Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Check On Media Bias

There has been a great deal of noise made over the last 30 years about the liberal media. It is still repeated on an almost daily basis by the spinmeisters on the right but most rational people realize that while there may have been a slight leftward lean in the Nixon era, it has long since swung to the right.

As a little test I have started to spot check the web sites of CNN, MSNBC and FOX. I look at the Obama and McCain headlines on the front page and try to judge the impact, is it positive or negative.

This has only been going on for a few days so far, it is already producing some interesting and for me, not very suprising results.

Overall McCain had 8 headlines that I consider positive tword Mccain, and only 3 that carried a negative taint. For Obama the numbers were much more troubling. He had 9 Positive headlines, but 12 headlines that seemed nagitive in tone.

I am also tracking the results by network

McCain 4 Positive 1 Negitive
Obama 6 Positive 6 Negative

McCain 3 Positive 2 Negative
Obama 2 Positive 3 Negative

Fox (Started a couple of days after CNN and MSNBC)
McCain 1 Positive 0 Negative
Obama 1 Positive 3 Negative


Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Scary Science Saturday

The potential for this first time ever in recorded history event makes it clear just how advanced global climate change may be. There is a real chance that the North Pole may briefly have no ice this summer.

The chances for a total meltdown at the pole are higher than ever because the layer of ice coating the sea is thinner than ever, he said.

"A large area at the North Pole and surrounding the North Pole is first-year ice," Serreze said. "That's the stuff that tends to melt out in the summer because it's thin."

Preliminary February and March data from a NASA satellite shows that the circle of ice surrounding the North Pole is "considerably thinner" than scientists have seen during the five years the satellite has been taking pictures, NASA ice scientist Jay Zwally said Friday. He thinks there is slightly less than a 50-50 chance the North Pole will be ice-free.

Since the Reagan administration, scientists have advised us that the climate was acting in unusual ways. They have pointed out that temperatures were going up and this had implications to all of humanity. They have also stressed that these changes are caused by, or made much more dangerous by, the carbon consumption of human beings.

Since the first warnings, there has been a large portion of our society and our political landscape who contested this statement. This group, composed mostly of right wing politicians, followers and corporate stooges, at first denied that it was happening. As more evidence piled up they have worked hard to both confuse the issue and move the goal posts on the proof they demand. Even now, with all the evidence being produced they try to argue that we still don't know enough about the root cause to do anything.

This group is trading the future of our society for thier own short term gain. They don't want to have to face the hard choices that this issue could demand. The politicians don't want to tell their constituents that Hummers and 2 hour commutes are no longer viable lifestyles and the company executives want another quarter of record profits.

And it's easy to sell this inaction to the American public. The narrative created by those that deny the science fits right into the preprogramed thinking of the American right. They hate tree huggers. They don't really understand, and to some extent fear, science. Anything that is made to sound like it is coming from tree hugging scientist is easy to slander.

Even when the slander is a lie.

So here we sit, 25 or so years since the early warnings, watching the North Pole melt, while our Republican politicians and their corporate money driven echo machines keep telling us that there is no real evidence of climate change.


Friday, June 27, 2008

A Collection Of Post

for you Fridays enjoyment. Click over and check them out.

Barbecue and Politics thinks he sees someone laying down AstroTurf, and trying to claim it is a homegrown lawn.

Does Focus on the Family's Jim Dobson just make stuff up (you know, lie)? Lets Deacon Tim at Sacraments Wholesale be a witness.

Seeding Spartanburg takes on a topic dear to my heart and asks why are we Deregulating Ourselves to Death.

and the ideologically driven absurdity of Justice Scalia is pointed out at Sadly, No!.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Typical Slice Of South Carolina Stupidity

Like most of the news stations in the US, our here in Columbia have message boards where you can comment on each news story. The recent disagreement about and eventual approval of a gay-straight alliance for the school has generated alot of discussion, some of which makes is clear just how stupid and uninformed many or our residents are. Here is a truly frightening example:

Let's not forget that this nation was founded on Christian princples. This nation is allowing the minority to rule. As a parent I do not want educators teaching my children about the gay life style,or allowing my tax money to fund such a thing. Homesexuality is a choice not a right, it is an abomination against God! No wonder this country is falling a part. I for one think poverty, health care issues, homelessness amongst a few can be solved and handled without sacrificing this great christian nation of ours.

In only 90 words we find a mountain of stupidity.

