Sunday, August 31, 2008

Like Clockwork: No Exceptions

It's time for another GOP convention so it also must be time for the quadrennial no exceptions fest. No rights for gays, no exceptions! No reproductive rights for women, no exceptions! Yada, yada, yada.

So while South Dakota is attempting to pass our annual anti-choice law, this time with rape, incest, and mother's health exemptions, the GOP will again take it even farther with their usual no-exceptions language written into the party platform. This despite the fact that many would prefer at least some exceptions including the party's own presumptive nominee.
The Republican Party platform this year will reassert the party’s opposition to abortion. And again it will not allow for exceptions in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, even though Senator John McCain, the presumptive presidential nominee, has long called for such exceptions.

It appears that the GOP will follow their SOP which shows that despite the somewhat moderate John McCain's impending nomination, his choosing an unknown no exceptions pro-life VP and his inability to soften the abortion language means the far right still controls the puppet strings.

But then again, should anyone be surprised?

This Blows

Continuing the gift for those that have everything theme, who wouldn't want one of these gracing the walls of their shower?



Only $17.95

(h/t Gizmodo)

Can We Please Just Move On?

The comment the other day by Faux News' Steve Doocy that Sarah Palin has plenty of national security experience due to her being Governor of a state in close proximity to Russia was bad enough when he said it. So why exactly is Cindy McCain continuing to put forward that same argument and more importantly, does she think that we are that stupid?
Asked about Palin's national security experience, Cindy McCain could not come up with anything beyond the fact that, after all, her state is right next to Russia -- so she surely knows a lot about that country. She added that Palin has "more experience than...." but  Stephanopoulos cut her off before she could say, for example, "Barack Obama" or maybe "others give her credit for."

And while we are discussing ridiculous talking points, could we please stop mentioning Palin's time in the PTA when trying to cite reasons for her having the necessary experience to be Commander in Chief?
Earlier, she actually said that Palin was "heavily experienced" in general, citing her going from the PTA to mayor to governor

Believe it or not, while I was born during the day, it wasn't yesterday.

UPDATE: Further highlighting the ridiculousness of Doocy and McCain's comments, Gov Palin didn't even have a passport until 2007 when she got one to travel to see Alaska National Guard troops in Kuwait. So we have a national security guru with a 1 year old passport?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Uncanny

Too bad Tina Fey has left SNL, she could have had at least 4 years worth of skits ahead of her if McCain/Palin won in November

(h/t - Dvorak Online)

Troopergate

I honestly don't know what if anything will come of the so-called troopergate that has folks in Alaska questioning Governor Sarah Palin's role in the firing of a state trooper (her ex-brother in-law). But you would think that John McCain would have investigated her role in this during the vetting process. Think again...
A very reliable source overheard Republican spokesperson McHugh Pierre state TODAY(Aug 29th - BS) that he had spoken to the McCain Campaign. They are coming to Alaska tomorrow to check out the "Troopergate" investigation.

Shoot first and ask questions later? Is this what we have to look forward to?

Makes You Think

In one of the many shallow and intrusive discussions carried on in one of our local conservative blogs, a post on the ills of euthanasia was going on when one of the commentators said something that struck a strange chord with me.
Suicide is illegal for a reason. It is a symptom nearly all the time of an irrational person (whether caused by medical or emotional reasons) and can be dealt with by medicine, counseling or the passage of time.

I am surely not aware of all laws on the books but is suicide really illegal? And if it is who would they arrest and prosecute? Of course if the person failed they could be arrested but then they wouldn't be guilty of suicide would they?

Friday, August 29, 2008

I Feel Better Now, She Gets Us

Up until now I had been concerned about John McCain's choice for VP, Sarah Palin. You know that whole small town mayor turned small state Governor thing. But apparently we need not worry about trivial things like experience and national security because she gets us.

Who cares that by her own admission, "she been so focused on state government that she hasn't really focused much on the war in Iraq". She at least understands our need to own guns being an avid hunter and life member of the NRA.

Who cares that in a recent interview she admitted that she had no idea what a Vice President does all day. At least she has popped out 5 puppies and can understand the plight of the soccer mom.

Who cares that the person that would be next in line for the Presidency if something happens to John McCain can only claim being the Governor for 19 months of a state in close proximity to Russia as international relations experience. At least she's not a Washington insider.

We all know her lack of experience isn't the same issue as Barack Obama's because she is only the VP candidate and not the Presidential candidate. Who cares that the #1 on the ticket is a 72 year old 2 time cancer survivor that refuses to release his medical records. At least she is pro-life.

We all know that she will bring all those disgruntled Hillary supporters to the McCain camp because of course Hillary is so pro-life and anti-GLBT rights and so conservative that moving over to McCain now will be so much easier with Palin on the ticket. (Ok maybe that was too much of a stretch but some folks actually believe that)

You see, I was worried for no reason at all...she gets me.

Osmosis?

You can't fight logic, especially Faux news logic. Talking head Steve Doocy tries to set all of us straight that think McCain's choice for VP, Sarah Palin, doesn't have any foreign policy experience.
But the other thing about her, she does know about international relations because she is right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia

Next thing we will discover is that Palin is a former POW, after all she spent all morning standing next to John McCain and every other word out of his mouth reminds us of the fact that he is one.

LifeLock Might Have A Few More Customers

I am sure most have seen the TV ad for LifeLock, you know where the company president gives out his social security number to prove the value of buying his identity theft products. It appears that if a ruling by a federal judge in Virginia stands, LifeLock might have a bunch of new folks needing their service.
A federal judge has ruled that the First Amendment protects the right of Virginia privacy activist Betty Ostergren to publish the Social Security numbers of public officials on her website. She posted the numbers to protest the Virginia government's policy of posting public real estate records online that included people's Social Security numbers. The decision—and the associated publicity for Ostergren's website—may prompt Virginia politicians to hurry up and fix their own website.

So how long do you think it will be before Virginia officials update their website to remove the SSN's from their public records?

Experience And Palin

Experience, is it over rated?
Prior to being sworn in as the Governor of Alaska a mere 19 months ago, Palin served as the mayor and a city councilor of the small city of Wasilla, which according to 2005 census estimates had a population of 8,471.

Alaska, according to 2006 US Census numbers, has fewer people than South Dakota so to put that into context it would be like picking the former mayor of Huron or Mitchell (they are actually slightly larger I believe) less than 2 years after they took over the Governor's mansion in Pierre.

Foreign Policy And Palin

McCain's biggest talking point, other than the POW thing of course, is his so-called massive amounts of foreign policy and national security experience when compared to Barack Obama.

So does the fact that a 72 year old (happy birthday by the way Senator McCain) Presidential candidate picked someone in Sarah Palin with even less experience than Barack Obama hurt that argument considering that old "heartbeat away from the Presidency" thing?

UPDATE: Wow, it looks like Barack Obama had the same train of thought as I did.
"Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."

McCain Picks Palin To Be His VP

News is that John McCain has picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his Vice Presidential running mate and is their any doubt who this pick is geared towards? I can think of more than a few of the 17 million plus people who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries who still refuse to carry that support over to Barack Obama who now have one more reason to look to the right.

Add to that the fact that her Conservative scorecard appears at first glance to be pretty strong which should play well with the religious "Reich Wing" and then factor in the thought that he might have stolen some of Obama's pretty much de-bunked change mantra by selecting someone far removed from the Washington boys club, and you can honestly say that he went outside the box.

Will this be enough to placate the many from the far right who were on the fence with McCain's less than stellar Conservative record? (Update: apparently so)

Personal Reflection

Just a little self serving personal reflection this morning. I was doing my usual morning routine before work, browsing through the 100 or so RSS feeds I regularly monitor when I came across something so ridiculous I clicked through all ready to tell the guy just how ignorant he was. Then it hit me.

Telling a guy who says...
Jimmy Carter says John McCain is “milking” the five-and-a-half years spent in a POW camp with broken limbs and eating bugs.

