Friday, August 31, 2007

Brief update on Kenneth Foster

I agree with Alexandria Ragsdale.

Ray McGovern: Do We Have The Courage To Stop War With Iran?

In a replay of the moves that set the Iraq occupation in motion, Bush started his campaign to attack Iran.
There is very little time to exercise our rights as citizens and stop this madness. At a similarly critical juncture, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was typically direct. I find his words a challenge to us today:
"There is such a thing as being too late.... Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with lost opportunity.... Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: 'Too late.'"
This is the surge they know how to do - the PR surge. Kevin believes that General Petraeus has spent more time on the Iraq PR surge than running the troop surge.

Related - I notice I misplaced a post over a week ago. Here is TIME magazine commenting on Bush-Cheney's push for war with Iran.

Away from blogging till Monday or later. The games are on.

I will play more of my new Twilight Struggle, the Cold War 1945-1989, and try to avoid a nuclear war. I will also play another game of opposing evil empires, compete for the Texas Puerto Rico board game championship, (here is an online version), and may organize a Lying Pirates Liars Dice game championship and give more of my hand-made pirate refrigerator magnets away.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Remembering Katrina

Letters after Hurricane Katrina from the Reverend Jacqueline Luck

The Rev. Luck serves the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson, Mississippi, and Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church in Ellisville, Mississippi

September 2, 2005

I have discovered in times of crisis UU ministers need a way to identify as ministers; next week I will order a blouse with a collar. I dressed in a navy blouse and gray slacks and carried a Bible at times. I was addressed as "Sister" by most until I could clarify. Some ask to hear favorite Biblical passages ...the 23 rd Psalm. I considered my stoles, but they are long and would tangle me up as I sit on floor or air mattresses to listen to the evacuees. Getting up is awkward enough as is!

I spoke with a man, Sunday who said, "Reverend, I've worked hard all my life. I have provided for my family. We had a nice home, and nice furniture. It's all gone now; we have nothing. I've paid my taxes. All these years. But now I can't provide for my family; I can't protect my family....... Reverend, do you know how that feels? I feel forgotten.”

November 20, 2005

Martha Thompson, the representative of the UU Service Committee stayed with me briefly as she did a needs assessment of the Gulf Coast area. I think her report is going to be very important as she has been able to spend more time traveling to enable her to get a larger picture of the distress. She said that each area had significant issues that were different to other areas. I assume she will post a report on the UUSC website. She was very distressed at how little organization is in place to help people; in comparing the situation on the Coast with that in South America and other countries, she said we are less organized and providing less of the essentials for those affected!
One year later in New Orleans, one year ago.
"Please tell people, New Orleans is not well. This is a city that is dying, and it could be any place...this could happen to your city. America has a short attention span and this is uncomfortable...but [people need to ask themselves] 'what if this happened to us? How would you react?'"

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is starting to come back - but not for all.

Small businesses in New Orleans still struggling.

Chicago Sun Times: Failed flood of promises
Bush's inaction leaves New Orleans mired.

Official list of disaster victims still untabulated

Bush hopeful of 'better days' ahead
Although Bush argued that distance has allowed him to see the progress that New Orleanians can't see, locals -- from the woman who made an obscene gesture toward Bush's motorcade on Canal Street on Tuesday night to the New Orleans city councilwoman whose open letter to the president called for aid comparable to what Iraq has received -- did not greet him as liberator of a city still languishing under federal red tape.

"Give New Orleans all that you have promised to Baghdad -- schools, hospitals, infrastructure, security and basic services," said an acerbic letter by New Orleans City Councilwoman Shelley Midura.

Louisiana says it lost 97 percent of the hospital beds in Hurricane Katrina but got only about 60 percent of the money to rebuild hospitals; had three-quarters of the displaced college and university students, but split the money for universities evenly with Mississippi; had seven times the number of destroyed homes, but got less than twice the money from the key U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant program.
Better days = he'll be gone soon.

Katrina remembered in New Orleans
"They say New Orleans is coming back?" said Sophie Dominick, who lost her home in Violet to the floodwaters. "When? Two years later and we're still waiting. Nothing has changed. Everything is on hold. I've been in a FEMA trailer for one year. I don't see any progress."
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Burka is in

I am adding the informative but eccentric Burka to my blogroll but am putting an R after his name. He is not an R but more a Kinky Texan. He says that governor candidate Bell shocked by getting 29% of the vote. Real Democrats are shocked he only got 29%.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Today you have to have heart

Driving down the main drag in Deer Park I saw a Baptist Church with a message to the world from God that those who support freedom of speech really support "loose lips." I don't know how many times I keep being told "freedom isn't free" by conservatives who don't believe in sacrifice. "You don't understand, they want to attack us." "9/11 changed everything." "Shut up and support the troops who are defending our country." "One thing you have to give credit to Bush is he is defending our country."

How is it defending our country to be occupying countries that have not attacked us? Just who are we supposed to be so frightened of? Are Syria and Iran going to sneak attack us from Mexico and capture Brownsville? We are making more terrorists then we are getting rid of in Iraq but we are also not letting them in the country. What ships am I sinking when I say that Bush and Cheney are dangerous reactionary fools?

The US spends one trillion dollars a year on military security, more than all of the rest of the world put together. Don't the Baptists feel safer?
For fiscal year 2006, Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute calculated national security outlays at almost a trillion dollars -- $934.9 billion to be exact -- broken down as follows (in billions of dollars):

Department of Defense: $499.4

Department of Energy (atomic weapons): $16.6

Department of State (foreign military aid): $25.3

Department of Veterans Affairs (treatment of wounded soldiers): $69.8

Department of Homeland Security (actual defense): $69.1

Department of Justice (1/3rd for the FBI): $1.9

Department of the Treasury (military retirements): $38.5

NASA (satellite launches): $7.6

Interest on war debts, 1916-present: $206.7

Totaled, the sum is larger than the combined sum spent by all other nations on military security. - Chalmers Johnson
That doe not count the black budget programs for the CIA, NSA, NRO, and other programs not disclosed. We have more than 700 bases in 130 countries to defend us! Defend us from what? We are so powerful our biggest enemy today is a few thousand men without a country forced to spend years planning ways to steal our stuff to ram it into buildings.

How do we heal the authoritarian minds, easily frightened, wanting to follow strong leaders and looking for scapegoats?

Today on Democracy Now! there was a long segment with psychologist, author Mary Pipher, who says she now works to give people moral imagination, to open their hearts and put themselves in someone else's place. Authoritarians have a problem with seeing another point of view, with empathy. It is too easy to demonize faceless objects, the unknown other. Pipher tells stories that hearts can understand to get through.

