I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Friday, July 29, 2005

French Family Values

Krugman: "Americans tend to believe that we do everything better than anyone else. That belief makes it hard for us to learn from others. For example, I've found that many people refuse to believe that Europe has anything to teach us about health care policy. After all, they say, how can Europeans be good at health care when their economies are such failures?"

"The answer is no. Americans are doing a lot of strutting these days, but a head-to-head comparison between the economies of the United States and Europe - France, in particular - shows that the big difference is in priorities, not performance. We're talking about two highly productive societies that have made a different tradeoff between work and family time. And there's a lot to be said for the French choice."

"American conservatives despise European welfare states like France. Yet many of them stress the importance of "family values." And whatever else you may say about French economic policies, they seem extremely supportive of the family as an institution. Senator Rick Santorum, are you reading this?" [NYT]

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Gard Rips Drop-Off of Used Needles

"An aide to Gov. Jim Doyle delivered a brown paper bag filled with used medical needles to the office of Assembly Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo) to help a Door County woman make a statement about the important of stem-cell research."

"Elizabeth Kastner of Fish Creek was unapologetic about sending the used needles to Gard through the governor's office. She also wrote and sent a letter. The needles were collected between July 4, 2004, and July 4, 2005, and were used to administer insulin shots four times a day to her 12-year-old daughter, Isabel. Kastner said she wanted to educate Gard about the importance of stem-cell research, which she thinks could unlock a cure for diabetes." [JSOnline]

John Gard is an uninformed ideologue. He can't see past his beliefs that stem-cell research might help someone out, end pain and suffering. He's too wrapped up in his religious dogma that doesn't allow for such potentially beneficial research. I, as a type I diabetic, know what 12-year old Isabel goes through everyday: endless shots. They are painful. They draw blood. They leave painful bruises and scarring. It's not a pretty thing, but it's how I and many, many others like me stay alive from day to day.
For more information, check out these resources: [WIStemCellNow] [StemPAC]

Oil and Blood

Herbert: "It is now generally understood that the U.S.-led war in Iraq has become a debacle. Nevertheless, Iraqis are supposed to have their constitution ratified and a permanent government elected by the end of the year. It's a logical escape hatch for George W. Bush. He could declare victory, as a senator once suggested to Lyndon Johnson in the early years of Vietnam, and bring the troops home as quickly as possible. His mantra would be: There's a government in place. We won. We're out of there."

"But don't count on it. The Bush administration has no plans to bring the troops home from this misguided war, which has taken a fearful toll in lives and injuries while at the same time weakening the military, damaging the international reputation of the United States, serving as a world-class recruiting tool for terrorist groups and blowing a hole the size of Baghdad in Washington's budget."

"Many high-level government figures believe that U.S. troops will be in Iraq for a minimum of 5 more years, and perhaps 10. That should be understood by the people who think that the formation of a permanent Iraqi government will lead to the withdrawal of American troops. There is no real withdrawal plan. The fighting and the dying will continue indefinitely." [NYT]


Daily Outrage: In order to pass the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the House leadership held the vote open for an additional 47 minutes after the 15 minute voting period had expired. At the end of the original voting period, opponents of CAFTA had defeated the bill by a vote of 180-175. Forty-seven minutes later, conservatives eked out a 217-215 victory by "twist[ing] arms" and exchanging favors for votes. Last night's antics parallel the tactics employed in passing the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill -- a process that has led to congressional ethics investigation. [CAP]

Pretty awesome. In order to pass their crappy "free-trade" bill, the repugs hold voting open for an additional 47 minutes. If you can't win, CHEAT!!! Really glad that we're teaching our kids the right message.

Also check out Sirota's take on the 15 pansy-ass democrats that voted with the repugs on this. More Repugs (27) voted against this crappy bill than these dems that voted for it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Eight Days in July

Rich: "When a conspiracy is unraveling, and it's every liar and his lawyer for themselves, the story takes on a momentum of its own. When the conspiracy is, at its heart, about the White House's twisting of the intelligence used to sell the American people a war - and its desperate efforts to cover up that flimflam once the W.M.D. cupboard proved bare and the war went south - the story will not end until the war really is in its "last throes."

"As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months."

"The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds. Without it, there wouldn't have been a third-rate smear campaign against an obscure diplomat, a bungled cover-up and a scandal that - like the war itself - has no exit strategy that will not inflict pain." [NYT]

Moving Northward

Krugman: "Modern American politics is dominated by the doctrine that government is the problem, not the solution. In practice, this doctrine translates into policies that make low taxes on the rich the highest priority, even if lack of revenue undermines basic public services. You don't have to be a liberal to realize that this is wrong-headed. Corporate leaders understand quite well that good public services are also good for business. But the political environment is so polarized these days that top executives are often afraid to speak up against conservative dogma."

