Wednesday, December 10, 2008


In the wake of the recent arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich there appears to be a number of people who my also be losers in this scandal. Number one on the Republican hopeful list is , of course, President Elect Barack Obama. The Rethug machine is already trying to put Obama in the Blago camp. "Tarred" as you will, with the taint of Illinois politics in general. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been outed as Senate Hopeful #5 and has had a presser where he insisted he had no designs to buy the Senate seat.
There is one person who has no direct connection with Blogo's corruption but is the one who is going to get the biggest screwing out of it: Former Illinois Governor George Ryan. Ryan was convicted of corruption several years ago and has been in prison since 2007. He currently resides in a federal correction institution in Terre Haute. He has been prominently listed as one of Bush's number one pardon choices. No less than Dem Senator Dick Durbin has pushed for George's release. Some how it seems unlikely that even the increasingly out-of-touch Bush White House would be tone deaf enough to pardon the previous Felonious Governor in the wake of his own Justice Dept trying to send the current Gov to the same big house.
So, it would seem, Ryan will take it on the chin. Or, considering his current living situation, lower.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Joe Hill rolls over

The ever idiotic Doughy Pantload hit his usual stride today with a column on schools. The topic was on the Obama girls going to a private school but of course the real topic was bashing the left. His target? Teachers unions. Once again the left is the direct off-spring Hitler, as we see in this quote:

The main reason politicians adopt a policy of malign neglect: teachers unions, arguably the single worst mainstream institution in our country today.

It seems amazing than any children get educated with the evil teachers unions strangling the life out of public schools.
The thing to remember here is not the attack against the teachers' unions, but that the right and all the supporters thereof are ramping up their pogrom against all unions. The number one target right now is the UAW. The talk of bailout for the big three auto makers is bringing out the meme that it's the labor costs that are causing their failure. The big lie this week is that auto workers receive $70 plus dollars an hour for their work. In reality the figure is about $28. (If that sounds like a lot, remember that's about $56000 a year for a 40 hour week/50 week year) While the right remains quite quiet about the white collar sharks getting millions (sometimes billions) in pay from companies that get bailout money, they can not talk enough about how the union worker is dragging the same companies down.
The real need in this country is not fewer unions but universal health care. It's the health care costs that are driving up the labor portion of auto making (the other costs are materials, debt service, and management pay) and it's not going into the workers pocket. The one good thing about the economic collapse is that maybe major manufacturers will finally jump on to the Universal Healthcare bandwagon. We can only hope. (And, of course, lobby your congress critter)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

All the news that fits

I saw this in my local fishwrap yesterday. In case you don't find the economic news grim enough. Wasn't ther a war goin on a couple of months ago? (Click title for photo)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh Oh!

Three months ago to the day, I wrote about VP selection and suggested that the real powers behind the Bush administration would go to a dark horse. I said at that time they might look for a Bush-like politician to set up for another run at securing both the election and a second shot of fulfilling the NeoCon agenda. When Caribou Barbie came up as the choice I thought initially I was wrong and that they were going for the Hail Mary just to maybe save the election.
After a few days of Alaska watch, I started to think maybe I wasn't so far off to begin with. Her style of governance bears a striking resemblance to the Bush Whitehouse. The moment you get in office you demand total loyalty to Dear Leader. Anyone who doesn't start fawning from day one either gets the boot or is marginalized. Her speech at the Convention was a study in Rovian obfuscation. Attack your opponent, lie about your record, and keep repeating whatever line of crap you want your followers to mimic. Jeff Yang at Salon yesterday had a great article that spells it out much better than I ever could.
I'm getting a sinking feeling that this election could be a lot tougher for Obama and the Dems to win then many people think. Palin doesn't have to be bright or a great politician. She has others to do that for her. If the Rethugs can continue the story line of her being the fresh new reformer and with her fundie cred bringing in the Christian wingnuts, she might just be capable swinging the election in McStain's favor. I think the next few weeks will be some of the most interesting politicking you've ever seen.
Oh, and by the way: Grampy, if you do win in Nov, I'd be real careful around all the staircases in the Whitehouse. You never know when the Moose killer is behind you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Who's Watching Your Back?

