I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Gas Prices

So, I'm driving to work this morning, and pretty much every gas station from the East Side (where I live) to the Glendale/Whitefish Bay border (where I work) was at $2.99, a rise of $.30 in about a day. I did see one Citgo station at Oakland and Capitol that was $2.88, and the high was a Shell on Hampton for $3.25.

Then I drove home. I had to take the long way down Capitol Dr because my wife and I stopped at Sprecher Brewery to get weekend supplies. EVERY gas station I saw was at least $3.29!

Check out this website to see updated local gas prices. [MilwGasPrices]

Experts: "$4 a gallon gas coming soon." [CNN]

I can't wait! I wish my income rose as fast as the gas prices!

A Lipstick President

Dowd: "Luckily, the first woman president is tall, a shade taller than W., so she's eyeball to eyeball with generals and ambassadors. And she's a redhead. Redheads, a recent study showed, have a higher tolerance for pain. In the show's premiere, a lot of pain is dished up for Ms. Davis's character, Mackenzie Allen, the vice president of a conservative president who keels over before the first hour is over."

"He told me he modeled his female president not on Hillary Clinton but on Susan Lyne, the smart, elegant former president of ABC Entertainment who is chief executive at Martha Stewart Inc. He said he wanted someone "of rather unimpeachable integrity, very kind, very calm."

"But now Hillary's voice is often pianissimo on the current hot issue: how to get out of Iraq. Once we made sure Saddam was armed against Iran. Now we may have to arm an Islamic protégé of Iran if we want to pull out. But Hillary's not playing the vocal peacenik this time - she's the cagey hawk. She knows if she wants to be the first woman president, she can't have love beads in her jewelry box."

"But by hanging back and trimming her positions, by keeping her powder dry until a more politically advantageous time, she may miss the moment when Americans are looking for someone to emerge from her cowering party to articulate their anger about Iraq or their fear about a Supreme Court that will scale back women's rights and civil rights here, as Islamic courts do the same in Iraq. Hillary may get caught flat-footed. Or she may be right in betting that there's no need to do anything rash now, like leading." [NYT]

Monday, August 29, 2005

Left Behind, Way Behind

Herbert: "First the bad news: Only about two-thirds of American teenagers (and just half of all black, Latino and Native American teens) graduate with a regular diploma four years after they enter high school. Now the worse news: Of those who graduate, only about half read well enough to succeed in college."

"Don't even bother to ask how many are proficient enough in math and science to handle college-level work. It's not pretty."

"The report makes several recommendations. It says the amount of time that children spend in school should be substantially increased by lengthening the school day and, in some cases, the school year. It calls for the development of voluntary, rigorous national curriculum standards in core subject areas and a consensus on what students should know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school."

"The report also urges, as many have before, that the nation take seriously the daunting (and expensive) task of getting highly qualified teachers into all classrooms. And it suggests that an effort be made to connect schools in low-income areas more closely with the surrounding communities. (Where necessary, the missions of such schools would be extended to provide additional services for children whose schooling is affected by such problems as inadequate health care, poor housing, or a lack of parental support.)"

"The task force's recommendations are points of departure that can be discussed, argued about and improved upon by people who sincerely want to ramp up the quality of public education in the U.S. What is most important about the report is the fact that it sounds an alarm about a critical problem that is not getting nearly enough serious attention." [NYT]

Greenspan and the Bubble

Krugman: "Most of what Alan Greenspan said at last week's conference in his honor made very good sense. But his words of wisdom come too late. He's like a man who suggests leaving the barn door ajar, and then - after the horse is gone - delivers a lecture on the importance of keeping your animals properly locked up."

"Regular readers know that I have never forgiven the Federal Reserve chairman for his role in creating today's budget deficit. In 2001 Mr. Greenspan, a stern fiscal taskmaster during the Clinton years, gave decisive support to the Bush administration's irresponsible tax cuts, urging Congress to reduce the federal government's revenue so that it wouldn't pay off its debt too quickly. "

"Since then, federal debt has soared. But as far as I can tell, Mr. Greenspan has never admitted that he gave Congress bad advice. He has, however, gone back to lecturing us about the evils of deficits."

"A housing slowdown will lead to the loss of many jobs in construction and service industries but won't have much direct effect on the trade deficit. So those jobs won't be replaced by new jobs elsewhere until and unless something else, like a plunge in the value of the dollar, makes U.S. goods more competitive on world markets, leading to higher exports and lower imports."

