Easter Lemming Liberal News

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Political History of SF

Interesting, but I disagree with a lot of Eric S. Raymond's history and conclusions.

The main problem in his politics in SF essay is you have to consider the source and possible bias. Eric is a Libertarian who likes hard science fiction. Is it a surprise he writes a history of SF where his preference is the "true" science fiction and that he considers that it is also libertarian science fiction? Are you surprised that he expands on this to state that the other movements in science fiction are unsuccessful communist, or liberal and communist, reactions to it? There is some truths in his history but his overall bias is very evident and is not the normal unwarped view.

An essay of his just discussing science fiction without politics is much better, very useful in understanding SF, - SF Words and Prototype Worlds.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006



Keith Olbermann Delivers One Hell Of a Commentary on Rumsfeld

Calls him Neville Chamberlain for attacking his critics and pedling misleading information.
And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a "new type of fascism."
As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that — though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.


The surreal Iran debate

Substitute hosting at Talking Points Memo, Matt Yglesia has a good post on the ironies and surrealism of chickenhawks who were dead wrong about Iraq leading the charge against a pretty weak, not engaged in a massive arms buildup, Iran. BS needs to be called on this elite conventional wisdom and the paranoia and panic toned down. I and Rolling Stone would also ask how much of this debate a fruition of a several year plan by AIPAC?

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Details Emerge in British Terror Case - New York Times
While investigators found evidence on a computer memory stick indicating that one of the men had looked up airline schedules for flights from London to cities in the United States, the suspects had neither made reservations nor purchased plane tickets, a British official said.
Attempting to justify early arrests in a plot to bring down airlines, some people have been leaking like a sieve in the UK. The NYT has the big story on the evidence they do have. About as big a story is that this article is blocked for online visitors from the UK by the Times using geo-targeting ad technology. Boing Boing points out that there are work-arounds if UK visitors want to see the story. The UK Guardian has the story on the blocking.



Video Gaming Real-Life Crises
Just over a year ago, Joe Barlow, a paramedic in Illinois, spent a week testing a computer game called Incident Commander, a training simulator that gives players a lead role in managing crisis situations such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Days later, he used his virtual experience in a real-life situation: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was put in charge of an 800-bed hospital in Baton Rouge, La., and found that many of the decisions he made there stemmed from what he learned by playing the game.

Yesterday, on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, game developer BreakAway Games Ltd. released the final version of Incident Commander free of charge to municipal emergency departments, part of an agreement with the Justice Department, which invested $350,000 in game development.
If you really screw up does Bush come on and say "You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie?"



Housing Market - Why will it Pop?

That linked pointed to the article. As my brother emails me, all you really need to see is this chart.

Since 2001 the median under-65 income was $2,000 lower in 2005 than in 2001. Bush fiscal policies have only benefited the over-65, the super-rich and GOP connected business owners. As the housing bubble bursts and stock prices go down and seniors feel the pain workers have felt for the last 5 years how low will Bush's support go?



Williamsgate! Bush Gives Earpiece Interview to Brian Williams

Bush seems very distracted and fumbling in a very long interview with Brian Williams in NOLA - was this proof of an earpiece interview? When will they admit Bush is fed answers during interviews? If they admit that will they also have to admit Bush cheated during the Kerry debates?



Bush to host his kind of leader
The White House is making arrangements to host the leader of Kazakhstan, an autocrat who runs a nation that is anything but free and who has been accused by U.S. prosecutors of pocketing the bulk of $78 million in bribes from an American businessman. Not only will President Nursultan Nazarbayev visit the White House, people involved say, but he also will travel to the Bush family compound in Maine.

Nazarbayev has banned opposition parties, intimidated the press and profited from his post, according to the U.S. government. But he also sits atop massive oil reserves that have helped open doors in Washington.
We are waiting to see if the Uzbekistan fashion of boiling political opponents alive has crossed their border.

"Kazakhstan law-enforcement agencies seem to view torture as a necessary element of the investigation/interrogation practice."

Some see the human rights situation in Kazakhstan as terrible but improving. They don't boil political opposition leaders alive, they just die in mysterious hails of bullets.



Bush Urges Nation To Be Quiet For A Minute While He Tries To Think
In a nationally televised address Monday, President Bush urged all citizens, regardless of race, creed, color, or political affiliation, "to quiet down for just one minute" so he could have "a chance to think."

Every American has an inalienable right to free speech and self-expression," Bush said. "Nonetheless, I call upon the American people to hold off on it for, say, 60 seconds. Just long enough for me to get this all sorted out in my head."

"Please," Bush added.

While the president said achieving a unilateral peace and quiet "would not be easy," he hoped that citizens would respect his wish and work toward a temporary cease-talk so that he could can hear his own thoughts "for once."

"Make no mistake: It will take patience and sacrifice," Bush said. "But such drastic measures could lead to a better tomorrow for all of us, especially for your commander in chief."

Bush then closed his speech by exhaling sharply, tightly closing his eyes, and massaging his temples. "I just—Chr*st, I just need a g*dd*mn minute, you know?" he said.

"In these trying times for our president, we must show respect for his office, even if it means turning our car radios down, shushing our children, and turning off all fans," Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said. "Heck, the man just needs one measly minute."

Capitol Hill Democrats, however, have criticized Bush's call for silence, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) calling it "yet another example of Bush's inability to connect with everyday Americans, many of whom rarely, if ever, receive a moment to themselves."

"Where's their moment to think?" Pelosi said.


Judge rules that Congress's rushed appointment of Bilbray cannot be challenged

After the disputed election in California, Congress seated Republican Brian Bilbray before his election was certified. A judge has now ruled that this certification cannot be challenged and the votes recounted because of this Congressional action. Once Congress seats a member only they can remove him. If you look at history this is a bad decision. Court cases and recounts should go forward and then the results forwarded to Congress.

In other election news, Ohio will shortly destroy all of the 2004 ballots despite protests. The 2004 votes in Ohio remain a subject of controversy with allegations of fraud.



Watching "Waging a Living" (Questions from the Audience)

Waging a Living on PBS Tuesday night was very good. All of the people struggling they profiled were making over the minimum wage, in fact, enough above that they would not be affected by an increase in the minimum wage and these people were losing their homes, working hard and really struggling.

