Friday, October 31

Proposition 8

Here in California, Proposition 8 is a hot-button issue. Prop. 8 changes the California Constitution to legally recognize only the marriages between a man and a woman. This not only affects future opportunities for gay couples to marry; it also affects any gay marriages that occurred after the California Supreme Court ruled a ban to be unconstitutional. It literally takes away the rights of people in gay marriages that the law has declared they deserve as citizens. Some recent articles regarding Prop.8:

Los Angeles Times: One Christian group is gearing up for what it hopes will be a huge rally for Proposition 8 -- including 12 hours of prayer and fasting -- at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday...The religious duel over Proposition 8 has simmered for months, dividing congregations and denominations. Last week, separate gatherings of African American ministers rallied for and against it during news conferences. Both sides cited the Bible in making their cases. California's six most senior Episcopal bishops declared their opposition to the measure last month, even as the issues of same-sex marriage and gay clergy threaten to tear apart the global Anglican Communion to which they belong. And in spring, United Methodist Church leaders in Southern California defied their national church by voting to support same-sex couples who marry and the pastors who welcome them. Some pastors already have officiated at weddings or played a role in same-sex ceremonies, risking their clerical credentials.

Crooks and Liars: Prop.8 spokesman compares gays to Hitler. Wow.

USA Today: "The most expensive culture war in America".

Shastras: Awesome.

Finally, a quick and effective video narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

Get Your War On: Chaos!

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Politicos Anonymous

If your reading this post, than this article applies to you.

Tuesday, October 28

10/28/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"We are fully committed to working with both sides to bring the level of terror down to an acceptable level for both." -George W. Bush, after a meeting with congressional leaders, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2001

Sunday, October 26

Infrastructure News From Last Week

Wow. It doesn't look like the infrastructure report card of a nation that takes it seriously, does it? Fortunately, people are talking about it now. Politicians, economists, and the media are picking up on the dangerous failings of our infrastructure. There is even a proposition in California - Prop 1A - that finally allows the voters to decide whether or not we should have high-speed rail line service. Finally. Yep, people are talking. Hopefully, that talk will turn into some much needed action soon. As you can see, we are dangerously overdue.

NewsHour: Ray Suarez interviews PennDOT engineer Charles Davies about bridge repair.

Washington Independent: Taxpayers will remember that the first round of stimulus efforts came in the form of direct-to-the-door rebate checks — $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples. This time around, lawmakers are focusing on infrastructure projects, social services like unemployment insurance and direct aid to states, many of which are struggling with budget deficits. There’s even an emerging effort to have green-energy investment a central focus of the bill.

The $600 rebate checks provided by the federal stimulus package earlier this year may have been popular among taxpayers, but many economists think any future effort should focus on infrastructure spending and other targeted measures.
Spending on new roads, bridges and other public works projects would create jobs and provide more of a lasting boost to the economy than another round of rebate checks, several economists said. They contend a common concern about infrastructure spending - that it takes time to gear up and may not kick in until after the recession is over - is less compelling now because the U.S. economy likely will experience an extended downturn.

Mother Jones: McCain hasn't bought into this because (I'd guess) he still doesn't really appreciate the scope of our financial problems. Plus he probably associates infrastructure projects with earmarks, so he has a Pavlovian reaction against them. Obama has done a little better, but only a little. It would be smart, both politically and substantively, for him to at least start making more aggressive noises on a big, bold infrastructure plan.

President In '08 = Ulcer In '09

I've said it before and I'll say it again, who would want this job? Aside from getting your own library, there's just no benefit. I mean, how masochistic can you get? I have just one question for whoever wins November 4th: Don't you love yourself?

A House Divided

How ironic that the words of the founder of the Republican Party should ring so true for its future. Just like in the American Civil War, the Republicans have a conflict brewing that centers around which ideology will dominate the direction of the Party. While I'm no fan of the Right, I can't wait until the 2012 primaries. Spoiler Alert: If Bloomberg wins in 2012, the Republican Party will have come back strong and might even unseat Obama. If Romney or Giuliani win, they will coast for another century or two, until another Bush comes along. However, if Palin or even Huckabee win it, the Republican Party is going to have about as much clout as the Alaska Independence Party, and within 20 years they will go the way of the Whigs.

