Thursday, November 10, 2011

Joe Paterno – Legal vs. Moral Responsibility

They fired Joe Paterno last night. Not just him but the President of Penn State University as well but the firing of Joe Pa, the winningest coach in College Football history, is the one that is enerating all the controversy.
Joe’s defenders, and there are many, argue that he satisfied his legal responsibility by reporting the abuse committed by a former assistant as soon as he learned of it.
And they are probably right. He did what was required by law and then moved on.

But still he got fired.
You can argue, and I won’t disagree, that the trustees were operating from a need to protect the reputation of the University from bad publicity. You can hear that in their statement. Firing Joe Pa was good for the University because keeping him on would have let to lots of bad publicity.
What I didn’t hear from the Trustees or from Joe Pa or from anyone else I have seen quoted is a sense of shame on their part that they didn’t do more sooner. They might have expressed some remorse in hindsight that they didn’t do more but even the apology doesn’t seem to reflect any sense of shame at letting this occur and not reacting strongly.

The young man who saw a former coach abusing a boy in the shower did what he was required to do. He reported it to his superior, Joe Paterno. He didn’t walk into the shower and stop the
abuse. He didn’t call the cops. He didn’t try to protect the boy who was, at that moment, being abused right in front of him.
Did he fulfill his legal responsibility? Probably.
Did he in any way meet what has to be thought of as a moral responsibility? Not even close.
Did Joe Paterno, when he was told of the abuse that was at that moment happening in a facility under his control, do what he was legally required to do. Probably.
But what about his moral responsibility? There he failed completely.

And that same failure occurred time and again with everyone in the University who knew of the event.

Some of them didn’t even meet their legal responsibility. As some point somebody at the top, maybe Joe Pa, maybe his boss, but somebody, was required by law to call the police and report the crime. And they didn’t even do that.
But I think their moral failure is far greater than their legal one. These men knew that someone
with a long association with the University was abusing boys and they did nothing to stop it.
I wish I could say that I would reacted morally, and stopped the abuse if I saw it occurring. I hope I would. I think I would. But until I am actually standing somewhere seeing a some else committing an unspeakable act, until then I won’t know for sure how I will react. I know this
though. Should I fail to act, I know I will regret my moral failure.

So far I haven’t seen any hint that any of the people involved in this sordid mess feel that sense of same.

I think they should have fired the winningest coach in college football history. I just think they gave the wrong reason. And I don’t think they are learning the right lesson.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who are the Republilcans - Part Duhh

The devolution of the modern Republican party continues to amaze me.

There have been literally years of stupidity where the Birther fringe of the Republican party sacrificed all seriousness, where DONALD TRUMP rode the birther idiocy to a lead in the Republican polls before flaming out when the President released yet another document proving where he was born. After all that 23% of Republican voters still believe that President Obama is an undocumented alien.

23% of Republicans

That's not a fringe, that not out on the edge, that's a serious chunk of the Republican Party.

Is it any surprise that Herman Cain is the Republicans leading candidate for President of the United States?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Voter Fraud Alert!!!!!

I missed this somehow, and I pay pretty close attention to what is going on. But apparently there has been massive and pervasive voter fraud happening in almost every state that has a Republican Majority in their Legislature. That must be it. Huge Voter Fraud scandal and I just missed it. I clearly need to pay better attention.

So now Republican legislatures across the nation are enacting laws designed to prevent this massive voter fraud by requiring that everyone who votes have a government issued ID card.

As with any attempt to prevent fraud, some amount of legitimate voting will have to be sacrificed. Young people, poor people, minorities, the elderly, people who live in cities, all these people who don't have cars and so don't have the most common form of government issued ID, Drivers Licenses, all those people can't vote unless they find their birth certificate and then go to some state office somewhere, often the DMV (and we all know how much fun a visit to the DMV is) to apply for a state issued ID card for which they have to pay around $20 depending on the state.

Now these good Republican legislators who clearly have the people's best interest at heart understand that some among us can't afford the cost of this new ID card so these benevolent legislators will allow you to have this new ID for free if you can prove to some other bureaucrats that you can't afford it. Of course if you minimum wage job doesn't allow you the time off to traipse from one government office to the next to prove that you are poor but still really you, then I guess you are just tooo much of a loser to be allowed to vote.

I would like someone to point me to the stories of voter fraud that I must have missed. I looked on The Google and couldn't find them, but I know they must be out there. Why else would so many Republicans want to make it so much harder for the poor and the young and minorities, and the elderly to vote. Surely these laws which have already prevented 10's or even hundreds of thousands of people from voting were made necessary by some massive voting fraud scandal. And that is something I would be interested in reading about!!

But then we all know that is not true.

There hasn't been any massive voter fraud.

And those incidences of fraud that did occur in our past wouldn't have been prevented by this law.