I say Jimmy Carter is milking life.

...that he is an idiot has to be nothing more than an exercise in futility. Folks like that don't listen to anyone else's version of reason other than their own and trying to carry out a conversation with them will just end up with you more frustrated than when you started. That being said, I have realized that the frustration I experienced this morning has been building for years with it coming more into focus recently with the constant back and forth going on in our local hangouts.

Sibby vs PP, Madville Times vs Dakota Voice, Dakota Women vs Voices Carry, even Robinsdale Radical has gotten into the mix. It seems that lately that you can't get through a day without another edition of the soap opera that has become our blogosphere.

By no means am I immune to this, I used to be a regular commentator on the War College, injecting my opinions to a group of people that had no desire to hear what a former Republican had to say. Do I somehow expect a bunch of Republican's to agree with my opinion's on the effect (none) of Tim Johnson not debating?

And please don't get me started on Bob Ellis, if there is someone in our state that is a more polar opposite to me than him, I have yet to meet him. Why do I waste my time responding to what he writes? Am I somehow going to convince him that gays have rights? Will he ever convince me that a zygote is a living human being? Hell freezing over comes to mind.

So why the rant? Over 2 years of writing this blog in it's several forms has had side effects, extreme cynicism being the most prevalent and from time to time it has to be vented to allow me to continue. This is my therapy, along with keeping my opinions contained to this and my other blog from now on.

I now return you to my normal blogging fare, enjoy your long weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DCMA Follies

I am all for protecting copyrights and intellectual property but there are limits. The recent DCMA takedown notice that the AMC network filed with Twitter is one of those cases. Apparently their show Mad Men is quite popular and several Twitter users signed up using character names from the show, much to the chagrin of AMC.
Twitter has responded back to me on the issue. Apparently it wasn’t a spam issue, but rather a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice that Twitter’s support team responded to, co-founder Biz Stone tells me.I guess AMC didn’t like others playing the roll of its Mad Men characters besides the actors who play them on TV. Expect some backlash against the network.

So is where things have digressed? Folks can't even use character names on micro-blogging networks or forums? Look out South Park fans if Comedy Central decides to go this route.

Think Tank Heath Care Logic

If you are like me you might be wondering what a "Think Tank" does. Do they sit at a table all day thinking about one problem or another? Of course I kid but one think tank might want to re-think their latest solution.

John Goodman (no not that John Goodman), president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a Dallas based think tank believes that the 15.5 percent of Americans that do not have health insurance is in reality a mis-leading statistic. Why you ask?
Mr. Goodman, ... said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau
should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

There you go, another liberal myth debunked! Oh and by the way, who is John Goodman and why does his ridiculous opinion matter?

He just so happens to be the guy that helped John McCain craft his health care policy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

For The Homophobe Who Has Everything

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="175" caption="Click to enlarge"][/caption]

Released just in time for the holidays is this perfect gift for your favorite homophobe or family member unsure of their sexual orientation.

The Gaydar meter is a must have for those questioning their sexuality or the sexuality of someone in their life.  Just hand it to the suspected homosexual, have them press the button, and within seconds you'll have your answer. Sure to give hours of fun for the Fred Phelps supporters on your holiday shopping list.

All that for only £6.99.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tim Johnson Makes 16

6 more Senators crossed the imaginary "drill now" line making the bi-partisan "Gang of 10" the "Gang of 16" and South Dakota is well represented. As we all know John Thune was a founding member and he is now joined by our other Senator Tim Johnson making it a clean sweep.
The group supports a bill that would lift a ban on oil and natural gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the southeastern U.S. coast, invest $20 billion in the development of petroleum-free motor vehicles and extend tax credits for renewable energy.

Can you tell it's an election year with all this bipartisan co-operation? We just might get more offshore drilling leading to more oil on the world markets and little if any changes in prices afterall.

Effective Advertising

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words and this billboard outside of Minneapolis Airport, site of the upcoming Republican National Convention, is worth at least that much.



(h/t B&C.com via Crooks and Liars)

The POW Defense, Jay Leno Edition

John McCain's POW defense is now making the rounds on late night talks shows. His standard response to tough questions was given to Jay Leno when he was again asked about how many houses he had.
McCain: "Could I just mention to you, Jay, that, at a moment of seriousness. I spent five-and-a-half years in a prison cell. I didn't have a house. I didn't have a kitchen table. I didn't have a table. I didn't have a chair. And I didn't spent those five-and-a-half years because, not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.

I guess you could say that the POW defense does fit on late night TV, it has been used it so much in a sentence by McCain that it is becoming a joke...

Sioux Falls School Board Accepts Responsibility

Despite what some are saying, the Sioux Falls school board has rightly apologized for distributing a school directory containing an ad for the pro-life Alpha Center against their own policies.
“We would ... like to apologize for this lapse. We will do better work in the future,” said Darin Daby, president of the board.

The ad, purchased by the Alpha Center, is included in a directory the public schools began distributing last week. The school district supplied the news text for the directory. The Shopping News sold the advertising and published the directory before sending copies to the
schools for free distribution. The Shopping News printed 30,000 copies under an arrangement in place since 1993.

This isn't about the pro-life/pro-choice argument, this is about the school system staying out of political issues of which this just so happens to be one of the most divisive.

The fact that they distribute it means that they should know what is in it and in fact their own policies say as much and to try and deflect this by contending that they have no control means that there is a problem with Superintendent Dr. Pam Homan's leadership.

If the Shopping News wants to sell ads to the Alpha Center, put it in their regularly distributed issues and keep it out of the schools.

Monday, August 25, 2008

JA To Promote Proper Business Practices

I saw this on KELO's newscast and can't find it online but found it interesting just the same.

A recent survey by Junior Achievement found that many young students thought that cheating in business to get ahead is ok. As a result JA decided to started a new program to try and change that perception among our future business leaders.

Of course a program of the magnitude that JA wanted wouldn't be cheap so who do you think  jumped in to help out? I would bet that you wouldn't have guessed it was that bastion of fair play in business, Wal-Mart, whom made a nice donation to Junior Achievement for this program.

So now we have company that strong-arms their suppliers, tells their employees how to vote, and forces their competition out of business with brute force pricing tactics wanting to help instill fair business ideals into our young business people? Maybe they want them working for their competition so they will have a whole new generation to take advantage of...

You just can't make this stuff up.

UPDATE 8:30pm: The story is now up on KELO.

How Do I Get A Gig Like That?

$500 million contract, 4 day work weeks, and a vacation seemingly every other week. Where do I sign? I just tuned into Howard Stern this morning on Sirius and lo and behold he is on vacation again.

I pay $12.95 a month for this?

Fox News Accosted By Far Left Protesters

Oh the humanity. For some reason Faux news can't understand why far left protesters marching in Denver were mean to their reporter. You know that fair and balanced thing...



(H/T - Huffington)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

This Just Isn't Right

I came across this the other day and being a fan of Hot Pocket's I just had to throw up a little in my mouth.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a warning to consumers who have bought Hot Pockets Pepperoni Pizza stuffed sandwiches.

Nestle Prepared Foods Co. is recalling 215,660 pounds of the product because they might contain "foreign products." A health alert issued by the USDA put the risk at high.

So what exactly are foreign products and why are they not telling us what that means?

Who Needs The 4th Amendment Anyway?

Our illustrious Congress already irreparably weakened the 4th Amendment earlier this summer when they passed the "Spy on Americans" act, also known as the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 and now the Justice Department wants to pretty much erase it from the Constitution.
A Justice Department plan would loosen restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion, Democratic lawmakers briefed on the details said Wednesday.