Saturday, October 25

A Comment On McCain's NM Rally

So, MSNBC just showed a live shot of Sen. McCain stumping in New Mexico. In five minutes, McCain mentioned
  1. Joe the Plumber's loss of privacy due to Democrats meddling into his affairs because Joe "asked tough questions."
  2. Barney Frank wants to raise taxes and cut defense spending.
  3. Sen. Obama wants to tax the rich but he voted to increase taxes on people making $42,000 a year (BTW, that was an increase of $15 for a single taxpayer. $15.)
  4. John McCain has been tested and Barack Obama has not.
  5. A Democratic majority in Congress and a Democratic President would raise your taxes. (My brother said that someone should ask McCain if it would be okay to vote for Obama and then vote for a Republican for Congress. Since he is soooo worried about it.)

All of these points were made in the time it took me to pour a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. Oh, and add creamer. And stir. It was similar to the debates where McCain would go off point in the middle of a long, rambling tangent. Why not focus on one thing for a few minutes and talk about it in detail before moving on to the next topic? I have never taken a speech class but I have given speeches and jumping around like that in such a short amount of time is not conducive to a clear message. I just don't understand.

TNR: Q&A With Brian Moore

With so much talk recently about socialism, it is amazing that there is not much mentioned about Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander. Who are they? Well, they are the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the Socialist Party USA. Never heard of them? Never heard of the party? You are not alone. The New Republic Q&A is, well, weird. John Moore of The Nation also wrote a piece about Sarah Palin's recent accusations that Barack Obama is a socialist. Apparently, Brian Moore does not agree.

Maddow and Ana Marie Cox Discuss McCain Campaign's Bad Week

Friday, October 24

Get Your War On: Jump Off The Roof

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10/24/08: Fascinating Fact About The Constitution

There was a proposal at the Constitutional Convention to limit the standing army for the country to 5,000 men. George Washington sarcastically agreed with this proposal as long as a stipulation was added that no invading army could number more than 3,000 troops!

Joe The Brother

A Nightmare On Electoral Street

When you count your chickens before they hatch, prepare to go hungry.

Wednesday, October 22

10/22/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"This thaw -- took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw." --George W. Bush, on liquidity in the markets, Alexandria, La., Oct. 20, 2008

Tuesday, October 21

Florida Voting Machine

Those Who Don't Learn From History...

This article hit me the same way as the movie The Ring. I read it thinking, "Yeah this is kinda freaky, but nothing I haven't seen before," and then the shocker at the end. Hint: The date it was written. We hear the wise sayings all the time nowadays. Most of us don't heed them to often; however, we as a nation must always remember that past truly is prologue.

Sunday, October 19

Articles About Infrastructure From Last Week

Since I am constantly talking to other people about the crumbling infrastructure of this great country, I thought I would post some links to articles I have come across on the topic. I am also going to make a new label in the sidebar for this specific topic because, well, it would be easier. Here are a few links:

Huffington Post: No president has paid serious attention to infrastructure since Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had a vision for the future. His vision led to constructing the U.S. interstate highway system, the roads on which our economy has traveled for five decades. But Eisenhower's vision was for his future. That future is our past.

FresnoBee: Many of our most important public works projects have come in times of deep economic distress -- and they have been crucial elements in our recovery in those times.
Recall the Great Depression, when voters in the Bay Area passed bonds to build the Golden Gate and Bay bridges -- projects that lightened the impact of the Depression on that region and were critical to the postwar economic boom. Shasta Dam was built during the Depression, and remains a linchpin of the state's water system. The greatest public works project in the nation's history -- the transcontinental railroad -- was set in motion by Abraham Lincoln at the outset of the Civil War, the most troubled period of our history.

