Saturday, May 31, 2008

So What's The Procedure For That?

Barack Obama announced today that he is quitting his church because of all the controversy revolving around his pastor of 20 years as well as other issues that have cropped up regarding a long time friend and Catholic priest.
Senator Barack Obama is ending his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, a congregation he has belonged to for about two decades and one that had become a lightning rod in his Democratic presidential bid.

Mr. Obama informed his campaign advisers of his decision today, according to people familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the candidate. Mr. Obama is scheduled to explain his decision tonight in South Dakota.

So exactly how does one quit a church? Is Illinois a right to pray state? And if all that is involved is announcing your decision and moving on to the next church on your list, why did it take this long?

UPDATE 6/2 - Ok so the Wall Street Journal via Political Wire tells us exactly how you quit your church. You just write a letter. And again I have to ask, what took you so long?

Funny If It Wasn't So Scary

You're well known for losing control of 6 nukes last year when an airmen mistakenly loaded nuclear tipped cruise missiles onto a B-52 and flew them to La., where the plane sat on the flight line, unattended, for hours. Your commanding officer was fired for the screw up. And now you have been given notice well in advance that a major nuclear inspection was coming up. What do you do?

You fail miserably.
DRTA inspectors gave the wing an “unsatisfactory” grade Sunday after uncovering many crucial mistakes during the weeklong inspection, which began May 17. They attributed the errors primarily to lack of supervision and leadership among security forces.

Not only have you failed, your troops get caught playing video games while guarding the nukes!
Inspectors watched as a security forces airman played video games on his cell phone while standing guard at a “restricted area perimeter,” the DTRA report said. Meanwhile, another airman nearby was “unaware of her duties and responsibilities” during the exercise.

And it just wasn't this one incident. The Air Force Times article also documents a veritable laundry list of breakdowns in the handling, documenting, and reporting that makes you really wonder who is running that outfit.

The incompetence would truly be funny if it wasn't for what they were supposed to be guarding, you know, freakin' NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Holy Wars

If one needs any evidence as to how far the political process in the country has fallen, you only need to look at the role religion and religious leaders have had in this year's Presidential elections. Barack Obama had Rev. Jeremiah Wright spewing his brand of religion on one side and John McCain sought after and got the support of the Rev John Hagee and the baggage that came with it.

Now we've got a priest taking cheap shots at a Presidential candidate during his invocation at the New York State Republican Party dinner.
"One more thing, Lord. Please tell Senator Obama that maybe change is a good thing and maybe he should think about changing his favorite preacher," he said, to applause.

"I know a lot more of us would be comfortable with his judgment skills if he hadn’t sat for 20 years through those words offered by his preacher of division, bigotry, and – honestly – half truths without a word of objection from Senator until the media brought it up, and now he doesn’t want any part of the guy," he said.

"I’m willing to be his new preacher."

Watch it:

I always thought a priest's job was to shepherd his flock. Who knew that it now includes partisan politics.

The Argus Gives Hillary Their Seal Of Approval

In one article the Argus Leader highlights the fact that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton basically have the same policy positions and list several "important" ones to South Dakotans. They then endorse the one whose nomination would more than likely result in the splintering of the Democratic party in another.
Her resilience and determination never should be questioned. She has met or overcome every challenge or roadblock in her way, and there have been many. Her determination to carry the nomination process through to its real conclusion has perhaps earned her a grudging respect from those who would never support her.

Clinton might not win this race. In fact, it's a long shot. But whatever some might say, the race is not over, and her name is on the ballot. Win or lose, she's also the best Democratic candidate for South Dakota.

Say what you want about our state's largest paper, they are at least consistent. They consistently have you scratching your head that is.

UPDATE: Cory over at the Madville Times adds his take on the Argus Endorsement.

Failing to make any real policy distinction between Clinton and Obama, maybe that Sioux Falls paper is just thanking Clinton for sending the paper's web hits to the moon last week with the RFK assassination comment video.

Goodbye Harvey

Harvey Korman and Tim ConwayI read this morning of the death of one my all time favorite comedians. Harvey Korman died yesterday at 81 from complications he experienced from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Some of my fondest memories as a child were watching him and Tim Conway trying unsuccessfully to get through a skit on the old Carol Burnett Show without cracking up and as I got older and could appreciate it, his teaming up with Mel Brooks in the all-time great comedy "Blazing Saddles" was better still.

Goodbye Mr Hedley Lamarr, you will be missed.

UPDATE: Here is one of those classic Korman/Conway bits

Thursday, May 29, 2008

DNC Credentialed Blog List Is Out

A little over a week ago I wrote about the hubbub revolving around the blogs receiving press credentials for the DNC Convention in Denver. The controversy centered on the selection process for the initial 55 state focused political blogs that would be seated alongside the delegates from their respective states and the prominent blogs that were left off the list. Today the DNC released their latest list that now includes over 120 credentialed blogs that adds the national and niche bloggers chosen as well as the state blogs already selected.

The full list can be seen here and unless I missed one, it looks like South Dakota will not have a second blog credentialed (sorry Todd) besides the already announced SDDP mouthpiece Badlands Blue that got the state credential.

With this announcement today, it appears that all we will have to look forward to in August locally will be Blue's standard fare of party approved/generated stories and press releases along with some "look who I saw" photographs thrown in for good measure. Oh well, there is always 2012...

UPDATE 5/30: Todd over at SD Watch responds to his DNC snub.

Stephanie Tells Us Why She Supports Obama

I am sure that emails like this will be coming fast and furiously in the next 5 days leading up to our primary so without further ado, here is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's latest pro-Obama message from the inbox.

Dear Friend,

Like many South Dakotans, I've been inspired by Barack Obama.

Over the course of this campaign, Barack's commitment to finding common ground, and his ability to spark hope and optimism among people of all ages and backgrounds, convinced me that he is the right candidate to be President of the United States.

What we do -- or don't do -- this week in South Dakota will have a big impact on the election.

Just a few months ago, no one would have guessed we'd have such an important role to play in this race. But as the last state in the nation to cast our votes, we have the opportunity to close out the Democratic Primary with a solid victory for Barack.

To make this happen, we need every vote and every delegate we can get. You can help by signing up to Get Out the Vote in your community.

Obama supporters throughout the state are already canvassing their neighborhoods for Barack. I hope you'll join them between now and Tuesday.

Sign up to help Get Out the Vote for Barack in South Dakota:

http://sd.barackobama.com/SDgotv

When Barack is elected president, I am confident he'll create the kind of positive change we need in Washington and here in South Dakota.

He'll refocus our energy policy to create jobs across rural America, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and put partisanship aside in order to get things done.

In the next five days, we can play an important part in this pivotal election to bring that kind of leadership to America -- and in your neighborhood, there's no better advocate for Barack than you.

South Dakota's primary could be the contest that finally puts Barack over the top.

