Friday, October 09, 2009

A Great Statement

that needs to be embraced by those wanting real health care chnage.

"Madame Speaker, I have words for Democrats and Republicans tonight."

"Let's start with the Democrats"

"We as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest minds in our party, dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote on health care reform. I want to remind us all that Olympia Snowe was not elected President last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population."

"What America wants is health care reform. America doesn't care if it gets 51 votes in the Senate or 60 votes in the Senate or 83 votes in the Senate, in fact America doesn't even care about that, it doesn't care about that at all. What America cares about is this; there are over 1 million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bills. America cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that there are 44,780 Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care, that's 122 every day. America sure cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition, even if you have health insurance, it's not covered. America cares about that a lot. America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don't need any. America cares about that a lot. But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities, America doesn't care about that at all."

"So we have to remember that as Democrats, we have to remember that what's at stake here is life and death, enormous amounts of money, and people are counting upon us to move ahead. America understands what's good for America. America cares about health care, America cares about jobs, America cares about education, about energy independance, America does not care about processes politicians or personalities or anything like that."

"And I have a few words for my Republican friends tonight as well. I guess I do have some Republican friends."

"Let me say this; last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there are 44,789 Americans that die every year according to this Harvard report published in this peer reviewed journal because they have no health insurance. That's an extra 44,789 Americans who die who's lives could be saved, and their response was to ask me for an apology."

"To ask me for an apology?"

"That's right. To ask ME for an apology!"

"Well, I'm telling you this; I will not apologize. I will not apologize. I will not apologize for a simple reason; America doesn't care about your feelings. I violated no rules by pulling this report to America's attention, I think a lot of people didn't know about it beforehand. But America DOES care about health care in America."

"And if you're against it, then get out of the way. Just get out of the way. You can lead, you can follow or you can get out of the way. And I'm telling you now to get out of the way."

"America understands that there is one party in this country that is in favor of health care reform and one party that is against it, and they know why."

"They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation"

"They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace they would blame him for destroying the defense industry."

"In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tommorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon."

"But that's not what America wants, America wants solutions to its problems and that begins with health care, and that's what I'm speaking for tonight."

This is from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fl)


Friday, September 04, 2009

More Ignorance on Parade

Funny, but depressing to think that there are this many misinformed people out there (some of whom work very hard to stay misinformed).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Boy, I Have Underestimated The Fun Factor

of the family values crowd here in South Carolina.

First we have our Governor exploring the joys of an open marriage and now we have his choice to head the S.C. Board of Education who, it appears, enjoys publishing erotica.

Hypocrisy in action, right here is South Carolina.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

So, Why Did Palin (R-Ak) Resign?

Could it be to spend more time with her family? Or maybe, to spend her time getting ready to make a run for the White House.



There are other reasons


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Small Note of Support for Gov. Sanford

So, he had an affair; big deal.

Sanford, unlike so many others on the right (as recent examples Vitter, R-La, Craig, R-Id and Ensign, R-Nv.), has not used faith as a keystone of his candidacy and term of office. At least. as far as I can remember, he has not aggressively worked to deny gay rights or promoted himself as a warrior for christ etc. Now, part of the reason may simply be because in South Carolina you don't have to work that hard to put these laws in place, but his actions, at least from my perspective were far less vile that those of many others on the right.

Sanford's affair is not nearly as hypocritical as the actions of so many of the other fallen on the right were. Yes, he relied the religious right for votes, yes he appointed their leaders to various positions in the government and yes he talked in their language (as he did when confessing today), but he was not really one of them. He was an anti-government libertarian and loathed public education but while he dabbled in religion he was not driven by it.

So while I opposed most of his policies, felt that most of his ideas are somewhere between foolish and idiotic and still think he is one of the worst state governors in the country, this affair is, on any level other than his family's,nothing of import. It does represent a personal weakness but we all have those and I will not condemn a person for that.

Ensign bragged about his promise keeping, Viter framed almost all his policy arguments around using the government to promote his religious beliefs, Craig voted against gay rights for decades, while engaging in homosexual activity. Their falls all involved specular hypocrisy. Sanford's actions don't come close to this level of disgrace or two faced behavior.

So I will say this, his cheating on his wife is, in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. It is a personal issue and like Clinton's affair, not worth worrying about simply because Sanford, like Clinton,(and unlike Ensign, Viter and Craig) didn't seem to spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to get his policies into the homes and bedrooms of others.


