Saturday, April 26, 2008

Reality Check: Time For Hillary To Bow Out!

The kinds of attacks that have been coming from the Clinton camp are more what I would expect from McCain. Her insistence on running a mud-slinging-old-school-style campaign really expose the Democratic party to a real threat.

Though Hillary has proven herself as a trench warfare fighter, she has also succeeded in causing a lot of potential voters to step back to the sidelines. These voters who were at first attracted to eiher her or Obama as a viable alternative to the GOP candidate are now considering if this might not turn into another “lesser of two evils” race that is more typical politics as usual.

Obama continues to try to remain above the fray, but at some point he will be dragged into it if the campaign continues going the way it is. Hillary cannot win without some sort of Deus Ex Machina . That would be the seating of the delegates from Michigan and Florida, breaking all the Democratic rules and angering the other 48 states, or a back room deal with the super-delegates to overturn the popular vote.

Either way it would leave all of the Obama supporters with more than a little bitter aftertaste and the remaining undecided voters with a healthy dose of cynicism. Hillary would be left with her core supporters and little else. The huge African-American turnout as well as what is being categorized as the “wealthy white” vote might decide to stay home and that would put John McCain in the White House.

This year is one for the Democrats to lose. American’s are fed up with the GOP and especially the Bush administration. It could not be a better year for a Democratic victory and yet that may not happen. If Hillary refuses to see the futility of her campaign and carries the fight all the way to the convention, I fear the ensuing chaos will snatch an all but certain Democratic victory from the party.

That scenario would be bad for the party and bad for the country. McCain is yet another tool of the big corporations and will continue the Bush doctrine of spending and tax cuts that will bankrupt the country.

It’s time the Democratic leadership did what it would have done for any other candidate had her name not been Clinton. Tell her it is time to quit for the good of the party.

Dying For Lack Of Health Insurance

Once again I am struck at how bad or health care system is in this country. Take the story of Mark Windsor. He’s a self-employed photographer who at 52 has now been living with bone cancer for 25 years. Because he didn’t have insurance, he could not get treatment for the condition that is treatable if caught soon enough. Instead he is slowly dying and getting whatever treatment he can afford or get for free.

If he were poor he could have gotten treatment through Medicaid, but because he make $30,000 is too much to qualify he is screwed. He has sought surgeons to help for free, and a couple have responded. But it’s now too little too late.

Read the full story on and consider how incredibly flawed our health care system is. It’s way past time for a change!

Friday, April 25, 2008

GOP Candidate - Jews Behind Pornography & Prostitution

Yes Tony Zirkle, a GOP candidate for Congress from Indiana is an anti-semite. Want proof, just take a gander at this transcript from a talk he gave to the American National Socialist Workers Party (NAZI’s) and tell me what you think. Tony was ranting against pornography.

“I’ve been getting a flood of e-mails and phone calls, some of which include death threats, about my attempt to raise awareness of how the great porn dragon inspires Jews into pornography and prostitution and then, like the snake he is, turns the public against the Jews. Some have questioned whether there is any link to Jews and porn-prostitution.”
Oh puleeze! This guy is a certifiable wacko and needs to be locked up. I guess that puts him in good company in the Republican party!

Iowa Retired Vets "Burned Up" Over Smoking Ban

Sometimes it takes a veteran to know what life is like for other veterans. That’s why William Meyers, candidate for the US House of Representative from Iowa’s 4th congressional district is so concerned about how America treats its veterans. As a former Marine, Meyers knows what kinds of sacrifiecs our men and women serving in the military make on a daily basis. Now as he runs for Congress, he has been trying to stay in touch with other veterans, not just of the Iraq war, but any conflict where our fighting men and women have been called to serve.

Recently he visited the Iowa Veterans' Home in Marshalltown. He got a chance to chat with some of the residents and find out their concerns. Surprisingly, the latest problem has been the smoking ban. Since the state enacted an outdoor smoking ban on the grounds of public buildings the vets who live in the retirement home have been forced to do any smoking in a tiny room rather than outdoors.

