Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another Classic Blunder From McCain

The McCain camp goes third grade with their latest attack ad that tries to mock Barack Obama and his perceived Paris Hilton/Brittany Spears like celebrification.

And all he accomplishes is pissing off some of his largest donors, none other than Paris’s grandfather, William Barron Hilton, and a few other folks with Hilton surnames. Smooth move Senator ex-lax...

Not Sure What To Say About This

10 year old rats out his mom
A Bakersfield woman faces charges that she counterfeited money and identification cards after her 10-year-old son turned her in to authorities.

According to Kern County Superior Court records, the boy gave sheriff's deputies phony money last month that his mother created. The child told investigators she also had a computer that makes fake ID cards.

Deputies executing a search warrant seized computer disks, scanners and printers.

The thirty-year-old woman is due in court Friday. She faces several charges, including possessing equipment to commit forgery.

Deputies said she was arrested July 4 and posted $50,000 bail the same day.

Feel free to insert your own punchline.

The Hypocrisy Of The AFA

I know that saying that the AFA (American Family Association) isn't homophobic is like saying the Ku Klux Klan isn't racist but their stated reasons about what is and isn't behind their latest boycott attempt of McDonald's is almost comical.

From the AFA's McDonald's boycott site:
What the boycott of McDonald's IS about

It is about McDonald's, as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars. McDonald's has chosen not to remain neutral but to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.

What the boycott of McDonald's IS NOT about

  • This boycott is not about hiring homosexuals.

  • It is not about homosexuals eating at McDonald's.

  • It is not about how homosexual employees are treated.

So the boycott isn't about the above stated bullet points but is instead about McDonald's promoting the homosexual agenda? Isn't their ability to work where they want, eat what they want, and be treated like everyone else the homosexual agenda? Isn't that the agenda of every human being?

When Is A Crime Not Really A Crime?

In Washington the answer to that question would seem to be, when it is committed by someone in the Bush Administration and when prosecution would depend on the Democrats going forward with charges.

When President Clinton got a hummer in the oval office, the Republican's had no problem trying to punish him at every turn but when our current executive branch approves illegal spying on US citizens, the Democrats instead give those responsible a "get out of jail free card". When Rep Dennis Kucinich tried to get hearings for impeachment going in the House, he is instead given a few minutes to vent in an "Executive Power and Constitutional Limitations" hearing with no chance of it making it to the House floor for a vote (not that it would have gone anywhere anyways).

The latest case of contempt revolves around former Bush puppeteer Karl Rove's blowing off of a congressional subpoena to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Instead of showing up like he was legally bound to do, the committee stared at an empty chair with Rove's nameplate in front of it while Rove hopped on a plane for a trip overseas.

So here we sit again with the ball in the court of the Democrats. The House Judiciary Committee recommended 20-14 to hold Rove in contempt but has not themselves cited him for contempt, instead recommending that the House bring it to a floor vote. Nancy Pelosi apparently has not decided whether or not she would even allow it to come to a vote but if she did it would probably never go anywhere because the Democrats have allowed the Bush Administration to gather so much power they could quash it anyway.
What will happen next is unclear. The next step usually would be a vote by the full House of Representatives, but the House is scheduled to adjourn for its August recess this week, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not confirmed that she will bring up the citation for a vote. Even if she did, and even if the full House voted to hold Rove in contempt, the next step would not be clear either. Once the full House approves a citation, the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., is supposed to bring it to a grand jury, but President Bush has already directed the U.S. attorney not to do so in a case in which executive privilege has been invoked. (emphasis mine)

If anyone wants to tag the current Democrat led Congress with anything, not doing something to take back some of the powers grabbed by the executive branch during the past 7 years would have to top the list. Bush and his cronies have done more to blur the Constitutional line drawn between the branches of government than anyone in our lifetime and because the Democrats have no backbone, they will likely end up getting away with it.

Quite a legacy for all involved...

UPDATE: Well knock me over with a feather. A District judge has ruled that the "Untouchables" in the Bush Administration aren't as immune to subpoenas as they claimed. What will the Democrats do next?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

'W': In A Theater Near You Soon

Posting will be light today as I am on the road in Aberdeen and Watertown so while I'm gone I thought I would post the trailer to the latest Oliver Stone bio-pic titled "W" for you viewing pleasure.

Stone's latest stars Josh Brolin as George W. and is scheduled to hit theaters in October just in time to see before the November elections. Raw Story reports that the movie appears to focus "on George W. Bush's transition from youthful drunken lout to President of the United States".

Of course this is all based on a 2 minute trailer but there has to be a reason that Stone rushed this to completion so that it would air before the election right? And I'll bet it isn't to help the GOP's chances either but that's just me talkin'...

Won't Win You Friends

This item, while funny to those that aren't sitting (if you know what I mean) when they discover it, probably won't win you new friends unless of course they have a very good sense of humor.
To gain access to the toliet paper you'll have to work out how to undo the puzzle first. Just make sure you know how to undo the Don't Pee Me Off before you feel the need to go.

(h/t - Gizmodo)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Do Ya Think?

In an obvious case of no s*** polling, Alaska pollsters think that Ted "bridge to nowhere" Stevens might have a hard time winning the Republican Senate primary in Alaska. Why you ask? Well it could have something to do with the seven count felony indictment that was handed down today:

The seven-count indictment charges Stevens with making false statements by failing to disclose "things of value" he received from Veco Corp., the now-defunct Alaska-based oil services and construction company, and from its chairman, Bill Allen, over an eight-year period.

At the same time, according to the indictment, Stevens received solicitations for official actions from Allen and other Veco employees, and used his office on behalf of Veco.

But then that would just be a guess on my part...

Social Media And Congress

Todd Epp touched on this during our Blognic this past weekend when he talked to us about the social media phenomenon known as Twitter. He has a person he follows, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), that that "tweets" right from the House floor despite rules that prohibit such actions and co-incidentally it seems, that is becoming an issue that the House is now looking to address with a rule change proposal by Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-MA).

Current House rules prohibit members from posting any House content outside of the environment and with the explosion of such new media services like Youtube and Twitter, many of the more technically inclined House members want to be able to use these services to communicate with their constituents. Capuano's proposal would address the main concerns of those that have issues with the practice, possibilities that the information would be posted alongside political or commercial advertising, by suggesting that Congress work with the media sites to develop advertising free channels that would allow members to "tweet" ad free.

Now if you thought all is right within the halls of Congress now that Capuano has sought to bring our government into the 21st century, you would be wrong. Rep Culberson, whom is the most active user of social media, looks at the proposal as an attempt at partisan censorship and in good social media fashion, he announced his opposition in a "tweet"
"I just learned the Dems are trying to censor Congressmen's ability to use Twitter Qik YouTube Utterz etc - outrageous and I will fight them"

While I won't go as far as Culberson and liberal blogger Matt Stoller who contends that Capuano's proposal would amount to an outright ban on Congress using the Internet, something will need to be done sooner or later.

Culberson wants totally open communication similar to what they already have when dealing with traditional media and Capuano wants to ensure that we aren't fighting through Viagra ads so hopefully something in between ends up getting agreed to.

In the mean time there are several House members currently breaking the rules besides Rep. Culberson including Speaker Nancy Pelosi so feel free to seek them out and follow their "tweets" as to be honest I can't think of a better way for us to communicate with our elected officials. How cool would it be to have updates on important issues delivered directly to you from your elected officials as they happen?

