Saturday, December 06, 2003

From TTLB...
I just stumbled upon the up-and-coming Liberal Coalition. I'll link them once I get to editing the template. But they already get much more traffic than I do, so I doubt they care.

Playing with the big kids
World Net Daily is all over Kerry for using a bad word:

"Democrat presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry launches an X-rated attack on President Bush over Iraq and uses the F-word in a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

Kerry uses the expletive to describe his frustration over how voting for the war resolution has hurt his candidacy while Democrat front-runner Hower Dean is breaking ahead of the pack due in part to his opposition to the war, reports the New York Post.

''I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, 'I'm against everything'? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to f - - - it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did,'' Kerry told the magazine.

Stephen Hess, a Brookings Institution presidential scholar, says he can't recall another candidate attacking a president by using foul language in a public interview, according to the paper."

What is this, second grade? Suck it up, gentlemen, it's a word. Note how Hess has to use "public interview" because Bush was caught calling Adam Clymer an asshole in the 2000 campaign as a side comment to Cheney.

Some bad military news
In the event of a major conflict outside of Iraq it appears the U.S. may be ill-prepared - 40% of the Army won't be entirely ready for combat.

Liberal bias? Perhaps....
CalPundit points out that the LA Times makes no mention of why Arnold's budget was shot down.

Sparing a dime
The latest CNN poll poses the question of who should be on the dime. The response? 75% for FDR, 25% for Reagan.

When it comes to the general public, it's clear that FDR will come out on top. First, memories of Reagan's faults are still vivid (I'm not going to say Iran-Contra, I'm just going to think it). As time passes the public tends to gloss over a president's smaller failures and bad policy (think Japanese internment camps). FDR's policies have made a huge impact on our society - Social Security, welfare...dozens of popular liberal and moderate ideas stem from the New Deal and his other policies. The only thing Reagan did was shift the tax burden from the rich to the poor (which I have to admit wasn't the worst idea when it came to overall economic growth - the burden on the rich at the time was a little extreme. Now the burden is more than justifiable, and reducing it becomes a bad idea). Even his tax cuts weren't that large; he did have large cuts in '81, but TEFLA in '82 and several subsequent budgets included tax raises, meaning that in the end the net tax cut effect was minimal. Jonathan Chait wrote for The New Republic about this earlier this year in an article about Bush's tax cutting habit:

"But, in truth, Reagan reacted to the consequences of his 1981 tax cuts in a way that would have put him far out of step with Bush's Republican Party. When the scope of the budget deficit became apparent, Reagan acceded to a series of tax increases in 1982 (in the midst of a severe recession, no less), 1983, and 1984. In 1986, reacting to complaints that his 1981 tax cuts opened too many loopholes for the rich, Reagan enacted a sweeping tax reform that liberals, including this magazine, hailed for making the tax code more progressive. Reagan's record on taxes, in short, consisted of one year of unvarnished conservative ideological warfare followed by seven years of retreat and consolidation."

So what is the conservative obsession with Reagan, anyway? Well, he was their first and only president to not destroy the economy, I suppose. Good for him.

UPDATE: Even his wife opposes it.

Logic strikes in California
Arnold's ridiculous bond plan? Terminated.

Dead presidents no more
I don't want Reagan on the dime. Certainly not in place of FDR. However, can't we wait until he DIES before we get this debate rolling?

Friday, December 05, 2003

Oh you righteous drug warriors
The drug war continues, with a girl expelled from school for one year for having drugs. But not just any drugs. Advil.

Killing Bush
Some people seem to think that Bush hatred is leading towards an assassination attempt on Bush. Come on're the ones with all those guns and you lasted 8 years without offing Clinton - give us some credit.

China renews its threats
Colin Powell has been trying to reaffirm America's opposition to Taiwan's independence. China called our bluff. So let's call theirs. Taiwan is probably the most well-defended island on the planet. China doesn't have the cajones to attack it.

Who to believe?
Paul Bremer is saying that guerilla attacks are about to increase. That's makes it seem as though the war could get more difficult and perhaps be extended. But wait! Someone writing for Fox News says it's ending soon. Well that's odd...

Victory for indie filmmakers
As a fan of independent film I have to applaud this:

"Independent film producers won a major court battle on Friday when a federal judge stopped big studios from enforcing the so-called "Oscars (news - web sites) screener" ban that prevents advance copies of films being sent to movie award judges.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey sided with independent film producers who accused the Motion Picture Association of America of participating in an antitrust conspiracy to limit the smaller movie makers' exposure during the annual award season. "

Somerby strikes again
The Howler lays into Krauthammer.

Another family friend
Bush has appointed James Baker to deal with Iraq's huge debt.

The facts on Baker? He's defending the Saudis in court. He's the Senior Counsel of the Carlyle Group, which is well-connected to Enron. That's no surprise, because he doesn't see the big deal with corporate scandals.

Nice choice, George.