At a Houston UU church I told people I was on the Universalist side of Unitarian Universalism. The Unitarians were the clever ones who went to college and kept whittling away at the Bible because they had brains. The Universalists were the non-college educated preachers who kept expanding the Bible because they had hearts. Today's UU churches are where their descendants come together and argue over coffee.

There is more to be gained with urging action from the heart than from the mind. Compare the two founders of the American Unitarian and Universalist religions. In the early 1800's the Harvard educated William Ellery Channing was the first internationally known American religious leader and scholar and lead the Arlington Church in Boston. He was the most scholarly and brilliant speaker in Boston churches. But the most popular church in Boston was lead by the self-educated Hosea Ballou who preached the message of universal love and forgiveness and converted the masses.

What can we do today to speak to the heart of frightened mislead conservatives? What do we tell our Southern Baptist friends and neighbors to make them realize that the gays aren't going to destroy their marriage, that Muslims are not followers of Satan taking over the world, that Armageddon need not happen now? Can we even convince them in the face of the other sides relentless propaganda that the media isn't liberal and liberal is not a bad thing?

Mary Pipher says when you despair of the world take some action. You'll feel better and part of the world will get better.

Catherine Austin Fitts, who I wrote about earlier, says to quit watching the unimportant fake stuff on TV and stop shopping at places supporting a corrupt system. How many people like me have been sticking with one bank because of their many ATMs when they support and enable actions that our hurting this country? I shop at Wal-Mart because they are close and cheap, ouch. How much am I willing to inconvenience myself to protest their anti-union, anti-worker, anti-American policies?

So, my easy actions are to quit patronizing large multinational corporations I disapprove of. Bringing compassion to my local uncompassionate Christian neighbors may take longer.

I have been incredibly busy, so busy I failed to note my five year anniversary in blogging. That is 35 in blog years and feels like it today.

Bush preparing to start Iranian War

I believe the real headline could be Bush/Cheney prepare to start World War 3.
US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours.

US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.

Some form of low level US and possibly UK military action as well as armed popular resistance appear underway inside the Iranian provinces or ethnic areas of the Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Iran was unable to prevent sabotage of its offshore-to-shore crude oil pipelines in 2005.

Nuclear weapons are ready, but most unlikely, to be used by the US, the UK and Israel. The human, political and environmental effects would be devastating, while their military value is limited.

Israel is determined to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons yet has the conventional military capability only to wound Iran’s WMD programmes.

Reuters: The US UN Ambassador warns of World War 3 over Middle East turmoil

Front Page UK Guardian: Bush threatens to confront Iran over alleged support for Iraqi insurgents

UK Times: Bush raises the stakes over Iran bomb with warning of 'holocaust'

BBC: Bush warns Iran over insurgent support

A Reminder, Hersh: CIA Analysis Finds No Firm Evidence Iran Developing Nuclear Weapons

Iran Slams US-India Nuke Deal

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What about SCHIP? How many poor in Texas?

More than the official poverty rate indicates. A good rule of thumb is to double the official poverty level income

From the Center For Public Policy Priorities and The Baptist General Convention of Texas: Texas Poverty 101.
The estimated cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities such as clothing, and taxes for two adults and one child in Houston is $2,821 per month (more than $16 per hour in combined household wages), or $33,852 per year. This is more than twice the official poverty level in 2005, at $16,090 annually for a family of three. CPPP and EPI’s approach is supported by poverty experts, including the National Research Council, which has recommended a similar approach to replace the official federal poverty measure.


Poverty in Texas is more pronounced than in the nation as a whole. The poor are concentrated in the state’s largest cities and in the Texas-Mexico border region. Poverty rates are also much higher for the state’s large and growing Latino population and for African-American Texans.

Child poverty—particularly among young children—is significantly higher in Texas than in the nation as a whole.


Most poor families with children in Texas are working families. Of the 558,000 families with children below poverty in 2002, 70 percent—393,000—were headed by a worker.

Individuals in Poverty, 2002-04
(3-year average)
Texas U.S.
Poverty rate 16.4% 12.4%
Total in poverty 3.6 million 35.8 million
This relates to the SCHIP debate with conservatives and Bush objecting to "socialized medicine" for children of working families. The eligibility for Texas state child health coverage is twice the official poverty rate unless the money runs out first and the Republicans stick some other reasons to deny coverage in. As a state health program it is not nearly as simple as going to your doctor. Count on hours, much paperwork and long lines to prove your eligibility unless some special outreach is taking place.

There are nine million USA children uninsured. Bush has infamously said to them "After all, you just go to an emergency room."

I am sure you want already overcrowded emergency rooms (ER visits up 25% in ten years while the number of ERs down 25%), the most expensive health care in the world, used for emergency care for kids not getting regular care. The cost of an emergency visit is 3-4 times more expensive than a cost of a regular office visit. This also raises your local property tax rates and forces many families into bankruptcy because of health costs. You don't get a free ride in emergency rooms just because you don't have insurance. In fact, uninsured rates are more than triple what insured people pay.

The costs of uninsured persons using the emergency room are significant: 6.2% of all hospital bills were incurred due to uninsured patients who could not pay their own bills. Like Medicare and Medicaid, 80-85% of this amount is paid for by the government in one form or another. Another portion is spread as higher costs for all hospital care, treatment and services. ER's already being used as primary care facilities instead of only for emergencies has created the GOMER problem (doc) - "get out of my emergency room." Increasingly overcrowded ER's with problems that should be treated elsewhere with many unable to pay. Cuts in Medicaid/care funding have only exacerbated this problem, with recipients of these benefits three times as likely to seek emergency department care than those with private insurance.

Health care is the most serious of the many crises Bush and the Republicans have made worse and are unable to face or provide solutions.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Short Update

Gonzo finally goes to bed - Bush is ticked off. Even his most creepy allies say 'good riddance.' When even a main stream media (CBS News/Newsweek/Washington Post) legal analyst says things like the following it is well past time to go:
By any reasonable standard, the Gonzales Era at the Justice Department is void of almost all redemptive qualities. He brought shame and disgrace to the Department because of his lack of independent judgment on some of the most vital legal issues of our time. And he brought chaos and confusion to the Department because of his lack of respectable leadership over a cabinet-level department among the most important in the nation.
The Texas State Democratic Party had its quarterly meeting and seems to have done very little. The two hour general meeting included a long skit and no new business and appeared to not recognize speakers from the floor. This is from an email from John McConnell via Carl Whitmarsh on the USDemocrat-TX-Houston Yahoo group. The Texas Democrats need to get their act together and become a Democratic Party not an insider party. Of course, Boyd has a new public ass kisser.

ADDED: What happens now about Gonzo?