"So there's a rough ride ahead for the U.S. economy. And it's partly Mr. Greenspan's fault." [NYT]

The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation

Rich: "We have long since lost count of all the historic turning points and fast-evaporating victories hyped by this president. The toppling of Saddam's statue, "Mission Accomplished," the transfer of sovereignty and the purple fingers all blur into a hallucinatory loop of delusion. One such red-letter day, some may dimly recall, was the adoption of the previous, interim constitution in March 2004, also proclaimed a "historic milestone" by Mr. Bush. Within a month after that fabulous victory, the insurgency boiled over into the war we have today, taking, among many others, the life of Casey Sheehan."

"When the war's die-hard cheerleaders attacked the Middle East policy of a mother from Vacaville, Calif., instead of defending the president's policy in Iraq, it was definitive proof that there is little cogent defense left to be made. When the Democrats offered no alternative to either Mr. Bush's policy or Ms. Sheehan's plea for an immediate withdrawal, it was proof that they have no standing in the debate."

"Among Washington's Democrats, the only one with a clue seems to be Russell Feingold, the Wisconsin senator who this month proposed setting a "target date" (as opposed to a deadline) for getting out. Mr. Feingold also made the crucial observation that "the president has presented us with a false choice": either "stay the course" or "cut and run." That false choice, in which Mr. Bush pretends that the only alternative to his reckless conduct of the war is Ms. Sheehan's equally apocalyptic retreat, is used to snuff out any legitimate debate. There are in fact plenty of other choices echoing about, from variations on Mr. Feingold's timetable theme to buying off the Sunni insurgents."

"But don't expect any of Mr. Feingold's peers to join him or Mr. Hagel in fashioning an exit strategy that might work. If there's a moment that could stand for the Democrats' irrelevance it came on July 14, the day Americans woke up to learn of the suicide bomber in Baghdad who killed as many as 27 people, nearly all of them children gathered around American troops. In Washington that day, the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a press conference vowing to protect American children from the fantasy violence of video games." [NYT]

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bike-Deep in the Big Muddy

Dowd: "W. has jumped the couch."

"Not fallen off the couch, as he did when he choked on that pretzel. Jumped it. According to UrbanDictionary.com, "jump the couch" has now become slang for "a defining moment when you know someone has gone off the deep end. Inspired by Tom Cruise's recent behavior on 'Oprah.' Also see 'jump the shark.' "

"Dan Froomkin wrote on the Washington Post Web site that many of the reporters "fawned over Bush, following him around in packs every time he moved." W. chatted about sports and the twins, still oblivious to the cultural shift that is turning 2005 into 1968.
As the news correspondent Dan Harris noted on ABC on Wednesday, the mood is much different now from what it was when the Dixie Chicks got pilloried for criticizing the president just before the war began."

"The No. 1 music video requested on MTV is Green Day's antiwar song, "Wake Me Up When September Ends," about the pain of soldiers and their families. On Sunday, Joan Baez sang peace anthems at Camp Casey, including "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" The N.F.L. did not cancel its sponsorship of the Rolling Stones tour, even though the band has a new song critical of Mr. Bush and the war." [NYT]

And yet, the media follows this man around like a pack of lost puppies, hanging on his every mispronounced word. What ever happened to reporting what is going on? Obviously, Bush doesn't care that our men and women are dying in Iraq, or that he hasn't mentioned Osama Bin Laden in over 1,400 days.

You know what, if you voted for this giggling murderer, live with it. For those of us that voted for our best interests, let's work together and find out how to reverse course and take our country back, and make it safe again.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Frederick Miller 1855 Lager

As many of you know, this year is Miller Brewing Co's 150th Birthday! First came the Big Brew-Ha, which I had the pleasure of attending at beautiful Milwaukee's Best Stadium.

In honor of this event, they have created a delicious lager beer called Frederick Miller 1855 Lager. Now, my friends and I have been asking Miller to produce a quality lager beer for quite some time now. The problem is that it is only available if you take the tour.

Please try this delicious Milwaukee beer, and send an e-mail to Miller (click on Ask Miller), urging them to distribute the FM 1855 Lager!

Summer of Our Discontent

Krugman: "For the last few months there has been a running debate about the U.S. economy, more or less like this:

"American families: "We're not doing very well."

"Washington officials: "You're wrong - you're doing great. Here, look at these statistics!"