Buried on the bottom of the eighth page of the Sunday Chicago Tribune is an article entitled U.S. proposes to ease domestic spying rules.I caught the story as a blurb on MSN's online news on Saturday and thought that it would drop into obscurity like most of these sorta dry administrative manoeuvres. The Times story was a slightly more informative than MSN, but below the fold on page eight does not a raise even a ripple.
The gist of the story is that The Bush administration has redefined the role of local police departments in the Global War On Terror. Now, any local police department that receives federal aid (over 18000 state and local) will be allowed to collect intelligence on groups and individuals that they believe to be engaged in terrorism or supporting any group that helps terrorists. This information will be held for up to ten years and forwarded to Homeland Security. Effectively, local police departments will be required to spy on citizens on the basis of any type of suspicion. Not since the sixties and seventies have we had the spectre of local police becoming "Red Squads" and combing the activities of anti-government groups and individuals. Except today we have "Enemy Combatants" and Gitmo.
As I was mentally composing this post, Keith Olbermann on Countdown covered this story. I was glad that it is getting wider distribution, but both KO and the Trib believe that this is a move by the Bushies to institutionalize domestic spying. Certainly you can't have a hard time believing that the administration that wipes it's butt with the constitution would have any compunction against wider domestic spying but I have one little problem: There appears to be a very good chance that the next President of the United States is going to be a colored guy named Barack.
I somehow have this really tough time imagining that the Bush handlers really want to leave this police state to a Democrat. Particularly this Democrat. So what does this lead you to believe? That the Rethugs think (or worse, know) that they are going to win in November.
Occam's razor says that this is just another of this crowds' ongoing movement towards the police state and that it's just part of the momentum that's been built up over the last seven years but I just can't shake the fear that this election is going to make the last two look fair. Only November will tell.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Solemnly Swear...

I viewed a recording yesterday of Nancy Pelosi at a book event in California. This was a pay-to -get-into event which should have been filled with the faithful and of little notice the world at large. What made it noteworthy was that about thirty protesters attended the event along with the supporters. As protesters, this group broke the pattern of chanting and disrupting the event and went right to the heart of the matter and demanded that Pelosi justify her position vis-a-vis the prosecution of crimes by the executive branch. At one point Pelosi states: "I take an oath of office to uphold the constitution of the United States and don't tell me that I don't do that,” A fuller account can be seen at Democraticunderground
I will pause here to offer this: The oath Nancy Pelosi swore to when she took office as a member of the House of Representatives.

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

The central, nay only, requirement of this oath is the preservation of the rule of law, to defend the constitution of the United States. This is what Americans have fought and died for since it's ratification. And note that it includes domestic enemies, a phrase that was added after the civil war to remind members that not just foreigners can endanger the liberties that the constitution promises us all.

As long as Nancy Pelosi hold the office of Speaker of the House, every time she appears in public someone needs to stand before her and say:

Madame Speaker, The President of the United States and the Vice-President of the United States have, by their own admission, broken the laws of the United States to a level which may be construed as Treason. They have admitted to actions which the world has deemed War Crimes. Why have you not followed the oath of office to which you swore, and brought these crimes before the body of which you are leader? Why have you shirked your duty and ignored your oath and not sought the impeachment of these officials as is required by the Constitution? Why have you stated that you will not even consider impeachment even though the oath you swore requires you to? How can you stand before the people of the United States and the world and refuse to do that to which you swore?

If Nancy Pelosi finds that she can not appear in public without someone asking her these simple questions maybe the time will come where she actually has to answer these questions.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sign of the times

I saw an ad tonight on MSNBC. I assume it is running elsewhere but it particularly struck me that it was on a supposed liberal news show. The ad was for American Express Card. The gist of the ad was a man going to an airline counter to purchase a ticket to San Francisco. He goes to pay for the ticket with a card that has kittens on it. The agent looks annoyed and the next shot is two TSA people standing behind him putting on latex gloves and telling the traveler that they need to question him. The next person uses an Am Ex card and sails through.