Texas Round-Up 7

It's time once again for the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance blog round-up. This week's round-up is brought to you by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Getting this week's round-up off to a great start, we want to thank our friends over at the My DD and the 50 State Blog Network for taking note of our round-up and mentioning it in their round-up.

John at Bay Area Houston thinks it is time to drag Ari Fleisher out of town for using disabled vets in his pro-war commercials.

After the space shuttle safely landed this week, Krazypuppy at Texas Kaos wonders "Who Does an Astronaut Have to Bleep to Get Some Attention From the Media?"

At Bluedaze, TXsharon tell us that Barnett Shale drilling with it's insatiable thirst for fresh water is just another kind of blood for oil war.  Barnett Shale Drilling:  It's not sexy but Noriega for TX US Sen. is.

Alexandra Pelosi screened her documentary "Friends of God" in Houston last Thursday, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the report.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the lawsuit filed against Round Rock Independent School District for allowing prayer at high school commencements in Graduation Prayer At Three RRISD High Schools Draws Lawsuit.

Todd Hill at Burnt Orange Report talks impeachment.  Funny thing is because independent Linda Curtis is working to "Impeach Perry".

Stop Cornyn talks endorsements this week.  Watts has picked up a few mayorial endorsements in the Valley and Lt. Col. Rick Noriega is getting the endorsement of some big statewide Democrats Monday.  Our chances continue to look good in 2008.

Steve Southwell at finds himself agreeing with a Republican city councilman regarding the government's role in banning smoking in restaurants and bars.

Vince at Capitol Annex continues his exploration of the last days of the 80th Texas Legislature and the events surrounding the resignations of the House Parliamentarians and uncovers a smoking gun--an opinion drafted by former Legislator and now-Parliamentarian Terry Keel days before he was appointed to the post.

Muse muses about 8th graders--including her own--who are on the front lines of Texas' education accountability system.

Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal asks some important questions concerning education and a forthcoming campaign for intelligent design in the classroom.

Easter Lemming spots censorship and uncivil airwaves on Houston radio news.  I relate that to the censored radio guest and myself becoming less conservative years ago when exposed to the Wall Street rape of employees in leveraged buyouts.

McBlogger takes some time out of his far too busy schedule to bash all the immigrants in Austin.

Half Empty writes about Rick Noriega's Enthusiastic Ovation at the SDEC quarterly meeting this past weekend.

Off the Kuff asks how students can be expected to understand the debate over evolution and "intelligent design" when it's clear that neither SBOE members nor newspaper reporters really understand it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Michigan State University

The rantings of this MSU graduate seem apt for most, but not all, MSU campus housing units. Holmes Hall was a classy dorm. That came from being primarily a liberal arts science college*. But we had a song:
Moon over Akers, a shot in the dark, drunks in the hallway, addicts on a lark....
Akers was the large dorm complex across from us. MSU went after National Merit finalists in a very big way when I was there in an attempt to raise the caliber of their students. I heard they lost a large part of the budget used to do that later. Interesting college town of East Lansing, beautiful large campus, and Animal House students, with a few notable exceptions.

*WTF is a liberal arts science college? It had lofty ideals of making well-rounded scientists and engineers. That was changing when I was there when word was spreading that Lyman Briggs, the college based in Holmes Hall, had the nation's highest acceptence rates into Medical School of its graduates.

I was not in Lyman Briggs college except for pre-registration. I spoke with the Dean during class registration and said I liked Social Science classes much better than Science classes. He drove me over to change my registration. I was a typical idiotic freshman. My dorm residence stayed the same.

Lyman Briggs had a great paperback SF library that I expanded with donations a bit when I left. Would have been more but I knew a perpetual grad student who gave me $10 for my big box full. Briggs also had a great SF writer's workshop program - Clarion, in the summers until this year.

Man Who Fought For Americans' Rights Demands Americans Stop Exercising Their Rights - The Onion

"Wherever you look today, you see people using the First Amendment to openly criticize or protest the U.S. government. I don't think that's what the framers of the Constitution had in mind. And I, for one, didn't storm the beach at Normandy so I could see America dragged through the mud."


"When I entered the United States armed forces, I gave up my constitutional rights in order to be a soldier," Johnson said. "It was one of the proudest days of my life. I had never exercised my rights much before then, anyway. Let me tell you, if you'd fought and seen friends die to protect the God-given rights of all Americans, you'd want to keep them from exercising them, too."

Big Ketchup 3

Lets see if I can ever clear my desktop of shortcuts...

Democrats fear Clinton drag on downticket races. In very red areas, is she the worst possible candidate?

Cheney Youtube - Invading Iraq would create a quagmire. More from The Daily Show.

US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings

Reading right-wing blogs can make life very depressing - Sadly, No! Case in point - the idiotic Ace of Spades. I find Ace of Spades often has an inability to read, watch and interpret. He seems the right blogger ringleader on faux outrages. The junior college I am working at now attempts to teach students how to think clearly as many seem sadly lacking in reasoning skills. Is it too late for Ace?

RIP the most famous photographer you never heard of. RIP Truman and the atomic victims.

Wealthy buyers scramble for credit during mortgage crunch. Still in denial?
"This credit crunch is hitting harder than most people realize," said the man from Lehman Bros. "It's not just a subprime problem any more. You can put together a great deal…you still won't be able to get financing for it.

"But so far, only people in the financial industry are affected. And, let's be honest, none of us are really hurting. We made so much money in the last few years…we could all retire if we wanted to. And I don't think the crunch will last too much longer or go much deeper. There's just too much going on."
Cheney winning his Iran war goal - the designation of the elite units of the Iranian Army as terrorists sets up future attack. Taylor Marsh agrees.

Glenn Greenwald takes down my old friend Roger L. Simon who supports this President despite being pro-civil rights, gay rights and women's rights. Why? Because Roger thinks the Islamic horde is coming! It has been a bit sad watching a good writer in mental decline.

Economic snapshot - gale warnings.

Now the right has brought in the National Park Service to harass dissent and music festivals. Capital Hill Blue also notes some academic speech and writing is now unacceptable and The USA Unpatriotic Act. The NYT on the unacceptable writing.

Texans to Bush: Get off my lawn, don't build this wall!

Texas Job Application: Corporate Crony for Rick Perry.

Imagine, a conservative who likes liberty.

Pentagon Paid $998,798 to Ship Two 19-Cent Washers

I also can no longer defend Hugo Chavez. The BBC on Chavez.

A brief history:
Anti-War Person 2002: We shouldn't go to war.
Pro-War Person 2002: Saddam is bad. He has WMD. He'll attack us and allies. He supports terrorists.

Anti-War Person 2003: The UN says we shouldn't go to war.
Pro-War Person 2003: F@@@ the UN. Send in the troops.