The problems is that the young and the poor and the elderly and minorities (who are often among the poor) have historically tended to vote Democratic. So if you want to reduce Democratic voter turnout then its easy to claim to be trying to prevent voter fraud and make it difficult or impossible for all these people who generally vote Democratic to vote. Republicans don't have to get as many of their voters out to the polls because they have used the law to prevent so many Democratic voters from being allowed to vote.

This is the modern Republican party. They make up this story that they are trying to prevent voter fraud as a cover for their real intent to suppress turnout by traditionally Democratic voting groups. They don't even really have to try to convince anyone since the seem to do this in states that have Republican majorities in the legislature and Republicans as Governors.

Talk about massive Voter Fraud!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Who are the Republicans?

I must admit to not really understanding in many ways the Republican Party.

This is, after all, the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

It used to be that there were adults in the Republican party, people who understood that working together for the betterment of this country was more important than ideological purity or craven political gain.

I disagreed with Ronald Reagan on almost every issue. His policies of tax cuts and deregulation and spending more and more borrowed money on defense spending that dwarfs what is spend by our prospective adversaries exploded the deficit and gave us the Savings and Loan collapse that cost $500Billion to fix. And the legacy of his insane policies haunts us to this day with every Republican worshipping at the Altar of Reagan in California.

Ronald Reagan could not get nominated for County Commissioner by today's Republican party. He was too liberal, to willing to cooperate with Democrats to actually get things done. He recognized that he had to raise taxes to reign in the explosion in the deficit that his own policies had created.

As a Republican candidate in today's America, he would be less likely to get nominated than Buddy Roemer.

Today's Republican Party has abandoned everything that Reagan stood for. Reagan compromised about taxes and actually raised taxes 6 times. He supported immigration reform granting amnesty to millions of undocumented aliens. As governor he signed the most liberal abortion in the land years before Roe vs. Wade. He would actually cooperate with Tip O'Neil, the Democratic Speaker of the House. Today's Republicans insist that the only way to reduce the deficit is by cutting everything except defense spending. They insist that those they disagree with must be Communists or Socialists or Hate America.

They think that attacking President Obama for anything and everything that he does somehow constitutes a policy. Even when he does the things they earlier encouraged him to do. In one of the first Republican Presidential Debates EVERY one of the candidates agreed that they would reject a deal to reduce the deficit that was 90% spending cuts and only 10% tax increases. Their rigidity is their hallmark. They were willing to literally let the country default on its obligations in their monomaniacal insistence on reducing the deficit exclusively through spending cuts. They talk allot about how bad the economy is yet block every attempt by this President to actually spur the economy. Republicans originally proposed a deficit commission and then turned against it when President Obama embraced it. Obamacare, with it's individual mandate, strongly resembles the mandatory health insurance program passed in Massachusetts by then Governor Romney. Now that same Romney promises to repeal Obamacare as one of his first acts in office if elected President.

Look at the current leading candidates for the Republican nomination.

Mitt Romney is widely thought of in the media as the adult in the room. This is the same man who has changed every major position in his political life since his time as governor. This same man who claimed that his actually residence for voting purposes was in the basement of his son's house. And this is the adult in this group of dwarfs.

And next we have Herman Cain. This mental giant has actually proposed doing something instead of just promising to repeal everything that President Obama has done. But his 999 proposal for tax reform would increase taxes on the poor and cut taxed on the wealthy and would increase the deficit since it wouldn't bring in as much money as the current system does. And we asked how is program would actually work in detail, he literally said he had no idea. IT'S HIS IDEA. You would think that he might want to have an idea bout how his idea would work.

Next we have Mr Texas Economic Miracle himself, the Governor of the big state of Texas, Rick Perry. This mangles the language more then even his predecessor in Austin, George Bush, did. It doesn't appear that he is that much brighter than Shrub either. But he does like executing people. And his record for executions is apparently a great applause line in Republican Debates. He wants us all to follow Texas's example by failing our schools, creating more minimum wage jobs than anyone else, and Praying for rain while denying the realities of Global Warming. To his credit he actually seems to have a heart sometimes. He supports for Texas' version of the Dream Act and the HPV vaccination program which will literally save thousands or even millions of lives. Of course those policies are the least popular parts of his platform among the Republican faithful.

Michelle Bachman had her brief moment in the sun, but quickly showed that she was even too nucking futs for even the Baggers she tried to appeal to. The threw here aside for Perry before trying to throw him aside for Christie and now threw them all aside for Cain.

And the rest aren't even a good side show.

Who are these people

Is this really the cream of the Republican Party?

Unfortunately I think it is. This really is the best of what is left in that once great and proud party.

And that's kind of a shame.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What have Conservatives done to make American Better

I have asked this question before. Usually I don't get any response what so ever.

But to date, I haven't gotten one clear example of something Conservatives have done to make America Better?


