Monday, November 30, 2009

Looking for something too normal in the paranormal

SCIfake has some footage from an old episode of Ghost Hunters calling into question a presumed paranormal event. You may know the story about Race Rock Lighthouse, and the chair that moved across a room. Groups like SAPS have looked at the idea and video and put forward ideas on how it could be faked. And there seem to be a number of approaches.

SCifake has a new vid. It looks at the movement of lights, and sound, and offers a perspective. Jason Hawes, founder of Ghost Hunters, has gone on to counter, particularly the claim their is more evidence that makes it blatantly clear it is all fake. He is right that we can only be sure if we see that evidence. He has a version of events that claims it is all innocent and true. This vid is another view, but is hampered by the reality of modern TV paranormal work, a world of grainy darkness. It is just hard to make things out. Without clear cut evidence, it is just opinion. It is more likely to not be real, an anomaly or cheat, but with the video we have now we can't say for sure.

Have a look at the video and see if you agree with the analysis.

Sometimes it can be hard to be liberal

As a liberal and a skeptic you run into many silly ideas. Just read Huffington Post.

But one really troubling area is with food. Have a way to feed people better in places that it is hard to grow food? Great! We have genetically modified this wheat. WHAT! Genetic! That's poison! We have a great method to improve food safety. Wow! We need that!

Now there's lab created meat. Or vat grown meat. If you can't stand the thought of the way cows or chickens are treated in meat production, this seems like a great way to still create a food source. But I have heard, again, some liberals get freaked out. Listen, this is still being experimented on. We are still a bit away from anyone tasting, or selling this. But first reaction seems negative. There is just a fear of things that are "unnatural". Maybe we will find more positive reactions down the line, as more info comes out. Personally, I am leery, but that is because I am particular about my meat. If it tastes good it will be different. But I love a good steak, roast chicken, and cured ham.

Here is a great bit of comedy from the fun new series Better Off Ted discussing growing meat. (Though some may remember an earlier episode of the series Eureka that dealt with chicken breast being grown.)

Back to point. There is just too much fear of science. Which is why we need to be more open and active. Conspiracy theorist, woo peddlers, and alt med promoters need challenging in progressive politics. We are seeing many of these people impacted policy and law, like Harkin with promoting alt med, and Kerry and Kennedy helping Hatch get prayer treatment covered. Get active!

Being pissed at Obama

As I have stated before, I have trouble with the stands, absence of stands, and just lolly gagging of the president at times. I am not satisfied.

Slate has a story that wants to praise him. AMERICAblog wanted to know if you agreed.

Obama has wisely deferred some smaller, politically hazardous battles over issues such as closing Guantanamo, ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and fighting the expansion of Israel's West Bank settlements. Instead, he has saved his fire for his most urgent priorities—preventing a depression, remaking America's global image, and winning universal health insurance. Chow time indeed, if you ask me.

No, and yes. You see I have to be realistic. I am very unsatisfied, but I know that all things are not possible, particularly in party without purity tests, larger tents, and at least a hope of open dialogue. So I try to be somewhat conciliatory. BUT... The president may yet get a bill passed on health care reform. And as I have said before their is a certain love of this idea. A bill. Or, any bill. If a bill passes, and it is about reform, you have success. Will it be universal? How many will have access? How soon will help come? Those on the outside, will they be made to pay by insurers? Is just passing a bill enough?

But noted in the article, and generally forgotten, the stimulus helped stem the worse, investment in banks (as badly done as it has been) helped prop up our system...for now. Was it enough? No. More control and more demands for real reform and responsibility in banking was needed. More money towards stimulus was needed (And we are still awaiting a second go as some promised...How long should I hold my breath on that?). But good was done. Utter disaster was prevented. Unemployment is horrible right now. But it could have been far worse. We should not forget this.

Also or image abroad has changed a good deal. But we still are doing things today that bothered before. The secret prisons are still out there. Or deals with devils are there. And we still strike into countries without even blushing or giving a shy backwards glance. The new car smell doesn't last forever.

I appreciate what has been done. But why should that be enough. I want more. I'm a greedy bastard.

Politco also looks at the president. They see seven dangerous stories that could be cemented around the president. As AMERICAblog notes, these are just memes. It would be nice if the media resists embracing memes...but they go to them like cats to catnip.

Let's look at these memes. First one, he thinks he's using Monopoly money. Tax and spend liberals. How is he even suppose to avoid this? If you don't have an R behind your name, you are tarred with this. Polls show that people are already inclined to see him in this light among conservatives. It is a no win. Embrace going cheap on reform, stimulus, and advancing national interests and you still get treated as if you blew the national budget on magic beans. Of course, Politico thinks the answer is to try and be more responsible, and that this is why polls and independent support is down. Not the attacks, smears, and fear tactics? Media help there would have been nice. But, as AMERICAblog notes, where was the White House, explaining why and where stimulus and bailouts were going, doing, and meaning. We've needed more of this.

Second, too much Leonard Nimoy? Too much abstraction. What would be nice is more connection on issues. I like a thoughtful and analytical leader. But he is in politics and it does rub some the wrong way.

Third, he's doing things the Chicago way...Really? When? I mean. They have shoved liberals, grassroots sorts, and other progressives. But where has this been in policy? And he buys people off? He makes deals, like every president. This meme is only taking hold among people who would spend a three day weekend in line to get an autographed Sarah Palin bio. When they call into a radio show is the only time you hear this mentioned.

Fourth, he's weak. Odd, following the last point, but memes can be funny that way. But his seemingly unwillingness to fight for many progressive causes is building some concern. No backing for NARAL, no real stand for gay rights, no real solid stands on health care reform. It is spectacularly unimpressive. But if it got solid results great. But what seems to be coming of these results?