And speaking of Twitter, if you are a member, click here if you would like to follow the escapades of this new Twitter user and go here if you want to follow the movement to "Let Our Congress Tweet". And finally, if you have no idea what I am talking about, here is an explanation of what Twitter is.

John McCain: Webster's Definition of Hypocrisy

Soon after I moved my blogging efforts from my old site to this one, I had a few people ask me why I switched. Besides the fact that I felt the definition of a moderate in South Dakota had changed so much it no longer applied to me, my 3 year run digging deeply into the political process had opened my eyes to just how much hypocrisy was being displayed by politicians and that realization gave me a whole new direction to follow. That position was further solidified when something wonderful happened, John McCain won the GOP primary.

Almost daily McCain gives me fodder for the blog, you know the Obama attack ad that blamed him for the high gas prices where one can only intimate that it is because in his mind Congress was to blame which by extension meant that the 2 year Senator from Illinois was also at fault. This claim was made despite the fact that McCain was a member of that same legislative body, FOR 30 YEARS!

And who could forget McCain's taking credit for the passage of the updated Webb GI Bill. You know the one that he constantly spoke out against, and then decided that he wouldn't even bother showing up to vote for. There is no hypocrisy there.

And now, McCain's latest attack on his opponent revolves around Obama canceling his visit last week to a US Army hospital in Germany to visit wounded soldiers. Obama canceled the trip after Army officials said that he shouldn't visit because it could be politicized and that the former General he had planned to attend with wouldn't be allowed to accompany him because he was part of the Obama campaign staff.

Admittedly, Obama should have probably went to the hospital in Germany by himself if for anything else just to avoid this whole dust up but what you won't hear from McCain or his surrogates is that Obama had been to Walter Reed earlier in the week visiting the wounded troops and to make the attack even funnier is the footage of Obama the McCain ad uses to criticize Obama's commitment to our troops shows Obama playing basketball, with US troops!

And who exactly is more troop friendly anyways? 1 guess and you'd probably be wrong.

UPDATE: McCain: Oops I did it again

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pro-Choice Group Opening Rapid City Office

From the Rapid City Journal:
The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families will open its office at 1315 Haines Ave., Suite C with an open house from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“South Dakota’s families don’t need big Government telling them what they can and can’t do,” Republican and former State Representative Jan Nicolay, co-chairwoman of the Campaign for Healthy Families, said in a news release. “Families know their own circumstances best, but this ban would strip families of a private, moral decision. And a woman would be forced to carry a pregnancy to term even in the fetus couldn’t survive on its own after delivery.”

On a related note, Madville Times drills down the proposed abortion ban otherwise known as IM11 to it's lowest common denominator and it isn't pretty.

Tennessee Church Gunman Driven By Hatred Of Liberals?

If you somehow missed the news over the weekend, a deranged gunman opened fire in a Tennessee church killing 2 churchgoers during a children's performance. Today more news is being released on the accused gunman including his possible motive for targeting the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in the first place.

Besides the obvious of being totally deranged, Jim D. Adkisson appears to have chosen this particular church because of their liberal views which included being advocates of gay rights and progressive social work.
"It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that and his stated hatred of the liberal movement," Owen said at a news conference.

Crooks and Liars goes a bit further in their description of Adkisson:
We will most likely learn more details in time, but the picture that’s developing is one of a typical, uninformed Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Wiener-Savage fan — an angry white male who has been brainwashed into thinking that everything wrong in America and around the world is the fault of the evil liberals.

I am sure that the above is a very over-simplified view but it does get you thinking because I am sure that it describes more than a few people you know or have met at one time or another. It also shows what can, and often does happen when someone lets that intolerance and hatred get the better of them.

UPDATE 7/28: Crooks and Liars might not have been too far off with their assessment after all. Here is Adkisson's reading list per the Knoxville News Sentinel
Inside the house, officers found "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by radio talk show host Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by talk show host Sean Hannity, and "The O'Reilly Factor," by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly.

Weekend Update

In between my Blognicing and being disappointed by a long awaited movie, a few items caught my eye in the past few days so in the best tradition of Saturday Night Live (ok not really but..), here they are.

How do I get this job? - The Bush administration released the salaries of White House staffers recently and one in particular stuck out. They actually pay $60,000 a year for a "director of fact checking". Insert your own joke here.

Citizens arrest, citizens arrest! - While that line brings back memories of Gomer Pyle yelling at Barney Fife in one of the classic "Andy Griffith Show" episodes, it was something that four peace activists in Iowa attempted to perform on Karl "contempt of Congress" Rove while he was in Des Moines for a private fundraiser. Maybe we should put these folks in Congress as they seem to be the only ones with the backbone to pursue the Bush Puppeteer.

Liberal bias, bias? - If you read most right leaning blogs you might get the impression that Barack Obama is getting a pass from the media while just the opposite is true with John McCain. The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University has another view, and it is that at least post primary, ABC, NBC and CBS were actually tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain.

Finally from the department of once was too much - Those like me that are children of the late 60's and early 70's probably remember the hokey television series' from Sid and Marty Kroft that included the classics H.R. Pufnstuf," "Lidsville," "Land of the Lost" and "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters." Who could forget the rubber costumes, magic flute's etc. that were popular Saturday morning kids fare?

It took me years but finally I was able to force those images from my head but for some reason Universal Pictures thinks that present day kids are ready for a return and who better to star in the remake of "Land of the Lost" than Will Ferrell...

I Really Wanted To Believe

I mentioned last Friday that I was planning to see "The X-Files: I Want To Believe" over the weekend. I was really looking forward to seeing this as I have been a big fan of the Fox series from the beginning and I figured that the 6 years that has elapsed since the show went off the air would have given the shows creator, Chris Carter, plenty of time to come up with an X-File worthy of the big screen. I was wrong.

I knew almost right away that I was in for a long couple of hours when I saw that they cast Xzibit of "Pimp my Ride" fame as an FBI agent and Mulder dis-believer and the story went down hill from there.

Not wanting to spoil the story for those that still want to see this movie, suffice it to say that the plot, other than possibly the psychic child molesting priest, has no X-File type twists, no alien or government conspiracies, no smoking man type anti-heros and feels more like a 2 hour version of NCIS than an X-File feature film. The Scully sub-plot that involves her trying to cure a terminally ill child just adds more fluff and was almost painful to watch.

I am sure that Carter had plenty of left over ideas floating around in his head after the series ended in 2002, my only question is why did he pick this one?

Some TV show into movie projects should never have been made as they can spoil the memory of the original, Miami Vice comes to mind and this one isn't much better. If you are an X-Files fan hoping to re-live some of the magic from the series, don't waste your time and wait till the DVD comes out or better yet just tune into the Sci-Fi channel and watch re-runs of the original series.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

South Dakota Blognic

Updated below

Yesterday several members of the South Dakota blogosphere gathered at Lake Herman State Park for a little shindig and networking picnic. Along with the good food and good company we had some interesting talk about the future of the "cheetos media" and some ideas for getting our local communities involved.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="380" caption="Todd Epp Tells Us About the Benefits of Twitter"][/caption]

While the turnout was small it was nice to put some faces to the words from many of the blogs I read regularly like Cory from Madville Times (our gracious host), Todd Epp from South Dakota Watch, and Scott Ehrisman from South DaCola and a few new friends like Jackie from Sioux Falls Cartoonists and Rebecca from Flying Tomato  Farms.