"But U.S. taxpayers will suffer, because the general public ends up picking up much of the cost of health care for workers who don't get insurance through their jobs. Some uninsured workers and their families end up on Medicaid. Others end up depending on emergency rooms, which are heavily subsidized by taxpayers."

"Funny, isn't it? Pundits tell us that the welfare state is doomed by globalization, that programs like national health insurance have become unsustainable. But Canada's universal health insurance system is handling international competition just fine. It's our own system, which penalizes companies that treat their workers well, that's in trouble." [NYT]

What Bush Doesn't Know

Herbert: "So where are we, now that the real world has intervened? The military is spinning its wheels in the tragic and expensive quagmire of Iraq and there is no end to the conflict in sight. A front-page story in The Times on Sunday said the insurgents "just keep getting stronger and stronger."

"There is still no indication that the Bush administration recognizes the utter folly of its war in Iraq, which has been like a constant spray of gasoline on the fire of global terrorism. What was required in the aftermath of Sept. 11 was an intense, laserlike focus by America and its allies on Al Qaeda-type terrorism."

"Instead, the Bush crowd saw its long dreamed of opportunity to impose its will on Iraq, which had nothing to do with the great tragedy of Sept. 11. Many thousands have paid a fearful price for that bit of ideological madness." [NYT]

The Anti-Wal-Mart

I've been meaning to post this gem for a week. This challenges the notion that discount retailers have to pay their workers poorly, as Wal-Mart most certainly does. Costco has succeeded because they pay their workers, and give them better benefits. Definitely not an industry norm, but it should be.

"Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco "it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder."

"Mr. Sinegal begs to differ. He rejects Wall Street's assumption that to succeed in discount retailing, companies must pay poorly and skimp on benefits, or must ratchet up prices to meet Wall Street's profit demands."

"Good wages and benefits are why Costco has extremely low rates of turnover and theft by employees, he said. And Costco's customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers' expense. "This is not altruistic," he said. "This is good business." [NYT]

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My Story

If you want to learn more about me, and why I believe the way I do, you can read up on me HERE.

This is why I support such organizations as StemPAC. Read the stories of what real people have to say about stem cells and how they have and could affect their lives.

Support StemPAC!

Scotty - Beamed Up

"James Doohan, the beloved actor who portrayed engineer "Montgomery Scott" in the original Star Trek and six movies, passed away at his home in Redmond, Washington this morning. He was 85. Doohan died in his sleep at 5:30 a.m. local time with his wife of 28 years, Wende, at his side. According to Doohan's Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens, the cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease." [StarTrek] [NYT]

Scotty, one to beam up. You will be missed.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Hatfields vs. The McCoys

Herbert: "He made his remarks during an appearance in Milwaukee at the annual convention of the N.A.A.C.P., which has a relationship with President Bush reminiscent of the Hatfields' relationship with the McCoys. In a chilling act of political intimidation, the Internal Revenue Service responded to criticism of Mr. Bush by the N.A.A.C.P.'s chairman by launching an investigation of the group's tax-exempt status."

"Mr. Bush's son, the current president, has been as devoted as an acolyte to the Southern strategy, despite anything Ken Mehlman might think. Like so many other Republican politicians and presidential wannabes, George W. Bush was happy to appear at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., at a time when the school was blatantly racially discriminatory."

"And in both of Mr. Bush's presidential campaigns, his supporters, especially his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, have gone out of their way to prevent or discourage blacks from voting. In a particularly vile episode last year, Florida state troopers conducted a criminal investigation that zeroed in on black voter turnout efforts in Orlando. A number of people were indicted, including the mayor, Buddy Dyer, a Democrat who was then suspended from office." [NYT]

Krugman: "Those with a downbeat view of the jobs picture argue that the low reported unemployment rate is a statistical illusion, that there are millions of Americans who would be looking for jobs if more jobs were available. Those with an upbeat view argue that labor force participation has fallen for reasons that have nothing to do with job availability - for example, young adults, recognizing the importance of education, may have chosen to stay in school longer."