Fifth, he's beholden to the UN. Please. This is on par with the Chicago method talk. This is the gossip exclusively of the Sarah Palin/Alex Jones/Lou Dobbs/Glen Beck fringe of society. And they need to help to embrace this and other ideas...They just know it.

Sixth, Pelosi is in charge. Who even thinks this? And if it is a matter of the House leading the way to some change...and? This is more about the evil hag image that is cultivated by conservatives and their friends, and those that just like to mock a guy that might be rivaled by a woman. The only way he'd be worried, or the media would get excited about the story is if she might run for the presidency. She isn't going to do that. I'd be worried if he was pushing ahead with a grand progressive list of programs and she could block him. He isn't

Finally, he loves himself. It is mostly crap. If the president is not out and talking, he's hiding from questions. He comes out to talk, he's overexposed and not working. Another no win in the media. One way it is a concern is in how he and the White House do there work from here on out. Are they more concerned about looking above it all? Do they want to be seen firstly as bipartisan, or nonpartisan.

And as AMERICAblog notes, they risk being a group that thinks they are the smartest kids in class, and you should just go away and have a juice box while they work. That would not be good. There was a brain trust with Kennedy and Johnson that just dug themselves a huge hole in Vietnam. Worth remembering.

Planet Hulk

I just learned that next February they are releasing a new Marvel animated DVD detailing the adventures of the Hulk chronicled in the Planet Hulk storyline. IN essence he got tricked and exiled by his friends. They sent him to an isolated and quiet planet, but he goes off course, ending up on a SciFi/Fantasy blend world. Weakened at first he is taken as a slave and gladiator. Hulk does like it when you treat him wrong...

The DVD looks to do a pretty good job retelling the rise of the Hulk.

What about transparency?

Obama made promises about increased transparency during the campaign and has not been as quick as liked to engage in it in many areas. And many of us are not happy with this. But the Reps have worked hard to just harp on this. When the Stimulus Bill was on the floor Rep. Boehner just pitched a fit over the bill not being online and available long enough (even taking the bill and slamming it on the floor like a whiny 5 year old). Then with health care they have done the same, even as the bill was online and available to be reviewed.

But now that transparency is not in there's different.

...Republicans shot down an effort today by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) to post proposed amendments to the health care reform bill online for before a vote. That would effect how many amendments the GOP could offer in hopes of gumming up the works, so they refused to go along. ...

Planes, Trains, and...oh, no trains?

TPM looks at the Center for Public Integrity work on a project to show the affect of the lobbying over the new rail projects across the U.S.
...The danger, as they see it, is that lobbying cash and congressional barons will ensure that the money is divvied out into so many different places and on to so many different projects that nothing of any real consequence -- in terms of technology or transformative infrastructure will end up getting done at all.

You know I am a realist and know deals are made and it is part and parcel of politics. But at this point with the troubles and the need to get so many of these projects going and done...we really need to cut this crap.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving posts and flying turkeys

A couple of good posts on this day.

TPM: Top 10 Wild And Wacky Political Voices -- For Whom We're All Very Thankful. From Palin to Foxx.

Crooks and Liars: The Turkeys of Thanksgiving Future: What would a President Palin turkey pardon look like?


"As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

Thanksgiving Traditions

I hope everyone is having a pleasant Thanksgiving Day (in the U.S. For some reason the rest of the world doesn't want to celebrate or holiday as set by down by our presidents...I mean, don't we all celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in the U.S.? Or all of the Dias del los Muertos?).

Juan Cole has done a bit of digging into the origins and traditions of this day. Classic Americana.
When we used to do Thanksgiving as cross-dressing and insulting authority...

... Thanksgiving in the nineteenth century in some parts of the country was a combination of Eddie Izzard (cross-dressing), Lady Gaga (wild costumes and breaking conventions)...
Now doesn't that sound like being worth a gander? The tale of old school all American revelry.

Where will the reform bills take us?

TPM has another look at analysis of where meager half-assed reform may take us...Will it just be a place for insurers to dump the sick?

Catholic Church, always doing the lord's work

Crooks and Liars has an interesting look at the trouble that Catholics have had in politics due to perceptions that they were not loyal first to the Constitution. And also how Bishop Tobin, as he does his media charm offensive, is just making those old fears seem strangely prescient. Bishops trying to give walking orders to legislators is just not a good look with a cassock. Catholic politicians have come a long way to the point of the 3 Kennedy brothers, among others. He seems fine to play a part in being the caricature now.

Also of note are the large amounts of monetary support the Church is giving...survivors of pedophilia?...oh, no, to campaigns against same-sex marriage. This is the Church that is shutting down parishes. This is the Church that often claims poverty when victims of it appear, or challenge them in court, or when, in one example, a woman has a child with a priest and needs help and the church just doesn't have the funds (but does have real estate, nice clothes, cars, nice watches, etc, etc.).


See how far the Church reaches, with compassion, to defend marriage? See the ends they go for there brethren? See how far they reach for harmed or endangered children?

TV: About the Gays

Ah, the liberal media.

Now apparently we just had one of those awards shows on the TV, this one for music. Who care. I don't. But as part of them you get to see some of the top artist do what they do best (in theory). Among those that performed at this particular awards show was one Adam Lambert (formerly of American Idol). I am guessing his career is going well, and this was a chance to show his craft.

Good for him. Bad for him though is the fact that he apparently, as part of the show showed affection to others on stage. That's not new, but it was...another man. That is beyond the pale. Remember Madonna and Britney Spears kissing? Remember the horror? Remember it being blotted from memory and records? No? Seen it on TV or in a magazine some time, or numerous times since?

Guess what, it isn't the same here. No. A dude kissed another dude. That breaks dude law, totally. So what happen...beyond the disgust at all the dirtiness.

ABC's morning show had Lambert booked to come on and play. Guess who was no longer welcome at ABC?