Market Watch: "Washington should follow Pennsylvania's lead on infrastructure investment. America's highways, bridges, tunnels, and mass transit have fallen behind because the federal government is contributing only 25 percent of infrastructure funding and the rest is coming from financially strapped state and local governments.
"In 1961, when Dwight D. Eisenhower left office, the federal government was allocating 12.5 percent of its non-military spending to infrastructure. Today, that percentage has fallen to 2.5. If Washington steps up its commitment of resources for infrastructure investment, we could create millions of jobs across the country and turn this economy around," Governor Rendell said.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: I would have the federal government send each state an amount equal to 5 percent of its current year general fund budget with the following stipulation on how to spend the money: 60 percent of the money should go to infrastructure spending on roads, buildings, airports, water and sewer projects, whatever the state’s priorities are. States could be allowed to spend the other 40 percent however they chose...People are tiring of bailouts and rescue plans. People don’t like seeing their tax dollars fly out the door to help people or businesses that seem to have created their own problems. However, this plan would send the money to people’s communities. Plus, at the end of the day, this plan will leave us with something lasting: new infrastructure that serves our community’s needs.

Powell Press Conference After MTP

This press conference of Gen. Powell after his appearance on Meet the Press was just as good as his interview on the show. Being an infrastructure nut, I was happy to hear him mention its importance twice in six minutes. And the smirk on his face when a reporter asks him if he is still a Republican is classic. "That was a waste of a question" my brother said. Yeah, like he changed his party registration before he came on the show? Whatever. Powell rocks!

McCarthyism And The Media

Feels familiar, huh?

Cmdr. Mike Lumpkin For CA-52

Rep. Duncan Hunter has decided to end his 28 year run as the representative in my district. Woohoo! Unfortunately, his son Duncan D. Hunter is running in his place. There have been signs everywhere saying Hunter for Congress and Duncan Hunter for Congress. I have a feeling that people who are not paying full attention would just assume it is Hunter Sr. It is a clever strategy. Hopefully, it doesn't work.
Hunter Jr.'s competition is Democratic nominee Commander Mike Lumpkin. This guy is awesome! He has a Master's degree in national security affairs from UCSD. He is a former Navy SEAL who fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Phillipines. Frankly, I am surprised I haven't seen any ads or neighborhood canvassing. He has a real shot at changing this district from a Republican stronghold. Think about the conversation in the Oval Office on November 5th if CA-52 changes. Personally, I want that conversation.

Here are some links to read interviews, questionnaires, and biographical information about Lumpkin:

Calitics: Lumpkin believes divisive politics are the reason America has gotten so far off track and he is committed to solving issues that transcend extreme politics. "Americans understand the urgency of working together; our deficit is spiraling out of control, we are outsourcing jobs, military families face extended deployments, the border is not secure, and Social Security is in trouble. Americans are smart, patriotic folks and we want our country back. We have too much at stake to let perennial wedge agendas hijack our national discussion," said Lumpkin.

Daily Kos: I believe that Blackwater violates the intent of the 2nd Amendment which declares "a well-regulated militia as being necessary to the security of a free State." Blackwater, and the almost 200 other organizations like them are almost completely UNregulated. The military code does not apply to them, which is highly problematic. Additionally, I do not believe it is in the best interests of the US tax payers to have to pay these contractors. Organizations like Blackwater are driving up our defense costs. US tax payers pay for the training of military experts, like SEALS. The cost of such training is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. After completing this training, they receive military pay. Unfortunately, Blackwater type organizations can pay up to $1500 per day as compared to $1500 per week and we lose many as soon as they are able. This hurts the US tax payer even more because now the military has to pay exorbitant re-enlistment bonuses to try to keep them. Then who ends up paying them their new large contract salaries? The US tax payers again.

Oxdown Gazette: “Duncan Hunter Junior expects to inherit his father’s congressional seat and not work hard by showing voters what he’s made of in a broadcast debate,” says Commander Lumpkin. “But being a member of Congress is a job—not an entitlement. In a debate he can’t ask his father what to say; he has to be his own man and stand on his own two feet.”

Washington Post: Military service
Former Deputy Commander, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Deployed to Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and the Philippines.
United States Special Operations Command Office of Legislative Affairs liaison to the United States Congress on policy and appropriation issues supporting our nation’s Special Operations Forces.