"That's where Dr. Bradbury's study comes in. She shows that the upbeat view doesn't hold up in the face of a careful examination of the numbers. In fact, because older Americans, especially older women, are more likely to work than in the past, labor force participation should have risen, not fallen, over the past four years. As a result, she suggests that there may be "considerable slack in the U.S. labor market": there are at least 1.6 million and possibly as many as 5.1 million people who aren't counted as unemployed but would take jobs if they were available." [NYT]

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Follow The Uranium

Rich: "Apparently this is finally beginning to dawn on Mr. Bush's fiercest defenders and on Mr. Bush himself. Hence, last week's erection of the stonewall manned by the almost poignantly clownish Mr. McClellan, who abruptly rendered inoperative his previous statements that any suspicions about Mr. Rove are "totally ridiculous." The morning after Mr. McClellan went mano a mano with his tormentors in the White House press room - "We've secretly replaced the White House press corps with actual reporters," observed Jon Stewart - the ardently pro-Bush New York Post ran only five paragraphs of a wire-service story on Page 12. That conspicuous burial of what was front-page news beyond Murdochland speaks loudly about the rising anxiety on the right. Since then, White House surrogates have been desperately babbling talking points attacking Joseph Wilson as a partisan and a liar."

"Next to White House courtiers of their rank, Mr. Wilson is at most a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. The brief against the administration's drumbeat for war would be just as damning if he'd never gone to Africa. But by overreacting in panic to his single Op-Ed piece of two years ago, the White House has opened a Pandora's box it can't slam shut. Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king." [NYT]

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

Happy Release Day for the new Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince! I can hardly contain my excitement as my book wings it's way towards me. I pre-ordered the book from Amazon, and I'm waiting for the owl to deliver it today.
Here are some early reviews: [NYT] [Tribune]

Friday, July 15, 2005

Karl Rove's America

Krugman: "John Gibson of Fox News says that Karl Rove should be given a medal. I agree: Mr. Rove should receive a medal from the American Political Science Association for his pioneering discoveries about modern American politics. The medal can, if necessary, be delivered to his prison cell."

"I first realized that we were living in Karl Rove's America during the 2000 presidential campaign, when George W. Bush began saying things about Social Security privatization and tax cuts that were simply false. At first, I thought the Bush campaign was making a big mistake - that these blatant falsehoods would be condemned by prominent Republican politicians and Republican economists, especially those who had spent years building reputations as advocates of fiscal responsibility. In fact, with hardly any exceptions they lined up to praise Mr. Bush's proposals."

"Ultimately, this isn't just about Mr. Rove. It's also about Mr. Bush, who has always known that his trusted political adviser - a disciple of the late Lee Atwater, whose smear tactics helped President Bush's father win the 1988 election - is a thug, and obviously made no attempt to find out if he was the leaker." [NYT]

Karl Rove is a disgusting, treasonous, liar, that outed a covert CIA operative because of a vendetta. But why isn't Bob Novak in hot water??
More on Rove: [GOPHypocrites] [StarTribune] [CrooksandLiars] [Post] [MediaMatters]
And what happened to the Downing Street Memo?

Bernard Goldberg Is A Big Fat Idiot

If you're not watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, what the hell is wrong with you? :)

This week, Mr. Stewart had Bernard Goldberg on, who wrote this book: 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America: (and Al Franken is #37). All I have to say, is watch the video (link below), and you'll see who the real bitch is. What a loser. [Video]

And here's his Top 10:

1. Michael Moore, filmmaker
2. Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times
3. Ted Kennedy, Democratic U.S. senator, Massachusetts
4. Jesse Jackson, Democratic African-American activist
5. Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union's executive director
6. Jimmy Carter, former Democratic president
7. Margaret Marshall, chief justice, Massachusetts state Supreme Court
8. Paul Krugman, columnist at The New York Times
9. Jonathan Kozol, education scholar and author
10. Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way

"Yes, these folks are definetly screwing up America. Screwing it up for the Bush crime family, the neocons, and their unholy fundamentalist allies at least." [DailyKos]

Thursday, July 14, 2005


I came across this site off of the DailyKos website. Here is what they have to say:
"For too long the promise of stem cell research has been held back by the ideology and ignorance of a small group of extremists. The will of the majority has been ignored, hope for millions with debilitating illnesses has been needlessly delayed, and this promising industry of the future is being gradually outsourced to other nations with each passing day."

BenPAC urges you to support StemPAC. Fight back for stem cells, because no one should have to suffer.

UPDATE (5:40 PM): Please read through some of the heart-wrenching stories of loss and hope told by people that need our help. Let's pass HR810 in the Senate WITHOUT amendments!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What He Should Have Said

Vowell: "Still, Kerry stunned me, not because his ideas were sane, but because he was actually able to fantasize that President Bush would give a speech offering just and concrete solutions for that black hole. Because I don't even remember being able to dream that big."

