Friday, March 14, 2008

Cheney & McCain Soft Pedal The War - 5 Years Ago

I bet these guys wish they had kept their mouths shut. Well, maybe not, but I sure do. If they had not blathered about the US being greeted as liberators in Iraq, we wouldn't be there now.

Texas Land Commissioner Wants To Sell The Christmas Mountains

Leave it to Texas to sell off their treasurers to the highest bidder. A few months ago we gave the historic Texas State Railroad to a private company, and now we are trying to auction off the Christmas Mountains. These striking and beautiful landmarks are adjacent to Big Bend National Park and were given to the state back in 1990 and now the state was trying to give the land to the National Park Service to expand Big Bend.

Not so fast! Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is blocking the deal. Why? Well in the great GOP tradition, which is beginning to sound more like the Ferengi from Star Trek, he wants to sell them to the private sector. Why should the public enjoy all that beauty Heck, let’s just sell it off and make a fast buck.

On top of his scheme, Patterson is lying about the whole thing as well. He told a group in Fort Worth last week, “"Big Bend National Park doesn't want" the Christmas Mountains. Well according to Big Bend Superintendent William Wellman, the park service wants to add the Christmas Mountains to Big Bend.

Dad gum this state takes the cake! We got a bunch of loonies in our legislature, an idiot for a governor and a liar for a Land Commissioner. No place but Texas!

Super Secret House Session No Secret At All

It resembled a perverted version of “I’ve Got A Secret” last night as the House of Representatives went into “Secret Session”. The rare move was supposedly to discuss the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act better known as FISA. The problem with such a session is its secrecy. The business of the American government is supposed to be done in the light of day, not in a closed secret session.

Both sides had objections to the move, and since anything discussed in the session, either classified or not would be sealed, it could in effect make certain already known facts “secrets”. A crafty bit of maneuvering by the GOP.

Commenting on the move Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) noted, “There are some of us here who feel that this country has drifted toward a version of a national security state."

His was one of many objections to the secret session, but in the end it was held. The biggest secret was exposed by Minority Whip Roy Blunt who stated, "I have not suggested this is at the top-secret level."

In other words, there would be no secret material discussed, it was all a sham intended to give the appearance of secrecy. Like many in the GOP, appearances are everything, so I guess they succeeded by making things look very, very hush-hush. Maybe next Congress will try the “Super Secret Double Probation” move from Animal House, it makes about as much sense.

Your Financial Transactions Are Being Watched - No Kidding

You are not paranoid if they really are out to get you. That is the old joke, but looking at a report on ABC News today I think there is a lot of truth to it. The article details how banks and other institutions regularly monitor and send information to the Treasury Department on any financial activity they consider “suspicious”. This means any time you swipe your credit card or bank card the financial institutions are watching that and sending info to the government.

And it’s not just banks, casinos and any other institution that handles cash transactions can do the same. Privacy advocates are in an uproar and rightly so, but right now it’s all legal with the way the privacy laws have been gutted.

Why is this an issue now? Well, it is essentially the way Eliot Spitzer, Governor of New York, was caught in the prostitution ring. He was making wire transfers to a phony company that was a front for the call-girl ring. The FBI tracked him from there.

So next time you decide to go out for a big dinner or maybe visit a questionable establishment, be secure in knowing that BIG BROTHER really is watching every move you make. Seems like 1984 came a few decades late!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Anti-Cold Product "Airborne" A Fake! Looses $23 Million Fraud Suit

Well it’s good to know that even though the government won’t protect us from the snake oil sellers at pharmaceutical companies with regulations, the trial lawyers will.

The maker’s of popular product “Airborne” that is supposed to prevent colds and flu and other airborne diseases has lost a lawsuit for false advertising. The $23 million dollar settlement will pay users who were defrauded by the useless medication. Studies show it does absolutely nothing!

And that makes me wonder how the heck it got to the market? I guess without the FDA really watching out for the public, manufacturers can put anything in a bottle and sell it with whatever claims they want. As long as they don’t get caught, what harm could it do? Other than hitting people in the pocketbook, it could kill people who believe that the claims can actually do what they claim, and the public also trusts the ingredients to be safe as well. The problem is the FDA is a toothless tiger who can no longer regulate the safety of our drugs. Thank you Bush Administration…and Clinton Administration…and Bush Administration…and Regan Administration.

