Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday, Some Post Of Interest

Click on over and check them out.

At Orcinus, a look at ICE and the far right

Some very big investors are getting very nervous, at AMERICAblog.

At Informed Comment, a look at John McCain, Turkey and Iraq

And the passing of William Buckley cannot be ignored. It is marked with some legitimate praise, and some well earned contempt.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Can You Say Stagflation

Inflation is climbing, we have almost stagnant job growth, the value of the dollar is crashing, and consumers are feeling it.

We may be seeing something straight out of the 70s.

For the American public, this is just another gift of the Bush Administration and Republican economic and political philosophy. We get a grossly expensive and totally unwinnable war in Iraq, an exponential growth in national debt, increased concentration of wealth among the richest of the rich and now Stagflation.

If they were trying, I don't see how the Republicans could have done any more damage to my nation.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

OK, Who Is Telling the Truth

Sen. DeMint claims (in a foolishly partisan attack) that he has declared war on earmarks. A practice he denounces as wasting taxpayers’ money.

Next we hear from The State that Sen. DeMint is one of 13 in Congress that has given up 'pork'.

Now we have the Seattle Times reporting that Sen. DeMint was the leading pork distributer in the SC delegation, handing out over $30,000,000.00 in earmarks much of it to persons who have given over$53,000.00 to Sen. DeMint

So what is it? Is Senator DeMint the savior of the South Carolina taxpayer, or the fattest hog at the troff.

A hat tip to Palmetto State Progressive


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another I Told You So

One of the many reasons I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq what the potential for region wide instability. One of the clearly viable flash points was the Kurdish region.

For the last few months the Turkey has been engaged in low to medium level fighting against the Kurds in the border region. In the last week Turkish Ground forces have entered Iraq to chase down Kurdish separatist, and today a Turkish Helicopter was shot down and 8 more Turkish troops have been killed.

This has the real potential to be yet another Bush Administration created disaster for the US and the Middle East.

And, just more confirmation that the rest of Iraq is still screwed up, dozens are killed in a bombing near Baghdad.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday's Posts of Interest, Check Them Out

The Rev. Bid Dumb Chimp has a video that clearly shows how badly uninformed and uneducated some southern Christians are.

The scientific ignorance of fundamentalist Christians is also noted at Panda's Thumb

At the The Agonist we are reminded that there is a cost to doing business.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Infidelity and Cronyism

For John McCain to make a successful run for the White House he has to bring two groups into his camp the religious right and the independents who dislike inside the beltway politics.

If these new accusations turn out to have legs he is in deep trouble.

Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, in his offices and aboard a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s clients

Let’s see, we have potential if not actual infidelity, so his efforts at reapproachment to the religious right are severely damaged, and we have the slimy business as usual DC behavior where influence, not fairness, determines what happens to our country.

Not exactly the kind of behavior that a 'straight talking' ' maverick' should be known for, is it?


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Primaries, The Song Remains The Same.

Another week and another couple of wins for Obama and McCain.

Another week, and again the Democratic turnout in a purple state swamps the Republicans turnout. Hillary Clinton was crushed in the Wisconsin election. She was 17 percentage points behind Obama, getting only 41% of the vote. Despite this, she still had 225,000 more people vote for her than the Republican winner John McCain.

In 2004 Wisconsin was a deep purple state, with the difference between Bush and Kerry about 1%. In this primary about 1,100,000 people voted Democratic while just over 400,000 voted republican, an almost 3-1 difference.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Elections, Leadership Changes, and Good News

In Cuba, Fidel is stepping down.

"I am saying that I will neither aspire to nor accept, I repeat, I will neither aspire to nor accept the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief," Castro, 81, said in a letter posted on the Web site of the state-run newspaper, Granma.

This action should create an opportunity for both a greater democratization of Cuba, and a less confrontational relationship between the US and Cuba. It will take a little time, and will have to involve a willingness to listen and trust on both sides, but there is at least a chance.

And in Pakistan Musharraf's party and some of the fundamentalist parties have been crushed. The two big winners, Benazir Bhutto's party has won about half the seats and the Pakistan Muslim League-N party came in second. Musharraf's party came in a distant third. This means a center left and center right party now control 60-70 percent of the seats in the national assembly.