Big thanks to Cory for the invite and to Rebecca and Cory for providing the kayaks. Not only did my daughters enjoy their first rides in a kayak, the now have a new request for Christmas.

P.S. I didn't have my camera with me at the lake but hopefully Jackie will provide us with photos of Todd's kayak ride which let's just say was quite comical and ended up with him just a bit damp.

UPDATE 7/28:

As promised, here is Todd’s kayaking escapade with the pink kayak.

You should note that despite the spill, the hat from Todd’s mancrush Barack Obama didn’t leave his head.

Thanks to Jackie from Sioux Falls Cartoonists for the photos

16 Months Later

Free Terrestrial Radio - A free service that allows you to listen to music, sports, and talk shows with the help of an electronic device that tunes in to a band of frequencies that correspond to different choices. Signal source emanates from local sources and is broadcast over the air using public airwaves.

Portable Music Device - An electronic device that allows someone to add their choice of songs, videos, and movies for portable use either in the house, in the car, or wherever else the user wishes to listen.

Satellite Radio - A pay service that allows you to listen to music, sports, and talk shows with
the help of an electronic device that tunes in to a band of frequencies
that correspond to different choices. Signal source emanates from a east coast location and is broadcast to subscribers nationwide via a satellite in geosynchronous orbit.

Call me cynical but the 3 above choices as well as others not mentioned sound like competition for my entertainment options. But for the past 16 months various lobbying groups, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in particular, and government agencies that the groups lobby have tried to tell us that the merging of the only 2 companies operating satellite radio business would result in an illegal monopoly.

While monopolies are often not illegal unless they meet certain conditions (just ask the cable TV and telephone industries up until recently), I have a hard time seeing the case that the merging of XM and Sirius would in fact constitute one. And finally earlier this year the Justice Department agreed when they approved without conditions the legality of the merger by concluding that there were enough other choices available to dispel the monopoly contention.

So why did it take 16 months for us to get the the final 3-2 vote by the FCC on Friday that approved the merger? CNBC's Jim Kramer gives us his insight taken from an interview earlier this year:
this merger has had more oversight than the Iraq war, that the members of Congress are in the hip pockets of terrestrial radio, that the DOJ has rubber stamped merger after merger, and that the fact that this merger has taken so long is a travesty and an injustice.

And there is the rub, what part did the NAB and the rest of the free radio broadcasting industry play in delaying and almost defeating this proposed merger through their lobbying efforts?

Well besides having members in Congress, whom happen to be receiving thousands of in contributions from the NAB, speak out against the merger, they delayed the process at every turn with petitions and requests that led directly to one of the longer merger negotiations in US history. Seems like a lot of effort to me from a group that contends that it isn't a competitor with satellite radio doesn't it? Add to all that the conditions that other lobbying groups requested in order for them to support the merger and you see a pattern forming.

The NAB and the free radio industry, not having any serious competition for most of their history, finally had competition (despite their monopoly contentions) and they called out their big guns to oppose it. Both XM and Sirius have been bleeding money for most of their history and without this merger, one if not both of these companies might have failed. The NAB knew this and if they couldn't block the merger, they hoped that by delaying the merger, one if not both companies would have failed.

That didn't happen and now, despite the best efforts from the NAB and democrats from the FCC including South Dakota's Jonathan Adelstein, the merger is going through. So what does that mean?

For most of the 18 million or so subscribers, not much will change at least initially, and even with the combining of the 2 companies financial stability is still a ways away if it ever happens but soon there will be some welcome changes. Some of those include the best music programming from both services, both MLB and NFL games, Opie and Anthony, Howard Stern and ala-carte pricing options.

They say good things come to those who wait but hopefully we haven't been forced to wait too long by shady dealings from lobbying groups whose only concern is preserving their bottom lines at our expense.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

80 Votes For It And One Prominent Vote Against

80 out of 100 U.S. Senators voted for cloture on a bill that would bring a little relief to some of the 100's of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure. So Senator Thune could you please explain to your constituents back here in South Dakota why you were one of 13 (7 didn't vote) that felt that helping those in crisis wasn't needed?

Your other cohorts in no particular order:

Kit Bond (R-MO), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Corker (R-TN), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Enzi (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Sununu (R-NH) and David Vitter (R-LA).

I guess bailouts are only OK for some when it is business, you know like Fannie Mae, IndyMac, etc. whose greed allowed this to happen in the first place.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quick Hits 7-25-2008

I do not foresee this becoming a trend but again I have other issues that will be taking up my time today so here are a few things that caught my eye during the morning RSS feed read.

Dr Doolittle? - House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) believes that the drilling in ANWR and the subsequent pipelines needed to transport the oil will not affect wildlife. He believes that like the caribou herds near Prudhoe Bay, they will just decide that the oil fields "aren't the place to be" and will just go somewhere else. (Looks like Eddie Murphy has some competion for the next Dr Doolittle movie)

They are both wrong - Yesterday I mentioned a new debate site that had advisers from both Obama and McCain camps debating their bosses economic plans. Today comes word that both plans would put us further into debt with McCain's plan adding $5 trillion and Obama's adding almost $3 trillion. (As I said before, another election is upon us where voting for the lessor of 2 evils will prevail)

What kind of Hall Of Fame is this? - Conservative wingnut James Dobson was voted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Putting aside my astonishment over the fact that he was even nominated, the people that he beat out has to call into question the integrity of the HOF itself. You see, Dobson beat out Bob Costas and Howard Stern for the "honor".

I Want to Believe - I am not much of a movie goer as I usually wait till the DVD arrives on Netflix, but I will be hitting the theaters this weekend as a movie opens that I have been waiting for since the series ended in 2002. I am sure "The X-Files - I Want to Believe" will not rise to the level of the new Batman movie but is a guilty pleasure for me just the same.

Spamming is bad for your mental health? - Prolific "spam king" who made millions filling our inbox with viagra and porn offers escapes from jail in Colorado and then kills his wife and daughter before turning gun on himself.

Obama Flip FlipsAnd a local one - I must admit I agree with Mr Blanchard's conclusion as to why Barack Obama isn't crushing John McCain given all the political realities. I would suggest though that he get out of the utopia that is South Dakota before making statements concerning the perceived economic situation.
The economy is a problem. OK, it's not really all that bad, by historical standards. Unemployment isn't that high, the mortgage crisis hasn't really hurt that many voters. Gas prices look high, but in constant dollars they have been worse before.

While historically our woes might not be bad, just ask the 1 in 171 folks nationwide whom have been foreclosed or that are currently in danger of being foreclosed that the mortgage crisis isn't affecting voters. Or maybe ask those that didn't go through the gas shortages of the 70's if $4/gal gas isn't devastating to their budgets (I'd bet those that did might agree as well). That said though if it isn't his flip-flops, why is Obama only up 6 points in many recent polls considering all of McCain's issues?

UPDATE: Just came across this - Dennis Kucinich finally gets his day in court so to speak as the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations" (re:impeachment) that will allow Kuchinich to vent on his various impeachment resolutions. This will of course lead to nowhere considering the lack of backbone disease that afflicts most Democrats in Congress.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Berlin Speech

The Barack Obama speech from Berlin. That would be Berlin, Germany and not Berlin, Wisconsin for you McCain fans.