For Anglophiles, New "Carry On" Film Back In Production

I remember going to see the hilarious British Comedy “Carry On Nurse” when I was a kid. My parents took me to the slightly risqué film at the local Art House cinema. Ever since I tried to catch every Carry On film that was made, though several fell flat in comparison to the first efforts.

Many famous UK comedians cut their teeth in the films including Cyril Chamberlain, Jim Dale and Barbara Windsor. They were silly and ribald and just plain fun. Now comes news that the 39th Carry On film is back in production. The new film is entitled “Carry On London” and will be shot later this year.

Refugee Family Still Prisoners In Texas Jail

I sincerely hope a few of you remember the story I posted about the family being held in a prison in Texas while they are trying to apply for asylum as political refugees. Had there not been a strange twist of fate where the plane they were traveling in was diverted to a US airport on their way to Canada, they would not be here, in prison.

Here is a copy of the letter written to the Canadian Prime Minister by one of their children who is a natural born Canadian Citizen.

So far they are still prisoners in a private prison here in Texas. Shame on our country!

US Body Count In Iraq Nears 4000 - When Will We End It?

Today the count marches toward 4000. That would be the number of American troops killed in Iraq. The actual figure as of this morning is 3987, but the milestone will be reached within a week at the rate things are going.

Tragic as this number is, an even sadder fact is that according to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of all Americans think the actual count is only about 3000. I suspect our country is drifting into the same state we were during Vietnam when the daily death counts and battle reports numbed people into a state of disbelief. Having lived through that tragic time in our history, I too found myself somewhat immune to the daily reports of carnage and death.

It is dangerous for a country to slide onto disinterest in such matters, and that condition allows politicians to do things that otherwise would be unthinkable. We must not be lulled into a state of unconsciousness. We must continue to look at the cold hard facts of this unjust war and see it for what it is, a criminal act being perpetrated on the Iraqi people and our own brave young men and women in uniform.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Keith Olbermann Calls Hillary Out For Ferraro Comments

Raw Story featured this clip of Keith Olbermann reading Hillary for the way she has handled the Ferraro comments. He is angry and absolutely on target in his comments. Hillary is behaving like a Republican not a Democrat.

Ferraro Resigns Over Racist Comments

Geraldine Ferraro has resigned from the Clinton Campaign and it was the right thing to do. Her comments diverted attention from the issues and only serve to divide the Democratic Party. Senator Obama responded to her comments on the Today Show.

"Part of what I think Geraldine Ferraro is doing, and I respect the fact that she was a trailblazer, is to participate in the kind of slice and dice politics that's about race and about gender and about this and that, and that's what Americans are tired of because they recognize that when we divide ourselves in that way we can't solve problems."

Ferraro tendered her resignation this afternoon in a letter to Hillary Clinton.

Pentagon Study Finds No Saddam - Al Qaida Connection!

After an exhaustive review the final lie in the Bush campaign to invade Iraq is laid to rest. The pentagon researched over 600,000 documents and found absolutely no connection between Saddam and Al Qaida. Reported on McClatchy Newspapers site the report is being hushed up by the pentagon and has been removed from the website where it was posted.

Once again the Bush regime is covering its lies and trying to hide the truth from the American people. They are relentless in their campaign to control reality and it is a crime that they have been allowed free reign to manipulate the facts for so long. November can’t come soon enough.

Al Franken Front Runner In Minnesota Senate Battle

So what ever happened to Al Franken? Well he is the leading contender for the Senate in Minnesota! His main rival for the Democratic nomination dropped from the primary race leaving Franken as the front runner. In a poll of potential voters Franken rides to victory over his Republican opponent incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman 49% to 46%.

Franken hasn’t been heard here in the DFW area since his show left Air America, and with no local Air America station in the DFW market not much has been heard from the comedian turned politician. Here’s hoping his campaign is successful, Washington needs more progressive Democrats!

Ferraro Continues to Spin

Geraldine Ferraro continues to try to spin her remark that “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position”. She now says Barack should thank her for the comment.

I am mystified why Ferraro can’t understand how backhanded and racist her comment is. I heard the best take on it last night on CNN a commentator said that , for years black lawyers, doctor and professionals have heard the same comments. Accusations that these people got where they were strictly because of some sort of racial quota are patently offensive.