Friday, October 7, 2011

Yeah Sure, the Mainstream Media is Liberal - Sure it is

Its a consistent whine from conservatives across the land that the Mainstream Media has a liberal bias and is not and cannot be objective.

Like so much of what they say I don't know which of them really believes it and which of them just like the way it sounds, but they say it all the time.

But think about it if you can.

When the tea party erupted on to the scene (financed by the Koch brothers) the entier media treated it like it was some sort of grassroots uprising of patriotic (if a little quircky Americans) with legitimate greviences. You could get new crews to show up if you 15 or 20 baggers protesting on the Mall and the news would treat it like it was this huge thing.

Now you have Occupy Wall Street, where there are (depending on the day) hundreds to thousands of protesters in the Financial District in New York protesting against the disastorous role played by the big institutition represented there in crashing the economy.

For weeks the supposedly liberal Mainstream Media didn't cover it at all. Now they cover it with ridicule, highlighting the goofiest or least articulate of the protesters.

Where is the respect they gave the Baggers? Where is the acknowledgement that this really is a grass roots movement not an event sponsored by major corporations like the Tea Party?

I suspect most of you never heard about "The People's Budget" either. If the media is so liberal, then why don't they give more coverage to Liberal events or causes?

Like tax cuts that pay for themselves and the myth that giving tax breaks to corporations will spur hiring, the myth of the Liberal Media permeates conservative speak.

And like so much of what they say, its simply not true

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Science and Global Warming

In the eternal quasi debate about Climate Change the deniers keep coming back to a central tenet of their belief. Climate Scientists are somehow corrupt. They believe that all the Climate Scientists that have reached the conclusion that the current warming trend in global average surface temperature are involved in some sort of global conspiracy.

What the point of the conspiracy is I have never quite understood. Unless you just want to believe that Climate Scientists just like to lie for the sake of lying.

Then two recent stories about science caught my attention. In the first, a group of scientists in Europe were measuring the speed of neutrinos. And they discovered, to universal surprise, that the neutrinos actually traveled faster than the speed of light. That is, for the science community, shocking and amazing news. The absolute inability for any particle to exceed the speed of light has been one of the bedrock realities of science every since Einstein postulated his theories of Relativity and Special Relativity. The response in the scientific community was surprise and excitement. The work of these scientists will now be examined very closely by scientists around the world. Some will be trying to explain away the findings with some calculational or instrument error. Others will be trying to duplicate the findings, running experiments that duplicate the original experiment and designing different experiments to test the speed of neutrinos.

The second story came today in the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to an Israeli scientist who proved the existence of quasicrystals which are crystalline materials where the pattern of atoms in the crystal doesn't repeat. When this Israeli scientist first published his work it challenged fundamentally what chemists had taken as a given for a very long time. So other Chemists began testing the discovery, trying to duplicate the results or trying to refute them as flawed in some way.

This is what scientists do.

Hypothesis, Experiment, Analysis, Synthesis.

The first scientist that I know of that theorized that human activity was causing the globe to get hotter faster was an American scientist back in the late 50's. I suspect that at that time his theories were not widely accepted. But scientists did what scientists do, they measured and analyzed and tested and observed and they came up with theories that described what they were observing and then they tried to figure out other ways to test their theories. Scientists would look for other theories that would better explain the data. By the early 90's, the scientists were convinced. Every published climate scientist agreed that human activity, most importantly the production of CO2, was taking an existing warming trend and accelerating it. Human activity became acknowledged as the principal driver in the warming that was occurring in global average surface temperatures.

There is no conspiracy here. When somebody stole thousands of emails from climate researchers in England they then published extracts and snippets of different emails that they claimed somehow proved that there was a vast global conspiracy among climatologists to lie to us all and to suppress dissenting views.

So there have been at least 5 investigations into these allegations of fraud. The University of East Anglia (where the scientists worked) investigated, the British government investigated a couple of state Attorney's General investigated. Every investigation came to the same basic conclusion.

There was no fraud, no academic malfeasance, no conspiracy to lie.

Its almost been funny to watch the deniers spin theory after theory. At first denying that the globe was actually warming, then claiming that volcanoes put far more CO2 into the atmosphere, or claiming that data more than about 50 years old was unreliable because those old thermometers weren't as accurate as ours are today, or something called Isotopic Drift invalidated the results of ice core surveys or that tree ring studies were just not meaningful for some reason or that where the thermometers were placed was flawed so that their readings were not sufficiently isolated from local conditions like urban heating.

And every theory gets dis proven.

The scientists who may have discovered neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light, and the scientist who discovered quasicrystals were doing what scientists to. Observing, Hypothesizing, Experimenting, and then refining the hypothesis. And then doing it again.

That's what climate scientists have been doing on the issue of global warming since at least the late 50's.

There is no fraud, there is no conspiracy, there is no big lie. At least not from the Climate Scientists.