Anti-War Person 2004: Where's the WMD?
Pro-War Person 2004: Saddam was bad. He supported terrorists.

Anti-War Person 2005: This is getting ugly.
Pro-War Person 2005: You support the terrorists!

Anti-War Person 2006: We should get out.
Pro-War Person 2006: We can't cut and run, coward.

Anti-War Person 2007: We should get out now.
Pro-War Person 2007: Whoa, wait a minute. You broke it, you bought it, pal.
Logically, we are entertainment for some guy in the future. More.

Watergate plumber: Nixon White House was complete breakdown of integrity.

Torching mosques in America.

A Giant Golfball for missile defense being repaired.

Rove as Gremlin. Don't feed him after dark.

Jose Padilla is Winston Smith.

God's Politics: Why Prosperous Costa Rica says NO to CAFTA. Christian University fires prof for becoming too liberal. Like that hasn't happened before. Yet another favorable encounter with "socialized medicine."

Huff Post: Mine Safety Czar Richard Stickler: Another Bush Fox Guarding the Henhouse.

More to come....

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cheney Death Wish - Attack Iran and take them all with me

Retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern:
Here I must reveal a trade secret and risk puncturing the mystique of intelligence analysis. Generally speaking, 80 percent of the information one needs to form judgments on key intelligence targets or issues is available in open media. It helps to have been trained -- as my contemporaries and I had the good fortune to be trained -- by past masters of the discipline of media analysis, which began in a structured way in targeting Japanese and German media in the 1940s. But, truth be told, anyone with a high school education can do it. It is not rocket science....

In short, it seems possible that Rove, who is no one's dummy and would not want to be required to "spin" an unnecessary war on Iran, may have lost the battle with Cheney over the merits of a military strike on Iran, and only then decided -- or was urged -- to spend more time with his family. As for Administration spokesperson Tony Snow, it seems equally possible that, before deciding he had to leave the White House to make more money, he concluded that his stomach could not withstand the challenge of conjuring up yet another Snow job to explain why Bush/Cheney needed to attack Iran....

The conclusion of the most recent published NIE (early 2005) was that Iran probably could not acquire a nuclear weapon until "early to mid-next decade," a formula memorized and restated by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell at his confirmation hearing in February....

Despite the administration's war-like record, many Americans may still cling to the belief that attacking Iran won't happen because it would be crazy; that Bush is a lame-duck president who wouldn't dare undertake yet another reckless adventure when the last one went so badly.

But rationality and common sense have not exactly been the strong suit of this administration. Bush has placed himself in a neoconservative bubble that operates with its own false sense of reality.
A DC conference coming up on our war with Iran.

Former pentagon military analyst Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski:
All the signs are there, the suggestions that Iranian bombs are killing American soldiers, that’s not true, but it’s certainly been made in, I think every American newspaper, the suggestion that Iran is somehow killing Americans. The suggestion that Iran has nuclear weapons, is imminently close to nuclear weapons. That is not true but that’s been, those claims are made, even by this Administration. The idea that we have two carrier battle groups currently in the region and in fact I just saw today, Admiral Walsh, one of the big guys in the Navy said that we’re very concerned about what Iran is doing even more so than Al Qaeda. So there, all the signs are there that we are being, we’re going to wake up one morning soon, very soon, and we will be at war with Iran. We will have bombed them in some sort of shock and awe campaign destroying many lives and setting back US relations even further than we’ve already done it with Iraq.

You know, I think the, one of the big reasons that Bush and Cheney think they can do Iran is that they believe, well, they’re hearing from the Air Force and the Navy, two of the three main branches of our military, the two that have been left out of the glory of Iraq, you see. And those guys want a piece of the action, and so they’re advertising to the Administration and publicly, I mean you can read it for yourself, the Air Force and the Navy have targets they believe they can overwhelmingly hit their targets, deep penetration, possibly nuclear weapons, I mean, nothing is off the table as Dick Cheney says “nothing is off the table.” And the delivery of these weapons, whether they’re conventional or nuclear will be naval and Air Force. They’ll be Navy from the sea and Air Force form long range bombers and some of the bases that we have around the… so I don’t think, certainly, I don’t know, I’m not in the Army, wasn’t in the Army, I was in the Air Force, I don’t think the Army could support any type of invasion of Iran and they wouldn’t’ want to. I’m sure that they’ve, they’ve had enough with Iraq and our reserves are in terrible condition. We’ve got huge problems in the Army and in the Reserve system. So I don’t think there’s any intention to go into Iran, but simply to destroy it and to create havoc and disruption and humanitarian crisis and topple perhaps the government of Ahmadinejad. We want to topple that government. Yeah, we’ll do it with bombs from a distance. I don’t know if you call that shock and awe, we’ve been advertising it for a long, long time. It will not be a surprise to the Iranians if we do it....

The facts are, we are in Iraq, we have the finest military installations in the world, the newest military installations in the world, and we’re not leaving them. We’re not turning them over to a Shiite government, we’re not turning them over to a Sunni government, we’re not turning them over to a Kurdish government. We’re not doing that. They are American bases. We’ve got our flag there. And this is kind of the way they used to do things, I guess back in the Middle Ages.
Karen elsewhere:
Karl’s departure leaves Bush to oversee his daughter’s upcoming wedding, and Cheney to finish his neoconservative mission. That mission is to solidify American military bases and presence in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Kuwait and Qatar – and maintain it in Turkey, in order to deal with the last upstart in the region that would politically challenge both our will and that of our biggest little military ally in the region. The $30 billion in aid over the next ten years represents just the military aid we provide Israel, not the economic, and it represents a 25% increase over the status quo.

Our other friends weren’t left out, either. Congress funded all our little despotic helpers, with Egypt receiving $13 billion over ten years, and Saudi Arabia sharing around $20 billion in military aid with some of the other Gulf states.

$63 billion over ten years isn’t that much. When we went into Iraq in 2003, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that on the high side, the occupation of Iraq would cost $48 billion a year, and last about 18 months. That’s about $63 billion, nothing really.

Except, our occupation of Iraq – so far – has set American taxpayers up for a $2 trillion bill. Cost of, looking only at explicit military expenditures, shows us at half a trillion. All that and still no clean water or electricity in Baghdad....

Dick "Hopeless" Cheney saw a ray of sunlight when Rove announced his departure. With Congress corralled and patiently waiting for the next imperial command, no one stands in the way of Cheney’s desired strikes on Iran in the name of "fighting terror," and endless, mysterious neoconservative war in the Middle East.
The lack of context in American mass media. Why Cheney will probably get his disastrous war.

