Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami death toll tops 135,000

As the Tsunami death toll tops 135,000 people I cannot but contrast the paramount need with the President's leisure time down in Texas. President Bush, just like he did after 9/11, is wasting an opportunity to draw the world together in an hour of need.

Think how much better it would be if President Bush cancelled his vacation and challenged Saudi Arabia to donate as much money to their Muslim brothers as the US, and called on NATO to deploy their military equipment to assist in the effort, and gave relief agencies free computing horsepower so they could keep up with on-line donations, and kept reminding other nations to do more, and talked to the American people every day about the ways they can help.

Imagine the potential for repair to our reputation abroad, and imagine the potential to instill hope in mankind that we can still love each other when the need is great (even if perhaps only then). Furthermore, this type of leadership might even prevent a few would-be terrorists from signing up with Osama's outfit.

I know a lot of doctors and when their pager sounds they answer the call even if they are on vacation. Here is a link to a group of doctors that will be involved in the relief effort:

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders)

Paul (a reader) posted this link to provide Christian's a place to communicate and donate towards the Tsunami relief effort:

Heart For Missions

Thursday, December 30, 2004

A steadily dropping dollar

While President Bush clings to tax proposals and policy largesse which benefit the well off like a life vest, the markets continue to respond to his dangerous fiscal recklessness by seeking refuge on another ship.

Dollar Drops to Record Low Against Euro

Why aren't more Democratic Congress people pointing out the folly of the enormous budget-busting tax package that President Bush wants to make permanent? Why not say, "Now that the war is dragging on we think it would be prudent to restore tax rates to solvent levels. We feel it is unwise to react to a pay-cut by going out on a spending spree, and since we can't stop spending on this protracted war we must restore the revenue. We believe the falling dollar is evidence that the markets are losing faith in America's fiscal discipline, and further that if the situation isn't corrected our debt will become more expensive and add to our debt problems."

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Ohio GOP Election Officials Ducking Subpoenas

Did John Kerry concede defeat too early?

If Ohio counts all of it's votes will election results change?

Should a Secretary of State, which has authority in an election, be allowed to chair a campaign too?

How long will Ohio's Secretary of State dodge his deposition?

Election Officials Ducking Subpoenas as Kerry Enters Fray in Ohio

Perhaps the fat lady isn't singing?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Toll From Tsunami Rises to More Than 51,000

The Washington Post is today reporting that the death toll from the Asian Tsunami has risen to more than 51,000. That is about twelve times the number of people lost on 9/11, and perhaps the size of a crowd at the Super Bowl.

For whom the bell tolls

As if that weren't bad enough the UN is warning that ground-water has been contaminated by the flooding and Cholera will likely kill thousands more unless aid is swift and sure.

If you wish to make a donation, here is a link to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:

Asia - Earthquake and tsunamis

We are currently spending about 250 million dollars a day to wage war in Iraq. Wouldn't it be great if the planet used its armies to build and it's riches to feed?

Toto's revelation

Paul Krugman used a great axiom the other day, which I had never heard. He said, "Situations that can't go on forever don't". I'm paraphrasing, but you can hear the quote here, where you can also delight in one of our Dear Leader's best impersonations of a moron:

Paul Krugman on Social Security, the Decline of the Dollar and Healthcare

This story, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times, might be evidence that investors are starting to loose faith in an economy that is piling on debt, incurring ever-larger trade defecits, foolishly maintaining the Bush budget-busting tax cuts, and spending like sailors on leave:

Further pressure on the dollar

There is a financial crisis lurking, but it isn't Social Security. That is just a curtain awaiting Toto's revelation. Bark Democrats. Bark.

Here we go again.

Whenever Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld opens his mouth lately bad things happen. For example, during his Christmas eve visit to the troops he said that flight 93 was shot down over Pennsylvania.

Here is what he said,

"I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten – indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be."

I wonder if he meant that the US military shot it down, or if he meant that terrorists shot it down, or if he was simply making more mistakes aloud. If he was misspeaking it seems an odd slip of the tongue, doesn't it?

Something other than that which he wanted to say?

ADDENDUM: A Pentagon spokesman said today, Tuesday the 28th, that Donald Rumsfeld misspoke. Here is a link to the details: Read more...

Monday, December 27, 2004

Bring them home

When you are 80 you learn not to mince words.

Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today and veteran of WWII, speaks bluntly in this editorial and calls on Americans to support our troops by bringing them home, and sooner rather than later:

Reflections at 80

When a veteran says if he were eligible for service in Iraq he'd do "all he could to avoid it" I find that an untidy narrative alongside proclamations to the contrary.

Disaster strikes Asia

Perhaps you, like me, just enjoyed a holiday spent with friends and family. Perhaps you, like me, took a moment to reflect about how fortune smiled upon you.

This mornings news made me feel all the more fortunate and all the more thankful. In the blink of an eye, following a 9.0 earthquake at sea near Sumatra, 23000+ people were killed by tsunami in Asia.

Asia toll tops 23,000

In this moment of disaster I am proud to see the world pull together and offer aid and assistance to the stricken. Humanity longs for brotherhood at a time like this and may those offering it live in peace.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas call and response

Christmas, 0000

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men.

- Saint Luke -

Christmas, 1924

"Peace upon earth!" was said. We sing it,
And pay a million priests to bring it.
After two thousand years of mass
We've got as far as poison-gas.

- Thomas Hardy -

Friday, December 24, 2004

Invigorating Ownership Society

While campaigning in Albuquerque on August 26th, 2004 President Bush said...

In changing times, if you own your own home, it can help provide stability. The home ownership rate is at an all-time high in America. We'll continue to pursue policies to encourage people to own their own home. There's nothing better than somebody opening that front door and saying, welcome to my house. Thank you for coming to my home. We understand in America that if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country.

Entire speech...

Today's economic news is that new home sales plunged in November to their lowest levels in a decade:

Story here...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Bush Social Security Plan Worries GOP

When it came to the Medicare prescription drug program, the Bush administration lied about it's costs(Up, up, and away), bullied an actuary into keeping silent (Richard S. Foster), and used a little extortion on the House floor (Nick Smith R-Mich) to get it passed.

Will the same bag of tricks work to turn grandma's Social Security pittance over to Enron?

It will if Republicans are stupid or in on the joke.

It will if Democrats aren't united, organized, and vocal.

Don't get fooled again...

President Bush doesn't exactly have the Midas touch. On the "War on Terror" front: Osama got away, Iraq is a quagmire, North Korea is armed with nuclear weapons, and Iran isn't playing nice. When it comes to his budget prowess: He took over a multi-trillion dollar surplus and his deficit spending, revenue-busting ways turned that into a chasm of debt.

This isn't the kind of person that I want meddling with grandma's rent money. His type of "fixing" is liable to scramble grandma's nest egg and serve it to Ken Lay types with a side order of pork.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Presidential Order Authorizing Inhumane Interrogation Techniques

A document released for the first time today [Monday December 20th] by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up.


Here is a direct link to the records released in response to the "Torture FOIA Request" filed by the ACLU:

Torture Documents

Flat earthers in the schools

Anybody that has experienced insects adapting to pesticide has seen evolution in action. Why then, do the religious types continue to insist that evolution is a myth?

Open your eyes

I don't know about you, but when I break my leg I want a doctor and not a priest. You can send for the priest in my time of dying.

Doesn't the separation of scientific and religious disciplines keep people from worshiping technology? Wouldn't a blurring of the two lead to science-priests? Do we want that?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Pentagon: At Least 22 Killed in Mosul Attack

At least 22 people were killed and 50 wounded today (Tuesday) on a US/Iraqi base near Mosul. The Pentagon is saying that it doesn't know whether the KIA were US soldiers or Iraqi personnel at this point, but it does know that a dining hall was struck.

At Least 22 Killed in Mosul Attack

It seems ever more clear that we either need more troops in Iraq or we need to get out of Iraq. The current Bush plan to stay with inadequate force protection and no exit strategy is worse than either of these choices.

John McCain has been calling for more troops for a while and John Kerry has also, which means there is bipartisan support for expanding the size of the US military (as opposed to recruiting more weekend warriors). Since President Bush has little chance to secure the help of allies he bullied he might consider this life-saving option immediately.

