout" must include provisions to help average Americans, directly helping mortgage holders. Brooks also clearly acknowledges that the Republicans and McCain are to blame for the demise of the bailout. Let's see what happens today.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Krugman: The U.S. Is Now A Bannana Republic

So what we now have is non-functional government in the face of a major
crisis, because Congress includes a quorum of crazies and nobody trusts the
White House an inch.As a friend said last night, we’ve become a banana republic
with nukes.

Like I posted recently, we are witnessing the fall of the American empire. This is the final result of almost thirty years of Reaganomics.


Cafferty On Palin

Jack is one of my favorite people on TV. Not because he makes statements but because he has the guts to ask questions.

I was watching 60 Minutes last night and I saw three idiots from a University prattling on about how they would be comfortable with Sarah Palin as President. Really? You've got to be kidding. I wasn't too enamored with the concept of Hilary as President but boy, I would vote, donate and jump through any hoop before I'd let Sarah Palin roll her brood up onto the Whitehouse lawn.

Take a look:

Les Misbarack

Change we can believe in...with music!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Let me paint you a picture.

The Wall Street Corporate Welfare Package is almost ready to go. It will feed the American addiction for fast fixes to complex problems.

Remember, we don't even know the right questions yet: how much will it really cost, where did the Wall Street collapse come from and how will it really effect normal, middle and low income people?

So let me paint you a picture.

The American Economy is like a table. It gets held up by quite a few legs and is fairly resilient and strong. Think of a hardwood table made of Amish barnwood from Pennsylvania. They are built incredibly well and last hundreds of years.

We have this piece of legislation to save Main Street/Wall Street that seems to be getting "bipartisan" support. Thus John McCain and Joe Lieberman should be having epileptic fits right in the middle of congress. Bipartisan is a new, favorite word for politicians. I have to think it means compromise for both political parties with a great outcome for politicians but a huge loss for normal citizens like you and I.

The American Economy has many legs however 4 major support legs are actually on fire. The top of the economy is us. Taxpayers.

The first leg is the most obvious, Wall Street. I don't buy the whole concept put forth by pundits that Wall Street was innocently participating in a pyramid scheme that was bound to collapse. I read some of the mortgages that were percolating to my mailbox starting 5 years ago. They were shady, they continue to be shady and it was obvious to me than that the model wasn't sustainable. Financial companies could not keep issuing these mortgages without an eventual collapse.

I have the benefit of having worked with large financial companies for the last 13 years and I can absolutely tell you nothing happens by accident or without full knowledge and disclosure within the organizations.

Don't be fooled; attempting a quick fix for this problem won't fix our entire economy, it may not even fix this problem. The United States needs to define the problem first and consult some intelligent people before we solve it. There's no quick fix, no easy answer. $700 billion is a straight piss away of cash.

The second leg of the table that is burning is the cost of fuel. The Republican controlled government (plus Joe Lieberman) ushered in higher petrol costs and Americans are getting comfortable with the $3 to $4 prices. We were shocked into this. The problem is the doubling of petrol costs trickles into heating oil, natural gas. You name it. Cost of food, clothing, every consumer good essentially needs to rise to offset the cost of increased manufacturing and distribution cost. Oh yes, the cost of raw goods, like say, plastics also goes through the roof. $700 billion for Wall Street will have zero impact on the cost of gas.

By the way, the second burning leg gets more expensive as we delay looking for real alternatives to be used nationwide INSTEAD of gasoline. Drilling offshore is an expensive short term solution that won't solve our energy dependency needs. Nor does anyone want spent fuel from a reactor sitting in their backyard (oh ya, nuke power plants can get kind of messy and still take some time and money to build). This is a national security issue becaue our power grid is so critical and so is our national supply chain. Maybe we should be looking at some other alternatives like modernizing railroads.

The third leg on fire is the fleeing of jobs across borders. This might be obvious to some, especially those that have trained their replacements in another country. Welcome to maximin theory folks (maximizing profits and minimizing costs). When your job flees to South America, Eastern Europe or Asia, let me know if that business school training still makes so much sense and feels soooo good. I doubt it.

Jobs are critical at all levels of our society. They give people a sense of purpose and there is honor in labor well done. The revenue generated by people at work is key to our economic ecosystem. When our neighbor is out of work it hurts everyone. For every dollar your neighbor spends it keeps a couple of other people in the community employed and producing. Forget growth, we can't survive without a high employment rate.

The fourth leg that is almost burnt to a cinder is the war. Regardless of whether it was right or wrong, we can't afford it anymore. The government has gone from a substantial surplus to a substantial debt. To keep pursuing it fiscally is insane. Let me spell it out:

We don't have enough money to continue the war.

We just don't have it. And McCain is very wrong about cutting further into the government budget. As was said in the debates, if earmarks are $18 billion and represent government waste (which is not necessarily true by the way) and we assume another $5 billion to $10 billion can be cut, that still pales in comparison to the cost of the war. The war is nearing a $trillion$.