And here is the meat of the Justice Department plan:
The senators said the new guidelines would allow the F.B.I. to open an investigation of an American, conduct surveillance, pry into private records and take other investigative steps “without any basis for suspicion.” The plan “might permit an innocent American to be subjected to such intrusive surveillance based in part on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or on protected First Amendment activities,” the letter said. It was signed by Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. (emphasis mine)

Just like when dealing with a 4 year old, you give in once and they want more. What's worse, knowing the total lack of backbone exhibited by our wonderful Democrat led Congress, the Justice Department will likely get what they want.

Finally, speaking of FISA, since the FISA bill all but cut off at the knees all pending lawsuits against the Telco's, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has had to resort to plan B. They will instead sue the US Government over illegally spying on US citizens as the final bill signed into law didn't contain the government immunity that Bush had requested.

Considering George Bush will long have been out of office if and when this goes to court, the new administration will be left to deal with it. If it is Barack Obama, I will have zero sympathy considering his flip flop on the issue.

And yes I know the above scenario is highly unlikely, but I can dream can’t I?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Spoke Too Soon?

Daily KOS
This has been the best veep rollout EVER. But alas, all good things must come to an end.

Not being one to drink to KOS Kool Aid all that often, does a middle of Friday night leaked announcement in time for the almost non-existent Saturday morning news cycle really qualify as the best VP rollout ever?

That also doesn't take into account the fact that the "letting supporters know first" technology blitz included a text message I never got and an email that finally arrived at 9:20am. If it wasn't for the somewhat unreliable Twitter, I would have had to find out just like Americans have for the past 50 years, by watching TV.

Obama Picks Running Mate

The message that liberals and bloggers have been waiting for with baited breath for days has finally come, at 3:22 this morning?. According to sources close to me (Twitter/TweetDeck) Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden to be the 2nd line on the ticket in November.

More to come for sure but what is your initial reaction? Why the middle of the night annoucement?

UPDATE: By the way, I never got the text message or the email announcing the choice, at least not yet. I guess the new technology thing that Obama has embraced still has a few bugs to be worked out.

Also, after a few minutes thinking this over I am not sure this choice does much for me. Does Obama, the so called candidate of change, need a 30 year Washington insider with a penchant for saying stupid things as a running mate?. Don't we already have that on the Republican ticket?

At least now Obama can probably put Delaware in the win column...

Friday, August 22, 2008

T. Boone Pickens Getting Into The Water Business As Well

If you thought T. Boone's plan for getting us to substitute natural gas and wind power for overseas oil all while having huge interests in natural gas futures and wind energy companies was brilliant, you will love his entry into the water business.

It seems T. Boone owns a large ranch in Texas that just so happens to sit on one of the largest aquifers in the country, so large in fact that it reaches all the way up into South Dakota. He wanted to sell this water but ran into a problem that South Dakotan's are intimately familiar with. How to get the water from the aquifer to where he wanted to sell it. A pipeline would be the best option of course but how could a private citizen get the right of way to run it on all those parcels of privately owned land, and how would he finance it?

T. Boone, a billionaire for a reason, figured it out. He started his own town, held an election, sold tax free government bonds, and plans to used eminent domain to run his pipeline.
Then he turned this parcel into a town, basically, with only two eligible voters — both of whom were his employees. (This required a change in Texas law in 2007 — a change facilitated no doubt by his $1.2 million in campaign contributions to Texas legislators in 2006). Then
there was an election in this district, in which both voters voted to make this 8-acre municipality a special fresh-water district.

Pickens’ wholly owned government entity now can issue tax-free bonds (meaning he can borrow at a serious discount) and use the power of eminent domain to pressure landowners to sell — or to take their land if they hold out. The eminent domain power is key to building the
pipeline that will run this water down to the Dallas area, where Pickens hopes to sell the water. If your land lies in the path of his proposed pipeline, you got a letter explaining that T. Boone wants to buy a stretch of your land — and explaining that he can use eminent domain if you resist. If this begins to sound too cutthroat to the public, Pickens just reminds journalists and politicians that following this water pipeline will be the transmission cables for Pickens’ mammoth wind farm.

Remember this if and when T. Boone sets up his proposed wind farms here in South Dakota and needs to get transmission lines run to his newly generated wind energy to market.

Religion Or Lack Thereof Not As Important In Politics

The funny thing about extremism:
The poll by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds increasing numbers of Americans believing that religiously defined ideological groups have too much control over the parties themselves. Nearly half (48%) say religious conservatives have too much influence over the Republican Party, up from 43% in August 2007. At the same time, more people say that liberals who are not religious have too much sway over the Democrats than did so last year (43% today vs. 37% then).

Those that subscribe to "the cause" often times end up alienating those that they wish to convert instead.

So Who's The Elitist?

Day 2 of housegate and the question remains, who is really the elitist again?
McCain, who huddled with advisors at his desert compound in Sedona, Ariz., said nothing in public. A nine-car motorcade took him to a nearby Starbucks early in the morning, where he ordered a large cappuccino. McCain otherwise avoided reporters. (emphasis mine)

At least somebody can still afford Starbucks these days...

UPDATE: Some hopefully more obvious McCain humor in honor of commentator GoMcCain

From Huffington:
If you can't count how many homes you have, you might be a rich guy.

If you think it takes $5 million a year to be rich, you might be a rich guy.

If you think some people "are poor if they're billionaires," you might be a rich guy.

If you have a fireplace next to the outdoor spa in one of your mansions, you might be a rich guy.

If your plan to cut taxes on the wealthy would save your family $373,429 a year, you might be a rich guy.

Move Over McDonalds

It looks like McDonalds has company in the sights of one of the several homophobic groups preaching intolerance in the US. This time the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (somehow I doubt much truth is coming from these folks) is mad as hell at Hallmark for having the audacity to produce cards celebrating gay marriage. The head homophobe even sent them a sternly worded letter telling them he will not be buying any cards from them until they stop.

Meanwhile A Williams Institute study estimates that more than 85,000 same sex couples in the U.S. have entered into a legal relationship since 1997 so let's see, Hallmark can either tap into this market that just exploded with California's new law or they can appease the homophobes. McDonalds chose to throw it back in their faces by taking out a half page ad in a gay publication celebrating their diversity, I wonder which one Hallmark will choose?

UPDATE: Well no surprise here. The American Family Association, the group behind the McDonalds boycott among others, has gotten involved and announced that they will be leading a boycott of Hallmark as well. This could be a good thing for Hallmark though as during the 9 years that the AFA boycotted Disney, they saw record profits.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain Ad May Be Illegal

If this isn't ironic I don't know what is.
A new ad raising Barack Obama's ties to 60s-era radical William Ayers may violate election law, according to campaign finance experts interviewed by the Huffington Post.

Which law is the McCain ad supposedly breaking? That would be the Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act which is better known as...McCain-Feingold.

McCain Owns 4, I Mean 7, Err, 8 Houses

Ok now things are getting interesting.

McCain has been hitting Obama from day one for being an elitist and out of touch with us middle class folks so when the number of houses he owned came into play, the campaign went into damage control. And as I have documented several times, when the McCain camp goes into damage control what usually pops up?
He also added: "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War.

Yep that POW card again.

Anyway the McCain camp was asked by Politico how many houses he and his wife owned and McCain was only off by 4. But as McCain says, not remembering how many houses he has is a non-issue because voters care more about a candidates ethics and not whether they can find their way home at the end of the day...

School Lawsuit Shot Down

The constitutionality of the funding question for the lawsuit brought forward by a majority of South Dakota's school districts seeking increased funding was shot down today by Circuit Court Judge Lori Wilbur because it was ruled they cannot use tax dollars to help fund the suit.
Circuit Judge Lori Wilbur of Pierre says school districts do not have legal standing to seek a court judgment on the constitutionality of the state's school funding system. She says the districts also cannot pay money to a coalition to support the lawsuit.

More than two-thirds of the state's school districts have been financing a lawsuit challenging the school funding system. That case goes to trial September 2.