I watch enough (too much?) TV to get all the references and the ad does exactly what it was targeted to do: Make you think that AM EX has credibility that other cards do not. What frosts me is that it we are so conditioned to this constant state of war that we believe this is a normal way for people to behave. If there is the slightest hint of anything that low-level functionaries don't like or even if there is no rational at all, then an ordinary citizen is subject to the most demeaning treatments you can imagine. Treatment that 8 years ago would have gotten these minimum wage Brownshirts a punch in the nose to the applause of other travelers. To attempt that today would get you a minimum of two days in a TSA sweat box with hand and leg irons and most likely some time in a real prison.

You could not have written a story about this happening to America 8 years ago and sold it anyone. They would have laughed you out of the room. And yet 8 years later we accept it so completely that it becomes a "cute" ad. With my perspective of 50 some years, this stands out to me but imagine a young person just coming to voting age. This has been how things are done for all of their adult life! I only hope that in the upcoming election we can bring some sensibility back to this country and maybe spend the next 8 years fixing some of what we have broken. If we don't, all I can say is "Show me your papers!".

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Some things just aren't funy

I really like Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. It's usually a must watch for me and Mrs. d. Sometimes I find the bits a little boring but he usually has a great comedic sense and some of his interviews are fantastic. Tonight, though, I think he went to a place where comedy shouldn't go.
The opening bit had a Muppet like hand puppet called Gitmo. Gitmo was, of course, a prisoner of Guantanamo Bay. Stewart worked in numerous torture references and even did a take-off of the ventriloquist trick of drinking a glass of water. Water boarding of course. It was clever. It just wasn't funny.

I like comedians that work blue. I like comedy that pushes the boundaries of good taste. But I just can't laugh at this on the week where we are starting the show trials (one of which is for a man who was 15 when we dragged his half way around the world and tortured him for 5 years) and when the Bush War Criminals are getting ready to use the execution chamber they built there.

Somehow I don't think Jon would do a bit about the Birkenau Easy-Bake Oven, but then there's concentration camp humor and then there's concentration camp humor.

Article XX

Rep Dennis Kucinich spent five hours last night reading a 35 count article of impeachment against President Bush. It's a 63 page document that details the high crimes and misdemeanors of the most dangerous threat to America since the Civil War. The crimes include lying us into war, misuse of funds, torture, illegal wire tap, and failure to sufficiently supply troops in combat. It's like a laundry list of how this administration has abused the power with which the people of America had entrusted them.

Reading through them you find yourself nodding and agreeing. Some of them are heinous, others almost petty. Until you reach Article XX. It has the shortest heading of the entire document.

ARTICLE XX: Imprisoning Children

Imprisoning children. Imprisoning children. The mind boggles at the thought that people with the American flag on their shoulder bind, blindfold, drug, interrogate and hold for years without hope for release, children! And remember: This is being done in your name.

The saddest part of the whole thing is that Rep. Kucinich's efforts will come to nil. His bill was introduced to almost no notice within the mainstream press. Most Americans don't even know it happened and those that do hear about it are told it's another move by that goofy guy who ran for President. For those of you who do care, I can only say call your Congressperson and ask them to support Dennis's bill. It won't help, but at least you can say you tried and I recommend that you look at who does support him and that will tell you who you can trust in this Congress.

Friday, June 6, 2008

And the winner is.......

With Obama finally getting enough delegates to clinch the nomination the debate goes to who's going to be the vice-presidential candidate. No this is not about Hillery. I think the great overlooked question is who will be McCains VP running mate. On the face of it it seems pretty mundane. Do you pick Mitt who was a strong competitor to McCain? Maybe Bobby Jindal to off-set Obama's ethnicity. Or you could pull someone less known who will bring a swing state?

My take is that the powers that be are going to do this more like it was done for GW. Cheney was originally the head of the search for the vice-presidential candidate for the 2000 election. I think midway through he realized that GW was an OK candidate in terms of electability but there needed to be a real manager behind him. Hence the Cheney vice-PRESIDENCY. Many have written of their fears that this administration will not leave office willingly and believe that some non-constitutional trickery is afoot but I think that the real powers behind the throne will find a VP who will be waiting in the wings. The smart bet is that McCain doesn't have two terms in him and possibly not even one. Look for the dark horse VP candidate to be the real inheritor of the Bush Neo-Con power play. These guys are tricky and really, really hate to lose.