But then CBS snatched him up for there morning show. Guess what they did, as a bold progressive voice? They blurred the image of the kiss. But it is a morning show, they were careful...oh, they showed the Madonna/Spears kiss without a second thought, unedited?


What's the message there?

Seeing as I'm cheezed at the prez

So back to the half measure Obama has seemed to take so far.

What are we getting out of the White House...

But first let me stress that, yes, we are not a year in yet. No, I don't expect the moon, nor a unicorn for Christmas. But things were said last year, speeches were made, and a lot of talk about hope and making tough decision and being committed. Where the fuck has this taken up so far? Where is his campaign trail passion and fire?

AMERICAblog notes what I was saying, he seems to be all about the compromise.
...A lot of the criticism of this president has been over his willingness to cave on a promise at the drop of a hat, even when he holds some pretty damn good cards....
Why does he seem so adverse to political risk? He seemed eager to face it last year.

Look at health care reform. They don't want it to be messy. They sit on there hands for months. Only when things are about to fall apart and say...something. They say don't care about a public option, then say it is valuable, then say it is not important, then say it isn't key, then say...I am not sure where the White House is standing now.

Then there is the attitude that seems to permeate much of the White Houses actions, and what Dem leadership is saying. They seem quite adept at telling bloggers, grass root types, legislators, and other eager liberals to just go and shut it. Go after teabaggers, shut it. Criticize Lieberman, shut it. Put out ads to try and push blue dogs on health care, shut it.

This has actually been position of the Obama team since last year, if you remember. But it didn't keep any of us quiet. And it seems they still do not want the additional rhetoric, nor do they wish to acknowledge any of the impact it has had. Impact on the media discourse, and, of course, as pressure on him to take stands, speak up, or not think he is working carte blanche.

Look how at how many of the supporting groups from last year have been treated.
...Women are pissed because the White House didn't seem very worried about throwing them overboard in the health care reform bill. Gays are pissed for about 40 reasons, including the President's defense of anti-gay laws in court (and his lawyers' unfortunate comparison of gay marriage to incest and pedophilia - oops). Civil Libertarians are ticked that he flip-flopped on his support for domestic spying. Health care advocates are outraged that President Obama seems to have forgotten all the health care promises that Candidate Obama made. Everyone is ticked about the genuflecting to Wall Street that seems to take place on a daily basis. And so on. ...
Before Stupak got placed in the House Health Care bill, the White House assured NARAL that it would keep reproductive rights protected, if they would not cause trouble during the creation of the bill. NARAL agreed, kept its people out of the way. And look what we got. Where was the White House? Did the Prime Directive suddenly come into play and they needed to just not interfere?

And now we seem to be sending 30,000 to 36,000 additional forces into Afghanistan. Slightly less than what was asked for, but not a withdrawal either.

What does this mean? Interesting question. If it falls to pattern so far. We are sending them in as being enough to complete the plan that the 40,000 (originally 80,000) were wanted for. Namely to seed them in the mountain region in isolated groups to fight. A crappy plan.

But perhaps, they have a new innovative plan that needs fewer and pushes this conflict towards some resolution. That would be nice. Because up to this point, over the past several years we have had jack shit for a plan. Fight the Taliban. Fight the terrorist. Secure the capitol. Build roads. Destroy opium fields. Send drones into Pakistan. Do you see a problem here? Where is the end goal? How long did the Soviets do much of this before packing it in? Why? They were trying to hold and subjugate, and it didn't stick. We are trying the same, with a nicer face. We need a newer, realer, plan now. Because now we are just throwing Americans into harms way for little real return.

So I await Obama's speech next week. What will it be? A plan? Because I don't fucking need a lofty speech about our international aspirations and hopes. No soaring rhetoric about a commitment, expect towards a real ends. I need to now what we are going to do to resolve are involvement over there. No more just cutting down the middle commit to a result and accept the risk of not being lauded for it. I need some fucking leadership to start emanating from the White House. Take some stands. Engage supporters, the country.

I don't consider myself much of an idealist. I am a pessimistic bastard. But what are the White Houses goals for the first term? Get a second one?

And media joins in...

IN an earlier post I noted Limbaugh and Beck were eager to go after Sen. Landrieu as a hooker for making a deal for Louisiana to ensure her vote. It was cheap, and completely predictable from those two.

But wait, now the media wants in to. Not the radio side chat lot, but the legit know, the one that bloggers are too far beneath and so much more immature then.

Mark Halperin of Time magazine on his The Page blog at Time, a picture of Landrieu with her hair stuck up in the air akin to a well known image of Cameron Diaz in the movie There's Something About Mary. In the film the hair is at an odd angle due to accidentally getting semen in her hair. It is a cheap, but well remembered joke from the movie, and Halperin applying now, while discussing her dealing over her vote seems to dovetail quite nicely into the Beck and Limbaugh sensibilities.

It's cheap, ill thought, and really reminds one of all the crappy analysis and digs he has been taking for the past few years. He feels more symptomatic than accidental.

Look at the attitude he strikes when sitting around on set with Joe Scarborough. His and Joe's analysis of the president come down to this...he's acting too liberal. He's all so polarizing. That's right, too liberal. How many liberals do they actually think that he's been remotely liberal in his work this year? Apparently compromising is too liberal. Doing stimulus as a half measure is liberal, not fighting to get even a public option is liberal, and sending additional forces to Afghanistan is just liberal. Apparently Obama is forcing Reps to demagogue. This is his analysis. This is the analysis I expect from Charles Krauthammer or William Kristol, not an actual serious journalist.

Pathetic all around, Halperin.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So it is okay for Limbaugh to say this stuff?

Limbaugh loves the inflammatory comments. Like his latest, quipping that soldiers at West Point could detain Obama when he goes to speak next week. Charming. But he keeps making these comments.