West Wing Intro: Obama Campaign

Saturday, October 18

ACLU: Ten Tips For Avoiding Problems When You Vote

1. Check your voter registration status as soon as possible.
2. Vote before Election Day if you can.
3. Locate your polling place before Election Day.
4. Plan ahead if you need special assistance.
5. Don’t wear political attire to the polls.
6. Bring some form of identification if you have it.
7. Vote early in the day.
8. Follow all instructions.
9. Ask for help if you need it.
10. Take your time.

For more details, click on the post title.

Please Censure Rep. Bachmann

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) is a nut job. I watched this live on Hardball with Chris Matthews yesterday. Usually on Fridays, I make sure to watch Hardball but I am listening while working on the computer. Yesterday, I had to stop what I was doing. My brother actually woke up from sleeping on the couch about two minutes into this interview, probably because he couldn't believe what his subconscious was hearing. His first sleepy words to me: "Did I hear that right?" We watched and listened in stunned and nauseating disbelief as this interview unfolded.

Disgusting. Horrendous. Frightening.

So many people have already written about this. Here are my favorites:

Obsidian Wings: I think that this sort of thing has no place in politics. We can disagree with one another without impugning our opponents' patriotism. So even though I would regret not having Representatives who write bills called "the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act" in Congress, I just went over to Elwyn Tinklenberg's website and made a donation.
Why? Because I love my country enough to think that it deserves better.

Political Animal: I'd just add that Bachmann's re-election is hardly assured. In fact, recent polling suggests she's very vulnerable, facing an aggressive challenge from former state transportation chief Elwyn Tinklenberg, who has pulled to within a few points. One wonders how voters in Minnesota's 6th will respond to Bachmann's embrace of neo-McCarthyism.

AmericaBlog: Michelle Bachmann is a disgrace. This was one of the most disturbing hate-mongering things I've seen on t.v. Even Matthews seem stunned by her diatribe.
Her opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, just got named to the DCCC's Red to Blue. We need to help him defeat her. Bachmann is way under 50% -- only up by 4 points in a poll reported yesterday by Politico:
POLL OF THE DAY: Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann leads Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg by a slim 42-percent-to-38-percent margin, according to a Grove Insight poll conducted for the DCCC.
Seriously, Bachmann is deranged.

The title post links to a site to censure Bachmann. Please check it out.

No On Prop 8 Video

Thursday, October 16

" I'm Running For President!"

If any one you care about ever utters these words, you have a duty to pimp slap them upside the head. Think about it. You spend two years traveling to every part of the country about 50 times. You have to shake hands, kiss babies, and, oh so tactfully, beg for money. In between all this, you have to say the exact same thing about 10,000 times, always enthusiastically, always with a smile. On top of all this, you have campaign staff to keep motivated (since most are volunteers you're paying them with compliments and hope), surrogates to manage, and advisers to counsel with. Oh, and did I mention, that you're doing all this whilst everybody in the world is not only watching your every current move, but simultaneously pouring over every minute of every day you, your family, your friends, your associates, and your associates' associates have ever lived. You go through this two year application process, which ages you by about 10, just so you can make the hardest decisions imaginable with about 300 million people both looking to you for help and telling you what to do at the same time. Lastly, this position that you killed yourself to get, that you struggle to get through day in and day out; it is, by definition, A TEMP JOB! Our leaders might be the brightest, most educated and innovative people on the planet, but it's clear that anyone who runs for President, definitely hails from the shallow end of the gene pool.

Wednesday, October 15

Obama: A Rescue Plan For The Middle Class

This plan was unveiled in a speech in Toledo, Ohio. You can watch the video or read the speech text as prepared for delivery. Some highlights:

I’ll bring down the cost of health care for families and businesses by investing in preventative care, new technology, and giving every American the chance to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves. We’ll ensure every child can compete in the global economy by recruiting an army of new teachers and making college affordable for anyone who wants to go. We’ll create five million new, high-wage jobs by investing in the renewable sources of energy that will eliminate the oil we currently import from the Middle East in ten years, and we’ll create two million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, schools, and bridges...