I see they had Larry Temple, the Republican Executive Director of the Texas Workforce Commission, on the panel giving the Republican view in reactions to the film. Not mentioned is that he mainly believes in welfare, or workfare, for his friends. "The Texas Workforce Commission has been generous to the Mississippi friends of Executive Director Larry Temple. In the past three years, the agency has given $4.1 million in grants and contracts to companies run by Temple’s friends and state employment to ex-wife of the mayor of Vicksburg.” Houston Chronicle Jan. 2, 2005



Right Christians move on to their next battle - banning contraception

The American Taliban is really about banning sex and as the abortion battle is nearly won they move on to the next front - contraception. You might look at this poll.
Since 2004, pharmacist refusals have made headlines across the country—and have often spurred local governments into action. In Denton, Texas, three pharmacists were fired from Eckerd after refusing to fill an emergency contraception prescription for a rape victim. Gene Herr told the Associated Press that he "went in the back room and briefly prayed about it" and decided that he could not in good conscience provide the pills, which he believes can cause an abortion. Similar refusals have been reported in Georgia, Alabama, New Hampshire, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin.


Legalized loansharks preying on American soldiers
Soldiers defending our nation are fighting a two-front war. There's the well-known battle against foreign enemies like Al Qaeda. And now there's a domestic fight against companies that have targeted military personnel for payday loans at interest rates that typically exceed 400% and can run as high as 2,000%. A mounting body of evidence, including a report released by the Pentagon this month, shows that these legalized loansharks are damaging America's armed forces by driving thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen - as well as their families - into acute, crushing debt and even bankruptcy.

It's long past time for Congress to pass a strong law prohibiting the financial exploitation of America's defenders.


Beyond Macaca: Why does Allen love racists?
Now Allen finds himself in a quandary. While he atones for his racist gaffe in order to succeed in the 2008 Republican primaries, he cannot afford to alienate the neo-Confederate movement that helped propelled his career during the 1990s. As Allen begs forgiveness for his "mistake," his spokesman avoids criticizing groups like the SCV and CCC. "The neo-Confederates could break a Republican candidate, especially in South Carolina, where they're extremely organized," Sebesta observes.
Update: Steve Gilliard finds some choice quotes from Allen's friends. I've *'ed the offensive words.
"Each of the three major races plays a distinct role in history. . . . The whites were the creators of civilization, the yellows its sustainers and copyists, the blacks its destroyers." (www.cofcc.org, 12/98)

"Being the shallow, n*gger-loving dilettante that you are, you probably DO consider n*ggers to be your equal (who am I to question this?): Yet, unlike you and your allies, I have an I.Q. in excess of 130, which grants me the ability to objectively evaluate the Great American Nigro (Africanus Criminalis.)

Some day, You sanctimonious n*gger-lovers will either have to live amongst them ("nothing cures an enthusiasm for integration like a good dose of n*ggers") or else defend yourselves against them. My guess is that you are such a cowardly and pusillanimous lot of girly-boys, they will kill f*ck, kill and eat you just as they do young White males in every prison system in the U.S. " - Earl P Holt III, email to Archpundit.

Earl and Gordon Baum of the Council of Conservative Citizens host the Right at Night--a veritable hate fest.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

An Apology from a Bush Voter

Middle America is slowly realizing they had been conned by "the worst President ever." Doug McIntyre is a Schwarzenegger Republican and host of a popular moderate conservative California radio show. Link from Jim.




Perry Calls Special Election in CD-22

Just after my complaints that the Houston Chronicle wasn't reporting that it looked like Perry was going to leave the seat open until next year, he doesn't. The Chronicle report on this.

Interesting, I think this actually hurts the Republicans as some voters won't want to write in Shelley Sekula Gibbs after voting for her once. Others may disagree. This might make a Lampson victory more convincing and help him for 2008.



One Graph Says It All; Corporations Making Out Like Bandits

Worker's pay going down, corporate profits way up. Worker's pay is at the lowest share of the GDP on record. Check the comments and links.



The war in Utah

The GOP is afraid that even the reddest state in the Union is slipping away and is waging a PR campaign against the anti-Bush Salt Lake City mayor. Mayor Rocky Anderson said he would speak at a protest against Bush's visit and invite Cindy Sheehan. The state GOP is running robo-calling and advertisements to urge phone calls to city hall and stir up opposition. There is the standard despicable claims by the Republicans that he is abetting terrorists.



Loose Change 2nd Edition Debunker's Guide

A detailed line by line debunking of the claims in Loose Change, which is preparing a 3rd Edition. Loose Change attempts to disprove all official explanations of 9/11.



Just because Kinky is funny doesn't mean he's liberal
Bell's campaign, which has been collecting Kinky's quotes, believes the quipster's conservative viewpoints contradict those of his own strongest supporters.

An internal Bell campaign poll indicates Friedman's strongest base — a 51 percent favorable rating to 25 percent unfavorable — is among Anglo liberals, the type of people who normally would be expected to support Bell and who the Democrat desperately needs.

"He (Friedman) has stated contempt for a lot of the people who are supporting him," said Bell spokesman Jason Stanford.

Months ago, responding to a commentator's question on CNBC about how he would deal with sexual predators, Friedman replied: "Throw them in prison and throw away the key. And make them listen to a Negro talking to himself." - Clay Robison

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Life and Crimes of George W. Bush

New book collects some of Dubya's secrets in one chapter - High Plains Grifter.



DOE predicts gasoline shortages - decades of shortages

DoE finally looks at Peak Oil. The report concludes it will take two decades of all out effort to replace declining oil supplies.

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Police property: It’s finders keepers in NH

In yet another ludicrious court decision, this time by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, the police were allowed to keep and destroy 500 CD's after failing to prove they were illegal.

There is now a presumption of guilty for the police to keep property and a court declaration of innocence does not change that. At least that is my interpretation of this and other poorly written majority opinions.



Activist's idea draws suspicion of terror intentions | Chicago Tribune

Latest domestic example of how to be labeled a terrorist, be an environmentalist who questions the need for a dam.