It doesn't take an accounting genius to see that we have a huge fiscal crisis at home and we're spending like crazy in multiple wars simulataneously. By the way, most war historians will tell you that opening multiple wars on different fronts is a "bad" idea. Historically, how many wars have been won that were fought with no allies on multiple fronts? Folks, as much as anything else; it's a resource issue. We don't have the resources to do this. And by the way, it also has the added benefit of being wrong.

We also have a nice fire under the tabletop of the US Economic Table. It's called health insurance. It's so important that it isn't really even a leg, it's part of our base in the economy. Without delivng too much into a discussion that is already well under way; our healthcare system is severely out of whack for everyone but the most wealthy. Healthcare is largely un-affordable for most Americans. No news there. But with the other 4 fires we have in our economy, how long will it be before people that get sick or need major medical help won't be able to pay? How long before the healthcare industry is looking at a major bailout?

Oh yes, and there is the nasty little turd someone left under our table that has come to be known as the auto industry. Years of willfull ignorance on the part of overpaid Detroit auto executives just took a dump under my burning table. It will take roughly $25 billion to get the stain out of my carpet along with the damage done to the table from the fire. And by the way, that $25 billion clean up bill comes with no guarantee whatsoever that jobs for Americans will get saved. Fancy that.

Ok, so we have a pretty large table with four of the main support legs on fire and smoldering at the base. Perhaps this isn't the time to do a quick fix? Maybe we want our government to step back and look at this, maybe do a quick study on the problem with some of the great minds we have in this country? Maybe we need a plan, not a fix.

I'd like to have as much of the fire out as possible before I put anything else on this table.

One thing is for certain, there aren't any easy answers and our table is still on fire.


Did Obama Win The Debate?

Much of the post-debate conventional wisdom seems to give Obama the win. This is based upon viewing Obama's kalm and kool performance against McCain as strategically smart, sort of a political "rope-a-dope" ploy that had the effect of showing McCain as an angry old man and Obama as someone voters can be comfortable voting for.

Maybe the majority of the pundits are right and I'm wrong, but Maureen Dowd and I are in agreement about Obama's debate performance:

Given the past week, the debate should have been a cinch for Obama. But, just as in the
primaries, he willfully refuses to accept what debates are about. It’s not a
lecture hall; it’s a joust. It’s not how cerebral you are. It’s how visceral you
are. You need memorable, sharp, forceful and witty lines.
Even when McCain
sneered, “I don’t need any on-the-job training, I’m ready to go at it right
now,” Obama didn’t directly respond,
but veered off into a story about his father being from Kenya and how he got his
name. (Thanks, Barack, we got that from your book. It’s great for a
memoir, but not a debate.)
McCain kept painting Obama as naïve, and dangerous,
insisting that he “doesn’t quite understand or doesn’t get it.”
Obama should have
responded “Senator, I understand perfectly, I’m just saying you’re wrong.”

So we'll see in the next debate if either candidate changes their tactics.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Funny Sarah Palin Joke

Jimmy Kimmel:

"John McCain showed up without running mate Sarah Palin, which is a shame
because she actually has a lot of experience with financial matters. You know,
she lives right next to a bank."

Nasty McCain, Cool Obama: The First Debate

McCain was nasty but came off as the more decisive, continually hitting Obama as not understanding Iraq and being inexperienced. Obama made some good points, but his demeanor was too mild. McCain scored the kind of rhetorical jabs that resonate with people, Obama did not. I would say that McCain clearly won the debate on points even though neither candidate scored a knockout. Democrats, no matter who they nominate, seem to be unable to duke it out with Republicans on the level that appeals to average voters, who are not sophisticated and tend to view debates like they are sporting events. Silly little phrases like "you don't understand" mean nothing substantive but mean everything to voters with sports fan mentalities. Republicans like McCain know how to play the rhetorical game. Obama does not. Too bad. I think Obama's chances were not helped by last night's debate.


Friday, September 26, 2008

I have some ideas about the economy....

Ok, so I've heard a substantial amount of criticism about the bail out plan. I'm actually tired of hearing all the bitching and political nonsense around this problem. It was inevitable, something anyone that could read recognized more than two years ago and needs some dynamic thinking to get fixed. So here are some ideas to get us on the mend:

What if we stopped spending hundreds of millions in Iraq this week by recalling our troops?

Why don't we cut the military's budget by at least 40% immediately and mandate that a certain % of the existing budget be focused on the veterans (has to be a whole number above 10%).

By the way, I think weapons and heavy military spending are a waste of cash and we seem to be out of it as is. Who are we kidding? The military needs to be a little smarter about how we spend our $$$. The war and our military spending reminds me of someone sitting with a max'ed out credit card buying stuff on HSN at 2 am in the morning. We can't afford anymore cheap cubic zirconia weapons of mass destruction yet we seem to keep buying them as the clock goes down and our interest rates go up.

Let's go on:

Why can't we convene a special investigators office out of the GAO and the Treasury to audit (yes, audit) the records and information from the top Wall Street offenders? At the end of the audit, we'd have a complete idea of what was spent, where and what is owed (and to whom).