Anyone got any bets on who it's gonna be?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Plug The Meter

I seem to be focused on the CrapTimes lately. Weird article tonight about Baltimore converting old parking meters to "homeless meters". The idea is that you will give your spare change to the meters rather than to panhandlers. The money is given to Homeless Health Services. The take appears to be about $100 a month. Tom Yeager, vice president of clean and safe programs at Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. (I love the title), says:

"People love it... because it is not degrading to the homeless and it's anti-panhandling. It also educates the public to put their money where it can make change. So, it's not about money- it's a message."

Why do I suddenly have a vision of Papal Indulgences? You know, where you gave the church money so that you could go ahead and sin? Throw a few coins in the old meter and you can walk by that beggar knowing that you have helped to save him. It's a great idea and dog knows it's perfect for State St. Needless to say Mayor Dave is already on it.

All I can say is that I feel like I should go buy a case of 40's and drop them off at Peace Park.
To quote the late great State St regular Brian "Gotta quarter?".

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Crap Times

It's been a couple of weeks now since the once venerable and later venial Captital Times abandoned it's six day-a-week format to become an "on-line" news source. It's online presence is forgettable at best. It has broken no new ground for web news and is out shined by several other local sources like WISC-TV's Channel 3000.
The daily paper has been replaced by two tabloid sized editions distributed through the execrable Wisconsin State Journal and certainly they are more interesting than the web version. Wednesday's version is the front page section and it really seems to have coalesced all that had made the old version a weak imitation of the early Cap Times. Feature stories fleshed out by page sized pictures, a few local sports stories, and the most vapid call-in and letters-to-the-editor section imaginable make up the bulk of the paper and even John Nichols, usually a reliable editorialist, phones it in. They even brought the embarrassing "Human Cost of the Iraq War" box with it's listing of Iraqi casualties at 87'800. Only off by a factor of 10.
Surprisingly, the Thursday feature section is a far better production. It's had mostly interesting, well written articles by staff members. They seem to have sifted out those that were interesting and got rid of the worst of the old paper. I'd hoped that they would cut loose the amazingly unappetising Michael Muckian (if I never read "choice of starch" again it will be a better world) but at least he only reviews wine and beer. Samara Kalk-Derby is a far better writer and has a better feel for restaurant reviewing.
All in all the new format has a somewhat broader range than it's obvious competitor, The Isthmus, but Isthmus has had a better track record of late in doing real reporting. It'll be fun to see what shakes out.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Crazy Preachers

It appears that the media is trying it's best to keep the Rev. Wright/Obama story on the front burner. Polls are suggesting that the Wright controversy hasn't hurt Obama but some people seem to think that if it is pushed long enough it might some traction. Interestingly, only a few blogs have tied the story to the February endorsement of McCain by Pastor John Hagee. Hagee is a fundamentalist preacher with a large church in Texas. And while Wright has definitely said some provocative things in his sermons, Hagee is part of the Doomsday Crowd that are continually pushing for an expansion of hostilities in the Middle East.

Writer Robert Weitzel has done a great job of tying Hagge, McCain, the Christian right, and the Republican party together and showing how this "end of time" crowd is helping to kill children today and possibly bring the entire world into a war not that far in the future. It is a piece that everyone should read.

I dare you to read Palestinian, Israeli kids are cannon fodder for the Rapture and not fear radical Christianity every bit as much as radical Islam.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Story

Six Iraq war protesters were arrested on Sunday after disrupting the Easter Mass of Cardinal Francis George. The protesters shouted that the Pope called for peace and squirted fake blood on themselves. One angry Mass goer yelled at the group "Are you happy with yourselves? There were little kids in there. You scared little kids with your selfish acts"

Umm, small children dragged into church being told about someone being nailed to a cross by an old man wearing a dress? How could you tell what scared them?