Let's not forget that this nation was founded on Christian princples.

A common lie of the uneducated or dishonest christian. Our nation was founded during the enlightenment, or the age or reason. Our founders were looking for a form of non religious governance. The had countless options to force religion into the national mix and didn't do it a single time. The few time religion is mentioned it is to push religion out of government.

Our nation was founded primarily by Europeans, and they had basically christian heritages, but when building our nation they looked to logic and reason not the christian religion to craft the laws of our land.

This nation is allowing the minority to rule.

I am not sure how allowing gay students to from a club, like allowing chess players, or bible studiers or cheese lovers to form a club is letting them rule. One of the basic points of our laws is the protection of minority rights. It is quite simple, if the government allows some to do it, they have to allow all. Anyone who has done any reading of the history of our land knows this. It is a shame the this commenter is so uninformed.

Only those who are frightened about no longer being able to use the power of the state to deny rights and freedoms to others hold on to this stupidity.

I do not want educators teaching my children about the gay life style,or allowing my tax money to fund such a thing.

More stupidity on parade. The school is not teaching a single thing about homosexuality, this is an after school club. Your tax money is funding this club to the exact same extent as that they are funding the FCA or meet at the flag poll, which is about zero dollars. That said, homosexuals exist and I see no harm in their existence being acknowledged (and can anyone tell me, what the heck is the 'gay lifestyle'. Every gay couple I know has a lifestyle about as exciting as mine. They go to work, pay their bills, etc. I see nothing that unique in the lives of all the gays I know).

Homesexuality is a choice not a right,

Someone should have been paying attention in science class, or at lease done a little research prior to spouting off. Homosexuality is no more a choice that heterosexuality is, we are attracted to who we are attracted to. The only argument is; Should everyone, no matter what their sexual orientation, have the same rights.

it is an abomination against God!

Some rather backward Christians spout off this point of view, but there is little logic to their arguments. Other Christians see homosexuals as part of gods creation and see no sin in how they were created. In either case the argument is not relevant to the issue of how the state should relate to gays, since the state is designed to be neutral on religious issues, and this persons view on a homosexuals place in society is clearly motives by religious bigotry.

great christian nation of ours

Just to make this point clear, while we are a nations of Christian, we were not created as nor are we now a Christian Nation.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Irmo High School Does Well

The district school board has made a good first step and have agreed to allow the creation of a GSA club at Irmo High. They have also taken a very good second step in the effort to increase parental involvement by assuring that parents have the ability to block their child participation in clubs that they object to.

Now the district needs to take one last sept and it is an act of kindness and mercy. Relieve the principal of any conflict, pressure or concerns he may have about the GSA club operating on campus, and remove him from the school at once. He is either to bigoted or to stupid and be in charge of any educational system.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday's Links

A number of good post for all to check out, since I have been to swamped to do any writing.

The Rev. BigDumbChimp reminds us all Faith healing is not a substitute for real medicine

A good read on the Iraqi oil contracts and the history needed to understand it all, is available at Informed Comment.

The Crazies and Obama are looked at over at Orcinus.

and over at Think Progress, more evidence of the lie driven corrosive effect of Faux News.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Please Sen. McCain

Please, please, please select this under educated, religious wack job as your running mate.

Bobby Jindal (R-Gov. La.) would help you shore up the republican religious base, while providing hours of comedy entertainment for the rest of us.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Science (History) Saturday

Something very cool was found at the bottom of Lake Ontario

A 22-gun British warship that sank during the American Revolution and has long been regarded as one of the "Holy Grail" shipwrecks in the Great Lakes has been discovered at the bottom of Lake Ontario, astonishingly well-preserved in the cold, deep water, explorers announced Friday.


Friday, June 13, 2008

South Carolina's Lindsay Graham

Has been crying now that his military commissions law has crashed and burned, as it has now been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. He was sure that his effort to bypass constitutional protections would be acceptable, but it is clear that our Senator should get an F in constitutional law


Friday's Links, American Racism

Starting with Michelle Malkin and Faux News who refer to Cindy McCain and John McCain's wife, and Barak Obama's wife as his baby mama.

We have wide spread use of Obama as Curious George.

Some of the shirt creators, when confronted, use the same old I am not a racist lie.