Latest overseas example - be a U.S. citizen and refuse to answer FBI questions without a lawyer and be banned from re-entering the United States.




The Cheney presidency

Robert Kuttner asks if shouldn't more than half of the White House reporters be assigned to follow Cheney?

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Demographics and Pension Plans

Great New Yorker article on how the auto industry, and most of American business, took on private pension plans to avoid proposed collective plans and how demographics is now driving them to bankruptcy.
If the retiree obligations of Bethlehem Steel had been pooled with those of the much younger industries that supplanted steel—aluminum, say, or plastic—Bethlehem Steel might have made it. If you combined the obligations of G.M., with its four hundred and fifty-three thousand retirees, and the American manufacturing operations of Toyota, with a mere two hundred and fifty-eight retirees, Toyota could help G.M. shoulder its burden, and thirty or forty years from now—when those G.M. retirees are dead and Toyota’s now youthful workforce has turned gray—G.M. could return the favor. For that matter, if you pooled the obligations of every employer in the country, no company would go bankrupt just because it happened to employ older people, or it happened to have been around for a while, or it happened to have made the transformation from open-hearth furnaces and ingot-making to basic oxygen furnaces and continuous casting. This is what Walter Reuther and the other union heads understood more than fifty years ago: that in the free-market system it makes little sense for the burdens of insurance to be borne by one company. If the risks of providing for health care and old-age pensions are shared by all of us, then companies can succeed or fail based on what they do and not on the number of their retirees.


US won't reveal groups it is funding in Venezuela

Objects to proposed Venezuelan law that groups must disclose funding sources.

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Strayhorn continues to sink in polls


A new Wall Street Journal/Zogby Poll shows Strayhorn and Perry continuing to decline while Friedman and Bell move up.

Perry 35
Bell 23
Friedman 23
Strayhorn 10

When you consider that the majority of Kinky's voters are liberals who evidently don't know his positions or history a portion of those should move to Bell closer to the election. I admit I am surprised at Strayhorn's continued decline to this low a level. She seemed to have the right positioning to pull it off. If she had disregarded her family and come back to the Democratic Party it would have been an interesting primary.

I have some continued uncertainty about the reliability of the Zogby Internet polls considering the polarized electorate and my belief those on the extremes are more likely to take part in his polling. The moderate bipartisan candidacy of Strayhorn will be most affected by the polarized nature of his Internet polling.



Bush Still Blind to Poverty - NOLA example

Jonathan Alter confesses he was wrong about Bush.


Richard Armitage’s Role in Plame Case - Newsweek

The Man Who Said Too Much

The first leaker that said Valerie Plame worked for the CIA was Richard Armitage at the State Department. She worked to keep Weapons of Mass Destruction out of the hands of terrorists and Iran. There is some speculation that this is leaking now in the new book 'Hubris' to take pressure off of Libby and to embarrass Powell and the State Department. How much our limited Iran intelligence apparatus was harmed by the leaking of her status has yet to be revealed.



Real Wages For Most Falling, Productivity Rising

Of course, GOP political spinmaster Frank Luntz sees voters blaming corporations and not the GOP. Has the Democratic Party failed to link the GOP to large corporations and the ultra-rich?
“The most important contributor to higher profit margins over the past five years has been a decline in labor’s share of national income.” Even for workers at the 90th percentile of earners — making about $80,000 a year — inflation has outpaced their pay increases over the last three years, according to the Labor Department.

“There are two economies out there,” Mr. Cook, the political analyst, said. “One has been just white hot, going great guns. Those are the people who have benefited from globalization, technology, greater productivity and higher corporate earnings.

“And then there’s the working stiffs,’’ he added, “who just don’t feel like they’re getting ahead despite the fact that they’re working very hard. And there are a lot more people in that group than the other group.”
Link from Jim.



P.O.V. - Waging a Living - on PBS

The term "working poor" should not apply in America. If you are working hard for your family why should you be poor? This P.O.V. film follows four working poor families for three years Tuesday Night. (Often they repeat P.O.V. later in the week in the early morning - this show does not get that.)

"Like most Americans, I grew up with the idea that hard work invariably leads to success. I bought into this mythology for a long time, until...I met lots of folks for whom this American dream was exactly that, just a dream. It could not be realized." —Roger Weisberg



Jim Hightower POSTER: Are you safe yet?

A great poster version of where Bush's arrogance has taken America.

Alternet has a non-poster version. The August issue of The Hightower Lowdown contains a poster-sized chart detailing the many grievances, lies and miscues of the Bush Administration.



The Houston Chronicle tells us little about politics


I was clicking through the Chronicle to see what political news they choose to cover and I don't see much

There is an article on Sekula- Gibbs that avoided the down and dirty GOP fighting over rather she is too liberal moderate for DeLay's seat and if her recent anti-immigrant bashing was a sham to shore up her GOP credentials.

On DeLay's empty seat they reran an old Washington Post article from a conservative think-tank on how Democrats try to get Republicans to obey the law. Not really, it was supposedly about the laws being wrong in not letting everybody run. Funny how it listed examples of Republicans in trouble over state ballot requirements and in court against Democrats. If the article had talked about bipartisan state measures that keep many people off the ballot there is a good case to be made.

They cover a Perry financial scandal by noting it raises eyebrows.

Their story on Carol Alvarado's payroll scandal in her office is that there isn't a story. She is doing fine. True or not, Mayor White got coverage for taking the middle ground back in March over Alverado, although that decision drew some criticism from Kristen Mack. Events seem to have proven the mayor correct, Mack.

The one fairly good coverage in the last few days is the heat Perry is taking over trying to give a huge swatch of Texas land to a Spanish company for a very wide toll road. The details I just provided aren't really covered in the story.

One of the things I would like to see covered is the governor's apparent decision to leave the CD-22 seat empty until next year to avoid complicating the already hopeless GOP campaign. Is the Chronicle going to help the GOP bury that story? Will they wait until the Governor announces it on the last day to declare a special election?

I should give up blogs and go back to our Houston "never a Pulitzer Prize" newspaper for this weak sh*t? I get more information from Texas political blogs.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

American Politics, 1846 - 1854

This is part of the history for Kossacks series of diaries.