This is a hopeful sign, but with the tradition and current instability in Pakistan there is still plenty of opportunity for disaster.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Send In The Clowns

The efforts of the anti-science crowd in their attempts to discredit evolution can be quite hilarious. Their willingness to put their ignorance on public display is both astounding and comical. Two very fine examples of this have been noted recently.

First we have a Mr. Dallas Ellis, who through some grossly fractured understanding of science or just overt lying, has decided that an orange is a close relative.

Here in SC we meet Richard Koon, who apparently hopes his French poodle will soon morph into his next romantic partner.

Both men's eagerness to show everyone just how little they know is quite surprising. Traditionally, people try to downplay their weaknesses and failings, but here we have two who are showing off their stupidity.

At least it provides us with a laugh.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Science Saturday

Birds do it, bees do it even silverbacks to is, it is just, no one had ever seen ventro-ventral copulation among silverbacks before.

Dinosaurs are the next two topics. We have a tiny pterodactyl and a supersized carnivore.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Survey Time

If you have a few minutes Please take my Blog Reader Project survey.


Friday's Links

Here are a couple of links to add some information to your day.

AMERICAblog points out that there are still many things wrong with Kansas (and unfortunately the rest of the US).

How the truth found in science is perverted by some is looked at in Pandas Thumb


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Voter Turnout, Again

Tuesday’s primaries held no real surprises. Barack won all three contests, quite easily, on the Democratic side. McCain swept the night as expected. In Virginia Huckabee did put up a bit of a fight, winning all the rural western counties, but McCain did win with a safe margin.

The real story is again voter turnout.

In DC the fact that democratic turnout was vastly higher than Republicans is not a shock. The fact that 20 democrats voted for every republican is a little spurising.

Maryland is also a democratic leaning state but a 3.5 to 1 ratio, democratic to republican, is still surprising. The Democrats beat the Republican turnout by almost half a million voters.

It is the once red, now clearly purple state of Virginia where the biggest surprise is found. Democrats turned out over twice as many voters as Republicans. A total difference of another half a million people.

All total, in yesterday’s primary, the democratic canadates drew almost a million more votes than the republicans in a total voter pool of only 2.5 million voters. In every election Hillary, who was beaten badly, still beat the Republican winner (McCain) by wide margins.

The trend of democratic and independent voter enthusiasm for Barack and Hillary continues.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How Very Inquisitional Of Us.

One of the many interesting details about the inquisition was how torture was used. There were strict rules in place to control the whole process. One of those was a confession under torture could not be accepted until affirmed by the suspect while they were not being tortured.

It appears that the Bush Administration is following similar rules.

FBI and military interrogators who began work with the suspects in late 2006 called themselves the "Clean Team," and set as their goal collecting of virtually the same information the CIA had obtained from five of the six through duress at secret prisons.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Seeking The Death Peanlity

The US wants to put to death 6 Guantanamo Bay detainees as punishmnet for their actions related to the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington.

While I am not philosophically opposed to the death penalty and the demise of those who were directly involved in attacking the US will bring me some joy and no grief; I do have grave concerns about any legal activity where some of the evidence presented by the prosecution may have been praduced by torture.


TWAW - The war against terror, inspired by Snead

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama Stuns In Maine

This state was considered to be in play, but a lean to Hillary. The democrats turned out in mass, but voted overwhelmingly for Obaba. He is the projected winner, beating Hillary, with 58% of the vote


Obama Feeling Good, McCain Sick

Obama had a great Saturday, winning all three contests and holding Hillary to under 40% in every case.

John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, had a rough night. The last week, especially after Mitt's withdrawal, the media dialog was that Sen. McCain was the man. Well, the man's won in Washington with 26% of the vote, he lost to Mike 'fried squirrel' Huckabee in both Louisiana and Kansas (in fact he was destroyed in Kansas).

Sen. McCain could be, within his own party, the least popular nominee in recent history.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

This Is What Bush Thinks Is Worth Fighting For

Since 2001 the US Government has been spying on traffic traveling through US communication circuits. There is a process to do this legally, but the Bush Administration didn't bother to follow those rules, they, with the help of some of the telecommunication companies, just tapped the lines.

When they were found you they got congress to give them some temporary authority to do this. This authority is expiring and there is great debate as to how to extend this governmental authority to spy on communications.

There is a new bill working through congress that would do just this, but Bush is threatening to veto it.