OK, so maybe he is as big a hypocrite as Viter, Ensign and Craig


It appears the I will need to avoid any trivia questions about South Carolina politics in the 90s.

During the 90s Mark Sanford demanded that two politicians involved in affairs resign their elected positions, so his options are now very limited, resign or be a typical republican hypocrite


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

To me, it's obvious

The Air France flight broke up in flight, maybe at a very high altitude, and so far almost no media outlet is mentioning it.


Of course, if becomes far less obvious if every one of the debris fields are simply ocean trash and not from the crash.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Independent Asset Acquisition

I could decide that my economic situation was dire and that I didn't have the time or inclination to do the hard work to earn my way out of my predicament.

So, I could then go out and get a couple of lawyers friends to write a 'legal opinion' for me that could serve as my justification for my actions, It could be claiming that Independent Asset Acquisition and the use of threatening negation tactics while in the process of Asset Acquisition was perfectly acceptable if my situation was dire enough.

Then, I could try to use this justification and walk into my nearest Bank of America with an AK-47 and demand all the cash in the joint.

That doesn't mean it isn't bank robbery and I won't soon be going to jail.

It seems that some in the Bush Administration thought that something like this should work. They said, lets just claim it isn't torture (despite that fact that we convicted Japanese soldiers for doing precisely this), and bippity bobbity boo, it perfectly OK.

I am still amazed that our national press has not yet wised up to that fact that simply calling torture "harsh interrogation techniques" doesn't somehow make it not be torture, or make its use in any way legal.

About 60 years ago we sent men to jail, and executed a few, for these actions, about the same time we wrote and signed a treaty making these actions an international crime, 35 years ago we denounced other nations for engaging in like behavior, and after all of the time and effort demanding proper behavior from the other nations of the world, we have folks that pretend that by changing what we call torture, we have somehow made it legal and acceptable.

I am sorry, but that is simply wrong, on about every level.

And one other note to the Obama Administration;
Following World War II we made it clear to Captured War Criminals, even the low ranking ones, that just following orders is no excuse for engaging in torture and other war crimes. Assuring those who actually preformed the acts of torture for our nation that they are clear of legal responsibility is not a great way to uphold this standard of behavior. Just a stray thought.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What A Breath Of Fresh Air

We have a christian historian pointing out the foolishness of the
Christian Nation Argument.

The fact that some parts of the Declaration and/or Constitution are not in conflict with verses in the Bible does not mean that the Bible was the source. This is especially important when -- as in the case of the Declaration and the Constitution -- the authors claim other sources, but do not claim the Bible as a source!
In a May 8, 1825 letter to Henry Lee, Jefferson identifies his sources for the Declaration's principles. He names as sources: Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and (Algernon) Sidney -- he does not mention the Bible. Then again, the terminology in the Declaration is not specifically Christian -- or even biblical, with the exception of "Creator." The term "providence" is never used of God in the Bible, nor are "nature's God" or "Supreme Judge of the world" ever used in the Bible.

In the hundreds of pages comprising Madison's notes on the constitutional convention (and those of the others who kept notes), there is no mention of biblical passages/verses in the debates/discussions on the various parts and principles of the Constitution. They mention Rome, Sparta, German confederacies, Montesquieu, and a number of other sources -- but no Scripture verses.

In The Federalist Papers, there is no mention of biblical sources for any of the Constitution's principles, either -- one would think they could squeeze them in among the 85 essays if they were, indeed, the sources; especially since the audience was common men who were familiar with, and had respect for, the Bible. The word "God" is used twice -- and one of those is a reference to the pagan gods of ancient Greece. "Almighty" is used twice and "providence" three times -- but neither is ever used in connection with any constitutional principle or influence. The Bible is not mentioned.

These are not little details and are facts that anyone who wants to argue the history and intent of the founding of our must understand. Yet we still see an army of liars for Christ trying to invent a false history that fits their world view and justifies their political objectives.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Celebrating Reason

A couple of bright spots in the effort to see reason valued as a keystone in any decision making.

First, today is Darwin's' birthday; Observation and the application of reason led him to one of the great scientific discoveries. It defines most of modern biological science today, including much of what is done in the medical field.

And in the Medical field, the anti-vaccine forces have suffered a major defeat.

