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Of Politics, Sports and Sex

OK, so there won't be a LOT on here about sex, but tell the truth, that's most of the reason you entered this site, right? So, I'll slip some things in from time to time just to keep you coming...back.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

This picture may tell a thousand words, but it may have a hard time squeezing even one in.


This doesn't require a lot of comment from me, especially since my thoughts may draw a negative reaction from the people it reminds me of...people i love a LOT!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arrrrgh!

Sometimes, one silly statistic can tell you everything you need to know...and probably more than you want to:

Defense Secretary Gates recently noted that the military has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has diplomats.

Not the Shabab!!! Anything but that! Or wait, maybe that's good?!

I read, either in my hands or online, 2-3 newspapers a day as well as 3-4 magazines monthly and many news-related websites daily, so I like to think I'm pretty up on current events. But when I see news stories, in this case in the New York Times, where this is the headline, it makes me want to try to be less aware of things going on in the world, rather than more so:

Militant Alliance Adds to Somalia’s Turmoil
An insurgent commander in the semiautonomous region of Puntland has pledged his loyalty to the Shabab, which recently set off a bomb in Uganda

Friday, July 23, 2010

First there was Whitewater, now there's Whitewash

Lest we forget the facts, which have a way of changing through the miracle of political spin - from Paul Krugman:

"Last week Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, declared that “there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy.” So now the word is that the Bush-era economy was characterized by “vibrancy.”

I guess it depends on the meaning of the word “vibrant.” The actual record of the Bush years was (i) two and half years of declining employment, followed by (ii) four and a half years of modest job growth, at a pace significantly below the eight-year average under Bill Clinton, followed by (iii) a year of economic catastrophe. In 2007, at the height of the “Bush boom,” such as it was, median household income, adjusted for inflation, was still lower than it had been in 2000.

But the Bush apologists hope that you won’t remember all that. And they also have a theory, which I’ve been hearing more and more — namely, that President Obama, though not yet in office or even elected, caused the 2008 slump. You see, people were worried in advance about his future policies, and that’s what caused the economy to tank. Seriously.

On the deficit: Republicans are now claiming that the Bush administration was actually a paragon of fiscal responsibility, and that the deficit is Mr. Obama’s fault. “The last year of the Bush administration,” said Mr. McConnell recently, “the deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product was 3.2 percent, well within the range of what most economists think is manageable. A year and a half later, it’s almost 10 percent.”

But that 3.2 percent figure, it turns out, is for fiscal 2008 — which wasn’t the last year of the Bush administration, because it ended in September of 2008. In other words, it ended just as the failure of Lehman Brothers — on Mr. Bush’s watch — was triggering a broad financial and economic collapse. This collapse caused the deficit to soar: By the first quarter of 2009 — with only a trickle of stimulus funds flowing — federal borrowing had already reached almost 9 percent of G.D.P. To some of us, this says that the economic crisis that began under Mr. Bush is responsible for the great bulk of our current deficit. But the Republican Party is having none of it."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Things I seem to see way more of in Chester County now than when I was a kid:
- rainbows
- cardinals
- Democrats
- drivers
- houses
- vitriol
- tailgating
- hot air balloons
- deer

Things I see a lot less of:
- Box turtles
- open space
- rust on cars

More as I think of them...

Are you listening Harry? Nancy? BARACK?!

This just in from the Dailykos.com:

Dems jump ahead in new poll
Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 09:06:03 AM PDT

Democrats have taken a significant lead over Republicans in the latest congressional Gallup Poll:

Democrats pulled ahead of Republicans, 49% to 43%, in voters' generic ballot preferences for the 2010 congressional elections. The Democrats' six-point advantage in Gallup Daily interviewing from July 12-18 represents the first statistically significant lead for that party's candidates since Gallup began weekly tracking of this measure in March.

It's just one poll, but it's a big jump and it makes sense in light of last week's events. In a strong economy, conservative scapegoating of the millions of Americans laid-off might work. But with record, long term unemployment, most voters know someone whose job prospects and finances are desperate to grim. In that environment, protecting the Bush's tax cuts for the super-wealthy and obstructing critical unemployment benefits for the desperate just might be coming home to roost for the GOP. Not to mention, conservatives lecturing the nation about debt is like Bristol Palin lecturing nuns about birth control.


Let's see, when is the last time we saw a significant jump in the ratings of Dems? How about when they/we passed the health care reform bill. So when Dems lead by passing Democrat-inspired legislation, the overall approval of the Dems from the country is remarkably positive!

Stop giving in to the Rs on everything you alleged leaders of the party. Get moving on the things we believe in and for which we voted you into power (!) for either of two reasons - take your pick:

1 - You only have so much time before November when you will lose the majority or certainly the current extent of the majority in the House and Senate you now hold,
Or
2 - If you keep pushing these things through, maybe you'll actually hold or extend your levels of strength in the corridors of power.

In fact, I'll bet none of them even read this!

Republicans seem to complain an awful lot about reading. They complain about having to read the Health Care Reform bill. They complain about having to read the Financial Reform Bill.

It does help me understand one thing though: Now I know why they've paid so little attention to the Constitution.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Evangelicals once again realizing they may have (should have) more in common with us Ds than with them Rs

Instead of copying and pasting this entire story, I'll just add the link here and say that the last time I read an article like this was in reference to the environment and solidarity with then-candidate Obama on the part of young middle american evangelicals who felt the old guard church leaders were out of step with reality, at least in this case in terms of protecting the enviroment. That was the first time I thought Obama had a real chance to win the election.