"You may ask where economic growth is going, if it isn't showing up in wages. That's easy to answer: it's going to corporate profits, to rising health care costs and to a surge in the salaries and other compensation of executives. (Forbes reports that the combined compensation of the chief executives of America's 500 largest companies rose 54 percent last year.)"

"The bottom line, then, is that most Americans have good reason to feel unhappy about the economy, whatever Washington's favorite statistics may say. This is an economic expansion that hasn't trickled down; many people are worse off than they were a year ago. And it will take more than a revamped administration sales pitch to make people feel better." [NYT]

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Journal-Sentinel News Update: 08.25.05

Two of my favorite headlines from today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

"Schools Consider Limiting Recruiters":
"A campaign to give military recruiters a decidedly cooler welcome in Milwaukee high schools and to make parents more aware of their right to keep recruiters at a distance from their children has hit the front burner of the Milwaukee School Board and may bring results as soon as tonight."

"Walker May Cut Health Care For Poor":
"Seven years after Milwaukee County committed to serving the uninsured after closing Doyne Hospital, County Executive Scott Walker is contemplating major cuts in - or elimination of - the county's health care program for the poor, which served 29,000 residents last year."

Bullshit Protector

I think everyone not only in America, but in the World should have a pair of these when Bush comes to visit...or when he is on TV...or...

Vacation from a Vacation

Dowd: "W. vacationed so hard in Texas he got bushed. He needed a vacation from his vacation.
The most rested president in American history headed West yesterday to get away from his Western getaway - and the mushrooming Crawford Woodstock - and spend a couple of days at the Tamarack Resort in the rural Idaho mountains."

"I'm kind of hangin' loose, as they say," he told reporters."

"Gas is guzzling toward $3 a gallon. U.S. troop casualties in Iraq are at their highest levels since the invasion. As Donald Rumsfeld conceded yesterday, "The lethality, however, is up." Afghanistan's getting more dangerous, too. The defense secretary says he's raising troop levels in both places for coming elections."

"Just because the final reason the president came up with for invading Iraq - to create a democracy with freedom of religion and minority rights - has been dashed, why stop relaxing? W. is determined to stay the course on bike trails all over the West."

"This president has never had to pull all-nighters or work very hard, because Daddy's friends always gave him a boost when he flamed out. When was the last time Mr. Bush saw the clock strike midnight? At these prices, though, I guess he can't afford to burn the midnight oil." [NYT]

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Grasping the Depth of Time

Understanding Time and Evolution: "One of the most powerful limits to the human imagination is our inability to grasp, in a truly intuitive way, the depths of terrestrial and cosmological time. That inability is hardly surprising because our own lives are so very short in comparison. It's hard enough to come to terms with the brief scale of human history. But the difficulty of comprehending what time is on an evolutionary scale, I think, is a major impediment to understanding evolution."

"That is a lot to absorb and, not surprisingly, many people refuse to absorb it. Nearly every attack on evolution - whether it is called intelligent design or plain creationism, synonyms for the same faith-based rejection of evolution - ultimately requires a foreshortening of cosmological, geological and biological time."

"Accepting the fact of evolution does not necessarily mean discarding a personal faith in God. But accepting intelligent design means discarding science. Much has been made of a 2004 poll showing that some 45 percent of Americans believe that the Earth - and humans with it - was created as described in the book of Genesis, and within the past 10,000 years. This isn't a triumph of faith. It's a failure of education."

"The purpose of the campaign for intelligent design is to deepen that failure. To present the arguments of intelligent design as part of a debate over evolution is nonsense. From the scientific perspective, there is no debate. But even the illusion of a debate is a sorry victory for antievolutionists, a public relations victory based, as so many have been in recent years, on ignorance and obfuscation."

"The essential, but often well-disguised, purpose of intelligent design, is to preserve the myth of a separate, divine creation for humans in the belief that only that can explain who we are. But there is a destructive hubris, a fearful arrogance, in that myth. It sets us apart from nature, except to dominate it. It misses both the grace and the moral depth of knowing that humans have only the same stake, the same right, in the Earth as every other creature that has ever lived here. There is a righteousness - a responsibility - in the deep, ancestral origins we share with all of life." [NYT]

Truth in Recruiting

Herbert: "So here's a question: Should people who are being recruited into the armed forces be told the truth about the risks they are likely to face if they agree to sign up and put on a uniform?"

