Friday, November 28

West Wing Butterball Hotline

Poised In The Pocket

Jim Sorgi, Billy Volek, and Joe Biden. What do all these guys have in common? They're all backups to All-Stars. Now what is the job of a backup? Well, you have to know everything the starting guy knows, you have to help him practice to be the best he can be, you have to give him advice on how to be better, and... THAT'S IT! Otherwise, you stand on the sidelines and wait for Number One to bring home the Championship Ring, with none of the blame if he fails. This country has had 45 VP's who understood the sweetness of this deal. Then, for the last 8 years, we had one that decided that this would be the ideal spot from which to attempt to remake the world in his image. The problem was that if you didn't share his views, his position towards you was that of, "You were part of the rebel alliance and a traitor, take her away!" I, for one, am looking forward to a Number Two that isn't trying to rule the world from an undisclosed location.

Saturday, November 22

Candace Gingrich's Letter To Newt

Here is a taste:

What really worries me is that you are always willing to use LGBT Americans as political weapons to further your ambitions. That's really so '90s, Newt. In this day and age, it's embarrassing to watch you talk like that. You should be more afraid of the new political climate in America, because, there is no place for you in it.

This letter is direct, honest and in my view, perfect. Read the whole thing here.

The President's Favor To The Nation

Here are some links to a couple of posts regarding President Bush leaving office sooner than January 20, 2009. Apparently, I am not the only person who feels this would be the best gift ever. Go figure.

Gail Collins: Putting Barack Obama in charge immediately isn't impossible. Dick Cheney, obviously, would have to quit as well as Bush. In fact, just to be on the safe side, the vice president ought to turn in his resignation first. (We're desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she'd defer to her party's incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.

Brian Beutler: Before Pelosi could become president, she'd have to relinquish her seat in the House of Representatives (Speaker or not, she's still an elected official) and hand the Big Gavel (probably) over to the less-than-progressive Steny Hoyer. All for a one month presidency. Then once Obama takes over, and with all the cabinet positions fixed, she'd basically be out in the wilderness for two years or more.
How about this sequence of events instead: 1). Condoleezza Rice resigns as Secretary of State. 2). George Bush appoints Barack Obama in her place. 3). George Bush and Dick Cheney resign their positions (or get kicked out by the Congress). 4). Both Nancy Pelosi and Robert Byrd refuse to adhere to the chain of succession. 5). Obama becomes president.

Sounds good. Let's get started.

Thursday, November 20

National High-Speed Rail Service

I love the idea of high-speed rail service in this country. I have wanted this for years, ever since I saw a tv special about the bullet trains around the world. Also, I was excited to see California Prop 1A was not only placed on the ballot, but also passed. I am not the type of person who jumps up and down with joy, but I did. I jumped. Yes, I am a dork about this stuff, but I can't help it. Last weekend I watched a video about the proposed high-speed rail plan for California and I actually got choked up a bit. I mean, I didn't cry but I did feel an emotional flurry similar to what I feel in the last 15 minutes of Radio Flyer. I'm sure a good part of it is because of the cheesy heart-string-tugging music, but still, I was moved.

Yep. It's official. I am a dork.

Anyway, the original point of this post was not to embarrass myself but too link to a press release today regarding the High-Speed Rail for America Act of 2008. A few quotes:

Sen. John Kerry: “A first-rate rail system would protect our environment, save families time and money, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and help get our economy moving again."

Sen. Arlen Specter: “We must continue to focus our energies on building and maintaining a strong national passenger rail system in order to ease congestion of air and highway corridors connecting high-growth markets, as well as to meet energy and environmental goals.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “Investing in modern infrastructure is vital to the nation’s long-term economic and environmental health - and in the short-term, it would help put more Americans back to work."

Gov. Ed Rendell: “Expanding our nation’s critical rail infrastructure will make our transportation network more efficient, reduce traffic pressure on our already busy interstate highways, and improve the environment.”

Is this not totally awesome?

I am so going to get clowned for this post later.

XKCD: East And West

An excellent post on this subject was written at Strange Maps: For many centuries, Europe was the vantage point from which the world was discovered, viewed and named. Columbus sailed west to arrive East in India, but instead stumbled on a new continent. It took a while for the confusion to lift, so the first name for America was the Indies, from 1555 on shifting to West Indies (when the mistake became increasingly apparent). About four decades later, the original Indies (i.e. India and South East Asia) started to be called the East Indies - to distinguish them more clearly from the West Indies. East and West were defined relative to Europe.