In Your Guts, You Know He's Nuts

This essay on Bush and the disarray in this administration and the insanity at the top shows that Jeffrey Steinberg should be one of the heirs to the LaRouche Democrats without LaRouche. There is too much here for me to do a good digest.

To expand on my previous post, LaRouche has been better than many credit at diagnosing the problems, but his solutions require authoritarian Fascism and his rhetoric, when deciphered, is over-the-top Protocols of the Elders of Zion repackaged with "British speculative financiers" and similar code words substituted for "Jewish bankers."

If followers of LaRouche veer from his old-style Fascism or National Socialism methods and embrace non-authoritarian and Democratic solutions they have a future and influence in American politics.

I think the title of this piece points in two directions, with LaRouche being less nuts than Bush.



U.S. is coming apart at the seams and the LaRouche connection
A pipeline shuts down in Alaska. Equipment failures disrupt air travel in Los Angeles. Electricity runs short at a spy agency in Maryland.

None of these recent events resulted from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, but they may as well have, some homeland security experts say. They worry that too little attention is paid to how fast the country's basic operating systems are deteriorating.

The American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation "D" for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem.
Link by The Raw Story. This makes Lyndon LaRouche, while unfortunately cult-like, state-capitalist and abstruse, prescient again as little has changed in his diagnosis in 25 years:
There have been four outstanding aspects of the way in which deregulation has virtually destroyed the U.S.A.'s economic stability today: 1.) The Nixon use of a flight into the disease of "Friedmanism" as a prelude to the wrecking of the world monetary-financial system through the breakup of the Bretton Woods system; 2.) The massive deregulation conducted under the 1977-1981 Carter Administration; 3.) The post-October 1987 lunatic binge ("financial derivatives") of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan; and, 4.) The sheer economic-financial lunacy of the Bush-Cheney Administration. These are not the only important factors, but they have been the most crucial among the blunders of U.S. policy over the 1968-2006 interval to date.

The underlying common feature of these and related, ruinous measures can be summed up in one word: "deregulation." The single most ruinous feature of the entire period 1968-2006 to date, has been the interweaving of the collapse of basic economic infrastructure with an increasingly wild emphasis on "free trade."

Under any continuation of those trend-features of that 1968-2006 interval, the U.S. is doomed to not merely a new world depression, in the sense "depression" was understood in the Europe and Americas of the 1930s, but the more calamitous form of a general breakdown-crisis of the present world economic-financial system. However, there are alternatives. The pivotal issue is the need to put the U.S. banking system, the Federal Reserve System, into bankruptcy, under U.S. Federal Government receivership. Much of the paper involved, including current mortgage values, financial derivatives obligations generally, and so on must be savagely discounted, or simply discarded as financial derivatives must be. However, this means that the U.S. Federal Government must intervene to keep the doors of the banks open, and their functional role in maintaining the current level of physical economic support of levels of employment, production, and essential services, while also serving as a conduit of long-term Federal credit at rates of 2% simple-interest, or lower, needed to stabilize impaired banking institutions and also stimulate growth of employment and output to national and regional levels above break-even.

The presently indispensable turn to such kinds of measures must be matched by a reinstitution of the kinds of Federal regulation which came out of the 1933-1945 interval of recovery from the deep Coolidge-Hoover depression of the national economy.

That is not "socialism," contrary to the reckless babbling of some. Indeed, solid economic conservatives of the 1950s would have called this a change back to a "fair trade" policy, as an escape from the syphilis-like effects of recent decades' whorish dalliance with a street-walker's sort of "free trade" policy
This should not be taken as my endorsement of Lyndon LaRouche and his policies but a recognition that he has been more right than many of his critics. Here is an expose of LaRouche's not-so-hidden anti-Semitism by his chief critic in 1980.

Note that even this chief critic while clearly exposing his radical left and right roots and anti-Semitism had this to say in the 1980 link above:
LaRouche's economic plans for a "high technology" economy are brilliantly conceived and carefully researched. They have genuine merit. But there's one little hitch: To carry them out would require an authoritarian transformation of the U.S. government and the development of a Fascist type corporative state (which the West German branch of LaRouche's organization has already advocated in its program, "Der Rechsstaat"). If U.S. economic clout continues to weaken at home and abroad, it is quite possible that significant forces in U.S. industry will become attracted to LaRouche's economic thinking. Certainly he is the only American economist today who is seriously exploring the Fascist alternative for American business. As such, he will inevitably receive a respectful hearing (even if he fails to make any converts) from some conservative business circles, in spite of his kooky "cover." [From earlier] (Already, in seeking conservative business support for his 1980 presidential campaign he is speaking with a new soberness.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Whistleblowers Say State Farm Cheated Katrina Victims

Two claims adjusters claim a widespread fraud and conspiracy by State Farm to reduce claims.



The Mythical End to the Politics of Fear

Us leftists are all speaking with one voice - Bush IS going to attack Iran and the Democratic Party and the Media are practically useless.

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Dillon Reed & Co. and an Aristocracy of Prison Profits

A look into the dark and surreal recent financial and political history of our time from Catherine Austin Fitts, someone with first hand experience. Catherine went from Wall Street to a Republican sub-cabinet position before being forced out and subject to extensive government harrassment for becoming too much a radical Libertarian.





Prussian Blue back on Primetime

ABC News is now claiming that the name refers to "their German heritage and bright blue eyes" and not as a reference to the name of the blue residue left over by the use of Zyklon B in German concentration camps. Looks like the father lost his effort to get them away from the hate-spewing mother. Hat tip to Sharon.

Meanwhile white supremacists are crowing over a Canadian study that supposedly shows whites have bigger cocks than blacks. No link or documentation is included and the unusual wording and statistics seem to show the study only exists in the mind of a fevered wanker who has watched too many Prussian Blue videos.




Buchanan Falsely Claims That Hispanics ‘Do Not Wish To Assimilate’
A Pew Hispanic Center poll shows 96% of foreign-born and Spanish-speaking Latinos believe it is “very important” to teach English to immigrant children. Indeed, they are having enormous success achieving this goal. While only 4% of Hispanic immigrants are primarily English speakers, 46% of their children and 78% of the third generation are English dominant.