Interestingly Ferraro also stated that “If he was a white woman he would not be in this position”. That is a direct slap at her candidate Hillary Clinton, a white woman. By her logic Hillary is where she is because of some other reason than her competence. I agree. She is there because of her husband’s presidency, otherwise she would be just another lawyer in Arkansas.

Colbert Exposes McCain As "Mr. Good Enough"

On the Colbert Report, Stephen gave a really good exposition of how the right wing pundits first condemed McCain and now support him. Talk about FLIP FLOPPING!

Open Letter To Sally Kern

The Victory Fund released an open letter to Sally Kern today. It is poignant and right on target. Kern is the Oklahoma State Representative who gave a hate filled diatribe to a few of her supporters not knowing she was being recorded. Now he world knows what a bigot she is and over half a million people have heard her on YouTube. This letter is a terrific response to her hate and gives a good reason to find her speech unacceptable. You can go to their site and add your name to it.
Dear Sally,

I saw the statement you released yesterday in which you said your “hate speech” is merely “free speech.” That’s kind of gross, but it’s also beside the point.

The point is this: your words have consequences. Ask Judy Shepherd — her son, Matthew, was viciously murdered ten years ago by people who think like you. Ask the parents of Lawrence King, an openly gay eighth-grader who was gunned down in school last month by a classmate whose fear was stoked by words like yours. Just this past fall, Steven Domer, a 62-year-old gay man was brutally murdered right in your home state of Oklahoma.

What you said is not okay, but that’s not because most sensible people disagree with it. It’s because your words give aid and comfort to those who would hurt, maim and even kill people who are different from you. Comparing gays and lesbians to cancer and terrorism and saying they are the “biggest threat to America,” gives license to others to treat us that way, especially given the leadership position you hold in your community.

I also read that some of your colleagues in the Republican caucus stood and cheered you as you entered their meeting yesterday. How odd and depressing. This isn’t a partisan issue; I know plenty of Republicans who were outraged at your comments, because they themselves are parents, friends and family to gays and lesbians who are at risk when people of your stature say the kinds of things you did.

Whether or not you agree that gay people deserve halfway decent treatment (the fact that you said we were destroying America implies that you don’t), what I want you to understand is that the words you said will have real life implications. Your speech can lead to the murders of more young people. You have outraged hundreds of thousands, but you may have inspired a few people, too. That’s not just sad, it’s evil.

The point of the Victory Fund’s releasing your speech was to draw attention to the fact that even elected leaders like you are saying some nasty and potentially dangerous things about your fellow citizens. Our mission is to elect people to counter your hate and bigotry with honesty and courage.

You may have been applauded by a handful of your colleagues, but more than a half million people are now listening. They heard you loud and clear, and they’re not clapping.

Chuck Wolfe

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Obama Wins BIG In Mississippi

I am sure the Clinton folks will find a way to try to spin tonight’s stunning win for Obama, but here are the facts. Obama won by 61% to Hillary’s 37% and that would be a 24 point difference. That is a big loss for her and a big win for him!

The press is making rumblings about race in the win, and it does play a part, but in a state with such a high population of African-Americans it’s not surprising that there was a big turnout in that community.

Meanwhile, Geraldine Ferraro is still refusing to apologize for trying to split the party along racial lines. If it is any indication, Hillary has not done anything substantial about Ferraro and that is an indication of her willingness to slash and burn the country in order to win. A scorched-earth policy will not win her any fans in the Super Delegate race. Time will tell if she really cares about the Democratic Party or just her own ego.

Ferraro Claims She Is Being Attacked Only Because She Is "White"

Ferraro wants it both ways. She says Obama is where he is strictly because he is black, and now she says she is being attacked strictly because she is white. The kind of offensive rethoric coming from the Clinton campaign, which Ferraro is a part of is what will turn people against Hillary in the future. If she were to become the Democratic candidate, she has laid out a path of easily quotable remarks that would sink her candidacy.

Time for Ferraro to apologize and for Hillary to tone down the mean spirited attacks. After all, both candidates are Democrats and if we expect to have a Democrat in the White House we need cohesion.