"Right now, that is not happening. Recruiters desperate for warm bodies to be shipped to Iraq are prowling selected high schools and neighborhoods across the country with sales pitches that touch on everything but the possibility of being maimed or killed in combat."

"The recruiters themselves are under enormous pressure from higher-ups who are watching crucial components of the all-volunteer military buckle under the strain of a war that was supposed to have been won in a jiffy, but instead just goes on and on."

"But war is not a game. Getting your face blown off is not fun. The fundamental task of the military is to fight and kill the enemies of the United States, and fighting and killing is a grotesquely brutal experience. Potential recruits should be told the truth about what is expected of them, and what the risks are. And they should be told why it's a good idea for them to take those risks. If that results in too few people signing up for the military, the country is left with a couple of other options:

Stop fighting unnecessary wars, or reinstate the draft." [NYT]

Don't Prettify Our History

Krugman: "About the evidence regarding a manual recount: in April 2001 a media consortium led by The Miami Herald assessed how various recounts of "undervotes," which did not register at all, would have affected the outcome. Two out of three hypothetical statewide counts would have given the election to Mr. Gore. The third involved a standard that would have discarded some ballots on which the intended vote was clear. Since Florida law seemed to require counting such ballots, this standard almost certainly wouldn't have been used in a statewide recount."

"Not to be coy: election 2000 may be receding into the past, but the Iraq war isn't. As the truth about the origins of that war comes out, there may be a temptation, once again, to prettify the story. The American people deserve better." [NYT]

This wouldn't even be an issue if people would just stop voting against their best interests. I hate hearing the stories of how a poor worker in the South, barely making minimum wage, voted for Bush because he was "so religious," or he was "going to change the tone in Washington." Yep, he changed the tone alright. And now, over 1,800 of our brave men and women are dead because of it.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Swift-Boating of Cindy Sheehan

Rich: "CINDY SHEEHAN couldn't have picked a more apt date to begin the vigil that ambushed a president: Aug. 6 was the fourth anniversary of that fateful 2001 Crawford vacation day when George W. Bush responded to an intelligence briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" by going fishing. On this Aug. 6 the president was no less determined to shrug off bad news. Though 14 marine reservists had been killed days earlier by a roadside bomb in Haditha, his national radio address that morning made no mention of Iraq. Once again Mr. Bush was in his bubble, ensuring that he wouldn't see Ms. Sheehan coming. So it goes with a president who hasn't foreseen any of the setbacks in the war he fabricated against an enemy who did not attack inside the United States in 2001."

"The backdrops against which Ms. Sheehan stands - both that of Mr. Bush's what-me-worry vacation and that of Iraq itself - are perfectly synergistic with her message of unequal sacrifice and fruitless carnage. Her point would endure even if the messenger were shot by a gun-waving Crawford hothead or she never returned to Texas from her ailing mother's bedside or the president folded the media circus by actually meeting with her."

"THIS summer in Crawford, the White House went to this playbook once too often. When Mr. Bush's motorcade left a grieving mother in the dust to speed on to a fund-raiser, that was one fat-cat party too far. The strategy of fighting a war without shared national sacrifice has at last backfired, just as the strategy of Swift Boating the war's critics has reached its Waterloo before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury in Washington. The 24/7 cable and Web attack dogs can keep on sliming Cindy Sheehan. The president can keep trying to ration the photos of flag-draped caskets. But this White House no longer has any more control over the insurgency at home than it does over the one in Iraq." [NYT]

This arrogant, giggling murderer doesn't care if soldiers die for his lie. And he certainly doesn't care about the families that remain behind in this war. There is no shared-sacrifice with the American people. Yes, we have lost a lot fewer troops in this illegal war than in other wars and conflicts...but does that make it right? We were lied into this war, and now we have no hope of getting out of it anytime soon. Meanwhile, the village idiot remains on vacation.

What They Did Last Fall

Krugman: "By running for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, Florida's former secretary of state, has stirred up some ugly memories. And that's a good thing, because those memories remain relevant. There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn't change the outcome. And the next election may be worse."

"Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation." [NYT]

I think the lids of some of these simmering scandals would come off if the pansy democrats would get off their butts and serve their constituents and their country. I don't care if repugnicans want to call them shrill, or call them worse names...bring these stories to light, and stand up for a nation at war with itself.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Start Making Sense

So, I got the mail the other day, and the GREAT people at Chelsea Green Publishing sent me a new book: Start Making Sense: Turning the Lessons of Election 2004 into Winning Progressive Politics.