ADDENDUM: The Boston Globe is reporting that 19 US soldiers died in today's attack, detals here

Rumsfeld cares

After prominent Republicans John McCain, Trent Lott, and Bill Kristol publicly expressed a lack of confidence in Donald Rumsfeld's abilities, President Bush made statements defending him as "caring" and "a good human being".

Donald Dearest

If you were a soldier would you rather have an SOB that provided you with armor, or a caring and good human being that didn't?

Monday, December 20, 2004

On intelligent design

Anyone that has spent time gawking open-mouthed at the contents of a glass jar in a circus freak show knows that the argument for intelligent design ignores compelling evidence which suggests that Darwin was correct. However, if you are one of those people that cannot be swayed even by a trip to Philadelphia's Mütter Museum, then you should follow the ideology of intelligent design to its' logical conclusion.

The ideology of intelligent design argues that since a watch is complicated, then it must have a creator, or watchmaker. It further argues that the watchmaker requires a maker, since he is complicated, and that maker is God.

If one accepts this wishful thinking as science, then one should naturally assume that since God is complicated then He must require a maker. Of course, any deity capable of creating God must be very complicated indeed, and therefore require a maker...

At some point you must either accept that there is a supreme watchmaker in the sky which requires no watchmaker, and therefore invalidate your original premise, or reject the ideology of intelligent design as self-delusional hokum.

Belief in God is a lot like feelings of love, and you should no more expect to quantify it with science then you should expect religion to put a man on Mars. That's why they call it "faith".

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Defense Secretary We Have

I am going to be on the road until Monday so I'll leave you with two good pieces of reading.

The first is an editorial in the Washington Post by Bill Kristol calling for Donald Rumsfed to spend more time with his family:

Please leave Donald

The second is an article written by Marshall Wittmann which offers a roadmap to Democrats:

Learn from history

Until Monday I bid you adieu (that's freedom for farewell).

Trade canyon

Republicans control the House.
Republicans control the Senate.
Republicans control most governorships.
The President of the United States is Republican.

And our trade gap widened by 9 percent in October to a record $55.5 billion dollars.

October's shortfall

You may have heard that a fool and his money are soon parted. If you entrust your money to a fool, the same rule applies.

US firms announce 104,530 job cuts in November

For the third month in a row job cuts exceeded 100,000. For a "strong economy" we sure do bleed a lot of jobs.

Labor let-down

I think it is interesting that many companies suggested the cuts were predicated on rising health-care costs and rising energy costs. Maybe we'd create jobs if we had universal healthcare? Maybe we'd create jobs if we worked on energy independence via stable renewable energy sources?

This can't bode well for the holiday shopping season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Recruiting woes

Hackworth writes on our recruiting woes.

You and what army?

Here is a report of a 70 year old man pulled out of his second retirement to go to Afghanistan:

Geezers going

Meanwhile, another suicide bomber killed a bunch more people in Baghdad, one day after a suicide bomber killed a bunch more people in Baghdad...

War's untidy decimation

Monday, December 13, 2004

McCain says he has 'no confidence' in secretary of defense

Senator John McCain said today (Monday) that he has "no confidence" in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

He then tempered his straight talk by saying his comments were not a call for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation and that the President "can have the team that he wants around him". That seems like spin to me and it also seems like a failure to support the troops in the field. After all, if you have no confidence in Donald Rumsfeld and our troops are suffering because of it, how honorable is it to fail to seek Mr. Rumsfeld's departure?

You can't have it both ways, can you?

Resign Rummy

CIA officer asked to lie to justify Iraq invasion

A CIA employee has, for the first time in US history, filed a lawsuit against the CIA for asking him to falsify intelligene reports, and for then punishing him when he refused to do so.

The spy who wouldn't lie

While I find the notion of an ethical spy comical, perhaps men that have risked so much for the freedom we all enjoy really do take their commitment to the ideals of America to heart instead of for granted. Maybe they think about their own children and how they really do want them growing up in a land of liberty and justice for all. Maybe they can't look into those trusting little eyes and be anything less than a hero unto themselves.

I'll bet the Bush twins don't look to their daddy with trusting little eyes anymore; not if they're smart, anyway.

Seven US Marines die

The happy talk from the Bush administration gets jollier and jollier with images of "free elections" and "a free Iraq" dancing in their heads.

This is contrasted rather abrasively by reality on the ground as 7 US Marines died in combat in Anbar province and there was also a suicide bombing at the Green Zone gates:

Path of my urn

I am terribly worried about our forces in Iraq since they are led by a President that appears more focused on the state of steroids in baseball than developing an exit strategy for Iraq:

Clean up baseball, leave Iraq in shambles

When will we see an exit strategy?
When will we increase the size of our military?
What blunder is big enough to get Donald Rumsfailed "retired"?

Killing is against all religions that I know of, and rather unambiguously at that. Yet, when will our moral leaders walk the walk?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Nickled and Dimed warrior

Remember how audit after audit has shown Halliburton "lost track of" equipment, paper trails, and so on? If not, read this:

Halliburton hides

Remember any consequences?

I bring this up, because 27-year old Spc. Robert Loria served his country in Iraq. During one of his missions a "bomb" (or improvised explosive device, if you prefer) tore off one of his forearms and split his femur.

Then, after going through his rehab he was socked with a $2,000 dollar bill and has his last paycheck confiscated by the accountants at the DOD.

Merry Christmas from the Pentagon

The National Guard missed it's recruitment target for the first time in a decade. Perhaps it is because the ship run by Mr. Rumsfeld is tilting to one side?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Make your own Posted by Hello

Duck Donald

Poor Donald Rumsfeld.

It seems the small matter of MAKING SURE THE HUMVEES HAVE THE BATTLE ARMOR THEY NEED is not a matter of physics after all, but a matter of paperwork.

Armor Holdings, the sole supplier of the protective plates, says it could boost Humvee armor output by 22% with no investment.

The only thing it needs, it seems, is a request from Mr. "the dog ate my homework" Rumsfeld.

Donald you might want to duck.

I hope the people involved in this bureaucratic quagmire sort it out before more troops are maimed for want of armor.


Rumsfeld follies

It has been a while since a really good Rumsfeldian sentence has surfaced, but this article highlights a beauty. Mr. Rumsfailed is being hounded for his "don't blame me blame physics" excuse, unable to escape pursuit even in India. When he gets his dander up his mouth usually makes poetic speech.

In this case, responding to a US soldier's questions about "hillbilly armor" he said, "I don't know what the facts are, but somebody certainly is going to sit down with him and find out what he knows and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know".

Rumsfeld Responds

How can the Secretary of defense get away with saying "I don't know what the facts are" when soldiers have been raising this issue publicly for three years? Doesn't that admission highlight rather glaring incompetence?

Whatever happened to boots on the ground?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Democrat's Da Vinci Code

Conventional wisdom says that "Common sense ain't all that common." Well, David Sirota has just written a masterpiece to bolster that rare commodity among Democrats.

Road to recovery

I shall say a prayer tonight that Democrats read and heed his advice. Brian Schweitzer did and it got him places in Montana.

Rumsfeld cornered

After 3 years our troops are "digging through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor their vehicles". Well, understandably, they're getting sick of it because their lives are on the line.

Recently a few brave soldiers brought Rumsfeld to task over it.

Give us armor!

The President should have brought Rumsfeld to task a long time ago.

Don't blame me, I voted for Kerry.

Snow won't go

On Monday the New York Times reported that:

"A definite decision has been made to replace Snow as soon as a successor is named, an adviser to the White House told the newspaper"

Tonight the AP is reporting that:

"Treasury Secretary John Snow, an aggressive champion of the administration's economic policies, accepted President Bush's offer Wednesday to remain in the Cabinet"

Snow staying

This same article says that Anthony Principi is resigning as Veteran Affairs Secretary, making him number 9 out of 15 in the cabinet to leave.

If the AP is right and the NYT is wrong that should be good news, since John Snow said recently that the budget defecit was his number one priority. Now, let's hope he acts on that priority competently.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Military dress and loyalty oaths

What kind of company do leaders that wear military uniforms keep?

Gadhafi wears one.
Castro wears one.
Yasser Arafat wore one.
Mao Tse-Tung wore one.
Saddam Hussein wore one.
Kim Jung Il wears one.
Mushareff wears one.

And, of course, there's this man

You can put a military uniform on a Ken doll and it is pretty meaningless. When you put one on a President it isn't. Beware loyalty oaths which mention blood.