"Those frank words, coming out of a presidential mouth, are shocking. It will be difficult, but think back and try to remember an America dependent on foreign oil, an America with high gasoline prices, an America consumed with crises in the Middle East. And imagine you feel there is nothing you, the average American, can do. Then your president goes on TV and instead of saying you can do something vague like "stay the course," he tells you that there is something small and practical you can do. You can carpool!"

"These days, there's just something refreshing about reading through Carter's clear-eyed political suicide. Daydreamer though I am, I have never expected a president to solve our chaos. It's just nice to know that once, one of them acknowledged it." [NYT]

Monday, July 11, 2005

We're Not in Watergate Anymore

Rich, nails it again: "Again following the Watergate template, the Bush administration at first tried to bury the whole Wilson affair by investigating itself. Even when The Washington Post reported two months after Mr. Wilson's Op-Ed that "two top White House officials" had called at least six reporters, not just Mr. Novak, to destroy Mr. Wilson and his wife, the inquiry was kept safely within the John Ashcroft Justice Department, with the attorney general, according to a Times report, being briefed regularly on details of the investigation. If that rings a Watergate bell now, that's because on Thursday you may have read the obituary of L. Patrick Gray, Mark Felt's F.B.I. boss, who, in a similarly cozy conflict of interest, kept the Nixon White House abreast of the supposedly independent Watergate inquiry in its early going."

"In his original Op-Ed piece in The Times, published two years to the day before Judy Miller went to jail, Mr. Wilson noted that "more than 200 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq already," before concluding that "we have a duty to ensure that their sacrifice came for the right reasons." As that death toll surges past 1,700, that sacred duty cannot be abandoned by a free press now." [NYT]

Joseph Wilson's July 6, 2003, account on the Times Op-Ed page

Un-Spin The Budget

Krugman: "To understand where the budget deficit came from, you can't do better than the Jan. 18, 2001, issue of the satirical newspaper The Onion, which predicted the future with eerie precision. "We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent," the magazine's spoof had the president-elect declare. "And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

"And so it has turned out. President Bush has presided over the transformation of a budget surplus into a large deficit, which threatens the government's long-run solvency. The principal cause of that reversal was Mr. Bush's unprecedented decision to cut taxes, especially on the wealthiest Americans, while taking the nation into an expensive war."

"In other words, we're still deep in the fiscal quagmire, with federal revenues far below what's needed to pay for federal programs. And we won't get out of that quagmire until a future president admits that the Bush tax cuts were a mistake, and must be reversed." [NYT]

Kristof: ""I'm just grateful I live in the state of Oregon, where we have this option," Mr. Newbold said. "I'm just sorry the John Ashcrofts of the world want to dictate not only how you live, but also how you die. There's nothing more personal, other than childbirth, than passing on." [NYT]

It Just Gets Worse

Herbert: "Has the president given any thought to leveling with the American people about how bad the situation has become? And is he even considering what for him would be the radical notion of soliciting the counsel of wise men and women who might give him a different perspective on war and terror than the Kool-Aid-drinking true believers who have brought us to this dreadful state of affairs? The true believers continue to argue that the proper strategy is to stay the current catastrophic course."

"Americans are paying a fearful price for Mr. Bush's adventure in Iraq. In addition to the toll of dead and wounded, the war is costing about $5 billion a month. It has drained resources from critical needs here at home, including important antiterror initiatives that would improve the security of ports, transit systems and chemical plants."

"The war has diminished the stature and weakened the credibility of the United Sates around the world. And it has delivered a body blow to the readiness of America's armed forces. Much of the military is now overdeployed, undertrained and overworked. Many of the troops are serving multiple tours in Iraq. No wonder potential recruits are staying away in droves."

"Whatever one's views on the war, thoughtful Americans need to consider the damage it is doing to the United States, and the bitter anger that it has provoked among Muslims around the world. That anger is spreading like an unchecked fire in an incredibly vast field." [NYT]

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Homeland Insecurity

Sirota: "Ever since the media began admitting what we all knew was true – that the Bush administration lied about why we were going to war in Iraq – the White House has tried to repackage our Iraq operations as a way to prevent terrorism here at home. As President Bush said in October, "We are fighting these terrorists with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq and beyond so we do not have to face them in the streets of our own cities." Tragically, the terrible bombing in London shows we are now paying a horrible price for this silly, dangerous, short-sighted, and truly dishonest line of reasoning."