Why are we in such a hurry for a quick fix? I've seen no proof that this problem can be fixed by spending our way out of it? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Why can't we, meaning our government, look at this a bit more like a long term infrastructure project:

  1. Map out the problem. Do an audit of the system as well as of the offending companies.
  2. Weed out the offending companies and put an immediate stop to bad trade practices.
  3. Map out the business problems and come up with proposed ideas or solutions.
  4. We have some of the brightest minds in the world, why can't we convene a panel from our top schools, top business leaders and ordinary people that stand nothing to gain from a multinational bank or financial institution?
  5. Maybe we can ask some people that aren't total screw ups like the Swiss? Maybe there are people in this world that are doing things differently and looking at the same problems different ways.
  6. We should set a real time frame to solve these issues. Let's face it, this is borne out of American's addiction to getting things without having the money to pay for them. So set a timeframe out for a fix and live with some pain and hassle for a while. Not everything is easy.
  7. At the end of the project the American people should have an infrastructure to better support our finances and way of life. Kind of like our roads, sewer, water and power grid. They aren't perfect but they are vastly more predictable.
  8. One more thing, we need to put in place laws and regulations that penalize people and companies that take advantage of our free market. Some of the millionaire motherfuckers that outright stole from the most needy in our society (such as senior citizens and those that can't help themselves living below the poverty level) need to get ass raped in prison, repeatedly.
  9. How about we spend a minute or two looking back on history and considering past solutions to current problems. We seem to not give a shit about history in this country. We had this thing called "The Great Depression". Ponzi schemes and scumbag financiers put us there. How did we get out of it? We've had several crisis in this country before this one and I don't seem to remember anyone chucking $700 billion on the fire and hoping that everything gets better. That kind of reasoning hasn't worked so well for our country for the last 8 years.
Ok, anger aside, our representatives can no longer blow George Bush and his minions ad nauseam. Democrats, you can be replaced as well. This isn't rocket science here folks. Thousands of years of great thinkers and civilizations have risen and fallen before us. One thing to consider though: while we screw up the rest of the world is learning from our mistakes at lightspeed. While we march around with collective head up our nationalistic asses waving the flag and jabbering on about how America is free and the greatest country in the world, our enemies and allies alike are putting controls in place to keep the flailing, spastic Americans from tanking their economies again. If you think we look silly now wait until the rest of the world puts up its' collective nose at us and tells us to come back when we learn to be civilized.

I have some experience climbing out of holes and I can tell you it is much harder to climb out of a deep hole by yourself. And when you aren't a millionaire and you have a kitchen table full of unpayable bills, the world can feel pretty damn lonely.

Seems like right now we're acting like children minus parental supervision. We need to do better than this.


PS I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey. Remember what Dave says: The borrower is a slave to the lender. We need to stop being borrowers to start a road to recovery.

Why Sarah Palin Is Babbling

Blogger Matt Yglesias offers an explanation of Sarah Palin's increasing level of incoherent babble:

"It’s possible that all this cramming is causing Palin to become less
coherent — instead of just parrying questions she knows she doesn’t have good
answers to, she’s trying to remember canned lines but it’s too much all at once
to actually get right."

It would be funny if it were not so tragic. This person could well be the next president of the United States!


The NY Times Asks: What About The Rest Of Us?

From today's New York Times lead editorial:

Any bailout bill must allow struggling homeowners to modify their mortgages
in bankruptcy court. Mr. Paulson should drop his opposition now. If he won’t,
Congress should insist on the bailout for homeowners.

Except that Congress is almost half Republican and Republicans oppose any plan to allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages to help homeowners.

Look out today for what could be a major bloodbath on Wall Street. With Bush's own Republican House members in open revolt against his bailout plan, there is no "agreement" and so we''re back to the real risk that our financial system could collapse Great Depression style. This is what we've come to with the era of Republican sponsored reliance on the market, combined with deregulation. Thank Ronald Reagan, who got the "government is the problem" ball rolling, and the two Bushes, especially Junior, whose tax giveaways to the rich and whose war of choice in Iraq has run the county's debt to record proportions. Meanwhile Americans still continue to support John McCain, according to the most recent polls. They haven't suffered enough, apparently, and want a third Bush term.

What we're seeing may be an American fall of the empire.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bush: Dear Leader Finally Speaks

From today's New York Times lead editorial:

It took President Bush until Wednesday night to address the American people
about the nation’s financial crisis, and pretty much all he had to offer was
fear itself. There was no acknowledgement of the shocking failure of government
regulation, or that the country cannot afford more tax cuts for the very wealthy
and budget-busting wars, or that spending at least $700 billion of taxpayers’
money to bail out Wall Street and the banks should be done carefully,
transparently and with oversight by Congress and the courts.

The Times doesn' think much of either McCain's or Obama's leadership in this crisis either, although they're harsher on McCain and his ploy to postpone the debate Friday. It does look like the outrage of the American poeple has put the brakes on any blank check for Wall Street.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stan Kenton - Maria

From Stan Kenton's mellophonimu period in the early 60s. This sound is incredible!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome To Autumn!