I don't think I've been having enough fun lately. Here's an interesting story that you probably haven't heard about:

Australia's "The Courier-Mail" reported that many people saw UFOs above Darwin on Saturday December 6th:

Close encounters?

I thought nothing of this story until I saw today's Astronomy Picture of the Day, which is analyzing a photograph taken in Darwin Australia. It is interesting that NASA, Bad Astronomy, and Slashdot are all working on the puzzle:

What is it?

I'm sure those little green men will call off their War of the Worlds once they realize we ran out of flu shots, and for that we can thank the Bush administration.


Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about Iran:

Look up!

And the story of the beached whales:

Australian beached whales

That ought to be enough information to assemble a conspiracy theory to compete with the best of them. Any takers?

On storm clouds

Nightmares have a way of shocking you out of dreamland and bringing you back to reality. Apparently the folks at the Economist have done a little tossing and turning beneath their covers:

The cost of neglect

I wonder what they'll be writing once they discover that John Snow was sacked for publicly speaking out about deficit reduction.

And once they read this, they may never get back to a decent night's sleep:

Borrowing a couple trillion

Nor will warm milk help with this one:

Economy slows

The question now is, will they close their eyes to it and roll over.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Snow wonder he's leaving

I recently read an article in the Economist called, "A series of fortunate events" which said:

Far from dismissing deficits, America's economic policy-makers are suddenly talking about little else. On November 17th, John Snow, America's treasury secretary, argued in London that America's fiscal deficit was his "most pressing issue".

I had to shake my head, since the last treasury secretary to talk about deficit reduction was kicked out. I shook it again when it happened to John Snow today:

Goodbye Mr. Snow

I think the folks at the Economist are struggling so hard to find a silver lining they are creating their own reality. In this world, one either shows loyalty beyond reason or is shown the Whitehouse door.

Sometimes a storm cloud really brings a storm.

President Bush in Canada

Think about this statement:

Canada should join the US in a missile defense shield because to remain on the defensive is the surest way to bring the war to Canada.

Then read this article:

Applause that didn't come

A missile defense system would have been handy against 1950s-era Russia, but I don't know how it will help us pursue Osama and "smoke him out."

Monday, December 06, 2004

Is Torture American?

Molly Ivins asks the question, "Is torture American?" in this article. Hopefully there will be more and more articles about the way America is treating it's prisoners of war (and please don't call them "enemy combatants" since that is pure spin).

Molly makes the point that our soldiers are subject to the standards we use on others (which is what terrifies me about our abuses):

Is This American?

Rather than fire Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the chain of command responsible for torturing POWs at Guantanamo and at Abu Gharaib, President Bush congratulated Mr. Rumsfeld and nominated Mr. Gonzalez for the job of Attorney General.

Now it has come to light that the courts feel that it is fine to admit evidence acquired via torture in trial proceedings.

Is this American?

This is a disgrace and the largest moral failing of my generation. Why is it Americans seem to care more about Barry Bonds use of steroids than whether their country is torturing other human beings?

American's in WWII didn't treat the Nazi Germans this way, so why are we so morally infallible?


ADDENDUM: Remind yourself that Iraq never attacked us before looking at these new torture photos and tell me what your conscience thinks.

Mine screams

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Moore Bashing

One thing that Republicans do successfully is divide and conquer. A terrific example of that in use was the Spotted Owl controversy. By successfully keeping this controversy in the news Republicans got to pit environmentalists against unions while simultaneously hammering them both.

As strategy it was to be admired.

The new Republican strategy seems to be much more cunning and goes something like this. Let the DLC denigrate Michael Moore and MoveOn, while simultaneously hammering all three.

I am not sure how they got the DLC to do their dirty work for them, but I must tip my hat to their sinfully effective (I'll wager) strategy.

Here are some of the details:

Thanks for nothing

The DLC might do well to listen more and blame less, but it is time to stop finger-pointing and expand the tent just a few percentage points. When the odds are stacked against you it is a time to stick together.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Bull Moose

There is a blog called Bull Moose (More Moose, Less Bull) which I like to read. It is written by a former Republican disillusioned with his party and who has a fondness for Teddy Roosevelt.

This post is an amuzing presentation of scandalous hypocrisy among Christian Coalition stalwarts. Stories of gambling, prostitution, deceit, and graft by "the righteous ones" prevail throughout.

Welcome to the Monkey House

The Economic Bill of Rights

The more I think about Republicans the more I realize their goal is to destory (interesting slip) FDR's legacy. Democrats, in my opinion, can capitalize on their assault by reviving FDR's policies and speeches, but by modernizing them.

One interesting thing that FDR did, for instance, was to equate American's economic well-being with security. He felt, essentially, that a man that can't eat is neither free nor safe. A farmer that can't make a living from the sale of his goods is not secure.

After WWII FDR wanted to remake America with an Economic Bill of Rights, and here is what that looked like:

The Economic Bill of Rights

The best expression of this idea that I heard in 2004 was produced by Dennis Kucinich, when he called poverty a weapon of mass destruction. It was also present in his speeches about healthcare-induced poverty.

Here is an interview with Thomas Frank, author of "What's the matter with Kansas?", in which he talks about the Economic Bill of Rights briefly. It is an interesting article in which he also reduces the Democrat's message to two points, security and equality.

I'll have to study up on FDR because I think the past might unlock the future for progressives, and I hope we don't have to wait for the robber barons to collapse the banking system first.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Slave states equal Bush states

There was a map which made the rounds of the web and which speaks volumes, I think, about American unity. If you compare the pre civil-war slave states to states which voted for Bush you'll see much the same map.

Uncanny correlation

Does this mean we should divide America again and let the red states teach creationism in the schools, plant a bible in every courtroom, and fly the confederate flag?

Sometimes I feel like the folks who think faith in God and evolution are mutually exclusive live on another planet, anyway, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad. If listenting to them talk about New York City is any indication, maybe it might even be a win-win situation.

Perhaps the slogan could become, "United we divide, and divided we can stand each other"?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

BBC NEWS Iraq log

Here is a link to the BBC's Iraq log, which answers the question, "What is life like for ordinary Iraqis and others caught up in events?"

Iraq log

Three surprises for you

Here are three surprises for you:

1. The Pentagon wants 10 to 11 thousand more troops in Iraq.
2. Some soldiers will have to stay in Iraq longer.
3. Some troops will get to deploy to Iraq earlier.

Happy Holidays from the Pentagon

John Kerry's idea to increase the size of our armed forces by 40,000 to relieve the pressure on military families looks even better with hindsight.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Core meltdown

Democrats need a few broadly-appealing and simple messages to disseminate about themselves to the American voters, since otherwise voters are left wondering what the Democrats stand for when they vote. I call that a "core meltdown" because it indicates an unsafe condition which bleeds energy.

These messages should be driving principals for policy, both foreign and domestic, and draw lines in the sand for bureaucratic fist-fights. Here are some themes that I feel are worth considering:

1. Democrats are for energy independence and clean fuels.

2. Democrats are for balancing the books and regard deficits as a child-tax.

3. Democrats are for fair and transparent governance, where the same rules apply to everybody and everybody has access to the legislative process (i.e. no more secret energy commissions and Hillary-style healthcare meetings).

4. Democrats believe a man that works for a living ought to earn a living.

Guantanamo Torture

The Red Cross issued a report saying that the US military is using psychological and sometimes physical torture (tactics tantamount to torture) on Guantanamo Bay inhabitants.

I think that these people have been in that hellhole, that stain on American pride, that Ghastly Ghulag long enough!

ICRC report

How can we call ourselves the land of liberty or the land of freedom or the home of the brave and treat other human beings this way?

It has been three years since these people were captured and they should be tried, convicted, and sentenced or let go. I am beginning to suspect that they aren't getting trials because it would expose their unimportance and/or it would expose our awful treatment of them.

Where are the moral leaders of America? Where are the courts? Where is the press? Where are the Democrats? Where is Elizabeth Dole?

Do we deserve the title of "land of the free and home of the brave" if we are afraid to offer fair trials for these people?

Monday, November 29, 2004

Easy Fixes For Social Security

Some economists don't think fixing Social Security requires all that much sacrifice or all that much change. Here is a scenario laid out in the Washington Post, for instance, to fix Social Security:

Easy Fixes For Social Security

Hey big spender...