And on a related note, Senator McCain spent the day chiding Obama for speaking outside of the US.
"I would rather speak at a rally or a political gathering any place outside of the country after I am president of the United States," McCain told O'Donnell. "But that's a judgment that Sen. Obama and the American people will make."

Apparently that little trip to Canada must have slipped McCain's mind.
However, on June 20, McCain himself gave a speech in Canada -- to the Economic Club of Canada -- in which he applauded NAFTA's successes.

Maybe McCain really meant to say that he would have rather spoken at a rally in North America? But of course he never misspeaks does he...

McCain To Vets: I Would Ration Your Heathcare

The self proclaimed pro-veteran candidate, John McCain, is again looking to stick it to the veterans he supposedly fights for. This time he wants to ration veteran heathcare by concentrating the VA's efforts on those with combat injuries.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s call to “concentrate” veterans’ health care on those with combat injuries is raising questions about the Arizona senator’s commitment to funding the failing VA system.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., said a system that treats combat veterans and non-combat veterans differently is inherently unfair. “We can care for both combat veterans and non-combat veterans if we just decide it is an important thing to do,” Filner said Thursday, one day after McCain talked at a Dover, N.H., town hall meeting about the need to concentrate veterans’ health care on people with injuries that “are a direct result of combat.”

So McCain's idea of being pro-vet is to further limit access to heathcare to veterans? Here's an idea Senator McCain, instead of screwing over some veterans so that others can get the care they already deserve, why don't you work to fix the system so that none of our veterans get left out?

Then again considering McCain's voting record on veterans issues, this latest from him should come as no surprise.

UPDATE: Retired General Robert Gard poses a few questions for Senator McCain like which one of the "non combat related injuries" should we ignore? The thousands suffering from PTSD from repeated 15 month deployments in a combat zone? How about the 15% of women soldiers that have screened positive for military sexual trama?

Quick Hits

I've been busy with the paying job lately plus have a few other things that I am working on so in the meantime I thought I would drop a few links to things that caught my eye during my morning RSS feed reading routine.

Desperation or just a pathetic attempt to grab headlines - As Barack Obama speaks in Berlin Germany, the RNC will be running ads for John McCain in Berlin as well to try and steal Obama's thunder. (That would be Berlin, New Hampshire; Berlin, Pennsylvania; and Berlin, Wisconsin)

More excellent customer service from the cable company - Comcast takes 5 weeks, 3 visits, and 20 phone calls to figure out that the reason a customer wasn't getting service was because they hadn't run a line to his house. (and I thought GoldenWest was bad)

New online debate site - A newly minted online debate site called Opposing Views has campaign staffers from both the McCain and Obama camps discussing their bosses economic plans. (and no, Phil Gramm isn't the McCain staffer)

Care for your pets after the Rapture - A Kansas City Atheist will care for your left behind pets after your soul leaves this world during the Rapture. (All for just a $50 deposit)

And finally a local one - As South Dakotans have no doubt heard, our lone rep in Congress, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is pregnant and like clockwork less than 24 hours later, one of our local righty bloggers has already asked if this will affect her stance on abortion. (but i'll bet you guessed wrong as to which one asked first)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Conservative commentator Robert Novak was cited for hitting a pedestrian with his car and driving off this morning and despite witness accounts that report that the victim "splayed into the windshield", Novak claimed that he had no idea that he had hit someone.
“I didn’t know I hit him. ... I feel terrible,” a shaken Novak told reporters from Politico and WJLA as he was returning to his car. "He's not dead, that's the main thing." Novak said he was a block away from 18th and K streets Northwest, where the accident occurred, when a bicyclist stopped him and said he had hit someone. He said he was cited for failing to yield the right of way.

And while it appears this victim was crossing with the walk signal and was within the crosswalk, hence not jaywalking, this incident almost makes Novak prophetic based on comments he made a few years ago about jaywalkers.
In 2001, he cursed at a pedestrian on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th streets Northwest for allegedly jaywalking.

“’Learn to read the signs, [bodily orifice]!’ Novak snapped before speeding away,” according to an item in The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column.

Novak explained to the paper: "He was crossing on the red light. I really hate jaywalkers. I despise them. Since I don't run the country, all I can do is yell at 'em. The other option is to run 'em over, but as a compassionate conservative, I would never do that." (emphasis mine)

I guess he isn't as compassionate as he used to be or maybe he was just blinded by anger for unknowingly being used as a tool for the McCain campaign.


For some reason I don't think this movie will do well with the James Dobson or WorldNetDaily crowd but Bill Maher has a new documentary that puts Religion to the test.

Dubbed as an "uproarious nonfiction film about the greatest fiction ever told", Religulous is a man on the street type documentary directed by Larry Charles of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fame that has Maher exploring various world religions as he travels to numerous religious destinations, such as Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City, interviewing believers from a variety of backgrounds and groups.

Maher has also started his own parody website as part of the promotion for the movie that further satirizes various religious subjects and will surely cause some fireworks leading up to it's October 3rd release.

I have the feeling that the back and forth banter over Ben Stein's Expelled will pale in comparison with what is waiting for this movie.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Magazine Cover Parade Continues

This time "Vanity Fair" chimes in with their satire on the "New Yorker" cover satire. Vanity Fair's target for their faux cover is John McCain and it plays on many of the stereotypes associated with McCain. Though stereotypes might be too strong, maybe misconceptions? Ok maybe slightly exaggerated truths...
McCain Vanity Fair Cover

The question is, will the McCain camp get the joke and maybe more importantly, will McCain figure out this internet thing in time to even see it?

Dead Tree Bias? Say It Ain't So

The latest controversy going around the right-wing blogosphere revolves around the news that the New York Times has rejected an op-ed submitted by John McCain that was in response to an earlier one printed from Barack Obama. Obama's July 14th piece detailed his position on several topics including his previous and future positions on Iraq as well as detailing the differences between him and John McCain.

Apparently not wanting to be outdone, John McCain submitted his own op-ed piece to the Times that they subsequently rejected because they didn't think that it contained any new information. Opinion Page Editor David Shipley:
"Let me suggest an approach," he wrote Friday. "The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans. It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece."

You would have to be from another planet to not know that the Times tends to slant to the left. Why wouldn't it considering that their target audience is in one of the more liberal states in the country, but if you read the McCain piece, you would have to agree with Shipley that other than ripping Obama it has no substance.

While there is no doubt that both the Obama article and the subsequent response from McCain are nothing more than campaign ads disguised in the op-ed clothing, Obama's actually contains some semblance of news, his policy stance going forward. McCain's on the other hand is nothing more than an Obama attack ad.

As McCain's article consists now, I can understand why the Times has issues with putting it on their Op-Ed pages. With that said though, if McCain wants to keep the piece as is without offering any new policy, I am sure they would be happy to sell him a full page ad because hit pieces, even against liberals, are much more palatable for the media when they get paid for them.