Vaccines didn't cause autism, court rules

special court ruled Thursday that parents of autistic children are not entitled to compensation in their contention that certain vaccines caused autism in their children.

"I must decide this case not on sentiment, but by analyzing the evidence," one of the "special masters" hearing the case said in denying the families' claims, ruling that the families had not presented sufficient evidence to prove their allegations.

Something to celebrate on Darwin's day

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

B106 and a Trillion Dollars

My morning commute is fairly short and fairly regimented. One of the habits that has been refined to an automatic behavior is my radio listening.

I start with SC-ETV radio until the local programing starts at about 749, then I move over to B-106 (Pop music, local traffic, quick news, weather) until I get to work just before 8am.

Today during their 'humor' portion of the morning news they started talking about the economic recovery act and just how much a trillion dollars is. They mentioned the twelve zeros, the lay 100 dollar bills side by side and circle the earth 30+ time, the number of years a trillion seconds is (30,000+) and other fun facts.

The one they didn't mention in their subtle efforts to discredit the bailout.

A trillion dollars is about how much we have spent on the US military, every year for the last for years (including the war effort costs).

I wonder how and why they missed that 'fun fact'?


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not At All Surprised

Haggard faces more gay-sex accusations

Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard's former church disclosed Friday that the gay-sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard

This man's faith taught him that homosexuality is a vile sin and then he, as a leader of his faith, spreads that gospel of hate. At the same time he speaks against our gay population, a very weak kneed Haggard is engaging in gays sexual acts (with prostitutes and young members of his congregation). Haggard denounced gays from his pulpit, on the political battle fields he fought to deprive gays of most civil rights all the while he was working very hard to keep the truth about his own sexuality buried, from America, his church, his family and maybe even himself.

Nothing new, it is common, seen among many christian sects but it is a vile behavior none the less.

What is most disgusting, both on the part of Haggard and his old church, is the on going effort to 'rehabilitate' his image. Haggard seems claim that he was the hurt party and has been made to suffer, at the same time he and his old church are still aggressively covering up his homosexual and predatory behavior. He has preached hate toward homosexuals, he has made claims that gays were involved in disgusting sinful actions and they they where not worthy of being full members of our society. At the same time he engaged in the very activity he claimed was a great wrong. When discovered he first lied, then when presented with overwhelming evidence of his actions, he fled; leaving behind him a vaguely worded confession and an ongoing cover-up at his old church.

Just another indicator that homosexuality is a natural part of the spectrum of human sexuality, and that any damage done to society on this issue comes not from the out gays, but from those who preach that homosexuality is wrong.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our House Is Burning Down

And we are offered stale failed old ideas.

Governor pushes budget cap, ending corporate income tax, proposes truce with Legislature


Gov. Mark Sanford outlined a mix of new and old ideas in his annual State of the State address he felt would improve the state economy, improve education and streamline state government.

Lets see what our leadership has offered. He wants more tax cuts, school choice, a budget cap and more power for the executive branch. That sounds a whole lot like it Stanfords plan when things were working well. This is an amazing one size fits all solution, no matter what it happen in our state, nation or world, these are the steps we need to take to advance. The economy is going great, cut taxes and give us state paid access to private schools, economy is tanking, well, lets see, lets cut taxes and give us state paid access to private schools.

In addition, these ideas sounds a lot like what we have been doing in DC for the last few years, and we all see how well that worked out.

What I find most interesting is the insistence on more tax cuts. In light of the impact of last years tax cuts, they were the direct cause of our current budget crisis,.

Economists suggest that worst effects of national economic downturn have yet to hit state

The hundreds of millions of dollars that have been cut thus far this year from the state budget have more to do with recently approved tax cuts than the faltering economy, state economists say.

Ominously, they think the worst of the nation’s economic problems have not yet hit South Carolina.

it takes great courage (or a firm adherence to dogma over reality) to continue to push this idea when considering the national economic situation.

I guess they think that our the last tax cuts were so successful that another is obviously a great idea. Of course you have to understand the goal of those who want these cuts, they do not like government, they want to kill government, and the surest way to do that is to keep it so poor it is impotent that it is useless.

and it appears to be working.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Evolution, In Action

Creationist and the rest of the anti-science crowd are a funny bunch. They denounce evolution as a lie, as imposable, as never occurring. Then we see something like this.