"And that's why today's tragic bombing frighteningly highlights just how off track our entire national security strategy really is. First our government lied to us about why we were going to war in the first place. Then, when that dishonesty was exposed, we got fed another steaming pile of crap about how the war in Iraq was protecting us from terrorists because it was diverting terrorists' attention."

"It is now painfully clear that those rationales were not designed to level with the American people – they were designed with one thing in mind: scaring us into supporting what should have been an unsupportable war, at the very time when we should have been focused on and scared about a far more serious challenge: securing the homeland after the worst terrorist attack in American history." [Sirota]

Ms. Miller Goes to Jail

Editorial: "Journalists talk about these issues a great deal, and they can seem abstract. The test comes when a colleague is being marched off to jail for doing nothing more than the job our readers expected of her, and of the rest of us. The Times has been in these fights before, beginning in 1857, when a journalist named J. W. Simonton wrote an editorial about bribery in Congress and was held in contempt by the House of Representatives for 19 days when he refused to reveal his sources. In the end, Mr. Simonton kept faith, and the corrupt congressmen resigned. All of our battles have not had equally happy endings. But each time, whether we win or we lose, we remain convinced that the public wins in the long run and that what is at stake is nothing less than our society's perpetual bottom line: the citizens control the government in a democracy."

"She is surrendering her liberty in defense of a greater liberty, granted to a free press by the founding fathers so journalists can work on behalf of the public without fear of regulation or retaliation from any branch of government." [NYT]

So now Judith Miller goes to jail...for an article that she didn't write. Matt Cooper, I think, isn't far behind. What the hell is wrong with the "judicial system." They are trying to force them to reveal their sources, which would completely undermine the Press as a whole. Nice one conservatives!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Store Wars

I thought this was hilarious...

Watch out for Darth Tater. [StoreWars]

The Two Wars of the Worlds

Rich: "Planned or not, the sepulchral silence of Mr. Bush's military audience was the perfect dazed response to what was literally a summer rerun. The president gave almost the identical televised address, albeit with four fewer 9/11 references, at the Army War College in Pennsylvania in May 2004. It's so tired that this time around even the normally sympathetic Drudge site gave higher billing to reviews of "War of the Worlds." Fewer TV viewers tuned in than for any prime-time speech in Mr. Bush's presidency. A good thing too, since so much of what he said was, as usual, at odds with reality. The president pledged to "prevent Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban" a full week after Newsweek and The New York Times reported on a new C.I.A. assessment that the war may be turning Iraq into an even more effective magnet and training ground for Islamic militants than Afghanistan was for Al Qaeda in the 1980's and 90's."

"The president has no one to blame but himself. The color-coded terror alerts, the repeated John Ashcroft press conferences announcing imminent Armageddon during election season, the endless exploitation of 9/11 have all taken their numbing toll. Fear itself is the emotional card Mr. Bush chose to overplay, and when he plays it now, he is the boy who cried wolf. That's why a film director engaging in utter fantasy can arouse more anxiety about a possible attack on America than our actual commander in chief hitting us with the supposed truth."

"If anything, we're back where we were in the lazy summer of 2001, when the president was busy in Crawford ignoring an intelligence report titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" and the news media were more preoccupied with a rash of "Jaws"-like shark attacks than with Al Qaeda. The sharks are back, and the "missing girl" drama of Natalee Holloway has echoed the Chandra Levy ur-text. Even the World Trade Center is making a comeback, if we are to believe that the new Freedom Bunker unveiled for ground zero might ever be built." [NYT]

America Held Hostage

Krugman (7/1): "Never mind that Iraq posed no threat before we invaded. Now it's a "central front in the war on terror," Mr. Bush says, quoting Osama bin Laden as an authority. And since a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would, Mr. Bush claims, be a victory for Al Qaeda, Americans have to support this war - and that means supporting him. After all, you wage war with the president you have, not the president you want."

"But America doesn't have to let itself be taken hostage. The country missed the chance to say no before this war started, but it can still say no to Mr. Bush's open-ended commitment, and demand a timetable for getting out." [NYT]

Krugman (7/4): "So there is, understandably, a movement to do something about rising obesity, especially among the young. Bills that would require schools to serve healthier lunches, remove vending machines selling sweets and soda, and so on have been introduced in a number of state legislatures. By the way, Britain - with the second-highest obesity among advanced countries - has introduced stringent new guidelines on school meals."

"But even these mild steps have run into fierce opposition from conservatives. Why?" [NYT]