The Skunk and Tiger

"Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."-Horace Mann

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

Now that 25 years of Republican deregulation has placed us on the cusp of another depression, I think its a good idea to cancel your cable and curl up with a nice book a bowl of soup and maybe a can of sardines. What better way to celebrate your freedom than reading a banned book.

Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. People challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups--or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore the latest problems to classic and beloved works of American literature.

According to the American Library Association, more than 400 books were challenged in 2007. The 10 most challenged titles were:

1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
3. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
7. TTYL by Lauren Myracle
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
9. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
(Click here to see why these books were challenged.)

During the last week of September every year, hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2008 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 27 through October 4.

The purpose of this Web site is to help the public join the celebration of our freedom to read. The easiest way is to visit a participating library or bookstore. There is a list of Events, to help you find one in your community. (If you want to post information about an event in your community, please click here.) There is also a list of suggestions of other activities that will help remind people of the importance of free speech, What You Can Do. If you want further information about, contact us at or

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of College Stores. Banned Books Week is also endorsed by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress.

Thank you for celebrating Banned Books Week!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Debate and Wall Street.

Watched the debate last night after having some sushi. Obama didn't blink once at McCain's attempts to paint him as naive and weak. I just wish Obama would have brought even more attention to the fact that the policies of deregulation have further stripped the power of our democracy. McCain never mentioned the 'middle class' once last night, but perhaps the GOP realizes they have finally been successful eradicating it. The economic future looks very bleak now. The collapse on Wall Street is evidence that the role and responsibility of government should never be surrendered to the private sector. If Obama manages to win in November, and I fear it will be another close and contested , it will not stop the tide caused by the real 'Cut and Runners'. The Republicans have cut the funding to our infrastructure, social stability, and even a healthy future for our children and at the same time run up a colossal debt to China and Saudi Arabia.

Below is an essay by Thom Hartmann who has suggested some real possible solutions.

How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar

by Thom Hartmann

For Grover "Drown Government In The Bathtub" Norquist, this bailout deal will work out very well. At a proposed cost of $4,780 per taxpayer, it'll further the David Stockman strategy of so indebting us that the next president won't have the luxury of even thinking of new social spending (expanding health care, social security, education, infrastructure, etc.); taxes will even have to be raised just to pay for the bailout. It'll debase our currency, driving up commodity prices and interest rates, which will benefit the Investor Class while further impoverishing the pesky Middle Class, rendering them less prone to protest (because they're so busy working trying to pay off their debt). It'll create stagflation for at least the next half decade, which can be blamed on Democrats who currently control Congress and, should Obama be elected, be blamed on him.

But there's another way: Create an agency to fund the bailout, loan that agency the money from the treasury, and then have that agency tax Wall Street to pay us (the treasury) back.

It's been done before, and has several benefits.

In the United Kingdom, for example, whenever you buy or sell a share of stock (or a credit swap or a derivative, or any other activity of that sort) you pay a small tax on the transaction. We did the same thing here in the US from 1914 to 1966 (and, before that, we did it to finance the Spanish American War and the Civil War).

For us, this Securities Turnover Excise Tax (STET) was a revenue source. For example, if we were to instate a .25 percent STET (tax) on every stock, swap, derivitive, or other trade today, it would produce - in its first year - around $150 billion in revenue. Wall Street would be generating the money to fund its own bailout. (For comparison, as best I can determine, the UK's STET is .25 percent, and Taiwan just dropped theirs from .60 to .30 percent.)

But there are other benefits.

As John Maynard Keynes pointed out in his seminal economics tome, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money in 1936, such a securities transaction tax would have the effect of "mitigating the predominance of speculation over enterprise."

In other words, it would tamp down toxic speculation, while encouraging healthy investment. The reason is pretty straightforward: When there's no cost to trading, there's no cost to gambling. The current system is like going to a casino where the house never takes anything; a gambler's paradise. Without costs to the transaction, people of large means are encourage to speculate - to, for example, buy a million shares of a particular stock over a day or two purely with the goal of driving up the stock's price (because everybody else sees all the buying activity and thinks they should jump onto the bandwagon) so three days down the road they can sell all their stock at a profit and get out before it collapses as the result of their sale. (We ironically call the outcome of this "market volatility.")