More Satire

You really got to love the way people rush to play the imaginary Muslim card don't you and this time from a South Carolina state senator no less.
kevin bryant

Real classy isn't it? I sure hope the folks from one of my many former residences rush out and re-elect this guy. </sarcasm>

Monday, July 21, 2008

Conservative Agenda

The religious right is at it again. Not only are those of us in South Dakota becoming the laughing stock of the women's rights/health movement with our draconian new requirement that requires doctors to rewrite science when women seek abortions, the Bush administration now wants to label birth control as abortion so that heathcare providers can more easily refuse to provide it to women which should fit right in here where we already allow our pharmacists to deny filling prescriptions if they have moral objections.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is poised to put in place new barriers to accessing common forms of contraception like birth control pills, emergency contraception and IUDs by labeling them "abortion." These proposed regulations set to be released next week will allow healthcare providers to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it.

And while we are discussing right wingnuttia (which seems to be centered here in South Dakota), could some one please tell me where in the Constitution it says that a zygote and the woman carrying it have a Constitutionally protected "existing relationship"?

If the right wing of the GOP keeps pushing this religious agenda, they might end up losing their majority in Congress. Oh wait, they all ready have and the White House might not be too far behind. But at least it looks like head wingnut James Dobson is coming to the rescue after initially pledging to sit this one out.

Brain, Meet Mouth

Pay close attention to Iraq and Pakistan on the map below.

And now read John McCain's comments this morning from "Good Morning America"
“We have a lot of work to do.” He warned of a “very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border.”

Is that "close enough for government work"? Or has Iraqi PM Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's withdrawal comments gotten Iraq stuck in his mind like that bad song you just can't stop humming?

So There!

Putting aside the mis-interpretation of my comments on the New Yorker cover, satire such as that done by the New Yorker is definitely a free speech issue no matter whether the audience gets it or not. With that said, free speech isn't always free and the New Yorker is finding that out first hand.
Forty journalists, including such leading correspondents as Dan Balz of The Washington Post, will be aboard his plane for next week’s swing through Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and England.

The campaign received 200 requests for press seats on the plane.

Among those for whom there was no room was Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent of The New Yorker. The campaign, which was furious about the magazine’s satirical cover this week, cited space constraints in turning him away.

Childish retaliation or sweet revenge (or more likely the math)? I guess that depends on your perspective but one thing I do know, everybody gets the meaning this time around.

Iraq Leader Endorses Obama Plan, Heads On The Right Explode

From the moment the interview with Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki came out this weekend, the right has been trying to interpret his comments so that John McCain would still have his one and only perceived advantage over Barack Obama.

Soon afterwards, the Bush administration sent our diplomatic contingent in Iraq to see Maliki's advisers in an obvious attempt to get clarification on his remarks that preferably wouldn't leave McCain without a campaign. As expected the Iraqi regime complied like the good little lap dogs that they are and blamed the translation of the Maliki comments for the misunderstanding.
The statement, which was distributed to media organizations by the American military early on Sunday, said Mr. Maliki’s words had been “misunderstood and mistranslated,” but it failed to cite specifics.

“Unfortunately, Der Spiegel was not accurate,” Mr. Dabbagh said Sunday by telephone. “I have the recording of the voice of Mr. Maliki. We even listened to the translation.

Unfortunately also, this time for Mr Dabbagh, the New York Times has access to the original tape as well and they have translators that don't have to answer to the Bush Administration.
The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”

He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”

Doesn't sound like 100 years to me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You Just Have To Love The Irony

I don't know if the DNC realized the irony of this or not but less than a month after the Democrats in Congress capitulated on FISA, one of the chief benefactors of the bill just happens to become one of the prime sponsors of next month's convention in Denver.

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has the skinny on the primo AT&T swag that will be waiting for every delegate and media member when they arrive and adds his take on the NASCAResque turn of events in current day politics.
What's most striking about the Convention bag -- aside, of course, from its stunning design -- is how the parties no longer bother even trying to hide who it is who funds and sponsors them. But -- an earnest citizen might object -- just because AT&T is helping to pay for the Democrats' convention and having its logo plastered all over it the way a ranch owner brands his cattle doesn't mean that they will receive any special consideration when it comes time for Congress to debate and pass our nation's laws.

So where is the irony?

When President Bush signed the FISA Reform Act, the numerous lawsuits against AT&T for assisting the government in their previous illegal warrantless wiretaps pretty much went away potentially saving the telcom company $21,000 per affected person. The Democrats, including presumptive nominee Barack Obama changed course and voted for the immunity despite previous pledges to the contrary which pushed the bill over the top. Now all of a sudden the convention, which was having money issues with some talking about scaling down the event, has a new big time sponsor?

I'd say that this all sounds like a new topic for Oliver Stone to make into his next JFK type movie. But something this obvious wouldn't need the master of conspiracy theories to connect the dots would it?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stupid And Wrong

John McCain not only made a serious and potentially dangerous security blunder when he announced to the world that Barack Obama was supposed to be in Iraq this weekend
"I believe that either today or tomorrow -- and I'm not privy to his
schedule -- Sen. Obama will be landing in Iraq with some other
senators" who make up a congressional delegation, McCain told a
campaign fund-raising luncheon.
He was wrong.
US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama arrived in Afghanistan
Saturday to visit troops and assess efforts against extremist violence
at the start of a major international tour, officials said.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Who Is Whining Now?

The man who said thats folks who were complaining about the poor state of the economy were "whiners" (see YouTube video in sidebar) and that we were only in a "mental recession" has seen the writing on the wall and stepped down as campaign co-chair to John McCain.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Press Office

Friday, July 18, 2008


ARLINGTON, VA — Today, former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm issued the following statement:

It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country. That kind of distraction hurts not only Senator McCain’s ability to present concrete programs to deal with the country’s problems, it hurts the country. To end this distraction and get on with the real debate, I hereby step down as Co-Chair of the McCain Campaign and join the growing number of rank-and-file McCain supporters.” (emphasis mine)

Not to be nitpicky Senator Gramm, but I am pretty sure the attacks on you were bi-partisan in nature including the distancing from you by your former boss soon after your boneheaded comments. But then again one would have to question why McCain hired you as an economic adviser (are you still working in that capacity?) in the first place considering your ties to Enron and the ongoing mortgage meltdown.

Good Corporate Citizens

Something to consider as the oilmen in the White House and the rest of the GOP continues their push for renewed offshore drilling and drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge).

Remember that small little spill we had up North 20 years ago? Well the good corporate citizens from Exxon are still fighting about what their fair share of damages should be.
ExxonMobil has balked at paying $488 million in interest on punitive damages that plaintiffs say it owes for its role in the 1989 Prince William Sound oil spill in Alaska, saying "there is no good reason" for the Supreme Court to assess interest.

Interest question aside, one day they might actually even get around to paying the damages from the 1994 court judgement.

UPDATE: At least not all the news is bad for Exxon. The homophobic group Americans for Truth is recommending that you buy gas from Exxon because as they put it, Exxon "stood strong in NOT capitulating to homosexual activist lobby." Unlike McDonalds whom is the current target of their anti-gay rhetoric.

It Didn't Do Much The First Time

The $152 billion tax rebate that went out a few months ago hasn't done much so far so why not try it again.
Senate Democrats plan to unveil a second fiscal stimulus plan next week, this one worth at least $50 billion, arguing that soaring energy prices and the crisis in the housing market require a major jobs program to kick-start a faltering economy.

