Saturday, May 31, 2008

IRS Drops Investigation Of United Church of Christ

Several months ago there was much ado in the press about the United Church of Christ being investigated by the FBI for illegal partisan electioneering. The whole matter stemmed from Senator Barack Obama, a member of the UCC, being invited to speak at the denominations general synod. There was a thought by the IRS that Obama people had been electioneering at the meeting.

I remember at the time my partner being rightfully suspicious of the investigation wondering if it was politically motivated. That suspicion still stands, but thanks to a thorough investigation the whole matter was dropped. The IRS determined that the UCC took sufficient steps to avoid any appearance that Obama's participation in the meeting was an endorsement of his candidacy.

Meanwhile on the Southern Baptist from the IRS also investigated the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, CA. The pastor of that church had given a personal endorsement of Mike Huckabee. The investigation determined that it was only a personal endorsement and not on behalf of the congregation or church.

Though I still have my suspicions as to the “personal” nature of that endorsement, I think the IRS probably made the right decision. The rules on what churches can and cannot say regarding politics are vague and must be considered on a case by case basis. Though problematic, they still prevent churches from making political campaign contributions and full blown endorsements and that is a good thing.

Now, if the IRS could just find a way to investigate the hate-filled speech of so many of this country’s televangelists!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Comedy Great Harvey Korman Dead At 81

One of America’s great comedians has died at age 81. Harvey Korman, famous for his 10 year stint as second banana on the Carol Burnett Show died Thursday in Los Angeles of complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago.

His TV career began on the Danny Kaye show. He also did a variety of voice-overs for cartoons from Tom and Jerry to the Flintstones. Later his appearance in moves would expand his career. His character Hedley Lamar in “Blazing Saddles” will always be one of my favorites.

Harvey, you will be missed.

Scott McClellan Interview With Keith Olbermann

MSNBC got the scoop of the first prime time cable interview with former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Here is the first part of the interview. It is explosive. The full interview is on MSNBC.COM.

New York Governor Orders State To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Performed Out Of State

The new governor of New York, David Paterson, has directed all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states or countries. According to a story in the New York Times Paterson is quoted as saying same sex couples married elsewhere, “should be afforded the same recognition as any other legally performed union.”

Legal experts said the governor’s order would make New York the only state that did not itself allow gay marriage but fully recognized same-sex unions entered into elsewhere.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

White House Tries To Deflect McClellan's Exposé

Let the name calling begin! Already, even before Scott McClellan’s book is officially out, soe of the guilty parties in the story are throwing mud. Karl Rove, mentioned often in McClellan’s book and noted as one of the people who actively disseminated false information regarding the CIA leak scandal says McClellan sounds like a “left wing blogger”. I guess that is damning talk coming from a Neocon?

The White House representative Dana Perino said, “Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House…for those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad - this is not the Scott we knew."

Yes Dana it is sad that Scott played the role of piñata for so long, taking the press corps beating while he spouted the White House propaganda. What is equally sad is that Scott didn’t come forward earlier with some of this info. Had he done so, Bush and Cheney would most likely be spending more time with their families instead of destroying the country from the White House.

McBush Or McCain? Nice Video From Olbermann

McCain is just another analog for George Bush. I thought this was common knowledge, but apparently some folks haven't figured it out. So....for those of you who have been asleep for the past 7 years, here is a really nice summation of McBush...or McCain by Keith Olbermann.

Additionally, it has a really good (positive) clip of Barack Obama!

Former White House Press Secretary Exposes Bush Lies And Deceptions

In what will undoubtedly be the “tell all” book of the decade, Scott McClellan, former White House Press Secretary, has written a scathing memoir of the Bush Presidency. The book is titled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception” and is far from a love letter to Bush and his staff.

According to, who obtained a copy of the book this week McClellan says President Bush “veered terribly off course,” and was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.