And now we have the chimp-Obama sock puppet

One early advantage of the Obama candidacy is it is flushing a lot of racist out of the shadows and into the light, including some of those at Faux News


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When Goodies Morph Into Something Else

We all see them, and many of us get them. Hand outs from representatives of companies that we do business with. Most of the time they are small items, post-it notes, pens, and other odds and ins. A great goodie might be a lunch box, or computer backpack. Back in the good old days, as a travel agent, I was given trips. One year I was able to get 14 different trips in.

At some point you reach a dangerous point, when the goodies get so juicy that you have to wonder what is expected of you if you accept these little gifts.

It looks like Jim Johnson is the latest example of what happens when the goodies just get to good.

The questions about Johnson began after the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that he received more than $2 million in home loans that might have been below average market rates from Countrywide Financial, a partner of Fannie Mae and a leading purveyor of the kind of subprime mortgages that spawned a national housing crisis.

I love that the whole dust up is because he might have gotten a below average rate on a jumbo loan. Not that he got an unprecedentedly low rate, or actual evidence that the loan he got involved favors. No discussion of who else, and under what circumstances they might have gotten loans under similar standards.

But, for me, it doesn't matter. We do not need the people in our next administration looking for, or accustomed to getting goodies. Because eventually you begin to expect those pens, or muffins, or lunches, or trips, and eventually you quit asking yourself, what are your trading to get these next goodie.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why A Lie A Day

I have been asked in emails,more than a few times, why I named this blog "A Lie A Day". I tell them full full explanation can be found in the third definition; The Primary tool of politics used by Republicans. A few of those on the right have challenged me on this, stating that my inference that Republicans were serial liars was unfair.

I was driven to blogging during the 2004 election because it seemed to me that every day a new lie was being promoted as fact by someone on the right. During the last four years the Bush administration has furthered the impression that lies are standard issue tools of Republicans. They have use lies as their primary, often only, tool of statecraft. They lie to our allies, they lie to the congress and the lie to us, about just about everything.

And early indications from the McCain camp make it clear that this is another Bush policy that McCain has every intention of continuing. Today one of McCains top adviser told a huge lie about Obama and his tax policy.

It is nothing new, just standard Republican behavior. The fact that the media doesn't challenge these lies is also not new. One would hope after their disastrous performance in the run up to the Iraq war, they would have learned better, but they are still more like tape recorders than real investigators.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Why Abortion Must Remain A Womans Choice

and the reality that very often the choices are poor.

another doctor did an amnioinfusion, filling Vargas’s uterus with fluid to provide better pictures of the fetus. A technician held the sonogram wand to her belly, and the Vargases and their doctor watched the results projected onto a monitor near the ceiling.

“The doctor had his arms folded and just stared at the pictures,” Vargas says. “He was lost for words.”

What everyone saw above them that day was gruesome and heartbreaking. “The baby’s limbs were bent and broken, and he had facial deformities from being crushed,” Vargas says. Not only were his kidneys not functioning, but this had also prevented his lungs from developing.

Now nearly 22 weeks pregnant, Vargas had two choices: terminate immediately or wait, in which case she would miscarry at any point or spontaneously go into labor at as early as 28 weeks. If her son was still alive at his delivery, doctors warned, he would perish within a short time. And that death would likely be very painful for him.


Later-term abortions — those performed at 16 weeks and beyond — account for only 4.3 percent of the 1.21 million pregnancies ended in the United States each year, according to the Guttmacher Institute in New York City. These cases are often misunderstood, says Michael F. Greene, M.D., director of obstetrics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “Part of the strategy of [anti-abortion activists] is to demonize these women and make them into unsympathetic characters who view second-trimester abortion as a trivial decision,” Dr. Greene says. “I have never met a woman who didn’t agonize over this decision.”


Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Look Back At What Happened With Katrina

From Vanity Press some coverage on How Karl Rove played politics while people drowned.

Instead of supplying relief to the city, Rove had devised a scheme whereby he could blame the failure of government to take action on someone besides Bush.


Instead of sending help, the administration had come up with a ploy. "I was on a conference call with the White House," Adam Sharp says, "where they were saying: If you want any help, you have to turn over all control of your state to the president. We won't help until you give us control of your National Guard and your law enforcement agencies, until Louisiana becomes a federal territory.


It would not be until several days later, when Blanco's aides released the letter to the press and got frantic phone calls from Rove's aide Maggie Grant, that it became clear that Bush had taken the letter Blanco had personally handed to him -- and lost it.

And John McCain help blocked the investigation of the Governments response.