And heck if putting our children's future further into debt doesn't work the second time around, we can always go with the plan from the man who admits knowing nothing about economics.
John McCain said Thursday that his proposal to suspend the gas tax for three months this summer may need to be extended longer if high gas prices continue to take a toll on the economy.

Because we all know $4/gal gas versus $4.20/gal gas will make all the difference...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

If Today's Democrats Were In Charge During Nixon Years

In the wake of the announcement by Nancy Pelosi that she might allow Dennis Kucinich's impeachment resolution to be debated, but not voted on, the following cartoon seemed to be right on the mark.

(h/t - Madfloridian)

McCain Not Winning Any Gold Stars For Attendance

If there is any one main reason why John McCain is losing in his own home state, this could be it.
As of July 7, McCain had missed 61.8 percent of the roll call votes in
this Congress, which made him the No. 1 absentee in the Senate (number
two was Tim Johnson, who has been recovering from a brain hemorrhage).
Obama missed 43.5 percent of the roll call votes.

As the quote above mentions, those of us in South Dakota know all about absentee Senators, but he had a valid excuse. So what is McCain's problem? Could it be an aversion to putting his name on an issue that he may have to flip flop on later on?

Either way Arizonans deserve better.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Change, Well Sort Of

I really want to support Barack Obama but lately he is making it very difficult. When push comes to shove in November he will likely get my vote but it would be nice if I didn't have to hold my nose when I did it.  With that off my chest, who said Obama has abandoned his "change" mantra in favor of a move to the middle (besides me of course)?
Barack Obama's campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop "surge" in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a "problem" that had barely reduced violence.

"The surge is not working," Obama's old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks - not U.S. military muscle - for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

The News reported Sunday that insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.

Obama's campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an "improved security situation" paid for with the blood of U.S. troops since the surge began in February 2007.

It praises G.I.s' "hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice."

Probably not the change Obama talks about in his his campaign speeches but change all the same.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's All Satire

Cartoon from the Seattle PI

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="444" caption="It's All Satire Right?"][/caption]

Drill More Holes

Yesterday President Bush removed the government imposed ban on offshore drilling so that he can now place the blame for high oil prices squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats. As any good Conservative puppet will tell you, allowing more drilling in the gulf and off the coast of California will soon give us lower gas prices and will not be of any environmental worry despite what all the tree huggers try to tell you.

The head Bush puppet and prospective GOP nominee for the President John McCain continues his push away from claims of the 3rd Bush term by spewing the same talking points as part of his "plan". He likes to point out that even natural disasters to the extent of Rita and Katrina caused no significant spills. He even had his energy adviser, whom has made a career of protecting polluters, repeat these same claims MSNBC yesterday.

What almost every one of these claims by the right has as a basis of their talking points in favor of new drilling is a claim that hurricanes pose little threat to these platforms and that any oil spills will be minimal at best. The right even brought out Louisiana Governor and possible McCain VP pick Bobby Jindal to repeat the Katrina claims. The problem? Apparently Jindal doesn't know what happened in his own state and the rest of the puppets either don't know or refuse to admit that these claims are patently false.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused 124 Offshore Spills For A Total Of 743,700 Gallons. 554,400 gallons were crude oil and condensate from platforms, rigs and pipelines, and 189,000 gallons were refined products from platforms and rigs. [MMS, 1/22/07]

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused Six Offshore Spills Of 42,000 Gallons Or Greater. The largest of these was 152,250 gallons, well over the 100,000 gallon threshhold considered a “major spill.” [MMS, 5/1/06]

Putting aside the fact that the oil companies already have 68 million acres of unused leases and any oil discovered from new offshore drilling will not even hit the market until around 2017 and that the same oil will just go onto the world market likely just helping to feed the ever growing demands from China, claiming that new drilling offshore poses little or no environmental threats is an outright lie.

If the American public really wants to debate the pros and cons of offshore drilling, a real debate with all the facts should be the way it is done. Unfortunately the right knows that the WND crowd will accept anything they say making any real debate unlikely and as usual the Democrats will be seen as the bad guys again.

The Clinton Debt Retirement Plan

clinton t-shirtSince Barack Obama doesn't seem too keen on helping his former foe retire her $20 million in campaign debt, Hillary Clinton has had to resort to plan B, selling trinkets. The flagship of her debt retirement plan, besides asking you to send money, is selling a $50 T-shirt that reads:

"For everyone who's ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you!"

But maybe it should read:

"Because I was too stubborn to see the writing on the wall and concede earlier, I racked up this enormous debt that I am asking you my supporters to retire. And all your $50  gets you in return is this stinkin' T-shirt"

I'd buy one of those.

Monday, July 14, 2008

He's Going To Need It

The recent release of the June fundraising numbers by June McCain showed that he had his best month of the campaign when he raised 22 million. But while those numbers must be promising for McCain and his supporters some other numbers are coming out that probably aren't being received so gladly.

In a sign of continued weakness in his home state, an online poll shows
Sen. John McCain trailing Sen. Barack Obama by 3-percentage points in

South Dakota:
In South Dakota, John McCain leads Barack Obama by just four percentage
points. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds
McCain with 44% of the vote and Obama with 40%. When “leaners” are
included, it’s still a four-point race--McCain 47% Obama 43%.

North Dakota:
North Dakota is as safe a Republican state as any in Presidential
elections. George W. Bush carried the state by twenty-seven points in
Election 2004 and twenty-eight points four years earlier. The state has
voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate just once since 1936 and
three times since 1916.

Despite that history, John McCain and Barack Obama are tied
in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of North Dakota
voters. Both men earn 43% of the vote. When leaners are included,
McCain holds a statistically insignificant one-point advantage, 47% to

McCain's predicted war chest of approximately $400 million for the general election isn't going to go as far as he would have hoped if he will have to spend money to win his own home state and if the normally "beet red" states of North and South Dakota come into play.

Didn't Get The Joke

Not surprisingly, the folks that the latest "New Yorker" cover was intended to satirize aren't getting the joke.

If you listen to the artist responsible for the cover, it was supposed to poke fun at the portion of the population that still believe the far right mis-information campaign aimed at Barack Obama which included the long disproven claims that he is a Muslim and that Michelle Obama made the "whitey" comments.

Who exactly are the people the cover poked fun at? Unfortunately it's not the media pundits that continue to allow these rumors to propagate with their "Osama" slips or by accentuating Obama's middle name of " Hussein" but instead it hits squarely on the people that will never get it. For example the readers over at WorldNetDaily. They have poll going currently that has 60 percent of those voting saying that "The image isn't too far from the dangerous truth about the Obama family" with another 12 percent believing that it is at least partially correct. Bingo, i think we have a winner!

Of course The "New Yorker" is standing by their cover despite the condemnation that is coming pretty much from all sides including both the Obama and McCain campaign's. They state that the satire was obvious and that their readership was smart enough to figure out the real meaning.

The problem with that logic of course is that while the "New Yorker's" readers might be smart enough, as the WND poll shows, not everyone is a "New Yorker" kind of reader and all that cover has really done is put an image to the ridiculous beliefs of those who refuse to do even the most basic research and who probably shouldn't be voting in the first place.

For better or worse the magazine cover did accomplished one thing, it got them several days of free publicity which will surely sell a few more magazines.