Here's what they have to say about it:

"Picking up where George Lakoff left off in Don't Think of an Elephant!, Start Making Sense brings together the best progressive thinkers, critics, and organizers, who offer creative ways to think about organizing, communicating, and investing, in a truly democratic grassroots movement. The book's 42 contributors (among them Arianna Huffington, Howard Dean, Jim Hightower, George Lakoff, Van Jones, Amy Goodman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Frank, and Naomi Klein) deliver concise, frank, and ferociously smart interviews and essays. This book is an essential read for all those who are working to move progressive ideals to the forefront of American political discussion." [ChelseaGreen] {Trackback}

It's next on my reading list. They also give really good suggestions for other reading material for progressives to read.

Blood Runs Red, Not Blue

Herbert, in a VERY powerful article: "You have to wonder whether reality ever comes knocking on George W. Bush's door. If it did, would the president with the unsettling demeanor of a boy king even bother to answer? Mr. Bush is the commander in chief who launched a savage war in Iraq and now spends his days happily riding his bicycle in Texas."

"This is eerie. Scary. Surreal."

"For all the talk of supporting the troops, they are a low priority for most Americans. If the nation really cared, the president would not be frolicking at his ranch for the entire month of August. He'd be back in Washington burning the midnight oil, trying to figure out how to get the troops out of the terrible fix he put them in."

"Instead, Mr. Bush is bicycling as soldiers and marines are dying. Dozens have been killed since he went off on his vacation."

"For the most part, the only people sacrificing for this war are the troops and their families, and very few of them are coming from the privileged economic classes. That's why it's so easy to keep the troops out of sight and out of mind. And it's why, in the third year of a war started by the richest nation on earth, we still get stories like the one in Sunday's Times that began:

"For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents."

"If the war in Iraq is worth fighting - if it's a noble venture, as the hawks insist it is - then it's worth fighting with the children of the privileged classes. They should be added to the combat mix. If it's not worth their blood, then we should bring the other troops home."

"If Mr. Bush's war in Iraq is worth dying for, then the children of the privileged should be doing some of the dying." [NYT]

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Left Behind

Excellent article on the arrogant, lying, bubble-boy, who is fishing and napping in Crawford, TX, instead of caring about those that he sent to die.

"Out of Ireland have we come.
Great hatred, little room,
Maimed us at the start.
I carry from my mother's womb
A fanatic heart." ---Yeats

"And maybe this is the part I find most distancing about my president, not his fanatic heart - the unassailable sense he projects that God is on his side - we all have that. But that he seems to lack anything like real remorse, here in the third August of Iraq, in the fourth August of Afghanistan, in the fifth August of his presidency - for all of the intemperate speech, for the weapons of mass destruction that were not there, the "Mission Accomplished" that really wasn't, for the funerals he will not attend, the mothers of the dead he will not speak to, the bodies of the dead we are not allowed to see and all of the soldiers and civilians whose lives have been irretrievably lost or irreparably changed by his (and our) "Bring it On" bravado in a world made more perilous by such pronouncements." [NYT]

Biking Toward Nowhere

Dowd: "I'm determined that life goes on," Mr. Bush said stubbornly."

"That wasn't the son, believe it or not. It was the father - 15 years ago. I was in Kennebunkport then to cover the first President Bush's frenetic attempts to relax while reporters were pressing him about how he could be taking a month to play around when he had started sending American troops to the Persian Gulf only three days before."

"On Saturday, the current President Bush was pressed about how he could be taking five weeks to ride bikes and nap and fish and clear brush even though his occupation of Iraq had become a fiasco. "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life," W. said, "to keep a balanced life."
"Pressed about how he could ride his bike while refusing to see a grieving mom of a dead soldier who's camped outside his ranch, he added: "So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."

"At long last, a senior Bush official admits that administration officials can no longer cling to their own version of reality. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning," the official told The Washington Post. They had better start absorbing and shedding a lot faster, before many more American kids die to create a pawn of Iran. And they had better tell the Boy in the Bubble, who continues to dwell in delusion, hailing the fights and delays on the Iraqi constitution as "a tribute to democracy."

"The president's pedaling as fast as he can, but he's going nowhere." [NYT]

Monday, August 15, 2005


Rich: "A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968. (The two presidents' overall approval ratings have also converged: 41 percent for Johnson then, 42 percent for Bush now.) On March 31, 1968, as L.B.J.'s ratings plummeted further, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election, commencing our long extrication from that quagmire."