Help make it happen by signing up to join your fellow supporters and Get Out The Vote this week:

http://sd.barackobama.com/SDgotv

Thank you,

Stephanie

Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

New York To Recognize Same Sex Marriages

First the California Supreme Court overturns the ban on gay marriage which could allow gay couples to marry as soon as next month and now New York moves to recognize same sex marriages performed elsewhere.
Gov. David A. Paterson has directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada.

In a directive issued on May 14, the governor’s legal counsel, David Nocenti, instructed the agencies that gay couples married elsewhere “should be afforded the same recognition as any other legally performed union.”

The heads of those on the Religious Right must be exploding everywhere...

Another Era Ends

I am definitely starting to feel old. In my 9 plus years in the Navy, I had the honor to serve on 3 different aircraft carriers. Of those 2 are still in active service, the USS Nimitz and the USS Kitty Hawk with the 3rd, the USS Midway being decommissioned some 16 years ago. That though is soon going to change as the Kitty Hawk has left Japan on it's final voyage before being decommissioned.

For many sailors, their first ship holds a special place in their heart, sort of like one's first love and the Kitty Hawk was my first on many fronts. I made my first deployment in 1985, I crossed the equator for the first time and became a shellback that same year, I made my first visits to Asia and Africa while assigned to the Hawk, and I met my first wife while onboard (ok , so it wasn't all roses).

Some of the things that happened on the Kitty Hawk while I was stationed on board:

us kitty hawk13 Sep 1985: CoMiDEastFor ordered the escort of a Military Sealift Command ship due to ongoing Iranian seizures of merchant ships. On 22 September, two ships were diverted from an anti-submarine warfare exercise with the Kitty Hawk carrier battle group to resume Persian Gulf surveillance operations.

28 Oct–4 Nov 1985: Kitty Hawk conducted anti-submarine warfare exercises in the Gulf of Aden. Two Russian Il-38s reconnoitered the ship and Battle Group Bravo, on the 28th, and contact was gained during the exercise on a Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine.

9 Sep 1986: ABEAA Daniel Dixon was killed on the flight deck, during night flight operations. (He stood up and was hit by an S-3 Viking as it was launching)

3 Jan–29 Jun 1987: While changing home ports from NAS North Island to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Kitty Hawk completed a global circumnavigation, via the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean.

27–29 Jan 1987: Kitty Hawk ended a visit to Subic Bay after only 40 hours, getting underway for the Indian Ocean in response to increased tensions there, generated by the ongoing Persian Gulf War between the Iranians and Iraqis.

31 Mar 1987: A class “Bravo” fire occurred on an oil pipe on Sponson No. 7, starboard side in the hanger bay, while the ship was getting steam up for standing out from her anchorage off Masirah, 0448–0508. Prompt firefighting action by the crew contained the flames, preventing a “major disaster” without casualties.

Apr–May 1987: Following Iranian test-firing of HY-2 Silkworm SSMs, endangering shipping in the Persian Gulf, Kitty Hawk was instructed to extend her operations on station there, being reinforced by additional vessels into a combined battle group.

8–13 Apr 1987: During Kitty Hawk’s visit to Karachi, Pakistan, GEN Muhammad Zia-Ul-Haq, President of Pakistan, toured the ship, on the 13th.

13–17 May 1987: Kitty Hawk operated for the first time in the Red Sea, though “restricted air space” limited flight evolutions.

17 May 1987: Kitty Hawk completed her first transit of the Suez Canal (south–north).

17–18 May 1987: Two Exocet AM39 air-to-surface missiles fired by an Iraqi Dassault-Breguet F-1 Mirage hit guided missile frigate Stark (FFG-31) while she was in international waters in the Persian Gulf, at approximately 2109 on the 17th. The attack killed 37 sailors and wounded five more, but heroic efforts by her crew saved the ship. Kitty Hawk was alerted to operate in the eastern Med for possible retaliatory strikes against the Iraqis.

25 Nov 1987: Kitty Hawk entered Drydock No. 5, Philadelphia, beginning the heavy work phase of her $832 million Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). Approved “in concept” on 13 March 1976, SLEP added an additional 15 years to the expected [average] 30 years of operational service for Forrestal and Kitty Hawk-class carriers.

From what I can tell, the future of the decommissioned ship is still up in the air but I do hope that the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier along with her 47 years of faithful service gets a plum retirement gig as a museum somewhere versus the alternative that could have her becoming part of a disposable razor in someone's medicine cabinet.

Either way, she will be missed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Like Clockwork

The latest former Bushie to write a book after leaving the Bush umbrella is experiencing the same smear machine that awaits anyone willing to talk bad about our King President. Former press secretary Scott McClellan's less than flattering new book describes a propaganda machine that would have made Joseph Goebbels envious and within hours of tidbits of the yet to be released book becoming public, it started in earnest.

First came former Bush puppet master and current McCain advisor Karl Marx Rove who compared McClellan to a left-wing blogger on Hannity and Colmes. He was followed soon thereafter by former Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend (aka pot) whom called McClellan “self-serving” and “disingenuous.” (kettle). Closing things out today (so far), Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino put the proverbial "smear icing on the cake" when she labeled him simply, a “disgruntled” employee.

As Think Progress points out, McClellan isn't alone in his criticism of the administration or in the backlash that resulted from the blind follower's brigade. He joins the likes of Alan Greenspan, Matthew Dowd, and Richard Clarke among others whom have left the administration and afterwards been crucified for speaking ill of our fearless leader.

While the Bush machine's response is to be expected based on their history, one might start to wonder if this is only a precursor to what will come out starting in January 2009 when the smear machine leaves the Bush nest and has to start looking back on their legacies. Do they want to continue to be associated with the worst President in our history whom has done more to circumvent the Constitution than anyone in our lifetime or will they start burning the bridge connecting them with the last 8 years of Mr "Miserable Failure"?

Reserve some quiet time in the years to come. I predict there will be some interesting reading in our future that won't have the smear machine waiting to greet it when it comes out.

UPDATE: I meant to mention this but forgot but Denise Ross didn't. All through the smear campaign to this point, no one has come out to deny anything that McClellan wrote. I guess they figure it is easier to discredit him than to try and explain away (i.e. lie) what he documents.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fund Raising In The Digital Age

How do you know that your fund raising efforts are bearing fruit? How about your fund raising reports to the FEC can no longer be imported into Excel or Lotus.
A milestone of sorts was reached earlier this year, when Obama, the Illinois senator whose revolutionary online fundraising has overwhelmed Clinton, filed an electronic fundraising report so large it could not be processed by popular basic spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel 2003 and Lotus 1-2-3.

Those programs can’t download data files with more than 65,536 rows or 256 columns.

On the flip side, how do you know when they are not going so well?
In a revealing insight into the significant fundraising disparity between the two Democrats and presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, it is still possible to download his reports with plain-old Excel.

They do...

Hillary Isn't The Only One

While Hillary is piling up the mis-statements regarding her recent history, Barack Obama is throwing in a few of his own. In Sioux Falls a little over a week ago he had a "Spinal Tap" moment and thanked the folks from Sioux City for their warm welcome though quickly corrected himself.