Investment, on the other hand, is what happens when people buy stock because they believe the company has an underlying value. They're expecting the value will increase over time because the company has a good product or service and good management. Investment stabilizes markets, makes stock prices reflect real company values, and helps small investors securely build value over time.

Historically, from the founding of our country until the last century, most people invested rather than speculated. When rules limiting speculation were cut during the first big Republican deregulation binge during the administrations of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover (1921-1933), it created a speculative fever that led directly to the housing bubble of the early 20s (which started in Florida, where property values were going up as much as 70 percent per year, and then spread nationwide, only to burst nationally starting in 1927 as housing values began to collapse), then the falling housing market popped the stock market bubble and produced the great stock market crash of 1929. That speculation aggregated enormous wealth in a very few hands, crashed the housing and stock markets, and produced the Republican Great Depression of 1930-1942.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, as part of the New Deal, put into place a series of rules to discourage speculation and promote investment, including maintaining - and doubling - the Securities Transaction Excise Tax. Other countries followed our lead, and the UK, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Greece, Australia, France, China, Chile, Malaysia, India, Austria, and Belgium have all had or have STETs.

Perhaps the most important benefit of immediately re-instituting a STET in the USA, however, isn't that it would raise enough money to bail out the banks and billionaires (and after that crisis is covered, could pay for a national health care system), or that it would encourage investment and calm down markets. Those are all strong benefits, and absent the current Republican Administration bailout proposal would stand-alone strongly.

But the Republican Bush Administration is currently suggesting that we borrow $700 billion (or more) from China and Saudi Arabia and other countries and investors, add that to our national debt, and repay it with interest (making the actual cost over the next 20 years over $1.4 trillion). This is what Republican Herbert Hoover tried in 1931 when he first created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (later totally reinvented by FDR) to bail out the banks in 1931. Hoover's RFC bailed out the bankers, paid off huge salaries in the banking and investment world, bought him a few months (maybe that's the real goal of the Bush/McCain Republicans now - just hold things together until after the elections), but ultimately led to the failure within two years of virtually all the banks in the United States. The bailout failed.

Similarly, in 1998 the Japanese banks were facing a serious crisis of liquidity as the result of a bursting housing bubble in that country. The Japanese government used public funds to re-float a number of large banks that year, and it similarly failed. In one example out of dozens, in 1998 135 billion Yen were given from public tax funds to Ashikaga Financial Group, but the company limped along for a few years and in November of 2003 collapsed again, requiring a second infusion of a trillion yen from public coffers. And, as the BBC reported in a 30 November 2003 article ("Japan Bank Bail-Out 'A One-Off'"): "But experts warn that Ashikaga could be just the tip of the iceberg." Professor of Finance at Tokyo University Takehisa Hayashi said, "It will come as no surprise if we see another Ashikaga case in the near future." And they did.

Japan continues to limp along, as a result of bailing out banks rather than fixing structural problems. (At least the Japanese had enough savings to use their own money, instead of debt, to bail out their banks.)

So bailouts don't work, and never have. And they also have the side effects of damaging a nation's credit, sucking up its taxpayers resources, and (when done with debt) weakening its currency.

So let's go back to what we know works. After Hoover's 1931 bailout of the banks failed, FDR did a cold reboot of the entire system, putting into place strong rules to prevent speculative abuse. And he doubled the STET tax, both producing revenue that more than funded the Securities and Exchange Commission and further prevented a repeat of the speculative bubble of the 1920s that led directly to the Republican Great Depression.

We've done it before. We financed the Spanish American War and partially financed the Civil War, WWI, and WWII with STETs. We stabilized our stock market with a STET from the mid-30s to 1966, and other nations are doing it today. It's time to do it again, this time using the STET so tax Wall Street can pay for its own bailout.

Published on Friday, September 26, 2008 by

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nothing More Funny Than The Onion

Obama Modifies 'Yes We Can' Message To Exclude Area Loser
'Yes We Can, Except Nate Walsh,' Obama Says

Obama Deletes Another Unread E-Mail

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Voter Caging in Michigan.

As I have mentioned before, its not voter fraud that we have to worry about, its voter suppression. We can already see the Republican dirty tricks of 2000 and 2004 are coming to Michigan in 2008.