Tamiflu, the Roche Holding AG drug for influenza, can’t fight most infections that have been diagnosed in the U.S. flu season so far, health experts said.

More than half of the flu viruses that have been analyzed in the U.S. this season are of the H1N1 strain, said Joseph Bresee, chief of influenza epidemiology and prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Virtually all the H1N1 viruses the agency has tested, 72 of 73, are Tamiflu-resistant, he said.

The emergence of Tamiflu-resistant strains that can spread easily from one person to another makes it more difficult for doctors to use drugs to treat people who are at high risk of severe flu complications, such as pneumonia, he said.

Yep, that's evolution. The environment changes (Tamiflu is created) and the species (the H1N1 virus) has to adapt. The members of the species that can change and resist the new threat (Tamiflu) continue on, those who don't die off.

These changes occurred over the time frame of just a few years, imagine the changes that can be seen over millions (hundreds of millions) of years. It is quite simply evolution, the same forces that enabled the virus to change to survive exposure to Tamiflu have, over the eons, created the great diversity of life that we see on out planet.

I am left wondering just how ill-informed or downright dishonest all the evolution deniers are. How can you ignore all the evidence to pretend something so obvious is not occuring?


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Fantastic Judicial News

Enron’s Skilling loses appeal

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld former Enron Corp. CEO Jeff Skilling's convictions for his role in the once-mighty energy giant's collapse


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Al Franken Beats Coleman

The votes have been counted, the counts have been checked and the disputed ballets reviewed. Now that it is all done it is clear that Al Franken (D-Saturday Night Live) wins by 225 votes.

Now it's off to court we go, since Coleman has made it clear that if he lost he would sue to overturn the result.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

They Lie Like Rugs

Since the moment that the Discovery Institute lost its Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case ( the lawsuit that beat back the efforts to force a scientific lie onto the children of the Dover area ) the fine folks behind the effort to sell Intelligent Design to the schools of the United States have been trying to spin their defeat as the result of anything but it's base cause; The idea they are trying to sell (Intelligent Design) is a silly fantasy with no scientific basis.

Their most current effort has been an attack on one of the expert witnesses. As is the normal case when dealing with these people, the attack is BS and is quickly debunked.

The scientific reality, of course, is entirely different. First, there’s a perfectly good reason why I compared the clotting treatment in Pandas to Darwin’s Black Box (DBB). They are indeed nearly identical, and that’s because Behe himself wrote both of them. Second, Behe actually did state that the entire pathway is irreducibly complex in DBB. Casey might have skipped over those pages, but I didn’t. Third, as a result, the absence of any components of the cascade in any organism is indeed a direct contradiction of Behe’s formulation of ID. And finally, even Luskin’s “irreducible core” has fallen apart as the result of the most recent research findings on the system.

Casey seems to forget — or to ignore — the fact that Behe has never even attempted to do any scientific research to show that he is right. He ignores the fact that ID’s critics have produced a boatload of research showing Behe to be wrong while Behe himself has done no research on the system that might support Luskin. As a result, his attempts at rehabilitating the clotting cascade as an “icon” of ID are a complete failure. So, for the umpteenth time, let’s go through this again

Read the whole bit, it is quite good.


Friday, January 02, 2009

A Measured Response?

Hamas has been lobbing an occasional small rocket into Israel, a rare few of these rockets actually hit something and a few civilians have been injured or killed. Hamas claims that these rocket firings are in response to Israels past actions, using this as a very thin justification to excuse their actions.

Israel has been bombing Gaza in retaliation to Hamas' retaliation of past Israeli retaliations. So far Israel has killed almost 500 people in Gaza, the vast majority civilians. The exchange of fire is clearly not balanced, and even the Israeli defense ministry has indicated that they do not think this action will stop the missile fire.

All this blood is being spilled for very little gain. In the end I suspect that all Israel has actually done is create a few thousand more very angry people, some of who will eventually seek to retaliate against Israel for the attacks they have had to endure over the last week.

And in reply Israel will again overreact and create a few thousand more radicals for Hamas (or Hezbollah or some other group) to use to keep their cycle of violence going.

Maybe one day someone will notice that this type of behavior has a history of limited success.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

After a long break to re-charge the batteries, vacation, attend to family issues, hold thanksgiving and Christmas and time to do nothing, it is time to get back to work.

Let 2008 rest in peace and lets us all welcome 2009, praying for a far better and more equitable future for all of mankind.