Friday, June 06, 2008

A Few Friday Links

for your enjoyment.

Dispatches From The Culture Wars looks at the latest efforts to sneak creationism into the science classroom. This has already started to pop up in South Carolina.

At Not Very Bright some reflections on the Obama campaign.

and a look at Clintons loss from Sacraments Wholesale.

Kindness and love in action, learn about it at Shrewdness of Apes.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Does McCain Have Early Stage Dementia?

His actions of late have forced me to wonder about this. I had a grandparent who did suffer from a form of non-Alzheimer's dementia that slowly progressed from mild to very very devastating.

The events over the last few weeks have led me to think that is a outside possibility. John McCain has developed a rather undeserved repetition as a political maverick. Some claim it is because he often ignored his party and did what he thought was right. This view doesn't really stand up to close review, his record this decade is far closer to one of party toady than maverick.

The other trait that McCain possessed that may have led him to develop this reputation is his habit of what might be called forceful truthfulness. He tended to call them as he saw them, a style seldom seen in DC. He was often blunt, truthful, and generally seen as being fairly sharp in his criticism.

He is still blunt, but his command of facts seems to have slipped. He repeatedly had to be corrected when he confused the Shiite, Sunni and Al Qaeda alignment. At a recent appearance it appears that he thought our troop levels in Iraq had already dropped below pre-surge levels, it isn't even close. The while making a brutally bad speech in Keener, he claimed he supported every investigation into the government's response to hurricane Katrina, when he had in-fact voted against about every post hurricane bill, including investigations.

McCain's lies and misstatements are so obvious it make you wonder how he could make them. Does he think no one will notice as he makes things up, does he not care about the truth, does he think such overt factual errors will be ignored, or could it simply be that his mind is slipping a little.

I saw this happen once, a small mis-recollection here, a fact that just could not be remembered there. I can not help but wonder could that be the case with McCain. I know, I know, he did allow a brief review of his medical history. But, at this point in my grandmothers decline, she had not yet been diagnosed, heck, only in hindsight did these early signs mean anything.

But when a man who claims expertise in Iraq can not keep the key players straight in his mind; When a man who aggressively pushed for more troops to be deployed forgets that they are still deployed; When a man claims to have supported bills he in fact voted against, you have to wonder. Is he stupid, a bad liar, or if the person is of a certain age, could his mind be slipping a little?


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama Wins The Nomination

It was hard fought, drawn out and at times a bit nasty, but it is over. Obama is now, in every media outlets opinion, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party.

What has been interesting has been the variety of views that have been presented as result of Obama's win. Some view it as one of the defining moments in the evolution of civil rights, some seem to think it is apex of evil, I suspect some in the rather racist religious right see it as more evidence of the end times.

I see it as a very rational group decision; The best candidate won. The most eloquent, best funded, most charismatic and arguably most viable option will now face John McCain.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another Primary Day

But it is also the last primary election day, thank freaking god.

When it is over, Obama will be about 20 votes shy of sealing the nomination (excluding any super delegates who may commit today), Hillary will be almost 200 votes short. She should, some time in the next 36 hours, announce her acceptance of the reality and move to officially support Obama.

At that point the real fun begins. If you think that the slimy attacks on Obama could not get any more outrageous, you are in for a real lesson on the disgusting nature of Republican politics.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Stray Thoughts

A couple of issues, and how their supports see them, have me puzzled.

Jonn McCains foes see his election as President as a fouler mouthed continuation of the George Bush years. McCain supporters deny this and claim he is very different from George Bush and his long string of mistakes, missteps, misstatements and failures.

What puzzles me is; if the McCain supporters truly believe this and are not just spinning, how do the reconcile this position with the fact that their man has voted with George Bush about 97% of the time over the last couple of years.

It appears to me that if McCain was any closer to Bush, he would be in violation of the North Carolina sodomy laws.

And, the second stray thought.

If you let people get away with ignoring the rules, how do you ever expect to make rules apply?

The DNC has voted to seat the delegations from Florida and Michigan, at half votes, for the convention. The two states that clearly violated the intent of the primary schedule have avoided full punishment for their actions. The likely result is an even earlier primary schedule in 2012 (or dare we say 2011). What puzzles me is why did cry babies from Florida and Michigan ever expect to break the rules and get away with it? What is even more puzzling; how do the powers that be in the national party ever expect to regain control of the calendar, if they keep allowing the cry babies get away with breaking the rules?