Bolton: I ‘Absolutely’ Hope The U.S. Will Attack Iran In The Next ‘Six Months’

Iraqi insurgents = Al-Qaeda = Khmer Rouge. Anyone who believes that has a screw loose and will shortly add "Iran =" to the equation.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

General Batiste blasts Republicans for supporting this occupation

The only way to stabilize Iraq and allow our military to rearm and refit for the long fight ahead is to begin a responsible and deliberate redeployment from Iraq and replace the troops with far less expensive and much more effective resources–those of diplomacy and the critical work of political reconciliation and economic recovery. In other words, when it comes to Iraq, it’s time for conservatives to once again be conservative.

– Major General John Batiste, US Army (retired)

Censorship and Uncivil Airwaves on Houston's Radio News

Earlier this summer I had some civil email exchanges with the Program Director of 740 AM. My specific complaints were their adding Rush and the loser Dennis Miller, the embarrassingly ignorant Joe Pags they rebroadcast from San Antonio, and the bleed over of right wing misinformation into their news updates.

One of the things he mentioned in his defense of the station was that Rush Limbaugh had tripled the ratings of the local talk they used to have in the spot.

Sounds terrific, right? But then he wrote they were now in the top 10 in that time slot with a rating of 4. Tripling your ratings gets you a 4 and only within the top 10? Their local conservative talk must truly be a disaster in drawing listeners.

I made a bet with myself that the locals would soon disappear. Any smart programming would quickly eliminate the local-yokel right-wing clowns and pick up the cheaper syndicated well-publicized shows with direct feeds and publicity from the Right Wing Noise Machine. When you have more expensive local programming producing lower ratings than just piping in a national show it goes - pure business sense 101.

So now KTRH has picked up Sean Hannity in the afternoons. Conservative radio clowns outsourced - poetic justice?

In our emails he denied the beginnings of some right slant on the half-hourly updates. I'll leave that to you to check out what and how they report political developments now.

One odd part of our exchange was that after complaining about the biased inaccurate information of the conservative shows, I confessed to listening to the nightly Coast-to-Coast AM. This show is about ghosts and UFOs and conspiracies and the fringe of science and often well beyond. Take any supposed factual statements on the shows with a large saltshaker of "Don't Trust - verify". I like it, I feel there is a difference between weird speculation and the lies for political agendas I hate.

This past weekend KTRH demonstrated the new forces ruling the station. Coast to Coast AM had a guest on discussing the meltdown in the housing and financial markets. Catherine Austin Fitts is a former HUD Assistant Secretary under Bush 41 whose Republican eyes were opened to financial and government corruption. I now call her my favorite radical Libertarian Green.

In the first hour of the show this past Saturday, the conversation veered to how Halliburton would have made no money, would probably be bankrupt, without the co$t+plu$ contracts from the Iraq Occupation. She also was beginning to get into the current administration corruption as well as the Federal Reserve rescuing the bankers exporting jobs and foreclosing on homes.

After the first hour KTRH pulled the program and played a 10-year old Art Bell program from the archives. I could verify that it was a local decision by switching to 560 AM from Beaumont which continued with the original program.

KTRH - right wing propaganda machine. Did they get a call or was this their decision? Does it matter?

As a marketing advertising guy I thought I understood where KTRH was coming from on some of their programming. By far their highest ratings come from their sports broadcasts. They want a compatible format which keeps those ears when they aren't broadcasting the games. Particularly as the right to broadcast the games is so expensive the pre and post game shows and ears that stay around or come back for anything else are what probably prevents the expensive games from losing money for KTRH. They feel right wing talk is more compatible for their game listeners. (Odd, I see more discussion about baseball on left blogs than right.) I could disagree with that but it is a business argument you could make. With the extremist hate speech often on even the most popular right wing national talk shows is this still a good business model? And if now KTRH feels it must censor critics of Halliburton and this administration and the Federal Reserve has this moved beyond a business model and into their own right wing agenda?

A long digression.

Here is a bit of history which relates to when I first became aware of Catherine Austin Fitts years ago. She began the process of moving away from conservative at about the same time and for related reasons as I did - the Wall Street rape of Federated Department Stores and their employees. I was working inside Foley's when the insane, as in recently released from the mental hospital, crazy Canadian Campeau found Wall Street firms willing to issue junk bonds to enable him to purchase Federated. From an online book by Fitts (bold and italics mine), A Parting of the Ways :
Things came to a head when I arrived at the weekly banking meeting of the Dillon Read partners one morning in 1988 and listened to Steve Fenster, one of the partners who had joined us in 1987 from Lehman Brothers with an interim stint at Chase, make his presentation on why Dillon’s LBO group should take the second position behind First Boston in the Campeau hostile takeover of the Federated Department Stores.[27] During his presentation, Fenster, later a professor at the Harvard Business School, presented a “sources and uses of funds” statement. This is a statement that estimates where the money is coming from to buy the company and how it will be spent and in what amounts. Steve described a significant source of funds would come from “productivity improvements” — a portion of what was needed to fund the cost of hundreds of millions for golden parachutes for senior management and fees for lawyers and investment bankers.

The “productivity improvements” were the increased profits to be generated by middle management over many years — all without partaking of the hundreds of millions pork fest enjoyed up front by senior management and Wall Street. We would get rich and get out up front. The guys in the trenches would work like dogs for years for scraps if the deal were to work. I was stunned. I asked Steve why in the world middle management would stick around and spend years working to generate increased profits without adequate incentives. After all, these financials would be disclosed in SEC filings. The companies’ middle managers would read the proxy and could “walk with their feet.” This meant the company would fail.

If the company failed before we sold new bonds, the Travelers bridge line that we were using would lose millions. If it failed after we sold the bonds, our customers who bought the bonds would get left holding the bag. Fenster looked at me in disgust and said something to the effect of “we will be out in December,” meaning if the deal tanks it will be someone else’s problem. I responded "Steve, our bond buyers won’t be,” meaning that Dillon would be selling the securities to pension and mutual funds and other bond buyers who would then take what could be millions in losses. By this time, Brady had left for Washington and Birkelund was now in command of the firm. Birkelund was trying to build a fortune. Nick had one to protect. It struck me that the balance that the Brady-Birkelund partnership had somehow managed to strike between playing to win in the hot money game and not putting Brady’s personal reputation at risk was gone. Dillon anticipated significant fees and Fenster and the partners around the table were hungry for the quick bucks of big year-end bonuses.

That was when I decided that we might be losing sight of the line between financial engineering and financial fraud....