Yesterday marked the autumnal equinox for those of us here in the Northern Hemisphere. Autumn is my favorite season, and the onset of Fall is a pagan holiday that I celebrate with great joy. Here is my "Autumn Altar," with lit candles to help the waning sun provide light, a bit of Sake to warm the heart, and the Old Farmer's Almanac to remind me of where we are in the rolling year.

Last evening's holiday meal is fit for a pagan (and a heart disease patient): red kidney bean curry served over brown rice with asparagus spears drizzled with olive oil and Naan bread. For dessert: Lemon pudding.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vote NO On The Bailout!

Click on the title of this post to send your protest of the latest plan to redistribute wealth upward to the rich:

Congress has no right to give the White House and its Secretary of the Treasury the power to transfer the people's money to the richest bankers in the country. Vote No to the Bailout legislation. The Bailout legislation is being rammed through Congress in a matter of days. This is an illegal power grab by the White House and their richest friends on Wall Street. The Legislation allows the Treasury Department to appoint the same bankers who created the crisis to administer and dictate the use of trillions of our tax dollars. It is also one of the biggest transfers of wealth from working families to the ultra-rich in the history of the United States.
Congress should help families stay in their homes. Wealthy executives should be forced to disgorge their obscene profits, fees and bonuses that made them ultra-rich while they ran the economy into the ground.
I will be watching your votes on this and remembering your actions come election day.

James Kelly

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yet another dump on Democracy...

From the NY Times Today:

"The Obama and McCain campaigns have agreed to an unusual free-flowing format for the three televised presidential debates, which begin Friday, but the McCain camp fought for and won a much more structured approach for the questioning at the vice-presidential debate, advisers to both campaigns said Saturday."

In the article, there seems to be some "wrangling" over debates. Please Mr. McCain, yet another pile of shit on democracy? Hell, you've been prattling on about town halls and Obama for the last 4 months. Why would you be so afraid to have you and Sarah Palin debate like the rest of your colleagues before you? Afraid of Joe Biden? Afraid of Barack Obama?

Why the fear?


Young Jesse Colin Before You Came

Once upon a time...there was great music...

A reality based society...

My Friend Janet just sent me this and I think it is spot on:

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight :
If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If , While governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If your husband is nicknamed "First Dude" with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA your family is extremely admirable.

Much clearer now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Bush Junior Has Wrought

Americans need to be told a more fundamental truth: This crisis is the
result of a willful and systematic failure by the government to regulate and
monitor the activities of bankers, lenders, hedge funds, insurers and other
market players. All were playing high-stakes poker with the financial system,
but without adequate transparency, oversight or supervision.
The regulatory
failure, in turn, was grounded in the Bush administration’s magical belief that
the market, with its invisible hand, works best when it is left alone to self
regulate and self correct. The country is now paying the price for that

New York Times editorial 9-20-08.

Have we had enought yet of the Republican-conservative hatred of government and regulation?


Friday, September 19, 2008

Stan Kenton - The Peanut Vendor


Dump The Republicans - VOTE BLUE

America Blog reader "John" wrote this:

How many times do we have to hear:

We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to fix Social Security.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to fix Medicare.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to provide health care to ALL Americans.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to help out Americans losing their homes.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to help all our veterans returning from war.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to rescue "no child left behind".


We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out Bears Stearns.
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to pay for an unnecessary TRILLION DOLLAR war.

When the LITTLE GUY needs help, they scornfully say, "GET A JOB!"But when one of their BIG GUY CRONIES need a bailout, what do they say? SURE, NO PROBLEM. Where's the checkbook?"But what about the debt we're leaving on the backs of our childen and their future?""Children? WHOSE Children? OUR children won't have to pay for this. YOUR children will."The Republicans have had their hands in our pockets for well over 8 years.Now they are robbing us blind IN BROAD DAYLIGHT and smiling about it!!!!The Republicans have shown their true colors and now they expect us to vote them back into office?What's next? Should we bend over and spread 'em? Oh, I'm sorry, but we've ALREADY DONE THAT!!SEVERAL TIMES!!!Vote for REAL change this November.VOTE BLUE

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Cafferty File

Go out to Jack Cafferty's blog on CNN and do some great reading. While I don't always agree with what's said I invariably agree with Jack's questions. He asks good one's and it is really great to check out and see what your fellow citizens are saying.

Ask questions, read and get different perspectives. You don't need to be a Rhodes Scholar to figure this out.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fiscal Republicans?

$85 Billion to fix AIG?
$620 Billion for Iraq?
$720 Million a day for war in the middle East?
$20 Billion for the auto companies?

Who's going to pay all these bills? Red States, come on, pony up some cash from all those cheap cigarettes and barbecue you eat!

Why am I on the hook for this?
For all of the bailouts:
Bear Stearns
The auto companies (approximately $20 billion)
I have seen absolutely nothing in writing to indicate the impact of losing these venerable institutions. I haven't seen the hard questions get asked:

Will giving these people huge sums of taxpayer dollars help anything or just prolong the problem?

Why did the CEO's of these companies still get to walk away with millions?