His latest gaffe that is getting some press in the right-wing blogs deals with his speech yesterday in New Mexico. He was speaking about his support of the new GI Bill and brought up his grandfather and uncle's WWII experiences including his uncle participating in the liberation of Auschwitz.

The only problem with that though is unless Obama's uncle was Russian, it might have been difficult for him to participate in that operation.
On January 27, 1945, the Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, who were mostly ill and dying.

It's been a long campaign, maybe just a bit too long...

UPDATE: The Obama campaign has come out with a correction to his statement. He mis-spoke, it was his great uncle and it was Buchenwald not Auschwitz.

When Does Mis-speaking Become A Trend?

If you are going to use someone to explain away your diarrhea of the mouth, you might want to check to make sure your husband, the person you are using to prove your argument, is on the same page.

Hillary when trying to put out the RFK assassination fire:
My husband didn’t wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual.

Husband Bill Clinton discussing the 1992 primary in his memoir, My Life.
On April 7, we also won in Kansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. On April 9, Paul Tsongas announced that he would not reenter the race. The fight for the nomination was effectively over.

So not only did she invoke the assassination of RFK as a reason why she was still in the race, she has another minor blip when trying to explain it away.

Sooner or later a series of mis-spoken comments become something more than just a verbal slip up. If you have enough of these blonde moments, people might start to think that you are mis-speaking on purpose. When that happens you become nothing more than a Democratic version of what we have been dealing with for the last 7 years.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Reason We Can Celebrate

arizona memorial

The picture above is of the USS Arizona Memorial taken from the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk in 1985. Let it serve as a reminder as to why most of us are enjoying the first major holiday weekend of the summer.

While you are out and about spending the day with friends and family, please take a moment to remember and thank those that made days like today possible.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Take That!

A corporation tries to do something good for schools and all they get for their troubles is grief.

Subway wants your kids to write a story that could get their school $5000 worth of athletic equipment. All they need to do is go here, choose a sandwich, and get creative. Sounds like a pretty cool contest, except that is, when the wingnut nation strikes.

You see, considering the purpose of the contest is to win athletic equipment for the winners school, Subway decided that home schooled kids couldn't enter. Kind of hard to donate equipment to a non-existent school (yes, I know there are donation option for home schoolers). Anyway, like I said the wingnut nation has latched on to this and now Subway is being bombarded with calls for boycotts as well as becoming the target of all sorts of unflattering comments.

Maybe Ms. Malkin could join with local our home school proponent Sibby to help lead a revolt against Citibank next. As those of us in South Dakota are aware, they are providing a boatload of cash to help provide laptops to our high schools kids, and if I am not mistaken, home schooled students need not apply.

UPDATE: It seems that Dunkin Donuts has attracted the ire of the Malkin led wingnut BS machine as well.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Now That's A Promotion

The St. Paul Saints have long been known for their marketing and promotional expertise. How can they not be considering their principal owner Mike Veeck's lineage. Veeck's father was well known as an outrageous promoter who's ideas included Disco Demolition Night which resulted in riots, sending short of stature (re: midget) Eddie Gaedel to the plate when he owned the St Louis Browns, and putting his Chicago White Sox in shorts and collared pullovers in 1976. One of Veeck's final promotions before leaving baseball is still carried out today, he is responsible for getting the late Harry Caray to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch.

So when son Mike carried on the family tradition and bought a piece of the Saints, you knew that cool promotions where sure to follow. Some of Mike's handy work in St Paul included such notable events as passing out rubber dog toys during the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal and giving fans Randy Moss hood ornaments after then Vikings player Randy Moss' run in with a traffic control officer.

With that history, the St Paul Saints latest promotion should be no surprise and I'll give you a hint, it includes a U.S Senator and a Minneapolis Airport bathroom.

The St Paul Saints game tomorrow against Ft Worth is being dubbed Larry Craig "Bobblefoot" day and will commemorate the top tapping wide stance escapades of the "I am not gay" Senator from Idaho by passing out a spring loaded bouncing foot visible from under a likeness of a bathroom stall. So if your in the area be one of the first 2500 fans to get your latest piece of promotional gold to come out of the great white north.

(h/t - Crooks and Liars)

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Randell Beck Comments On Clinton Remarks

I haven't been able to find this on the Argus Leader site but Washington Post political blog The Fix provides us with Argus Leader executive editor Mr. Satire's (aka Randell Beck) statement regarding Hillary's comments.
Here's Beck's statement:

"The context of the question and answer with Sen. Clinton was whether her continued candidacy jeopardized party unity this close to the Democratic convention. Her reference to Mr. Kennedy's assassination appeared to focus on the timeline of his primary candidacy and not the assassination itself."

And this isn't the first time that Hillary has brought up the RFK assassination. Back in March she said this:
TIME: Can you envision a point at which--if the race stays this close--Democratic Party elders would step in and say, "This is now hurting the party and whoever will be the nominee in the fall"?
CLINTON: No, I really can't. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual.

As the Time article points out, Hillary mis-speaks in her apology given today where she said that the Kennedy reference was because of Ted's recent health issues being on her mind which wasn't the case back when she first said this in March. Also the whole preface of her argument of her husband's campaign being in doubt in June is also wrong, he had it wrapped up by March.

Maybe she was still upset over her infamous Bosnia sniper fire incident...

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Clinton's Latest Excuse

Updates below

Hillary is making news of the less than flattering kind again. Earlier this afternoon she brought up the Robert Kennedy assassination to the editorial board of our own Argus Leader as another reason for her staying in the race.
My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it"

Say What!? Hillary's only chance for the nomination was a gaffe of epic proportions by Barack Obama and instead, she might have provided the gaffe instead.

Watch it

UPDATE: I pulled the video in favor of the link because the video source is loading ridiculously slow. The Argus has yet to figure out that embedded video thing but they now have a transcript of the comments up to accompany the video.

UPDATE 2: The Hillary comments are catching fire. A few examples below to which I will be adding more if I come across them.

Malkin - Stick a fork in her. She may, at long last, be done.

The Fix - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), already a longshot for her party's presidential nod, may have unwittingly lengthened the odds of her nomination by referencing the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in explaining why she remained in the race.

Hillary apologizes - Earlier today, I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged in California in June in 1992 and 1968, and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nominating primary contests that go into June," Clinton told reporters. "That's an historic fact. The Kennedys have been much on my mind in the last days because of Senator Kennedy, and I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever."

TPM provides video off the Argus' slow servers

Republican's (?) Leaving In Droves

I am reading examples all across the web on how the conservative wing of the GOP is going batty over the way the Republican Party is headed. John McCain literally scares many on the far right whom are now left to ponder what has happened to the Reich Wing. Apparently South Dakota is no different. Why?

Well according to the Dakota War College, the most Republican candidate running in District 32 is "one issue" Elli Schwiesow, who has temporarily(?) left the GOP so she can run as an Independent.
Normally, I’d say that this is only going to hurt the Republican in the race. But, except for Elli, you’re kind of left wondering who the Republican is.