LOGO TV Premiers New Anti-Homobhobia PSA Campaign

Logo TV will begin running an ad today that is designed to end violence against GLBT people in schools. Working with GLSEN and centering on the hate-crime killing of Lawrence King the PSA encourages people to be a "voice against violence"

It's worth watching and passing on.

More info at Logo.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro Plays The Race Card!

Of all people Geraldine Ferraro is playing the race card. The first woman to be on a ticket for the VP office is casting some serious race bating dispersions at Obama. She said “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

She followed that one up with the following, If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.…”

OK, I understand that Ferraro is on Clinton’s campaign committee, but to say Obama is where he is strictly because he is black is he worst kind of backhanded racism. It reminds me of people who are convinced that they didn’t get a job they applied for because a “black” got it to fill some sort of quota. Come on Geraldine!

Eliot, You Got Some 'Splainin To Do!

Eliot Spitzer, Governor of New York really has a lot of work to do, and most of it will be on his image. Today, he admitted being involved with a prostitution ring that was busted by the feds. In his announcement he did not resign as Governor of New York, however he did apologize.

The real problem comes from making bold moves to clean up state politics and the state in general. In 2004 Spitzer made a big deal of a bust of a similar prostitution ring in Staten Island. What’s good for the goose… well you get the idea.

Rep. Sally Kerns And Her Idiotic Agenda

The name Sally Kerns keeps popping up whenever I Google “stupid”, “ignorant” or Okie”. I am sure she will not mind me calling her these names since she is a staunch defender of free speech. Seems Oklahoma State Representative Kerns really understands the depth of her own ignorance, as she has sponsored an amazing number of ill considered and intellectually laughable bills. Take this one as an example.

Her bill would allow students to argue, without any penalty, against established knowledge in all fields using fundamentalist religious arguments. In other words, science, history and just about anything else would be trumped by fundamentalist misinterpretations of the Bible. How’s that for boneheaded?

My sincere apologies to all my Oklahoma friends, we have idiots here in Texas, too.

Oklahoma Lawmaker Defends Her Hate Speech

The Oklahoma Bigot, also known as Representative Sally Kerns, whose homophobic hate speech was secretly taped and released on YouTube has apparently noticed that other folks than loyal Republicans were listening. After receiving a flood of Email and calls she has responded to her defending her right to free speech.

I couldn’t agree more. She has an absolute right to speak however she sees fit, however as an elected official, she should expect a little scrutiny of her words, and moreover she should understand that there are consequences to hate-speech. Case in point her recent media attention. Watch her response here.

Now my response.

Sally, you are a bigot plain and simple. Though you hide behind your alleged Christianity, you cannot hide your mean spirit and hatred. If I remember correctly, Jesus, the same one you claim to follow, preached love and forgiveness. He also said absolutely nothing about gays or lesbians, but a lot about heterosexuals especially hypocrites. So here’s my words to you. Stop hiding behind free speech when you are only trying to disguise the ugly, twisted and mean person you really are.

Contaminated Heparin Just the Tip Of The Poisoned Chinese Iceberg

Next time you hear a politician give you the runaround on why American drugs are safer than those made in Canada, consider this. Heparin, that blood thinner that is used in hospitals all the time, is being recalled. At least a big portion of it provided by Baxter (an American company) may contain contaminated ingredients from China. Say what?

Yup, good old SAFE American drugs are made from cheap Chinese ingredients. Now just where does that make our pharmaceuticals better than say…Canada? The truth is we use the cheapest ingredients like everyone else and since the FDA has been systematically gutted by the Bush administration our prescriptions are no safer than anyone else’s.

In China, though there are lots of regulations about quality they are not enforced, leading to slip shod manufacturing processes and contaminated ingredients. Remember the dog food, or Barbie dolls, or any of hundreds of safety problems with everything from lead paint to outsight poison in goods from China.

The latest example, the contaminated Heparin is just the tip of the Chinese iceberg and unless we do something to stop this flood of tainted goods, we will all end up in trouble. How can we stop it? Well for a start we can vote the current administration out of office. Impeachment isn’t going to happen, so we have to assure that the Bush administration cannot continue in the form of John McCain.

It’s time we put a halt to the import of defective and dangerous products from China and anywhere else. Once upon a time, we had a very good system of inspection and regulation that made our country safe from defective products, but that was a long time ago, before the corporations that sell these poisoned goods took over our government. It’s time we took that government back.