I am no fan of cigarettes, but these folks are caught in a catch 22 of sorts. The Veteran’s Home is their “home” yet because it is a public building they are included in the ban. Now had they been living in a private residence, they could walk outside and smoke in their own backyard without a problem, but here it’s different.

It’s a sticky situation, and though it seems like a small thing, to the residents of the home who smoke, it’s a big thing. Meyers listened to them at the recent visit and is proposing a group of Iowa State Senators and State Representatives meet with him at the Vets' home to discuss this issue further.

It may be a little thing, but it’s important to the vets and Meyers is listening. Another fighting Dem for US Congress!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gay Kiss On CBS Soap Opera - Finally!

Finally Luke and Noah on the soap opera As The World Turns locked lips! CBS has taken a lot of flack for not showing them kiss in previous episodes, but Wednesday the smooched and daytime TV will never be the same.

My criticism is that they didn't seem like very good kissers. No tongues! Oh well.

The Reality Of Torture - Watch It!

For anyone who has ever heard of stress positions, and thought they sounded like some pretty mild stuff, think again. As someone who has experimented with these "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" in a consensual BDSM setting, I can tell you they are anything but mild. The difference in what my friends and I do when we play with this stuff is simple. The person receiving the torture can stop at any time by using their "safe-word". For prisoners in the hands of our government, there is no such thing.

This film by Amnesty International shows what it is really like. Watch it and realize that the prisoner is being forced to assume this position for up to 6 hours at a time!

Indiana GOP Candidate Speaks To Nazi Group!

If you ever needed proof that some of the Republican’s running for office in this country are willing to do anything to win, look no further than Tony Zirkle. He’s running for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District and on Sunday delivered a speech to the American National Socialist Workers Party (ANSWP) on the 119th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birth. If you don’t recognize the group, here’s a clue…they are American Nazis!

Yup a Republican candidate spoke to a group of Nazi’s and when asked why by the press, he responded, “I’ll speak before any group that invites me”. Nice to know he has absolute no prejudices at all, or any morals. Just for flair, his speech was delivered in front of a painting of Hitler.

Watch a video story here on

Singapore - Nice Place To Visit As Long As You Are Not Gay

The island nation of Singapore, the place made famous for their lovely legal punishment of "caning" now is fining TV stations that air anything that might remotely be considered advocating or even depicting a Gay or Lesbian relationship.

A Singapore station that aired a show where two gay men were having their nursery redecorated for their adopted child drew a hefty $11,000 fine. No free speech in Singapore apparently.

Consider that when making travel plans!

Happy Birthday Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope is 18 years old today and in honor of its birthday, NASA has released some astounding photos of what it calls “peculiar galaxies”. The photos are striking in their clarity, especially considering some of the images are as much as 350 million light years away.

These images not only arouse my scientific curiosity but they fill me with a sense of wonder that I remember as a child when looking at the night sky through my telescope in the backyard. Seeing objects hundreds of millions of light years away really puts my place in the universe in perspective.

The image here is of two spiral galaxies in the first stages of collision.

"Abstinence Only" More Dangerous Than No Sex Education At All

So let’s get this straight. The United States spends vast sums of money on so-called “abstinence only education” for young people. The decision to go that route was completely ideological and without any sound research as to the efficacy of the program.

Now experts are testifying before Congress that it was not only a waste of funds, but it may have even been worse than doing nothing.

Dr. Margaret Blythe of the American Academy of Pediatrics told the committee, “in fact, there is evidence to suggest that some of these programs are even harmful and have negative consequences by not providing adequate information for those teens who do become sexually active.”

Faced with that kind of evidence, why is our government continuing to promote these ineffective and perhaps dangerous programs? Ideology! The Bush administration is not guided by facts or reality, only a blind allegiance to a warped ideology that has brought our country to the brink of disaster. And yet Congress refuses to do anything about it.

So I ask the question again, when are we going to remove these idiots from office? There are plenty of reasons to impeach the entire executive branch yet Congress sits on its thumbs and does nothing. November seems like an eternity away.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New GOP TV Ad In North Carolina - Vintage Sleaze!