Here's a simple question.

Suppose something unforseen happened, for instance your financial manager suddenly disappeared with all of your money, and you found yourself in debt.

Suppose to pay for that debt you increased the debt limit on your already-maxed credit cards and then borrowed a lot of money to "pay down the debt".

Would you be regarded as:

a. Screwed
b. A genius

By increasing our debt ceiling and then our borrowing, after having risked the farm on a trickle-down scheme, George W. Bush is either:

a. Screwed
b. A genius

Bush's Social Security Plan likely to Require Vast Borrowing

If you answered:

a and b: You are in denial
a and a: You are realistic.
b and a: You cannot admit your own mistakes
b and b: You should let someone else manage your money.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Matthew 27:16-26

I have heard many Liberals wonder aloud why a middle or lower-class income voter would vote against their economic interests for a Republican. The best expression of this puzzle was illustrated by "the Onion" headline, Nations Poor Win Election For Nations Rich.

Conventional wisdom says that moral issues trump economic issues and that Karl Rove's strategy of painting President Bush as a moral champion among men was cunning given the state of our economy. I disagree and feel there is something deeper in human nature at work here. This is in fact an old story many of us have heard before. The most famous version goes something like this:

In a land far way...
In a time long ago...
Walked a man known as Jesus of Nazareth.

But he was an idealistic dreamer that told the rich to provide for the poor, kicked the money changers out of the temple, and disseminated a lefty peace-nick message of forgiveness and brotherhood.

Predictably, for monied elites cannot exist in the presence of awakened compassion, the Romans (an imperialistic empire expanding itself into the Middle-East) jailed the Lamb. Soon men of influence argued that placing Jesus of Nazareth in jail was too lenient, too "soft on crime". This is because appeasing those that feel threatened by love and charity takes much violence. So, Jesus was brought out and beaten without mercy, but the sandal-wearing (ancient flip-flop) hot-head failed to show the proper respect for authority and was sentenced to death row.

Pilate, the governor, was accustomed to releasing a prisoner at a festival which was then taking place, furthermore, Pilate's wife was said to have been distressed at Jesus' treatment for having committed non-violent offenses. So Pilate went before the people and gave them a choice. On the left he placed our weak forgiver of sin and on the right he placed a homicidal maniac called Jesus Barabbas (who was strong and believed in killing). His question was simple, "Whom shall I release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?"

As Pilate made his way to his seat of judgment, the chief moralists, traders, and political consultants worked the crowd. When Pilate asked for their vote what he heard from the throng was "Barabbas!"

Surprised, but probably not too surprised for that is the way of men, Pilate asked, "Then, what shall I do with Jesus who is called Messiah?" The infamous response was, of course, "Let him be crucified!"

And so it was that a good man whose best efforts to help us love each other culminated in his brutal crucifixion, which we called justice, while a homicidal maniac was delivered unto the people with great affection.

There is simply something attractive about a violent maniac to the mobs of men, and like those before us we chant, "Barabbas!", and "Let him be crucified!" whenever we are threatened by those that preach the golden rule in the face of the rule of gold.

Since it is Sunday, let me include these words from the 1st letter of John...

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

Let me also include, for comparison's sake, these words from our recent "moral victor":

"I'm a war President. I make decisions here in the Oval Office with war on my mind."
- George W. Bush -

So, my liberal friends, when people are asked to choose between a man that preaches cooperation and alms for the poor and a man of violence, do not be surprised when the people choose the latter, since that has been the way of man for thousands of years.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The death of a hero

There can be no responsibility more frightening than keeping men safe in warfare.
Sometimes doing so requires great sacrifice.
Sometimes there are those willing and able to respond.

1st Lt Dan T Malcolm Jr, 25, of Brinson, Ga, of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment was one such man.

Here is the story of his bravery and death:

Extraordinary valour

I have been told that the biggest fear in war is not dying, but that the biggest fear is panicking and letting your buddies down when they need you. Well, Leuitenant Dan overcame this fear and sacrificed his life to protect his men. On his last day Dan's men saw leadership, courage, and love.

May they remember the love most of all and may Dan rest in peace.

Friday, November 26, 2004


Most days you'll not see 1232 on the front pages of your newspapers.

TV anchors will tell you all about the latest celebrity mishap, but won't say 1232 aloud.

On the radio various wind-bags will debate moral superiority and the wisdom of a final solution, but 1232 won't cross their lips.

What is 1232?


Everybody should know how many soldiers we've lost to death or injury, yet who talks about it? Who mentions it when two more marines are killed in Falluja (yesterday) or that scores more were wounded by a roadside bomb?

I understand why the President and Donald Rumsfeld want to hide these figures from you:

Our wounded totals

but what excuse do you have for hiding it from yourself and each other? What excuse do our moral leaders have to hide the currency of warfare from us?

What are we gaining with all of this sacrifice and killing?

What are the Iraqis gaining?

Fallujah's fallen

Where will it end?

We must ask these questions, you know, or it won't.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

November 25th

This will be another holiday of separation for troops and their families and I would like to wish a safe return and happy reunion on all our soldiers.

If you have a neighbor with children in Iraq, be sure and share a kind word with them. This cannot be an easy time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Conservative Republican group urges UN's expulsion from US

Move America Forward, a Republican group, wants the UN's New York headquareters shut down and its' officials expelled from the country because it failed to support the war on Iraq.

It is pretty clear to me that modern Republicans wish to undo that which was done by Roosevelt, namely saving America's economy, defeating fascism, and building up the UN. I guess they liked America better when robber barons ran roughshod over the uneducated, unemployed, rabble, and the rule of the jungle trumped the rule of law in international affairs.

Poor old Roosevelt

I hope they all get lumps of coal in their stockings.

Republican skull-duggery

Suppose you were a Congressman that voted on a bill. Then suppose the bill went to a committee whose job was to work out the differences between House and Senate versions. Suppose that committee actually inserted pork-barrell projects onto the bill, in your name.

Sound disreputable?

It is, and it is happening more than ever with Republicans steering the ship. The Boston Globe has written all about this practice in an article called, "Back-room dealing a Capitol trend".

Naughty Pachiderms

You judge a man's morality by the rules he applies to himself. Right?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

So says Scott Ritter

Scott Ritter was right about WMDs and nobody wanted to hear it.

Is he now right about our occupation of Iraq?

Time will tell

At least 800 Civilians Feared Dead in Fallujah

A Red Cross official estimates that at least 800 civilians have been killed in Fallujah.

Perhaps some day American children will sing:

10 little
9 little
8 little Iraqis
7 little
6 little
5 little Iraqis
4 little
3 little
2 little Iraqis
1 little Iraqi boy

800+ Civilians feared dead

Should a Red Cross official have to speak on condition of anonymity (for fear of reprisal) about a US-led effort?

Are these, do you suppose, Republican moral values on display?

Monday, November 22, 2004

George Lakoff

I think that if the Democrats could use the wisdom of George Lakoff, in conjunction with working class policies, that they'd win back a lot of voters. George knows how to frame a progressive agenda in clear, compelling language.

I think that if John Kerry had been able to convey this message, he would have won:

"We came together because of our moral values: care and responsibility, fairness and equality, freedom and courage, fulfillment in life, opportunity and community, cooperation and trust, honesty and openness. We united behind political principles: equality, equity (if you work for a living, you should earn a living) and government for the people--all the people."

Read more here

George has what Democrats need and tonight I'll pray that more Democratic politicians sleep with his books under their pillows.

ICRC Slams 'Utter Contempt' for Humanity Amid Fierce Fighting in Iraq

I find myself wondering what Bob and Elizabeth Dole think about the Red Cross slamming the US government for their behavior in Fallujah (along with the resistance, to their credit). Elizabeth spent many years working in that organization and chaired it at one point. I'd be curious to know, therefore, how she views George Bush's handling of the war when it involves being rebuked by the ICRC.

Absolute prohibition

Aren't you curious?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Ape-man ancestor

Scientists have discovered a fossil in North East Spain that could be the missing link, that is, an Ape-man ancestor. Paleontologists have used sophisticated modeling techniques to reconstruct this ancestor and have produced a gallery of remarkable photographs.

Ape-man ancestor?