Obama team files suit over alleged GOP 'caging' plan

From Raw Story

As if foreclosed homeowners around Detroit didn't already have enough on their minds, they learned last week that some local Republicans would be trying to make it harder for them to vote.

Barack Obama's presidential campaign and Michigan Democrats say they don't want to let that happen and announced plans Tuesday to file a lawsuit aimed at stopping the GOP's alleged voter caging plan.

"It is an absolute attack on their right to vote," Obama campaign lawyer Bob Bauer told reporters during a midday conference call Tuesday.

Vote caging is a practice that involves keeping voters from the polls by attempting to demonstrate they do not live at the address where they are registered. The alleged GOP scheme would apply this tactic to voters whose homes have been foreclosed.

“Senator McCain said last week that he was ‘divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have,’ and he certainly has proven that to Michigan families,” said Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe. “Senator McCain has no real plan to turn Michigan’s economy around or help families faced with losing their homes – so his party has decided the only way to save his campaign is to deny the right to vote to families most affected by his disastrous economic policies.”

The Detroit News provides some background on the controversy, including a local Republican party official's denial that he wants to keep voters who've lost their homes away from the polls.

An article in the Michigan Messenger, a left-leaning political news Web site, appeared Wednesday titled: "Lose your house, lose your vote." In it, reporter Eartha Jane Melzer quoted Carabelli discussing the Macomb County Republican Party's plans for Election Day.

"We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses," the quote attributed to him reads.

Carabelli, however, told The Detroit News on Thursday that "I never said anything even close to that. We won't be doing voter challenges on foreclosures, and we've never had a plan to do it."

Despite Carabelli's denials, the story has generated harsh criticism of the party chairman, including a call for him to resign by one activist group. Jobs with Justice, a Detroit-based workers' rights organization, issued a release Thursday saying it will converge on the Farmington Hills campaign headquarters of Republican presidential candidate John McCain today at noon to pressure the party to abandon any plans to use foreclosure information against voters.

The Obama campaign's lawsuit targets the Republican National Committee along with the Michigan and Macomb County parties. It seeks to keep GOP poll watchers from "harassing" voters on Election Day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rain will not stop Us

It rained all day but that did not stop Obama Mason from canvassing the neighborhood. We stopped at about 50 homes. Mostly positive interactions and even got someone registered. Our data sheets almost dissolved, but we managed to salvage them. For any undecided voters in the area their will be a meeting on the 22nd, just going over Obama's stances and plans on every issue. Would love to see you there.
Also made it too the Chili party today. Chili, tamales, and menudo. It was perfect as usual, even with the weather.
Looking forward to Saturday Night Live. We always seem to watch the season opener and then ignore the show for the rest of the year. If SNL is going to be funny it usually only at the start of the season.

Song of the Day: 11 O'Clock TicK Tock-U2

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike Hits Texas.

Not a big fan of Texas but hope everyone takes this seriously and gets out and can get out of its way. It looks bad and it has not even officially hit land yet. Its suppose to rain this weekend, I hope Anne's family does not cancel their annual Chili Party. Also I will be going door to door for Obama tomorrow. If anyone is interested Obama-Mason will be holding an informational meeting for undecided voters on the 22nd. Hope everyone has a safe and pleasant weekend.

Water blows over a roadway as the effects of Hurricane Ike are seen in Surfside Beach, Texas, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008. Hurricane Ike, a colossal storm nearly as big as Texas itself, began battering the coast Friday, threatening to obliterate waterfront towns and give the skyscrapers, refineries and docks of the nation's fourth-largest city their worst pounding in a generation. Juan A. Lozano (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Song of the Day: Houston-R.E.M

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Remembering 9/11 and Moving Forward
Dennis Kucinich

America must move from the errant, retributive justice of 9/11 to a healing, restorative process of truth and reconciliation.

Before the Congress adjourns, I will bring forth a new proposal for the establishment of a National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, which will have the power to compel testimony and gather official documents to reveal to the American people not only the underlying deception which has divided us, but in that process of truth seeking set our nation on a path of reconciliation.