Look, when I go out to eat, at the end of the meal a waiter or waitress brings me a bill and I read it before I pay. Shit, that's just common sense folks. I can't tell you all how many times I've received the wrong bill! The point is, even when I don't have the time to really think about my spending, I still spend at least a couple of minutes reconciling my tab after friggin dinner!

So why do I have to let all of these experts, you know, the people that fought regulation (and still say government sucks) go ahead and write checks from my children's piggy bank? Aren't these the people that didn't ask the hard questions when every financial institution was racking up debt with no way to pay?

No, no, no. I have some questions before we continue this bailout. I have a distinct feeling that this isn't a bailout, it's a corporate handout. I haven't seen one single piece of legitimate justification from the GAO (General Accounting Office) detailing what kind of multiplier effect these so called bailouts have or will have. We have seen no justification from anyone anywhere.

And by the way, the government let Lehman Brothers die a painful death this week and they still owe $613 billion (yes, with a b). Who's coming up with that money? What is the impact on the government budget of writing these huge checks? How do I know the money will be spent appropriately? Lest we forget we seem to be trusting the people that just drove their own car into a wall!

By the way, everyone is asking how this massive meltdown could happen. I think it isn't as simple as pointing at a weak executive branch or a flacid congress. But I think asking questions of our congressman is a start. Maybe they should be pushing a little less cash at the Middle East and spending a little more time here at home watching the cookie jar.

By the way Mr. Congressman, who's going to bail the poor shlubs like me out? See, I have this problem, it's called "personal responsibility". I am responsible for what I do: if I drive too fast, I get a ticket. If I spend too much, I run out of money. If I don't work, I don't have money. If I borrow money, I'm supposed to pay it back. Maybe it's time to stop dodging hard questions and take responsibility for your actions.


McCain Sucks - Gloves Off

OK here goes. The current financial meltdown is due to the last 40 years of Republican/Conservative hate of government and hate of regulation. Let greed run rampant and get the government out of the way of corruption and greed (except call the Feds back in to bail out the worst offenders.) That was the Republican/conservative program and now the chickens are coming home to roost. It's time that boobus America wakes up - you have been ROYALLY SCREWED by Reagan/BUSHONE/ and BUSHTWO. Wake the fuck up! If you put that lying sack of shit McCain in office with the wicked witch of the North the hateful bigot Palin you WILL GET WHAT YOU FUCKING DESERVE!


Brad Pitt - A Hero In Life As Well As Film

"Because no one has the right to deny another their life, even though they
disagree with it, because everyone has the right to live the life they so desire
if it doesn't harm another and because discrimination has no place in America,
my vote will be for equality and against Proposition 8," Pitt said Wednesday. -
Yahoo News

Mr. Pitt donated $100,000 to preserve marriage rights for all in California - including gay and lesbian people. Pitt and Angelina Jolie are true humanitarians and great people.


Maureen Dowd Home Run!

Read Maureen Dowd in today's New York Times. Sometimes I find her satire ineffective, but today's column is hilarious!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mister Roberts Gets Rid of The Republicans

Marc - Are You Going To Be OK?

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. on Monday said it would
cut 24,600 jobs and take a fourth-quarter charge of almost $2 billion as part of
its recent acquisition of IT services giant Electronic Data Systems.

My friend Marc, who contributes to this blog, works for HP. I sincerely hope this does not hurt you, Marc.

I see that Ms. Fiorina (the former head of HP and now an advisor to McSame) got something like a $21 million dollar severance package when she left. PIG.


Blame Conservatism For The Economic Meltdown

From today's New York Times lead editorial: certainly not too soon to look beyond the current crisis to the flaws
and fallacies of the anti-regulatory ideology that has held Washington in its
grip since the Reagan years and allowed the financial excesses that are now
stressing the system to the breaking point.
Making and enforcing new rules
is necessary, but that will not be enough. The nation needs a new perspective on
the markets, one that acknowledges the self-destructive bent of unfettered
capitalism and its ability, unchecked, to wreak havoc far beyond Wall

Yes, dear old Ronnie, so beloved by the knee-jerk conservative set, started us down the path that has lead to the current near collapse of Wall Street. The excesses of deregulation have come home to roost. Reagan also began the welfare for the rich program by gutting much of the progressivity out of our tax structure. Saint Ronnie Reagan,, indeed!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Ember Week!

From Wiki:

"In pagan Rome
offerings were made to various gods and goddesses of agriculture in the hope that
the deities would provide a bountiful harvest (in June), a rich vintage (in
September), or a productive seeding (in December). Others point to much more
specific Celtic origins, linked to the
Celtic custom of observing various festivals at three-month intervals: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh
and Samhain."

Of course, some Christians coopted these special days and made them into Christian religious days, but I celebrate them they way they were originally intended, as pagan festival days. This week's ember days are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


McCain-Palin Lies Exposed!

The drumbeat is increasing about the sleazy, lie-filled Republican campaign against Obama. Some observers are telling Obama to play it coll, stay on message (against McCain, not Palin) and let the avalanche of Republican sleaze bury McCain. Others are calling for Obama to fight back. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the next couple of months.