KELO

Record Oil Exports

Never mentioned in the oil company endorsed party currently being given by House Republicans is this little tidbit. Apparently the US is exporting a record amount of oil, to the tune of 1.8 million barrels a day that is flowing onto the world markets.
the United States’ record export levels this year amounts to nearly 10 percent of all the oil the United States consumes every day. U.S. oil exports increased to 1.806 million barrels a day in May 2008 -- the most recent month for which data is available -- from last year’s average export level of 1.433 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products. In addition, the United States reached the highest level of oil exports in our nation’s history in February of this year.

So while the GOP led "drill here, drill now" stunt continues on the House floor, is anyone going to ensure that what we produce here stays here once the Democrats cave as we all know they will? If not all we will be doing is helping those in China and the India meet their ever growing demand while doing little to drop prices here.

By the way, if you are looking for some perspective on what 1.8 million barrels means in the grand scheme of things, one of the latest countries that Bush and McCain are rattling their "war sabres" towards, Iran, currently exports around 2.5 million barrels a day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dykstra Continues His Debate Theme

KELO had a story today about Senate candidate Joel Dykstra again re-iterating his request that incumbent Senator Tim Johnson debate him.
The Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in South Dakota says incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson's decision not to debate is more of an issue with voters than the senator has let on.

I can't be sure but I have a feeling Dykstra's bringing this subject up again has little to do with what South Dakotan's want and more about desperation from a campaign on life support. The latest poll shows Johnson has actually increased his lead a little to 61-34% according to the latest Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll and wouldn't you know it, the polling was done a week after Senator Johnson's announcement that he would not be debating.

So much for it being an issue with most South Dakota voters as Dykstra (and others) would like us to believe.

This Could Get Ugly

From SD Watch:

The Sioux Falls PUBLIC School district has allowed the Alpha Center to advertise their anti-choice message in the student directory. As Todd and Planned Parenthood representatives in their response rightly note, what would the outrage have been if Planned Parenthood was allowed the same opportunity?

Todd has the Alpha Center ad in question and the full Planned Parenthood response over at his place.

Let's Talk Legality

The prevailing opinion making the rounds in certain circles is that the ongoing lawsuit brought forward by school districts over the state's lack of funding has no legal standing because of the use of tax dollars funding the lawsuit. What I find somewhat interesting is that many of these same sources would have no problem with tax payer dollars being used to fight the court battles that passing Initiated Measure 11, South Dakota's proposed abortion ban, would cause.

From Chris Nelson's 2008 Ballot Question Pamphlet (pdf alert) located at the SD Secretary of State's web site:
The Attorney General said this abortion ban will likely be challenged in court and South Dakota taxpayers would be required to pay substantial attorneys fees and costs to defend the law.

So suing to properly fund schools for our kid's education using tax dollars because our government refuses to do so is bad but defending lawsuits on behalf of unconstitutional legislation using tax dollars is okay? Just wondering...

It's Not All About Philanthropy With T. Boone

As T. Boone Pickens gets set to do the town hall thing this afternoon in Rapid City to promote his wind energy plan, we should be reminded that it's not all about doing the right thing with T. Boone. The billionaire oilman who up until now was probably best known for his $1 million prize for anyone that could disprove anything his $3 million donation bought in the Swiftboating of John Kerry and then pulling it back when someone did, has a lot to gain monetarily if his energy plan is implemented.

What could an oilman gain by reducing our dependence on oil other than feeling good? To figure that out you need to know where that oilman currently has his money invested. In Pickens' case that would be in natural gas and emerging technology hedge funds as well as wind energy companies that would see big returns if T. Boone's plan goes forward. You see, any energy gained from wind power, much of which would be generated by Pickens' Mesa Power, would free up more natural gas for use in other places which in the T. Boone plan would be as fuel in the next generation of automobiles.
Pickens said that the United States could generate at least 20 percent of its electricity by tapping power from the nation's "wind corridor," a vast stretch of territory from west Texas to the Canadian border.

That would then enable the nation’s abundant natural gas resources, now widely used to generate electricity, to be used for powering transportation. American automobile manufacturers should dramatically ramp up natural gas-powered vehicles, he said, and government vehicle fleets should be powered exclusively on natural gas.

So while under Pickens' plan we would reduce our dependence on foreign oil by up to $230 billion a year (according to Pickens), that dependence would be replaced by a larger dependence on natural gas and who will be sitting there waiting for the money to roll in?

I am more than willing to give Mr. Pickens credit for trying to solve the problem of oil dependence especially being from a so called "wind corridor" state that will directly benefit from his plan. But the next time you see one of his feel good commercials, remember it not all about doing what's best for the country, it's about doing what's best for T. Boone which this time just might benefit the country. More than enough to make any self respecting Republican proud.

POW Not A Presidential Qualification ReDux

I furthermore believe that having been a POW is no special qualification for being President of the United States. The two jobs are not the same, and POW experience is not, in my opinion,  something I would look for in a presidential candidate.

Wes Clark re-iterating his previous remarks that pretty much killed his chances for being chosen VP? Nope. The above quote is from someone that might have a pretty good idea of what he is talking about, long time McCain acquaintance, Naval Academy classmate, and fellow POW Phillip Butler.

Some other interesting tidbits from Butler's commentary on military.com.

- A hot head. Butler verifies McCain infamous reputation as a quick and explosive tempered individual whom Butler says is someone he wouldn't want "having his finger on the button".
- A good man but not someone he would vote for to be President.

So why again was Wes Clark chastised for saying this? And now with multiple military heroes not named John Sidney McCain III for sources can we finally put this "McCain's time as a POW = qualified for President" argument to bed? Probably not, Barack Obama doesn't have the cajones to go down that road and the only Democrat he had in his camp that did has already been kicked to the curb for saying it.

Just add this to the growing list of debunked talking points McCain can continue to use because Democrats don't have the backbone needed to call him on them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dykstra Gets Threatening Letter

GOP Senate candidate Joel Dykstra's Sioux Falls office received a threatening letter containing an unknown white substance that eventually was determined to be baby powder according to the Argus Leader.
A letter that arrived at U.S. Senate candidate Joel Dykstra’s Sioux Falls office today contained baby powder, preliminary tests show.

The letter also contained a threat to either Dykstra’s campaign or Republicans in general, said Jim Sideras, a spokesman for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

The letter prompted staffers in Dykstra’s office to call 911. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue dispatched a hazardous materials team. Two members of the team suited up and went in the office to test the material with a machine that analyzes chemicals. The preliminary tests showed it was baby powder.

Dykstra joins former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle as recipients of tainted letters though luckily for the Dykstra staffers, his powder turned out to be baby powder.

UPDATE From The Dykstra Campaign:
Dykstra Holding News Conference to Respond to Threating Letter

Sioux Falls, S.D. - Republican Senate Candidate Joel Dykstra will hold a news conference today, Tuesday, August 19 in Sioux Falls to address the threating letter received in today’s mail. The event will be held at the Dykstra for Senate Campaign Headquarters.

For media not able to attend the event there will be a news release, immediately following the news conference on the Dykstra for Senate website at www.joeldykstraforsenate.com or via email.

Dykstra will also be available for one-on-one interviews after the news conference.

Event details, times and location are as follows:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Dykstra for Senate News Conference
Dykstra for Senate Campaign Headquarters
2109 S. Minnesota Ave.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
3:00 p.m

Pick The Veep: McCain/Giuliani?

This time of the election cycle is always fun. Speculating on who will be chosen as a candidate's VP seems to be one step above picking Superbowl winners in August. Someone over at the National Review is chiming in on the latest popular prediction from emailer's to their site.
So many e-mailers this morning are predicting that the McCain trial balloon is really about Giuliani. I'm not there, but here's one:
I don't think it's being floated for Liebermann or Ridge.
I think he's considering Giuliani.
- Might put NY in enough play to make Obama spend a lot of money there.
- Has name recognition and gets plenty of respect on law enforcement/national security
- Might be more palatable to pro-lifers if he were to make clear that it's McCain's pro-life administration

The McCain campaign has already hired a Giuliani staffer as the unnamed veep's communications director...