We suffer in our remembrance of 9/11, because of the terrible loss of innocent lives on that grim day. We also suffer because 9/11 was seized as an opportunity to run a political agenda, which has set America on a course of the destruction of another nation and the destruction of our own Constitution. And we have become less secure as a result of the warped practice of pursing peace through the exercise of pre-emptive military strength.

It is not simply 9/11 that needs to be remembered. We also need to remember the politicization of 9/11 and the polarizing narrative which followed, locking us into endless conflict, a war on terror which has wrought further terror worldwide and which has severely damaged our standing worldwide as an honorable, compassionate nation. As we were all victims of 9/11, so we have become victims of the interpretation of 9/11.

Our government's external response to 9/11 was to attack a nation which did not attack us. Indeed on the first anniversary of 9/11, the Bush administration issued a well-publicized stern warning to Iraq which was part of a campaign to induce people to believe Iraq had something to do with 9/11.

The deliberate, systematic connection of Iraq with 9/11 has led America into a philosophical and moral cul-de-sac as over one million Iraqis and over 4155 US soldiers have died in a war which will cost over $3 trillion. Additionally, soldiers from 23 other countries have died in the Iraq war.

We attempt to unite Iraq by further dividing it. We talk about restoring Iraq while taking steps to place control of its vast oil wealth in the hands of US oil giants. And we intend to impose upon the Iraqi people the cost of rebuilding a country which our government ruined, keeping a once prosperous nation lashed to debt and poverty for a long, long time. Iraq has paid for 9/11. We all continue to pay for 9/11.

The heartbreaking loss of the lives and injuries to America troops further binds us to the Administration's illogic of the Iraq war: We remember our troops' sacrifice by demanding more sacrifice; we support our troops by continuing the war.

The dominant color of our new national security since 911 is neither red, white nor blue. Everyday is orange. Everyday reminders of fear of 9/11 become banal.. Yet we no longer hear the airport announcements nor see the orange colored warnings because they have commonplace standards in our new national security state, as is the Patriot Act, wiretapping, and a host of invasions of privacy and diminution of civil liberties. The Constitution has been roundly attacked by the very people who took an oath to defend it.

There is a powerful desire across America for change, not necessarily from control by one political party to another, but a change from living with lies to living with truth.

Over two dozen nations, facing peril within and without, deeply divided by politics and war have travelled down a path of restoring civil society through a formal process of reconciliation. At some point within each of those countries it was understood that the way forward is shown through the light of truth. This process is not without pain because it requires a willingness to study evidence to which eyes had been averted and ears had been closed. But in the process of truth and reconciliation, nations found new strength, new resolve, new commitment.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation enabled that nation to come to grips with its past through a public confessional, bringing forward those who committed crimes and having the power to grant amnesty for full disclosure of crimes against the people. Of course, our path may necessarily be different: High US government officials stand accused in Impeachment petitions of violating national and international law. Our continued existence as a democracy may depend upon how thoroughly we seek the truth. I will call upon the America people to join me in supporting this effort.

The truth can move us forward, as a unified whole, so that we can one day become a re-United States. 9/11 is the day the world changed. It is the day America embraced a metaphor of war. If we are open to truth and reconciliation, we may one day be able, once again, to embrace peace.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The GOinkP

The Republicans have nothing, absolutely nothing to run on, so they continue to use Sarah Palin, the world's first republican straw(wo)man. They hide her from reporters and scream foul at any critical look into her past. Today the McCain campaign has been twisting Obama's words about republican failed policy. No one is calling Sarah Palin a Pig. She is not a pig, neither is she a bulldog, or a barracuda, or a reformer, or a champion of any social issues. She is a governor of a state that is almost completely funded by the federal government and oil companies. She did leave the city she was major of in bankruptcy.
But no one ever called her a pig.
Pig however is a great metaphor for the GOP. For the past eight years it was been gobbling up our resources, sticking it nose were it does not belong, and leaving a trail of destruction and filth here and all over the world.
McCain, Palin and the Republican party are trying to put lipstick on a pig. Thats the change they are offering.

Article below from Huffington Post

Gutter Politics: McCain Campaign Called Out For Half-Truths

The Washington Post has an article today on the repeated lies and lack of accountability in the presidential race:

From the moment Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin declared that she had opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," critics, the news media and nonpartisan fact checkers have called it a fabrication or, at best, a half-truth. But yesterday in Lebanon, Ohio, and again in Lancaster, Pa., she crossed that bridge again.