PHOTO: Dahlias in pots on our deck at the beach.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Friedman's Lament: McCain-Palin

"Who cares how much steel John McCain has in his gut when the steel that today
holds up our bridges, railroads, nuclear reactors and other infrastructure is
rusting? McCain talks about how he would build dozens of nuclear power plants.
Oh, really? They go for $10 billion a pop. Where is the money going to come
from? From lowering taxes? From banning abortions? From borrowing more from
China? From having Sarah Palin “reform” Washington — as if she has any more clue
how to do that than the first 100 names in the D.C. phonebook?

- Tom Friedman in today's New York Times.

Yet boobus America, or half of it, is ready to elect McCain and his clueless female Alaskan put bull with the bouffant hair. Go figure.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Herbert: "Dimwitted" Americans May Elect McCain-Palin

John McCain, who is shameless about promoting himself as America’s ultimate
patriot, put the best interests of the nation aside in making his incredibly
reckless choice of a running mate. But there is a profound double standard in
this country. The likes of John McCain and George W. Bush can do the craziest,
most irresponsible things imaginable, and it only seems to help them

- New York Times columist Bob Herbert

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) The Simpsons - Homer 's Colonoscopy - Promo

This is a really funny excerpt about a serious issue, colon cancer. Everyone needs to be screened starting at age 50 I believe or earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer. I had two polyps removed when I was 50, and so I must have colonoscopies every five years. The preparation is the harder part; the procedure itself is nothing because they sedate you lightly and you wake up having felt nothing. If you are one of those many people who are putting off getting checked out - GO! NOW!

McCain Dishonest And Dishonorable

"...we do not have a serious pick for the vice-presidency in the GOP,
do we? We have an absurdity. And a joke."

"John McCain is dishonest and dishonorable. That much we now know. "

- Conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan, one time Bush supporter and one time admirer of John McCain.

Sullivan's fierce criticism of the Republican ticket is raising eyebrows...including mine.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Obama's Latest statement On Gay Rights

This is one of the questions submitted by the Washington Blade, followed by Barak Obama's answer:


If DOMA is repealed fully or in part, the federal government most likely still could not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships performed by states. Would you ask Congress to pass federal enabling legislation that would require the federal government to recognize civil unions and/or domestic partnerships performed by states so that same-sex couples joined in civil unions or domestic partnerships could obtain the same federal rights and benefits of marriage that you have called for?


I support the notion that all people — gay or straight — deserve the same rights and responsibilities to assist their loved ones in times of emergency, deserve equal health insurance and other employment benefits currently extended to heterosexual married couples, and deserve the same property rights as anyone else.
If elected, I would call on Congress to enact legislation that would repeal DOMA and ensure that the over 1,100 federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally recognized unions.

ABC investigates Sarah Palin's book censorship

ABC investigates Sarah Palin's book censorship

Mayor Palin may not have actually banned any books, but she fired the librarian two weeks after the librarian said that she would not remove any books from the town's library. Palin is a religious right happy camper member of the "Assembly Church OF God," whatever that is. Look at the video...they're real religious "wingnuts."


September 11

Seven years ago today I was out here on Fire Island enjoying a beautiful late summer morning, when I received an email from a friend telling me to turn on the television set to watch what was happening in New York City. Later on during the day I walked down to the dock on the Great South Bay where the residents of Cherry Grove had gathered in shock to watch the smoke plume from Ground Zero, which was clearly visible 60 miles away in Manhattan.

This morning we had a beautiful late summer sunrise here in Cherry Grove, which I enjoyed as I remembered what took place seven years ago.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

McCain Lacks Character To Be President

McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the
character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more
important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The
alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain - no one else - has proved it.

- Andrew Sullivan

Of Fish, Pigs, and Lipstick

The Repubs are all in a tizzy this morning over Obama's comments about McSame and change. "You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig," says Obama, and you can "wrap a fish in newspaper but it still stinks." This, says McSame, is an unfair, sexist slap at Palin.

Really? I think it's a pretty good analysis of the McSame program.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Repubs in 1 Minutes

Hey, here's the whole Republican Convention in one whole minute! You get the idea...

Monday, September 8, 2008

The McCain Carnival

As I have made a point on this blog numerous times, it is time to ask more questions. The whole Palin discussion, repeated Gaffes by John McCain and the antics of the Republican National Convention are all part of the Republican re-election carnival.

Wake up people, Liberals, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Libertarians, what ever you feel like labeling yourself. The whole Republican campaign is a never ending street game.

What do I mean by a street game? Well, if you lived or worked in New York City for more than a week, you know what a street game is. A street game is a couple of guys that set up a table and play a shell game or do bets on a card game. They've been largely outlawed in NYC but they can still be found. Or you could go to any carnival or state fair. They have motor cycles and high end gaming systems hanging from the rafters; all you have to do is get a ring around the top of a jar. Everyone wins it, right?

These games are all rip offs. Designed to part a fool and his money. The current McCain show is shooting to part a fool and his vote. Don't be fooled, this guy and his cronies:

Support Big Oil
Tax Cuts for the wealthy
He has essentially no plan for the economy
He has no plan at all for healthcare
Will continue to ignore education and support the "no child left behind crapola".
Doesn't support troops before and AFTER they've fought.
Is heavily supported by lobbyists.
Wants endless war
Not a paragon of "family values"

and on and on. He has been up GW's keister 90% of the time.