BELIEVE what you want about Global Warming. Believe that its caused by aliens or solar cycles or volcano's or bad thermometers if you want. But when your BELIEFS are in direct contradiction of the conclusions of virtually every climate scientist, then perhaps you need to understand why you so desperately want to believe something that isn't true. Belief is in your heart. Belief is not what scientists do.

Observe, Theorize, Test and repeat. That's what scientists do. Don't believe them if you choose not to, but don't bother pretending that your BELIEFS are based on science. Just ask the real scientists.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I’m Back!!
A friend of mine commented a few days ago that he hadn’t seen a new post here in a while and he even knew the date of my last post. I replied that I was discouraged the failures of my party to own any of the current debates. My pArty, and the supposedly liberal main stream media, are letting the idiots that dominate the Republican Party lie and lie and lie and even when they get corrected, the media doesn’t hold them to account for lying. This has been the dynamic in America’s politics since the election of Barack Obama. Lies about where he was born, lies about his faith and beliefs, lies about what he has said in his speeches, lies about the 2009 stimulus bill, lies about Obamacare, lies about whose policies created the huge deficits we face, lies about lies about global warming, lies about evolution, and then more lies. The list goes on and on.
One of their favorite lies goes something like, “We can’t raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans or on Corporations because they are the JOB CREATORS!!!!!”
God forbid that we do anything to inhibit Job Creation.
In 2010 Republicans across the country ran for election based on their attacks on the President for not fixing the economy and their promises to implement policies that would create jobs.
In other words they lied again.
They are pointing to the wrong people as the Job Creators! Major Corporations in this country are sitting on TRILLIONS of dollars on cash reserves and not hiring in this country. Small businesses have been given all sorts of tax incentives to hire and they are not hiring despite facing the lowest tax burden since the end of WWII. Why are the supposed JOB CREATORS not creating any jobs? Because they are not the JOB CREATORS!!!
You are
I am
Go to a mirror and look at yourself and tell yourself, “I am a JOB CREATOR!!”
Jobs don’t get created because we repeal regulations or lower taxes or worship at the feet of small businesses and big corporations, jobs get created when WE go out and create demand. When we start buying things, that will create demand and then the supposed JOB CREATORS will start hiring people to make or provide those things WE, the REAL JOB CREATORS, want.
Ever since the Bush Tax Cuts, we have been fawning over Corporations and Small Businesses as the JOB CREATORS and look at how well that has worked out for us. Even before the Great Recession, created by the greed of Big Corporations, job growth had been anemic, the middle class was getting it ass kicked, and the rich were just getting richer. And now it’s even worse.
So how do we create more JOBS. Let’s create more Demand!!!
Let’s put a couple of million American’s back to work doing thing that really need doing like fixing our Highways and Bridges and Tunnels and Water Systems and Sewer Systems. Let hire back the Teachers and Police Officers and Firefighters that we fired because we didn’t want to ask the already wealthy to pay something more in taxes.
So let us directly create 3 or 4 million jobs and watch those 3 or 4 million now working people start spending their paychecks and buying the things they want and creating jobs making those thing they want to buy. It really does feed on itself. So if we directly put 3 or 4 million people and the demand they create puts another million or two American’s back to work all those people are creating demand (and paying taxes, something they aren’t doing now).
Cutting Taxes and repealing regulations haven’t worked and won’t work to create jobs. Creating Demand will CREATE JOBS.
So that is what we need to do.
It starts with the President’s newest jobs bill, but that’s only a start.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What would Jesus do?

