unbound @ seema.org

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'd like to teach the world to spell

The Flawed Language of Protest; hilarious misspellings at Tea Party protests. In general, I think it's a sign of a lackadaisical attitude towards grammar and spelling. In so many different venues, I see just atrocious attitudes towards grammar, but no overwhelming attitude to impress on people that knowing the difference between then/than and you/your/you're is important nor do people seem to care to get it right.

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0 comments | 11:41 AM |

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Hillary has always been my girl, but I'm increasingly impressed by Nancy Pelosi. What she has done, how she has done it, is nothing short of impressive. She knew what she wanted, she stuck by her principles, and she worked tirelessly to get it done, even when it seemed that defeat was certain.

In her way stood a series of obstacles that would give most normal people a migraine so intractable that insurance companies would deem it a pre-existing condition. There was Bart Stupak and his faction of anti-abortion Democrats. There was the equally large bloc of pro-choice lawmakers who threatened to revolt if Stupak's demands for restrictions on insurance coverage of abortions prevailed. There were the unions, livid at the idea that the House might entrench the Senate's tax on high-cost health plans. There was Dennis Kucinich. Each week seemed to bring an explanation of some obscure parliamentary manoeuvre that had been proposed and proved impossible.

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0 comments | 9:00 PM |

Monday, February 22, 2010


Whoa, didn't see this coming: Scott Brown supports the new job bill. I'm guessing the GOP didn't see it coming either...

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0 comments | 10:10 PM |


Fareed Zakaria on why declaring war on Iran is a Very Bad Idea (tm).

The United States is being asked to launch a military invasion of a state that poses no imminent threat to America, without sanction from any international body and with few governments willing to publicly endorse such an action. Al-Qaeda and its ilk would present it as the third American invasion of a Muslim nation in a decade, proof positive that the United States is engaged in a war of civilizations. Moderate Arab states and Muslim governments everywhere would be on the defensive. And as Washington has surely come to realize, wars unleash forces that cannot be predicted or controlled.

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0 comments | 10:02 PM |

Sunday, February 14, 2010


A provactive article in the NY Times: How Christian were the Founders?. From my perspective, this rewriting of textbooks in public schools is super scary and while I'm a big supporter of public education, this is the first time I've wondered about private school -- provided there is such a thing as secular private school. Other than that, it means keeping a close eye on what's taught in public school and what's not and addressing appropriately. Still I find it quite alarming that people with no real educational background are dictating curriculum for the vast majority of the country.

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0 comments | 5:57 PM |

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Slate has an interesting article on how insurers reject you. Definitely makes you think about the need for reform, especially in light of WellPoint's 39% rate increase. I love their explanation for the rate increase:

WellPoint defends the hikes as a prudent business move. In a letter to Sebelius, Brian Sassi, head of WellPoint’s consumer business unit, said that because of the recession, healthy people are dropping insurance or opting for cheaper plans. That lowers premium revenues, reducing the amount of money available to cover claims from those who remain.

I'm not sure there are many people out there who can easily absorb a 39% rate increase and I bet some of those people who are still left are going to drop out or opt for cheaper plans, creating a vicious cycle that we'll probably see repeated with other companies over time if something isn't done to keep costs down.

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0 comments | 8:21 PM |

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It always drives me nuts when it gets cold or snows here in Sweat Sock City, people scoff and say, "So much for global warming" or variations on that theme. So I was happy to see this entry tackling that very subject.

It's not hard at all to get temperatures cold enough for snow in a world experiencing global warming. According to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the globe warmed 0.74°C (1.3°F) over the past 100 years. There will still be colder than average winters in a world that is experiencing warming, with plenty of opportunities for snow.

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2 comments | 8:50 PM |

Monday, December 07, 2009


Here's a personal angle on the current health care debate: Health Care and Cancer: Reforming the Odds in a Costly System.

The enormous expense of cancer care – particularly for diagnoses with the worst prognosis – is a driving force in the relentless rise of health costs. Is this huge investment of resources a sensible approach to diseases for which there is no cure and for treatments that often extend life by only a few months? To me, of course, the answer is quite clearly yes. But my disease, though not curable, is treatable, and fortunately, new treatments are waiting in the wings. That is not the case with many other cancers.

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0 comments | 9:25 PM |

Saturday, December 05, 2009


I think it would be a very, very bad idea fo Hillary Clinton to interfere in anyway in the Amanda Knox verdict. It's one thing to intercede on the behalf of hikers in Iran who might have been apprehended unfairly or the journalists in North Korea or the father whose son was kidnapped to Brazil, but it's another thing entirely to interfere in another's country judicial system (thoughts about that aside). There is no strategic national security involved, there's no question of apprehension under vague circumstances, and the defendent was well represented in court.

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0 comments | 9:11 AM |


Andrew Sullivan eloquently expresses his reasons for Leaving the Right.

But there has to come a point at which a movement or party so abandons core principles or degenerates into such a rhetorical septic system that you have to take a stand. It seems to me that now is a critical time for more people whose principles lie broadly on the center-right to do so - against the conservative degeneracy in front of us.

A manifesto of his reasoning follows and reading through it, it reminds me why I can never vote Republican, not when the standard bearers are people like Palin, Limbaugh, Glen Beck, etc. The tent is becoming increasingly small and exclusive but I suppose that also helps the echo chamber. I'm glad that people are starting to take notice and distance themselves from certain people and their whacked out, uninformed statements.

Of course all of this is a moot point as I've never claimed less than being a left of a center Democrat, but there have been times in my New England past when a Republican candidate appealed to me over the Democrat. At the risk of contradicting myself, I would prefer less government spending -- don't even get me started on the bailout! -- but I would rather spend money on health care reform than these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I can't say that I'm thrilled with Democrats either. I accept Obama's Afghanistan surge because I know it's what he needs to do. I don't like it though, but I understand it. I am mortified with the Stupak amendment included on the House version of the health care reform bill. I hate that we bailed out the car companies even though on a deep down level, I understand that too.

The point is, as much as the Democrats have done things I don't like, it seems like they're the only choice. Claiming Independence as a voter makes no sense when the differences are so stark. You can be a conservative Democrat, but it doesn't seem that there is such thing as a liberal Republican and I think the GOP is going to pay for that if they continue to hail Limbaugh and Company and/or seriously parade Sarah Palin as a contender for 2012.

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0 comments | 6:37 AM |

Friday, November 13, 2009

LotD the second

Palin Book Fact Check. Shouldn't be surprising she plays fast and loose with facts. It'd be nice if she could go away and take Carrie Prejean with her.

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0 comments | 8:08 PM |

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I found this article about the subtitle of Sarah Palin's new book amusing. So much for going rogue.

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0 comments | 6:55 PM |

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Planned Parenthood will connect you to your senator's office so you can leave a message asking Congress to protect women's health care. Sign up here. It's about time people started listening to us, especially since I'm convinced all the people who are blowing smoke about abortion in the health care reform debate wouldn't support any kind of reform anyway. So make the call and ask your senator to protect women's health care and vote against any amendment that would restrict our options to pick our doctors and make our own choices about our healthcare. Women deserve comprehensive health care and I, for one, am tired of my health care choices being used as a political football for other people's agendas.

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0 comments | 6:51 PM |

Friday, August 28, 2009

RiP Ted Kennedy

He made some big mistakes in his life but he did a lot of common good and was the symbol of liberalism, not to mention this also feels like the end of the Kennedy mystique. I'm at a loss as to who has the stature to fill those shoes and be the torch bearer for the Democratic Party or for liberalism in general. While Ted Kennedy was in the Senate, there was always hope that cherished legislation -- health care reform, to name one -- would become reality. It's truly the end of an era.

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0 comments | 11:41 AM |

Thursday, August 13, 2009


More on the Bush/Cheney saga here. I'm just fascinated by the dynamic. The Bush who is emerging post-term seems so foreign to me. The first hint of the nouveau!Bush is that he didn't start any more wars during his second term, but this rift with Cheney and Bush's sensitivity to public opinion is fascinating reading. I do still think Cheney is the Boogey Man though. I might be softening on Bush the person (though I still abhor his policies and his actions), but Cheney... he's a scary, scary man. To wit:

"What impressed me was his continuing zeal," said an associate who discussed the book with Cheney. "He hadn't stepped back a bit from the positions he took in office to a more relaxed, Olympian view. He was still very much in the fray. He's not going to soften anything or accommodate shifts of conscience. There was no sense in which he looked back and said, 'I wish I'd done something differently.' Rather, there was a sense that they hadn't gone far enough. If he'd been equipped with a group of people as ideologically rigorous as he was, they'd have been able to push further.