Westboro At It Again

Fred Phelps and his homophobic Westboro Baptist Church are planning their next funeral picketing campaign and the target this time is former White House press secretary and Faux news talking head Tony Snow. Why is the Phelps brigade planning to protest at Snow's funeral?

Apparently he was mean to them.
07/17/2008 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Alexandria, VA Christ Episcopal Church (Lepor Colony) 118 N. Washington St. Tony Snow (Press Secretary for 6 "B" George W. Bush) is dead, YES! He had a platform, he was given some small talent by his creator. He was an unfaithful steward, and is now residing in hell. Each opportunity he had to faithfully REport what the servants at WBC had to tell this country/world, Tony Snow besmerched and vilified the words of God and the people of God.

So now they are targeting those speak ill of them along with those that promote the homosexual agenda that are normally the target of their hate. If that's true, they will be quite busy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This Will Leave A Mark!

Surely no one will be talking about this...ok maybe they will.

Making It: How Chicago shaped Obama

UPDATE: The Obama Campaign responds:
The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."

And the New Yorker cartoonist:
I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.

Sounds like this guy went to the Randell Beck school of satire.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Suing Bible Publishers

Worldnet Daily (ick) has an article that discusses a lawsuit brought forward by a gay man (that's a homosexual man for the American Family Association's homo-filters) against 2 Bible publishers for violating his Constitutional rights.
Bradley LaShawn Fowler, 39, of Canton, Mich., is seeking $60 million from Zondervan and another $10 million from Thomas Nelson Publishing in lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

Fowler filed his claim against Grand Rapids-based Zondervan Monday, alleging its Bibles' references to homosexuality as a sin have made him an outcast from his family and contributed to physical discomfort and periods of "demoralization, chaos and bewilderment," the paper said.

Now I have no idea if this guy has a case, but what I consider a bigger point about this story is just how much certain interpretations of the Bible have been changed to reflect the world view of some homophobic biblical scholars that have been charged with updating these versions of the Bible. And as a result, how the ideals of those that follow their teachings have followed suit.

A perfect example of this shift towards unbridled religious driven homophobia by some is given by Fowler as part of his lawsuit and it perfectly documents this change by showing how much one passage has changed in the last 40 years.
In 1970, I Corinthians 6:9 read as followed-

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulteres, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effiminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.

In 1982 ,the same scripture read like this-

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodimites.

In 2001 the same scripture reads like this-

Surely you know that the people who do wrong will not inherit God’s kingdom. Do not be fooled, those who sin sexually, worship idols, take part in adultery, those who are male prostitutes, or men who have sexual relations with other men, those who steal, are greedy, get drunk, lie about others, or rob these people will not inherit God’s kingdom.

Anyone notice a pattern? Over the years as gay and lesbian groups have begun pushing for more equality, the more anti-gay certain versions of the Bible have become. Kind of explains why the religious right's agenda has become so anti-gay centric doesn't it?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Iranian Fauxtography Fun

A few days back, Little Green Footballs outed photo's from Iran's missile shoot discovering that at least one of the pictures the government released had been photoshopped to hide the fact that one of the missiles didn't fire. Today, Wired has compiled a bunch more photo's of that event from around the web, proving once again that there are way too many folks with way too much time on their hands.

I have included my favorite below but head over to Wired to see more fauxtography gold.

photo via snapped shot

This Is Why People Hate Lawyers

"The settlement provides the class members with fair, reasonable and adequate compensation for their claims," wrote lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Scott Kamber of KamberEdelson in New York.

What is the settlement you ask? How does around $2 for each of the plaintiffs in the Ameritrade hacking scandal and $1.8 million or $1360 an hour for the lawyers sound? Also not very good for the lawyers reputation, the lead plaintiff now says that the deal sucks and that his lawyers threatened him into signing.

Read the whole story over at Wired.

Good Luck

As D-day for the release of the iPhone 3G is now upon us, I wanted to wish good luck to all those waiting outside of their local Apple stores, I hope you aren't stuck having to get a white one because the black ones have already sold out (we all know the black ones are so much cooler).

What's that, you don't have an Apple Store? No problem, then good luck at your local AT&T retailer.

What, you say there are none of those either?

Let's see, no Apple Store and AT&T doesn't provide service, where are you South Dakota?



Added Thoughts - Considering all 3 members of South Dakota's Congressional delegation voted to give AT&T retroactive immunity in the recently signed FISA legislation, don't you think it would only be fair for them to spend some of the millions that they will be saving in civil judgments and legal fees to build some infrastructure in South Dakota? I think our elected leaders scratched their back pretty well, how about returning the favor.

Evening Update: I'd say I felt sorry for the thousands who waited hours for their shiny new toys only to have Apple's servers crash under the load not allowing them to activate, but then I would be lying.

McCain's Latest Spinal Tap Moment

Speaking to a group in Pittsburgh earlier this week, the candidate that doesn't want to talk about his time as a POW again told the story of how he substituted the names from a professional football team to his captors in place of those in his fighter squadron.
Asked what first comes to his mind when he thinks of Pittsburgh, McCain chuckled, "the Steelers. I was a mediocre high school athlete but I loved and adored the sports but the Steelers really made a huge impression on me particularly in my early years."

And then McCain told a rather moving story about his time as a P.O.W. "When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information because of the pressures, physical pressures on me, I named the starting lineup, defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers as my squadron mates."

The problem? Every other time he told this story including in his 1999 memoir, the team wasn't the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Once my condition had stabilized, my interrogators resumed their work. Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship’s name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant. Pressed for more useful information, I gave the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line, and said they were members of my squadron. When asked to identify future targets, I simply recited the names of a number of North Vietnamese cities that had already been bombed.”

Hello Cleveland!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Queen Of Pork

It isn't often South Dakota comes in first in anything but South Dakota's own Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has been crowned the queen of pork by the Citizens Against Government Waste in their Energy and Water category.
The top five porkers for Energy and Water are Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.) with $32.3 million; Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) with $28.5 million; House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) with $27.62 million; House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member David Hobson (R-Ohio) with $27.6 million; and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) with $25 million.
Way to make us proud Stephanie, first you vote to promote spying on us by changing your vote after collecting $6000 in contributions from the telcom's that now have immunity and now this.

Note: I haven't found a searchable breakdown (there is a pdf file) of what they have as pork attributed to Herseth Sandlin but I'd bet that Lewis and Clark is a big part of it.

McCain's Veteran Voting Record Not Very Veteran Like

If you question John McCain on why his military experience qualifies him to run the country as he likes to assert, you get everything from righteous indignation to outright changing of the subject. No matter which reaction he gives you, his surrogates come to the rescue by playing the hero card while at the same time calling the questioner's patriotism into question.

Unfortunately for McCain, his bait and switch tactic hasn't stopped the questioning which has started to bleed over to his lack of support for veterans. Now not only is he ignoring the tough questions about his experience, he has had to resort to lying in an attempt to preserve his veteran friendly resume as well. The latest lie fest occurred earlier this week at a town hall in Denver where a real live veteran of all people had the audacity to question McCain's support of veterans healthcare.
McCain: “I don’t know what bill you’re referring to…and I’ll be glad to have you refer to it. The reason why I have a perfect voting record from organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion and all the other veterans’ service organizations is because I support them.”