I was raised as a white middle class Christian boy. A Southern Baptist. I attended First Southern Baptist Church in Colorado Springs.
We had revivals and preachers preaching fire and brimstone.
I was in the choir. We sang twice on Sunday, we even sang for the prisoners in the Colorado State Penitentiary.
I believed.
I can't tell you when I became a doubter.
But ONE of the events on a road to atheism occurred in the normal Wednesday evening meetings at the church that were half sermon and half business meeting.
I went to those back then.
A black (that was the polite way to refer to African Americans back then) family had applied for membership in our congregation.
What were they thinking?
It is a sad reality of life in these United States that our churches are the most segregated part of American society. Many, perhaps most, churches are monochrome or very close to it.
Blacks have their churches, whites have their, Hispanics have theirs. And never the twain shall meet.
A good Christian woman stood up in the Wednesday night business meeting of the First Southern Baptist Church of Colorado Springs Colorado and said:
"They have their own church."
This good Christian woman opposed the inclusion of a Black family in our congregation for no other reason than the color of their skin.
I cannot tell you that I rose in opposition to her naked racism. I was not that brave. But that moment has stuck with me for these many years. And it is a milepost in my journey from Baptist Church Choir Member to Atheist.
There was a survey back in May 2010 ( that showed that Atheists (like me) understand Christianity better than your average Christian.
And maybe that’s what happened to me.
I didn’t lose my faith as much as find that faith and critical thinking are essentially two different things. If you have faith then you believe in talking serpents and virgin births and you never bother figuring out that Cain married his sister. But you do know to a certainty that god is responsible for all creation and so this how the theory called Evolution is just that, a theory that doesn’t really explain anything. How can it explain anything since we haven’t found the missing link? Yet you claim that creationism is some sort of science despite it being completely without scientific foundation.
For me, starting to read the bible critically was a bad idea. The bible, like most great religious texts, says many different things, many of them contradictory. And people of faith are quite selective in which passages they cling to.
I came to see the god of the bible as a god I could fear, but never love. A god who will condemn good observant faithful Jews and Muslims to hell because they, though they believe in god and venerate god in the manners required by their faith, they are doing it wrong. God, it seems, changes it’s mind. And it doesn’t make sure that everybody gets the message. God sends a messenger, but not everybody gets to meet this messenger personally. And this messenger looks human, not particularly god like. And this messenger gets killed. So his message didn’t seem to be that persuasive. Unless you are in that tiny group of chosen who saw this man-god after coming back to life.
Kind of an obscure way to send a message of such importance as god changing his mind about how to get to heaven.
But if you didn’t get the message, too bad. Maybe god will let you take some sunscreen to hell. I hear it’s hot down there.
And that doesn’t even address god’s condemnation of people who never even heard of the Jewish/Christian/Muslim god. They might live good lives or bad. Grow up to be a mass murderer or to cure cancer. Doesn’t matter. They didn’t get the message they didn’t even know they were supposed to be listening for. Sunscreen anyone?
Even among Christians each group claims to have their own revealed wisdom, the correct message. Catholics believe that unless you get absolution from a priest just before you die, then off to hell you go. All those people in the Twin Towers on September 11. Sorry!! Many, perhaps most of them died in a state of sin and never got the mandatory absolution so off to hell they go. And there is the Christian sect that believes that Heaven can only hold 40,000 people and so not even every member of their little sect is going to get into heaven.
So that is what happened to my faith.
I thought about it too much. Asked too many questions for which there don’t seem to be answers that make sense. That god is just too scary and unstable to actually love.
And now one part of modern Christianity leans on their faith to advocate the most un-Christian of things.
Stephen Colbert, on the Colbert Report, was interviewing a man a few years ago who was advocating for the posting of the 10 Commandments in classrooms and courtrooms across this nation. Yet when asked to name the 10 Commandments he could only name 3 of them ( He missed the First Commandment "I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no Other Gods before me. He missed "Make the Sabbath and Keep it Holy." This idiot, who was a United States Representative from the State of Georgia, wanted to post the 10 Commandments in courthouses across this nation, yet he could only name 3 of the Commandments. I know more of the 10 Commandments than he did.
The number of people who claim to be Christians, but advocate for policies that Christ would never support is amazing to me.
We were attacked by Al Queda in a massive way on September 11, 2001.
What would Jesus do?
Would Jesus have invaded and conquered Afghanistan, resulting in the death of 10's of thousands of Afghani's and 4 thousand of America's bravest?
Would Jesus have invaded Iraq, a country that had NOTHING TO DO WITH September 11, 2001? A country that posed nothing even vaguely resembling a threat to this country? An invasion that has resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqi's and more than 6000 American service personnel and thousands more Americans who were not in the Department of Defense.
What would Jesus have done?
Jesus never talked about taking out your enemy, he never advocating deposing governments that he didn’t like. Jesus talked about Turn the Other Cheek. He talked about not returning evil for evil. (Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8,9). He talked about love and forgiveness.
Would Jesus have joined all the Christian Conservatives who advocate shooting doctors working at family planning clinics that perform some abortions?
Would Jesus have advocated scrapping Medicare as we know if (for those currently under 55) in order to fund tax reductions for the wealthy and corporations?
Would Jesus, who barely mentioned sexuality and NEVER mentioned homosexuality support Christians protesting at the funerals of Soldiers who died fighting our wars. Would he make opposition to Gay Marriage a central tenet of his policies while ignoring the fact that Divorce (which Christ was very explicit in his opposition to) ends most marriages in this nation.
Somehow, I don’t think so.
Somehow modern Christianity has been twisted to become a justification of greed. A justification for a me first attitude that says we are not our brothers keeper. If our brother needs help, don’t ask me. I only take care of my own.
The social conservatives who dominate the Republican party now loudly proclaim their Christianity while advocating policies that ignore science, denigrate the needs of those who are less fortunate, demand that Commerce is most noble when completely unfettered by pesky things like regulations, and insist, despite all the evidence, that giving more money to people who are already wealthy will somehow, years later, enrich us all.
That’s what happens when you live a belief based life.
Facts no longer matter.
You believe that tax cuts pay for themselves and spur long term economic growth.
You either deny that the world is getting warmer or you deny that human activity is the cause despite all the evidence.
You believe that businesses can be trusted to make rational decisions that will be good for the greater good, despite all the times in history when businesses did things that were good for that business, and bad for everyone else. And never being able to point to one completely unregulated industry or country that didn’t end up in disaster.
You believe that We had to invade Iraq, but not Saudi Arabia and that it wasn’t really about revenge and oil.
Turns out, I am fond of facts.
Maybe that’s why I am not a Christian.
Or a Conservative.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Media and Real News