What kind of identity crisis must be occurring in the GOP if you think the farthest right leaning candidate is actually running as an Independent?

The War Hero Card, Again

This is getting to be sad actually but John McCain is pulling his war hero card again, this time it is in regards to his lack of support for the new GI Bill. McCain was one of only 3 Senators not present (Ted Kennedy and Tom Coburn) yesterday when the Senate overwhelmingly passed Jim Webb's GI Bill 75-22. When Barack Obama called him on his absence, McCain declared that Obama has no right to criticize him because he didn't serve.


It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of. Let me say first in response to Senator Obama, running for President is different than serving as President. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.

And
And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.

Since Senator McCain doesn't feel that anyone who didn't serve should be able to criticize him on veterans issues, I figured I could weight in. I served 9 years including during the first gulf war and I feel that your lack of a vote on this bill is in direct contradiction to your contention that you are pro-veteran. And while Obama has not served in the military, he did feel it was important enough to come off the campaign trail and vote, as did Hillary Clinton by the way. And it's not only this lone veteran blogger that thinks he is full of it, veterans groups are also aware of his voting record on veterans issues as well and it isn't pretty.
The recognition McCain has received from veterans groups is not “high awards” but failing grades:

— Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a grade of D for his record of voting against veterans. (By contrast, Obama got a B+.)

– Disabled Veterans of America noted McCain’s dismal 20 percent voting record on veterans’ issues. (Obama had an 80 percent.)

– In a list of “Key Votes,” Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) notes McCain “Voted Against Us” 15 times and “Voted For Us” only 8. (Obama voted for VVA 12 times, and against only once.)

Finally, where was the "pro-vet" candidate whom has already sewn up his party's nomination when he was criticizing a candidate whom is still battling for his party's nomination but felt it important enough to at least show up and vote on the bill? He was at a fund raiser in trendy Atherton, California getting $25,000 a pop for photos with the "war hero".

UPDATE: Firedoglake takes McCain's argument further documenting other prominent American's that should not be discussing veterans issues because of their lack of service in uniform.
So I guess that means Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Rudy Guiliani -- not to mention Mitt Romney, Charlie Crist, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson -- and of course Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Reynolds and pretty much every other right wing blowhard and elected Republican henceforth needs to STFU when it comes to military affairs, right?

And John, does that mean only those in Congress that served should vote on, or debate for that matter, veterans issues?

If our President didn't serve, can he be allowed to veto veterans bills?

My Social Security Number Is...

File this one under irony.

The guy with the annoying TV commercials that has his social security number plastered everywhere in an attempt to get you to sign up for his identity theft prevention service has had his identity stolen.
The CEO of LifeLock claims that his company's identity-theft protection service is so good that he puts his own Social Security number up on billboards and in televised ads.

But now the corporate honcho featured in the spots, Todd Davis, is admitting that he actually had his identity stolen - and his company is facing a major fraud lawsuit by customers.

Now call me naive, but I am guessing this might be bad for business.

Schuldt Pleads Guilty

Former Clean Cut Kid and Hildebrand Tewes business manager Chad Schuldt pleaded guilty to stealing from the company doing consulting work for the Barack Obama campaign.
Chad Schuldt, 37, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Minnehaha County Circuit Court to two counts of grand theft.

He overpaid himself, issued cash advances and made unauthorized purchases on a company credit card, a police affidavit says, costing the firm nearly $200,000.
Advertisement

Under a plea deal, he will get five years of suspended prison time on one charge and could get up to 10 years on the other. A sentencing date has not been set.

Can he blog from prison?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

McCain Gives Hagee The Boot

After seeking out his endorsement just a few months earlier, John McCain has repudiated that endorsement after new comments by the controversial pastor emerged.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain rejected the months-old endorsement of an influential Texas televangelist after an audio recording surfaced in which the preacher said God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land.

"Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well," the presidential candidate said in a statement issued Thursday.
Interesting thought that it took disparaging comments towards Jews to get McCain to drop Hagee but apparently he didn't have much of an issue with Hagee's crusade against the Catholic Church which had been well known even before McCain sought Hagee's endorsement.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What Clinton's Kentucky Landslide Shows

For the second week in a row, a state outside of the deep South has shown that a large number of their population would rather vote for someone that they knew didn't share their values (McCain) or not vote at all than vote for a black man, Muslim, Barack Obama.
In addition, only about four in 10 working-class whites in Kentucky said they would vote for Obama in a matchup with John McCain in the general election. About an equal number said they would support the Republican, and the rest said they would not vote.

And
Only three in 10 whites who said race was a factor said they would vote for Obama should he oppose McCain in November. Nearly four in 10 said they would back McCain, while the rest said they wouldn't vote.

Not suprisingly on the other side, 7 out of 10 of the few Kentucky Obama supporters would move their support to Hillary Clinton if hell froze over and she won the nomination. Hmmm...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Credentialed DNC Blogger Controversy



Blogging colleague Tim over at A Progressive on the Prairie took exception last week to the selection of a blogger from Badlands Blue getting the South Dakota blog credentials to the DNC Convention in Denver. Initially he assumed that lead blogger and Virginia resident Lowell Feld, whom admittedly has rarely ever even been to South Dakota, was chosen over other South Dakota bloggers including popular lefty Todd Epp from South Dakota Watch. That assumption turned out to be incorrect as Blue co-blogger and South Dakotan Tyler Smith was the one chosen.

While the South Dakota selection controversy has since died down somewhat, nationally the selection of bloggers for this unique opportunity has heated up led by several bloggers including the aforementioned Badlands Blue blogger Lowell Feld.

There's a bit bubbling controversy regarding a backlash to the Democratic National Convention Committee's selection process for state bloggers. 21 bloggers representing 12 already-credentialed blogs sent a letter yesterday to DNC Chairman Howard Dean protesting the DNCC's selection process that appears -- in the viewpoint of the bloggers -- to have been used by state parties to silence critics.

And
The signers of this letter include Lowell Feld, a top Virginia blogger,the writers of LeftInTheWest.com awarded State Blog of the Year in '06 by IPDI; and bloggers from California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, and North Dakota.

These bloggers are upset, as was Tim over the selection of the South Dakota Democratic party mouthpiece Badlands Blue, that it appears that the DNC chose bloggers that were more "friendly" to the Democrats. They cited instances where popular blogs were bypassed that had been more critical of the party including a popular New Jersey blog that was excluded in favor of another blog with a mysterious author and with a New York owner (sound familiar?).

Anyway, Howard Dean has yet to respond to the concerned bloggers but it will be interesting to see how this new media controversy will shake out in the weeks leading up to the convention.

UPDATE: Kos has more on this here including rumors that the state parties had veto powers during the selection process. So Todd, pissed off anyone in the SDDP lately?