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0 comments | 11:19 PM |

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More on Health Care

The NY Times editorial breaks it all out -- a lot easier to understand without the rhetoric and hot blood of either side. What caught my eye was this paragraph: Right now employers are free to change or even drop your coverage at any time. Under likely reforms, they would remain free to do so, provided they paid a penalty to help offset the cost for their workers who would then buy coverage through an exchange.

This actually happened to me at a previous employer. Our good health plan was switched and we were told that 95% of our doctors etc., would remain the same. But lo and behold, when I went to use the plan, I soon learned that it was literally the Edsel of health insurance plans. No one would take my insurance except for a few clinics scattered here or there. My colleagues, including one who had a brain tumor, found themselves in the same boat. We couldn't even find a dentist who would accept our insurance. The irony of all this? Our premiums actually went up while our coverage, in theory, went down. Our employer argued that they kept the coverage the same -- which could be true, but we couldn't actually prove this because no doctors would accept our insurance.

Flash forward a year, and our employer was forced to change our plan because the outcry was so much. We ended up getting a better plan, and again, premiums went up, but at least this time, we had doctors and dentists who would accept the plan. I would have gladly, for that year, taken an offset payment and gone with a private insurance plan on an exchange or elsewhere rather than paying for something I clearly could not use.

I have no idea if Obama's plan is the right one, but I do know inaction isn't the right way to go. I'm in favor of doing *something* -- such a complex subject and so many opinions, it's hard to know who's right and who's wrong. I only know I have had enough experience with the existing system to know it can't go on like this.

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2 comments | 9:20 PM |

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I'm really, really glad Bush and Cheney are gone, and especially Cheney. Back in 2000, I thought he'd be the voice of reason, the experience to shepherd Bush through the presidency, but by 2008, I was convinced he was nothing short of the boogey man, albeit with a man-size safe and a cunning ability to make his own house "disappear" from Google maps. That being said, Time has a fascinating article on Bush and Cheney's final days in the White House. It's almost like Bush had finally come out from under Cheney's thumb, but it was too late; the damage was done.

But the fight over the [Libby] pardon was also a prelude to the difficult questions about justice and national security inherited by the Obama Administration: How closely should the nation examine the actions of government officials who took steps — legal or possibly illegal — to defend the nation's security during the war on terrorism? The Libby investigation, which began nearly six years ago, went to the heart of whether the Bush Administration misled the public in making its case to invade Iraq. But other Bush-era policies are still coming under legal scrutiny. Who, for example, should be held accountable in one of the darkest corners of the war on terrorism — the interrogators who may have tortured detainees? Or the men who conceived and crafted the policies that led to those secret sessions in the first place? How far back — and how high up the chain of command — should these inquiries go?

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0 comments | 10:28 PM |

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I'm having massive computer problems tonight, but I had to share a link with you that I found awfully provocative. I'm not sure whether I agree with the article or not but it made sense. I'm imagining anyone who suggests rationing health care must be getting a lot of hate mail. An unpopular argument, for sure, but I found it intelligently put.


Health care is a scarce resource, and all scarce resources are rationed in one way or another. In the United States, most health care is privately financed, and so most rationing is by price: you get what you, or your employer, can afford to insure you for. But our current system of employer-financed health insurance exists only because the federal government encouraged it by making the premiums tax deductible. That is, in effect, a more than $200 billion government subsidy for health care. In the public sector, primarily Medicare, Medicaid and hospital emergency rooms, health care is rationed by long waits, high patient copayment requirements, low payments to doctors that discourage some from serving public patients and limits on payments to hospitals.

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0 comments | 10:34 PM |

Monday, June 15, 2009


Interesting article about the costs of healthcare in the New Yorker.

"Health-care costs ultimately arise from the accumulation of individual decisions doctors make about which services and treatments to write an order for. The most expensive piece of medical equipment, as the saying goes, is a doctor’s pen. And, as a rule, hospital executives don’t own the pen caps. Doctors do."

Full article here.

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0 comments | 5:00 PM |

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Geographically challenged

One thing that's bugging me about the Sonia Sotomayor story is people keeping saying her parents immigrated from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is part of the US, so I'm not sure "immigrated" is the right word. It makes it sound like she's not American, that her parents weren't American, and that's not true. "Immigrated" in the same way that I moved from Small Mountainous State to Very Red State... well, maybe not quite. But the point is, Puerto Rico is part of the United States.

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1 comments | 11:07 PM |

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Going Dutch -- How I Learned to Love the European Welfare State.

"... does the cartoon image of it — encapsulated in the dread slur 'socialism,' which is being lobbed in American political circles like a bomb — match reality? Is there, maybe, a significant upside that is worth exploring?"

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0 comments | 9:54 PM |

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea party

Seriously cranky as they made me late for my abs class. And then stood in my way when I was trying to get to the post office to pay my taxes. Maybe that was their point, but seriously. It's especially ironic that these protesters were using public gathering places, funded by taxpayer dollars, for their gathering.

Taxes are taxes and I honestly have no feeling about them one way or another. Certainly not enough to spend precious working hours when I could be proving my value to my employer and earning money to pay the taxes that provide for our brave armed forces, our roads, our schools, public servants including law enforcement, and help those who have lost their jobs somehow make ends meet when times are tough.

Do I wish sometimes my tax dollars were spent differently? Yes. But in the end, when I drive down our beautiful new 16-lane highway, I can only be grateful for what taxpayers bought that makes my life so much easier. It's an honor and a privilege to pay taxes.

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0 comments | 9:28 PM |

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


New Mexico bans the death penalty.
"Faced with the reality that our system for imposing the death penalty can never be perfect, my conscience compels me to replace the death penalty with a solution that keeps society safe," [Governor Bill] Richardson [said].

Only 35 more states to go...

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0 comments | 9:01 PM |

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bill sez

Email circa October 2004:

"Now, one of Clinton's laws of politics is this," [Bill] Clinton said. "If one candidate's trying to scare you, and the other one is trying to get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."


0 comments | 11:39 PM |

Thursday, January 22, 2009


So I haven't been able to blog because I'm getting old (I did get older recently) and cannot remember my password for blogger. I can't remember my password, because it's the same as one of my email accounts, which I recently changed the password for, because someone -- SOMEONE OUT THERE -- is using my email address for their own. Which is so bizarre to me because clearly they are looking for a job and are getting responses to their job search IN MY EMAIL ACCOUNT. Not to mention, they're getting invited to all the cool parties, and they're also traveling a lot, mostly from Detroit to other parts of the country, and usually on Northwest. I know this because they keep sending their boarding pass to my email account. They also have an interest in law school because someone I started getting missives on study groups and LSAT preps; when I emailed back to get off the list, the response from the law school was that I had requested to be put on the list, and they sent me my email as proof.

This is not a recent phenomena, but one that has been going on since fall. At first I just thought it was a typo, but no, someone out there really is using my email account. They're not doing it intentionally; I think they honestly think that my email address is their email address. And the crazy thing is, they can't read their email, they're not getting their email. You'd think when they didn't get the information about law school or their boarding pass, they'd catch on that they didn't have the right email address. But I'm starting to think the user of my email address is a couple of crayons short of a full box or simply doesn't care.

Anyway, it's getting annoying but there's nothing I can do about it. I've RSVP'd back to a couple of parties saying, "Thanks, but you have the wrong email address." This must have paid off though. Recently, Crayon Box has been trying to reset the password to my account. I know this because I keep getting the "Reset password" emails in one of my other email boxes. So clearly they keep trying to get in but can't. I got me some strong passwords.

Anyway, all this to say that I couldn't remember my password to blog because I've got to keep a step ahead of Crayon Box... but if I could blogged, I would have let out a big hip hip hooray on January 20! I'm keeping my hopes high for Obama, but understand that no matter what some might think, he doesn't walk on water, and he's inherited a mess of gigantic proportions. I don't envy him. Not one minute. I bet he's wishing he'd read the job description more closely, don't you?