"I told Congress: 'Thanks but no thanks for that Bridge to Nowhere up in Alaska,' " Palin told the crowds at the "McCain Street USA" rallies. "If we wanted a bridge, we'll build it ourselves."

The New York Times looks into how Obama's lipstick line was taken out of context:

A new character is making a debut at Senator Barack Obama's campaign rallies: His name is John McCain.

It began quietly on Monday in Michigan, but grew in volume as Mr. Obama made his way from Flint to Farmington Hills, carrying over to a speech on Tuesday morning in Ohio. By the time he arrived for an evening stop in the southwestern tip of Virginia, Mr. Obama's sales pitch contained nearly as many references to Senator McCain as to himself, suggesting how the McCain campaign has been driving the recent dialogue of the presidential race.

"John McCain says he's about change, too -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics," Mr. Obama told his supporters here. "That's just calling the same thing something different."

With a laugh, he added: "You can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change; it's still going to stink after eight years."

In the latest sign of the campaign's heightened intensity, Mr. McCain's surrogates responded within minutes and called on Mr. Obama to apologize to Gov. Sarah Palin for the lipstick remark. But to those in the audience, it was clear that Mr. Obama was employing an age-old phrase -- lipstick on a pig -- and referring to Mr. McCain's policies. He had not yet mentioned Ms. Palin at that point of his speech.

Song of the Day : Fake Empire-The National

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Despair is Not an Option.

I'm just focusing on the positives. Finished the third season of Battlestar Galactica. DIscovered a new band for me, Giant Sand. They have a new album out called Provisions, and it was being played on the local college station. I am sure my musicfriends have already heard of them, but I am not as tuned into the music scene as I used to be. Discovering many older groups on my SIRIUS.
Anne finished socks for Adele, they look like munchkin booties.

Obama Campaign Manager: "A Lot Of Hyperventilating About National Polls"

From CBS News' John Bentley:

(CHICAGO) -- With John McCain’s traveling press corps cooling their heels here as they waited for McCain to wrap up a fundraiser, Barack Obama’s campaign knew a captive audience when they saw one. The Obama campaign extended an invitation for us to drop by Obama’s campaign headquarters for a briefing by their campaign manager David Plouffe.

Sitting under a charcoal sketch of the Obama family that was donated by a supporter, Plouffe said that they weren’t concerned by the bump in poll numbers that McCain has experienced after the Republican convention and the announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“There’s a lot of hyperventilating about national polls,” Plouffe said, which wasn’t a surprise since both a CBS News poll and the Gallup daily tracking poll showed McCain taking the lead nationally in the presidential race. “When you look at battleground states, we feel very good about where we are.”

Plouffe argued that McCain has “jettisoned the idea” that this election is about experience with selection of first term governor Sarah Palin on the ticket. McCain is now trying to make the election about change, Plouffe said, and “that’s a debate we’re happy to have.”

Plouffe said the election would boil down to which campaign could appeal to undecided voters in battleground states and who could bring out the highest turnout numbers. “We have a huge ability to grow turnout,” he said. “We have a more credible path to 270 [electoral votes, the number it takes to win] than McCain does.”

Both campaigns have attempted to take race out of the campaign, and Plouffe rejected the notion of a “Bradley effect” – voters telling pollsters they would vote for a black candidate, but changing their mind in the voting booth. “Swing voters that are up for grabs are not going to factor race into the equation,” he said.

Song of the Day: Pitch & Sway-Giant Sand

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ketchup Sandwich

Survived another Monday.
Adele's working on her first tooth, Sam is grossing me out with his ketchup sandwich. Yes, its his new favorite treat, bread with ketchup. I think he is practicing for the next Great Depression. I made some awesome spaghetti, but I think I put too much meat in it. I am thinking out going vegetarian or at least cutting out red meat. I love it but it makes me feel so sluggish after eating it. I am by myself again with the kids, Anne is at a conference, and oddly they have both been pretty good. I must be the best Dad.
Anne has been cooking out of Jessica Seinfeld's “Deceptively Delicious". Not that we have to hide vegetables from Sam, he loves most greens. I think these recipes improve flavor and texture of the more mundane dishes: meat-loaf and mac n' cheese.