Kennedy Has Brain Tumor

In case you missed it over the weekend, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy was hospitalized with what at first was thought to be a stroke but was later determined to be a seizure. The AP is now reporting that his seizure was caused by a malignant brain tumor.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor. Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat say tests conducted after Kennedy suffered a seizure this weekend show a tumor in his left parietal lobe. His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy.

Definitely not good news for the 76 year old Senator and his family.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Republican Hope

Are you having as hard of a time keeping up with John McCain's ever changing positions as I am? It is obvious that I am not alone. First we have this from The Real McCain.

And to keep everything straight from the "Straight Talk Express", the DNC has started McCainpedia to in their words "centralize research material, allowing the general public to use it as they see fit." What it does do is lay out his statements along with his voting record so that you can at least attempt to keep track of what he would do if he gets elected. Something that with his continually talking out of both sides of his mouth is hard to do at the moment.

A Tale Of Two Campaigns

While Obama is speaking to 75,000 people and Hillary is making the donut shop circuit, John McCain is losing campaign staff to lobbying controversies. The so called "tough on lobbying" candidate has lost his 5th staffer over the past week because of their lobbying ties.
He is the fifth person to sever ties with the campaign amid a growing concern over whether lobbyists have too great an influence over the Republican nominee. Last week, campaign manager Rick Davis issued a new policy that requires all campaign personnel to either resign or sever ties with lobbying firms or outside political groups.

To add insult to injury the latest resignation will also hamper his already lagging campaign funding, the guy that quit was his key fund-raiser.
To confront the Obama juggernaut, Senator John McCain, whose fund-raising has badly trailed that of his Democratic counterparts — and whose efforts suffered a blow this weekend when a key fund-raiser, Tom Loeffler, resigned because of a new campaign policy on conflicts of interest — is leaning on the Republican National Committee.

So what's next for McCain? He will attempt to get fund-raising help from the most unpopular President in history.
To that end, Republican officials said they were enlisting President Bush, a formidable fund-raiser who has raised more than $36 million this year for Republican candidates and committees, for three events on Mr. McCain’s behalf.

Can two campaigns be going so differently?

Obama Draws 75,000

So how many donut shops would Hillary have to visit to get the number of supporters Barack Obama drew in one event in Oregon yesterday?
Sen. Barack Obama has seen his share of large crowds over the last 15 months, but his campaign said they have not approached the numbers gathered along the waterfront here right now.

The campaign, citing figures from Duane Bray, battalion chief of Portland Fire & Rescue, estimated that 75,000 people are watching him speak.



UPDATE: Here is a video mix of the news reports detailing the event:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ted Kennedy Hospitalized

Updated Below

Word is coming out that Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy has been hospitalized with stroke like symptoms. Those of us in South Dakota have been through a similar situation almost 18 months ago when Tim Johnson had his own health issues. Hopefully Senator Kennedy will be fine as well.
U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy was airlifted to a Boston hospital Saturday morning after suffering stroke-like symptoms at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass.

He was first rushed to Cape Cod Hospital. After being in the emergency room for two hours there, he was transported to Barnstable Airport and was then flown to Massachusetts General Hospital.

UPDATE: The latest news on Kennedy's condition is much better than first thought. Apparently he suffered a seizure and not a stroke and was well enough this afternoon to catch part of the Red Sox game from his hospital room.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Obama In Sioux Falls

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend but depending on who you listen to, the Obama event at the Sioux Falls Arena drew between 5000 to 7000 people. Maybe if Hillary comes to the state 4 or 5 more times she can get those numbers, combined...

You Better Dive For The Floor...

If you want to see the wingnuts in all their splendor, the NRA Convention is always a good place to start and Mike Huckabee didn't disappoint.
During a speech before the National Rifle Association convention Friday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee — who has endorsed presumptive GOP nominee John McCain — joked that an unexpected offstage noise was Democrat Barack Obama looking to avoid a gunman.

“That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak,” said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”

Watch it:

Can someone tell me again why he didn't win the nomination?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Aren't Candidates Looking For Crowds?

Silly me, I always thought the purpose of a campaign event was to get as many people as possible to show up. Apparently Hillary Clinton has another idea as her surprise visit to Rapid City this afternoon would attest.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton made a surprise trip to Rapid City today, making a stop at a local bakery.

Clinton, who made a campaign stop in Bath in northeastern South Dakota earlier in the day, stopped at Jerry’s Cakes and Doughnuts on east Omaha Street sometime after 1:15 p.m. today.
Maybe she just had a craving for a good doughnut...

California Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

This ruling will surely get the religious right going.
The California Supreme Court has overturned a ban on gay marriage, paving the way for California to become the second state where gay and lesbian residents can marry.

The case involved a series of lawsuits seeking to overturn a voter- approved law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

With the ruling, California could become the second state after Massachusetts where gay and lesbian residents can marry.

"What happens in California, either way, will have a huge impact around the nation. It will set the tone," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the gay rights group Equality California.

On a similar note, it looks like Focus on the Family is back at work trying to tell everyone what they should be able to watch and again Lodgenet is in the middle.
If Colorado Springs-based media ministry Focus on the Family gets its way, guests of Marriott hotels won't be able to tune into adult movies in their rooms.

Tom Minnery, a senior vice president for Focus on the Family, and other conservative Christian leaders Wednesday urged Marriott International executives to stop offering in-room pornographic movies.

Marriott is in the group's cross hairs because they are one of the largest chains that provide in room movies and as it happens, South Dakota's own Lodgnet is their primary in room entertainment provider. Nothing new to Lodgenet though, being in the gun sights of religious groups is just another day in the life of the Sioux Falls based entertainment company.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What 40 Point Victory?

A day after losing by 40 point in West Virginia, Barack Obama is still making more positive news than Hilary Clinton who still blindly believes that she will be the nominee.

First the powerful abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America threw their support to Barack Obama.
NARAL president Nancy Keenan said in a statement: "Today, we are proud to put our organization's grassroots and political support behind the pro-choice candidate whom we believe will secure the Democratic nomination and advance to the general election. That candidate is Senator Obama."

And just a little while ago, former candidate John Edwards officially endorsed Obama as well.
Democrat John Edwards is endorsing former rival Barack Obama, fresh signs of the party establishment embracing the likely nominee even as Hillary Rodham Clinton refuses to give up her long-shot candidacy.

Edwards was to appear with Obama in Grand Rapids, Mich., as Obama campaigns in a critical general election battleground state.

The Edwards endorsement officially brings to an end one of the longer political suck-up periods in recent memory as both Hillary and Obama had been seeking an Edwards endorsement since he dropped out of the race several months ago. So much for the bump that Clinton expected after her big victory...

Obama In Sioux Falls

Just received in my inbox, details of Barack Obama's Sioux Falls event this Friday
Please join Barack Obama for a One-Stop Early Vote Rally in Sioux Falls, where he'll talk about his vision for bringing America together and creating the kind of change we can believe in.

One-Stop Early Vote Rally in Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls Arena
1201 N. West Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Friday, May 16th
Doors Open: 5:00 p.m.
Program Begins: 7:00 p.m.