"But our current Texas president has even outdone his predecessor; Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army. Neither bonuses nor fudged standards nor the faking of high school diplomas has solved the recruitment shortfall. Now Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout "don't ask, don't tell" and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press."

"Thus the president's claim on Thursday that "no decision has been made yet" about withdrawing troops from Iraq can be taken exactly as seriously as the vice president's preceding fantasy that the insurgency is in its "last throes." The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month." [NYT]

This comes after this gem of an article from the Washington Post stating that the Administration has lowered expectations on what can be achieved in Iraq. Thanks for clearing that up for us...I think we were all under the impression that we were winning the "hearts and minds" of the people. Oh, that's just what the media wants us to believe. This shows only what has been reported for Iraqi civilian casualties; or the hundreds of billions in borrowed money the war has cost.

From one soldier: "Hospital Visit: One day a nurse came in to ask Rodgers if he wanted to meet President Bush, who was visiting the hospital. Rodgers declined. "I don't want anything to do with him," he explains. "My belief is that his ego is getting people killed and mutilated for no reason -- just his ego and his reputation. If we really wanted to, we could pull out of Iraq. Maybe not completely, but enough that we wouldn't be losing people -- at least not at this rate. So I think he himself is responsible for quite a few American deaths."

Lives Blown Apart

Herbert: "When you talk to close relatives of men and women who have been wounded in the war, it's impossible not to notice the strain that is always evident in their faces. Their immediate concern is with the wounded soldier or marine. But just behind that immediate concern, in most cases, is the frightening awareness that they have to try and rebuild a way of life that was also blown apart when their loved one was wounded."

"There is nothing unusual about Ms. Olson's situation. Families forced to absorb the blow of a loved one getting wounded frequently watch other pillars of their lives topple like dominoes. What is unusual with regard to this war is the absence of a sense of shared sacrifice. While families like Ms. Olson's are losing almost everything, most of us are making no sacrifice at all." [NYT]

Krugman: "In addition to misrepresenting his goals, Mr. Bush repeatedly lied about the current system. Oh, I'm sorry - was that a rude thing to say? Still, the fact is that Mr. Bush repeatedly said things that were demonstrably false and that his staff must have known were false. The falsehoods ranged from his claim that Social Security is unfair to African-Americans to his claim that "waiting just one year adds $600 billion to the cost of fixing Social Security."

"The other is that the public's visceral rejection of privatization, together with growing dismay over the debacle in Iraq, offers Democrats an opportunity to make an issue of the administration's pattern of deception. The question is whether they will dare to seize that opportunity, when for some of them it means admitting that they, too, were fooled." [NYT]

Thursday, August 11, 2005

No End in Sight

Herbert: "The president is on vacation. He's down at the ranch riding his bicycle and clearing brush. The death toll for Americans has streaked past the 1,800 mark. The Iraqi dead are counted by the tens of thousands. But if Mr. Bush has experienced any regret about the carnage he set in motion when he launched the war, he's not showing it."

"George W. Bush has no strategy, no real plan, for winning the war in Iraq. So we're stuck in a murderous quagmire without even the suggestion of an end in sight."

"The president, ensconced in a long vacation, exemplifies the vacuum of leadership on this crucial issue, which demands nothing less than the sustained attention of the wisest men and women the U.S. has to offer. They could be politicians, academics, civic or religious leaders, corporate executives - whoever. The longer they remain on the sidelines, the longer the carnage in Iraq will continue." [NYT]

We went in without a strategy or a plan...now, over 2,100 coalition soldiers (1,835 US soldiers) have paid the ultimate price. The families of these brave individuals just want to believe that their deaths had a reason, a purpose...a greater good. Which leads me to:

Cindy Watch: Day 6. Cindy Sheehan: "The President says he feels compassion for me, but the best way to show that compassion is by meeting with me and the other mothers and families who are here. Our sons made the ultimate sacrifice and we want answers. All we're asking is that he sacrifice an hour out of his five-week vacation to talk to us, before the next mother loses her son in Iraq. He says he is spreading peace. How can you spread peace by killing people?" [MediaMatters] [TruthOut1] [TruthOut2] [PNIOnline] [Buzzflash]

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Anti-Humanitarian

MoDo the Dragon Lady Returns: "Cindy Sheehan, a 48-year-old Californian with a knack for P.R., says she will camp out in the dusty heat near the ranch until she gets to tell Mr. Bush face to face that he must pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq. Her son, Casey, a 24-year-old Army specialist, was killed in a Sadr City ambush last year."