Boy wouldn't that get the Religious Right's juices flowing? Divorced, abortion neutral Giuliani running alongside McCain, whom can't even pander himself into their good graces. A GOP ticket for the ages if there ever was one.

Lincoln County Democrats Annual Dinner

From the email inbox via Todd Epp:
What: Lincoln County Democrats Annual Dinner

Featuring: Steve Kolbeck, Public Utilities Commissioner

When: Saturday, August 23, 2008 6:00 PM

Where: American Legion, Worthing, SD

Cost $15.00

For More Information: Contact Greg Kniffen at 274.2287 or Phil Sietstra at 331.5833

Paid for and authorized by the Lincoln County Democratic Party, Greg Kniffen, Treasurer

Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain Again Takes Credit For New GI Bill

You may or may not remember the discussions regarding the new 21st Century GI Bill, you know the one that John McCain spoke out against, failed to return to the Senate to vote on, and then took credit for when it passed. Well he is at it again, this time taking credit for the new legislation in a speech at the VFW Convention.
I suppose from my opponent's vantage point, veterans concerns are just one more issue to be spun or worked to advantage. This would explain why he has also taken liberties with my position on the GI Bill. In its initial version, that bill failed to address the number one education request that I've heard from career service members and their families -- the freedom to transfer their benefits to a spouse or a child. The bill also did nothing to retain the young officer and enlisted leaders who form the backbone of our all-volunteer force.

As a political proposition, it would have much easier for me to have just signed on to what I considered flawed legislation. But the people of Arizona, and of all America, expect more from their representatives than that, and instead I sought a better bill. I'm proud to say that the result is a law that better serves our military, better serves military families, and better serves the interests of our country. (emphasis mine)

Is he too proud to admit that he had nothing to do with it? Apparently so, but why let something like the truth get in the way of his consistently false pro-veteran talking points.

POW Card...Again

In case you missed it, John McCain and Barack Obama were involved in a Q&A session with Reverend Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church in California Saturday night. The premise was to be that Warren questioned Obama while McCain sat in a separate room unable to hear the questions as Warren would be asking him similar ones when he took the stage.

I will leave the who won or lost questions to someone else but unbeknownst to Warren and apparently the media until now was that McCain wasn't in his "cone of silence" and was in fact in his motorcade on the way to the Church while Obama was being questioned. That fact is now being used to call into question whether McCain was listening in on the questions in order to be more prepared when it was his turn, a claim his camp denies.

Did McCain listen in? The back and forth on that argument I am sure will continue throughout the blogosphere for days but one comment by John McCain's spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace really stuck out.
“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Ms. Wallace said.

So please tell me again how McCain's time as a POW has anything to do with this? Do former POW's never lie or cheat? Is that a previously unknown side effect of the Vietnamese torturing that many of our POW's endured?

You see most of us get it, he was a POW, he had it rough, he served his country with honor but believe it or not pulling out the POW card each and everytime he is forced to defend himself has stopped working. A long time ago...Ok not completely true, it still works when smearing Wesley Clark.

Thune Helping Democrats Get Elected?

That is what Murdoch Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel thinks. It seems that his energy plan along with the other members of the "Gang of 10" sounds eerily similar to that of the Nancy Pelosi led House plan (or vise versa) and vulnerable oil state Democrats couldn't be happier.

That's because the plan is a Democratic giveaway. New production on offshore federal lands is left to state legislatures, and then in only four coastal states. The regulatory hurdles are huge. And the bill bars drilling within 50 miles of the coast -- putting off limits some of the most productive areas. Alaska's oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is still a no-go.


The highlight is instead $84 billion in tax credits, subsidies and federal handouts for alternative fuels and renewables. The Gang of 10 intends to pay for all this in part by raising taxes on . . . oil companies! The Sierra Club couldn't have penned it better. And so the Republican Five has potentially given antidrilling Democrats the political cover they need to neutralize energy through November.



Could it be that Thune, unlike many of his own GOP colleagues, realizes that "Drill here, drill now" is just a slogan that will in reality do very little to affect prices at the pump either now or in the future? And how are the rest of his big oil Republican's buddies going to react to their plan that would raise taxes on oil companies?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Spicing Things Up

I am looking to change the look of the site so along those lines I am experimenting with a new theme.

As I ditched Bill Gates and Microsoft a few months back in favor of Steve Jobs and Apple, I cannot test the new theme on Internet Explorer. If you have arrived here and are using one of the various flavors of IE please feel free to let me know if you have any display problems.

Since I am still tweaking this theme and have not decided yet if I like it or not, feel free to let me know what you think.

Wesley Clark Meet Barack Obama's Bus

Apparently speaking the truth about a war hero whom has done very little since gets you thrown under the Barack Obama campaign bus.
General Wesley Clark is not attending the Democratic National Convention. I was told by General Clark's personal office in Little Rock as well as by the director of WesPAC that he would not be attending.

Clark was informed by Barack Obama's people that there was "no reason to come."

General Clark has been given no role of any kind at the convention.

So considering Clark's comments on McCain, who is the qualified one again?

Clark - #1 in his class at West Point
McCain - 5th (from the bottom) at Annapolis


Clark - 4 star general, NATO Commander
McCain - Retired as a Captain because he couldn't make Admiral


Clark - Opposed Iraq invasion
McCain - Thought we would be seen as liberators


Clark - Married to same women for his entire adult life
McCain - Dumped first wife after she was disfigured in car wreck and married rich beer heiress committing adultery in the process.


Clark - Retired on military pension and earned his wealth on his own.
McCain - See rich trophy wife above.


Clark - Independent thinker, speaks his mind (apparently to his detriment)
McCain - Bush clone, voting with him 95% of the time in the Senate (when he votes that is)


Clark's resume sounds more like a VP candidate (at the very least) than that of an outsider looking in. First John Kerry trashes him and now Obama.

Maybe Wes Clark should be the one accepting the nomination in Denver instead of being the constant whipping boy of the Democratic Party he so faithfully serves?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

McCain: I Will Protect The Creative Industries From Piracy

The hits just keep on coming from John McCain in his bid for the White House. Yesterday in my quick hits I mentioned how the McCain campaign was being sued by Jackson Browne for using his music without permission. While I can think of no better theme than Browne's "Running on Empty" to describe the McCain run, what really is funny is his just released technology position statement.
John McCain Will Protect The Creative Industries From Piracy. The entertainment industry is both a vital sector of the domestic economy and among the largest U.S. exporters. While the Internet has provided tremendous opportunity for the creators of copyrighted works, including music and movies, to distribute their works around the world at low cost, it has also given rise to a global epidemic of piracy. John McCain supports efforts to crack down on piracy, both on the Internet and off.

So while McCain says he will protect intellectual property owner's rights, Think Progress documents instances where he has been busted doing just the opposite besides the aforementioned Jackson Browne lawsuit.
– Earlier this week, the McCain campaign re-cut a web ad after comedian Mike Myers’ publicist complained about the use of footage of Myers and fellow Saturday Night Live alum Dana Carvey’s Wayne’s World characters.

– Last month, the McCain campaign had to pull and re-cut a web ad after Frankie Valli’s record label, the Warner Music Group asserted its copyright claims over the use of the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.”

– Earlier this year, the copyright owners for the “Rocky” theme song “telephoned the McCain campaign to politely complain it was being used without permission.”

Sounds like a staunch defender of intellectual property to me, how about you?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Quick Hits Friday

My paying gig has me jumping through hoops in Rapid City today so posting will be light but here are a few items that caught my eye from the RSS reader this afternoon.

#dontgo (there) - I have written a few times on the GOP House "Drill here, drill now" stunt going on during the August recess and it seems at least one of the participants (Idaho Republican Bill Sali) has his own ideas on how to solve our oil shortages, extract those forty barrels of oil hiding in each and every tree. Are our national forests next on his drilling list?