As a matter of free speech he can say what he wants and be the desiccated shriveled bit he is deep down inside. But isn't he still carried on Armed Forces Radio to this day? How are his constant attacks, denouncements, and now suggestions of a Seven Days in May type coup acceptable? (And it is hard to see if he, Beck, or Palin see themselves in the Burt Lancaster role.)

Is he still on that radio service? If he is, he needs to be off it now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

150 years

It is time for another anniversary.

It's been 150 years since the publishing of Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.

Here are some looks at what happen today.

Snarky Trek Video Reviews

SF Debris has some snarky and fun looks at the range of Star Trek that has come out. Some are textual and others are video reviews.

Here is a taste of some of them.

Star Trek
Space Seed

The Wrath of Khan - Part 1

The Wrath of Khan - Part 2

The Wrath of Khan - Part 3

The Wrath of Khan - Part 4

The Next Generation
The Outrageous Okona - Part 1

The Outrageous Okona - Part 2

Deep Space Nine
In the Pale Moonlight


The Caretaker - Part 1

The Caretaker - Part 2

Shuttlepod One

CNN wishes to welcome the Republican overlords.

If you keep an eye on the media and/or the RNC you will have heard about the upheaval in the RNC. Particularly in their communications teams, where the Senior Communications Advisor has left. Well in the wake of this event they have called up one Alex Castellanos to take on the role. You may remember him as a regular mouthpiece on CNN throughout the day. He is a Republican mouthpiece, as well as he works with the Chamber of Commerce and the Health Insurance Plans. In all three roles he is called on or paid to attack the presidents agenda, particularly health care.

But now that he is with the RNC, he is leaving CNN. I mean, he is an active official higher up operative of the core of one of this nation's two main political parties. If anything that is a line that can't be crossed and still serve as a constant, and generally unquestioned, voice on CNN. Right? NO. So CNN wants the talk radio people off, except when they do, to get in some more thoughtful conversations, and independent analysis, like with communications advisor for the RNC, or Orly Tates. Great.

So, yes, CNN only wishes to welcome their new overlords.

On the treatment of women

FOX News and the rest of the conservative mouths have been trying, since the entrance of Palin on to the national stage, to sell the idea that liberals are mean to, and just don't care for, women.

Laughable, yes. But they have also been trying to claim they are the defender of current social programs, civil rights, and actually the one that passed the Civil Rights Act (arm in arm with Martin Luther King, Jr,).

So when they see Palin facing criticism they scream. It's unfair to say she is not qualified, not intellectually engaged, or or acts vapid. Why not? We mostly said the same of the last president as we saw he swagger around, make stupid comments, and just seem board with his job too often.

Now to be fair there is unfair treatment. Mocking her looks is cheap. And the way Ann Coulter is gone after for ridiculous allegations that she is not a women. It is stupid, insulting, and beneath anyone who wants to claim they are in the process of making serious arguments. The same with Limbaugh a cracks at his enormous gut. They all have so much wrong with their ideas, words, and actions. It would take lifetime to go through a critique of just their personal attitudes and claims. But it is easy to just make mockery of the other sort. And I see plenty of that online, and sometimes in the media. Olbermann had a bad habit of making comments about women's looks, but I think I have not heard him dip into that depth in awhile.

But as the link above points to, you can see all the nastiness FOX throws at women that are Dems.

And just recently Limbaugh and Beck have found a new one. Calling a female senator who deals to get support for her state a hooker. Classy Beck. Lieberman is blocking reform for all the money being passed straight to him, not his state. Yet he is not going to be tarred with this epitaph, is he? Certainly not in any media stop on any network where he makes his obstructionist arguments.

Palin is challenged over her seriousness, and she quits jobs, does some social networking, and tours with a book that's 90% vindictiveness. Her acts day after day speak volumes. Senator from LA does as legislators do (for good or ill) and get aid for her state's citizens, and that is a unique and shocking act of prostitution. Tell me what, Beck. How about the Reps that added money for their communities in the Stimulus Bill or in Health Care (Like Orrin Hatch and the money that is going to go to the Christian Scientist), and then vote against it. What's that make them?

What's that make them, Beck?

The Bachmann scrapbook

This week Michele Bachmann R-MN has been just crestfallen at the fact that us Dems just don't seem to love her. She doesn't get why. I mean, she was once a Dem to. She voted and worked on the first Carter campaign for president. And she hasn't change...

Anyone buying this crap from her? No?

Well, in case you do see her as a possible sympathetic figure who, gosh, is just trying to do her work, TPM has collage of imagery and events to remind us all just who the heck she actually is.


What we can do to help, BEFORE Thanksgiving gets here.

A sobering, but a quite good idea for what we can do to help people in these very rough economical times. Be sure to find a way to help.

From Crooks and Liars:

My landlady told me a few days ago how surprised she was to hear an interview on the local NPR station with two families from our neighborhood, who were some of the 100 local families using a local church's food bank. When I saw her the next day, she said she'd mentioned the story to a friend who belongs to that church, and the friend told her the story was wrong: There are actually 200 families using the food bank.

I'm going to go through my cabinets and see what I can spare. In the meantime, I thought I'd remind readers how many of our neighbors are struggling through these desperate times. If you can still afford to give anything, please go through your cupboards and donate this week to your local food bank.

They has a list of links to get more information at the link. Check them out and find out places near you that need help, food, or other resources as Thanksgiving comes.

Born Again Fiscal Conservatives

I am conflicted. I am annoyed at all these conservatives that were happy to spend and spend on wars and give out all sorts of tax cuts to the wealthy for a decade. But now they decry costs and debt in a Democratic administration. Now it is bad. But on the other hand we have chances to call them on it and see them twist, or try to scurry for cover.