When the Federated Department Stores declared bankruptcy on January 15, 1990 as a result of their takeover by Campeau using an unsound financial structure, Dillon Read, Travelers and Dillon’s bond buyers were left holding millions of badly discounted securities. By that time, I was Assistant Secretary of Housing-FHA Commissioner at HUD managing billions of defaulted mortgages and coordinating with the group at the Resolution Trust Corporation who were managing billions of defaulted savings and loan (S&L) mortgages. While Birkelund and Fenster were explaining the Campeau-Federated defaults to Travelers, I was learning why Oliver North allegedly referred to HUD as “the candy store of covert revenues.”[28] It took years of cleaning up the mortgage mess to understand that this homebuilding and mortgage fraud was an integral part of the National Security Council’s shenanigans during Iran-Contra and a U.S. federal debt that was growing at alarming rates....

Shortly after arriving at HUD in April 1989, I began to learn about the FHA Coinsurance program. Since 1984, HUD/FHA had allowed private mortgage bankers to issue federal credit to guarantee multi-family apartment projects. After issuing $9 billion in mortgage guarantees, HUD/FHA was to lose something approaching 50% of the value of the portfolio — a level of losses hard to explain with mortal logic. When my staff approached me with a proposal to bail out a mortgage company so they could continue to lose money for us, I asked why we should spend money to lose more money in a way that would harm communities. After a long silence during which 30 staff members intently studied their feet, one brave soul explained to me that the mortgage bank was owned and run by a major Republican donor. Shocked, I said. “I am a major Republican donor,” and pointing to my presidential cufflinks that were adorning my French cuffs, “I got a pair of cuff links. You get cuff links. You don’t get $400 million of federal credit to throw down the drain.” My staff looked at me like I was so naive and clueless that there was no point in trying to communicate with me — better to let me learn the hard way.
I think we all have to learn the hard way - there are some crazy greedy f***ers running the country now and AM 740 has moved into their camp as a follower. The apt phrase I believe is media whore. A civil exchange in emails doesn’t mean I can't see what is happening to 740 on the air.

Big Ketchup - Part 2

Naked Protest - 600 bare all on a melting glacier.

If the US declares an arm of the Iranian state a terrorist organisation (and under the Bush doctrine, those who harbour terrorists are as guilty of terrorism as the terrorists themselves) what chance does Washington have of prising influential Iranian opinion away from the belief that the bomb is the best insurance policy against outside attack?
Bye, bye Baghdad - a self-confessed overpaid contractor has become zombiefied in the lost war in Iraq.

The Portrait House for Humanity.

Should President Obama Stack the Supreme Court?

Another call for an Islamic Reformation - NYT Magazine - The Politics of God.

In local politics, I still think this is odd, New Pasadena City Council majority defunds mayor's Executive Assistant position. This is an example for our Democratic Congress - purse strings equals power.

In local weather - our house was four inches from flooding. Pasadena floods from Erin.

Are you a real liberal? Get working.

On Iraq. CNN - Iraqi interpreter: 'Now I have no future'

On Nuclear War. The Atlantic: Why America’s growing nuclear supremacy may make war with China more likely. Our increasingly accurate and powerful weapons almost seem designed for a first strike.

Now that's a conspiracy theory. MajestyTwelve: UFO reports are a government plan to confuse the public, like the fake moon landings, as they prepare the New World Order. Your only defense is to join an armed militia group.

LAT - Ronald Brownstein: GOP moderates and mavericks face poor prospects in 2008 election.
Centrist Democrats aren't immune to these trends.... This difference is rooted in the fact that the Democrats today are much more of a coalition party than the Republicans: Polls show that only about half of Democratic voters consider themselves liberals, while three-fourths or more of Republicans call themselves conservatives. That means to win elections, Democrats depend more than Republicans on the votes of moderates -- which compels them to accept more dissent from party orthodoxy.
Russia, China and allies play war game. Play out how to counter the U.S. in central Asia.

Jamison Foser: Mass media relies on misleading anecdotes, refuses to correct errors. The Padilla case illustrates the mass media failures.

The Texas Observer: Eating Local Isn’t Always the Greenest Option.

David Sirota: How to End the War. Make the GOP decide between protecting our borders or occupying Iraq.

On Blue Dogs and Bush Dogs.

The new pentagon supported Christian homoerotic art.

The Chavez's - GOP fundraising as a family business. They seemed to mainly provide for their affluent lifestyle, with little toward their causes.

WP - How the Fight for Vast New Spying Powers Was Won. Dems were played and folded.

Bush, Congress could collide on Iran - will Dems stand up?

WP: Obama's Rise was a Series of Fortunate Events

Utah mine had warnings and 'bumps' early this year.

Guantánamo man's family release 'torture' dossier. Detailed timeline of US supervised torture.

Rove's Effort to Promote the President and His Allies Using Tax Dollars Was Unprecedented in Its Reach

'The Argument' by Matt Bai. How progressives should ally with WalMart and free traders and how the new left is all (only?) about aggressive tactics. WTF? The NDN and DLC will love this book.

Reaction - Lots of BS. A simple lack of fact-checking. Even before it was hard to take Matt seriously. Yet again in June. The labor blog:
I could address the problems with this argument -- e.g., the complete absence of any discussion of power or unions -- but I have a simpler solution. I'm sure the New York Times could find a very smart writer in India or China who could crank out the same argument for one fifth the salary. Maybe then the Matt Bai's of this world would spend less time showing how clever they are in saying "Wal-Mart's not to blame" and more time talking about how we fight our way out of this hole. And if not, at least I'd save a little money on my Times subscription.
NYT Eight American NCO's in Iraq:
To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched.
NYT - After Foreclosure, a Big Tax Bill From the I.R.S.

Conservatives now discuss how to win in Iraq - by leaving.

Greenwald on The truth behind the Pollack-O'Hanlon trip to Iraq. Recently he takes on the "Democratic" foreign policy establishment and the use of the labels Pacifist and Imperialist.

KPFT dissent, Texas style. Some very odd Chron reporting as they struggle to avoid admitting that KPFT is the only liberal news radio outlet in Houston. Update.

Family values?

Impeach Perry. (This reminds me of some old hippy bringing out his buttons - Impeach LBJ, Impeach Nixon, Impeach Ford, Impeach Clinton, Impeach Bush....)

Idiotic writer suing over bad reviews. Stuart Pivar! You’re a crackpot! This is similar to another $1 billion threat involving a "literary agent" vulture. There are other vultures out there for writers. Writers Beware. Yew Gotta Larf - poetry(?) contest. The Castration of Sam McGee.

FoxNews wants war with Iran - video.

When staying alive means going bankrupt - America's health insurance system scam.

I have much more to go on this series as I keep getting distracted and mixing in more current stuff.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Texas Round-Up 6

Here is your Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round-Up for the week of August 20, 2007. This week's installment is brought to you Vince from Capitol Annex.