How sleazy can you get? Pretty sleazy if your are the North Carolina Republican Party. Their latest ad, which is a blatant attack on Obama is tagged with a disclaimer stating that it is actually an ad against the Democrats running for Governor. It is a rehash of the whole "Reverend Wright" controversy.

If you remember the whole Reverend Wright thing was started by a Hillary Clinton operative. And there is another reason she needs to bow out!

Helen Thomas Pops The Big Question, "Why Did Bush Lie About Torture?"

From comes this astounding video of the press actually doing its job! Way to go Helen Thomas!

Watch it here!

Hillary's 9.2% Win - Hardly A Landslide

Clinton is claiming a 10% lead in Pennsylvania, and says the tide is turning. Well to be accurate the lead was 9.2% and considering she was ahead by 20 points in the polls a couple of weeks ago, it sounds like the tide may be going out.

OK, to be fair I am an Obama supporter, and I didn’t figure he would win Pennsylvania, however I was hoping that Clinton’s margin would be just a little smaller so she would give up her imitation of Don Quixote and do the party a favor. Instead she feels the wind in her sails and vows to continue.

Time for a reality check. Without some kind of back-room deal with the Super-delegates or a massive scandal by seating the Michigan and Florida delegates, she is toast. She obviously has no love for the party and figures if she can’t have the nomination than no Democrat should. Her continued attacks have even drawn the ire of the New York Times.

Note to Hillary,

You ran a good race until recently and now you are starting to sound like a typical Washington political operative. You not only went negative, but you have been trying to even throw the specter of Osama Bin Laden at the Obama camp. You are willing to do anything to get the nomination and in that scramble, you will not only loose the nomination but you just might lose the election for any Democrat at a time when our country desperately needs it.

Concede the race. Be gracious and act like a Democrat who really wants to see change. Otherwise you will just be another example of “how the Democrats end up shooting themselves in the foot”. It’s time to end this charade.

FBI Director Admits CIA Torture Was Covered Up

It seems that our country has been fundamentally changed by the Bush administration. It used to be that federal agencies exhibited a modicum of responsibility when it came to carrying out their missions as stated by law. For example, the FBI, Federal Bureau if Investigation would “investigate” when it found something illegal was going on.

Not any more. Apparently nothing gets investigated or done without approval from the Executive branch. Take this case in point.

Today in a House Judiciary Committee Hearing, Robert Wexler questioned Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI. In his questioning, he pointedly asked about the recent revelation that FBI agents alerted the agency that the CIA was engaging in illegal and immoral practices. That’s TORTURE for those who don’t speak “bureaucrat”.

Here is the exchange. It is chillingly reminiscent of something from Catch 22.

RW: Alright, Mr. Director. An LA Times article from October, 2007 quotes one senior federal enforcement official as saying quote “the CIA determined they were going to torture people, and we made the decision not to be involved” end quote. The article goes on to say that some FBI officials went to you and that you quote “pulled many of the agents back from playing even a supporting role in the investigations to avoid exposing them to legal jeopardy” end quote.

RW: My question Mr. Director, I congratulate you for pulling the FBI agents back, but why did you not take more substantial steps to stop the interrogation techniques that your own FBI agents were telling you were illegal? Why did you not initiate criminal investigations when your agents told you the CIA and the Department of Defense were engaging in illegal interrogation techniques, and rather than simply pulling your agents out, shouldn’t you have directed them to prevent any illegal interrogations from taking place?

RM: I can go so far sir as to tell you that a protocol in the FBI is not to use coercion in any of our interrogations or our questioning and we have abided by our protocol.

RW: I appreciate that. What is the protocol say when the FBI knows that the CIA is engaging or the Department of Defense is engaging in an illegal technique? What does the protocol say in that circumstance?

RM: We would bring it up to appropriate authorities and determine whether the techniques were legal or illegal.

RW: Did you bring it up to appropriate authorities?

RM: All I can tell you is that we followed our own protocols.

