June 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

Via Kos:

"In the end, Senator McCain and President Bush are like two sides of the same coin and it doesn't amount to a whole lot of change."

- Hillary Clinton

Thats awesome! I want to buy that t-shirt.

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June 26, 2008

Feeling Low

Bill In Portland Maine is one of my favorite DailyKos writers. (Hunter is way up there too) Bill's letter to President Bush expresses exactly how I feel about this Administration, and reads like a laundry list of the crimes and follies that have brought our country to its current, lowly state. Here it is, in its entirety.


Dear President Bush,

It's been awhile since we talked. Just busy, I guess.

Anyway, I want to Congratulate you. You win. In fact, you win big-time. It's time for me to admit it: you came, you saw, you kicked ass.

Over the course of the past seven and a half years, you and your wingman Dick Cheney have gotten virtually everything you demanded, much if it without a fight. You used a national tragedy to clamp down on Americans' civil liberties and launch a war against a country that neither caused that tragedy nor threatened us at all. You pretty much halted government-supported scientific research and environmental protection in their tracks. You did nothing to solve the health care crisis. You politicized the Justice Department. You worked hard to breach the church-state levee in the government, and then played patty-cake while the real levees collapsed into countless people's back yards. You gave big business (especially big oil, big finance and big military-industrial complex) free reign to "self-police." You made your elite base very, very rich, while using your shiny lapel pin to awe-strike your poorer, more ignorant base.

I mean, you are so talented that you even managed to break the Census Bureau. My gosh, even Reagan couldn’t figure out how to do that.

And through it all you avoided repercussions. Even losing GOP House and Senate majorities hasn’t slowed you down much. There's so much raw evidence to impeach your ass that it would be as easy as Dick Cheney shooting a lawyer in the face. The rap sheet is a mile long. Yet you remain 100 percent unscathed, threatened by nothing more than a pretzel getting stuck in your craw. That's amazing. My peasant hat is off to you.

Seriously, all you've "suffered" (if you can call it that) is low approval ratings. Big deal. As long as you have your 25 percent "base" that thinks you walk on water, you can do anything you want. Smirk. Dance. Ride your bike. Wave. Swagger. Intimidate the Democratic leadership with the word "Boo!", beat the traditional media so senseless that when you say "jump" they put on rocket shoes and blast off for the stratosphere. Smirk some more. Clear some more brush. Hell, you can do pretty much anything you damn well please.

So, sincerely: congratulations. You may have wrecked the country and your party, but so what? You got everything that you, George W. Bush, wanted out of your time in office. You should have no regrets, since you telescoped your intentions to everyone well in advance (yes, even back in school). And in seven months you'll retire and open up a Texas-size think tank disguised as a presidential library that will perpetuate your propaganda and your policies. ("Oh look, Heritage Foundation...you have a baby brother!")

Many will say your administration was a failure, but that only works if they're thinking about the welfare of the country and its 300 million citizens. Your presidency was never about them (just ask the Supreme Court)---it was about you taking care of your circle of rich, power-hungry, war-mad cronies while simultaneously setting out to prove how much the federal government can suck. On that score, you may indeed be the best president ever.

Love, Billy

P.S. Hugs to Laura and the twins.

Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Congratulations, indeed. It does seem that Bush not only set out to be the most destructive president in American history, but one would almost think that he wanted to be the last president as well. How's that for a legacy? "The President Who Destroyed America." I can't think of a title more desired by every anti-American extremist on the planet. So well done Sir, you have made the "tera-ists" dreams come true.

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June 24, 2008

Pop Quiz

"I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology,"

Was this statement made by:

  1. John McCain about McCain supporter Pastor John Hagee
  2. George W. Bush about Cheney's dark, bloody rituals on the White House lawn
  3. Bill O'Reilly, describing...well...anybody
  4. John McCain, on Pastor Hagee's claim that Katrina was God's Punishment for New Orleans' tolerance of gays.
Answer Below The Fold


It was a trick question, sorry. This ridiculous comment was made by James Dobson, child psychologist, and founder of Focus on the Family.

The crazy right wing advocate who sicks his flock of rabid Jesus-sheep on every "social issue" to cross the table.

The man with no formal theological training of any kind.

Yes, the same Dobson who defended conservative cohort Mark Foley's inappropriate conduct with underage male Congressional pages as "sort of a joke."

From the guy who actively campaigned against anti-hate crime legislation, using scriptures to back his stance, thats a pretty bold assertion.

The best part is he accuses Obama of modeling a "fruitcake" view of the Constitution.

A man who hasn't seen the inside of a classroom, as a student, since the 60's, telling Obama, Class of 1991 from HARVARD LAW and a former teacher of Constitutional Law, that Obama's interpretation of the Constitution is incorrect.