Marking Time... Part 2

Just after passing the five year mark for this awful war (is there any other kind?) we reach another milestone: the 4000th dead serviceman. The number has been used by both sides. The anti-war people hoping that the enormity of 4000 dead might stir the seemingly complacent populace into joining the with the vocal opponents. The administration once again claiming to feel the pain of the families.

On Nov 12th Sgt. James W McDonald died. The US Military said 37 service members died in November from wounds suffered in Iraq. Sgt. McDonald was not one of the the 37. Because he was wounded in May and had returned to the US and because there was no determination of the exact cause of death, his death is not one of the 4000. His mother Joan McDonald is not so ambiguous about whether John's death was war related.
"If my son was not at the war, he would not be dead, plain and simple. He was a strong and healthy boy. Don't tell me it was unrelated to the war. I will never accept that" said Mrs. McDonald

4000. It's a good round number. It's a milepost. It helps understand the horror of war. And it's a lie. Joan McDonald and hundreds of others know it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dont Let The Door Hit You....

Getting closer and closer to the last day as a real newspaper, The Crap Times has pushed itself into over-drive to destroy what ever it has left of it's legacy as a "progressive" voice. Buried on page four of it's Thursday edition was it's only story of the day about anti-war protests in Wisconsin. At least it was above the fold. Along with the usual quotes from a few protesters and the listing of several near arrests for trying to get elected officials to actually talk to them, there was these wonderful two paragraphs:

When contacted about the demonstrations, Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, called the protesters extremists.

" If we were to cut and run at this point, we would lose a lot of credibility round the world," Jefferson said. "I think people realize that"

There are so many things wrong with this that I'm having trouble lining them up.
First, when polls consistently show that over 60% of America thinks that it was a mistake to enter this war, how the hell can war protesters be "extremist"
Secondly, we have not had any respect around the world for five years.
Finally how the fuck do you decide to ask the head of the Rethuglicans about war protests at all! This walking piece of human excrement is one of the morons responsible for the mess we're in. His hands are bloody. This is like asking a murderer why he thinks there is so much violence today.
I can only mourn the Capital Times of old when maybe there would have been someone there to point out their own foolishness.

Once In Lifetime

For the first, and I suspect the only, time I beat an A list Blogger to the punch. Atrios this morning posted about Patricia Kelly's letter to the New York Times. I guess getting the Times for the Wednesday food section has finally paid off.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dancing With The Stars

A couple of days ago Maureen Dowd wrote in her column that GW "has turned into Gene Kelly" referring of course to the pres's little soft-shoe in front of the press while waiting for Uncle Fester to show up and be anointed as his successor. Little did MoDo realize that this seemingly innocuous turn of words would elicit a response from none other than Gene's widow.
It seems that the Widow Kelly does not believe that her esteemed late husband would be a fan of the doofus-in-chief. In fact it appears that the late hoofer would be aghast at the very idea. Patricia Ward Kelly writes:

When Gene was compared to the grace and agility of Jack Dempsey, Wayne Gretzky and Willie Mays, he was delighted. But to be linked with a clunker — particularly one he would consider inept and demoralizing — would have sent him reeling.
Graduated with a degree in economics from Pitt, Gene was not only a gifted dancer, director and choreographer, he was also a most civilized man. He spoke multiple languages; wrote poetry; studied history; understood the projections of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. He did the Sunday Times crossword in ink. Exceedingly articulate, Gene often conveyed more through movement than others manage with words.
Sadly, President Bush fails to communicate meaningfully with either. For George Bush to become Gene Kelly would require impossible leaps in creativity, erudition and humility.

I can only add to this the comment that in more ways than one Bush is truly a lame duck.

Marking Time

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and today marks the end of the fifth year of this horrendous war. Spring, of course, is the season of new beginnings and war, of course, is the season of endings.

First and foremost it is the ending of life. Four thousand of our best and brightest cut down in their prime. Wives and husbands, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers gone, not in some glorious crusade, but in an increasingly ignored and ever more expensive and worthless quest for goals never truly spoken by those that would have us continue down this road that has no apparent end.