I just turned the TV off.
I had been watching the news on CNN but just couldn't stand it anymore.
We are fighting 2 wars in Arab Muslim nations, we are aiding NATO in its operations in support of the Libyan rebels. The economy is struggling. We reached our debt limit today and Republicans seem intent on holding the entire economy hostage to their nonsensical economic theories.
And the big new is that Action Movie Star and former Governor of California Arnold Slksjlskjdflker fathered an illegitimate child with a member of his house hold staff.
This guy is an actor only in the most forgiving sense of the word who was married to a beautiful woman who was a pretty good news reader before he ran for governor.
But really, what business is it of ours now that the Arnold couldn't keep it in his pants.
He is an actor for god's sake.
I guess that CNN thinks they have to give this story a lot of play because they will lose viewer share if they don't
But in a world where we have very real and dangerous problems, does it really matter who the Arnold is banging.
I continue to be disappointed in their unwillingness to give the real important issues of our day the coverage they deserve while obsessing over how this action movie star could keep a secret like this for so long. I don't care and I don't understand why so many others do care. The sex lives of celebrities are not important.
So I will leave the TV off for now.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Stupidest and Most Offensive Thing I Have Heard Today This is past amazing. In a debate in the Indiana House of Representatives about new restrictions on abortion we have a Indiana State Representative opposing an exemption for victims of Rape or Incest because SOME WOMEN MIGHT MIGHT UP SUCH A CHARGE TO BE ALLOWED AN ABORTION. Words fail me. Who are these people?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why did we stop building things

I am confused by the Republican/Conservative world view.

It has become a mantra of Republicans/Conservatives that not only should government not do things, that government can't. This belief that government can't accomplish anything and probably shouldn't even try has become a core tenet of the Republican/Conservative meme.

I don't recognize their America.

My American government built the Panama Canal, built a railroad from the Omaha to the Pacific and in doing so American had more miles of track lain than the rest of the world combined. My America put men on the moon, build the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. My America built the Interstate Highway system. My America builds the most powerful and complex machines man has ever built.

My American government spends less than 5% administrative costs in administering Medicare, a single payer health insurance systems serving about 10's of millions of Americans.

Anytime there is a disaster anywhere in the world, my American government dispatches aid and logistic assistance to help people whether we like their government or not.

My American government paid the bills to send millions of our WWII veterans to college helping to create growth that lasts to this day.

Yet somehow the modern Conservative/Republican insists in believing in the incompetence of our own government.

Conservatives/Republicans ignore the benefits that the country as a whole has enjoyed because of these things that my American government did. My American government built the infrastructure that the greatest and strongest economy in the world runs on. My American government has sent or helped send millions of young adults to college which has always been a major factor in the success of our economy.

It is an easily provable fact that if kids are well fed they will do better in school. And if they do better in school they are far more likely to be law-abiding productive citizens. So it makes sense, to me at least, that my American government helps millions of kids from poor families get at least one or even two good meals a day. That kind of investment in our kids pays dividend in our future. So Conservatives/Republicans want to cut funding for school lunch programs.

What are they thinking?

Its amazing to me that Republicans/Conservatives seem so willfully ignorant of our history and the role my American government has played in making this country great.

And now Conservatives/Republicans are sooo opposed to the government doing the things that it has done so well for so long that our infrastructure is crumbling. Governor Christie of New Jersey shutdown a project shut down a project to build new transportation links into New York cause it might cost too much, ignoring both the immediate employment benefits of such a project and the long term economic benefits of that kind of infrastructure development. Two other governors have made similar choices shutting down high speed rail systems.

We used to build things

Great things

Things as big as our country itself

Thanks to Republicans/Conservatives it appears those days are behind us.

Thanks for nothing!

Monday, February 21, 2011


It is funny to hear some Conservatives/Republicans talk longingly about times past in this country like the 1950's were some sort of Golden Age in America. They do so forgetting that the economy of the 50's was feeling the effect of a huge public works program called the Interstate Highway system, and that one of the drivers behind our expansion was the millions of WWII veterans who went to college paid for by the Federal Government, and that the highest marginal tax rate was 90%, and Blacks were not allowed to vote in much of this country, especially the South, and that women were still largely relegated to Teaching, Nursing and Secretary.

George Santayana, wrote, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

It seems like Republicans/Conservatives are insisting on not remembering the past.