Song of the Day: Southern Man- Neil Young

Sunday, September 07, 2008


What is the difference between George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. Lipstick. They are both oil thirsty neo-concervatives and both have an extensive back ground in Dominionism.

What is Dominionism? Palin, the Christian Right, & Theocracy
By Chip Berlet

Sarah Palin is a "Dominionist" with an apocalyptic End Times theological viewpoint that sees the war in Iraq as part of God's plan. More on the End Times in the next post. Let's talk about Christian Right Dominionism and tendencies toward authoritarian theocratic governance.

With a number of bloggers calling Sarah Palin a "Dominionist," it is a good idea to clear up some obvious errors in the use of terminology.

Neither Sarah Palin nor her Protestant church affiliated with the Assemblies of God should be described as practicing a form of "Dominion Theology" or "Christian Reconstructionism." That is just plain wrong.

It is fair to suggest that Palin displays the tendency called "Dominionism" in some of her public statements.

Click here for more.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Onion Voter Guide

Friday, September 05, 2008


I am so glad its Friday. I went through some real brutal crap yesterday night. I tip my hat to those who stand up for what they believe in on daily basis and submit themselves to a hateful resistance and proud ignorance. I defiantly got some valuable insight thats for sure; Most people just want to feel they are right and have no interest in investigating or learning about anything outside of that possibility. I only hope I never act or have acted in a way that belittled anyone, but in standing up for my own convictions I know I probably have.

It was good to talk to my brother yesterday, even-though it was a short call. He really helped me out.
Thank God for my family, old and newer, my wife and children, the many, many great friends and an unfinished future.

The summer flew by, I know its still technically summer, but for me autumn starts for me when the corn turns yellow under an overcast sky.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

RNC Konvention

I am physically sick from watching the RNC convention last night. The chanting Nationalism and Cognitive Dissidence of the speakers and their flock was reminiscent of a, well I better not say what it was reminiscent of but you can figure it out. Palin, Romney, and Giuliani all spoke as if the "Liberals" have been to ones in power and solely responsible for the disastrous policies of Reagan/Bush and the GOP majority. I felt personally insulted when Palin mocked Obama's work with community organizer and then lied about Obama's tax plan. Why continue handing the power of government to the people who hate government, truly hate our political process. What angers them most about Obama, is not their false assertion that he is a "Celebrity", what threatens them is that he energizes the people the GOP have exploited, demonized and lied about and to for decades. I am tired of the definition of a patriotic leadership being someone who "wants to win wars and limit government." When what they do and want to do is start wars, expand corporate empires, and limit the power of citizens with fear, cynicism, and religious hysteria. McCain was a POW in another war we should never engaged in but he is no maverick, Joe Liberman is a maverick, still wrong, but a true maverick. John McCain is another installment of the No-Conservative purposeful failure.

Attacks, praise stretch truth at GOP convention
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It's not about Bristol

No, your pregnant daughter is not an issue. However the fact that you are against programs for teen mothers and even basic sex education for teenagers is an issue. A big issue since Alaska has a notoriously high teen pregnancy rate and the United States leads all the industrial nations in teen mothers. Time and again abstinence only programs have been proven fruitless, or perhaps I should say fruitful with situations like this. Forcing teen marriage is not such a great idea either. Teens have the right to information about sex and its consequences, and they have the right to information about contraception and abstinence. Gov. Palin went so far as to try and band books from public libraries.

And please I cant take any more talk about these Palin kids with the creative names Bristol, Trig, Track, Willow, Piper, Cheesecake, Snow-job, Polk Salad, and Phantom Menace. Enough Already.

Palin cut $1.1 million from funding for teen moms in need

The Washington Post revealed Tuesday that Alaska Governor and McCain vice presidential pick Sarah Palin, whose 17-year-old daughter Bristol is pregnant outside wedlock, earlier this year used a line-item veto to cut $1.1 million (22%) in funding which would have at least partially benefited teen moms in need.

"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family," Palin said in a statement. "We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy, as has always been the tradition of children of candidates."

Covenant House Alaska, the affected organization which serves to assist homeless and runaway youth, runs Passage House, a transitional living program with 24-hour support staff that provides housing, along with up to eighteen months of assistance in building parenting, money management and job skills, with aims to help teen parents prepare for the "real world."