Protect Every Child

If you are angry enough about health care to want to go to your window, open it up, and shout "I'm not gonna take it anymore!", then you feel about the same way I do. The richest country in the world has to use a Canadian black-market to provide affordable drugs to it's seniors. The richest country in the world has 8 million children without any health care coverage at all. 8 million!

John Kerry wants to do something about this national disgrace and he'd like your help. So, after you are done shouting out your window, go to this site and co-sponser legislation that will:

Protect Every Child

You want family values? You have to value families.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Too late

Alan Greenspan, when President Bush was promoting his budget-busting tax-cuts, hawked them like a salesman. Now, after howls from Democrats that they would baloon the defecit, Alan Greenspan comes out with his hat in his hand and says that the US must reduce its budget defecit to prevent "major economic damage".

If he wanted to impress me he would have used an ounce of prevention back when it mattered, since the cure is going to pound the working-class once again.

Strong, scary words from Greenspan

Along with Alan Greenspan's worrisome words comes news that we have just added 800 billion dollars to our debt ceiling. Americans should view this as cradle robbery, or a baby tax:

Got debt?

Wall Street was shocked by Alan's language and stocks fell. I guess it is ok to tell the truth now that the election is over?

Stocks sink

Why did people reject the politics of peace and prosperity? Why?

Broken back?

Does this sound like an insurgency with a broken back to you?

Beheadings, Bombings, and Baghdad

Friday, November 19, 2004

Democracy trashed?

Democracy is not in the casting of votes, but in their counting.

Unfortunately, in Florida, the counting looks incredibly dodgy. Take a look.

Possible Election Fraud Found in Florida

Can democracy survive abuses of public trust like this?

I wonder.

Transcript: President Clinton Speaks at Library Dedication

I miss my water, now that it's gone. Here is former President Bill Clinton speaking at his library dedication. So articulate! So human!

Bravo Bill

Liberals are religious, Conservatives are smart

Here is an interesting article that tries to explain liberals to conservatives, and conservatives to liberals.

Breaking stereotypes

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The dollar continues to fall

The dollar is continuing its slide against the Euro, undeterred by President Bush's commitment to a strong dollar.

With the dollar falling, interest rates rising, the national debt growing, and the trade defecit expanding the US economy is growing less attractive to dollar buyers.

Markets Push Dollar to New Low Against Euro

Some people think that a weaker dollar will help US exports and decrease the trade defecit. A good retort is found in this sentence from the above article, "Nobody has ever devalued their way to prosperity".

Collapse of 60 Charter Schools Leaves Californians Scrambling

Here is a cautionary tale of ownership society:

60 Charter Schools collapse

I suppose the kids like it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

DeLay above the law

The party of "accountability" and "law and order" just changed their party rules to allow Tom DeLay to serve as Majority leader if he is indicted by a Texas grand jury on corruption charges.

Hypocritical Elephants

This is corruption run amok and makes a mockery of Republican moral posturing. This is the goose escaping the ganders fate, the pot calling the kettle black, and the opposite of accountability in Washington.

The way forward

James Carville likes to say that progressives should never just oppose, they should always propose. I propose that the Democrats at the DNC listen to a story about a man named Schweitzer, who won the Governor's office of Montana as a Democrat.

It is a remarkable story for many reasons, not the least of which is because it is written by David Sirota. I feel this candidacy represents the way forward for Democrats, and might even point to a future President.

Montana Mainstream

I have long felt that Democrats have failed to cash in their conservation capital with Republican hunters and fishermen. Newly minted Governor Schweitzer found a way to do that making him hero for a day in my eyes. Hunters and fishermen want things to hunt and fish and use public lands for that purpose. Schweitzer stood up for those voters and secured public lands along with hunting and fishing access rights to private lands as well. He didn't run from his strengths, he leveraged them!

congratulations Mr. Schweitzer!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

R.I.P. Margaret

War is always it's own strongest counter-argument.

One of the saddest, most personally disturbing horrors of the Iraq war, has come to a grave conclusion. Margaret Hassan, who lived in Iraq for 30 years, was married to an Iraqi, and was by all accounts a humanitarian at heart, has been executed.

Incidents like these make me despise the promoters of war, and those people that wave the flag like a pom-pom and cheerlead the suffering of others. War is a daily horror show for people like Margaret, just as it is for the ordinary Iraqis vying for survival in places like Fallujah and Mosul.

Margaret is dead today because we decided to invade Iraq under false pretenses. We have made a fools trade, if you ask me, losing a life like Margaret's in exchange for a thing like war.

Tears for Margaret

I want the anti-war movement back.

US Marine kills injured prisoner in Iraqi mosque

I don't know about you, but I am not proud that Abu Gharaib happened under US command.

I am also not proud that a marine shot an unarmed Iraqi in a Mosque, which was caught on camera by Kevin Sites of NBC.

Marine kills injured prisoner in Iraqi mosque

These are the things that will sear themselves into the hearts and minds of Muslim men and women across the globe.

How do we make this stop?

Hackworth on what now

David Hackworth's latest column is a call for President Bush to take off his politician's hat and don his Commander in Chief hat and to purge the military brass responsible for the mistakes in Iraq:

Hack says sack

Since Mr. Hackworth has fought in the trenches he is immune to charges of failing to supoprt our troops and can therefore speak plainly. I do not have that military capital to spend, but I can appreciate what he says and can help amplify his message.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Powell resigns

Goodbye Colin Powell.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out

The enemy is us

Click picture for details...Posted by Hello

Phantom Fury

I don't know who names our military operations, or even why they have names, but Phantom Fury gets first place so far.

First of all it conjures up visions of Star Wars - Phantom Menace.

Second of all if you mix up the letters you can spell "Path of my urn."

Thirdly it has a pleasant tone that McDonalds can use to make a happy meal with.

So, our operation names seem cooky to me, but in the end what will be remembered is the way we conduct ourselves in Fallujah. Some Iraqis say they will never forget that.

Fallujah fury

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Biography of a jihadis

It is always wise to know your enemy. Whether you wish to kill, capture, or make peace with your enemy it helps to understand their motivation, their fears, their hopes.

Here is an article which appeared in the Washington Post and tells the story of Abu Thar, why he fights, and what he believes in.

Their story

Abu reminds me a lot of US Christian fundamentalists, who are also willing to perpetuate violence in order to maintain their purity.

Jimmy on Yasir

Here is what Jimmy Carter has to say about Yasir Arafat's passing. I respect his opinion, since he worked very hard to establish a peace treaty on Israel's behalf which still stands.

Yasir sleeps tonight

Now we'll see if Sharon is a peace-maker whose hands were tied by Arafat.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Gee, what a surprise

Mosul, as expected, erupted in violence and the US forces, as expected, took the bait.

The Iraqis, I expect, yelled Ole.

Mosul a red flag

When the smoke clears in Mosul I expect the matador will be waving a red cape from a distance and George Bush will be pawing at the ground. I think the cape will be labeled Samarra.

I can't believe Americans re-elected these idiots.

From the desk of the DNC

Here is a message I'd like to see the DNC issue next:

We lost.

Three times.

In 2000, in 2002, and most bitterly in 2004.

We lost each time with the same message, the same aloof types of candidates, and the same strategy. When we should have strengthened our base, which is what our opponents have done successfully, we reached out to the largely tone-deaf middle.

We had an opponent whose approval rating never got above 50% in the last six months of the race, and such an incumbent has never won except on our watch. That is why, after not much deliberation, we collectively tender our resignations.

Our polling told us that a youth turnout could win this election, yet when they made their choice clear, Howard Dean, we did everything in our power to destroy his candidacy. We did this because we were more concerned about what Karl Rove wanted the Democratic party to look like than what our supporters wanted it to look like.

To black Americans we can only say thank you. Thank you for once again turning out in large numbers, and even though your polling places wouldn't accomodate you again (just as you had warned us), you stood and you waited in those 11 hour lines. Perhaps this is because your parents taught you that a struggle doesn't end on the first step. It is our sincere hope that the thousands of you that stood together in those lines in Philadelphia, those ridiculous snaking unending lines, those lines which brought so much hope to your fellow Democrats, will bring that same spirit to bear on the 2006 elections.

The truth is that most American's want to be paid a living wage for their work, want their children to go to safe schools, want clear water to drink, and clean air to breathe. Most Americans want the freedom to practice their own religion, and want a social safety-net which offers hope to the hard-up, and do not want the government in their bedrooms or churches. We at the DNC believe that we offer the brighter future for Americans, yet 3 times in a row we have failed to offer dissatisfied voters a clear vision of what we stand for.