We’ve already lost three-quarters of a million jobs this year, and some experts say that unemployment may rise to 8% by the end of next year. We can’t wait until then to start creating new jobs. That’s why I’m proposing to give our businesses a new American jobs tax credit for each new employee they hire here in the United States over the next two years...

We will also save one million jobs by creating a Jobs and Growth Fund that will provide money to states and local communities so that they can move forward with projects to rebuild and repair our roads, our bridges, and our schools...

Since so many Americans will be struggling to pay the bills over the next year, I propose that we allow every family to withdraw up to 15% from their IRA or 401(k) – up to a maximum of $10,000 – without any fine or penalty throughout 2009. This will help families get through this crisis without being forced to make painful choices like selling their homes or not sending their kids to college...

There is a lot more - it is a very long and detailed proposal, but very much worth the time.

Tuesday, October 14

How And Why Obama Picked Biden

This is an excellent article in The New Yorker by Ryan Lizza. A few excerpts:

Biden agreed to let Obama’s campaign team consider him, but with a caveat: “I wanted to make sure we understood each other—that, even if I vetted and he wanted me to take the job, I wasn’t committing to do that. When the time was appropriate for him, if I was the guy, I needed to spend at least two or three hours with him to understand what the role would be.” Biden wanted what amounted to an oral contract between him and Obama, spelling out his specific responsibilities in an Obama White House...

Obama also asked Biden whether he thought that he was more suited to a different position. “He said, ‘You have a great interest in national-security policy, foreign policy,’ ” Biden told me. “He wasn’t offering me this, but he said, ‘Would you rather be Secretary of State instead of Vice-President?’ And I thought a lot about that.”

During the primaries, Biden often played the role of policy grownup, the candidate who liked to chide the unrealistic plans of his rivals. According to a senior Biden aide, after a debate in which Bill Richardson, the New Mexico governor, argued that he could have all hundred and sixty thousand American troops out of Iraq in a matter of months—something that is logistically beyond reach, according to most observers—Biden approached Richardson backstage and told him that the plan was impossible. Richardson didn’t seem concerned. “I know it is,” he said. (A spokesman for the Governor said that Richardson does not recall the exchange.) In an Obama White House, Biden wants to be just as direct.

Saturday, October 11

The City of Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love, yes. Hockey Mom Love, not so much. Notice how the stadium has to raise the volume of the music almost immediately after she gets on the ice. One word, CLAAASSSIICC!!

10/11/2008: Random Bushism Of The Day

"Dick Cheney and I do not want this nation to be in a recession. We want anybody who can find work to be able to find work." --George W. Bush, 60 minutes II, CBS, December 5, 2000

Friday, October 10

Yep, That About Says It All

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10/10/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it." --George W. Bush, interview on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007

Get Your War On: The Debate

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CT Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Gay Marriage

Guardian: In another election year, say 2004 or 2006, I would fear this would gain traction as a wedge issue for the Republicans, and we would see Republican candidates railing against "activist judges" and riling up social conservatives to drive them to the polls. But my sense this year is voters are far too focused on their dwindling retirement portfolios to care whether gays in Connecticut can marry instead of merely civilly uniting.

Huffington Post: The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Courant: "In his dissenting opinion, Justice Borden concludes that gay persons are not entitled to protected status because they have too much political power to warrant such protection,'' the majority said. The four justices added that "this conclusion is flawed because, at the time women were accorded protected status under the federal constitution, they possessed more political power than gays in this state currently possess.''

Monday, October 6

10/6/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"The economy is growing, productivity is high, trade is up, people are working. It's not as good as we'd like, but -- and to the extent that we find weakness, we'll move." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2008

Friday, October 3

Australia To Spend Billions For Infrastructure

"The sooner that investment can occur in nation building infrastructure, the sooner we can realise the economic benefits of that investment," says Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. This is awesome. Why don't our government officials realize that investing in infrastructure actually helps the economy? Jobs, commerce, communications,...why don't they get it? Why do sinkholes have to appear and bridges have to collapse to make our government leaders understand? And why do they forget about the importance after time has passed?

It's just too bad this latest bill did not include something. Too progressive,maybe?

Update: Looks like broadband service will be a starting point. Again, awesome.