This guy is bad news and we have a very solid competitor that will definitely work with congress to turn this mess around. Remember, before GW we had a surplus and jobs were still getting created in THIS country. We are losing more jobs now than in any recession prior.

Vote for anyone else but McCain.


Banned Books by Sarah Palin

For those of you giving the bounce to John McSame because of Sarah Palin, here's a list of books she tried to have banned from the Wasilla library. This is forgeting for a minute that she tried to fire the librarian when she wouldn't pull the books at Sarah's request...

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John> Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowlin
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

Still interested in what Sarah Palin thinks? Still interested in her history? I'm a little more interested in why John McSame picked another loser as his running mate.

As a matter of fact, I'm more interested in how Obama is going to dig us out after 8 years of Republican rule.

Folks, look away from John McCain's sphincter for one minute and look at Obama. The guy that may help pull us out of this mess. Hey and by the way, you may also want to look at some of the highly intelligent people running in November as well that won't take a massive dump on the Constitution. Al Franken in MN. might be a good place to start.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Zaius Nation

Jump on out to Zaius Nation and check out his take on Sarah Palin as well as the wonderful Republican Convention in MN. Truly not to be missed.....


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Milk Trailer (HQ)

In case you haven't seen this yet.

Looks great! I can't wait for November.


Palin, A Scandal We Can Look Forward To...

Well, Palin Troopergate is in full swing with the McCain suppression and denial rolling forward in full force.

In a revealing Newsweek article this week:

"In a move endorsed by the McCain campaign Friday, John Coghill, the GOP chairman of the state House Rules Committee, wrote a letter seeking a meeting of Alaska's bipartisan Legislative Council in order to remove the Democratic state senator in charge of the so-called "troopergate" investigation."

I am eternallly curious. Why would anyone stop an investigation? If Sarah Palin and crew have nothing to worry about, than why not let the investigation roll forward? Why not ask for a bi-partisan set of investigators? I'm also curious, if she thought that her Ex-Brother in law was so dangerous to herself and the state, why not build a case for firing him like every other employer has to do?

Says volumes, doesn't it? It means that if these people are elected, starting right at the top we can look forward to the further destruction of the executive branch of our government. I'm accountable for my actions. The big problem with Republicans and specifically the two running for the oval office is that they don't seem to be accountable for anything, ever.

Don't elect these people. No way, no how.


Politics In America: A Nation Of "C" Students

Here is Michael Moore commenting on the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican VP candidate. But he is really saying much more about the average American, the people who make up a large part of the electorate; the same people that elected George Bush twice...and the same people that could possibly elect McCain-Palin:

"But before everyone gets all smug and self-righteous about the Palin selection, remember where you live. You live in a nation of gun owners and hunters. You live in a country where one out of three girls get pregnant before they are 20. You live
in a nation of C students. Knocking Bush for being a C student only endeared him
to the nation of C students. Knock Palin for having kids, for having a kid who's having
a baby, for anything that is part of her normalness -- a normalness that looks very familiar to so many millions of Americans -- well, you do this at your own peril. Assuming she's still on the ticket two weeks from now, she will be a much tougher opponent than anyone expects. You live in a country that voted for Dan Quayle."
It's scary, isn't it? We live in a country heavily populated by uneducated, unsophisticated people who can be easily manipulated by right wing demagogues on talk radio and right wing politicians waving the flag, praising God, and demonizing gays and immigrants.

This is why the Democrats, who should be a cinch to win the white house this year after eight disastrous years of Dubbya Bush, are in danger of losing the presidency in November. Bill Clinton won by becoming more like Republicans...moving to the right, and "triangulating" (being all things to all people.)

Obama is not that type of Clintonesque unprincipled politician, I don't think. He and Biden need to make a strong case that they will best serve the interests of the average American rather than the rich; that America can once again be great in the eyes of the world; that diplomacy and alliances are more valuable than "go it alone" military force; and that all Americans should have jobs and health care. Obama and Biden need to hammer home small "d" liberal democratic values, not Democratic Leadership Council centrist claptrap. Maybe then they'll will be able to convince Moore's "nation of C students" to vote Democratic.


Friday, September 5, 2008

One Blogger's Advice For Sarah Palin

Blogger Richard Rothstein has some advice for Sarah Palin:

Sarah, sweetheart, go back to Alaska and feed your hideous self to one of those
Polar Bears starving to death because your political party thinks global warming
is a leftist plot to lower the value of your stock portfolio.

...and this is mild, compared to what Rothstein calls the Republican Vice Presidential nominee on his blog site (Proceed At Your Own Risk.)


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Carly Fiorina and McCain's Character

One thing I haven't seen in the whole McCain campaign has been people from Arizona articulating what an amazing job this guy has done for the state. I'd actually kind of like to know that. I live in a CT and Chris Murphy is one of our representatives. Frankly the guy is incredible.