RW: So you can’t tell us whether you brought it; when your own FBI agents came to you and said the CIA is doing something illegal which caused you to say don’t you get involved; you can’t tell us whether you then went to whatever authority?

RM: I’ll tell you we followed our own protocols.

RW: And what was the result?

RM: We followed our own protocols. We followed our protocols. We did not use coercion. We did not participate in any instance where coercion was used to my knowledge.

RW: Did the CIA use techniques that were illegal?

RM: I can’t comment on what has been done by another agency and under what authorities the other agency may have taken actions.

RW: Why can’t you comment on the actions of another agency?

RM: I leave that up to the other agency to answer questions with regard to the actions taken by that agency and the legal authorities that may apply to them.

RW: Are you the chief legal law enforcement agency in the United States?

RM: I am the Director of the FBI.

RW: And you do not have authority with respect to any other governmental agency in the United States? Is that what you’re saying?

RM: My authority is given to me to investigate. Yes we do.

RW: Did somebody take away that authority with respect to the CIA?

RM: Nobody has taken away the authority. I can tell you what our protocol was, and how we followed that protocol.

RW: Did anybody take away the authority with respect to the Department of Defense?

RM: I’m not certain what you mean.

RW: Your authority to investigate an illegal torture technique.

RM: There has to be a legal basis for us to investigate, and generally that legal basis is given to us by the Department of Justice. Any interpretations of the laws given to us by the Department of Justice….(talking over each other)

RW: But apparently your own agents made a determination that the actions by the CIA and the Department of Defense were illegal, so much so that you authorized, ordered, your agents not to participate. But that’s it.

RM: I’ve told you what our protocol was, and I’ve indicated that we’ve adhered to our protocol throughout.

RW: My time is up. Thank you very much Mr. Director.

If that exchange doesn't chill your blood, you need to read it again!

McCain's Tax Cut Proposal - Bad News For Poor & Middle Class

While all the hubbub has been over the Obama-Clinton race, John McCain has been busy, too. He has been proposing an economic program that sounds like it came from the Bush playbook. Cut taxes!

He proposed to pay for these tax cuts by cutting spending but with a $300 billion tax cut that will require a LOT of spending cuts and so far McCain has been silent on where the money would come from. It is a safe bet it won’t be coming from cuts in military budgets. Most likely it will come from social programs and welfare monies.

In other words, McCain may balance the budget on the backs of the poorest Americans. That means Pell Grants will dwindle, Head Start will cut money and jobs, WIC will be underfunded and more. Not a good start for a “maverick”.

McCain seems to be playing to the rich base that has always supported the GOP and he is turning his back on the middle class and the poor. The Straight Talk Express needs to do a little more talking to explain this one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bush Delusional Again - "We Are Not In A Recession?

And so as his disastrous presidency winds down, George Bush continues his slide into delusion. Need proof that he has lost all touch with reality, check this quote from a press conference today with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Bush actually says when questioned about the current recession, “first of all, we’re not in a recession…we’re in a slowdown.”

Banks failing, investment houses being bailed out, mortgage companies going bankrupt, jobs disappearing and the economy at a standstill. We are not in recession?

Won’t any brave Senator or Representative stand up and call for the impeachment of this clown if only to make the point that the American people are not idiots. Of course the American people elected Bush, so maybe…..

$40 Billion+ Profits For Exxon-Mobil! Oh Boy!

As I filled up my partner’s Prius this week, I watched the numbers on the pump go higher and higher and I felt proud. Proud that I could help America, or at least one of America’s companies become number one.

As I paid for the $3.55 per gallon gas, I was almost moved to tears as I realized I was playing my part in helping to make America, or at least one of America’s companies great.

It makes an American proud when his country is recognized, or at least one of America’s companies is recognized as number one in the world! And as I drove away I shivered in pride knowing that Exxon-Mobil ranked the #1 company in profitability in the world for the fifth year in a row!

OK, so beyond that little exercise in irony the story of Exxon-Mobil’s record profits for yet a fifth year reminds me just how much corporate greed affects every American. High gas prices have made those record profits for Exxon and speculators in the oil futures market have driven prices up precipitously. Everyone is making a fast and big buck on the gas crunch except the American consumers. We, the consumers, don’t even get the price of fuel figured in the government’s economic statistics about us. Too volatile, they say.