See the video on Crooks and Liars, as Joe Conason catches Joe Scarborough, over his support of the trillions spent on war in Iraq, accompanied by numerous tax cuts shrinking American coffers. He looses it.

Impact of reform

TPM has looked at ways to study the impact of the reform bills.

HHS has some reports ready on state-by-state analysis.


Are they thinking about electoral power?

TPM has noted that Lou Dobbs is actually thinking about standing for office. That sounds great...will he be on the Teabag ticket or the Fence Building one.

But is he alone? Look at Beck this weekend. At a rally he proclaimed that he had a 100 Year Plan, that he says is akin to the work of the modern Chinese government. (Which is weird on at least a few levels.) HE says it will be reveal next August. Now it is being read as a ploy to sell books.

But is that it? Or is he seeing this as a way to build up to a bigger run?

Dobbs is out and about, railing and musing a run for office. Palin has her book and tour, and looks to be revving for her run in 3 years. Is Beck next? Will the book express a lot of his trite thoughts and shallow ideas about how things should be? I mean, it comes out as the midterms rev up. Will he be coming out as the polls close to begin a march to try and lead a third party run for the presidency? What would he have to loose? His audience will love him all the more.

What will be happening?


Here is the video of Beck at the rally off of Crooks and Liars.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who's Birthday

I almost missed it.

This day in 1963, was the first appearance of the show, Doctor Who, on the BBC.

November 23rd, 1963.

What an adventure.

William Hartnell and Carole Ann Ford


Patrick Troughton


Ice Warrior

Jon Pertwee, Roger Delgado, Katy Manning, and Nicholas Courtney

Tom Baker


Peter Davison

The Master - Anthony Ainely

Colin Baker

The Doctor and the Valeyard

Sylvester McCoy

Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred

Paul McGann

The Doctor and the the Master - Eric Roberts

Christopher Eccleston

Face of Boe

David Tennant and Catherine Tate


Now comes the end of time...

But even then...

To Be Continued

Always the liberal

I am glad to see this being pointed out more and more.

Ruth Marcus, of the Washington Post, suggested today it is time for all of those liberals to just shut up and pass a bill that conservatives want. I like the response in the post.

Crooks and Liars:


It's always the liberals who need to compromise their positions to the conventional wisdom of the Villagers. The Gang of Four are all righteous and virtuous while liberals are out-of-control hippies who act like barking dogs. How dare they want to produce a real reform measure that could eventually provide true competition for the health care industry and that will help lower overall health care costs? Outrageous!

Time and again, liberals need to back down.

Should we go to war? Shut up, liberals you don't have a clue.
Should we cut taxes, or raise expenditures? Liberal, quit it with your naive pie in the sky rants.
Should we reform health care? Liberals need to let a bill pass, so suck it up.

Anyone else sick of conventional wisdom?

Interesting poll on health care

TPM looked at a poll on health care that shows that if they pass reform they will drop down to a 5 point lead. If they pass nothing, it drops to be on par with Rep numbers.

Reading that I know that some Dems are thinking, we should never have started this talk of reform.

And if and when we hear that we can easily tell how faithless their support to the Dem platform is and will be. They really don't get the issues. They don't get what their job is supposed to be. And they don't get that WE are their base.

Antievolution claims

One of the favorite claims of those that don't want to accept the science behind evolutionary theory is about just how evil Darwin and those that accept evolution are.

Which means, bringing up Nazis. The claim is always that, first, Nazi's embraced Darwin and evolution, and then hated on all those lovely Christians. Amazing how a predominantly Christian nation like Germany can instantly be non Christian.

As they noted on the Atheist Experience blog, the list of books and works that the Nazis banned and burned would seem to suggest otherwise.

Apparently they just didn't like many works related to Darwin. But also they did not care for those that ridiculed or besmirched Christianity or the faith.

So they were burning works of Jews, ones about Darwin, and those that challenged Christianity...but they were really all about all things Darwinian and anti-Christian...really.

UPDATE: The Axp blog has been notified of a cute video on YouTube that takes that original post and puts it to music with an old news reel style imagery.

Health care...reform?

What are we looking at coming out of Congress for reform of the health care industry of this country?

Howard Dean isn't too thrilled anymore. As he sees it, it has been pretty watered down already. And there is still the final form in the Senate to get to, and the final joint bill from both houses. The main issue is the lack of insurance reform. Any form of public option sees to be about the bulk of what we can hope for. I do like the thinking we have to hope it passes quickly and gets to use so people can see its benefit. As it stands it will be years before it goes into motions after passing, leaving people alone with the unreformed insurance industry looking at masses open to be picked upon.

It is not thrilling.

Robert Reich also shares some thoughts on this. He can see how what public option there is still is being wheedled away. It is unclear what will be left. Reich wants Senators to stand up and fight and push for a real option for the U.S. public.

But I am concerned.

Josh Marshall gives a thoughtful and sobering view of just how things sit now. And what it may come down to is this. Who will be covered in the public option. Answer, a very small number of Americans. It could just be a dump for those insurers don't want to deal with. So everyone will be forced to buy insurance, and those that the industry don't want get shuffled to the government. It is all win for insurers. Now if the plan was truly universal, so we all could get would be different. This is not talked about. And this also leaves the question of how robust the option would be, how much coverage would one get? Or what other aspects of health care will be rewritten (tort law, abortion access, women's health, etc.)?

What are we fighting for now? A plan that is meager? One that will hurt access for some? A plan that will be sub par? Why? This is a simple idea, how does congress on government in general hose it up like this?

Let's look at the big applause line for Dem leaders.
We have a bipartisan bill.

Yeah. And? Who care? As we have seen, from stimulus to health care reform. To meet the bipartisan goal (at least in the last few years) has meant liberal pistons being eroded, and conservative ones being supported.