More McCain halfsheimers? - John McCain sees the current Georgia - Russia conflict as the first serious crisis since the end of the cold war. Of course that would not be counting the comments he made about the Iraq war being the first major conflict since 9/11 or maybe that little saber rattling that happened in Iraq in 1990/91...

In the "Say What?" category - ABC is looking for "Cornhole Fanatics" to participate in their popular reality show "Wife Swap". For some reason, something about cornhole and wife swap just didn't seem to fit very well in the same sentence .

George Bush Hypocrisy? - Does the man that is in the middle of his own invasion of a sovereign nation have any credibility when calling out Russia for doing the same thing? Sorry George, I think that boat has long since sailed.

McCain and the RIAA - While the RIAA is spending their legal budget prosecuting soccer mom's for music sharing, the artists are going on the offensive themselves. Jackson Browne has just filed suit against the McCain campaign for using his "Running on Empty" in an Obama hit ad without his permission. It seems that Browne, whom is an Obama donor, wasn't too amused by his song being used to attack Obama and he joins ABBA and John Cougar on the list recording artists that have told the McCain camp to cease using their music without permission.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another Argument Dispelled

The American Psychological Association (APA) just completed a 2 year study on the mental effects of abortion and they find that there is no evidence that abortion causes any significant mental health issues.
"The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion or deliver that pregnancy," said Brenda Major, PhD, chair of the task force. "The evidence regarding the relative mental health risks associated with multiple abortions is more uncertain."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

RightWingNuttia

Just a couple of tidbits from the right-wingnut front. First South Dakota's certified abstinence wingnut Leslie Unruh for some reason continues far beyond her 15 minutes of fame with a less than flattering article on More.com. Unruh is again gearing up her Abstinence Clearing House army for the latest anti-choice legislation that has made it onto our ballot this November. If you are unfamiliar with Unruh's particular brand of wingnuttia, please feel to read the More article but keep a barf bag handy.

Continuing with the local wingnut news, right next door in Minnesota, they are having to deal with the own fanatic in the person of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. For those unfamiliar with the GOP Rep, her resume includes such oldies but goodies as claiming that their is no widlife in the Artic National Refuge and that the Democrats are purposefully allowing gas prices to rise so that they can force folks to move into the inner cities.

Her latest zinger might be the best of all. Bachmann is now claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other environmentalists attempts to save the planet are an exercise in futility because "We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet -- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that." Yes folks she is for real...

And finally no news on RightWingNuttia would be complete without some news from James Dobson and his Focus on the Family.

Over the weekend they released a video that urged their supporters to pray for rain on August 28th so that Barack Obama's outdoor extravaganza at the Democratic National Convention would be disrupted. Once they were called out on it by local Colorado reporters and nationally by Keith Olbermann, they pulled the video but someone was able to get a copy on YouTube before that happened.



Is it hyperbole as the clip's producer contends? Watch and decide for yourself.

Not Every Violation Of The Law Is A Crime

Sounds like something someone that broke a law would say in their defense but in this case it is a quote from our own Attorney General!

US Attorney General Michael Mukasey used the "not every violation of the law is a crime" meme when trying to justify why no one from his department would be prosecuted in the DOJ hiring scandal thaw saw 2 years worth of hiring illegalities discovered during Alberto Gonzales years.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday said former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers.

And here is the money quote given in front of the American Bar Association coincidentally:
But, Mukasey told delegates to the American Bar Association annual meeting, "not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime. In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws." (emphasis mine)

So what's the breaking of a few laws, civil or criminal, between friends especially if you are a member of the "teflon coated" Bush Administration?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

McGovern Gets Thrown Under The Bus

For Throwing Unions Under The Bus.

Former Senator and Presidential candidate from South Dakota George McGovern penned what some would consider a less than union friendly op-ed for the Murdoch Street Journal that has the pro-union Democrats seeing Wal-mart blue.
Well, in case you were wondering why McGovern decided to go off the deep end on the employee Free Choice Act, it turns out he's already been swimming in it for some time.

It's safe to say George McGovern is a patsy for anti-union lobbyist Rick Berman, the leader of a $30 million front group interfering in key Senate and House races this cycle.

McGovern sits on the board of FirstJobs, another pro-business Berman front group, alongside the likes of Bush Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, the editorial page director of the Washington Times, and the head of Sam's Club.

He is from the somewhat union unfriendly South Dakota so what do you expect?

Those Darn Non-Christians

OneNewsNow, the "news" arm of the wingnut group American Family Association had a bit of a website issue over the weekend. The site that was "outed" for filtering their AP feed to replace the word "gay" with "homosexual" was apparently a victim of hackers along with other sites rendering them unavailable for a time while they fended off the attacks.
OneNewsNow.com, as well as other sites such as Voice of the Martyrs, has carried numerous stories of Christian persecution in China, as that country hosts the Olympic Games. David Smith is in the IT department for OneNewsNow and says no user information was compromised in the attack.

Reading between the lines from the above quote, of course the attack had to have been perpetrated by mean Chinese non-believers because nobody else would have an axe to grind with the homophobic, anti-choice American Family Association.

Good News For McCain

As veterans wait endlessly in line at the various VA facilities or are forced to take up residence in some due to debilitating wartime injuries, victims in part, of  John McCain's horrible veterans voting record, McCain can at least take solace in the knowledge that they will not be able to register to vote while waiting.
WHAT is the secretary of Veterans Affairs thinking? On May 5, the department led by James B. Peake issued a directive that bans nonpartisan voter registration drives at federally financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans. As a result, too many of our most patriotic American citizens — our injured and ill military veterans — may not be able to vote this November.

Sort of like the old saying that you shouldn't go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Something else for McCain to thank his buddy George Bush's Administration for.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Photoshop Fun

PP over at the War College has been having fun with l3wis over at South Dacola over some Photoshop image manipulations and criticisms thereof. So not wanting to be outdone here is one of my own.



PP, I kid because I care.

Should He Debate?

Not that my opinion means much on this matter but since just about everyone else has chimed in, some much more than others, I figured I would throw my thoughts out there.

Steve Jarding's announcement that Senator Tim Johnson would not be participating in any debates against opponent Joel Dykstra has caused quite a stir. Comments ranging from how can he represent us if he can't speak well? To we deserve a debate, or he lied to us have been prevalent since the end of the news cycle Friday evening announcement.

The question to be answered then is can he represent South Dakota despite not debating or even being able to debate effectively as is the implication from this announcement? My observations:

- Since returning to work last August he has kept his committee assignments and hasn't missed a vote in the Senate (unlike John McCain).
- Organizations that monitor these things rate Senator Johnson as the most Conservative Democrat in the Senate.
- Does the average non-political blog reading die hard political junky South Dakotan even know where Joel Dykstra stands on the issues? 2 of the 3 voters in my house would say no.

So we have a Senator from the hard working blood red state of South Dakota that goes to work every day and votes conservative more than any Democrat with at least some seniority (re:power) in the Senate. He is facing a questionable candidate that doesn't seem to want to raise money and who appears to be afraid to go on the offensive even after Johnson puts the health question on the table. And now that Johnson will not be debating him, Dykstra will have almost no opportunity to gain any name recognition that a successful debate would have given him and will be left with limited late election season ad buys and hand shaking tours.

If the Republican's had a stronger candidate things might have been different so I would say that not debating, while not what some South Dakotan's want from Johnson, will likely not lead to much other than maybe a 15-20 point win instead of a 30 point win in November. He has too much money, too much name recognition, and very little competition.

Thune Has No Opinion

From KELO
Republican U.S. Senator John Thune is taking no position on a fellow senator's decision not to engage in any political debates for the November 4 election.

Not much new there...must be waiting for George Bush or John McCain to give him one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Obama VP Choice

This just came across Twitter from the Obama camp. If you want to be one of the first to find out who Barack Obama picks as his Vice Presidential candidate, just text VP to 62262 or head over to his "First to Know" page and sign up there to get informed via email.