He's accessible, he responds to personal emails and I've seen the guy REALLY introduce legislation to help small businesses in Connecticut. Connecticut is a really harsh state for small business. Taxes are high and the cost of doing business is high. So I see Chris Murphy talking at a Stop and Shop (of all places) asking regular people what they think. And not just what they think about small business but about the war in Iraq, the economy and about our schools and education. At least he is asking.

Back to John McCain. I'm getting the "Daddy knows best young man" vibe from him, just like the rest of the Republican party. I don't need another father, mine did a good job thanks. I need a president that will represent the constituents that elected him regardless of prior committments, character and any other crap that can be dredged up. Hence my discussion: where are all of the folks from Arizona that love this guy? And why do they love this guy?

Ok, one last thought. I was watching the Republican convention and they had old Carly Fiorina up there spewing her crap. As someone that had a chance to see her in action firsthand at HP, I can tell you that without a doubt, she is probably one of the most morally corrupt characters anywhere. Where and how can I make such an assertion? Through close personal observation. Through watching her out of control, "let them eat cake" management style at HP. Carly is driven exclusively by opportunity and ego and love. Yep, she has an undying love for herself that parallels no other. If her ego was materialized into a Twinkie it would have no cream filling and weigh roughly six tons (paying a little homage to Ghostbusters).

The fact that John McCain has aligned himself with someone that laid off thousands of Americans and than sent their jobs straight to India should tell the voters volumes. Carly's view of America is the same as many of the Republican elite. Think Charles Dickens and Oliver Twist England and you are on the right track. You are either a dirt poor serf or landed gentry. Nothing inbetween.

7 Houses equates to "Landed Gentry". McCain and Carly deserve each other. Don't put them in the White House. I guarantee you'll see Carly again if you do and next time, she'll be picking up the mantle from Condi Rice. Wouldn't that be nice?


Can't stop puking

After watching about 10 minutes of Newt Gingrich and Joe Lieberman I had to go walk my dog. I felt like I was going to puke. That isn't an exaggeration or a joke. I actually could feel the hamburger I ate for dinner on its' way back.

I'll cut to the chase; the Republican party really isn't a party at all, it's a movement, a way of life. And that way of life is a way that only reacts to problems, looks for easy answers and doesn't actually ask any questions (easy or hard).

The last part of the above sentence is key. That not asking questions part. Human beings can't solve problems until we understand the questions. We can't have any meaningful debate or hope that our elected representatives represent their constituency.

The Republican's did a Hail Mary last night and used the same kind of nationalistic crap the Bush Co. has been using since they architected a war for oil in January of 2001 (please don't be fooled by the cheaply printed "Country First" signs all over the convention).

All I can say is that the hamburger I was pushing up has more substance than what I saw last night. By the way Newt, I saw you jumping the reporter from MSNBC about Sarah Palin. You were right, she has some significant experience that means alot to Republicans; cronyism, scandals and a total disregard for the environment. You were right, she's an absolutely perfect choice.

I hope the American people see through this sham. By the way, I am not so sure the Republicans that re-elected Joe Lieberman in CT are too happy with their choice either. The guy has sent many more $$$ to Baghdad than helping to create new jobs in New Haven. Stop by New Haven some time and see how Holy Joe's city is doing. Besides Yale University (which will always be there)the next biggest employer is iKea. Ever try to live off an iKea salary Joe?

Regardless of how I feel, a reporter Walter Shapiro said it best in an article today "Why should the voters, worried about the economy and weary of war, reward the party of George W. Bush with another four years in the White House?" Ask the questions.


McCain: The Big Oil Candidate

With his choice of Sarah Palin — the Alaska governor who has advocated
drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and does not believe mankind is
playing any role in climate change — for vice president, John McCain has
completed his makeover from the greenest Republican to run for president to just
another representative of big oil.

- Tom Friedman in today's New York Times

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bush's October Suprise: WW III

From The Jerusalem Post:

The Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, has called off an operation aimed
at infiltrating and sabotaging Iran's weapons industry due to an assessment that
a US attack on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program is imminent, according to
a report in the country's De Telegraaf newspaper on Friday.

So Bush may start yet another war in the Middle East, and of course we'll need to elect John McCain to insure that we have the leadership we need in wartime.


Sarah Palin's Social Conservatism

Sarah Palin does not want me to be able to get married. She's a "social conservative," which means that she brings her personal morality to bear upon her governance. Well, Mrs. Palin, your teenage daughter is pregnant out of the wedlock institution that you are so eager to deny to me and my partner of 25 years. Can you understand why this makes me think of you and yours as no more than a bunch of right wing, moralistic, bigoted thugs? I actually don't care about your daughter getting knocked up. That's her problem and yours. But do me a favor, and stay the hell out of my life plans with my partner. You have no business stopping us or anyone else from getting married. Clean up your own house.


Brooks On Palin

My worry about Palin is that she shares McCain’s primary weakness — that she has a tendency to substitute a moral philosophy for a political
philosophy...She underlines McCain’s strength without compensating for his
weaknesses. The real second fiddle job is still unfilled.

Conservative columist David Brooks in todays New York Times.