McClellan doesn’t stop at the Iraq war, he details a secret meeting between two top aids to “get their story straight” about the CIA leak scandal as well as pointing a finger at Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the disinformation campaign around Valerie Plame.

The Washington Post quotes McClellan as describing Dick Cheney as "the magic man" who manipulated things from behind the scenes while leaving no fingerprints of his work. Now that's something many Americans have long suspected!

Sounds like a must read for the summer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Teens In Diapers" And Other Weird Searches

Once and a while I examine the stats from my site to see who is visiting and where they come from. It's always an enlightening experience.

Last year I ran a couple of stories about the Globe Magazine and its "Laura Wants a Divorce" story. It appeared numerous times at the supermarket checkout stand and though it may or may not have a shred of truth it was interesting because it showed that the country had fallen out of love with the Bush family. Back in 2001 such a story would not sell papers, it would most likely result in threats against the publisher. Not so today.

That story resulted in a ridiculous number of hits on my site searching for "Bush divorce" in the search engines. Well times have changed. Now I get lots of hits because of a story I ran months ago about a Christian youth group who played a game where the teenage boys had to wear diapers. It caused a brief outrage and showed a real lack of restraint on the part of the counselors at the group.

That story is now where most of my hits are coming from. That was months ago and yet hundreds of people are searching for "teens in diapers" in the search engines. I have to wonder if the whole diaper thing hasn't become one of America's more popular fetishes? Go figure?

Personally, I was hoping most of the visitors to this site are seeking my sage opinions on political matters. Oh yea, this is the internet we are talking about!

Mortgage Crisis - Audit Reveals Lenders Covered Up Risky Loans

Sometimes I wish there was a TIVO for the radio. I was listening to NPR this morning as they dissected the mortgage crisis and looked at the root causes as discovered by auditors. As best I can recall the chain of blame goes like this.

Subprime lenders started by making essentially bad loans. People who could not afford the price of the house they bought were given loans assuming that a certain number of these would be “bad”. Why? Well there is a lot of money to be made lending money even if it’s to people who you are pretty sure will default in a few years. Until that time, you can make the commissions and interest and then sell the loans in big bundles to an investment company. When you do that, you pass the bad loans along with the good ones and you the initial lender get out with a bundle of cash!

Next the investment company that bought the paper, bundles it up and sells it to still a larger firm, who accepts that there will be a certain number of loans that are not worth the paper they are written on, but the percentage of good loans makes it an attractive investment. Besides you are not going to keep it for long. Again the loans are bundled and sold and more cash is pocketed.
As many times as this happens the investors and sellers know that some of the loans are worthless, yet because there is so much money to be made they hold their nose and sell them anyway.

There is blame enough to go around. Buyers shouldn’t have gotten in over their head with more house than they could afford. Sellers shouldn’t have sold them more house than they could afford, and investors shouldn’t have bought the worthless paper. But there was so much profit to be made along the way, so why not!

So now Congress is looking at the whole messy debacle and trying to figure out what to do. Meanwhile there is an audit going on to see exactly who knew what and when. So far it looks like the big investment houses were well aware of the problem. Let the lawsuits begin!

The whole thing begins to sound like a deal that would warm the hearts of the Ferengi on Star Trek. For “non-trekies” they are a race of aliens motivated entirely by profit. Their holy book is called the “Rules of Acquisition” and making a fast buck, or whatever currency they have is their sacrament.

Ferengi Rule of Acquisition # 125. A lie isn't a lie until someone else knows the truth .

Sounds a lot like Wall Street doesn’t it?

Radio Ad Promotes Fear Of Transgendered In Colorado

The lovely alleged Christians at Focus on the Family have released the most hateful raido spot yet. It campaigns against Colorado Senate Bill 200 which outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation including transgendered people.

The spot features a frightened little girl screaming about having a man in the restroom. It is the worst kind of fear mongering and unfortunately typical for Focus on the Family. Listen to it yourself. Warning it’s bound to make your blood boil!