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0 comments | 10:57 PM |

Friday, January 02, 2009

The end of an error

Jan. 20, 2009. Good riddance. Bob Hebert adds up the damage.

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0 comments | 9:34 AM |

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


As the year draws to a close, it's always good to get a retrospective on things that made our jaws drop. I especially liked the article on "Dumbest Moments in Business 2008," especially the part when the auto CEOs returned to Washington DC in hybrids. What's that they say about first impressions again? Zzzzz....

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0 comments | 12:30 PM |

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Where in the world is Africa?

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0 comments | 9:44 PM |

Monday, October 27, 2008


Still having a problem with Obama and still contemplating writing Hillary in. At the same time, I'm just awed at the sentiment of "blue" sweeping the country. It's like we've gone far enough to the right in the last eight disastrous years and people have had enough. I'm not going to take an Obama victory for granted; I've been disappointed before. But I am looking forward to election night more than usual. It'll be awesome if for the first time in 10 years, I actually vote for someone -- anyone -- who wins.

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0 comments | 8:45 PM |

Thursday, October 09, 2008

This One is voting for That One

I have decided, in the aftermath of Monday night's debate, to vote for Obama and for the first time since Hillary lost the primary, I'm 100 percent certain of my decision. I've been swaying back and forth, but I was dismayed by McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, who is way too conservative and inexperienced, and I've been stunned by McCain's recent behavior on the campaign. His decision to "suspend" his campaign to go back to Washington to push the bailout, which then failed, just seemed nothing short of a stunt and ill-advised. It didn't work for me. But the deciding moment was in the debate, when I felt McCain spent more time attacking Obama than telling me what he was going to do as president.

See, here's the deal. As far as I can tell, the economy is in shambles, we're fighting two unwinnable wars, health care is becoming more expensive, and social security needs some kind of reform. These are the issues that matter to me. I don't care that McCain was involved in the Keating scandal. I don't care that Obama attended a fund raiser held by a reformed domestic terrorist 13 years ago when said terror attacks occurred when Obama was 8. That's the past, and I don't see how either of these two "guilt by association" issues help me or any other American *today*.

I picked Obama because he seems less erratic than McCain, and unlike McCain, Obama occasionally did give a concrete answer at Monday's debate. Obama seemed to get it, unlike McCain who spent all his time (weirdly) wandering around the stage. And honestly, I'm a little horrified at some of these rallies that are going on where attendees are yelling "Kill [Obama]!" and "Down boy!" and that McCain and Palin do nothing to stifle their supporters' comments. It's really very disgusting and I can't believe we're seeing this in America, today, and that two candidates for the two highest offices in the lands are saying, by their silence, that it's okay.

I'm not saying either of these candidates are perfect, but I really though McCain would not resort to such mud-slinging.* I had a lot of respect for him just a few months ago because I did think after what happened to him in 2000 -- a definite victim of the Karl Rove attack machine -- that he would be more dignified. But no. And without concrete answers to anything, and Palin's nonsensical answers and clear lack of experience, it's impossible for me to even think anymore of voting for McCain.

Obama it is.

Not that Obama is blameless on the negative ad side, but only 34 percent of his ads last week were negative, while McCain's were nearly 100 percent. This tells me more about McCain than it does about Obama. Overall, the negative ad split is 73 percent McCain and 61 percent Obama. .

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0 comments | 11:24 PM |

Friday, September 12, 2008


Factcheck.org -- good source to check to see who is really telling the truth and who's not during this election season. Though I don't hold out much hope -- people still think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.

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0 comments | 1:04 PM |

Sunday, September 07, 2008


The Vanishing Republican Voter

Measured by money income, Washington qualifies as one the most unequal cities in the United States. Yet these two very different halves of a single city do share at least one thing. They vote the same way: Democratic. And in this, we are not alone. As a general rule, the more unequal a place is, the more Democratic; the more equal, the more Republican. The gap between rich and poor in Washington is nearly twice as great as in strongly Republican Charlotte, N.C.; and more than twice as great as in Republican-leaning Phoenix, Fort Worth, Indianapolis and Anaheim.

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0 comments | 10:01 PM |

Saturday, September 06, 2008


A visitor from another planet who dropped in on the Republican campaign at this point would very likely assume that the presidential nominee was a guy who had spent his life as a prisoner of war until he was released just in time to pick Sarah Palin for vice president.


He’s been a military man or a senator for virtually all of his adult life, and listening to him talk, you get the definite impression that the two great threats of the 21st century are Islamic extremism and the appropriations committee.

Link: McCain's Grizzly Problem.

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0 comments | 4:50 PM |

Monday, September 01, 2008

Um... Wow?

Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant. As of 40 minutes ago.

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0 comments | 11:44 AM |


Ironically, right after I wrote my pro-choice statement (below), I stumbled across a couple of entries at the liberal blog, Daily Kos about Sarah Palin and whether this baby is even hers. I don't usually subscribe to conspiracy theories, but the pictures are kind of telling...

Sarah Palin is NOT the mother

BabyGate: Explosive New Details

I did think it was weird when I heard the story about Palin flying from Texas to Alaska to give birth after her water broke because I thought once that happened, you had to get the baby out. Having never had a baby before, I figured maybe I was mistaken and a woman who had had four would know what she was doing. Or maybe the incident had been exagerrated and her water didn't really break or whatever. All sorts of stuff. Anyway, consume this theory with a grain of salt as all items from political blogs must be; I'm assuming if this was really a cover-up and Palin's daughter Sarah is really the mother, it will eventually all come out. Too many people in the know to keep it quiet for long, and I'm sure the McCain campaign vetted her properly as well.

So weird. So Desperate Housewives.

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0 comments | 10:40 AM |

Pro choice

There's been some "interesting" comments in liberal circles about Sarah Palin and her decision to have a baby with a Down's Syndrome at her age. Some of the comments have been a little... well, they're the type of comments that give all of us pro-choicers a bad name. Those of you who know me know I'm very pro-choice, but that doesn't mean that I think that abortion is the answer or the right thing to do. Personally, I follow the Hillary school of thought, the one that got her ridiculed way back when, but abortion should be legal, safe, and most of all rare. There are ways to accomplish the last -- education, contraception, better access to health care and support systems, adoption, etc -- but there are times when there is no choice for any number of reasons and that's where I believe the option of legal and safe needs to come into play.

I don't think we can all quite have a looking glass into why women (and men and families) make the choices they make. We don't know individual circumstances or philosophies or issues. We have no idea what leads to the decision to abort a pregnancy. It's never quite so simple as opponents would like to think, and outlawing abortion, mho, isn't going to lead to the ultimate goal of a rare practice.

Sarah Palin made the right decision for her family, for herself. She walked the talk, and she made a choice. And that's really what pro-choice is all about. There shouldn't be any judgment about her decision, either positive or negative; it is what it is. It's key to remember what is right for one person isn't necessarily right for another and unless we're intimately involved in all aspects and are ready to shoulder whatever duty comes when we get our way, I think it's best to let people make the decisions that are best for them -- especially when that decision doesn't affect me or you personally. That's what being pro-choice is all about. It's not pro-abortion, like people would like to make one think, it's about letting people make decisions. And hopefully, as we become a more supportive and educated society, those decisions will start to fall on the rare side of the spectrum.

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0 comments | 10:17 AM |

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I watched Hillary's speech tonight and really, really, really wished I was watching her accept the nomination instead. I've been torn since she stopped her campaign and conceded to Obama. On the one hand, I haven't really changed my mind about Obama, but on the other hand, I don't think I could bring myself to vote for McCain. I've contemplated voting for McCain, trying to find if there is anything we agree on, and with one exception -- McCain's stance on torture -- there's really nothing he stands for that will cause me to switch party allegiance. Right now, I'd like to write Hillary in on the ballot, since pigs will probably fly before Obama wins my state, so that could be a good compromise, but there's something to be said about being well-behaved and loyal and recognizing that there's nothing gained from petulant actions.