Adennak: Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart

Apparently, Obama Does Not Give Interviews Like McCain

Until this morning, I have avoided watching MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program since well before the Olympics. I would flip to it to see who was on as a guest and tune in for a few minutes and then change the channel. Actually, I didn't even know that they have a new format. Joe and Mika are not sitting together anymore and there are these huge desks everywhere. But, I was reminded about twenty minutes ago why I stopped watching and went to CNN even though their morning program is boring. The people of "Morning Joe" are condescending, accusatory whiners.

Senior Obama Advisor Linda Douglass was just on. Mika Brzezinski asked her why Senator Obama has not done interviews about the economic crisis when Senator McCain was on the show three times in a week. This is of course after Joe Scarborough tossed a random question out there in the previous segment questioning Obama's leadership because he won't do interviews. Douglass mentions that Obama did some rallies where he spoke to thousands and that those speeches were carried on all of the major networks. The "Morning Joe" crew then start yelling about how speeches are not the same as interviews and how the American people deserved to know what Obama's position was. I totally agree with that. Douglass then mentions that Obama did seven interviews two days in a row and three interviews the other day and did "Face the Nation" on Sunday. She said that she didn't understand what they were talking about and she suggested that maybe they were upset because Obama had not been on their show specifically. I think she hit the nail on the head. It seemed like a sore spot for Joe because he became even more pissy after that. Douglass didn't even get a chance to mention that Obama spoke on the Senate floor about his position regarding the bill. McCain did not. Pat Buchanan said something about Obama taking ownership of the bill by his vote and Douglass was quick to respond that McCain did the same.

I find it interesting how disjointed the Republican party is about this bailout bill. Both McCain and Obama held their nose while voting for it. Then, McCain went on "Morning Joe" and said that the President should veto it. All the while, the RNC is running ads accusing Obama of voting for a bad bill - the same bill McCain voted for. This morning on CNN, I saw a 527 ad accusing Obama of voting for the bill because he and other Democrats failed to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Seriously, the ad actually named Reid, Pelosi, Biden, and Obama. It was weird. I just want to shout "McCain voted for the bill!!!" Ugh.

Thursday, October 2

Lazy Time Is Almost Over

I return home tonight from my much needed vacation in Las Vegas. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. I still woke up before sunrise everyday because, well, I'm weird that way. But all in all, it has been great not having to do anything. I am bummed that I will be at the airport while the debate is on, but I'm hoping I can find a TV somewhere. I will land about 30 minutes after it ends and I have a feeling that my brother's face will tell me how it went.
A few things of note:
1) The Senate's version of the bailout/rescue bill sucks. I can't believe how much crap was put in there. Wooden arrows and rum...are they joking?? I mean, if the Democrats wanted to include some issues they didn't think would pass on their own, why make them so ridiculous? Instead of six million dollars on wooden arrow production, how about solar panel rooftops on schools? Instead of 200 million on rum distribution, how about retrofitting the Brooklyn Bridge or improving broadband service? Why treat it as a joke?
2) STOMP! Out Loud is awesome and surprisingly funny. If you only see one show in Vegas, that's the one.
3) Obama forgot how many years he has been married. He was off by one year when mentioning his anniversary. Wish him luck. Send happy thoughts.
4) I think Rahm Emanuel would be perfect to replace Obama in the U.S. Senate if Obama wins the election. He is awesome. Just a thought.

I'm looking forward to returning home. I miss my friends, I miss my bed, and I left just as I was about to start Season 3 of The Sandbaggers. Notice how I didn't mention work. If the economy wasn't so bad, I would seriously consider living off of my savings for a few months. Alas, reality awaits.

Maddow Accepts McCain's Challenge

Rachel Maddow, you're my heroine.