Take A Civics Test

I got 28 out of 33. Apparently, I need to learn alot more about FDR and economic policy. After taking the quiz, check out the table comparing the scores between citizens and our elected officials. An example: "Seventy-nine percent of those who have been elected to government office do not know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the U.S."
Scary, huh?

Tuesday, November 18

Trickle Down Theories = Weapons of Mass Depression

Neoconservatives lost this election by 8 million votes. That's only 6% of the vote in this years election cycle. This may be considered a landslide to politicos, but considering what we could have been facing if they won, I call this razor thin. What's really worrisome is that their influence, while currently diminished, could not only make a comeback, but for some, will be felt for a lifetime.

Saturday, November 15

San Diego Events This Weekend

There is always something cool happening in San Diego...

Tall Ships Sail the San Diego Bay: This is a two-day event where you can view ships from the shore as well as go onboard some ships with a ticket. This is the 145th anniversary of the Star of India, a beautiful ship docked here in San Diego.

2nd Annual Harvest Festival: Located in Balboa Park, a $1 ticket gets you into an event that includes carnival games, pony rides, even a petting zoo. An inexpensive and fun way to get your family out of the house. Hosted by Campfire U.S.A.

Kimono as Art Festival: This Sunday event includes free admission into the Museum of Art at Balboa Park. Also, a festival outside celebrating Japanese art including origami instruction. Cool!

HRC: List Of Business Contributors To Yes On 8

Friday, November 14

American Journalist Taken Hostage is reporting that an American journalist has been taken hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now, this website does describe itself as "hot humor, idle chatter, and wildly unsubstantiated rumor". Also, I am currently flipping back and forth between CNN and MSNBC and there has been no mention of this. However, Spencer Ackerman at The Washington Independent has confirmed knowledge of the journalist as well. Neither site is saying his name for safety reasons, although I have a good idea who. Let us all pray that this is incorrect information. This is one time I would appreciate bad reporting. List Of Bush Regrets

President Bush recently mentioned two regrets he has since he took office: stupid things he has said and that "mission accomplished" fiasco. mentions a few dozen more. Here is a partial list:

1. His existence
2. His decision to go into politics
3. Not learning how to better run oil companies so he wouldn't have to go into politics
4. His decision to run for president
5. His decision to run for a second term as president
6. Every word spoken into a microphone since January 20th, 2001
7. That time in 2001 when he shouted at Dick Cheney, "You know what, screw it. You run the country if you're so smart!"


Thursday, November 13

Max Baucus and Healthcare

Who is Max Baucus? Well, Baucus is a U.S. Senator from Montana. He is also the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has the final say on any health care plan in the Senate. Yeah, he is important. Read up:

The American Prospect: This is the uncomfortable reality that will face the next administration. While most reformers have been obsessed with the policy details of the presidential campaign -- health-care mandates or simple subsidies? tax cuts or credits? -- much of the success of the next president's agenda will, in truth, rely on the actions of one of the most experienced, inscrutable, and unpredictable politicians in the country. Over the next two years, Max Baucus could prove a progressive legislative giant. Or he could be Bad Max.

Time Swampland: The Senator's 87-page Call to Action on Health Reform. He is serious about this.

Tuesday, November 11

Veterans Day

A brief history: Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

National ceremony: At exactly 11 a.m., each November 11th, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military branches, renders honors to America's war dead during a heart-moving ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
The President or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a bugler sounds
Taps. The balance of the ceremony, including a "Parade of Flags" by numerous veterans service organizations, takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: So today, as people gather nationwide to honor all those who have served, I have a very exciting announcement to make. IAVA is launching a historic, groundbreaking Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign aimed at easing the transition for veterans returning home from combat. Created by veterans, for veterans, this innovative media campaign is like nothing America has ever seen.

Monday, November 10

Why Does AIG Keep Screwing Us?

Naked Capitalism: This is the essence of AIG's latest proposal:
Man walks into pawn broker. He says to the person behind the counter, "You know that watch I brought in two weeks ago? I know you lent me $85, but now I need another $50. And I will tell you why you will give it to me. I have a gun with me. I will blow my brains out here, right now. With your nice carpet, I guarantee it will cost you more than $50 to clean up your store. And that's before we get into the cost of keeping your store closed while you clean my grey matter off your walls and what my suicide might do to your store's reputation."Oh, and we forgot to mention that the man in the story above pulled the same trick last week and it worked like a charm.

I just don't get it. Does Paulson have some huge stake in this company? Why is he allowing this to happen?

Remember, when the original bailout package required handing Paulson a blank check with no oversight? He found a loophole.