Hillary made good point in her speech when she asked why we were "in it." The campaign wasn't about her, but it was about America, and what we see as the key issues facing the country. I had more faith in Hillary's ability to develop a universal health care plan, for example, but I know McCain won't do it at all, so that leaves Obama as the candidate who is more likely to take actions on the issues I believe in strongly. For those of you Hillary supporters thinking of voting for McCain instead of Obama, remember that we have a Supreme Court that's one justice away from overturning Roe v. Wade, and that the international situation is tenuous; that we need universal health care and alternative energy policies, gay rights and women's rights, that we need to do something about the two wars started (and hopefully, not start anymore), and that at the end of the day, the Republicans have turned this country into a big mess. McCain isn't going to be the one able to mop it up since he'll continue the same policies implemented by the Bush administration and look where that got us.

I'm having a hard time accepting Obama, and I'm not thrilled at all about Biden, but at the end of the day, I'm a Democrat, and I don't want to see another Republican in the White House. As a Red State dweller, my vote doesn't necessarily count for electoral votes, but maybe as a statement on unity, I can bring myself to check the box next to Obama's name. We'll see. I'm still not ready to remove the Hillary sign from my car and replace it with Obama paraphernalia. Maybe when I can do that, I can take the next step in voting for him. Baby steps...

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0 comments | 10:28 PM |

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Holy crap

Have you heard about this? You know, it's one thing to be anti-abortion, but anti-contraception?

"[...] Department of Health and Human Services draft provided to Reuters this week carries a broad definition of abortion as any procedures, including prescription drugs, "that result in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation*."

* emphasis mine

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0 comments | 8:32 AM |

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The gasoline tax holiday

I've seen mention of a gasoline tax holiday here and there, and seriously, it's one of the lamest political moves ever. Today, taxes over all make up 13 percent of a gallon of gasoline; crude itself is 72 percent. Back in January of 2000, taxes (federal, local and state) made up 32.1 percent of the price of a gallon of gasoline and crude was 47.1 percent. The world price for crude back in January of 2000 was between $23 and $25. In April of 2008, the price has ranged between $103.46 to $118.53/barrel (ignore the hijinks during the day -- it's the closing price that matters). In January of 2000, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.50.

If you look at January of 2000, we paid approximately 48 cents per gallon in taxes. Average price in April of 2008 is $3.50, and we pay approximately 45.5 cents per gallon in overall taxes. Federal taxes -- which is what the gasoline tax holiday is all about -- are 18.4 cents* per gallon so the rest of the 45.5 cents goes to local and state taxes. You slice out the 18.4 cents and you drop the price of gasoline to around $3.32 for about 3 minutes, because the fundamental problem still remains -- the price of crude is what's going up, not the taxes which are a fixed cost (not to mention it would be politically unpopular to raise taxes on gasoline, even though personally, I think it might be a smart idea).

The proposed federal gas tax holiday would go from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which is approximately four months. Indulge me and pretend for a moment that the price of crude doesn't go up during the driving season. So someone like me with a fuel-efficient vehicle and a 10-gallon tank who fills up four times a month would save somewhere around $30 for the duration of the gas tax holiday. I can save that much by just eliminating two dinners out a month or heck, just waking up early enough so I don't take the toll road to work. And note from the exercise above -- it's the price of crude that's causing the pain, not the taxes. And crude's going to keep on going up and up unless we change our behavior, and that's not going to happen at all.

The taxes go to a highway fund that helps with road construction. When you have no funds, you have no road construction. When you have no road construction, you lose jobs. We don't want to lose jobs so we have to make up that shortfall *somewhere* and guess where the money comes from? Ding ding ding if you guessed China or some other foreign entity. The US is so deep in debt right now that China et al essentially owns our collective butt and that doesn't help with the value of the dollar.

So, in a nutshell, the gas tax holiday is stupid because:

1. In the grand scheme of things, most drivers won't be saving that much money to make a significant difference in their economic situation

2. Reducing the price of gasoline through government intervention will not change behaviors; instead, a reduction will influence people to drive *more*, thus driving up the price once again, essentially negating whatever savings might have been gained through the gas tax holiday

3. The US has to borrow money to finance this hare-brain scheme, which means we, as a nation, we're even deeper in debt and while I'm no economist, I'm pretty sure that doesn't help with the weak US dollar

I want to point out that crude is priced in dollars and for every 10 percent decrease in the value of the dollar, crude rises $4. I haven't figured out the exact way our debt figures into the devaluation of the dollar -- I only know how it impacts my daily life. What we need is a stronger dollar, less consumption on our parts, and then maybe we'll see a meaningful impact in the price of fuel. But the gas tax holiday, now that's just stupid pandering by politicians -- including *my* candidate -- who really want to be president.

Taxes on diesel are approximately 24.4 cents, so if you're driving a diesel vehicle you'll save around $40 for the gas tax holiday

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0 comments | 8:41 PM |

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Listen up, Texas

Here's the deal -- it feels *damn* good to be relevant for the first time since LBJ. It feels so awesome to know that on March 4, the primary matters, the voters matter, and Democrats can come out of hiding. It feels so good to see all the Hillary signs, and even the Obama ones. It means it's a good time to be a Democrat. That's the first part, the awesome part of the deal -- being relevant in Texas again.

The second part, that's not the so awesome part. That's the part where some of you are choosing Obama. Obama with his minuscule experience, his health care plan that doesn't cover everyone, and his inane idea to bomb Pakistan to get bin Laden. We've already suffered through amateur hour in the White House for the last 7 years; Texas, do we really want to go through that again?

There's not much daylight between the two. You cut through the rhetoric and you see two candidates who are remarkably the same -- talented, accomplished, passionate. It's great that we have such a choice. But don't vote for Obama because he's not Clinton. Don't vote for Obama because you find yourself drifting away on his words (because God knows, I do find him memorizing). Don't vote for Obama because you think the idea of hope is the only thing that can get America through. Don't vote for Obama because he was right about Iraq at a time when he didn't have the obligation to make a decision about Iraq. These are all words and promises. You have a better choice, Texas, so choose it.

Choose someone who has 35 years of experience, who knows world leaders by name and has visited parts of the world currently in trouble. Pick someone who has made health care a personal crusade and who is going to promote what is core liberal value -- universal health care for everyone. Pick someone who is more pragmatic, who has been (surprisingly) able to work with some of the most conservative members of congress and get legislation passed. Pick someone who isn't new, shiny, and isn't the world's great orator. Pick someone who is going to roll up her sleeves and get to work for us on day one.

Think hard about who you're voting for on Tuesday. Think about the difference between words and actions. Think about what means to have less than four years of experience at the national level and compare that to 35 years. Experience means something. We've already gone seven years with a "change candidate" and a "uniter not a divider" candidate. Let's not do that again.

So on Tuesday, Texas, make the right choice and vote and caucus for Hillary Clinton.

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0 comments | 7:34 PM |

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I was there

What a trip to finally see Bill Clinton in person. It was super cold and late, but so worth it. Plus, it was nice to see just how much support Hillary has. When I was walking back to my car with my Hillary rally sign, cars were honking support. It was great.

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0 comments | 9:52 PM |

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super duper

The bad thing about being a grown-up is I won't see how this Tuesday plays out. I no longer have the ability to stay awake much later than 10 pm, and even my first 10 minutes of the Daily Show are a hard fight to stay awake. The good news is, tomorrow I'll find out first thing in the morning how it all turns out. Amazing, I've watched more of the endless (read: dull) coverage of Super Tuesday than I did the Super Bowl, which didn't even register on my radar (I watched Masterpiece Theater on PBS).

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0 comments | 9:47 PM |

Monday, February 04, 2008

LotD the second

Thought you were going to be politics free this evening, didn't you? Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, and so I wanted to point all of y'all to Stanley Fish's All You Need Is Hate, an intriguing commentary on the Hillary!Hate.

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0 comments | 8:42 PM |

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I got a call from the Obama campaign today. I guess John Kerry must have sold them my information. I didn't really hear what they had to say after the "We're so excited about Obama's chances going into Super Tuesday. Aren't you?" And I started my spiel about being so glad and proud that the Democrats had such good candidates this year but for now, I was supporting Hillary Clinton. The only response was dial tone.