Must be the liberal professors
Well! As if we didn't know the College Republicans were idiots, the Penn State chapter reminded us:

"STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Pennsylvania State University Black Caucus called on the chairman of the school's College Republicans to resign after finding on his personal Web site a photo of a white man in blackface and another with a Ku Klux Klan reference."

NASA keeps dreaming
Let's be honest. While there are some upsides to NASA having a manned base on the moon - namely that it's extremely cool - it's not realistic. NASA can't run the shuttle program properly, and they expect to be able to have a functioning mini-colony not on this planet. Right.

Is this part of a renewed space race with China? What are we trying to prove? "You saw us get there 40 years watch again." Wasting money in the name of competition is never a fantastic idea. When you can't go two space missions without a crew getting killed, it's a terrible idea.

The job creation station
The job picture still isn't looking great. Unemployment is falling slightly, but payroll growth is slow.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I'm no lawyer, but...
I smell foul play here:

"A federal prosecutor was found stabbed to death in a Pennsylvania creek Thursday after failing to show up at the trial of a rapper and another man accused of dealing heroin."

Not so quick to the draw
The NYT has a nice little article:

BOSTON (AP) -- Democratic leaders accused Republicans on Thursday of exploiting Sept. 11 by holding their presidential convention in New York less than two weeks before the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

"All indications are that the Republicans have gone to New York to exploit a terrible moment in our country,'' Rod O'Connor, chief executive officer of the Democratic National Convention Committee, told hundreds of journalists who came to tour the site of next summer's convention. "We are here to re-ignite a movement in our country.'' after every idiot in the world figures this one out, the Democratic Party stumbles in on the secret three months later.

Cheese curls vs. Iraq
Advice to Joe Lieberman: your campaign has little to no momentum. If you want to stir up your constiuents, talk about something besides junk food.

Stuck in Limbaugh
Oh Rush. I hope they bury you.

UPDATE: Sorry about the faulty link that was up. I'm a moron.

The job situation
Despite rosy figures and dozens of talking heads chatting about job growth, it appears the next job report may not be as cheery as expected.

Just say prison time
A Chicago high school is drug testing ALL of its students.

"We're really doing it to help our kids," Schmidt said. "We want to take a little peer pressure off of them and be able to have a good reason to say no to drugs."

Yeah...a good reason like getting caught?

John Snow made some interesting comments in the Guardian:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Treasury Secretary John Snow reiterated America's strong dollar policy on Thursday, staying silent on whether the U.S. government planned to intervene in response to the euro hitting another record high against the dollar.

"We have a strong dollar policy. I think the dollar - as other currencies' value - is best set in open, competitive currency markets,'' Snow said outside the White House after attending a bill-signing ceremony.

Asked whether the U.S. government planned to intervene, Snow replied: "I've told you what I can say about the dollar.''

Strong dollar policy? That's an odd comment, seeing as Snow's been talking down the dollar for quite some time. If we DO have a strong dollar policy, we should probably rethink it - the Euro has been hitting record highs against the dollar recently. It was clear that Snow was incompetent, but now it appears he's also oblivious.

Steel tariffs removed
Despite heavy criticism from the steel industry, Bush lifted the steel tariffs. I'd say that while it will hurt U.S. steel a bit, it was a better move to lift the tariffs and not risk an international trade war.

What's very interesting here is that Bush was just in Pittsburgh - Steel City - two days ago for fundraising. Looks like he wanted to squeeze some money out of them before he lost their vote.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

After experiencing some technical difficulties I rebuilt most of my template. I got the counter up and working - all I need now is my list of non-blog sites, which will be back tomorrow, bigger and better than ever. Much bigger. And Much better. Oh yeah.

Tragedy actually strikes
My template was wiped out. Grrr. I'll rebuild. Don't leave me.

Tragedy strikes
In a move destined to depress me, Abercrombie & Fitch has caved to the pressure and pulled their brilliant "naked people advertising clothes" holiday catalog.

Those bastards
The RIAA is suing a 79 year old man for file-sharing. Sadly, he doesn't own a computer.

Teddy, meet Howard
Do you care enough about Howard Dean to buy a stuffed animal? Get a Dean bear.

Turkey delivery can't save Dubya
Even with his approval rating jumping after his Thanksgiving Day stunt, Bush's re-election numbers aren't looking quite so bright:

"If the upcoming election for president were held today and the candidates were Republican George W. Bush and the Democratic nominee for president, for whom would you vote: Republican George W. Bush or the Democratic nominee for president?"

Bush is at 42% and an unnamed Dem is at 48%. In July the numbers were 45% for Bush and 44% for the Dem

It appears the turkey has met his match.

Iraqis love us
Through Yahoo:

"Iraqi political parties and coalition authorities are discussing the creation of a 1,000-member militia to bolster the U.S. military's fight against a guerrilla insurgency, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Wednesday."

So we have hundreds of thousands of highly elite troops in Iraq, and we plan to bolster this by adding 1,000 lesser militiamen? Sounds less like a strategy and more like a political ploy.

Reality sinks in
The WaPo says that Bush's talk on democracy in the Arab world may be just that - talk.