11/10/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"Let me start off by saying that in 2000 I said, 'Vote for me. I'm an agent of change.' In 2004, I said, 'I'm not interested in change --I want to continue as president.' Every candidate has got to say 'change.' That's what the American people expect." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., March 5, 2008

Sunday, November 9

Wallstats: 389 Years Ago...

Jess at published a "typographic mashup of the history of slavery, racism, and the progress of African Americans." Brilliant.


Turns out Barack Obama and John McCain wanted exactly the same thing: Reform. They simply had different ideas of what that truly meant. To Obama, reform is reversing 8 years of conservative, anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, anti-environmental policies that have damaged our reputation, our economy, and our world. Now that's change I can truly believe in! This being the first time I've ever hired someone, I must say, the new employee is coming along nicely =)

Friday, November 7

Etheridge: You Can Forget My Taxes

Melissa Etheridge wrote an excellent post at The Daily Beast about the passage of Prop. 8:

Okay. So Prop 8 passed. Alright, I get it. 51% of you think that I am a second class citizen. Alright then. So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend? Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure what to call her now. Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.
Okay, cool I don't mean to get too personal here but there is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes too. Wow, come to think of it, there are quite a few of us fortunate gay folks that will be having some extra cash this year. What recession? We're gay! I am sure there will be a little box on the tax forms now single, married, divorced, gay, check here if you are gay, yeah, that's not so bad.

Awesome.

Thursday, November 6

Happy Birthday Cousin Michael!

Also on this day in history:

Nov. 6 1860: Abraham Lincoln elected President.

Nov. 6 1962: The United Nations condemns apartheid.

...and more.

Have a great day, cos!

Rupert Murdoch Lost Soooo Much Money

Many people, including Keith Olbermann and my mom, will feel some satisfaction with this.

Wednesday, November 5

11/05/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you." -George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

The Onion: Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job

Tuesday, November 4

President-Elect Barack Obama!!

The future looks bright now. I am so happy. We did it!


Election Day Articles

Eugene Robinson: Along came Barack Obama, a young man with an unassailable résumé and a message of post-racial transformation. Initially, a big majority of African Americans lined up behind his major opponent in the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton. The reason was simple: In the final analysis, white Americans weren't going to vote for the black guy. Better to go with the safe alternative.
But an amazing thing happened. In the Iowa caucuses, white Americans voted for the black guy. That's the moment Obama was referring to when he said his faith in the American people was vindicated. For me, it was the moment when the utterly impossible became merely unlikely. That's a fundamental change, and it launched a sequence of events over the subsequent months that made me realize that some things I "knew" about America were apparently wrong.

Bob Herbert: The point here is that as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the United States is in deep, deep trouble. Yet instead of looking for creative, 21st-century solutions to these enormous problems, too many of our so-called leaders are behaving like clowns, or worse — spouting garbage in the public sphere that hearkens back to the 1940s and ’50s.
Thoughtful, well-educated men and women are denounced as elites, and thus the enemies of ordinary Americans. Attempts to restore a semblance of fiscal sanity to a government that has been looted with an efficiency that would have been envied by the mob, are derided as subversive — the work of socialists, Marxists, Communists.
In 2008!

Nate Silver: Ten reasons why you should ignore the exit polls.

Monday, November 3

Are You Kidding Me?!!

A report from Michael Scherer at Swampland -

By all reports from the front of the plane, John McCain is having a good time today, hanging out with his friend Joe Lieberman, and various other notables, like former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and Florida Sen. Mel Martinez. They have been eating fried chicken, picked up in Tennessee with some peach cobbler. If there is a lull, McCain can turn to the book he has been reading, "An Army At Dawn: The War In North Africa 1942-1943."

One thing McCain is not doing is worrying about the speech he will deliver tomorrow night from the lawn outside the Arizona Biltmore Resort, the contents of which will depend on the election's outcome. McCain's friend and speechwriter Mark Salter does not like to plan too far ahead. "I don't work until the day of," Salter said, adding that the speech should not take him more than a couple hours to write. He added that he will probably wait until midday to get started. "It's gonna be a late night," he added, predicting a nailbiter of an election

Um, what if it is not a late night? What if Pennsylvania, a "blue state" that McCain must win, goes for Obama early? Or Virginia? My brother says that this is not McCain's fault. He should relax on the plane and eat chicken and cobbler with his buddies. But, I think he should light a fire under Salter's ass about the speech. Both speeches. There should be two ready right now, folks. Sen. Obama has both a celebratory and a secession speech ready to go. He is not measuring the drapes. He is ready for whatever happens. Like a leader should be. A leader would be ready right now. A leader does not allow a speech writer's psychological timetable dictate the effectiveness of his actions.

I mean, the polls open in a few hours...Gimme a freakin' break!!