Hispanics are assimilating in other ways as well. 32% of second-generation Hispanics marry outside their race, as does 57% of the third generation. Hispanics enlist in the United States military at a greater percentage than whites.



Soaring Medical Bills Squeeze Families

Mounting medical costs are plunging more families into debilitating debt and why insurance doesn’t always keep them out of bankruptcy - Newsweek.



Bush assembling a "coalition of the willing" for Iran
"When you start doing things that would be better with the Security Council's endorsement, does it show weakness or strength?" said George Perkovich, the director of the nonproliferation program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Iran could argue that 'the U.S. couldn't even get the Security Council backing, and so we are winning.'"

"There is a general reluctance to follow the U.S. lead," he said. "Our negotiating power is diminished, which is regrettable."




Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- And What We Can Do About It

The amazingly busy Thom Hartmann has a new book on one of the most important topics - the shrinking American middle-class.
Air America Radio host Thom Hartmann shows that our Founding Fathers worked hard to ensure that a small group of wealthy people would never dominate this country — they'd had enough of aristocracy. They put policies in place to ensure a thriving middle class. When the middle class took a hit, beginning in the post-Civil War Gilded Age and culminating in the Great Depression, democracy-loving leaders like Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower revitalized it through initiatives like antitrust regulations, fair labor laws, the minimum wage, Social Security, and Medicare.

So what happened? In the last twenty-five years, we've witnessed an undeclared war against the middle class. The so-called conservatives waging this war are only interested in conserving — and steadily increasing — their own wealth and power. Hartmann shows how, under the guise of "freeing" the market, they've systematically dismantled the programs set up by Republicans and Democrats to protect the middle class and have installed policies that favor the superrich and corporations.


Israel Prepares for War with Iran
The Israeli military estabishment reports that they've created a new command to deal exclusively with Iran.

...According to Israeli officials, Israel has expanded its military command structure to include an "Iran Command" as prospects of war with the radical Islamic country appear inevitable.

According to Ha'aretz, Israeli Air Force commander Major General Elyezer Shkedy was appointed as "GOC Iran Command" (commanding officer) and will be tasked with coordinating all military and intelligence efforts in the event of a war with Iran.
Stephen Zunes summarizes how the Bush administration pushed Israel into attacking Hezbollah and urged an attack on Syria.
The Bush administration's larger goal apparently has been to form an alliance of pro-Western Sunni Arab dictatorships--primarily Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan--against a growing Shiite militancy exemplified by Hezbollah and Iran and, to a lesser extent, post-Saddam Iraq. Though these Sunni regimes initially spoke out against Hezbollah's provocative capture of the two Israeli soldiers that prompted the Israeli attacks, popular opposition within these countries to the ferocity of the Israeli assault led them to rally solidly against the U.S.-backed war on Lebanon.

In the years prior to Israel's July 12 bombing of Lebanese cities, Hezbollah had become less and less of a threat. It had not killed any Israeli civilians for more than a decade (with the exception of one accidental fatality in 2003 caused by an anti-aircraft missile fired at an Israeli plane that violated Lebanese airspace). Investigations by the Congressional Research Service, the State Department, and independent think tanks failed to identify any major act of terrorism by Hezbollah for over a dozen years.

Israel is no banana republic. Even those like Hersh who recognize the key role of the Bush administration in goading Israel to attack Lebanon emphasize that rightist elements within Israel had their own reasons, independent of Washington, to pursue the conflict.

Still, given Israel's enormous military, economic, and political dependence on the United States, this latest war on Lebanon could not have taken place without a green light from Washington.
Israeli boosts its nuclear capability
With the purchase of two more German-made Dolphin submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads, military experts say Israel is sending a clear message to Iran that it can strike back if attacked by nuclear weapons.

The latest submarines not only would be able to carry out a first strike should Israel choose to do so, but they also would provide Israel with crucial second-strike capabilities, said Paul Beaver, a London-based independent defence analyst.

Israel is already believed to have that ability in the form of the Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, which are buried so far underground they would survive a nuclear strike, he said.
All the recent moves are showing more war preparation. If I was Iran I would be preparing counter-strike scenarios and installing their new air defenses as fast as possible. Iran is conducting war games now to test its readyness.



Religious Poll Results More Complicated than Reported

After an interesting exercise in detecting bias in news reporting, Terry Mattingly notes the issues of religion and social beliefs are more complicated than reported. He does play up the more conservative numbers and links to a bashing of liberal Christianity which he admits is controversial - "Liberal Christianity is paying for its sins."


Friday, August 25, 2006

Lieberman's Failures on Homeland Security

God, Lieberman was an absolute disaster as Senator once you start looking at his record. Here is his support for the dismantling of FEMA despite warnings of what would happen, his giggle fest while not checking the resume of Michael Brown, his support for Bush's response to hurricane Katrina... Lieberman is a liberal Republican and not a Democrat.

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Jim's links

My brother sent me a bunch of links. Some I posted with a credit to him, some without and some never made it. I will post a number of these now and see if I can get caught up. A few are my finding better links and not the original.
Would another automaker do this or would they just let cars roll out and take a profit? - Toyota slows release of cars to deal with quality issues. Honda would do it, can't think of another company.

The One-Year Katrina timeline - NOLA still up s*it creek.

How to really screw Focus on the Family. They will send you or a friend $100 of stuff at a time free. Tell your gay friends. Tell your atheist friends. Do your Christmas shopping early on them. There are a few general items that look real good.

Government bans science majors from studying evolution.

Another FEAR! inspired plane panic attack - 12 Indians released.

American arrested for rebroadcasting Lebanon's most popular TV news - Hizbollah TV.

Audio humor - Paul Bunyan and the photo-copier.

Sexual Abuse By Military Recruiters -
More Than 100 Women Raped Or Assaulted By Recruiters In Past Year


Texas towns seizing money and property to go on spending sprees.

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Eiland: Bush has around six months to deal with Iran

In a choice of mild sanctions without talks, real negotiations, or a military strike, which will Bush/Cheney choose?
The third option, said [Giora Eiland, Israel's former national security adviser], was a military operation - born of the sense that the diplomatic process would not work and that there could be no compromise with an axis-of-evil power. However, internal political realities and public opinion in the US were not conducive to this, he said, nor was international support readily available. Furthermore, said Eiland, "this would be action that would have to be taken within months.