And when further called out on this McCain added: (emphasis mine)
“I thank you and I’d be glad to examine what your version of my record is. Again, I’ve been endorsed in every election by all of the veterans’ organizations that do that. I’ve been supported by them and received the highest awards from all of those organizations, so I guess they don’t know something you know. I thank you very much and I will continue to be proud of my support for the veterans of this country.”

Excuse me, his version of McCain's record!? Let's look at McCain's veterans report card as reported by the veterans groups themselves and not some John McCain fantasy to see just how much he supports those of us that have served. Why don't we start with the just passed GI Bill.

While George Bush made sure to thank McCain's efforts getting this passed, McCain not only didn't support this bill, he was a vocal opponent of the legislation from day one refusing to sponsor the bill and then had such high regard for it that he didn't even bother showing up to vote when it passed. How's that for support?

Ok so maybe the GI bill was just a minor blip. After all even George Bush, the man that has done more to increase the number of combat veterans since Lyndon Johnson didn't like the bill either, so how do real life veterans groups rate McCain's veteran voting record?

  1. IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America) - John McCain "D"

  2. Vietnam Veterans Of America (McCain is one of course) - He voted against them 17 out of their last 26 scored votes

  3. DAV (Disabled American Veterans) - John McCain has a 20% rating

So Mr McCain despite your claims to the contrary, you are not pro-veteran and any claim you make to that effect is an out and out lie. And while Barack Obama hasn't played the pro-veteran card like you consistently do, he did feel it was important enough to show up and vote to pass the 21st century GI Bill and his score card from the same veterans groups paints a slightly different picture:

  1. IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America) - Barack Obama "B+"

  2. Vietnam Veterans Of America - He voted for them all but 1 time.

  3. DAV - Barack Obama has an 80% rating

So who exactly is the pro-veteran candidate again? I will give you a hint, it isn't the one that likes to play the veteran card.

Labor union veterans have figured that out and one day maybe even the MSM will as well. But then again if they call him out on it they might lose their seat on the "Straight Talk Express" so I wouldn't hold your breath.

In The Mood

It looks like after the FISA capitulation that the Democrats are in that "compromise" frame of mind. This time they appear ready to give the Republican's another item on their wish list when they start debating legislation that would open up new offshore drilling.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that Democratic and Republican leaders are negotiating a compromise on energy legislation. Kyl declined to say who’s doing the negotiating or what results, if any, their discussions have yielded.

But Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), a longtime proponent of increased offshore drilling, said he was seeing “a big shift, a big shift in my direction,” and it was hard to find Democrats who disagreed.

Is it any wonder that Congress' latest approval ratings are now in the single digits? We put the Democrats in power in Congress to move our country in a different direction and all they have managed to accomplished is to continue the policies that they were elected to change.

How are the Democrats able to stand up these days? You would think that it would be quite difficult without a backbone...

If You Thought Flying Was A Pain Before...

Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. has patented a new bracelet that acts like a stun gun and is now lobbying the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to have them used for aviation security.
The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s referred to, would be worn by every traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.” Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information, and would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if the passenger got out of line.

Clearly the Electronic ID Bracelet is a euphemism for the EMD Safety Bracelet, or at least it has a nefarious hidden ability (thus the term ID Bracelet is ambiguous at best). EMD stands for Electro-Musclar Disruption. Again, according to the promotional video, the bracelet can completely immobilize the wearer for several minutes.

And if that description isn't scary enough, the DHS is actually interested in using these shock collar type devices
“To make it clear, we [the federal government] are interested in . . . the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.”

The company's promotional video:

Why not make things even easier, how about just drugging everybody before taking off?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Excuse Me?

The AP hasn't been doing much for their reputation of late, first they go after blogger's for quoting their content, then they go all ga ga over McCain with fluff pieces galore, and now they publish this wonderful piece that tries to convince us that Barack Obama's capitulation on FISA reform is actually part of his grand move to the middle.

I won't quote the AP's David Espo and his reasoning here but considering I honestly considered myself a middle of the road moderate at one time, giving up our Constitutional rights was a chapter that I somehow missed when I was studying the moderate handbook...

The Capitulation Is Complete

After earlier today soundly defeating all 3 amendments that would have pulled telcom immunity from the FISA Reform bill, the Senate passed President Bush's get out of jail free card 69-28. Joining Stephanie Herseth Sandlin who last month voted to pass this legislation in the House with 6,000 in telecom money in her bank account is John Thune whom earned a $7,000 "payout" from the same sources.

Not letting South Dakota's other elected official off the hook, Tim Johnson voted twice against amendments that would have pulled telcom immunity out of the bill. He then put the final nail in the Constitutional coffin when he joined Thune and voted to pass the final bill.

And finally topping off the Democratic capitulation, as promised earlier despite the outrage displayed on his own campaign site, the Obamasiah completed his flip flop by first not filibustering as promised and then by voting to pass the bill.

All and all an historic day in South Dakota politics. 100% of our Congressional delegation has voted to repeal portions of the 4th Amendment meaning that the large telcoms no longer have to worry about being punished for breaking the law and some of your emails and telephone calls can now be monitored by the government without warrants or probable cause.

Definition Of Hypocrisy

Isn't it ironic that the man that has been absent for over 60 percent of the votes in the Senate so far this year is calling out his colleagues for going out for their 4th of July recess before passing the housing bill.
McCAIN: 80-some percent of the American people think the country’s on the wrong track. Approval ratings of Congress — I saw one poll, 12 percent, the lowest in 40 years they’ve been taking these polls.

And meanwhile, what’s the answer? Go out on a Fourth of July recess without passing a housing bill.

I mean, look, Americans are fed up, and I understand it.

Adding to the irony as Think Progress notes, McCain has been absent for all six of the Senate votes held so far on this legislation.

UPDATE: McCain continues ripping his opponent despite not voting himself. This time he is giving Obama the business for flip flopping on FISA. Obama completed that flip flop by voting to pass FISA this afternoon. And McCain? He of course was a no show for another vote. At least he can't be criticised for voting for the removal of our Constitutional rights...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Daniel Ellsberg FISA Interview

While South Dakota's Tim Johnson and John Thune as well as the rest of the Senate prepare to erase part of the 4th Amendment from the Constitution later today when they are scheduled to vote on FISA reform, it is only appropriate that Tim Ferriss releases his interview with Daniel Ellsberg, the man responsible for releasing the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971, on this horrible bill.

Though many Americans for some reason seem indifferent to this legislation, I would still recommend that you watch this interview so that you better understand what your elected officials are doing to your rights.

Remember, it is a lot easier to give up your rights than it is to get them back.

Who is Daniel Ellsberg?

After returning from Vietnam, Ellsberg went back to work at the Rand Corp. As a Vietnam expert, he was invited, in 1967, to contribute to a top-secret study of classified documents regarding the conduct of the Vietnam War that had been commissioned by Defense Secretary McNamara. These documents later became known collectively as the Pentagon Papers. Because he held an extremely high-level security clearance, Ellsberg was one of very few individuals who had access to the complete set of documents. They revealed that the government had knowledge, early on, that the war would not likely be won, and that continuing the war would lead to many times more casualties than was ever admitted publicly. Further, the papers showed that high-ranking officials had a deep cynicism toward the public as well as disregard for the loss of life and injury suffered by soldiers and civilians.

More FISA Reads
The new FISA compromise: it's worse than you think
A Powerful, Easy Way to Tell Obama to Get FISA Right