Volatile enough for Exxon to make over $40 billion in 2007. Wonder when any of that record profit will trickle down to the average American and help him or her fill up their tank?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bill Clinton Criticizes Hillary's Scare Tactics

Hillary has hit rock bottom. Her new ad features Osama Bin Laden as well as just about every scary image she can conjure. She is trying the fear card and it’s a bad idea. In fact here is her husband, President Bill Clinton telling an audience how bad an idea appealing to fear is.

Why isn’t Hillary listening to her husband?

New Obama TV Ad - Brilliant!

Have You Driven A "Tata" Lately?

Being in the market for new wheels I have found the lowest price vehicle around. The Tata Nano, an Indian car that retails for $2500. The problem? Not available in the US because it does not meet emissions and safety standards. Of course there is the slightly more costly Chery QQ at $4500. The problem? It’s made in China and the manufacturing defects are usually visible to the untrained eye. Door panels that meet at odd angles and peeling paint on a brand new car.

I have not seriously considered these Asian cars mainly because of their incredibly poor safety records and emission problems. They are harbingers of what is to come though. A flood of cheap Asian cars is moving into world markets in countries where emissions controls are a joke and safety concerns are non-existent. Because of this China is managing to flood markets in South America and other developing countries.

Car and driver recently tested a Chinese model, the Brilliance BS6. According to their report, “an ice cube stands a better chance of survival in the Sahara than the driver of a BS6 does in a severe front or side impact". Strong words! BMW is partnering in the venture and it is doubtful whether they will risk their reputation on importing such a car into the US, however the Chinese have big dreams. One auto manufacturer flatly states that in 5 years Chinese cars will be known for quality as well as price in the US.

Now if they could just get the lead paint out of the toys they make!

Here is video of a crash test of the Chinese car!

Getting Honest About Health Care

Let’s talk about health care. This issue is top of mind for me right now as I am awaiting a Doctor’s appointment. The problem is I have no insurance.

That means I will have to pay cash for the appointment and cash for any procedures and cash for any prescriptions, etc. What this means is I wait until I absolutely cannot delay medical care any longer before seeking a doctor’s advice. Let me tell you, this really sucks.

For a large number of American’s this is a familiar scenario. Unable to get health coverage because of a pre-existing condition and being self-employed is a double whammy when it comes to insurance. As Elizabeth Edwards noted in a recent column on, 9 out of every 10 people seeking private health insurance don’t get it. Insurers disqualify you for practically anything from your medications to “pre-existing conditions”. In Texas I can get insurance through what is called the “high risk pool”, a special program set up to clear the consciences of the insurance companies. The coverage available is priced far too high for anyone to afford. For me, it’s over $1500 a month. Oh come on! At that rate it would be better to just deposit $1500 in a savings account each month and pray you don’t get sick. That is if you have a spare $1500 lying around each month!

McCain has proposed an alleged “health car program” but it would not cover folks like me ot Elizabeth Edwards. Clinton and Obama both have better solutions, yet neither addresses the issue of someone who cannot afford even the minimal cost of insurance.

Why are we beating around the bush? What this country really needs is a single payer health insurance or socialized medicine like every other civilized country in the world. Having traveled extensively, I can assure you that these programs work in other countries and they can work here. What it will take is a Congress and President who are willing to stand up to the big money of the health care insurers and deliver the bad news. They need to either make insurance available a reasonable rates to everyone or they need to find another line of business.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pentagon Feeds "Analysts" Talking Points

In the quest to fill up the 24 hour news cycle, networks often turn to analysts. These talking heads fill time by pontificating on the topic at hand while allegedly giving viewers more insight into the events of the day.

In the case of military analysts I have long suspected a bias toward the “military talking points” and now there is proof. Seems the Pentagon regularly seduces these analysts with special briefings and access to classified information in order to generate favorable stories.

The New York Times details the arrangement.