According to his administration, and some on the right, a failure to pass this law would result in attack on the US, hundreds will die, and our nation will fall. All our defenses, security and police forces will be rendered impotent if they can not continue to tap these lines. The trouble is, while the new bill would extend this right, they think it is still to restrictive.

So what is the issue that destroys this bill? There are many points in the bill that are causing debate but only one is drawing the veto threat.

The bill would not provide immunity to the telecoms for past violations of the law.

According to Bush, this bill is vital, this bill is necessary to secure our land (both BS, but let’s let that pass), yet, he has made it clear that he is willing to expose us all to grave risk to assure that AT&T (and other major corporations) will not be sued for their past illegal actions.

This makes two things absolutely clear; that this law is not that vital to our security and Bush's real concern is protecting corporations, not protecting the US.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Winners and Losers

Super Tuesday gave us a long list of winners. Obama and Clinton both have much to crow about. They each carried a numbers of states, their delegate count is very close and it is clear that the two person race in the Democratic Party has a while longer to go.

On the Republican side McCain is the clear winner (although it appears he will get less than 50% of the republican votes in his home state, that should make his a little nervous), and Huckabee appointed himself well in this home territory. John McCain has all but won the nomination. Unless he blows up, he will go to St. Paul with the votes in his back pocket.

The losers are Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.

Mitt continued his tradition of vastly underperforming for the amount of money spent. He did win a number of states, but not one that could be considered a major victory. For the republicans a trend we have seen has continued, the Democratic turnout in red and purple states is astounding.

In Alabama, Democratic and Republican turnout is about equal. In Arkansas Democrats drew about 80,000 more voters. In California, Hillary (who got 52% of the vote) may get more votes than all the republicans combined. Georgia, Clinton got beaten soundly, gaining only 31% of the vote, and still got more votes than Republican winner Huckabee. State by state the votes on the Democratic side are amazing. In Missouri 820,000 democrats voted, only 570,000 republicans; Oklahoma, 400,000 democrats 320,000 republicans, over 150,000 more democrats voted in Tennessee.

These numbers are frightening the heck out of the RNC.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Five Years Ago Today

Colin Powell walked into the United nations and used his universally high credibility to sell the idea that Iraq presented some form of real threat to the US. In 1962 this tactic had provided a home run for the US when Adlai Stevenson presented evidence against the USSR and Cuba at the UN. The Bush administration hopped that Powell’s talk could do the same

Powell's dog and pony show lacked the punch of Stevenson's but his perceived integrity was enough for most viewers to allow him to carry the day. The US's position was stated, and generally accepted as at least probable, if not 100% factual.

Only in hindsight has we learned how badly Mr. Powell had served his nation and all of humanity for that matter. We are caught in an endless occupation. Our troops continue to bleed and the number of Iraqi dead continue to grow. All of this was purchased, in part, by Colin Powell, who traded his honor for Bush's war.

Only now is the scale of the lying of the Bush administration being made publically clear. That does not mean that there were many who, more than five years ago, thought the case for Saddam presenting a threat to the US was very weak. Many of these people would not believe Bush, or Cheney or Rice but they would believe Powell.

The result is a war that has lasted longer than World War Two, and has cost more (in adjusted dollar value) than any war except World War Two.

Thanks Mr. Powell.


Monday, February 04, 2008

It's Only Money

While I have not yet had time to really dive into the budget numbers, one huge point stands out.

Defense and security spending will likely run over 1.2 Trillion dollars. I have heard that the DOD budget will run over $500,000,000,000.00, and that will not include about $200,000,000,000.00 for the wars in the Middle East. Add to that something like $500,000,000,000.00 for homeland security.

$1,200,000,000,000.00 so we can 'feel safe', not be safe (since 100% security is absolutely unobtainable), but feel safe.

PS. After security, the next highest line item went to the department of Health and Human Services, with about 65 Billion, or 5% of the ammount we are spending on security.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Not At All Suprised

A little angered, and amused.

It appears that the principals of one of the firms that edit films to sanatize them for those who are easily offended is in a little trouble. This man, who's business plan was to supply highly religious persons 'safe' movies, had some side businesses.

Thompson, 31, and Isaac R. Lifferth, 24, were arrested in Orem this week on suspicion of having sex with two 14-year-old girls.


The booking documents state Thompson told the 14-year-olds that his film sanitizing business was a cover for a pornography studio. He asked the girls if they would participate in making a porn movie

A hat tip to the Reverand Big Dumb Chimp