If not, and if Iran continues enrichment, it will complete the research and development stage and have a proven ability which it can then duplicate at numerous sites. And at that point it could not be stopped by military action. Six months or 12 months from now would be too late, he said.

Tellingly, Eiland noted, it seemed to him that the difficulties facing the administration over that third course were growing.

As the crisis with Iran deepens, meanwhile, some Israeli sources believe the US has acted foolishly in spurning opportunities for international diplomatic cooperation against Iran in recent years, and that Israel mistakenly encouraged this course of action.
Before and during the first world war there was a chorus of people saying there are idiots in power who see advantages to war. There was huge anti-war opposition to the war in the United States. The result was an "Espionage Act" that wasn't against espionage but in a mass of doubletalk made it illegal to speak out against the government.

We who opposed the Iraq War were right, easy war - impossible peace and all for no good reasons. We are now shouting that Bush/Cheney will attack Iran and the consequences will be much worse. The Patriot Act was the early form of this administration's "Espionage Act," when the real war starts you will probably see "Patriot Act 3" - lock those who were right up to shut them up. The only chance to stop a disastrous WW 3 and the drastic loss of liberty in the United States will be to stop the Iran attack this year and elect a real liberty loving Congress and other public officials.

Mood - pessimistic.



Iran - GOP War Bozos in the House, Silent Dems


The GOP house report on Iran illustrates the threat posed by Iran with missiles that Iran doesn't have. And then shows their nonexistent range from Kuwait. It does not describe how Iran has conquered Kuwait. All the leading Democrats have remained silent as the GOP trys to whip up war hysteria.

Lieberman, not a Democrat, was happy to agree with conservative CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck that Iran has to be popped because we are in WW3 and Iran is the enemy head.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Should Corporations Be Taxed More?
School children across the United States have raised more money for Katrina relief efforts than many major U.S. corporations, according to a non-profit group, RandomKid, which has tracked donations by children.

Over $10 million was raised by school kids through bake sales, lemonade stands, car washes and other fundraisers, according to RandomKid. That's more than almost every major U.S. corporation gave. More than wealthy oil and petrochemical companies, such as Chevron and ConocoPhillips. It's more than what AT&T and Verizon gave combined. And it's more than major brand name corporations like GE and Coca-Cola gave.

Only five U.S. corporations gave more than what was raised by the school kids, according to recently released report by the Foundation Center, a non-profit organization that has tracked Katrina relief donations.



Top 10 Corporate Democrats-For-Hire
We scrutinized scores of Washington Dems and found many ensconced in firms working to advance corporate agendas that don't look that different from policy we see emanating from the Bush administration. To be sure, many of these people have redeeming qualities, represent some admirable causes as well, and may personally harbor inclinations for the greater good. Yet, in trying to earn a handsome living in Washington, they apparently do what a person's gotta do.



Right pundits now advocating nuke'em all
It's plainly time to add pre-emptive nuclear annihilation of entire countries to the list of policies (along with the use of torture as an interrogation tool, rendition, laweless detention of U.S. citizens, and presidential law-breaking) which are so self-evidently contrary to the defining values of our country that they used to be taboo even to advocate, but are now commonly accepted policies among many mainstream pundits, including those who most ardently support the current president. - Glenn Greenwald



It's FEAR that the terrorists and the administration wants

I am beginning to think Bush doesn't want to capture Osama. Then he'll just have to have a trial of a crazy millionaire that the US trained and supported before he turned rogue. Right now they both get what they want, a panicky terrorized public.

ADDED - Facing three years because he was afraid to say loudly standing next to his mother that his bag contained a penis pump.



Politically incorrect: Republican Party officials use the erroneous term 'Democrat Party' because it irritates their opponents

This Houston Chronicle editorial castigates rude Repubs, including President Bush, for using the term "Democrat Party." The editorial also demonstrates that the White House lied about it. Today the President will go support Senator Allen at a fundraiser and probably get in mo' caca.

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Howard Dean was right in 2003, other Democrats wrong
Howard Dean, scorned as naïve, wacky, out-of-step, was right, and his critics were wrong. We have squandered hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives, and the situation in Iraq is more dangerous than ever. American troops, sent to that country under false pretenses and without adequate equipment or planning, are now being hoarded around Baghdad to confront a civil war. Twenty-five hundred Marines are being called up for duty because the Pentagon couldn't find enough volunteers. The awful situation in Lebanon and Gaza is, in part, a product of the administration's decision to abandon America's previous role as broker in the area and tilt heavily towards Israel.

The disastrous course America has steered in the Middle East since 2001 has crippled our ability to stem the violence and create peace and actually emboldened our adversaries, especially Iran.

So as I think about the Middle East and the threat the situation there poses to our security and to peace in the world, Howard Dean's looking pretty good right now. - John Fairbanks



James Fallows explains we need to declare victory in the WoT

Subscription required for main article in The Atlantic but this short follow-up is free. This expands on my declare victory in Iraq policy.



The next political issue in the United States - debt

Good post and comments on the Boston Globe's series on credit card debt of all types and collection agencies out of control.



NYT: Katrina Evacuees find Atlanta more hospitable than Houston

Reasons offered for different experiences - fewer of them, more professionals, better prepared, fewer underclass, better starting wages in Atlanta. Houston got the attention but Atlanta is giving them more opportunities?



Bush Admits They Were Wrong On Iraq

New argument - it would be worse if someone else was in charge.



natasha: The Hospital and the Family

The Republicans are out of step with modern urban life.



The View From 22 on GOP lawbreakers


A Democratic CD-22 blog has noticed that the Texas GOP has violated the law twice in Tom DeLay's district in the past week.

First, David Wallace indicates he only dropped out of the race because of money promised to the local party. That happens to meet the Texas legal definition of a bribe.

Second, The Fort Bend County GOP judge has been endorsing candidates right and left, righter. This is a violation of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.

They sure have a problem with the rule of law, don't they?