"It's getting harder for the president to hide from the human consequences of his actions and to control human sentiment about the war by pulling a curtain over the 1,835 troops killed in Iraq; the more than 13,000 wounded, many shorn of limbs; and the number of slain Iraqi civilians - perhaps 25,000, or perhaps double or triple that. More people with impeccable credentials are coming forward to serve as a countervailing moral authority to challenge Mr. Bush." [NYT]

Herbert: "Specialist Craig Peter Olander Jr. has the look of a mischievous kid, except that his eyes sometimes telegraph that they've seen too much. And there's a weariness that tends to slip into his voice that seems unusual for someone just 21 years old. Killing can do that to a person." [NYT]

These articles are both excellent looks into what the war is REALLY costing us. It's more than just a poll number, or a number that we (rarely) hear on the news, it's the HUMAN cost of the war...2,100 coalition soldiers dead...15,000 US soldiers severely wounded...over 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Design for Confusion

Krugman (8-5): "The most spectacular example is the campaign to discredit research on global warming. Despite an overwhelming scientific consensus, many people have the impression that the issue is still unresolved. This impression reflects the assiduous work of conservative think tanks, which produce and promote skeptical reports that look like peer-reviewed research, but aren't. And behind it all lies lavish financing from the energy industry, especially ExxonMobil."

"There are several reasons why fake research is so effective. One is that nonscientists sometimes find it hard to tell the difference between research and advocacy - if it's got numbers and charts in it, doesn't that make it science?"

"Which brings us, finally, to intelligent design. Some of America's most powerful politicians have a deep hatred for Darwinism. Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, blamed the theory of evolution for the Columbine school shootings. But sheer political power hasn't been enough to get creationism into the school curriculum. The theory of evolution has overwhelming scientific support, and the country isn't ready - yet - to teach religious doctrine in public schools."

"The important thing to remember is that like supply-side economics or global-warming skepticism, intelligent design doesn't have to attract significant support from actual researchers to be effective. All it has to do is create confusion, to make it seem as if there really is a controversy about the validity of evolutionary theory. That, together with the political muscle of the religious right, may be enough to start a process that ends with banishing Darwin from the classroom." [NYT]

Thursday, August 04, 2005

CNN Suspends Novak

Novak swears and storms off the set. "I was just listening to CNN and Novak is blathering about Katherine Harris running for senate - James Carville said something about how Novak was posturing to look tough for the right, and Novak got really blustery and said - "I think that's bullshit. Change the subject." Very quickly, the subject moved on. It looked like Novak was ready to bolt from his chair just before he said it was bullshit. Swearing on the air! The FCC better get all over this." [DailyKos] [Yahoo]

Why this buffoon is even on the air is a crime. This jerk should be in jail. Novak proves yet again why he is a partisan hack, a hypocrite, and that he was indeed involved in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

From the Daily Show, 8/3/05: "Jon Stewart goes after the energy bill..."Oh, Oil!! Giver of power, corrupter of governments, non-sticker of surfaces...Must you taunt us with your slick, non-renewable goodness?
Yes, energy is clearly an important topic with Americans. That's why, before going on recess, Congress broke a 4-year impasse by approving a massive energy bill. And while it did nothing to address our dependence on foreign oil, or fuel efficiency, or in any way simplify the strategic nature of our relationship with the Middle East, it does give oil and gas industries 500 million dollars for research and 2.7 billion dollars in tax breaks, even though a company like Exxon-Mobil made 7.6 billion dollars in pure profit just this last quarter...

Now, you might find the idea of the government using billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the oil companies as the antithesis of private, free-market capitalism. You are wrong...

Clip of Republican Representative Joe Barton of Texas: "This bill is based on the premise that we believe in private, free-market capitalism to develop the resources of this land in a cost-efficient manner."

Oh my God we have a winner! Congratulations, Rep. Joe Barton, you have achieved a lie-to-word ratio of one-to-one!"

P.S. Before cutting to commercials, they played this 1-to-1 lie-to-word ratio'd goodie from George W. Bush's 2005 State of the Union address: "America's prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government. I welcome the bipartisan enthusiasm for spending discipline." [DailyKos]

Forget the War?