We take a modicum of comfort knowing that we didn't lose this election for lack of effort, but our defeat has been very humbling and we offer no excuses. Please forgive us and know that we did our best. We believed in our strategy and worked very very hard to win this election. In the interests of our common interests we, the undersigned, offer our resignations.

Insert DNC leadership signatures here

My note to the DNC:

President Clinton and Barak Obama aren't just great salesmen, but men that embody the American dream by virtue of having lived it. Democrats would be well served having someone like Bill Clinton in charge of the DNC if he would take the job.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Sometimes it is good to read international press reporting, especially when we live in a time when the American press in general is blatantly pandering to power.

Here is reporting from Asia Times about our Fallujah fighting. They don't paint the same candies and flowers portrait as our fawning press.

Cluster bombs in Fallujah

Hospitals attacked

I have a feeling the Iraqi fighters are playing matador to our armies bull. Most bulls are prey for the matador, who uses their predictable behavior and aggression against them. The Iraqis, in this scenario, yell Ole after each charge.

When the smoke clears in Fallujah I expect the matador will be waving a red cape from a distance and George Bush will be pawing at the ground. I think the cape will be labeled Mosul.

ADDENDUM: The latest news from Mosul indeed looks like a red flag:

Shall we charge?

Former Chief of CIA's Bin Laden Unit Leaves

The "anonymous" author of the book "Imperial Hubris" was a man named Michael Scheuer, which is something that attentive Moe's Musings readers already knew.

Well, Michael has now resigned from the CIA so that he can speak about our government's failure to understand the threat from al Qaeda.

Story here

Michael was chief of the CIA's Bin Laden unit and this seems to be another Richard Clarke scenario. I wonder what juicy story this way comes.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Fallujah's fallen

It appears they are receiving wounded by the planeload in Germany now:

Our sacrifice

The Associated Press reports that 18 US soldiers have died and 178 were wounded in Fallujah.

Heavy price

I am reminded of those purple-heart band-aids that Republicans got such a kick out of at the Republican National Convention. Why don't you wear them now?

Arafat dies

Yasser Arafat has been keeping everyone guessing as to his moment of expiration, but apparently the time has come to end the suspense:

Bonsoir Monsieur Arafat

Politicians have been blaming a lack of peace in the Middle East on Yasser Arafat, while I have been blaming Yasser Arafat on a lack of peace.

Now comes the moment of truth.

The elephant in the room

If I were to announce that an elephant were in the room with me most casual observers would look, see that there was no elephant, and then disagree.

If I were to announce that God is in the room with me most (I'm guessing about 70%) observers would look, see that I was alone, and then agree with me.

This visualization shows why religious people have nothing to fear from science. Science is, at heart, an attempt to explain the physical world, while religion is faith in a higher power.

Just because science and religion approach the world differently shouldn't mean they are mortal enemies. For instance, I have often wondered why people in Kansas don't want evolution taught to their children. Are those people convinced that God isn't smart enough to use evolution to carry out his will?

And, why did religious people insist the world was flat even as ships disappeared over the horizon and the shadow of the earth upon the moon was round? Why can't they simply accept that science, in it's effort to understand the physical world, will surely and inevitably lead to an appreciation of God's handiwork?

I was raised Catholic and am a computer programmer and I feel like I have a foot in both camps. My belief in computers does not shake my belief in God and my belief in evolution doesn't either. Likewise I can believe that we are called to a higher purpose than flying to Disneyland and gambling at the local Casino without the need to have the earth be flat or the promise of stem cell research excommunicated from society.

My guess is that the planet will need both good morals and sound science to combat global warming. One without the other will surely be a failure. Morality will lead the human race to realize we have only one planet, while science will give us the tools to save it.

In other words, I believe that either we will stupidly create an apocalypse or the meek will inherit the earth. I also believe that this is natural selection at work.

You see how harmonious religion and science can be?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Iran or America?

Did I wake up in Iran this morning?

I don't know about you, but the last thing I want from a pharmacist is a moral opinion. At CVS stores across the country, though, that is exactly what many customers are in for.

It seems that a pharmacist, if he has a moral objection to your prescription, can refuse to fill your prescription. So, presumably, you now need to know the religious background of your pharmacist in order to get your fertility drugs or promiscuity drugs or birth control.

If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite Irate

I wonder if this means I could refuse to dispense life-saving drugs to Republicans if God whispered in my ear not to?

It seems to me that nobody forces a person to be a pharmacist and that choosing to be one means you ought to fulfill the duty expected of you. I wonder who these people are that feel such a burning desire to tell me how to live my life? Why don't they go live in Iran where every facet of their daily life can be controlled by religion?

Lord Almighty I am tired of soap-box preachers.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Beware the false prophets!

Here is a hot, hot, hot, story which is developing and involves Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff, and Tom DeLay.

It seems that Abramoff and Scanlon (DeLay's former spokesman) channeled money to Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist via Indian Gambling Casinos.

Christians, of course, frown on gambling and might not like their leaders taking payments in exchange for legislation which promotes this vice, this sin, this untoward and degenerate behavior.

Tisk, Tisk, Tisk

This might be a good time to remind Christians that Massachusettes has the lowest divorce rate in the country, and that abortion rates dropped significanly under President Bill Clinton.

A question

Does it bother anyone else that Osama is regarded as a monster for killing 3,000 innocent Americans, yet we've killed up to 100,000 Iraqi civilians since the Iraq war began:

Without just cause

What gives us the moral authority to kill Iraqis in these numbers?

Why are the moral leaders so silent?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Fascinating article

Here is a fascinating article written by Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly. He analyzed a lot of exit poll data and his findings surprised me. They might surprise the pundits, too, if they bother to examine reality.

How Bush won

I think the most interesting line is this one,

Compared to 2000, fewer people personally think they're doing better but more people believe the economy is in good shape anyway. And Bush was overwhelmingly successful in convincing those people that his policies deserved the credit.

If that's true, all I can say is, "Good news your chocolate rations are going up".

Big dog on Bush

Love him or hate him you have to agree that former President Bill Clinton is one of the savviest politicians in US history. He analyzed the Bush win and here is a synopsis of his thoughts:

WJC on GWB and JFK

If I can find the full address, or if anyone out there does and sends it to me, then I'll post a link to that.

When I think about the failure of Democrats I think about my father. My father is an honest, hard-working, and caring father. My father is also a union man, because he knows that a union job pays more than a non-union job, and that there is strength in numbers. My father didn't make a lot of money, but he made enough to send me to a state university. Using the Pell grant system, and working my way through college, and acquiring low-interest loans I was able to improve my education and rise into the ranks of the middle class. So, my dad worked hard and lived decent and was able to provide a better life for his children than he, himself, enjoyed. That's the democrat's version of the American dream and that wasn't on the ballot in 2000, 2002, nor 2004.

If I had no health care, a dead-end low-wage job, a poor education, and was deeply in debt I'd be living the Republican version of the American dream. They don't say this outright, but everything they do is geared towards driving down wages and part of that is stifling opportunity.

I think Democrats need to articulate that "Low-wage conservatives hate men like my father, and they hate the opportunity I've had". I think they also need to articulate that society is better off when the least among us can eat and be sheltered with work, and that they can rise with ambition.

Bill Clinton knows how to phrase what I have described and that is the secret to his success. I think it is also the secret to Barak Obama's rise. Pay attention to this the next time you hear them speak and I think you'll agree.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The prescription

When the Labour party of Britain pulled itself out of an 18 year drought it did so behind a man named Peter Mandelson.

Here is a bit about him:

Peter Mandelson

The Democrats need a man like him to run the DNC. They have lost two elections in a row with the same strategy, namely anemic messages targeted at the middle, which neither excited the base nor attracted the middle.

Change for changes sake is not productive, but do the Democrats have a Mandelson in their house?

I hope so, otherwise I know what to expect in 2008.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The dollar responds to hollow rhetoric

Bush might be able to fool most of the people most of the time when he says he'll pay that deficit down by half by 2009, but he doesn't appear able to fool currency traders:

Dollar Falls On Fears of U.S. Deficits

He also doesn't appear able to convince the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that his plan will work.