Words escape me.

Update: Looks like a group of pastors and other rational Christians has started a website to oppose the religious distortions of James Dobson. Check it out and show them some love.

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Texas GOP passes Theocratic Platform

The Texas Republican Party Convention has just ended and their platform has been set for this election cycle. The Texas Freedom Network has delved into the document and highlighted some key points, but really this is the same document the party has used for the last three election cycles. The platform calls for religious zealotry and the destruction of separation of church and state. The party's assault on religious freedom for all people, regardless of beliefs, has been renewed once more. The far-right extremists once again pushed a platform that calls on government to promote their own religious views above all others, here are some highlights.

  • The Texas GOP declares that "America is a nation under God founded on Judeo-Christian principles" and that the party is pledged "toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state." [pp 18]
  • "We support school subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America's legal, political and economic systems." [pp 17]
  • "We oppose any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) or other religious symbols." [pp 11]
The platform also reaffirmed support for policies that undermine public schools, sound science and medical research.
  • The GOP would challenge the teaching of evolution in science classes by promoting "intelligent design"/creationism and the so-called "weaknesses" of theories such as evolution. [pp 17] The platform does not recognize that evolution is the foundation of all biological sciences.
  • Texas Republicans "oppose any sex education other than abstinence until heterosexual marriage." This position prohibits teaching students age-appropriate, medically accurate information about birth control and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections. [pp 17]
  • The party not only rejects medical research involving embryonic stem cells, it calls for imposing criminal penalties on medical professionals and scientists who engage in such research. [pp 14]
  • The state GOP supports shuttling millions of dollars from public schools to pay for private and religious school tuition through tax-funded vouchers. It opposes requiring that private and religious schools, even those receiving tax-funded vouchers, meet any state standards and other regulations set for public schools. [pp 16] The platform also calls for the abolition of property taxes, which provide nearly all local funding for public schools in Texas. [pp 21]
  • The party supports granting the heavily politicized State Board of Education sole authority over content in and the adoption of public school textbooks. [pp 16] In 1995, due to hundreds of changes in textbooks to meet personal, political and religious objections by the state board, the Legislature limited the state board's authority.
  • Texas Republicans call for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and government-sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development. [pp 16, 17]
Page 19 of the platform declares that Texas Republicans "deplore all discrimination." Yet the platform also calls for widespread and systematic discrimination against those who are not heterosexual.
  • The platform calls to support "sodomy" laws in order to fine and/or imprison adults who engage in private, consensual sexual intimacy with someone of the same gender. [pp12]
  • The party would push for a federal constitutional amendment banning any state from permitting same-sex marriages or any other legal recognition of or benefits for same-sex relationships. Issuing marriage licenses or performing civil ceremonies for same-sex couples would constitute a felony charge. [pp 12]
  • The party supports the repeal of the state's hate crime statute. [pp 19]
And to top it all off we have the platform trying to trash what good the Texas government has done or is trying to do.
  • The Texas GOP opposes any taxes or regulations designed to deal with the serious threat of climate change. [pp 21]
  • The platform calls on the state Legislature to transfer the powers and funding needed to investigate and prosecute charges of government corruption (such as former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land) from the Travis County Public Integrity Unit to another body. [pp 11]
  • The party opposes mandatory vaccination programs for infectious diseases that endanger children in public schools and the general public outside them. [pp 16]
  • The state party reaffirmed its hostility toward the international community by calling for the U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations as well as the World Trade Organization. It also opposes measures, such as the Endangered Species Act, that protect the environment. [pp 9]
  • The party supports the repeal of the minimum wage laws. [pp 22]
There are many more topics including opposing women's reproductive rights, threatening judicial independence, and weakening civil/equal rights that are included in the document and if you have a few hours and are ready to get your mind blown I suggest you try and read the full document. Then maybe you'll have a better understanding why the school system in Texas is about to get blown to shit, because it is run by neocons who are in bed with the religious right and the GOP to steer education toward their spiritual beliefs.

In all honesty this isn't a new document, but you would think that eventually the party would come to terms with the fallacy of Judeo-Christian superiority.

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June 23, 2008

This is the Truth

There is a new statement on the Science Creative Quarterly's list of truths and I love it.

"It is always wiser to side with an overwhelming expert consensus than with a celebrity endorsement."

If you're curious, the celebrity I'm thinking of is Jenny McCarthy, but there are plenty of other celebs hawking products that don't work, false ideas, and sometimes even cults!