Trippi works his magic
Howard Dean has one hell of a clever idea to garner favor in Iowa.

So green I could puke...
If Nader runs again, and he is the cause for Bush winning the election once again, will he run in 2008? The Libertarians haven't torn up the right-wing because the right is unified behind the Republicans. The left is apparently fixated on "making a statement" every four years. Will the Greens help lose us every election in the next 20 years? If this keeps occuring, expect some major rifts, and perhaps a huge defection from the Democratic Party.

No vouchers for Denver
Judges in Colorado shot down the school voucher system there as unconstitutional for stripping power from school boards. This is the kind of situation where Republicans have to balance their ideals: they really want to strip public schools of money, but they don't want to invade on local government. Hmmm...

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

FDA approved!
TAPPED has a good post on the realities of buying Canadian drugs.

The latest "bad word"
Through Yahoo:

A 7-year-old boy was scolded and forced to write "I will never use the word `gay' in school again" after he told a classmate about his lesbian mother, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged Monday.

Second-grader Marcus McLaurin was waiting for recess Nov. 11 at Ernest Gaullet Elementary School when a classmate asked about Marcus' mother and father, the ACLU said in a complaint.

Marcus responded he had two mothers because his mother is gay. When the other child asked for explanation, Marcus told him: "Gay is when a girl likes another girl," according to the complaint.

A teacher who heard the remark scolded Marcus, telling him "gay" was a "bad word" and sending him to the principal's office. The following week, Marcus had to come to school early and repeatedly write: "I will never use the word `gay' in school again."

....You've got to be kidding me.

Fake-caring about the troops
The Pentagon is going to start paying soldiers' travel expenses. If the government really wants to make soldiers happy, maybe they could stop cutting veterans' benefits.

Another successful stunt
I really want to witness the thinking process of someone who likes the president more after the Thanksgiving Day stunt.

"Hmmm....I didn't like the energy bill or his opposition to abortion...but that turkey just looks delicious. I'm now convinced of his ability to design policy for my country!"

Or something like that.

Platform shifts
The only time Lieberman has the balls to say the word "peace" in a positive context is when he's speaking to a bunch of high schoolers.

Snagging Saddam
Some news on Hussein's wherabouts:

"LaHood: Hussein's capture imminent

Pantagraph Staff

BLOOMINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood held his thumb and forefinger slightly apart and said, "We're this close" to catching Saddam Hussein.

Once that's accomplished, Iraqi resistance will fall apart, said the five-term Republican congressman from Peoria who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

A member of The Pantagraph editorial board -- not really expecting an answer -- asked LaHood for more details, saying, "Do you know something we don't?"

"Yes I do," replied LaHood."

If they do catch Saddam now it may be bad news for Bush. The jump in ratings will fall back into place when people realize that there are soldiers still dying. Hussein wasn't the objective. And if I make one prediction, it's that the resistance will not fall apart upon his capture/death. First because many of the fighters are clearly anti-American fanatics, and second because the loyalists will feel the need for revenge. These don't seem like the kind of guys to sit back and go "Well we lost this one. Let's let the Americans do what they wish."

The questionable economy
Jobless benefits expire this month. The question is whether the job market is growing fast enough for this to work. Time will tell...

Another loss in the drug war...
The Supreme Court ruled to uphold the 20-second rule. This means that after 20 seconds of knocking on a drug suspect's door they are allowed to knock it down. This wouldn't be a problem if we weren't wasting the officers' time (plus about $19 billion just this year) with non-crime like small time drug deals, now would it?

Monday, December 01, 2003

How many times can you pat yourself on the back?
Bush applauded himself when he foud out about the growth in Q3, and now he applauds himself about manufacturing production increases. If production wasn't increasing, George, there would be no growth. It's the same damn data.

Lynch on the high seas
The Lynch lovefest has got to stop. The story was heartwarming, I agree, but this is excessive.

Signs of a seasoned governor
Headline from SF Gate:

Schwarzenegger says he has no backup plan if bond deal fails .

Respect for the dead?
Quite a situtation at the FDNY:

"At least a dozen of New York's Bravest - some of them assigned to look after Sept. 11 widows - have left their wives for the spouses of their comrades killed in the terror attacks, sources told The Post."


The revolution will be radioed
Will liberal radio succeed? I've heard nothing but negativity from the right-wing talk radio ranks, but I guess they're paid to be wrong. All we need is some entertaining people who can - and this is important - be clear about what the liberal positions are. Liberalism often sees too many shades of gray to be appetizing to the airwaves. Someone needs to change that.

Dumb things from powerful people
The most baffling comment of the last year according to the Plain English campaign:

"Reports that say something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know"

Rumsfeld said it in a briefing. Wow. It's too bad - the only time Dubya had a shot at winning something, and it's blown.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

The base of liberalism
CalPundit tries to answer the question of what liberals' core values should be (conservatives have smaller government, family values, etc.). That's a good question. Liberals always have tolerance on their side, but what else? It's a question we need to answer firmly.

Once again I am blogging from a 56K - things just aren't stable over at the workstation.