They Come In Threes? Isaac Hayes Dead At 65

The man that many of today's generation will recognize as "Chef" from South Park and whom I associate mainly as the "Duke of New York" from the classic 1981 movie "Escape from New York" and as the writer and performer of the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film "Shaft" has died at age 65.


Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless "Theme From Shaft" won Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday afternoon, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said. He was 65.


A family member found him unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, according to the sheriff's office. The cause of  death was not immediately known.


Hayes' death comes right on the heels of the death yesterday of entertainer Bernie Mac making up 2/3rd's of the death comes in three's prophecy so if you don't hear from me....Just kidding. Isaac, you will be missed.

Roberts Questions Obama For Taking Time Off

ABC's Cokie Roberts doesn't think that Barack Obama taking a week off makes any sense especially in exotic Hawaii. You mean other than the fact that he is from Hawaii Cokie? On this morning's "This Week" she took issue with his vacation choices.
ROBERTS: -- does not make any sense whatsoever. I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be in Myrtle Beach, and, you know, if he's going to take a vacation at this time.

Though I guess that I would have to agree with her on one point. Why is he taking vacation now when he can take all he wants if he wins the White House. George W set the precidence as he is on pace to take almost 500 days during his 8 tears in office. I am sure Obama can use a similar vacation schedule to keep his batteries recharged.

Aww Factor? More Like Gag Factor

Is this LA Times writer serious? She devoted a whole column to how certain female celebrities have discovered that walking around with some little pooch under their arms will somehow make them look cuter.
But thanks to Paris' lead, savvy stars realized that that carrying a
pup is a sure-fire flattering photo op with an instant and undeniable
'awwww' factor.

It used to be when folks had a baby with them they would generate that "awww" reaction, now all it takes is a tiny dog? Then again considering the celebrities normally photographed with their dogs, it is probably much better that they have dogs instead of some poor child, just ask Britney's kids.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Drill Here Drill Now

Oh, not here or not now.

Bernie Mac Dies At 50

Popular actor and comedian Bernie Mac died this morning at age 50 of complications from pneumonia.
"Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital," his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles.

She said no other details were available and asked that his family's privacy be respected.

The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.

As I approach my 44th birthday in just under 2 months, I am again reminded of how fragile life is no matter how old or young your are.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Edwards Admits Affair But Not That He Has Lovechild

I had held off on this except for a quick mention when the National Enquirer first reported it because, well, it was the National Enquirer, but it appears that the rumors that John Edwards was involved in an affair are true.

The former Democratic Presidential candidate is set to come clean tonight in an interview on ABC's Nightline where he will admit to boinking former campaign worker Rielle Hunter while she traveled with him back in 2006. He also claims that despite what the Enquirer is reporting, he isn't the father of Hunter's baby because the timing doesn't fit.

Edwards, who's wife is stricken with incurable cancer, also made a point of telling ABC that his wife was in remission from her disease during the affair because as you know, that makes it so much better.
Edwards made a point of telling Woodruff that his wife's cancer was in remission when he began the affair with Hunter. Elizabeth Edwards has since been diagnosed with an incurable form of the disease.

I guess we can now put the possibilities of his being chosen as Barack Obama's VP candidate or being given any position within an Obama cabinet to rest can't we?

What's Next For The Senate Race?

So what is next? Has Johnson just handed the race to Dykstra as PP and others now contend or has Johnson built up enough capitol among South Dakotan's where his not debating will not affect his bid for re-election?

Dykstra has been virtually silent since winning the GOP primary in June, opting for a hands on highway campaign earning him little funding and even less publicity. Will he finally go on the offensive given he won't be able to do so face to face? We shall see.

I'm leaning towards the political capitol angle but I think that the reaction from this over the next few days will give us a better idea of how this will fly with South Dakotans. Either way, this once one sided race got just a bit more interesting as Johnson himself has injected the health card back into the race.

Johnson Not Doing Any Debates?

Updated below with MSM confirmation


2 different conservative blogs are reporting that Senator Tim Johnson has decided not participate in any debates against challenger Joel Dykstra.  No official word yet from the Johnson mouthpiece blog Badlands Blue but heads on the right have already started exploding all across South Dakota.

More to come for sure, just monitor the comment sections of the ever increasing number of Johnson should retire posts on SDWC for all the Johnson "love" that will surely follow.

UPDATE: The Argus confirms it
In a press release, Johnson said his speech had not yet improved to the point where a debate would accurately reflect his abilities.

And the Press Release from the Johnson campaign:

"I would like to thank South Dakotans for their patience, prayers, and strong support during the past year. It is because of that support and my job performance over the past year that I know I am 100 percent capable of performing all of the duties of my job as South Dakota's Senior Senator. I have the full confidence of my doctors, family and colleagues in the Senate as I seek another six-year term.

In the Senate I am able to effectively communicate the needs of our state and my passionately held beliefs.

There is no better evidence of that than my record since returning to the Senate nearly one year ago. I have not missed a single vote, I have acquired hundreds of millions of dollars for projects throughout South Dakota and I chair, attend and fully participate in committee and sub-committee hearings.

I have been open and honest about my recovery. While my speech continues to improve it is not yet 100 percent and I have not yet reached a point in my rehab where my participation in a debate would accurately reflect my capabilities. Therefore I will not participate in traditional political debates during this campaign."

Big Brother Wants An Example Made

Of Big Brother.

The Parents Television Council aka the "Big Brother" of television decency wants it's pound of flesh from CBS because of an f-bomb dropped on their popular reality show, Big Brother.
Dan Isett with the PTC is calling for concerned viewers to take action. "It's important for folks to contact their congressman, contact their senator," he said. "There's a piece of legislation that would end this behavior on behalf of the networks. Although Congress is in recess for the month of August, it's a good time to reach out and let them know how you feel about this. This needs to be right at the top of the agenda when Congress returns in a few weeks," Isett contends. (emphasis mine)

Gee, when is Congress going to have the time? Energy prices, mortgage crisis, nanny legislation...

What To Do?

What is a pro-oil candidate supposed to do when his pro-oil secret has been exposed? If you are in the John McCain camp, you get your official blogger to selectively edit a report from the Center for Responsive Politics to turn that claim around to make it look like it is actually your opponent that is in big oil's pocket.

McCain shill Michael Goldfarb ignores this summary paragraph from the report:
McCain leads the money race with nearly every other top giver in the oil and gas industry, though — Koch Industries, Valero, Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, the list goes on. (You can see detail on all these companies in the spreadsheet linked below.) McCain also has a big edge with Hess Corp. — $91,000 to Obama’s $8,000 — which has gotten some attention. And, overall, McCain’s campaign has gotten three times more money from the industry than Obama’s has — $1.3 million compared to about $394,000. (emphasis provided by Think Progress)

And instead reports this single exception to the final tally:
"Tallying contributions by employees in the industry and their families, we found that Exxon, Chevron and BP have all contributed more money to Obama than to McCain. Through June, Exxon employees have given Obama $42,100 to McCain's $35,166. Chevron favors Obama $35,157 to $28,500, and Obama edges out McCain with BP $16,046 vs. $11,500."

And then despite that fact that McCain has in reality received 3 times as much money from oil companies, you get led down their talking point highway to believe that Obama is the big winner in the oil money sweepstakes. And of course the McCain talking point army was quick to spin:

Exxon-Obama
Obama Gets More Donations From Exxon Than McCain
Time to create an Exxon-Obama site
Let' not forget the MSM - Exxon [Hearts] Obama

You really got to love that political math that the McCain camp uses, you know the formula that says you are only in someone's pocket if you can't get your supporters to believe otherwise...

Quick Hits Lucky Day Edition

Today is 08-08-08 which is considered about as lucky as it can get if you are a believer in Chinese numerology so if today is your wedding day, congratulations and good luck. With that said, here is some linkage for items that I have come across the past couple of days.