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0 comments | 10:45 PM |

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Grrrrl power

So I tuned into the Democratic debate tonight and man, what a civilized affair it was. Utterly respectful, dignified, and wow, they stuck to the issues without taking a swipe at each other. It's almost like Clinton and Obama watched yesterday's mean fest between McCain and Romney and said, "Okay, let them eat each other; we're going to show America something else and that's how we -- the Democrats -- are going to win back the White House." While there wasn't a lot of fireworks -- I'm curious to see how the Today show spins this tomorrow morning -- there was lots of policy, and some humor but Clinton got the best line of the night when she pointed out it took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush; it'll take a Clinton to clean up after this one. All in all, Obama was charming and more policy-oriented than usual, but I think the night went to Hillary.

A friend, who is a Republican, pointed out that the niceness might just be a front for something else. Edwards, my friend speculated, might be playing kingmaker, and setting up Clinton to get the nomination with Obama as vice-president. That ticket would be different, historic, but most of all, electable and unbeatable if McCain is the nominee. Edwards, the broker of this deal, would get a position as attorney general or Supreme Court justice. It's an interesting theory, so we'll see how it all shakes up. The Republican -- who started to sway towards Hillary after tonight's debate -- predicts Senator Clinton will be the nominee come Wednesday. If this conspiracy theory is indeed true, it would explain the niceness, the politeness, the "we both believe" comments, but most of all, Clinton's telling remark at the end of the debate when she said "We will have a unified Democratic party [in November]." What's a better way to unite all three main parts of the Democratic party than to put everyone in power in one way or another?

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0 comments | 9:24 PM |

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You say tomato, I say tomahto

I just finished watching the Republicans' debate and it was not as entertaining as I hoped it would be. Huckabee didn't say much and Ron Paul got one passionate speech in about Iraq. McCain and Romney were just painful to watch -- maybe because there was just SO much of them and I rapidly lost interest in anything they had to say. It was more interesting to see how long Anderson Cooper would let them drone on compared to how many times he cut Paul and Huckabee off in mid-sentence. Bah.

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0 comments | 8:39 PM |

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sunshine state

Rumor has it that Giuliani is expected to drop out of the race and endorse McCain. Which is rather a relief. The more I read about Giuliani the man, the less I liked him. All we needed was another arrogant volatile guy in the White House with his hand on the red button to get things riled up again. And McCain, whom I could *almost* vote for if he weren't a social conservative, is an upstanding guy. Given this recent development, and *if* I had a horse in this race, I'd throw my support behind McCain. There's something about Romney that's just... I can't put my finger on it, but I find him a bit like a Ken-doll -- all artifice, all gloss and sheen. He's the Republican version of Edwards in that way.

I am still torn on the Democrats. If Obama wins the nomination, still not sure I can bring myself to vote for him. My vote here in extremely Red State doesn't matter anyway, but I'd like to vote for someone I like and could trust to do the job from day one. I don't think Obama is that person so I can't vote for him. Right now, my fall back -- since I'm not going to vote for a Republican nominee, not even McCain -- is to write-in someone and that person is probably going to be Dennis Kucinich, just because of all the candidates, he's the one who espouses most of what I believe in and want for this country. Of course, all this is speculation and as we get closer to November, this could all change to something else as I learn more about the candidates.

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0 comments | 9:46 PM |

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hooray for Hillary!

I stayed up until 10:30 pm last night watching CNN falling all over itself to figure out just what the heck was going on in New Hampshire. I kept watching those percentages and thinking, "So close, too close." Any minute, I was expecting Obama to suddenly come from behind and win the primary. But no, luck held, all the pundits were wrong (bad pundits!), and amazingly, Hillary won the first primary* of the season.

Of course everyone points to her 'crying' moment, though I've watched the video several times and I don't actually see her crying as much as her voice cracks for just a second. I didn't see it as contrived, I didn't see it as weakness. I saw it as a moment when you realize you're very close to losing everything you've spent 35 years working for, that you've given everything you can, and somehow it's still not enough because people find you 'unlikeable'. I've admired Hillary ever since she emerged on the national stage back in 1992, but that moment -- along with her performance in the debate, that spark of anger and passion, the sense of humor -- really solidified my admiration for her.

I really do believe Hillary is a better candidate than Obama. Obama is a dignified man with a great presence and beautiful poetry. But he's got so little experience on the global stage that despite his pretty words, I'm afraid he's not going to know what to do when. I think he's a great candidate who'll do great things for the US. I just think his turn is 8 years from now.

I'm also starting (scarily) to really like Huckabee. I think some of his ideas are weird, if not downright idiotic (quarantining AIDS patients? REALLY?), but he's a likable guy, dignified, has done some interesting anti-Conservative things, and with a gift for oratory. This last trait he has in common with Obama. It's no wonder people are attracted to these two candidates. They can inspire and speak with passion that we've been missing -- and didn't know we were missing -- for the past eight years.

* Not to split hairs, but Iowa was a caucus.

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0 comments | 10:01 PM |

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Iowa, Iowa

Clearly, I'm not happy with the Iowa results. I don't like Obama, even though 4 years ago I raved about him (but that was when I thought he was a good orator and senator, not as PRESIDENT!). I don't think Obama and Hillary would team up. I'm iffy on Edwards -- I just can't buy the guy as a populist. I'm really hoping Hillary wins NH, because if she doesn't, it's going to be Obama for President and I don't think the guy has enough experience. I mean, W had only a few years of experience as well and look where that got us.

Right now, if Obama is the candidate, I'd have to figure out how I'd vote in the election. I live in Very Red State, so it doesn't really matter if I write-in a candidate -- Dennis Kucinich, for instance -- or vote Republican. Mitt Romney I'm not sure about -- he's like the Republican version of Edwards, except you can buy Mitt Romney as a Country Club Republican, the very constituency he's trying to serve. I think if I voted Republican, it'd be for Ron Paul. I don't agree with most of his views, but he wants to end the war in Iraq, and that's good enough for me.

We'll see what NH brings.

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0 comments | 2:54 PM |

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Americans may know that the death penalty's not working. They just don't care enough to insist that something be done about it.

Link: Capital Opportunity

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0 comments | 5:50 PM |

Friday, December 28, 2007

Failed states

We (Lori, jemima, and yours truly) were discussing "failed democracies", ie Pakistan, and our conversation reminded me of this list of failed states that had been published in the year. There are few surprises in the first 30 or so, but things start to get more interesting as you move down the rankings. Pakistan is ranked 12th as a failed state (Sudan is number 1 and Iraq is second), while the United States is hovering at 160. Norway is the least failed state, ranked 177th. I was surprised to see Venezuela at 74 -- somehow, with Chavez's antics, I'd expected it to be lower on the list, rather than neighbors with Israel, at number 75. This list also shows how little of the world I know. The Solomon Islands (where?) is ranked in the top 30 (why?) as a failed state. Some of these other countries -- Central African Republican -- are a big blob of confusion to me. I would point out that most of the countries towards the bottom of the rankings were the colonizers and the failed states, for the most part, were colonized at some point in the last 50-60 years.

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0 comments | 12:51 PM |

Thursday, December 27, 2007

No words

Benazir Bhutto assasinated

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0 comments | 9:07 AM |

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Money trail

I was looking at some Perry Homes, but will cross them off my list in light of this piece of information from the AP:

According to Federal Election Commission records, ClubForGrowth.net received $200,000 this month from Bob Perry, a Houston homebuilder who in 2004 pumped nearly $4.5 million into the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth to pay for unsubstantiated ads that questioned Kerry's Vietnam service.

Full story is here.
I definitely don't want any of my dollars going towards defeating Democrats, that's for sure!

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0 comments | 9:10 PM |

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The switch

It scares me just how motivated people here in Very Red State are so willing to pull the switch and end someone's life. I understand the arguments for the death penalty -- deterrence, the ultimate punishment for heinous crimes, the cost of keeping someone locked up for life, etc, etc. In fact, there was even a time in my life when I half-heartedly supported the death penalty, but that was also because I lived in a state where it was never used (and in fact, I just realized my home state only has the federal death penalty). It's easy to have a blood thirst when you don't realize what's going on in terms of fair trials, DNA evidence that's overlooked/ignored, witnesses who are unreliable, lawyers who are incompetent, etc. When I moved to Very Red State, I didn't understand why people weren't willing to wait 30 days to reconsider evidence. If the evidence proves the person is guilty, fine, but if not? Then what? My main opposition for the death penalty is that it is IRREVERSIBLE.