Coming recession will be nastier than 2001

Weak housing, autos, consumer confidence and inflation and debt worries are setting the stage for a real nasty 2007 recession.



Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Federal Appeals Court: Driving With Money is a Crime

In another insane Republican court ruling, police may seize cash from motorists even in the absence of any evidence that a crime has been committed. A large amount of money, even if explained, is evidence of criminal activity.

I bet if we had forfeiture laws 80 years ago prohibition would never have been repealed. Link by Jim.



The G.O.P. attack-Iran-now crowd attacking American intelligence agencies now

In addition to dismissing the experts at intelligence agencies, the GOP helps the war momentum along. Where are the Democrats?
The House Intelligence Committee report released Wednesday was written primarily by Republican staff members on the committee, and privately some Democrats criticized the report for using innuendo and unsubstantiated assertions to inflate the threat that Iran posed to the United States.
You think?




The epitome of conservative lawyers

Ann Althouse, is a flurry of superficial arguments, criticises a judge for sloppy superficial arguments. She then reveals she hadn't read the case and knew nothing about it. And her opinion gets an Op-Ed in the New York Times.



Latest Example of Today Show becoming Racist GOP Today

I used to watch the Today Show all the time, it was better than the other crap in the morning. Notice in the last few years how it is just becoming part of the Republican noise machine? Long interviews with conservative GOP bigwigs pushing books and no one really challenging the reprehensible statements in the books. Sharp criticisms with follow-ups when a rare liberal is invited on. Their news breaks are all now pretty much infotainment.



Rolling Stone - Rahm Emanuel and the clueless DLC shooting the Democratic base
Q: Are bloggers too powerful?
A: Do I think they're important? Yes. Do I think the [bloggers] and Al Sharpton alone are the future of the Democratic Party? No! Welcome in, contribute, but it's about winning in November and moving the country forward, not about a firing squad in a circle.
Pretend you have the keys to the clubhouse, toss in a polarizing black politician, denounce Democrats and then lament they are a circular firing squad.



"Rockey I": If it sounds too good to be true...

The White House gamed the national media for a ton of favorable publicity meeting with a GOP politician concerned about Katrina recovery efforts. The press didn't notice he was a politician.

"And I just wish the president could have another term in Washington" - indeed. And wouldn't you know it, the guy has been giving press conferences right and left from before he started out. Digby has more on the amazing photo-op swallowed by the gullible press.



Osama CIA expert - US losing war on terror, Iraq invasion may have lost Jordan

What to do?
This may be a country bumpkin approach, but the truth is the best place to start. We need to acknowledge that we are at war, not because of who we are, but because of what we do. We are confronting a jihad that is inspired by the tangible and visible impact of our policies. People are willing to die for that, and we're not going to win by killing them off one by one. We have a dozen years of reliable polling in the Middle East, and it shows overwhelming hostility to our policies—and at the same time it shows majorities that admire the way we live, our ability to feed and clothe our children and find work. We need to tell the truth to set the stage for a discussion of our foreign policy.




How many Bush remarks links Iraq to al-Qaida?

Here's over a dozen as that seems to have been the major topic in Bush's campaign to elect a GOP House and Senate in 2002.


Project Attack Iran still on track

Even Fox News is admitting the sham negotiations are simply leading to later actions. More anti-Iranian articles are appearing in foreign media in the clasic disinfo campaign style. The difficult to check stories then move to the US conservative media machine and then show up on CNN.

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The fantasy worlds of war-on-terror novels

Even after the ludicrous recent cases of home grown terrorists being busted, the right is still swooning over a very bad fantasy novel of how America falls to Islamic terrorists. This is not the first bad fantasy over the war on terror, there is starting to be a war-porn industry of them depending on the plugs they get from the wing-nut communications industry. You might occasionally check out Reason online or their blog Hit and Run for rare examples of sane Libertarian articles like the above and this. It does take looking through a lot of manure to find the gems though. Both of these gems come from Andrew Sullivan, make your own comment elsewhere.



"The Time is Now" - The US government links to torture and war crimes

A new documentary movie about the last 35 years of CIA and other US involvement in foreign torture and genocide. This is being shown this Friday as part of Democracy for America's and other groups monthly movie nights.

To see this movie check here or at the other links.



Our farting frat-boy president
He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that. - US News & World Report

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

34 Questions for Dems to ask voters

A candidate could have most of a speech just right here.



The Anti-Kinsey Report


Who is the conservative expert on Dr. Kinsey, praised on all the usual Right-wing shows? The former singer and song-writer from Captain Kangeroo who has no training in sexuality, biology, or any scientific discipline except for communication. Instead she has a classic anti-sex, anti-porn, religious crusaders zeal as she conducts very dubious research and smears and slanders Dr. Kinsey. She has also become the sole dubious science support of later anti-sex conservative crusaders like David Kupelian.



Monday, August 21, 2006


Democratic Marketing Campaign - Case Study First TV Ad

Great candidate, what is wrong with this ad?

Who produced the ad? Oh, that explains it.

This goes back to marketing. What voters are searching for is someone who stands up for herself and will stand up for them.

Before you do marketing you should do some polling. I am going to do some phone surveys soon tied in to the Texas Democratic statewide database. I'll just ask about two races, what party they usually vote for, and my addition - what is the major issue that state government should be focusing on?

Email me and I can get you involved if you want.



Bush classifies 35-year-old nuclear missile data

This is even sillier than it sounds. I have this data if anyone wants it because this is simply what was in general desktop encyclopedias sold in bookstores and even supermarkets available for $4.95(?) at the time.

ADDED - Here is the original report in the Washington Post.
"It would be difficult to find more dramatic examples of unjustifiable secrecy than these decisions to classify the numbers of U.S. strategic weapons," wrote William Burr, a senior analyst at the archive who compiled the report. " . . . The Pentagon is now trying to keep secret numbers of strategic weapons that have never been classified before."

Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a part of the Energy Department, said the Pentagon excised the missile numbers.

"It's not our call to do missile data," Wilkes said. "There's no question that current classified nuclear weapons data was out there that we had to take back," he added. "And in today's environment, where there is a great deal of concern about rogue nations or terrorist groups getting access to nuclear weapons, this makes a lot of sense."
NO, IT DOESN'T.