Times Must Be Rough

Updated Below

I guess we all need to make some sort of sacrifice because of the war in Iraq.
US President George W. Bush said in an interview out Tuesday that he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of US soldiers killed in the conflict in Iraq, now in its sixth year.

"I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal," he said in an interview for Yahoo! News and Politico magazine.

"I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf," he said. "I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them."

Does he have even the smallest clue as to how that sounds?

UPDATE: Not only does Bush seem clueless about how this sounds, it appears he lied about it as well. And finally, Keith Olbermann puts the whole Bush Yahoo/Politico interview in perspective.

A Bit More On The West Virginia Smackdown

Last night I commented on how Hillary was proclaiming that her West Virginia victory was just more proof that she appeals to the core base that will propel her and not Obama to the White House. The New York Times takes that premise and runs with it and gives us some interesting facts, some from last night's landslide and some from Clinton herself.

First some interesting numbers from last night and probably the major reason why Obama didn't even attempt to improve his West Virginia showing.
The number of white Democratic voters who said race had influenced their choices on Tuesday was among the highest recorded in voter surveys in the nomination fight. Two in 10 white West Virginia voters said race was an important factor in their votes. More than 8 in 10 who said it factored in their votes backed Mrs. Clinton, according to exit polls.

So winning a state with a large population like the women in the video I linked to yesterday, one of whom swears despite being told otherwise that Obama is a Muslim and where 20% of the Democrats voting were willing to say that race is an important factor (how many were not willing to say but felt that way?), is a tremendous victory that should endear her to the remaining uncommitted super delegates (her one and only chance to get the nomination)?

According to Clinton, there is something else about West Virginia other than the racial component that proves that she should be the nominee.
As the Clinton campaign noted in a strategy memo on Tuesday, no Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virginia since 1916. Bill Clinton carried it in 1992 and 1996. Al Gore and John Kerry lost the state in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

So she says that because she has history on her side she should be chosen despite losing the popular vote and the overall delegate count? So what about this?
The argument is not without flaw. For one thing, Democratic candidates have lost West Virginia’s primary, gone on to win the nomination, and then won West Virginia in the general election anyway. For another, as Matt Yglesias noted in a mocking tone, “[N]o Democrat has won the White House without carrying Minnesota since 1912 (it went for Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose party) so given that Obama won Minnesota and Clinton won West Virginia, McCain is guaranteed to win the general election unless the eventual nominee can somehow completely replicate the social and political conditions prevailing in pre-WWI America.”

Funny thing about spin, it can be spun many different ways, often times to the detriment of the one doing the spinning. Also, should West Virginia be used as a basis for any major trends on a national level? As with what will happen here on June 3rd when we go through the motions, I hope not.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wishful Thinking Or Just Delusional?

Got this in the email inbox this evening after Hillary's landslide in West Virginia
After tonight's tremendous victory here in West Virginia, it's clear that the pundits declaring this race over have it all wrong. The voters in West Virginia spoke loud and clear -- they want this contest to go on.

I'm listening to the voters -- and to you.

With your help, I'm going to carry the energy of tonight's victory into the next contests in Kentucky and Oregon. And just as always, I'll be depending on you to share every step of this journey with me. You have worked your heart out, put yourself on the line for what you believe in, and given generously. And I'm not about to turn my back on you.

We've proved conventional wisdom wrong time and again in this race. We did it again tonight in West Virginia. Let's keep going.

Thank you,
Is this win in West Virginia really that tremendous considering the uphill battle Obama had to overcome based on the makeup of the population there? Well at least it will give us 2 more visits from the Clinton's even despite their $20 million campaign shortfall and few prospects of getting the nomination.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bypassing Civil Liberties

As the fight continues over retooled FISA laws that would give the US Government more power to legally spy on us without warrants and that would give telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for what has already occurred, the LA Times tells us just how much losing some of our civil liberties has helped to this point.
The number of Americans being secretly wiretapped or having their financial and other records reviewed by the government has continued to increase as officials aggressively use powers approved after the Sept. 11 attacks. But the number of terrorism prosecutions ending up in court -- one measure of the effectiveness of such sleuthing -- has continued to decline, in some cases precipitously.

The trends, visible in new government data and a private analysis of Justice Department records, are worrisome to civil liberties groups and some legal scholars. They say it is further evidence that the government has compromised the privacy rights of ordinary citizens without much to show for it. (emphasis added)
Isn't it nice that giving up our rights is working so well? Maybe we can waterboard a few more people to get these numbers up to where they should be...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

SNL Calls It As They See It

Not sure how long this YouTube video will last on line but here is SNL's Hillary Clinton satirical speech (yes Randell, this is how satire is accomplished) on why she isn't leaving the race from last night's show.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sorry Mr Gates, I've Had Enough

You may or may not have noticed that things here were awful quiet yesterday. For months I have been fighting a very temperamental Microsoft Vista PC that often would not shut down, wouldn't let me install programs or drivers, and just was a general pain in the a**. All during those months I had been burning up Google looking for fixes for my troubles only to find out that my problems were minor compared to many.

To make a long story shorter. I had held out hope that SP1 for Vista would fix the long list of issues with this operating system and yesterday after attempting to update Quicken only to have it corrupted to the point where it would no longer load, I decided to set aside some time to get and install SP1 after reading awhile back that it had finally been released. 4 hours later (only a 65mb file) I finally got SP1 installed and after a number of reboots I was finally ready to put it through it's paces.

To my utter disgust, none of the issues I had originally were fixed, it still wouldn't shut down, I still couldn't load software, and new to the list, all my user settings including my iTunes library had disappeared. To put the icing on the cake, the PC now ran so slow that it was pretty much useless.

Ok, so what was plan B? I figured I should go back to the point before installing SP1, at least the PC was usable. So I went to Windows restore to go back to the restore point that I had set before the upgrade and of course I discovered that not only had that restore point disappeared, every one that I once had was now gone! Thank you Bill Gates, may I have another?

I had hoped that Microsoft had learned from Windows ME that rushing a product to market and then expecting it's users to wait patiently for them to fix it once it was released would not fly. Obviously I was wrong so Mr Gates, my latest hair pulling experience with one of your products will be my last. I did something yesterday evening that at one time I said I would never do, I bought a Mac...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Ron Paul Army

I wasn't able to get any usable pictures with my ridiculously horrible camera phone and the driving rain but it seems that the Ron Paul army hasn't taken the suspension of his campaign too seriously. Driving through Watertown today I noticed a large Ron Paul for President sign on in a parking lot on US212 and an even larger billboard on SD20 just Southeast of the airport labeled as being paid for by "Friends of Ron Paul".

Paul managed to get 16% of the vote in Pennsylvania and McCain isn't necessarily wowing GOP voters in the more recent primaries even after getting the required delegates for the nomination. So the question is, will the South Dakota battalion of the Ron Paul army be able to surpass PA's numbers?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

435,330 Votes

Speaking of numbers like $11.4 million, last night's primaries in North Carolina and Indiana along with Pennsylvania a few weeks ago gave us another interesting number. Even though John McCain has long since wrapped up the GOP nomination, over 435,000 people voted for a Republican other than McCain in the last 3 primaries.