Not gonna work

And finally, you could say that I remain unimpressed with this President's economic talents.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Election update

Early reports placed absentee ballots at 250,000 or more, but in the end the official tally of provisional ballots in Ohio was 135,000.

This explains why Kerry conceded defeat. There is no way to squeeze 136,000 votes out of 135,000 votes cast.

Ohio Math

This means Kerry fought to the end and didn't stop until he knew it was impossible to win.

I play hockey and know that you can sometimes take more pride in a loss than a win if it was hard-fought. When you are expected to lose and you make it a game, when you battle injuries or kill off penalties, when you refuse to quit and just miss that is not a time to hang your head. No doubt it's bitter, but you put people on notice for next time, and I enjoy that feeling too.

How did Teddy Roosevelt put it? It is better to fail while daring greatly, than to be among the timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Remember, if you feel isolated, that 55.4 million Americans voted with you. Kerry dared greatly and lost, but he'll get back up and the Democrats aren't done. I enjoy this feeling too, although no doubt it is bitter.

Joy is on the ice between the boards. Keep skating.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Allow me to say it

May God bless and keep Bill Clinton and may he please lay off the pizza and hard living until at least 2008.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Suck it up

Joshua Micah Marshall has one of my favorite blogs. Today he has words to live by if you are a Democrat.

Stick together

If you need something to smile about consider that Texas was hit with a foot of snow in places.

Snow down low

Kerry Concedes Defeat

The fat lady, it seems, is singing.

Four more years

With 60% of Americans turning out and nary a Nader voter America has spoken. Divisive times lie ahead, since this President will no more try to unite us than he would stop to spit in my face if I were dying of thirst.


A sobering look at the numbers

Here is a link to CNN's vote tallies for Ohio: Election 2004

As it stands, with 100% of the precincts reporting, President Bush has 2,794,346 votes
John Kerry has 2,658,125 votes. That gives President Bush a lead of 136,221 votes.

The votes that are yet to be counted in Ohio are the provisional ballots, which are hard to get an exact number on but seems to be at least 250,000 ballots.

Let's assume these ballots are all counted and that they are all counted fairly (perhaps a naive assumption with a small army of lawyers on both sides). However, I am going to consider what I can predict.

With 250,000 ballots in play and a Bush lead of 136,221 votes it is clear the provisional ballots need to break resoundingly for Kerry. Traditionally new voters break 2:1 for the incumbent, which would produce these results:

Bush: 2,877,679
Kerry: 2,824,791

That means Kerry would need to do better than that to win. In fact he would need to grab about 194,000 (77%) of the 250,000 provisional ballots to defeat the President at this point.

This would produce these numbers:

Bush: 2,850,346
Kerry: 2,852,125

I, therefore, propose this to President Bush. Let them count the ballots without fight and ask Kerry to do the same for the good of the country. If Kerry refuses he looks bad, and if he accepts your victory parade seems all the more imminent.

Otherwise, it will come to light that Ohioans have been getting phone calls for people that don't live in their homes. Someone calls, for instance, and asks for Joe Smith where only Jack and Jill Smith reside. Apparently Jack is on the voting lists and the callers want to offer them rides to the polls. I have confirmed this with people I trust in Ohio.

In other words, it could be deja vu all over again.

Second verse, same as the first

America will have to wait until Ohio counts 250,000 provisional ballots to know who won the Presidential election. The Bush Whitehouse is declaring victory, proving once again how little regard they have for facts and the opinions of voters.

I had hoped that Americans would soundly reject:

Incompetent prosecution of a war (see al QaQaa).
Incompetent administration of the budget (see deficit).
An international soiling of America's name (travel abroad).
The intermingling of religion and politics.
Outing of CIA agents (see Valerie Plame)
Lying to Congress (i.e. "We know where the WMDs are")
Lying to the American people (i.e. "Mission Accomplished")
A record of failure at creating jobs (1.6 million lost).
Abu Gharaib abuses.
Laughable debate performances.
and so on...

I view President Bush as a mixture of Harding and Nixon, but someone a lot more dumb than Nixon and more incompetent than Harding. I am, therefore, at a loss to explain a close race. Now, I have been raised to trust the instinct of the American people, but in this case I feel I am missing the point. Where's the man's up-side?

Ohio has until November 15th to count the ballots and you can be sure of two things:

1. Lawyers for Kerry will be pressing to have those votes counted.
2. Lawyers for Bush will be pressing to disenfranchise those voters.

In America we should always count the votes, for it is not in the voting but in the counting that Democracy lives.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Should he stay or should he go?

You must choose your man today, Kerry or Bush, and I wish you luck. Hopefully you have found relevant information for your search on this site. In a last-ditch effort to persuade you to vote for Kerry I offer you two traditionally conservative endorsements of John Kerry.

The Economist gives grudging support to John Kerry, but support nonetheless. Here is a sample from the article "The incompetent or the incoherent" published in the October 30th - November 5th edition:

"Mr Bush's credibility has been considerably undermined not just by Guantanamo, but also by two big things: by the sheer incompetence and hubristic thinking evident in the way in which his team set about the rebuilding of Iraq, once Saddam Hussein's regime had been toppled; and by the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which strengthened the suspicion that the mistreatment or even torture of prisoners was being condoned."


"But changing the regime so incompetently was a huge mistake. By having far too few soldiers to provide security and by failing to pay Saddam's remnant army, a task that was always going to be long and hard has been made much, much harder. Such incompetence is no mere detail: thousands of Iraqis have died as a result and hundreds of American soldiers. The eventual success of the mission, while still possible, has been put in unnecessary jeopardy."

As if that isn't surprising enough, Scott McConnell of the American Conservative has endorsed Kerry.

Here is a link to that article, lest you fail to believe me:


The most persuasive case against President Bush is made by traditional conservatives, I think, which is why I like to publish their detractions. When I make many of the same claims I am dismissed as "partisan", but when Scott McConnell makes them that is hardly applicable.

This is a crucial election that will shape America at home and abroad for years to come. Here's hoping the best man wins.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Helen on George

Helen Thomas is the dean of the press and she has seen a lot of politicians in her lifetime. Her latest article called "Bush Win Would Mean Dark Times" is a firm denunciation of the Bush presidency.

Validating preemptive war

Fight for your right to partake

Tomorrow is election day and here are some handy resources to help make your experience as smooth as possible.

Find your polling place

Your polling place

Election protection

If you show up at your polling place and someone tries to keep you from voting, then you ought to whip out your election protection card and take action. Print this out, share it with friends, and take it with you when you vote.

Election Protection

Know your rights

If your name is not on the official voter list but you believe you are eligible to vote in that precinct, even if an election official challenges your vote, you have the right to cast a "provisional ballot."

If you're in line when the polls close, you should stay in line because you're entitled to vote.

In many states, your employer must allow you time to vote at some point during the day. You can't be fired for being late due to long polling lines.

You have the right to vote without being intimidated by anyone.

For your rights in your own state, check out this website: State-specific rights

Take this with you

You need to establish two things in order to vote and those are proof of identity and proof of residency. In the event of a problem the person armed with this paperwork would be boyscout-ready to handle it.

Proof of identity:

1. A valid driver's license.
2. Valid state ID (picture) card.
3. Valid passport.
4. Military ID.
5. Valid college ID (picture) card.

Proof of residency:

1. A valid driver's license with current address.
2. Valid vehicle registration with current address.
3. Currently dated rent receipt, lease agreement, or resident tax bill showing valid residential street address.
4. Checking account with voter name and current address.
5. Current utility bill with current residential address.
6. Current payroll check with voter name and current residential address.

NOTE: Proof of residency can not include mail addressed to "Resident" or "Occupant".


Without proof of residency you may often swear a voter registration oath. You should keep in mind that lying under oath is a felony and therefore you should be accurate about the information you provide.

Without proof of identity you may still vote, however your vote will be automatically challenged and scrutinized in a recount.


I hope there is a large turnout so that no matter who wins the American people will have spoken. I think this election is too important to be decided by apathy.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Halloween fright

When crowds of brown-shirts swore loyalty pledges to Hitler, here is what they said:

"I swear to devote all my energies, all my strength, to the savior of our country, Adolf Hitler. I am willing and ready to give up my life, so help me God. One People, One nation, One Fuhrer."