They try to claim that the Civil War was about anything OTHER than Slavery when the preservation of Slavery was the only reason for the secessionist movement in the Slave holding states.

They twist themselves into knots try to say that Hitler was a Liberal.

They lionize President Reagan while conveniently ignoring the number of times he raised taxes, ignoring his trading guns for our Hostages in Iran, ignoring the blatant illegality of Iran Contra, forgetting that he gave amnesty to 2 million illegal immigrants, forgetting that he, as Governor of California, advocated for and signed the most liberal abortion law in America at the time. They give Reagan and his tax cuts all the credit for the economic expansion of the 80's while blaming the Democrats for the deficits.

They ignore the impact that massive government spending has had on the economy with the building of the Interstate Highway System, the Space Program, the GI Bill and all the college graduates that it created, a trans-Continental railroad system, the Panama Canal, the Sacramento Delta water system that provides the water that irrigates California's Central Valley, which is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world.

They ignore Rural Electrification and the Tennessee Valley Authority and Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.

They live is a fantasy land where corporations will do great things by all of us if we just let them, ignoring all of American History with the Robber Barons and Henry Ford's goon squads beating on union organizers and all the damage that corporations have done to our environment in a monomaniacal quest for profit at any cost. They don't want to or are simply incapable of remembering that deregulation of the savings and loan industry led, almost inevitably, the the savings and loan bailout and the deregulation of the banking industry led, just as inevitably, to the Housing Bubble and our current economic doldrums.

They remember that President Kennedy cut the top marginal tax rate from 90% to 70% while forgetting that he also eliminated many many loopholes so that tax revenues actually increased.

They insist that the stimulus package didn't create even one job while ignoring every study of the topic that talks about the stimulus bill creating as many as 6 million jobs depending on which study you cite.

They forget that previous Republicans/Conservatives have a horrible track record when predicting the economic impact of taxes or regulations.

Conservatives/Republicans predicted that the Clinton Budget, especially its tax increases, would cripple the economy.

They predicted the the Environmental Protection Act would ruin the economy

They predicted the same sort of economic disaster for the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act.

They predicted the Bush Tax cuts would spur years of robust economic growth.

And they were wrong every time.

Conservatives opposed the integration of the military and allowing women to vote.

Conservatives and Republicans have made dire predictions about the impact of gay marriage and allowing gays to serve openly in the military while no country that sanctions gay marriage has suffered as a result and the military's of Britain and Canada and Israel are all very respected and capable military's despite allowing gays to serve openly.

Conservatives/Republicans, as late as the 1970's, were still claiming the cigarettes were not addictive and didn't cause cancer and now they ignore the science again and deny that the earth is warming up or admit that its warming up but deny that human activity is the main cause or they accept that human activity is a driver of global warming but predict that addressing global warming will ruin our economy.

They need to actually study our history.
And learn from it

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Any Rand and Medicare

Not that this is really a surprise, but Ayn Rand, the Patron Saint of Libertarianism, recieved both Social Security and Medicare under her married name Ayn O'Connor.

This from the woman who wrote in her book “The Virtue of Selfishness” that accepting any government controls is “delivering oneself into gradual enslavement.”

Not really a surprise, but I still find it funny as hell!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Global Warming Data Point

According to the NOAA, 2010 was the warmest year on record.
Confirming one of the essential truths of Global Warming. The globe really is heating up.

And there is no theory that explains this warming better than a greenhouse effect resulting from increasing concentration of gases like Methane and Carbon Dioxide in the upper atmosphere resulting from human activity.

I know its cold outside today.
And its snowing in Atlanta.
None of which contradicts the science of Global Warming.

I understand why the petroleum and coal and natural gas industries don't want people to believe it. And I understand why Republicans and some Conservatives seen intent on doing the bidding of their corporate sponsors. What I don't understand is how they have convinced so many of America's citizens of the unbelievable.

But this all comes at a cost. There is no remaining doubt about what is happening. And while there is debate about how warm it will get and how fast it will warm up and how long it will take to bring temperatures down once we get green house gases under control, there is no scientific debate about the absolute necessity of doing so.

Why is it that people who so often love to wrap themselves in the flag are so willing to believe things that help to keep us dependent on foriegn oil, so willing to believe things that will make our world harder on our children. Quite rightly, our own Department of Defense sees Global Warming as a national security issue because the impacts of Global Warming on poor people around the globe will inevitably lead to instability in many nations, and that instability will likely result in increased threats to our security.

We need to act soon, act urgently, and act boldly. For our country, for our future, for our security.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Believing the Insane

In some of the earliest responses that I saw to the shooting of Rep. Giffords was a piece on a right wing website claiming that the shooter was a liberal because he referenced Hitler and Mein Kampf on some website.