This article makes me think legitimate immigration reform may have an actually chance of happening. I'll write more about this when I have time, hopefully later this week.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/19/us/politics/19evangelicals.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Here's an excerpt: "“My message to Republican leaders,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and one of the leaders who engaged his non-Hispanic peers, “is if you’re anti-immigration reform, you’re anti-Latino, and if you’re anti-Latino, you are anti-Christian church in America, and you are anti-evangelical.”

About 70 percent of Hispanics in the United States are Catholic, but some 15 percent are evangelicals, and they are far more likely than the Catholics to identify themselves as conservative and Republican."

Health Care Reform Looking Healthier Everyday

Health care reform update, again from today's Times:

"Most of the major elements of the reform law don’t go into effect until 2014, but some important benefits start this year. Administration officials had two early successes: pressuring insurance companies to immediately end their indefensible practice of rescinding coverage after a policyholder becomes sick and to immediately start covering children with pre-existing conditions. Officials also persuaded insurers and a handful of employers to allow parents to keep their dependent children on family policies until age 26.

A few hundred thousand Medicare beneficiaries who have reached the “doughnut hole” in Medicare drug coverage have gotten or will soon get small, $250 checks to help pay their drug costs; millions more will get checks when they reach the gap later this year. The administration has already proposed language for contracts that will be signed with the manufacturers of brand-name drugs to provide 50 percent discounts next year to patients who hit the gap. A small blizzard of regulations, each requiring painstaking drafting, has been issued, including new rules issued Wednesday requiring insurers to eliminate cost-sharing for recommended preventive care, such as screening tests and vaccinations.

Not everything has moved smoothly. The new law requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on medical care. But agreeing on a definition of care (versus administrative and other costs) has proved difficult. A plan to open temporary high-risk pools for people unable to obtain insurance because of pre-existing conditions appears to be running behind schedule.

On the employer front, the administration has notified nearly four million small businesses that they might be eligible for a tax credit to help defray the cost of insuring their workers. And it is accepting applications from employers for a separate program to help defray the costs of insuring early retirees."

I'm sure CEOs across Corporate America are Taking Notes

Some advice for corporate America from a column in today's NYT:

"(they) should remember the president’s actual record. First, Mr. Obama inherited an economy teetering on the brink of depression. Immediately upon taking office, he forged a $787 billion economic stimulus program, and is wisely trying to expand it now. Was this program perfect? Of course not. But it has been effective. Every serious economic model indicates that it contributed to recovery.

Second, at that same time, the credit markets were in tatters and simply not functioning. The administration submitted the biggest banks to confidence-building stress tests. It skillfully invested in financial institutions, kept the mortgage markets afloat and undertook other creative initiatives to solidify the financial industry. These have worked more quickly and more successfully than anyone predicted. The system is healthy again.

All this has led directly to a turnaround in corporate profits, share prices and liquidity. Profits have increased 41 percent since President Obama was elected. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 28 percent over the same period. These are strong results.

Third, the president made the courageous decision to put General Motors and Chrysler through bankruptcy. As a result, both survived and, today, G.M. in particular is coming back fast — along with its hundreds of suppliers. Moreover, taxpayers are likely to recover the full value of their investment in the company.

Fourth, Mr. Obama has made big progress toward restoring America’s standing around the world. Two years ago, it stood at a historically low point, and multinationals were encountering resistance in penetrating foreign markets. The president’s reframing of our global priorities and values has returned the United States to pre-eminence — and is starting to ease our way to opening new markets abroad.

A top issue for these business groups, and properly so, is education policy. That’s because a better educated work force is a more productive one. So far, this administration has an unorthodox and outstanding record on education, a notable illustration of this is its Race to the Top initiative, which rewards the most reform-minded states with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal grants. Perhaps leading businesses could work with the White House to match these awards at least in part."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

As opposed to losing 750,000 jobs per month when Bush left office

From Politico.com today:

A quarterly Council of Economic Advisers report estimated that the administration’s $862 billion economic recovery package put from 2.5 million to 3.6 million people to work. And for every $1 the government puts into Recovery Act programs, the private sector is investing $3, according to the report.

The number of created or saved jobs is an increase from a council estimate from the first quarter of the year of 2.2 million to 2.8 million. The new report puts the country on track to reach 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010.

Republicans, however, were quick to point out that the national unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in June, despite spending programs.


Maybe the R's are still counting on the Kansas strategy of preferring that people stay jobless, hoping they're then more likely to vote for them.

Just the usual Fox News blahblah...wait, WHAT?!

Fox News contributor and host of Fox Business' new libertarian show Judge Andrew Napolitano said over the weekend that President Bush and Vice President Cheney should have been indicted over their administration's conduct around Guantánamo Bay.

In an interview with Ralph Nader on C-SPAN, Napolitano blasted the former administration for suspending habeas corpus.

"What President Bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of Guantánamo Bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the constitution was blatantly unconstitutional — and in some cases criminal," Napolitano said. "They should have been indicted. They absolutely should have been indicted. For torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrants. I'd like to say they should be indicted for lying but believe it or not, unless you're under oath, lying is not a crime."

Napolitano added that "the evidence...is overwhelming...that George W. Bush as President and Dick Cheney as Vice President participated in criminal conspiracies to violate the federal law and the guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands, of human beings."