Herbert: "On CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, there was a discussion of "Iraq fatigue," the idea that viewers, readers and editors are tiring of stories about the war and the number of deaths. But despite the fatigue, the war continues to force itself on us, with jolting developments like this week's terrible death toll for American marines."

"These are the kinds of sacrifices some Americans are making because of the war. If we're already sick of hearing about the troops getting killed, there's not much hope left for increased attention to those who are wounded." [NYT]

Guns in the parking lot: "Fresh from its victory last week, when a timorous Senate voted to protect the gun industry from damage suits, the National Rifle Association is now urging a boycott of a major energy company, ConocoPhillips, that dares to protect its employees from gunplay in the workplace. With a sense of civics worthy of the O.K. Corral, the N.R.A. announced a national campaign, replete with billboards, to urge gun lovers to bypass Conoco and Phillips 66 gasoline stations until the company drops its ban on employees' keeping firearms in company parking lots." [NYT]

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Out of the Office

Talk about vacation: "The August getaway is Bush's 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and Tuesday was the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford -- roughly 20 percent of his presidency to date, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS Radio reporter known for keeping better records of the president's travel than the White House itself. Weekends and holidays at Camp David or at his parents' compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, bump up the proportion of Bush's time away from Washington even further."

"Until now, probably no modern president was a more famous vacationer than Ronald Reagan, who loved spending time at his ranch in Santa Barbara, Calif. According to an Associated Press count, Reagan spent all or part of 335 days in Santa Barbara over his eight-year presidency -- a total that Bush will surpass this month in Crawford with 3 1/2 years left in his second term." [Post]

This is the same guy that takes off two hours every afternoon to "work out." This is the same guy that goes to bed at 8:30 PM every night. Now, he's going to take off another five weeks to spend at his fake ranch in Texas. He's been on vacation for over 20% of his presidency, and he's got 3 1/2 years left! *Shudder* Most Americans are lucky to get two weeks a year; this president takes five weeks at a time.

All this coming after we lost 21 Marines in 24 hours [USAT] , and Karl Rove is still not in jail (or in the headlines). We've now lost over 1,800 soldiers, and he's taking another five week vacation. Yee Haw!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Analyzing the Daily Show

As you have probably guessed, I am a regular viewer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I found these excellent posts about a research project involving this program, and how people get their news.

Not surprisingly, many Americans--particularly younger ones--use political comedy shows such as TDS to get political news and that those who watch TDS appear to be better informed than those who do not, all else being equal.

I find it completely hilarious that more young people get their news from watching a "fake news" program than by watching actual news. Of course, if you live here in the Milwaukee area, the local news is well...CRAP.

Special thanks to Public Brewery and Brewtown Politico for this most excellent post.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Triumph of the Machine

Krugman: "The campaign for Social Security privatization has degenerated into farce. The "global war on terrorism" has been downgraded to the "global struggle against violent extremism" (pronounced gee-save), which is just embarrassing. Baghdad is a nightmare, Basra is a militia-run theocracy, and officials are talking about withdrawing troops from Iraq next year (just in time for the U.S. midterm elections)."

"In fact, you can argue that the administration does a bad job at governing in part because its highest priority is always to reward its friends. Most notably, the Iraq venture would have had a better chance of succeeding if cronyism and corruption hadn't undermined reconstruction."

"Still, Republicans should feel good. Those legislative successes show that the political machine can still deliver the goods, even at a time when a majority of Americans disapprove of Mr. Bush's leadership and believe that his administration deliberately misled us into war." [NYT]

Everything that this administration has done has been done to reward their rich friends. Let's loosen all regulation on business AND stop taxing them! Let's let them destroy our environment, AND make a killing doing it. Let's let them destroy the soul of our nation by allowing torture, AND let them get away with it.

Herbert: "You won't find many people willing to accuse John McCain, John Warner or Lindsey Graham of being soft on terrorism. But the three Republican senators are giving the White House fits with their attempt to get legislation approved that would expressly prohibit cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody."

"There was a dramatic encounter during the floor debate last week when Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, spoke out against the legislation, saying there was no need for it because, as he put it, the detainees are not prisoners of war, "they are terrorists."

Senator McCain, of Arizona, argued that the debate "is not about who they are. It's about who we are." Americans, said Mr. McCain, "hold ourselves" to a higher standard." [NYT]

Is the entire GOP pro-torture? Bravo to these three that served their country honorably, and are now trying to stop us from denegrating into something we once loathed.