And no, I am not talking about the almost comical Operation Chaos campaign by Rush Limbaugh that sought to get his "ditto heads" to throw the vote Hillary's way and that Obama is saying at least in some way affected Indiana last night. In the last 3 primaries, almost 25% of the Republican votes cast were for someone else even though McCain has already sewn up the nomination.

Just some food for thought.

$11.4 Million Reasons

If anyone is still wondering why Hillary Clinton is still in the race despite an almost killer blow in last night's primaries, MSNBC is reporting that after last month, she has 11.4 million reasons to stay in the race to the end.
WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has lent her presidential campaign $6.4 million over the past month, a campaign aide says.

The money more than doubles Clinton's personal investment in her bid for the Democratic nomination. She gave her campaign $5 million earlier this year.

So Hillary supporters out there looking forward to her visit to Sioux Falls be advised. Any money donated from now on might just end up in her bank account instead of funding her now almost impossible bid for the nomination. The fat lady isn't singing for Hillary's campaign yet but it's not because Hillary has much of a chance to win, it is more likely that she just can't afford to pay her.

UPDATE: Our own George McGovern begins what I believe is going to be the inevitable mass migration of Hillary supporters to Barack Obama.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

iPhone Going 3 G

Those that have read this blog for awhile probably know by now my obsession with Apple's iPhone and news that the newest 3G version could be released as soon as late next month has me salivating.
According to cellpassion, AT&T's pulling a similar move as Apple did last year, disallowing any employee vacations for a period from June 15 to July 12. If this is true, there's only one reason why AT&T would do this: the 3G iPhone.
What's that you say, we can't get the iPhone in South Dakota? Nevermind...

McCain Camp: Hagee Endorsement Result Of Poor Vetting

While some still believe that the Reverend Hagee endorsement sought after and received by John McCain is nowhere near the level that the Reverend Wright scandal has reached with Barack Obama, the McCain camp isn't as sure anymore.

McCain's aides have admitted that they should have probably vetted Hagee a bit more thoroughly.
McCain’s aides attribute the Hagee controversy to poor vetting. But even some Republicans (not affiliated with the campaign) privately wonder how the pastor’s extreme views slipped through without notice. McCain personally wooed Hagee for more than a year.

But then again if the media continues to ignore it, it really isn't that big of a deal is it?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Has Hell Frozen Over?

I normally don't blow my own horn, probably because I never have a horn to blow when compared with the other fine South Dakota Blogs but this caught me a bit off guard last night.

BlogNetNews is a feed aggregator on steroids that also uses some kind of super secret algorithm to rank the "influence" of the various blogs in their respective categories. The rankings are released weekly and you can pretty much count on either the War College, SD Watch, or Madville Times finishing on top for the week in the South Dakota Blog category with me somewhere at the bottom.

Well something must have gone wrong with BlogNetNews' algorithm this week (man hackers are expensive, thank goodness for that rebate check) as the screenshot below shows.

hell frozen over

I have no delusions of grandeur nor does this mean anything in the overall scheme of things but what the heck, it is nice to know that there is a change of seasons in hell from time to time...

Hows This For Priorities?

If you've watched any TV the past few months, you have undoubtedly seen the commercials prodding the last few remaining Americans that don't have cable or satellite TV that they will need to get a digital converter box prior to the changeover to all digital broadcasts in February of 2009. Our government leaders are even willing to send you a $40 coupon to make sure that your TV viewing doesn't get interrupted.

While I knew this was coming and can't wait for as much high def content as possible, what I was amazed to discover is exactly what we are paying to make sure no one misses new episodes of "CSI".
the government has allocated $1.5 billion to inform 17 million citizens about the digital TV transition

A little perspective:
the total proposed budged for literacy education in 2009 stands at a paltry $574.6 million

Amazing.

Narrow View

Cory over at Madville Times introduces us to a 3rd challenger for the GOP nomination for the U S Senate. Veterinarian Dr. Charles Gonyo joins the race with Sam Kephart and Joel Dykstra whom are looking to challenge Tim Johnson this November. While Cory chooses to focus on Dr Gonyo's abortion stand, which from what I can tell isn't much other than he is open to suggestions, a certain theme from his campaign site seemed to stand out.

Myopic or myopia - a lack of foresight or discernment : a narrow view of something

Dr Gonyo at first glance seems to suffer from the above defined affliction which also affects many of our other politicians. But unlike most here in South Dakota whose myopia leans towards the Religious Reich agenda of repressing those that do not conform to their religious views, Dr. Gonyo seems to have a woody for everything immigration.

Here are his goals:
* Read each bill completly before voting.
* Vote "No" on any form of immigrant anmesty.
* Maintenance of a consistantly strong and permanent defense capability & military.
* Constitutional rights of American citizens.
* No federal funds to firms involved in the practice of aiding, or abetting foreign illegal aliens.
* Maintain mutual alliance with Israel, the only true ally of USA in the middle eastern area.
* Federal restrictions on any American currency transfer from within the USA by individuals illegally in the USA.
* Bring to task any entities operating on a tax exempt basis while aiding illegal activities within the USA.
* Investigation of T.I.N. frauds against the American taxpayers with full prosecution against the illegal aliens and the tax people who aid them.
* No federal grants, subsidies etc., no farm subsidies, to firms employing foreign workers or subcontractors employing foreign instead of American citizens.
* Require all federal employees to be bona fide American citizens beginning with ICE and the Southern Border Patrol.

Can you see the pattern forming and maybe more importantly, is immigration reform something that is high on the South Dakota radar to the point that his crusade would useful in getting elected? And finally, what's with his number 1 goal to "Read each bill completly before voting"? Has that been a problem?


It's looks to be an interesting primary.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Kent State 38 Years Later

It has been 38 years and counting since a family acquaintance, Bill Shroeder, and 3 others were killed at Kent State University just down the road from where I was growing up. Up until then I had been effectively shielded from the Vietnam War but Schroeder's death from shots fired by the Ohio National Guard while he was walking to class forever changed that.

Over 5 years into our latest unpopular war, the protests haven't reached the point they did in 1970, probably due to the lack of a draft, but as Bush's approval ratings show, we aren't too thrilled with the current conflict either. To commemorate the incident also know as the "Kent State Massacre", Neil Young wrote Ohio.

Give Us All Guns

2008 is turning into the year of the gun. First the South Dakota legislature tries to allow college students to carry guns on our college campuses. Then some of our more Conservative friends wanted to board up all the Pizza Hut franchises because they had the gall to discipline one of their delivery drivers for carrying and using a gun despite company policies against such actions.