10/2/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"When a drug comes in from Canada, I wanna make sure it cures ya, not kill ya... I've got an obligation to make sure our government does everything we can to protect you. And one -- my worry is that it looks like it's from Canada, and it might be from a third world." --George W. Bush, second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004

Wednesday, October 1

NYT Interview With A Somalian Pirate

In case you haven't heard, Somalian pirates have hijacked a Ukranian ship that has weapons on board and a crew of about twenty. The U.S. Navy has them surrounded. Amazingly, Jeffrey Gettleman was able to get an interview with one of the Somalian pirates. This interview is incredible. I have read it five times. The matter-of-fact tone of it seems unreal. There are no parsing of words here - just honest explanations of actions. Whether you agree with the actions or not, you have to appreciate the lack of spin. Here is a little bit:

Q. Are you going to sell the weapons to insurgents?A. No. We don’t want these weapons to go to anyone in Somalia. Somalia has suffered from many years of destruction because of all these weapons. We don’t want that suffering and chaos to continue. We are not going to offload the weapons. We just want the money.
Q. How much? A. $20 million, in cash. We don’t use any other system than cash.
Q. Will you negotiate?A. That’s deal making. Common sense says human beings can make deals.
Q. Right now, the American Navy has you surrounded. Are you scared?A. No, we’re not scared. We are prepared. We are not afraid because we know you only die once.
Q. Will you kill the hostages if attacked? A. Killing is not in our plans. We don’t want to do anything more than the hijacking.
Q. What will you do with the money?A. We will protect ourselves from hunger.

Couric Interview With Palin

So, I have come to a realization lately. The more Gov. Palin says, the more questions I have about her worldview. This final section of her interview with Katie Couric has baffled me. So, I'm gonna put my questions out there -not because I expect them to be answered but because, well, it might make me feel better. Kinda like therapy.

1) Palin considers herself to be a feminist. This answer actually surprised me. Maybe that makes me naive. If you are not supportive of equal pay for equal work, you are not a feminist. If you do not support a woman's right to choose which path to take with her pregnancy, you are not a feminist. If you think a rape victim or incest victim should have no choice but to deliver the baby and put it up for adoption, you are not a feminist.
2) Palin and McCain disagree on drilling in ANWR. She believes it should be drilled for oil, he is against it. Which one caved to form the ticket? Will Palin still talk about drilling there even though McCain disagrees. Will she declare McCain's position when asked about it? If they disagree about this policy detail, how do we know which one will prevail in the administration?
3) I appreciate that she feels it is not so important how global warming happened but that we need to fix it. I guess. I think it is easier to figure out how to fix something if you know what caused it to break, but whatever. Here is what bugs me the most about what she said-"I'm not going to solely blame all of man's activities on changes in climate." Um, what? Um, oookaaay.
Maybe she can get a redo of that sentence at the debate. I know I'm being picky here, but it bugged me.
4) I liked the specificity of Couric's question about abortion, but I still have questions. Palin states that she would choose life in the situation of a 15 year old rape victim who becomes impregnated but her attacker. She feels that the baby should be delivered and put up for adoption. What does that mean? Would she pick Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade or not? And if she is against jail time for women who have illegal abortions, what would the punishment be? Would the doctors be punished? What about the psychological and emotional effects on rape and incest victims forced to carry to term the effect of a violent act? Will there be help offered to cope with that or will they be left to deal with that on their own? And again, not to belabor the issue, but how is this a feminist approach?
5) Palin said that she is a proponent of contraception but she is against abortion and against the morning-after pill. Since she feels that life begins at conception, does she consider the morning-after pill a form of abortion?
6)Palin is the daughter of a former science teacher yet she thinks that man and dinosaurs walked around together starting about 6,000 years ago? How did that happen? I'm intrigued.
7) Palin has a best friend who is gay and she believes that is a choice. I'm glad she doesn't judge people because of their sexual orientation, but the fact that she thinks it is a choice really bugs me. If that were true, there would not be so many suicides and attempted suicides by gays. There would not be such a struggle for equality by gays. And, people like Brandon Teena, Matthew Shepard, and too many others would have chosen to be straight instead of tortured for being gay. This whole "homosexuality is a choice" theory is such crap. It makes me have questions regarding Palin's thoughts on domestic partnerships and civil unions and discrimination. I wish Couric would have asked a few follow up questions. Maybe Gwen Ifill will on Thursday night.
So, there you have it. I have more questions now than before the interview. These are just the ones about domestic policy. Don't get me started on national security, foreign policy, trade...