War is also the ending of innocence. Nineteen year old boys who should be deciding between careers or schools or between girls are forced to decide between life or death. For themselves, or their comrades, or for people living thousands of miles away from their homes and families. Choices which may well haunt them until the end of their days. It is also the end of the innocence of the nation. The exuberant Nineties gives way to the grim and foreboding 21st century where the America of economic and moral leadership has become a tired and fearful place. Where outsiders are to be distrusted and the idea that we can do anything is replaced by arguments about whether we should do anything at all.

It's been a long Winter. I can't remember a harder one and I've seen plenty. But with Spring comes the hope, no, the knowledge, that longer, sunnier, warmer days are ahead. I also have some hope that this country is ready for a change in direction. The political season has not brought the public scrutiny of our policies, both home and abroad, that I might have hoped for, but there is still time for America to examine what needs to change. And to select the people who might actually effect that change. As I said, with Spring comes hope.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Who Are The Terrorists?

Often when I go to post, either here or other sites, I find that I ask myself whether my comments may go too far. Even though I may want to say that certain members of the administration are on track for capitol punishment, I usually temper my attack.
The Flyover Journal today has an article which suggests that I may be right if I want to avoid the interests of the long arm of homeland security wannabees.

A Blogger who goes by the name of John Adams has come under the scrutiny of his home town police chief. Chief James Coan of Whitewater WI has initiated an investigation of Adams in order to determine who he is. Adams has been critical of the police department's attitude towards the UW Students and personal and the growing Hispanic population. The WSJ article says: According to Whitewater Police Department e-mails obtained by Adams under the state's open records law, Coan involved at least two detectives, the city's director of public works, its information technology officer and the city clerk — all working on city time and using taxpayer-funded resources — to find the identity of a man described as a "suspect" but who had not committed a crime.
Another individual, who had been incorrectly identified as the blogger, was visited in his home by police and warned against voicing anti-government opinions. You can read this dangerous screed at

I grew up in small town America and often witnessed the administrations of local-yokel police departments, but Whitewater isn't rural Wisconsin. It's a University town with over 12000 well educated students and faculty. When you see this sort of vicious attack on free speech, I can only believe the current governmental disregard of our 1st amendment rights is dripping down to the local level.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Back in December I posted about the legislature (and even some republicans) getting their act together and passing the Compassionate Care Bill. The legislation requires hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims. It seems to be a no brainer, but that is never a phrase that should be used about the state lege.
Well Thursday, almost 3 months to the day after I wrote about it, Gov. Doyle signed the bill into law. I would love to look back and say that this was the day that Wisconsin started to bring public discourse about sex, women's' rights, and reproduction into the 21st Century but I suspect that the troglodytes are merely regrouping for the next moronic outburst.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We are one less

I thought I'd mention the passing of a truely great American. Percy Julian died two days ago and while most people don't know his name, he was one of the people who spent their life making this a better country. He spent his life defending the constituition and more importantly the citizens it was written for. If you would like to learn a little more, please scroll down to his obit here. He was a great man and made one hell of a key lime pie.


I've been hibernating. As the sun gets higher, I feel the need to post again. Hopefully, I actually have something to say.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging

This is for Rorschach at No Capital. Moe and Gracie say "Baskets? Meh!"

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Texas Tea

A little late for christmas, but the perfect gift for the economy that has everything, our New Years treat is $100 a barrel oil. Just when you thought you could afford to drive to the job that may or may not be there, bang, up goes the price of gas. For those who are in the throes of poverty or those on the edge, increased gas prices, increased food prices, and the harsh winter weather over much of the country means that existence here in the Home Of The Brave And The Land Of The Free will become just that much harder in the coming months.
The next time a republican friend complains about gas prices, make sure you remind them about a certain Energy Task Force meeting in 2001. You know, the one between Darth Cheney and the major oil producers? Remind them that oil was $20 a barrel until the Bush Crime Cartel came into power. Oh, and one last thing, the oil in Iraq was going to pay the war costs. Then ask them real quick "Who ya gonna vote for?".