I've noticed that Bryan Wilkes is often put out as the spokesperson when the White House has to make a statement on some security matter that cannot rationally be defended.

How stupid is this? Tell you what. I am going to make you a partner in my crime. I have a lot of this secret information.

The reclassified secrets include the number of strategic weapons the United States had, even though they were not classified at the time.

In 1973 the United States had 30 strategic bomber squadrons, 1000 Minuteman ICBMs, and 54 Titan ICBMs. I can provide more details if you wish but that there is already passing now secret information.

By the court case last week just for receiving this information you can now be charged with a felon - receiving national security information.

This information I picked up from a general paperback desktop encyclopedia I bought in 1974 at Kroger's for I think $4.95.

Are you going to go turn yourself in? Do you think al-Qaeda wants that information?

Edit - Updated reference book price. You can also get nuclear weapons numbers, current and historical, for free over the internet from a number of sources. Is Google now classified?



Sunday, August 20, 2006

Right Fear mongering leads to hysteria on planes


Glenn Greenwald: Fear-mongering leads to anti-Arab hysteria on airplanes

Daily Kos - Fear and paranoia in the not-so-friendly skies

Republicans Campaign Slogan: FEAR! Fear those Arabs and the Mexicans and the Liberals! They are going to get you!

How many people can they make cowards?

Added: Intrepid Liberal remembers when he used fear to move a product.

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Political Charts


There is the Pournelle Political Axis which is slightly different from the typical Nolan chart. Pournelle's axes are "Attitude toward the State," and "Attitude toward planned social progress", statism and rationality. No one seems to have developed a test on this measurement but it does have a good short wiki.

Many variations of the Nolan Chart can be found here. The Republican Liberty Caucus has been using a variant of this to rate Congress. A problem in this is the group's interpretation and choosing of votes, although their chart is a good standard. You can also find the rating of congressmen and Senators there.

Positive & Negative Liberties in Three Dimensions covers a lot of ground in reviewing the Nolan chart before adding a third dimension, what type of government is favored. Along with some needless Liberal bashing it does cover some polling, both in the UK and the US. It also has a dated section on Supreme Court judges and throws in a Kate Moss picture.

The OKCupid Political Chart and test is good if a bit quick to apply the socialist instead of the liberal label. BTW, I am a strong Democrat.

The Political Compass is often used in the U.S. despite it's British origin. My score some time ago was -4.63, -4.10.

I occasionally bring this topic up in the four years now (Yippee!) I have been writing this blog.

Wow, That's a long time, I need to get a better hobby like drinking more. (My better version of the Kate Moss photo is from here.



Republicans are Bad for National Security, Kate Moss is fine

Yes Republicans are bad for the nation's health.

The Hollywood Liberal, in addition to writing political commentary, hides a good collection of photographs on his site like this of Kate Moss. That is not a gratuitous topless picture, I am sure it has something to do with a topless Kate Moss advertisement attracting the ire of Muslims in New York. Is this really on his site or coming from the Hollywood Celebrity Picture & Gossip Rag? Maybe they are one and the same as they share the same archive of images.



CNN.com - Polygamists' children stage rally for their families
Calling their lives blessed, more than a dozen young women and girls from polygamist families in Utah spoke at a rally Saturday, calling for a change in state laws and the right to live their life and religion.

"Because of our beliefs, many of our people have been incarcerated and had their basic human rights stripped of them, namely life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said a 19-year-old identified only as Tyler. "I didn't come here today to ask for your permission to live my beliefs. I shouldn't have to."
I have no problem in theory with plural marriages or polyamory. In practice, it can lead to abuse - child abuse, extreme authoritarian rule, male elder domination, oppression of women and expulsion of younger males.




Robert Ricketts: Tax Policy and the Economy
For almost 100 years, there has been an ongoing debate about whether the wealthy should face higher tax rates than the poor and middle class? Who would have imagined that today we would be represented by a Congress that believes the wealthy should face lower tax rates than the middle class? Yet, by lowering the tax rate on income from wealth to 15%, that is exactly what this Congress has accomplished....

So the tax cuts have neither stimulated the economy nor increased government revenues. What have they done? They have caused the largest budget deficits in U.S. history. From a surplus of $236.2 billion in 2000, this Congress has taken us to a deficit of $318.3 billion in 2005 – a change of over $550 billion. The only thing these tax cuts have increased is the national debt.

These are obligations that we are leaving behind for the next generation of American taxpayers, for our children and grandchildren. This does not however mean that this irresponsibillity does not also have substantial effects on our current economy. This deficit is driving the value of the dollar down, and increasing the cost of oil and everything else we buy in the United States. Interest rates are being driven up, which will drive housing prices down. These increased costs are a form of tax – an Irresponsibility Tax imposed by our Congress.
Robert Ricketts is the Democratic candidate for TX CD-19. Nice graphics Robert, he is not quite the first to use Irresponsibility Tax but I would like to hear that a lot more.





TIME.com: How Americans View Hillary: Popular but Polarizing

There is a lot of to me surprising good news for Hillary in this poll. TIME does manage to get in a lot of Republican talking points. On the polarized view they back up my greasemonkeying and shades metaphor:
It's as though their television sets broadcast two entirely different versions of the evening news. In Blue America, they're watching a Lifetime movie about the country's first female President. In Red America, they're watching Godzilla. In one America, she's smart, committed, likable, with strong values and empathy for people like them, and in the other she's an ambitious, callous appeaser.


Culbertson opposes Houston citizens over Metro Richmond alignment

After saying that local residents were 90% against it, Republican representative John Culbertson is not listening to the majority of the people of the area who have come out in favor of this route. The 90% figure was from email and letters he got from an organized campaign by conservatives opposed to Metro to his office. A survey by supporters of the Richmond route showed a majority of businesses along Richmond were in favor of the Metro line. An objection of his was that it would harm those businesses. After signing the petition, local residents should contact his office and city council and Metro to voice their opinion. There are also local groups that have more ideas. There is a misleading argument that this is not the route Metro voters approved. Maps and documents show that is not true. This is sure provoking discussion in Houston. People can also support Jim Henley, Culbertson's Democratic opponent.


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