"We work with parenting teens to help them become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families," reads the Passage House webpage. "Our goal is to assist young mothers in developing skills such as healthy parenting, money management, priority setting, housing acquisition and social skills development."

"The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support," Gov. Palin told Eagle Forum Alaska in a 2006 questionnaire in an expression of support for "abstinence-only" sex education.

A copy of the April 2008 spending bill, as obtained by the Washington Post, can be viewed below.

The Washington Post revealed Tuesday that Alaska Governor and McCain vice presidential pick Sarah Palin, whose 17-year-old daughter Bristol is pregnant outside wedlock, earlier this year used a line-item veto to cut $1.1 million (22%) in funding which would have at least partially benefited teen moms in need.

"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family," Palin said in a statement. "We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy, as has always been the tradition of children of candidates."

Covenant House Alaska, the affected organization which serves to assist homeless and runaway youth, runs Passage House, a transitional living program with 24-hour support staff that provides housing, along with up to eighteen months of assistance in building parenting, money management and job skills, with aims to help teen parents prepare for the "real world."

"We work with parenting teens to help them become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families," reads the Passage House webpage. "Our goal is to assist young mothers in developing skills such as healthy parenting, money management, priority setting, housing acquisition and social skills development."

"The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support," Gov. Palin told Eagle Forum Alaska in a 2006 questionnaire in an expression of support for "abstinence-only" sex education.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At the RNC

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here:

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amenmdent rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation’s leading independent news outlet.

Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

Video of Amy Goodman’s Arrest:

Monday, September 01, 2008

Last Night at C.O. Brown Stadium.

My friend and co-worker Becky was able to get us these tickets to the Obama Biden rally last night. Because we had these tickets we got to wait in a much smaller line. We decided to take Adele, with us, now eight months old she was the center of attention of those waiting with us. I learned if you bring a baby to a crowd of liberals be prepared to be given several opinions on what to do and how to do it. Like her mother and brother, Adele's face gets very red when she is outside on a warm day. Despite us all having sunscreen on, and applying more on while we waited, people still voiced their concerns that she was sunburn. One lady even tried to give Adele some gatorade from the bottle lid. I am sure whatever we were subjecting our child too, was not as risky as her sampling some Frost Glacier Freeze. Staff told us repeatedly as they visited the line that we could bring our diaper bag, people in line still said 'I don't think you can bring that'. I should not to be hard on them though, they did find us shade and let us get back in our original place in line. Also talking with others who are informed and interested in current events and politics did make the hour and a half of waiting easier.

Once inside the old stadium, Adele was in the shad and entertained by older kids sitting behind us. She never cried once during the whole event, people were shocked how good and patient she was. We did bring tons of water and milk. She now has bragging rights over her big brother, especially if Obama becomes the next President.

Uncle Peter found a spot in front and never left until after it was all over. He is the one in red right in front between two straw-hats (you will have to click on the photo to see. If not for our tickets provided by Becky, he would not have been there or have been able to shake any hands with the candidates. In this photo Mark Schauer is giving a speech and making a joke with a cereal box, we where in Battle Creek home of Kellogg's. Schauer is running against Tim Walberg in district seven, Anne and I both work in areas that Tim (miss)serves. Walberg has been against even the most basic social programs for children, and run a dirty camataign against a moderated republican encumbant back in the '06 primary.

It was hard to get a clear photo once the presidential candidates took stage. As you can see the heavens really did open up.

I know many people comment that all candidates are the same, and voting is stupid or ineffective. Those who have held the majority of power over the past twenty years don't want everyone to vote. Conservative leaders have even said it publicly. Obama and the democrats have real ideas that have been proven to work in regards to making this country strong again. Obama has also energized many to get much more involved and it that continues whit him as president, we will see progress. Government can work, but only if we all take responsibility for it. If we whine and do nothing we will soon not have the option to take control.

Obama 8/31/08

We Just Got Back...

...too late to blog about it, other than it was awesome. My brother in law got to shake both their hands, we took Adele and she seemed to enjoy it, was very social with the folks we sat with. I took some photos and I hope they turned out, will post all about it after some sleep.