You can convict someone wrongly (and it happens every day), sentence them to jail, and whoops, they're innocent, so you set them free. Yes, they've lost time, they've lost opportunities, etc., but at least they have a chance at a normal life. With the Death Penalty, if the person is innocent, then there's nothing you can do once the drug cocktail is administered. I don't have an issue with 'cruel and unusual' (I wonder how 'cruel and unusual' stacks up to how most of the victims die), but I do have an issue with the fact that innocent people may have been executed. To me, all of the other reasons FOR the death penalty are invalidated on the basis that mistakes do and have happened. I can't support, in good conscience, a system that is so imperfect that its consequences are irreversible.


0 comments | 10:01 AM |

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Post # 2066

New Jersey abolishes the death penalty. Hooray! Hopefully more states will follow NJ's lead.

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0 comments | 6:30 PM |

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The L word

I took this quiz to find out who I should support in the 2008 election. I thought my answers on the quiz put me middle of the road in terms of political leanings and that my likely candidates would be either Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama. Imagine my surprise when my first time through, my candidate turned out to be Mike Gravel, former Alaska Senator. I have never even heard of him. Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama were in my third tier of candidates, which I found really odd. Then I took the quiz again and my candidate this time around was Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel was second. Again, Clinton and Obama didn't even register in my top two tiers.

Maybe it's time to come to grips with the fact that I am indeed super liberal leftwing. Not sure why I'm reluctant to admit it; maybe because it's that I live in Very Red State, and don't want to stick out like a sore thumb, or maybe I'm just in denial. Still, no good reason to continue denying my leftiness (right down to my handedness!) so as of today, I'm officially disclaiming my claim that I'm a moderate Democrat and declare myself ultra leftwing liberal and goshdarnit, it feels good to admit it.

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0 comments | 9:11 PM |

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I'm starting to think the only thing Larry Craig is truly guilty of is indecisiveness which in turns leads to stupid and hasty decisions. His inability to excercise judgment of any kind is possibly the best reason why he should NOT be in Congress.

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0 comments | 9:46 PM |

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


This morning on the 'Today' show, Matt Lauer asked his panelists -- I think Tucker Carlson was one of them -- if there was a double standard re Republicans getting caught with their pants down and asked to resign and the MSM making a big deal over it. I nearly spit coffee all over my television. Here's the deal, and I don't know why Matt Lauer doesn't get it. IF YOU CLAIM YOU REPRESENT THE PARTY OF "FAMILY VALUES" AND BELIEVE IN "TRADITIONAL" INSTITUTIONS THAT INCLUDE MARRIAGE AND EXCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY OF INFIDELITY, THEN DON'T PLAY FOOTSIES IN THE MEN'S ROOM AND BLAME THE MEDIA FOR MAKING A BIG DEAL OF THE FACT THAT NOT ONLY MIGHT YOU BE A BIG HYPOCRITE, YOU MAY ALSO HAVE REALLY BAD JUDGMENT (I mean, an airport BATHROOM? Seriously?).


I feel better.

LotD: The last line is the best. "A Senator's Wide Stance"

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0 comments | 10:15 PM |

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Stole this link from my brother:

The Wrong Lessons of Iraq, but it's semi-related to the previous post on this subject, so I thought I'd go wild and crazy and post TWO entries today. Lori, you'd probably enjoy the link since it's more a psychological analysis of the different attitudes about the war.

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0 comments | 9:23 PM |

No time machine

I was watching "The Daily Show" last night and also a few nights ago, when Bill Kristol was on. Jon Stewart was pounding both Kristol and last night's guest, Stephen F. Hayes, pretty hard on the Iraq War, but what I especially liked about yesterday's conversation is that Stewart actually brought up the issue of patriotism and if you're against the war, somehow you're a traitor and hurting morale. The full transcript of yesterday's show is over here or you can always watch it on Comedy Central if you'd like (I personally find their media player horrible).

Here's the thing. The supporters of the war have framed it so elegantly in black and white. Black and white is easy, it doesn't require nuance. It's either A or it's B. There's no in between and you don't have to hurt your head with shades of gray. Easy, easy. So if you're against the war, then you want the terrorists to win and if you want a plan of action, then you're supporting the terrorists. If you want the troops to come home becaus standing between two sides intent on killing each other isn't a long-term viable strategy then you're a defeatist. Add it all up together and somehow you're unAmerican and unpatriotic, which all adds up to the 't' word: Traitor.

See, the conservatives have gotten really good at the name calling. They've gotten good at framing the debate and setting up the sides. They've got a huge grassroots support system on radio and internet and all they do is pick at you little by little until suddenly it's tiresome to bang your head up against "YOU MAKE NO FREAKING SENSE AND YOU HAVEN'T IN YEARS" brickwall.

The thing is, it doesn't matter if the antiwar people are defeatist, unAmerican, unpatriotic, or Benedict Arnold. Those are just adjectives, they don't mean a dang thing. It's the conservatives who got us into the freaking mess and they don't seem like they have a plan to get us out. That's why they get so upset when we ask questions. That's why they don't believe in accountability. 'Stay the course' wasn't a winning strategy for the first George Bush, but apparently old habits die hard. Maybe it's time we reframe the debate from the antiwar side: "We made a mistake, we want to fix it in the best possible way for America, and how can we do that in a way that minimizes casualities -- civilian and military, Iraqi and American -- in the best possible way?"

Rhetoric is easy, but it's not a solution. So while I'm leaning very strongly towards Hillary Clinton, honestly, I'd vote for the first person who puts forward a strategy that makes sense, is actionable, but more importantly, doesn't involve playground-style name calling.

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0 comments | 9:04 PM |

Monday, August 13, 2007


Interesting article about Padilla and the possible effects of alleged US torture over here. But what really caught my attention was this phrase: "In 2002, the Justice Department produced a "torture" memo stating that victims would have to experience pain equivalent to organ failure to prove torture." Just. Wow.

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0 comments | 9:17 PM |

Thursday, August 09, 2007

History lessons

I've always associated what's happening in Iraq today with more recent genocidal civil wars such as Bosnia and Kosovo as they are fresh in recent history and have some of the same characteristics: ethnics groups forced together into a country by a strong-fisted leader. Remove that force and lo and behold, the country falls apart and people who formerly called themselves friends and family are at each other's throats. But Fred Kaplan over at Slate points out another parallel which I'd never noticed before -- India in 1947 and Iraq today. The article is here. It pains me to say it -- because I want nothing more than for the troops to come home -- but Bush ignored one lesson of history and now we can't possibly ignore another. They've got to stay there until somehow any potential consequence of withdrawal is mitigated.

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0 comments | 6:02 PM |

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I find this comment thread between the liberals and conservatives very interesting, if not a wee bit frightening. I'm amazed MikeB hung in there as long as he did (the 'liberal' voice) and he made some inappropriate comments, mho, but I also find it scary how many people still believe that Iraq and Al-Qaeda had ties to each other pre-9/11. The misinformation is disheartening, truly is.

The saddest part of this whole comment thread is that there really is no room for polite discourse. You question George Bush, and your Americanism is questioned. Of course, it's a conservative blog, so I suppose it should be expected; I have no doubt a liberal blog would flay a conservative for showing up on that blog with the opposing viewpoint. It's for that reason that I'm not a big fan of either politically conservative/liberal blogs. They pick their talking points that'll appeal best to their audience and cherry-pick the stories that'll support their viewpoint and don't bother ever saying "Oops, I was wrong that time" or post a story that might, just might, give another point of view. I'm not a big fan of the name-calling that goes on on either of these blogs. I know it makes for colorful reading, but it's just aggravating and disrespectful, mho.

I also believe political blogs do a major disservice to their readers, who don't get the whole story because they're too busy getting their news from either Michelle Malkin or Daily Kos. Conservatives will argue that they need blogs because the MSM has been leading them astray, but I'd argue that the bloggers have been leading readers astray (liberal & conservative both). These blogs subsist on a population of angry people of both political persuasions who are so incredibly convinced of their viewpoint that the minute that viewpoint is threatened, they have no choice but to attack. It's so very sad.

*Please, Kosvo wasn't so much an invasion as an intervention and many years late too. Gee whiz, people.