The discussion about incendiary rhetoric aside, anyone who can look at the historical record and try to link Nazism and liberals is either insane or deliberately delusional. I tried to have a discussion with someone who was saying this and this argument was based on the presence of Socialist in the Nazi party name. They ignore the entire history of the Nazi party under Adolph Hitler and decide that Hitler was a liberal. After all, didn't you know that Hitler co-opted several German unions (before he destroyed the unions and put their leaders in the concentration camps). So if the party has Socialist in their name and co-opted some German unions, of course Hitler was a Liberal.

These are the same people who insist that the Southern Democrats who opposed (violently in many cases) had to be liberals because they were Democrats.

Its fascinating for me to have these discussions. I know that many on the right are not all that interested in facts, but this attempt to redefine Nazism as some sort of Liberalism and to pretend that the Southern Democrats doing everything in their power to enforce and protect segregation were Liberals is simply insane.

I have not figured out how they can make such ludicrous claims with a straight face, but they do.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Republicans and Jobs

The first order of business for the new Republican led House of Representatives is to repeal, in toto, the health care reform bill passed by the previous congress.

They gave their repeal measure a real catchy name "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." Cool name HUH??

The problem is that, along with most of what Republicans want us to believe about the economy, they are lying again. Every bipartisan evaluation of the impact of the health care refrom bill estimates a very small impact on employment and most predict that more jobs will be added in the health care industries than will be lost elsewhere.

In otherwords, the President's health care reform law will increase employment.

Republicans have also often referred to the Health Care reform bill as a budget buster despite the independent analysis that indicates that the Health Care Reform bill will actuall reduce the deficit.

Its like they just have to lie about stuff. Its not like these independent studies are not well publicized. They include the CBO study. But they don't seem to care about what is real, they only care about whether or not people will catch them in their lies.

Its like their claim that tax cuts create jobs. Not exactly a lie since tax cuts do create a few jobs. But they will never acknowledge that dollar for dollar tax cuts are far LESS effective at creating job than direct spending like infrastructure projects and extending unemployment benefits.

They clearly don't actually care about creating jobs.

They do like making political points though.

By saying things that aren't true, over and over again, even after what they are saying is shown to be untrue.

And isn't that the definition of a lie.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Republicans and Deficits

It would be funny if it wasn't so cynically dishonest.

Republicans have been complaining about the deficit and the debt since at least Reagan's campaign against Jimmy Carter in 1980. Yet since WWI, the Deficit has consistently been higher under Republican presidents than under Democratic Presidents. Let us not forget that President Obama inherited a $1.2T deficit in the FY2009 budget from President Bush who inherited a budget surplus from President Clinton.

When the Democratic took over in 2009 they passed a bill often called PayGo which required that any new programs that they wanted to pass, had to have funding mechanisms so that the new programs wouldn't increase the deficit and the debt. As a result the Health Care Reform bill had taxes and fees and moved some medicare money around to finance the bill and the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would actually LOWER the slightly over the next 10 years. The new Food Safety overhaul bill had to get voted on twice because the funding mechanisms for that bill has originated in the Senate so it had to be reintroduced in the House to be constitutional. Not a lot of costs in that one, but the Democratic Controlled congress paid for the new programs.
Same for the 9-11 Responders Health Care bill. They closed a loophole in corporate taxes to pay for it.
Cap and Trade was designed to be self financing.

So the first bill that the House intends to vote on is their repeal, in its entirety, of the Health Care Reform bill. The CBO estimates that repealing the bill will COST the federal government $230B over 10 years. The Republicans, who whine and complain constantly about the deficit and the debt, want to add $230B to the National Debt. The have no intention of making any attempt to pay the cost of their proposal.

And it gets worse.

They want to replace PayGo with something they call CutGo. Its like PayGo except that it demands that any new spending be matched by spending cuts elsewhere. It doesn't allow using tax or fee increases to fund new spending. But the really stupid part is that they insist that ANY TAX CUTS DON'T HAVE TO BE PAID FOR!

They repeat the same idiocy that tax cuts stimulate the economy and that they pay for themselves over time. The first is barely true, the second is a complete LIE. Tax cuts are the single worst way to stimulate the economy. Its been tried and it hasn't worked. Study after study comes to the same conclusion. 1 dollar in tax cuts adds about $1.06 in additional economic activity. 1 dollar in direct spending (like infrastructure projects and unemployment benefits) add more than $1.50 in additional economic activity.

What do tax cuts really do.

THEY ADD TO THE DEFICIT. Look at the history. Reagan cut taxes, the deficit exploded. BushII cut taxes, the deficit went to new heights.

One of the bills passed in the lame duck congress was a compromise bill on extending the Bush tax cuts and extending employment benefits for the long term unemployed. Republicans insisted that the bill extend the tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans, at a cost of almost $1T over 10 years and made not attempt to pay for it.

Every time they take an important action the Republicans demonstrate over and over again that they only want to complain about the deficit, not really do anything about it.

And other than the new Teabaggers, most of these people are not studid, they know they are lying and they just don't care.