Need stimulus? Want to get money into the public's hands? Let's give tax cuts, and cut spending and monetary support to the public. OKAY. Will Reps help now. "No, you commie!"

Want health care for everyone? Let's force people into the hands of insurers. Let's strip away the public option. Let's give the insurers more power. Reps on board. "Screw you!" How about at least the blue dogs? "Couldn't we do less?" "Hey, let's also cut access to abortions and pay for people to be prayed over." So you'll help us now? "Bite me, Stalin!"

Honestly, tell me, what has been gained in seeking bipartisanship over this year? Hell, blue dogs have been acting like a fifth column.

We will pass a bill.

A bill? A bill. The word a is being used there in place of another word...ANY. They will try and pass any bill. They wanted a non-public option bill. We pushed them to an trigger, then opt-in, then opt-out, and then a actual (small) option. Now in the Senate it is rolling back again. And Harry Reid is trying to compromise (concede) with blue dogs...he is trying to get them to buy a trigger option. This fight is among Dems. Too many of them lack the will to make the bog move to vote to offer major support to the public. And if Reid realty believed the bill as it is was the answer, he would actually be considering reconciliation. And he ain't doing that.

And so we have these two points, be partisan and get a bill. Why? As the link above notes, it is about face. It is about being able to say that it is a bill that all sides support. Plus, we passed the bill...we did something...Great.

Reform is about more than saying you want to do something, or you would like something to be. You actually need to create serious change.

Todd and Matthews

Crooks and Liars looks how annoying Chuck Todd is, and to an extent how that allows him to represent the nauseating way the village works.

(Though I have to admit I am not always clear on just what the Village is? I understand the Beltway, as being those living in Washington D.C. The MSM, main stream media, being those buried in the minutia and games of that industry. But the village...I like to assume that it is a reference to The Prisoner, and people like Todd and many in of the bearers of the conventional wisdom are trapped in the village, insulated and living a fantasy/illusion.)
Back to Todd. As he looked at the vote this weekend on health care he just didn't get it and was annoyed. Who cares if Dems when a vote? Big deal. But as noted, it is. It would be a death knell, as declared by the Villagers. The media wants the story, and the village needs its scandal. And likewise they looked at Bush. If Bush hadn't swayed some Dems over, would it be read as a dire loss? Hell no. That's not how it works. Conventional wisdom won't let it be.

Which is why I like added Chris Matthews in. Cause he has his good says, where he holds people to support there claims. But other times facts just don't matter. He sees studies and polls, and says well people were afraid to say what they really thought. Because that is what conventional wisdom dictates. Or when he looks a groups, like Hispanics, declares they are naturally Republicans...cause they open businesses and bodegas... Also throughout the summer, with Todd as his sidekick, they waved away any sort of public option as a real choice, a real chance, or worth serious talk. Conventional wisdom demands it shall not be...IT SHALL NOT BE!!! Now it is a bit embarrassing for him and others, it is still here (For how long, we will see.). And, I imagine, like many other conventional wisdom claims of the past, it will just be ignored...until things go the other way and then it will be back.

All of this bluster does no one any good. It doesn't clarify the debate, push through to deeper issues, or properly engage the audience.

Republicans and health care

They are smooth talkers.

Rep Blackburn, following the study suggesting women pushing back the time they start getting breast screenings:

GOP Rep Insists New Breast Screening Guidelines Will Be Government Mandate

Yup. The government wants to kill women. A bureaucratic assault.

Sen Lamar Alexander looks down on Medicaid

Sen. Lamar Alexander Calls Medicaid a "Medical Ghetto"

Looking down on those in Medicaid, and pretending to love Medicare, while still taking a shoot at it as being doomed.


What? Catholic Bishops trying to dicatate public policy?

In the wake of the pressure, people, and money the CC brought into stripping away gay rights, or sending operatives to the House of Representatives to make demands on how the health are bill was drafted. you likely aren't surprised the interference continues on.

They seem to be trying some pressure on congress folk through denial of communion. Rep. Kennedy of RI has been banned by a bishop in his state. Granted others are saying when asked it is wrong, but this is not an original ploy. For years now Congress has been threatened in this way by Catholic leaders. Every big election or vote some of the more antediluvian of the lot dig themselves out of the ground and start uttering there threats. Abortion...blah blah blah. Never let's not continue this war, or else. No, end the death penalty, or else. And with health care they, like some of the blue dogs, feel they may have the sway to dictate terms to America. Why are they tax exempt. And what about the Mormons and evangelicals? How many of them are also giving parishioners sheets with email, addresses, and phone numbers to use? We are...a secular nation still, right?

Because as it is the Catholics are already bragging about the pressure they plan to bring on to the Senate, and how they will be sending folk in to "lobby." They are drunk on there smugness, power, and sense of entitlement to draft this countries laws. No unelected body should feel the right, no religious institution, no think tank, no corporation.

Science not backing assumptions

Atheist Experience points to a recent study that did not go the way the Catholic Church wished.

What they likely wanted to see was homosexuality was tied to the trend of pedophilia in its ranks. The study didn't show those results.

Shocking. It seems that not just gays, or gays predominantly, that are geared towards this crime. Does it mean that the assumption some hold is...prejudiced! Oh, mercy me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Glenn Beck: Alex Jones done proud

Beck continues to play to the fear, the hate, and the paranoia.

Crooks and Liars has a nice video, at the bottom of this link (their are 2 vids the second one is a 10 minute one that is the compilation) that compiles a lot of the top notch crazy of Beck over the last year.

But the first vid looks at a clip from a business show where a guest lays out a scenario of collapse and new world order. Looking the guy up you can quickly find he has done the Alex Jones show, which just gives you such cred. But it also explains why his and Beck's views are so in sync. They are all of that Alex Jones mindset.