Krazypuppy at Texas Kaos keeps track of What You Will Not Find at Laura Bush's Library.

I think my best last week was on The American Fascists, sometimes using that word is not a sign that an online argument has gone on too long. (I didn't submit it to others as it was not Texas specific enough.)

TXSharon at BlueDaze asks, "Would you make Osama Bin Ladin director of Homeland Security?" If the answer is no, read about who wants to protect our water in Barnett Shale: Devon wants to conserve our water? Like hell!

Hal at Half Empty sees vultures flocking to pick over the bones of Tom DeLay's old seat.

Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal exposes the hypocrisy of chickenhawk Republicans taking shots at Rick Noriega.

Vince at Capitol Annex tells us about the coming storm surrounding implementation of religious viewpoint "anti-discrimination" policies in Texas schools to comply with a bill recently passed by the Texas Legislature.

WcNews at Eye On Williamson points out the hypocrisy in sentencing in recent child molestation cases in Williamson County.

PDiddle at Brains and Eggs fries up a double order of e-Slate voting woes: an advance of the meeting over security issues with Houston Mayor Bill White and the Harris County (Republican) clerk; and the disappointing results of that meeting, including the news that the TDP lawsuit over "emphasis voting" was dismissed.

Captain Kroc at McBlogger suggests the incumbent in the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector race is using a page or two from Turd Blossom's playbook.

Boadicea at StopCornyn tells us about John Cornyn's Badge Of Fiscal Irresponsibility.

CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme exposes another Republican minority district suppression scam - using immigration raids to minimize population counts for the 2010 census.

Kuff at Off the Kuff asks "How many felonies could you commit with an oyster?"

Glenn Smith at Burnt Orange Report gives a "political type's" perspective on the media's fascination with Karl Rove.

From Bay Area Houston, The TRCC. The most expensive worthless Commission in Texas The homebuilders praise is like a terrorist praising Homeland Secutiry.

Also, don't forget to check out these other great Texas Progressive Alliance blogs: People's Republic of Seabrook, Three Wise Men, Musings, In The Pink Texas, Who's Playin?, Feet To The Fire, Winding Road In Urban Area, Common Sense, B & B , The Agonist, Texas Truth Serum.

Why Karl Rove Left?

Jeff Gannon, fake conservative white house reporter/gay escort, has a book coming out. Does the son of a cover-boy for Piercing Fans International Quarterly play a featured role in how Gannon got his White House press pass without vetting?

What brings this on is the tangently related post in Boing Boing: “I’m The Proud Owner Of Karl Rove’s Father’s Solid Gold Cock Ring.”

Karl Rove's father was proud of his adorned and decorated cock. Karl Rove has been called both proud of his father and adept of keeping his father's gay S&M piercing lifestyle secret. He has also been discreet about his own atheism and former mistress while wooing the hard core Christian church vote.

Very not safe for work - includes photos of Karl's Dad package: Cannonfire, Sadly No, and Corrente wire. The original article has more. Jesus' General prays that Karl Rove be given back his father's cock ring, in the name of God.

Bill Moyers on Karl Rove: “Rove is riding out of Dodge City as the posse rides in.”

More on his lying, spinning complicit mass media Texas grand almost farewell tour.

Merv was also being remembered this weekend for being a semi-closeted gay.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Big Ketchup - Part 1

I have just been posting very interesting stuff on the desktop and it is time to clean up!

The White House was using the Commerce, Treasury and other departments to boost GOP campaigns. Your tax dollars at work.

POLITICAL MELTDOWN IN IRAQ - Iran wins. Not that I haven't been saying that for years.

THE OSTRICH PAPERS: It Will Take ALL Decent Citizens to Save America - David Brin. How to have civil conversations with conservatives about what the GOP is doing and how to get back to the rule of law.

Profane Minutemen kill illegal on video. Isn't that like, very illegal? (If not a fake.)

Run on banks starting in California. Mortgages collapsing leading to bank bankruptcy worries.

Conservative betrayed. Major GOP figures set up website to warn against Bush and many GOP candidates like Thompson. A little late.

Krugman - Workouts, not bailouts. Will the fed rescue financiers after ignoring hard-working Americans?

Declaring Iranian Republican Guards terrorists makes no sense, except as an excuse to attack Iran.

Warren Buffett makes the pitch for Obama while also endorsing Hillary.

Get Digital Inspiration suggests Robert Nagle the Houston technical writer.

I tried out the Pappa John's Internet pizza ordering site. At the very end it tells you they will send an email as a confirmation. I get no email. No call. I have lots of other calls and stuff I'm doing. Finally over an hour later we get a call saying your pizzas have been ready for an hour. She had called when they were done and someone was on the phone and it rolled over to our voicemail. She has no idea why it says they are supposed to email, maybe it was when the site was new.

Oops, I got called in to work. To be continued...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chris Hedges: American Fascists - The Christian Right and the War on America

Google Video. The book.
In American Fascists, Chris Hedges, veteran journalist and author of the National Book Award finalist War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, challenges the Christian Right's religious legitimacy and argues that at its core it is a mass movement fueled by unbridled nationalism and a hatred for the open society.
The right radical religious political movement in the main is a religion and politics of despair. This is similar to the Fascist and Nazi movements in Europe as noted by several studies.
Hedges, who grew up in rural parishes in upstate New York where his father was a Presbyterian pastor, attacks the movement as someone steeped in the Bible and Christian tradition. He points to the hundreds of senators and members of Congress who have earned between 80 and 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian Right advocacy groups as one of many signs that the movement is burrowing deep inside the American government to subvert it.
The positions of many churches and many GOP politicians have been taken wholesale from the John Birch Society, positions the GOP rejected in the 60's and 70's.
The movement's call to dismantle the wall between church and state and the intolerance it preaches against all who do not conform to its warped vision of a Christian America are pumped into tens of millions of American homes through Christian television and radio stations, as well as reinforced through the curriculum in Christian schools. The movement's yearning for apocalyptic violence and its assault on dispassionate, intellectual inquiry are laying the foundation for a new, frightening America.
This is a movement of intolerance which cannot be reasoned with. They view Islam and secularists as Satanic. They believe we are at the End of Days and all who oppose them will be swept away to eternal punishment. How do you argue with people who so completely reject opposing viewpoints they not only deny them legitimacy but believe holders of differing views should be eternally punished? These radical right Christians also comprise a frightening percentage of the voters in this country. In 2004 22 percent of voters identified themselves as evangelical Christians.
American Fascists, which includes interviews and coverage of events such as pro-life rallies and weeklong classes on conversion techniques, examines the movement's origins, its driving motivations and its dark ideological underpinnings. Hedges argues that the movement currently resembles the young fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and '30s, movements that often masked the full extent of their drive for totalitarianism and were willing to make concessions until they achieved unrivaled power. The Christian Right, like these early fascist movements, does not openly call for dictatorship, nor does it use physical violence to suppress opposition. In short, the movement is not yet revolutionary. But the ideological architecture of a Christian fascism is being cemented in place. The movement has roused its followers to a fever pitch of despair and fury. All it will take, Hedges writes, is one more national crisis on the order of September 11 for the Christian Right to make a concerted drive to destroy American democracy. The movement awaits a crisis. At that moment they will reveal themselves for what they truly are -- the American heirs to fascism.
Like the Nazi movement's alliances, the current American Fascist short term goals are supported by groups in a very uneasy alliance. Corporations, churches of differing denominations, millenarists, small businessmen, social conservatives, traditional conservatives, have all signed on to a party and leaders pledged or beholden to an unChristian, unAmerican, undemocratic agenda. It is surprising the allies the leaders of the Domionist churches have made in pursuing political agendas and power when privately they remain anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish, for example.
Hedges issues a potent, impassioned warning. We face an imminent threat. His book reminds us of the dangers liberal, democratic societies face when they tolerate the intolerant.
Twenty-five years ago Chris Hedges was warned by an influential elderly divinity school professor to watch for what the radical Christian right would do to homosexuals. In Germany, homosexuals were the first victims of the rise of the Nazi party, even before the Jews. In 2004, despite already having laws prohibiting the practice, 11 states enacted further laws against same-sex marriages. Why? To demonstrate strength and mobilization in thwarting "the homosexual and liberal activist judges agenda." The Christian family and even the American Nation was under threat. Just as Hitler rallied the Germans against similar "threats" to the people, family, and nation.