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Why Offshore Drilling is a Pander

"The worst thing we can do as a nation is taking the easy way out. ...If you start opening up offshore drilling, then you are buying time and you are not addressing the fundamental problem with fossil fuels." -Lindsey Graham (one of McCain's top boosters)
Sounds like a pretty reasonable argument to me, but for some reason that argument has changed lately. Now Graham and McCain are supporters of legislation that would open a 27 year moratorium on offshore drilling. This is a political pander and nothing more. 8 years ago, while running for the Presidential nomination, John McCain espoused on the reasons offshore drilling would not help Americans in the long run, now the tune has been reversed and he is going public with his idea that offshore drilling will lower prices of oil and open up a new supply of domestic oil. The only problem with this is that it will not help. This is simply a political line that Republicans are using just like they used terrorism in 2004. People are scared of rising gas prices squeezing extra income from their households, scared that they will have to start sacrificing the needs of their family simply to commute to work or the grocery store. And these are real concerns unfortunately, but let's look at why an expanded offshore drilling program will not address the issue of price or supply.

First, in 2006 legislation was passed that opened up 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration. From these 8.3 million acres there has been a 0% increase in US oil production, the returns have yet to be seen. The federal government also leased 91 million additional acres for domestic production, most of which is going unused. So we know that opening up offshore drilling will not produce benefits within 2 years. We also know that there is plenty of offshore drilling space that has been granted but is yet to be used, so why do we need more? We really don't until we have used what has been granted so far, but don't take it from this liberal Dem, here's Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a Republican, calling out McCain:
"For anyone to represent that someone drilling off the coast in Florida is going to lower gas prices here or anywhere in this country is disingenuous and a flawed argument...Oil drilling could take 10 years before any oil is pulled out of the ground, and there are a large number of leases held by oil companies that are not being exploited right now. We can't say we need more until we've exploited these."
But wait Marco, John says "There are areas off our coasts that should be open to exploration and exploitation, and I hope we can take the first step by lifting the moratoria...[drilling] would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis."

Well let's ignore the fact that since 2006 (the short term) we haven't seen any help in resolving our energy crisis or help with gas prices since opening up about 100 million acres to drilling. What do you need to get to the oil at the bottom of the ocean? Ships.

Unfortunately for us there are no ships! This New York Times article says that the world's existing drill-ships are booked solid for the next five years. And shipyards have ramped up production on new ships, unfortunately they fall prey to the same workings of every market and with the increased demand, the price of the ships have increased. In fact, in Asia (where most shipbuilders are located) the prices of a drill-ship have increased over $100 million a vessel to about a half a billion dollars. All of this demand also raises the price of running the rigs as costs for the newer rigs have reached about $600,000 a day, compared to $150,000 a day in 2002. Even those in Big Oil, like the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry trade group, says drilling offshore is unlikely to provide Americans with more oil for at least 7 to 10 years.

So we've seen that what he have opened to offshore exploration has not yielded any results (we are talking about short term relief, right?) and that even if we allow drilling we don't have the capabilities to exploit it. The third problem facing John McCain's idea that offshore drilling will ease short term fears about oil is that there simply isn't that much oil down there. Let's hear what people from the Bush administration have to say about the supply of oil offshore (Remember that McCain is running on a platform of being less oil dependent as well as easier on the environment).

From the Energy Information Administration (Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government) we have a report that says reserves found on the outer continental shelf for the lower 48 states will yield enough oil to supply the U.S. for 2.5 years at our current consumption rate. 2.5 years is not enough to make a difference in our supply, and what happens after we've exhausted those 2.5 years worth of oil? Where do we go drilling next to lower the price of oil? Unfortunately the answer is probably the north pole (which is a whole other can o' worms) where technically nobody owns the land or rights to drill, can't wait for that war for resources.

So we have established three points against the ability to relieve our dependence on foreign oil and alleviate rising gas costs. 1) Past legislation opening up offshore drilling areas has yet to yield any rise in production and has done nothing to alleviate the price expansion over the last two years; 2) There is a shortage of infrastructure (ships) that is required to extract oil from deep sea floors; 3) The supply of oil in proposed drilling areas will provide at most 2.5 years of oil at our consumption rate.

It should be clearly established now that either the McCain campaign has done little research and doesn't understand the requirements to extract oil from deep sea floors or they are trying to give the voters a false sense of security in an election year. This is the definition of a pander, expressing views during an election cycle that will resonate with the fears of the voters in lieu of the fact that the policy will do little to change the situation. So next time you hear John McCain talk about how he is doing everything he can to help the public pay less for gas, or that his opponent doesn't care about the welfare of the people, make sure to do a little fact checking yourself to determine if there is value in what he is saying, or if he's just playing off of your fears of $5/gallon gas.

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