Now I think Beck is largely just bullshit and shtick. He is playing at it, I think. But while he role plays playing with gas and matches on his show. He is largely doing that with the thinking and impetus of his audience. Just like Jones. Liberal in power means commie dangers. Conservatives are in, do you hear the goosestepping?

Which leads to a quick criticism of some liberals. During the Bush years Jones went after Bush and Cheney in his paranoid, evidence free way. Like he did to Clinton before him. And a lot of Libs jumped on board. It feed into there worst fears and opinions of Bush and Reps. Now that Obama is in, the ire has shifted to attacking him and liberals. And some liberals that followed on Jones thoughts are shocked. But what do you expect? He fights for the sake of continuing the fight. As well there are those that embrace the thinking. If you are going to follow the ideas and thinking of people like Jones, or Beck, you are being pathetic.

They rail against power and wealth to fulfill an image of heroic valor. When they don't get an audience they are what they truly are. Nutters cursing at passersby on the street.


Seems that FOX News has again spliced footage from one source in place of another source to puff up Palin crowd numbers as she promotes her book. Campaign '08. book tour '09, what's the diff? It is brief and could be a mistake...

TPM explains.

Stupak and Abortion coverage

TPM looks at a new study that suggests that, if passed, the amendment would lead to their being NO coverage for abortion.

Just enforcing, and not changing things my ass.

On the muslims

As we are seeing now, the "True Americans" are feeling the need to go after Muslims. It has been an undercurrent, but as teabagging tries and legitimize, it is more in vogue (along with supremacist and militias, ....).

Tom Coburn Joins Campaign Against Muslim Group

It seems more in Congress are comfortable going after Muslim groups as illegitimate. I notice there is not a similar call for the Catholic Church that had its people in the Speaker's office making demands on the health care bill, among other moves across the country. Doesn't count?

Palin On Muslim Profiling: 'I'm All For It'

Apparently Muslims, all of them, need to be the blacks, etc.

In looking at this, it is why I am leery of skeptics and atheist allying themselves too quickly. There are issues in how some Muslims act, positions taken, and support given. But to try and isolate, physically, legally, socially is just dangerous. For some atheist and secular groups there has been a move to pointedly suggest the media can't shy away from the the Islamic aspect of the events at Fort Hood. And it is true. But the other risk is to let that just block the view of and discussion of the other aspects as well. There are those that want Islam to act out in the U.S. But we are also nearly ten years in to a state of war. We are stretching the armed forces to the breaking point. We are filling the gaps in the military with those that in the past we would have passed on. And holding on to those we would have dropped (While still getting rid of the icky gays still.). Criticism can't be allowed to blind us to the risk of what some of the people we might agree with on one issue to bigger problems.

Look at Charles Krauthammer. He is a psychiatrist, he opposes alt med and intelligent design. Sounds good. But if you listen to what he says all week long on Fox News you see something else. He is a constant siren of warning again Obama, Dems, liberals, and anything that isn't on the side he is cheer leading. He makes claims all the time that have no bearing in real data, actual events, or the opinions he is shoving into peoples mouths. Do we want to stand with him because we agree on ID and alt med? Or is 99.9999% of the rest that is way of kilter a concern? I think it is. And it calls into question how he reached the points we do agree on.

That is a question we should always ask.

Ain't Enough

In the fight over health care and similar issues there has been pressure from many conservative Dems to concede and concede and concede.

One Example:
Corporatist Dems: Let Us Gut Medicare and Social Security, or We'll Sabotage Health-Care Bill

Sherrod Brown, in the Senate, ponders...and what are you compromising to us? What ground are you giving?

With the Stupak-Pitts amendment, there is a DEMAND...and ultimatum. Pass it all the way to law exactly the way we want...OR ELSE...

And there is a certain sense that...gosh...liberals better's only pragmatic. What? Liberals aren't overturning the Hyde amendment. Liberals aren't strengthening women's access to abortion services. Liberals are leaving things exactly where they have been since the 70's. But that ain't good enough, is it? We need to give more, to be fair.

Like with health care reform. Before the beginning single payer was tossed out. And a public option was gone, until some in Congress and many of us outside made it clear we weren't having that shit. And then it was watered compromise. And it ain't enough. More and more. And you know what the Reps say? Even with the changes, they will still vote no. And the Conservative Dems? Who knows? But they want concessions. They want it trimmed back, they want no public aspect. They want to make abortion access even more limited...just to be fair and compromise.

What do they offer in return, these democrats. There part of the deal is to actually work for the democratic as meager a manner as possible. Anemic results. Feeble ends.

Is this good enough?

And for those core constituencies of the party tossed aside for a handful of faithless votes? What of them?

Rising bile

Among conservatives there has been a drive that ha seemed to just draw out the worst in many people.

ADL report on tide of anti-Obama rage calls out Glenn Beck as 'fearmonger in chief'

The ADL is one group that is watching and growing ever more concerned at the nasty and vicious tone that is becoming all too commonplace in discourse.

You can just look to a chat O'Reilly and Beck had on the radio recently where O'Reilly suggested that, due to taxes their would be revolt and Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be bobbing about in Boston Harbor soon. It was a crude and lame allusion to the Boston Tea Party, but it comes off as a physical threat of violence. It even seemed to take Beck aback, for once. But it is part and parcel of Beck's shtick...remember when had the poor woman who worked for him where a Pelosi mask? And then told her to drink some poison? Not real, of course, but it is the imagery that these guys are is sick.

And we can see the results, militias are charging back.

CNN parachutes in to Michigan to interview militiamen

The analysis is not that deep and rather soft on a group arming and dressing up in and waiting...

As scary are the neo-nazis. Who are feeling there oats, and finding conservatives a more friendly audience for their usual crap.