Now President Bush and Co. want to allow us to carry concealed heaters throughout our National Parks system because as we all know, these parks are really dangerous.
The Bush administration on Wednesday announced its intent to shoot down federal rules that prohibit individuals from carrying loaded firearms in U.S. national parks and wildlife refuges. The proposal would permit individuals to carry loaded and concealed weapons if permitted by state laws in the state where the park or refuge is located, a change many current and retired park rangers contend is unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

Where ever you are Yogi, you might have stolen your last picnic basket 'cause we could be packing heat soon. And while we're talking about it, all of us might want to refrain from chewing that guy out for cutting us off on the highway because he might decide to exercise his 2nd Amendment rights and put us in the hospital or worse.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hillary Headquarters

Hillary announced she had hired a South Dakota campaign director last week and this from the email inbox this afternoon:
Join us for our South Dakota for Hillary Headquarters "Open House" in Sioux Falls!

When
Monday, May 5, 2008 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Where
South Dakota for Hillary State Headquarters
2101 W. 41st Street, Suite 30
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
General Area: East Side of Western Mall (Corner of 41st St and Western Ave)
Description

Join us for our South Dakota for Hillary Headquarters Open House in Sioux Falls! Hillary Clinton is ready to lead this nation starting on day one, she is best prepared to beat John McCain in November, and when she is President the voices of South Dakota's working families will finally be heard. Join us as we open our State Headquarters and find out how you can help us win South Dakota for Hillary.
Host

South Dakota For Hillary

I wonder if she'll get the crowds that Obama got when his Sioux Falls and Rapid City offices opened?

McCain Speak

Updated Below

Even as McCain tries to distance himself from Mr 71% by intimating what many have already known for years, the war in Iraq was more about oil than terrorism, he still cannot get clear of his 100 years in Iraq remark. During a town hall meeting in Denver this morning he spoke on both subjects starting with the dangers of our reliance on foreign oil. He brought up the subject when promoting his upcoming energy policy rollout and while doing so suggested that our Iraqi occupation is, and possible future conflicts could be, caused by that dependence.
"My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will - that will then prevent us - that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East," McCain said.

But even while saying that, he is still being dogged by his comments suggesting that we could be in Iraq for 100 years which he again tried to explain while dismissing the latest ads from the DNC and MoveOn.org that put those comments front and center.
"You have seen an ad campaign that is mounted against me that says I wanted to stay and fight in Iraq and fight for 100 years," McCain told about 300 people at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center.

"My friends, it's a direct falsification, and I'm sorry that political campaigns have to deteriorate in this fashion," McCain said. "Because there's legitimate differences between myself and Senator Obama and Senator Clinton on what we should do in Iraq."

But now instead of denying he said that, which given the video is pretty much a moot point, he now suggests he was refering not to fighting in Iraq for 100 years, but instead just maintaining a presence there for that long.
He doesn't deny saying "100 years" in connection with U.S. military operations in Iraq, but says he was clearly referring to a possible peacekeeping force — not a centurylong war, as critics imply.

He says tomato...And that is his problem, his platform in Iraq and the Middle East will keep him forever connected to the most unpopular President in our history and possibly our second most unpopular war.

UPDATE: McCain is again trying to clarify something he said. This time he is now saying that the war that was fought for oil was actually the first gulf war, not the one we started 5 years ago. It seems he spends almost as much time clarifying things he said as he does saying them in the first place.

Obama's Response To The Gas Tax Holiday

After Hillary's somewhat comical staged event to promote her and John McCain's "gas tax holiday" idea in which she showed us that she can't pump her own gas (or make her own cappuccino), I remarked that it would be a good topic for an Obama ad. While my idea for an ad in response leaned towards a more humorous approach, something revolving around a gas pump and a cappuccino machine, Obama decided to take the more fact based route instead. Phrases like "political pandering", "poll-driven gimmickry" and "saves only pennies" were used to sum it up pretty well.

watch it (opens in a new window)

And while watching this ad, you might have noticed that the oil companies and their record profits weren't left out either though Obama might have to rethink his windfall tax idea. Poor Exxon it seems has missed expectations this quarter and only made $10.9 billion, down 17% from what experts predicted.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ben Stein's Science Aversion

Ben Stein's ode to the dark ages, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, was panned most everywhere except by those that are already in the creationism or else camp but an interview with TBN may provide the rest of us with the reason why he is so anti-science.
Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [i.e. biologist P.Z. Myers], talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

Crouch: That’s right.

Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

Crouch: Good word, good word.

Another thing about this interview caught my eye and made me go hmm. What is more sad here, Stein for his "science leads you to killing people" which taken in context with the rest of his remarks is being translated to mean "Darwin inspired the Holocaust", or the interviewer for agreeing with it all?

A President For The Ages

It's a good thing that President Bush doesn't care about the polls but I wonder how John McCain feels about being in the shadow of this:
A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday indicates that 71 percent of the American public disapprove of how Bush is handling his job as president.

"No president has ever had a higher disapproval rating in any CNN or Gallup Poll; in fact, this is the first time that any president's disapproval rating has cracked the 70 percent mark," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director.

But of course that doesn't include Richard Nixon right?
CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider adds, "He is more unpopular than Richard Nixon was just before he resigned from the presidency in August 1974."

President Nixon's disapproval rating in August 1974 stood at 66 percent

oops, I guess it does.

At least he'll go down in history as number 1 at something.

Gas Wars: Will $3.81 A Gallon Be Any Better For The Economy?

Besides the the gas tax debate going on here between Governor Rounds and everyone else that seeks to collect more taxes (or according to Rounds, the proper taxes) on the latest trend in the ethanol debacle, blender pumps, the candidates for President are getting involved in a gas tax debate of their own.

The John McCain approved "gas tax holiday" also being promoted by Hillary Clinton in between unsuccessful attempts to pump her own gas would eliminate the 18.4 cent a gallon federal gas tax for the summer. The idea of course being that the tax savings would be good for the economy by making gas cheaper. The problem for McCain and Clinton, besides the fact she was surprised when questioned that it would save the average driver only about $30, is that economists and many of their colleagues are panning the idea.
Leonard Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, said the laws of the market argue against a tax suspension. "Every summer, the refiners are running full out. If the price fell, people would want to drive more and there would be shortages," he said. "It's a basic economic principle that if the supply is fixed, the price is going to be determined by demand."

Joining in the criticism was House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), who said that the Democratic leadership of Congress has no intention of pursuing the summer tax suspension that Clinton touted. The move "would not be positive," he said. "The oil companies would just raise their prices."

Also throw in the long term effects that are near and dear to those of us that have to drive the less than pretty South Dakota interstate system.
The tax suspension would, as a result, cut into the highway trust fund that the tax supports, a loss of about $9 billion over the summer.

So taking into account the fact that this tax holiday does nothing to fix the root cause of the ever rising gas prices, and considering that gas is predicted to hit at least $4 a gallon this summer, will the resulting $3.81 a gallon make much of a difference?

At least you'll have those tax rebate checks to put towards your gas purchases by then...if that is you haven't already spent it on food, rent, or electricity.