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0 comments | 9:29 PM |

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pretty as a lady bird

RiP, Lady Bird Johnson. The legacy she left this country might seem simple, but could hardly be considered trivial.

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0 comments | 8:33 PM |

Monday, June 18, 2007

Makes no cents

Phooey on Senator Obama, who has lost my support (tepid as it was) for the primary season (is it over yet?). I'd been shifting between Obama and Hilary Clinton for some time now and have been leaning more towards Clinton, but this latest memo of his smearing Indian Americans just about killed any pre-nomination support I might have had for him. I have no idea what he (or someone in his campaign) was thinking. In my non-scientific research, Indian Americans are well-off, educated, are leaders in a variety of fields, but more importantly, they vote Democrat. A lot. Maybe Indian Americans aren't a huge population so Obama wasn't worried about ticking us off, but still... Incredibly stupid and so now the next time the Obama campaign calls me looking for a donation, I'll remind them that I'm an Indian American and they don't seem to want MY support. My checkbook is CLOSED.

The worst part is though, if he gets the Democratic nod, I've got no choice but to support him. Of course, I can vote, just not give money. Grrr. IDIOT.

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0 comments | 8:27 PM |

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not Ready to Make Nice

The other day, I told a friend that Bush was right about one thing: democracy could help eradicate the problem of fundamentalism in the Middle East. The problem was that the Bush administration was so steadfast in its conviction that it ignored the lessons of history and the associated needs/wants/desire of culture and religion; the result is a cauldron of simmering tensions and rage that no amount of democracy or capitalism can cure.

We make the mistake so many times of believing that what worked for America is what will work for everyone else or that people even want an America of their own. We believe so strongly that the way we do things here is the way things ought to be done. And when people disagree with us, we call them names and boycott their products. It's 2007, and we still haven't learned how to play nice.

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0 comments | 10:22 PM |

Friday, March 30, 2007

You again?

I seem to have gone on an unintentional writing/blogging strike, but Urban Legends are always fun to revist for content. Here's one that keeps coming back: reinstituting the draft. Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Draft Fear).


0 comments | 11:53 AM |

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Only in America

I went to my first Brooks & Dunn concert yesterday. I was possibly the only person in the house who didn't know who they were or why they were popular. But I was given a free ticket and my only other plans for a Saturday night were a hot date with PBS (support your local station and make a donation NOW!). So off I went to the concert and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I didn't find myself bopping to the music and the lyrics didn't particularly grab me as anything that I could identify with or relate to. I chalked it up as another experience I'd never had before and could now say with certainty that I don't ever really need to go to another Brooks & Dunn concert.

During the last song, which was kind of catchy, I suddenly heard clapping and people were getting to their feet. I looked up on the viewscreen and saw four Marines marching to the stage. I got to my feet and started clapping as well. It was an emotional scene, even for this hard-hearted anti-war liberal. I watched as they climbed the stage and stood at attention, the musicians and singers dancing around behind them. The camera panned in on the Marines' faces. They were young men, probably not more than 22, clean-cut and handsome and whole. My eyes started to tear up.

I couldn't help but wonder if these men had been to Iraq or if they were scheduled to go. I knew they must know people who had been to Iraq and I wondered if they knew some of the soldiers from our area who died at an approximate rate of one or two a month. I was sure they must know someone who was wounded in Iraq. Do they think Iraq is worth it? I wondered what they thought of the lights, the applause, the ovation, the realization that we love them now, but don't take care of them when they come home. And I want nothing more for these four young men to stay clean-cut, handsome, and whole.

I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, feeling a little silly for getting all teary eyed over the situation. As I was walking out of the concert hall, I reflected on the recent troubles experieneced by McCain and Obama for using the word 'wasted' to describe the lives of soldiers lost in Iraq. They didn't misspeak. Iraq is a morass for which there is no military situation and our army is essentially standing between two sides firing at each other and our soldiers. It's a three-front battle, one that never had a connection to 9/11 -- a war conjured up by men who had never been on the battlefield themselves and with a blatant ignorance of history. This stupid war has drained our finances, has cost our soldiers their lives, has killed umpteen number of civilians, has destabalized the region, and yet we're not allowed to use 'wasted'. Only in America can the truth be so blatantly ignored.

It made me incredibly sad. Brooks & Dunn put a face to the men and women fighting for our country. But seeing their faces, more than anything I just want to bring them home so they wouldn't be subjected to such a hopelessly inarticulate experiment as Iraq has become. Of course, I would never say that at Brooks & Dunn concert, because then I would just be unpatriotic and dismissing the contribution of our troops.

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0 comments | 8:51 AM |

Thursday, March 08, 2007


The Four Unspeakable Truths about Iraq

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0 comments | 6:11 PM |

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ghosts of Rwanda

Yesterday I watched Frontline's "Ghosts of Rwanda" which has to be one of the single most disturbing films I've ever seen. I'd read about Rwanda countless times in the last decade, though to this day, I'm unsure if I even was aware of the situation when it was unfolding in the April of 1994 through July of that same year. Even knowing the story ahead didn't lessen the shock -- the stunning gut check -- of seeing the piles of bodies and the footage of all the western powers pulling out of the country, leaving countless behind to die. I wondered, as I watched the American conveys passing the people standing on the street, how many of those people are alive today?

The film traces the development of the genocide, beginning in 1993 when General Dallaire from the UN first visited the country to the assasination of the Hutu president to the brutal murder of the Belgian peacekeeping troops and through 100 days of genocide when approximately 800,000 people were slaughtered with machetes (among other things). At that rate, with primitive weapons, the extremist Hutus would have reached, if not surpassed the Holocaust, within two years. It's astonishing to me because butchery with a machete is up close and personal. It's an intimate act and yet so many people participated, even coming up on a church and somehow managing to slaughter all 5,000 Tutsis sheltered within.

The documentary has plenty of interviews including with General Dallaire, Pierre Gaillard, and Madeline Albright among others, insights, including some very touching and heroic actions taken by the few westerners left in the country, including Pierre Gaillard, who represented the Red Cross. I was left alternately stunned by the world's indifference and by the heroism of the few who stood up to the killers, the few who had no weapons except their words and mere presence to defend against an organized, ruthless campaign of extermination.

This is an extremely strong and disturbing film with appalling graphic footage, but if you can get your hands on it, you should. It's very much like visiting a concentration camp. You can read all about atrocities, you can see pictures, but until you're face to face with it directly, you cannot even fathom the pain, the suffering, the loss, the evil. As I mentioned, this film is NOT for the faint of heart, but I also think not acknowledging what has happened in the past and not bearing witness means we will let it happen again. So much for 'never again'.

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0 comments | 5:46 PM |

Thursday, February 01, 2007

God sleeps in Rwanda

The Fainter and I went to see God Sleeps in Rwanda at the Holocaust Museum the other night and I've spent the last two days kind of processing the very idea that we were sitting in a HOLOCAUST MUSEUM watching a film about genocide that happened only 12 years ago and that there is a genocide going on RIGHT NOW in the Sudan. Sometimes I think we say we'll never forget and then we do, because it's happening somewhere else to people who aren't us and whom we have no real connection to. What I find incredible is how no one in the international community acted. Could someone somewhere have done something to stop the machete-killing spree? Who knows? It's impossible to second-guess, but to have done nothing at all...

The film itself is more uplifting than you'd think it'd be. It's about women in Rwanda, what happened to them during the genocide, and then how they've managed to move ahead and not only that, gain greater rights and equality in Rwandan society than they've ever had before. As someone pointed out on Tuesday evening, it's a tragic irony that nearly a million people had to die in 100 days in order for women to make these strides for it wouldn't have happened otherwise.

If you have a moment, you can send an email to your congress person about Darfur. If you go to savedarfur.org, they have a form letter and all you have to do is fill in your name and your zip code and they'll send off the email. It'll take two minutes of your time. The one good thing here is that President Bush has recognized what's happening in the Sudan as genocide; President Clinton never acknowledged that in Rwanda until many years later. So while we have the President's attention, go ahead and fill out the email and maybe this time we can do something.