Crooks and Liars coverage

This is not good news, but the media seems oddly idle in reacting to this creeping nastiness. Worse conservatives seem happy to see motivated potential voters, crackpots, bigots, and gun toters, or not.


Monday, November 16, 2009


Up in the glorious state of Minnesota and in the fabulous city of Minneapolis (but St. Paul and the rest, like Falcon Heights, are great to) tea baggers were played for the fools they are.

Meeting to protest against immigration. At the start a young man jumped up to rally the crowd. Unbeknownst to them, he was mocking them, getting some to even join in a "Columbus Go Home!" But most came to realize that he was criticizing the rotten immigrants that have come from Europe over the past few hundred years, ruining everything (by taking jobs, bringing diseases, etc.).

Video at Crooks and Liars.

As well... They note the violence met out to some of those that protested the teabaggers.
...I've been warning for awhile that there is a violent element already involved in the immigration debate, and when they become empowered by the "tea party" types, it's going to get ugly. ...

As I noted in the previous post. The way the Republicans, the media strongmen, and these rally organizers are acting is just stirring up, motivating, and justifying some of the worse sensibilities and inclinations of people. Not good.

Spewing the hate

Crooks and Liars: Cheney Worried About Terrorists Having a 'Public Platform Where They Can Spew Venom'

Apparently Liz Cheney is upset that when alleged terrorist are brought to trial in the US, it means that their evil will be spit upon out nation.

Yes, she fails to see the irony. If you have listened to her speak over the last year, it has all been bitter bile and hate. And she hasn't been alone. Conservatives and Republicans have raced forward to lob rhetorical grenades at the base of the great American experiment.

Attacked viciously by conservatives:
  • President/Presidency
  • Congress
  • The court system
  • Education
  • Military
  • Various minority groups
  • Science
  • Medicine
  • History
  • Reality
  • Common sense
But they are largely not violent. But there have been some moments, and they have, in there words, given some cover to sentiments, fears, and paranoia. See the rifles and handguns at protest. And as we have seen the militias are growing up again, Aryan and white power groups seem to be making a similar comeback. Guns and ammo are flying out the shelf. And then there are the mouth pieces that have suggested the need for violence against the government and even terrorist attack...again words from conservatives that get national coverage.

This is all worse than irony.

Remember when?

TPM: McCain wants you to rip up your AARP cards.

Remember when John McCain seemed occasionally sensible? You could talk to him and interact and coordinate. Then he ran for the presidency and sold out. Well that is over and one might have thought, like Dole and others that he would step back a bit. But more like John Kerry he acts like he has a shot of running again and is still talking in the same manner.

And now this. Hey the old disabled guy at the front wants you to cut ties with the group that lobbies for older Americans, and works with Republicans and Democrats. He would be fine if they just supported Republicans, but the Dems? That is just treasonous. So yeah, listen to the old guy up front on health care and insurance...the guy with both federal and veteran health care insurance...and millions of dollars in the bank...and the other lobbyist calling him and his party demanding certain stands...He's the way. He must speak the truth...When has he ever lead you to something wrong?

Update: Crooks and Liars has a clip from last year when McCain was praising AARP. Hack!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Media: The Stand

Mark Halperin made a telling and also unsurprising point.

Apparently when Obama makes his stand on where to take operations in Afghanistan, he shouldn't be seen with Dems. He should be seen with Reps.

Which, I think, should be read in the way conservatives have been speaking, just do what we tell you to do.
Halperin: Imagine two scenarios—he announces it standing there by himself, or with Democrats (gasp!) when he makes this decision, or imagine him standing there with John McCain, or other prominent Republicans on national security. It paints such a different picture if he’s with the Republicans.

The assumption is FAR TOO OFTEN the standard with the beltway/village that you have to do what Reps think on National Security...cause...cause...we told you to! The last 8 years of conservative/Republic thinking on security hasn't been enough? Mayve the media could stop acting like they were born yesterday and stop taking the macho posturing of Reps as some sort of sensibility.

Yeah, stand beside those guys who joke about bombing the region he is setting policy, beside people who seem eager to make snide comments about the region and local religion...yeah what an image. And what has happen in the past when he reaches out, as the sage Halperin is suggesting? They try and twist his words and stab him in the back.

Go back to your cocktail party, Mark.

Moral choices

PZ Myers saw a great bit of moral thought from the think tank Answers in Genesis.

Is it immoral to lie? WHat's more, if a lie saves lives, isn't it better to act, even in a lie, to save lives. The classic example is that of Nazi's searching for Jewish refugees and they demand to know if you know where they are. Knowing as you do, do you lie and keep them safe that much longer, or do you refuse dishonesty?

AiG has the answer. Don't lie. Read their explanation. It says it all about faith and religion.

... So, is the greater good trusting God when He says not to lie or trusting in our fallible, sinful minds about the uncertain future? ...

See? Maybe they will get caught anyway...and YOU LIED! God told you not to lie, and when has He ever led you wrong? Beside with God/Jesus in charge they know what they are doing and will protect those that need it when it is needed...Really! The classic, if you are saved it was meant, if you suffer it was meant. What a cods wallop!

But it explains so much.

Reacting to administering of the law

Conservatives have been pissed about the idea of moving forward and holding the terrorist we are holding accountable under our law.

Like Kit Bond:
Cowardly Kit Bond Carries Water for the Bush Administration and Whines About Terror Trials in NY

Even Wolf Blitzer seems to be carrying the water:
Blitzer Rolls Out the Right Wing Talking Points on Terrorist Trial Decision

Despite the spite, even among the 9/11 widows there is support to move forward:
9/11 Widow Kristen Breitweiser On "9/11 Terrorist" Going To Trial In New York City

Jonathan Turley also gave some thoughtful legal analysis on events:
Countdown: Terror Trials