See also Chris Hedge's interviews with combat veterans of The Other War published in The Nation.

Sara at Orcinus, who also keeps up with our radical right extremists, noticed that someone who wants to be the next Southern Baptist Convention president has issued a fatwa against people who noted he broke the law again. Dr. Wiley S. Drake keeps endorsing candidates using his church position and authority. He called upon his followers to curse those who report his transgressions.

On the topic of America's new incipient Fascists see also David Neiwert - The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism (pdf) and Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An Exegesis (pdf) or illustrated html.

Reuters: Texas will almost certainly hit the grim total of 400 executions this month, far ahead of any other state, testament to the influence of the state's conservative evangelical Christians and its cultural mix of Old South and Wild West.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Flash - US Healthcare is not the best in the world

In fact our system of health care ranks pretty low. Is that just Michael Moore and people who contacted him saying this? No, it's The New York Times.
Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top two spots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States with other advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysis of other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United States last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance, including quality of care and access to it. Other comparative studies also put the United States in a relatively bad light.
What can you do? Email Congress. P.S. - let Canadians tell you about those Canadian waiting times.
Watching SiCKO, Malke felt "just really embarrassed." When her mother-in-law in India got lung cancer, treatment to full recovery cost less than $800. She wonders why the richest nation on earth does not do as well.

"When I worked at Humana, people would get angry and say, 'Something has to be done, something has to change.' And I'd think, 'Are you going to do anything? Are you angry enough?'"

Karl Rove, Adviser to President Bush, to Quit -

Another one bites the dust.

The Word from Rudy

“Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”
I had the link from my brother but Digby reminded me of this 1984ish quote in it.

Who was voted most likely to succeed in solving the climate crisis?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Captain America is Dead

With Bush's and the GOP's corruption of American values, Captain America no longer has a place.

Long live Captain America.
(That really looks like the hands of Prince Namor and Bucky so is this a flashback series or Captain America in the super hero afterlife?)

Captain America Movie Next From Marvel After Hulk! Many, many comic book movies coming.

Texas Round-Up 5

It’s Monday, and that means it is time for this weeks Texas Progressive Alliance’s statewide round up. Matt Glazer over at Burnt Orange Report is giving Vince a break this week and has the best of the left from over a dozen progressive blogs.

Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff is suffering from a little Kinky fatigue.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has a local digest this time: In the event of a WMD attack our librarians will be sent in.

McBlogger special correspondent and legal counsel, Harry Balczak, enjoys a trip to the AFL-CIO Democratic Presidential debate...and interviews the candidates!

North Texas Liberal reports on the rumor that Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Art Brender and Ft. Worth City Council Member Wendy Davis are going to square off for a chance to face unpopular Sen. Kim Brimer, R-District 10, in 2008.

Marc also shows us the Democrats have set their sights on SDD-10 and Tarrant County Democrats have reason to be optimistic.

Matt Glazer at Burnt Orange Report is working for change. Bloggers and activists across the state have launch TexBlog PAC to usher in a new majority—a Democratic Majority.

What do Republicans do when whistleblowers reveal their evil secrets? South Texas Chisme let’s us know they go after the whistleblowers, of course. Fixing the problem? Not an option. TYC goes after employees who report to the Texas legislature or to newspapers.

Stace Medellin from DosCentavos is added to the Texas Kaos family.  But never fear, DosCentavos will still be around for your reading pleasure!  Stace begins his association with TK on Monday, August 13!

Speaking of TexasKaos, this week the Presidential candidates sat down and answered questions from the LGBT community on Logo. Texas Kaos'contributor Refinish69 writes just how far the LGBT rights fight has come in his post, GLBT History was Made Tonight & My Part in That History.

Stop Cornyn highlights John Cornyn’s low lights. Sad thing is just how many bad votes he has made just this past week.

"Republicans For Rick Noriega?" Half Empty explores the origins of this movement.  

Musings reports on Rick Noriega's visit to The Lake – firedoglake, that is!

WCNews at Eye on Williamson asks What Did Senator Carona Expect? After caving to Ric Williamson during the legislative session Sen. John Carona can't believe Williamson isn't showing courtesy to him.  

Vince at Capitol Annex brings us news about protesters--who happened to have been paid operatives hired through a temporary agency—who tried to make noise at a fundraiser for Texas Supreme Court candidate Susan Criss.

Who's more corrupt, Republicans or Democrats? Find out at Bluedaze, with TXsharon's Corruption in Government: Comprehensive List. Hint: Republicans = 204 – Democrats = 3.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston simply calls the Republican Texas Ethics Commissioners incompetent after the disclosures of millions in undisclosed campaign expenditures.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wrote the tongue-in-cheek advance of the Democratic presidential front-runner's visit to the Bayou City with The Nutcracker comes to H-Town.

Steve at WhosPlayin? takes Congressman Michael Burgess (R - Lewisville) to task for fear-mongering about the trace amounts of mercury in energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.