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0 comments | 6:28 PM |

Monday, January 22, 2007


I meant to say this yesterday but Blogger was acting up, but my guess is that John Edwards will secure the Democratic nomination. He's not the front runner right now, but he'll probably be chosen on 'electability' versus Obama and Clinton. I've been reading some comments on Clinton and I've been aghast by some of the things people have been saying, like one person called her 'unladylike' for wanting power and someone else called her the not-so-nice 'c' word and someone else said something to the effect of "if she can't keep her husband in line, how is she supposed to be president?" Puh-lease. I won't deny that I'm completely in Hillary's camp. I wasn't a couple days ago, but now I am. She is a smart, independent woman who has won respect on both sides of the aisle and has worked hard during her time in Congress. She deserves the respect all of the other candidates receive (ha!).

And for something completely jaw-dropping, read Howard Kurtz's article about Obama's schooling at a 'madrassa' at age 6. Apparently FOX News was all over this story, even though the allegations were thinly sourced and completely irrelevent; CNN has debunked the story here, though I'm pretty sure people will say it's just the liberal media covering up for their own. I don't have a high opinion of FOX News, which despite calling itself "fair and balanced" is decidedly not so, but I did think they'd do better than pick up a single source story from a newspaper and report on it without confirming it.

Sometimes I can't believe I share a country with these people.

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0 comments | 8:36 PM |

Saturday, January 20, 2007

You go, girl!

Hillary's in!

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0 comments | 2:04 PM |

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sacrifice by any other name

I watched Jim Lehrer's interview with the president this evening even though I can't normally stand Bush -- either looking or listening -- but it's cold and icy here and I don't have cable and the Lehrer News Hour seemed like the appropriate thing to do while huddled under a fleece blanket on my futon. Plus, I was rather struck by President Bush actually admitting that things could have been differently and ::gasp:: taking responsibility for some of his actions. In fact, he wasn't as annoyingly brash and arrogant as he usually is. And then came this glorious, glorious piece of insight from our President. I still haven't picked my jaw up off the ground.

MR. LEHRER: Let me ask you a bottom-line question, Mr. President. If it is as important as you've just said - and you've said it many times - as all of this is, particularly the struggle in Iraq, if it's that important to all of us and to the future of our country, if not the world, why have you not, as president of the United States, asked more Americans and more American interests to sacrifice something? The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They're the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we've got a fantastic economy here in the United States, but yet, when you think about the psychology of the country, it is somewhat down because of this war.

Now, here in Washington when I say, "What do you mean by that?," they say, "Well, why don't you raise their taxes; that'll cause there to be a sacrifice." I strongly oppose that. If that's the kind of sacrifice people are talking about, I'm not for it because raising taxes will hurt this growing economy. And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life's moving on, that they're able to make a living and send their kids to college and put more money on the table. And you know, I am interested and open-minded to the suggestion, but this is going to be -

I'm sure Al-Qaeda is quaking in its boots now that it knows the American people are sacrificing 'peace of mind'. And I wonder how the military families feel about the statement that the vast majority of Americans are moving on, sending their kids to college, when they're sending their kids to fight in Baghdad. Just. Wow. Full transcript from the interview available here.

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0 comments | 9:16 PM |

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blue jean baby queen

I had a really insightful blog thought today. Sometime during the day, I had a thought and then I thought some more and then I thought, "Wow, I should put that in my blog because that's really important and exciting and interesting." And now, fast forward many hours from when all that thinking was happening and after a long day of meetings at work, after a workout at the gym, and dinner and a couple of household chores and episode of THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION (tm), I am drawing a complete blank. I really hate that. How can I possibly be taken seriously as a blogger when I don't even remember what it was I was supposed to blog? ::sigh::

Meantime, I heard a rumor about President Bush admitting that the Iraq policy of the past year has not worked. I say 'rumor' because I refuse -- REFUSE -- to hear that man's voice or see his face in my house. But apparently, he did say it and there's something about 'surge' and 'accelerate' which I really think means 'escalate' and please, does he think we're so stupid that we need a "Wag the Dog" slogan for every piece of strategery he comes up with?

Also, I'm not enjoying IE7. Mozilla died on me today and so I'm surfing with the spawn of Bill Gates and holy Mother of Tom DeLay, if it isn't slow and tedious. I take back my lukewarm review from the other day, because tabs glorious tabs or not, I'm not a big fan of the "click and we'll maybe show you your page 20 minutes later" school of browser.

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0 comments | 9:18 PM |

Monday, January 08, 2007

A start

Schwarznegger is talking about universal health care in California. I'm glad to note that my home state of Vermont already has it. I don't know if a system like Canada or the European countries is the way to go, but something has to be done to take care of the 40 million people who lack even basic care, not to mention the skyrocketing premiums for those of us who do have health insurance provided by employers. I don't know if Schwarznegger's plan is the solution, but at least he's taking action.


0 comments | 9:03 PM |

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Here are the allocations for DHS' funds. So are you a top tier terrorist threat too? (Say that 10 times fast!)

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0 comments | 6:19 PM |

Friday, January 05, 2007


I don't agree with neocon Charles Krauthammer that often, but I think he articulated the reasons why Saddam's execution is a complete disaster perfectly.

I also think Newsweek summed it best in a story in its latest issue (the one with Gerald Ford on the cover) when they wrote, from a historical perspective which does not sugarcoat any of Saddam's atrocities or crimes: "... what Saddam achieved for his country came at a terrible cost, and of the countless problems he reated and perpetuated, his death solves none."

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0 comments | 8:25 PM |

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Not a victory

I'm really torn over the execution of Saddam Hussein. Some of you know that I'm morally opposed to the death penalty because it's not reversible. Innocent people have been executed, I have no doubt, and some people (guilty or not) have suffered greatly during their executions. The former reason hardly applies to Saddam. The man was evil, truly a butcher and he visited great atrocity upon his people -- none of this is in doubt.

Saddam's obvious guilt and evilness however doesn't make execution right, especially given the US' blatant complicity in the matter. And really, what good does his execution do for this world? Nothing. Iraq is still in flames, with no solution in sight. Saddam's execution will be merely a footnote in this last year or so, a gruesome way to end 2006. Meanwhile, Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds will continue to battle each other and our men and women in uniform will be caught in the middle.

At this point, Saddam had little to no influence on events on the ground so I'm sure people figured this 69-year old sad sack version of the dictator was dispensable. At least we didn't go through the farce of putting him on trial for every single on of his atrocities and then giving him 12 death penalties. Saddam's reign of terror and his spectre as a leader is finally over, but this execution is not a turning point, and it's certainly NOT something to celebrate or claim as a victory. Instead, I have no doubt that terrorists will use Saddam's execution as yet another reason to wage war on the West.

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0 comments | 2:45 PM |

Friday, December 22, 2006


I never thought there'd come a day when I'd want Tom DeLay speaking for the Republicans, but holy cow, I'd take the Hammer any day over this Virgil Goode who is possibly the very worst possible example of what America stands for. I guess he missed the whole "Give me your tired, give me your poor" indoctrination and was conveniently sick on the day the First Amendment was discussed in class. I'm just amazed at how gracefully Ellison is handling the whole situation, but it somehow doesn't seem right that a guy born and raised in the States and who ran on a platform for improving healthcare is taking a whole lot of heat for actions committed by people who aren't him. Talk about scapegoatin'. And what's even worse, there are a whole lot of people who agree with Goode's comments in the blogosphere. Ugh. Merry Christmas indeed.

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0 comments | 8:06 PM |

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The war on Christmas

Apparently the War on Christmas is over now that Wal-Mart is no longer saying "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" or whatever other innocuous phrase they were using. I'm all for wars ending, though the 'War on Christmas', mythical as it is, isn't the one I'm really that interested in in ending, but that's another post for another day. The point is, the War is over and we should all be dancing in the streets or something.

The thing is, I will wish people "Merry Christmas" all day long if that's what they want to hear. I have no problem if people wish me a "Merry Christmas". My issue is that the same people who insist on "Merry Christmas," who are upset at the very mention of "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays", don't seem to want to give that respect to those of us who might have different holidays that are just as important to us as Christmas is to them. My guess is these same people would totally flip out if a Muslim wished them a "Happy Ramadan". But hey, who cares about equality when the War on Christmas is over? I say, bring on the eggnog and your best Christmas shoes. There's going to be some partyin' now.

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0 comments | 8:10 PM |

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