Planning to fly this Christmas? - Internal airline memos reveal that the busiest travel season of the year will be a bit more hectic as airlines plan on offering 60 million fewer seats for the upcoming Oct-Dec holiday season worldwide with 20 million of those seats being cut from US routes.

More Hess funny business? - I mentioned a few days ago the interesting fundraising cash infusion the McCain campaign received from various members of the Hess family and their oil company soon after his change of heart in regards to offshore drilling. The Hess Oil company and McCain campaign apparently have another connection as word is coming out that 2 high ranking McCain officials are fresh off 3 year stints as lobbyists for, you guessed it, a firm that Hess paid $800,000 to for lobbying services.

Ron Suskind has a new book coming out called The Way of the World and to say that it isn't flattering to the Bush Adminstration would be an understatement.  - So Nancy, it appears we have more non-proof of criminal activity perpetrated by the current administration that you can use for reasons not to hold impeachment hearings.

Oh and while much of the Suskind book adds more fuel to the incidents we mostly knew about, one new tidbit is being reported. It seems the current administration's love for torture interrogation has migrated into the White House building itself. They have their own interrogation room in the White House basement that they have already put to good use.

Speaking of Nancy as in Nancy Pelosi - Why is it she is being so tough with the GOP over offshore drilling but had little problem bending over backwards to allow the capituation vote on FISA? Heck it only involved giving away our Constitutional rights.

Finally, local blogger Jennifer from "In The Shelter Of Your Heart" wanted me to pass along a note about the Rally to Resue event being held at the Sioux Falls Pet Smart tomorrow from 10am to 5pm. The event seeks to inform folks about animal rescues and shelters in eastern South Dakota so if you are interested please consider attending and if you want more information head over to Jennifer's blog.

Anything else caught your eye lately?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Get Involved: Spam Blogs With Talking Points

It appears that the McCain campaign is embracing the recently discovered technology (to McCain that is) which Senate colleague Ted Stevens likes to call the "series of tubes". He has started a new "Spread the Word" campaign that promises to give participants points for spamming the comments sections of popular blogs with McCain's talking points of the day.
Select from the numerous web, blog and news sites listed here, go there, and make your opinions supporting John McCain known. Once you’ve commented on a post, video or news story, report the details of your comment by clicking the button below. After your comments are verified, you will be awarded points through the McCain Online Action Center.

I don't see any South Dakota based blogs on the hit list so we have apparently dodged the spam bullet though some of our local GOP bloggers seem to have taken up the challenge anyway. Either way though, there has been no word yet as to what those with the most points will get other than banishment from a bunch of different blogs but if your good enough, maybe, just maybe, you can get one of those cool $25 tire gauges.

Bin Laden Driver Sentenced To 5 1/2 Years

For being Bin Laden's driver.
A military jury sentenced Osama bin Laden's former driver to 5 1/2 years in prison for aiding terrorism Thursday, making him eligible for release in just six months, despite prosecutors' pleas to give him no less than 30 years.

Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who had faced a maximum sentence of life behind bars, gets credit for five years already served at Guantanamo Bay. He thanked the jurors for the sentence and repeated an apology for having served bin Laden.

What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in the Bush White House right now. They stacked the legal procedure, picked what they thought was their best case, and all they can get is a conviction for what the guy admitted to from the start. Topping it all off, they sentenced him to pretty much time served though he could end up staying in Gitmo as another of the scores of people detained there without being charged. Ouch!

Blame The Dead Guy

I have worked for several different employers in my lifetime and even noticed this while in the Navy in regards to those that had recently transfered out of a particular duty station. When something happens in which your bosses are looking to lay blame, the fall guy often becomes the guy that just left. I'm not saying that it ever really worked but what the heck, he probably doesn't care because he has already moved on to greener pastures and even if he would have cared, he is not around to defend himself.

Our Justice Department is using a similar tactic in regards to the 2001 Anthrax attack against Tom Daschle and others that killed 5 people. Blame the dead guy.

They have spent the last 7 years spinning their wheels on the investigation, never being able to get enough evidence to arrest anyone and then all of a sudden, a mentally unstable guy that had access to the liquid form of the strain apparently used commits suicide and the case miraculously becomes solved?

I don't want to give too much credence to Gerald Posner who has a bit of a reputation himself but he has brought up quite a few questions that the DOJ has not answered (watch the video) during 2 consecutive appearances on Olbermann and they doubtfully ever will.

Like, how the liquid anthrax that Dr. Bruce Ivins had access to was transformed into weapons grade powdered anthrax suitable for the mail attacks? And how was such a mentally unstable man with such a questionable psychological profile as the DOJ claims that Ivins had, able to get a job at a top secret bio-weapons facility? No wonder Daschle has been less than complimentary in his comments on this investigation and is currently not being too talkative about this latest development.

Ivins may well have been involved either by himself as as part of a larger conspiracy but as my dad used to say, "If something seems too good to be true, it usually is" and while this "conspiracy theory" will probably never reach the level of the Kennedy assasination, the DOJ has done a good job of trying to put it on that level.

UPDATE: 8/8/08 - Crooks and Liars details the unanswered questions still out there in this "closed" case.

Randell Beck Promoted

So you write what some would consider a libelous column, you and your boss get sued for it. You rag on blogs and bloggers after they expose your organization's somewhat questionable allegiances saying the blogs are places where the views of the ‘pinheaded’ on the ‘political fringes’ with ‘nutty opinions’ can ’spew forth.’” and then start your own blog. What's next?

If you work for Gannett, you are given the keys to the building.
Randell Beck, executive editor of the Argus Leader for the past seven years, was named Wednesday as publisher and president of the media company.

Beck replaces Arnold Garson, who is taking over as publisher and president of the Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal.

"I'm very excited, both professionally and personally," Beck, 54, said. "I've learned over seven years, both living in Sioux Falls and working at Argus Leader Media, that this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The chance to stay here in an expanded role, a different kind of role, really is sort of a dream."

House Stunt Dripping With Hypocrisy

I realize I am probably beating a dead horse so let's put aside for now the fact that approving more drilling off the our coasts will not even put a dent in our oil needs either now or in the future, and despite McCain's latest fundraising stunt with tire gauges (which McCain now admits will help), normal conservation and equipment maintenance measures by us will generate more available oil now than drilling will every produce. The real hypocrisy is being shown by those demonstrating on the House floor and providing "talking points" to the media.

Yesterday I wrote on McCain's link to big oil and the massive contributions he received after changing his position and now more is coming out on some of the louder voices in the House protest stunt including "Mr. Twitter" John Culberson. It seems he has a very good reason to want to promote offshore drilling, or like $301,961 reasons to be exact as that is his share of the millions given to certain members of Congress from big oil. As for some of the other prominent House Republican's involved in their "drill here, drill now" stunt? They weren't left out in the cold either.
John Shadegg (R-AZ- $119,495)
Ron Lewis (R-KY- $82,650)
Chris Shays (R-CT- $41,400)
Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO- $182,912)
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN- $85,717)
Eric Cantor (R-VA- $159,250)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX- $185,663)
John Kline (R-MN- $118,705)
Mike Pence (R-IN- $150,950)
Lamar Smith (R-TX- $342,897)
Tom Cole (R-OK- $277,050)
John Doolittle (R-CA- $127,525)
Patrick "Cheap Date" McHenry (R-NC- $26,000)
Mike McCaul (R-TX- $107,934)
Denny Rehberg (R-MT- $238,901)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ- $66,000)
Frank Wolf (R-VA- $77,682)
Adam Putnam (R-FL- $70,300)

And while I am discussing the hypocrisy, I would be remiss if I didn't mention House Minority Leader John Boehner who has been vocally admonishing House Democrats for leaving town on vacation while ordinary Americans are suffering from high gas prices. It seems many of his comments ripping the Democrats has been coming from, of all places, the 19th hole of an Ohio golf course while he is enjoying his time off...