Obama Get 6 More Delegates

Over the weekend, Senator Barack Obama picked up 6 more delegates while Senator Clinton garnered only one. Obama got delegates from Alaska, Wyoming and Georgia plus 3 from Hawaii. The count now puts Obama just 51.5 from the nomination according to NBC News.

The NBC NEWS Delegate Counts:
PLEDGED: Obama 1,647 to 1,502
SUPERDELEGATES: Obama 315.5 to 282.5
TOTAL: Obama 1,974.5 to 1,784.5

Monday, May 26, 2008

Clinton's Assassination Comment Was Not An Accident

I have had a lot of people ask me why I haven’t blogged about Hillary’s latest gaff. The reason is I was too disgusted to even write, and that’s pretty disgusted.

Senator Clinton is no stranger to scandal and bad press. She lived through a wild ride during her husband’s presidency. Having been in that position I figured she would be more sensitive to taking the low road, but apparently not. Her comments about Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June and her later claim that she was only trying to make the point that the primaries aren’t over and things could change is crap.

Hillary is savvy enough to know that brining up the specter of assassination in regard to America’s first viable African-American candidate is so loaded with subtext as to be blatant. Obama had Secret Service protection long before any other candidate precisely because of the threats against him. Hillary knows that and made that remark for just that reason. She is not trying to motivate an assassin, just make voters and more specifically the Super-delegates worry that Senator Obama’s safety would be a big concern.

Her tactics are not a mere mistake as she claims. She is a seasoned politician, and she chooses her words carefully. The reality is she is a despicable old-school Washington insider taking a play from Carl Rove’s book. This is precisely why she should not be the Democratic candidate or on the ticket in any way.

Meanwhile, she has unleashed the flood of hate filled rhetoric from the likes of Fox News where a commentator over the weekend suggested that both Osama and Obama should be “bumped off”. That should qualify as a threat and I would hope the Secret Service might consider holding that person for questioning.

Meanwhile, Hillary continues to spin and complain; now claiming it was somehow Obama’s fault that she made the incendiary comment. Hillary needs to step down, and quickly before she exposes the nasty spirited person she so carefully hides within her.

Storm Chasing in Kansas & Oklahoma

If anyone has watched the movie Twister, let me assure you it has little to do with storm chasing. Real storm chasing is about hours and hours of driving and seeing lots of interesting clouds and maybe, just maybe a few tornados. Well, this weekend we got to see those tornados!

Patrick and I drove to up to north west Kansas just in time to see a couple of tornados form west of Ness City, Kansas. We chased them north past ransom and Cedar Bluff Lake until it got too dark. Earlier a tornado went through the town of Ellis, but that storm was too far north for us to get to in time.

Along the way we passed an armada of chasers surrounding Josh Wurman’s “doppler radar on wheels” and the strange TIV (Tornado Intercept Vehicle), the new Vortex Project crews as well as a few crews from Discovery Channel filming the action of the chasers filming the action. If that sounds confusing, it was. I have never seen so many SUV’s with multiple antennas in my life!

We spent the night in Great Bend after finding every hotel in the area of Hays was filled to the brim with chasers. The next morning we drove down to Oklahoma not expecting to see anything else. We would have continued to Iowa, but I had to be back in town Monday.

That’s where we got the surprise. Near the Oklahoma border we started seeing a discrete thunderstorm on our Mobile Threat Net radar. Luckily we were headed right for it and sure enough it put out. Near Perry, Oklahoma we caught up with the storm and watched as it put down two tornados at the same time. At least that is the way it appeared, I believe one may have been from a storm behind the other and we just happened to be in the right place to see them both.

We followed that storm system for another three hours and got pictures of another tornado and lots of wall clouds before it finally became rain-wrapped and hidden from view.

Returning home around 1:30am Sunday morning we were both beat. After church naps were the order of the day.