When crowds of Republicans swear loyalty pledges to President Bush, here is what they say:

One Nation Under Bush

The pledges are different in construct, but I think loyalty pledges are a toe in un-American waters. When there is talk of blood intermixed with God in the loyalty pledges don your life preserver.

Question Time in Florida

The BBC has a program called "Question Time", which a friend bills as "Democracy in action." The program was down in Florida recently taking questions from the audience and you can watch it here:

Question Authority

The panelists were:

Michael Moore, filmmaker
David Frum, President Bush's former speech-writer
Sydney Blumenthal, President Clinton advisor
Richard Littlejohn, British journalist
Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, Civil liberties Attorney

There are a bit of theatrics involved but the program is worth watching.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

One quarter of working Americans live in poverty: study

Roosevelt thought is was abnormal for a man to work and be poor (see The Farmer and the Businessman, or Social and Industrial Justice by FDR). That scenario is becoming normal under Bush as more than a quarter of WORKING Americans live in poverty.

Hi ho! Hi ho! It's off to debt we go!

President Bush's policies aren't lifting all boats. In fact, many have been kicked out of their boats and are treading water. The yachts, though, are doing well.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Al what?

Paul Krugman's articles have become more acidic as the election approaches. His latest is down-right caustic:

It's Not Just Al Qaqaa

Karl Rove must be glad that Paul Krugman isn't a NASCAR announcer.

Kerry's chances

I have asked Roger to blog about the odds of a Kerry Presidency and he has graciously submitted the following post. If you reside in one of the states he identifies as crucial maybe you ought to volunteer your services with one of these organizations:

Move On

America Coming Together (ACT)

If you ain't got the time, then I'm sure your financial contributions would be appreciated here:

Contribute to Democrats

And now, on to Roger's analysis:


There have been significant changes in the battlefield states in the past month. Two states, Iowa and New Mexico, have gradually changed their color from blue to red. The change seems to be statistically significant, beyond the margin of error. Wisconsin, which was never a "strong Kerry" state has become a see-saw between Bush and Kerry. The good news is small news: New Hampshire and Maine seem to be safely in the Kerry block.

A month ago there were many plausible combinations of states that would have led to a Kerry victory. That number now seems reduced only to a few. In fact there are only three states that are variables in the Kerry election calculus. These are Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin.

If Kerry wins the Gore states, excluding Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico, and if he wins New Hampshire, then he will have 242 electoral votes. He needs another 28 votes to win the election. By itself, Florida (27 electoral votes) will not win the election since that would give him 269, putting him at the mercy of a Republican congress. So he must win Florida and some other state. If he wins Ohio (20 electoral votes) then he needs to win an additional state with at least 8 electoral votes.

A composite of recent polls gives Bush a 1% lead in Florida. Statistically, due to the large number of polls, this lead is significant and is beyond the margin of error. Based on this composite we would expect Bush to carry Florida by at least 50,000 votes. But the situation in Florida is volatile and frenzied. There is speculation that the turnout may reach 75%. Such a large turnout makes polling difficult. Pollsters use historical voting patterns as a template for their current polls. Their results can be skewed if their template does not fit the profile of the current voting population. With the infusion of many new voters and with the likelihood that many 2000 non-voters may become 2004 voters, I think there is an element of uncertainty with all Florida polls. For this reason I feel that Kerry has a reasonable chance in Florida, at least 1/3.

Ohio is a state that has good reasons to vote for Kerry. Cleveland has recently replaced Detroit as the poorest city in America. Over the past month there has been a gradual shift to Kerry. Most polling groups now expect Kerry to carry Ohio. I give him 3/4.

Wisconsin seemed safe for Kerry in early September. Since then there have been a number of polls that have shown Bush to be leading. Strategic Vision, a Republican outfit, has consistently shown Bush to be ahead. Zogby, except for one poll, has Kerry in the lead. Zogby probably has it right. I give Kerry a 2/3 chance of carrying Wisconsin.

There is a set of small Bush-leaning states that come into play if Kerry wins in Florida. The list includes Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Arkansas, and West Virginia. Colorado and Missouri might also be included. It is likely that Bush will win all of these states. I give Kerry a 1/5 chance of winning at least one of these states. The likelihood that Kerry will win two or more is virtually zero.

The probability that Kerry wins the election comes in two pieces. [1.] Florida and an additional state. This additional state could be Ohio, Wisconsin, or a state in the list of small red states. This has the probability of 0.31. [2.] Ohio and Wisconsin, or, Ohio and two of the small red states. This has the probability 0.50. Since these two pieces are mutually exclusive, we can add the probabilities. The likelihood of Kerry winning the election is 0.81.

This is a remarkable result. I am honestly quite surprised since I expected Bush to be the probable winner. This result is even more remarkable when one considers that Bush has a 1.5-2.0 point lead in the national polls.

A few last words. This calculation is optimistic since I have not considered the probability that a state that is predicted to vote for Kerry might vote for Bush. This might occur in Minnesota, Michigan, or New Hampshire. This calculation is pessimistic if the undecided voters break 2-1 toward Kerry. Many pollsters, including Zogby, have predicted this. Should the undecided voters break toward Kerry, Bush would have to take a deep breath and start looking for new job.


I would like to add that since the Red Sox have won the World Series hope no longer seems like a sucker punch.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Why Bush must go

Click photo to see why Posted by Hello

The eyes have it

KSTP-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul has video footage of the Al Qaqaa explosives taken after the Iraq war started. Karl Rove will have to come up with a lot of BS to cover the ol' Presidential posterior on this one!

Disputed Iraq Explosives in Place After Invasion

I'm guessing that your average Joe knows this is gross incompetence which directly endangers the lives of American GIs. The question now is whether or not your average Joe will hold the President responsible.

Your average Moe does.

I'm stunned

The Boston Red Sox have won the World Series and I am stunned. The curse has been lifted and the desire of a lifetime has been fulfilled.

Here is my favorite joke about the Red Sox:

A man winds up in hell and the devil places him in a chamber of eternal torment. To make the newcomer uncomfortable the devil turns up the heat to 98 degrees and leaves. When he returns in a while to check on him the "guest" has a gigantic smile on his face. When pressed by the devil he says that he lived his life in New England and it felt terrific to be in nice warm weather. Undeterred, the devil turned the heat up to 120 degrees and left the "guest" alone for a few more days. Upon his return he was shocked to see his charge smiling a gigantic smile. It turned out the prisoner had met is wife in the Carribean and the sweltering temperatures brought back his fondest memories.

The devil was somewhat irate, but he had a new plan. He turned the heat down far below zero degrees and left for a few days. This time, when he returned his charge was celebrating wildly and shouting at the top of his lungs, "The Red Sox must have won the World Series! The Red Sox must have won the World Series!"

I always figured that if the Red Sox won the World Series it would go to overtime in the seventh game and the other team would commit a series of errors so egregious that even the Red Sox could capitalize. I was unprepared for the Red Sox to sweep their opponent in 4 games, while shutting them out in the deciding game. I was unprepared for the Red Sox starters in games 2, 3, and 4 to allow exactly zero earned runs.

This could be Boston's year. The Red Sox won the World Series, the Patriots broke the NFL's consecutive win record, and John Kerry is poised to lift the Bush curse from the nation.

It feels good just to be alive.

The Red Sox have won the World Series.
The Red Sox have won the World Series.
The Red Sox have won the World Series.
The Red Sox have won the World Series.
The Red Sox have won the World Series.

Anything is possible now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Q: What is Karl Rove's worst nightmare?

Eminem depicts it in this video (which by the way contains adult language).

Real player version

Windows Media Player version

For the fence sitters

Undecided voters, I think, are people that want empiracal data and have a hard time finding it. So, this post is all about data.

Under George W. Bush:

Health care costs are up 64 percent

College tuition is up 35 percent

Gas prices are up 30 percent

Medicare premiums are up 17 percent

Prescription drugs are up 12 percent

Family income is down $1500

1.6 million private sector jobs have been lost

Five million more Americans lost their health insurance.

Four milllion people moved from the middle class to poverty

Half a million children lost after-school programs

The American debt ceiling has risen drastically (Rising debt

The take-home pay of the average American family, as a share of national income, is the lowest it has been since 1929.

American forces in Iraq are now attcked an average of 87 times a day, up 100% since spring.

Many in the press seem to think facts are "boring". I think they have the capacity to change the course of history.

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin