Monday, December 13, 2010

John Boehner's American Dream

So John Boehner was on 60 Minutes yesterday telling us how important it is to have a shot at the American Boehner had.
Stahl: On election night, what made you sad, what got to you that night?

Boehner: I was talking, trying to talk about the fact that I've been chasing the American Dream my whole career. There's some things that are very difficult to talk about. Family. Kids. I can't go to a school anymore. I used to go to a lot of schools. And you see all these little kids running around. Can't talk about it.

Stahl: Why?

Boehner: Making sure that these kids have a shot at the American Dream, like I did. It's important.

There are two things about this that would be worth exploring. First, what exactly is Boehners image of the American dream? Second, what exactly is Boehner doing, policy wise, that is going to help America's children realize the American dream?

Boehner has also expressed a desire to return to the good old years of the 50's and 60's. It would be interesting to hear what exactly he liked about those two decades. High tax rates? High union membership? A competitive middle class?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Is Trudeau Institute Leaving SL?

Below is a comment from a Trudeau Institute employee posted at this blog. It sounds accurate.

Anonymous said...
I am a current employee of Trudeau Institute. We are a small, independent, non-for-profit immunology research institute that is located in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York State, and currently employs approximately 130 individuals. We the employees of Trudeau Institute have always prided ourselves on our scientific mission to do basic research on infectious disease and immunity; not for monetary gain, but to make our discoveries publicly available to all in the form of peer-reviewed journal submissions. We are also quite proud of the unique character of our rustic, remote yet beautiful mountain town, and the particular history that our Institute shares with the village.

It appears that both things we cherish (our altruistic scientific mission and our eclectic setting) may soon change, as the Institute considers branching out into a more profit-driven direction (traditionally the territory of the Biotech industry) along with a move to the NCRC. Of course we've been told that nothing is certain, but such is always the case in scenarios like this. Recently there has been talk of "Strategic Planning" and a consulting group was hired to investigate the "health and vitality of our future." Publicly the officers deny that any decision has been made, and most employees are being kept in the dark. Meanwhile, many internal leaks from present and former high-ranking individuals have revealed that the Institute's financial situation is much worse than most realize, and it is highly unlikely that Trudeau Institute will remain in Saranac Lake. Thus, many believe that the consulting group was only hired to report what the real deciders want to hear, and to serve as a "non-biased" third party upon whom to place the blame. Rather than addressing staff concerns in a substantial way, everything is dismissed as rumor, and management cite confidentiality agreements as the reason that they can tell us no more. Most staff would be happy just to know if they will have jobs six months from now.

This all has created distrust and worry among the staff, who are losing confidence in the workplace that we always believed was more of a family than merely a job. Many employees are not thrilled about the prospect of relocating to a generic cookie-cutter work-complex Campus like the NCRC, where even the restaurants have science-themed names. Nor are many happy about our beloved Institute's scientific mission creeping ever closer to monetary motivations of Industry science.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Democrats Need Message Discipline

It's too bad Democrats don't have the message discipline that Republicans have. Does the average middle class working American really think the rich need more money at the expense of the middle class?

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Good Joke

I just found this all over the internet but had never seen it before. It's worth reposting.

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him,

“Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”

“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Tea Party Republican.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”

“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are — or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are , due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem.
You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What is the matter with you people?

Here is Frank Rich in today's NYT:
But logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success.

Sad but true. Populism is back and it is stronger than ever. The "elite" (usually the person who is using the term) are the bad guys and being dumb is "in". I really don't understand this line of thinking. When you get your car repaired you go to a mechanic with an excellent reputation - someone who really knows his stuff. People go to a dentist or a physician for health care problems. These are highly educated, highly trained people. You even choose your plumber and electrician based on their reputation for doing a job properly the first time.

But there seems to be something new in the air. Lacking ability, expertise, intellectual curiosity or at least making it seem that way, seems to be the new requirement for being a successful conservative politician. Just look at almost every TEA Party candidate that recently ran for office.

But here is what really scares me and should scare you too. As Rich points out, Palin is not the darling of the Republican party. They are probably more afraid of her than are Democrats.

Palin is the candidate of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and thus the wealthy. The rich got wealthier under the Bush administration and they want to get even wealthier under a Palin administration. Like Rich says, the populist's are angry at the educated "elite", not the wealthy (who are not seen as elitist).

I can only quote Elaine Benis from Seinfield. "What's the matter with all you people? Have you all gone mad?"

Monday, November 15, 2010

What if Obama was a Republican?

Andrew Sullivan makes a great point:

If a black Republican president had come in, helped turn around the banking and auto industries (at a small profit!), insured millions through the private sector while cutting Medicare, overseen a sharp decline in illegal immigration, ramped up the war in Afghanistan, reinstituted pay-as-you go in the Congress, set up a debt commission to offer hard choices for future debt reduction, and seen private sector job growth outstrip the public sector's in a slow but dogged recovery, somehow I don't think that Republican would be regarded as a socialist.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

TEA Party Hopes - #1

"Whatever Tuesday’s results, this much is certain: The Tea Party’s hopes for actually effecting change in Washington will start being dashed the morning after"
Frank Rich

Remember the conservative opposition to "earmarks" during election season? Not surprisingly, a ban of congressional earmarks is no longer on the table.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where the TEA Party Wants to Take Us

I'm not a big Harold Meyerson fan but his column in today's Wash. Post is spot on! Meyerson correctly points out that TEA Party members are really confused. They are opposed to income redistribution, but somehow think all the income is being redistributed to those of lower incomes.

Meyerson sets them straight:
The Tea Partyers are right to be wary of income redistribution, but if they had even the slightest openness to empiricism, they'd see that the redistribution of the past 30 years has all been upward -- radically upward.

We are far from moving towards socialism says Meyerson. In fact, he points out we've been on the road to "hyper-capitalism" over the last three decades. Income to the middle class has been pretty much flat-lined for the last 30 years, while income of the rich has soared.

So do the TEA partiers want to take us back to the 50's, 60's and 70's? Not so much. They are opposed to social security, medicare, and the minimum wage. They seem to want to take us back to the pre-FDR days.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Left and Right - Wing Nuts

It's obvious, at least to me, that we have a left wing fringe as well as a right wing fringe. But it seems that the right wing "fringe" isn't actually a fringe. It's far more mainstream than the left wing fringe.

There is lot's of evidence for this difference. How much mainstream media attention do members of Code Pink and 911 truthers get? Who is the liberal equivalent of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh? Keith Olbermann? Please, Olbermann doesn't hold a candle next to Beck and Limbaugh.

Who on the liberal left is the equivalent of Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, or Joe Miller? Maybe there is someone, but I haven't seen them interviewed on the talk shows.

Kevin Drum has an interesting post comparing left wing crazies with right wing crazies.
(1) Conservatives go nuts faster. It took a couple of years for anti-Bush sentiment to really get up to speed. Both Clinton and Obama got the full treatment within weeks of taking office. (2) Conservatives go nuts in greater numbers. Two-thirds of Republicans think Obama is a socialist and upwards of half aren't sure he was born in America. Nobody ever bothered polling Democrats on whether they thought Bush was a fascist or a raging alcoholic, but I think it's safe to say the numbers would have been way, way less than half. (3) Conservatives go nuts at higher levels. There are lots of big-time conservatives — members of Congress, radio and TV talkers, think tankers — who are every bit as hard edged as the most hard edged tea partier. But how many big-time Democrats thought Bush had stolen Ohio? Or that banks should have been nationalized following the financial collapse? (4) Conservatives go nuts in the media. During the Clinton era, it was talk radio and Drudge and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. These days it's Fox News (and talk radio and Drudge and the Wall Street Journal editorial page). Liberals just don't have anything even close. Our nutballs are mostly relegated to C-list blogs and a few low-wattage radio stations.
Basically, it seems to come down to the fact that Republicans don't think Democrats have the right to govern no matter how many people vote for them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is Glenn Beck a Christian?

As an atheist, I don't give a damn if Glenn Beck is a Christian or not. But I stumbled across this organization - Mormanism Research Ministry. This is a Christian "missionary" organization that is out to "save" (convert) Mormans to Christianity.

The above link takes you to a page that has a few questions Beck should answer concerning his Morman beliefs and how they stack up against conservative Christian beliefs.

Here are just a couple of the questions:
•You have asked professing Christians to join you in asking God to restore our land, yet your church officially declares that all professing Christians outside of the LDS Church are part of a "great apostasy." McConkie even went so far as to say the "church of the devil" (1 Nephi 14:10) included "modern Christianity in all its parts" (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, pp.54-55). Do you believe God hears the prayers of alleged apostates, especially those who are quite content to attend what your church calls the "church of the devil?"
I really like this one!
•While I applaud your efforts to expose socialism as an evil system, are you not aware that Joseph Smith not only instituted socialism via his "Law of Consecration" and "United Order," he claimed God ordained it (See D&C 104)? If you lived during the time of Joseph Smith, do you think you would have been as vocal about this socialistic system as you are about modern socialism?

What's Happening to White America?

How can we explain what is happening to political discourse in the USA today? Why have a sizeable minority of white, middle class male voters gone completely batshit crazy? I've been wondering about that for awhile. When did the craziness set in? Steven Thrasher says:
About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel.
I think that is partially true. The proof? President Obama is not a citizen; President Obama is a Muslim; President Obama is a Nazi, fascist, communist (I wish they would choose one); President Obama hates white people; President Obama is the anti-Christ.

Thrasher goes on:
For the first time in their lives, baby boomers are hard up against it economically, and white boy is becoming outnumbered and it's got his bowels chilled with fear.
Thrasher points out that we have brown Mexicans to be afraid of in the West and brown Muslims to be afraid of in the East.

Of course the TEA partiers are going to deny all this. They are an independent, completely grass roots organization with no leadership. The facts say otherwise. Both Freedomworks and the Koch brothers have their fingers buried deep into this so-called grass roots organization.

Kevin Drum has a different take on the TEA Party phenomenon.
....too many observers mistakenly react to the tea party as if it's brand new, an organic and spontaneous response to something unique in the current political climate. But it's not. It's not a response to the recession or to health care reform or to some kind of spectacular new liberal overreach. It's what happens whenever a Democrat takes over the White House.
Drum makes an argument using the "American Liberty League" formed to fight FDR's reforms and the "John Birch Society" popular during JFK's short presidency.

Lastly, we have TEA Party darling Glenn Beck. Noted Constitutional expert, historian, and conservative Christian preacher. Beck is great at convincing his listener about conspiracies using the same techniques used in the 1950's by the likes of McCarthy. I particularly love the conspiracy on "fasces", Woodrow Wilson (who else?) and fascism. Too bad for Beck, but I beat him to that one five years ago.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Donald Duck and Glenn Beck???

GOP Presidential Candidates

What do all potential GOP Presidential candidates have in common (except for the Mittster)? Not a trick question - they all have the same employer - FOX News.

David Frum, GOP political analyst says
“Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox”

Friday, October 01, 2010

What You Paid For - Now Choose Your Significant Cuts

Now that we know what we pay for, it should be easy to determine what should be cut from the Federal Budget.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The New Face of the NYS Republican Party

The Republican candidate for NYS governor threatens a reporter? "I'm going to take you out"? What the hell is happening to this party?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Christine O'Donnell - Does Ignorance Sell?

Christine O'Donnell asks: "Why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?"

I guess I can forgive this ignorant question because we (scientists) just don't do a good enough job explaining evolution to the general public. At its simplest, evolution is a change in gene frequencies over time. A couple of points. First, humans did not evolve from monkeys. Humans and monkeys are thought to have evolved from a common ancestor. Second, evolution takes millions of years, but yes, we are still evolving as is everything else. Modern Tibetans underwent genetic changes, that enabled them to survive at high altitudes, very rapidly. It's much easier to see evolution in action when a population is reproductively (genetically) isolated.

BTW, evolution is a fact, not a myth. But, we still don't understand many of the details of how evolution occurs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pledge to America - Who they talkin about?

"An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values....."

The above statement sure does tug at the heart strings. But just who are they talking about? The Bush "unitary executive"; a Supreme court that gave us Bush vs Gore; a GOP majority that bribed its members on the House floor for votes; "the President is always right"? Need I go on?

Remember the broken promises made in the "Contract with America"? Was there a single promise that was kept in the so-called "contract"?

"We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent...."

Oh yeah, these are the nut jobs that are proposing to due away with a good deal of the Bill of Rights. These are the guys that think only they can tell us what was the original intent of the framers.

This Pledge is a joke and isn't worth the paper its written on. Unfortunately, it will sell well with a good proportion of Americans because they won't read it and they actually have forgotten about the failed "Contract with America" and the 8 disasterous years of GOP rule.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Fear for Our Country

Christine O'Donnell:

"They are -- they are doing that here in the United States. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they're already into this experiment."

So this is what it's come down to. This is the kind of person Americans want representing them in Congress. There are no words.....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Committees of the 112th Congress

If the Republicans control the House.

Energy and Commerce Comm. Chair Joe Barton (R-TX) "I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion I apologize [to BP]. (Funded by energy industry; Global warming is a benefit to mankind)

Oversight and Government Reform Comm. Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) "It's very clear that allegation is one that everyone from Arlen Spector to Dick Morris has said is in fact a crime, and could be impeachable." (re: "illegal" job offer to Joe Sestak - wants to impeach Pres. Obama)

Appropriations Comm. Chair Jerry Lewis(R-CA) Most corrupt member of Congress, under Federal investigation.

Budget Comm. Chair Paul Ryan(R-WI) Author of "Roadmap for America's Future" which most Republicans are afraid to publically support. Privatize SS, Medicare & Medicaid.

Judiciary Comm. Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) Impeach President Obama; illegal immigrants are same as terrorists; change 14th ammendment.

Select Comm. on Energy Independence and Global Warming Chair Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) Voted against creating this committee; "There's increasing evidence of scientific fascism that's going on." (re: climate change)

Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Chair Rob Bishop (R-UT) Green jobs "are as real as the Jolly Green Giant: it is a great ad concept, but it doesn't exist.

Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Chair Louie Gohmert (R-TX) "Anchor babies" of illegal immigrants will "come back in 25 years" and "blow us up".

Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Chair Steve King Build big electric border fence; Deport a liberal for every legalized undocumented immigrant; identify immigrants by what kind of shoes they are wearing.

Financial Service Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Chair Ron Paul (R-TX) Abolish Federal Reserve; Return to gold standard; We went to war in Iraq because Saddam priced his oil in euros.

One question: what is in the water in Texas?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Success in Iraq!

The Iraq War is over. Well, not really. There is still plenty of sectarian violence. But we have a stable democratic government. Not really. A government has not really been formed since the last election and the government is corrupt. At least we are bringing our troops home. Nope, 50,000 American troops remain in Iraq.
We've made Iraq more secure without Sadam. Not in my opinion. I'm still waiting for the majority Shia in Iraq to join forces with the majority Shia in Iran. And forgot the cost of the war in dollars (all borrowed), estimated to be 3 trillion. We were told the war would cost 50-60 billion dollars and Iraqi oil would pay for it. Thousands of Americans lost their lives, tens of thousands of Americans were wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed(at least). For this kind of success?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Where is the Courage of the TEA Party

I don't think I've posted the entire contents of someone else's blog, but this piece by Steve Benam at Washington Monthly is so important, that it needs to get spread around. Here we go:
For a year and a half, we've seen rallies and town-hall shouting and attack ads and Fox News special reports. But I still haven't the foggiest idea what these folks actually want, other than to see like-minded Republicans winning elections. To be sure, I admire their passion, and I applaud their willingness to get involved in public affairs. If more Americans chose to take a more active role in the political process, the country would be better off and our democracy would be more vibrant.

But that doesn't actually tell us what these throngs of Americans are fighting for, exactly. I'm not oblivious to their cries; I'm at a loss to appreciate those cries on anything more than a superficial level.

This is about "freedom."

Well, I'm certainly pro-freedom, and as far as I can tell, the anti-freedom crowd struggles to win votes on Election Day. But can they be a little more specific? How about the freedom for same-sex couples to get married? No, we're told, not that kind of freedom.

This is about a fight for American "liberties."

That sounds great, too. Who's against American "liberties"? But I'm still looking for some details. Might this include law-abiding American Muslims exercising their liberties and converting a closed-down clothing store into a community center? No, we're told, not those kinds of liberties.

This is about giving Americans who work hard and play by the rules more opportunities.

I'm all for that, too. But would these opportunities include the chance for hard-working Americans to bring their kids to the doctor if they get sick, even if the family can't afford insurance? No, we're told, not those kinds of opportunities.

This is about the values of the Founding Fathers.

I'm a big fan of the framers' generation, who created an extraordinary nation. But if we're honoring their values, would this include their steadfast commitment to the separation of church and state? No, we're told, not those values.

This is about patriotic Americans willing to make sacrifices for the good of their country.

That sounds reasonable; sacrifices can be honorable. But if we're talking about patriots willing to sacrifice, does that mean millionaires and billionaires can go back to paying '90s-era tax rates (you know, when the economy was strong)? No, we're told, not those kinds of sacrifices.

This is about a public that, at long last, wants to hear the truth from those who speak in their name.

What a great idea. Maybe that means we can hear the truth about global warming? About the fact that health care reform wasn't a socialized government takeover? About Social Security not going bankrupt? About how every court ruling conservatives don't like doesn't necessarily constitute "liberal judicial activism"? No, we're told, not those truths.

Movements -- real movements that make a difference and stand the test of time -- are about more than buzz words, television personalities, and self-aggrandizement. Change -- transformational change that sets nations on new courses -- is more than vague, shallow promises about "freedom."

Labor unions created a movement. Women's suffrage was a movement. The fight for civil rights is a movement. The ongoing struggle for equality for gays and lesbians is a movement. In each case, the grievance was as clear as the solution. There was no mystery as to what these patriots were fighting for. Their struggles and successes made the nation stronger, better, and more perfect.

The folks who gathered in D.C. today were awfully excited about something. The fact that it's not altogether obvious what that might be probably isn't a good sign.

The TEA partiers are basically standing up for ideas/values that practically everyone agrees with. But they don't seem to be aware of this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wilful Ignorance or Know-Nothings?

I didn't realize that 'wilful ignorance' (wilful blindness) is a legal term.
a term used in law to describe a situation in which an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liable
So let's look at how the urban dictionary defines the term:
Knowingly ignoring something for no good reason
Well, that's not how I think of the term. I like this definition from rational Wiki.
Wilful ignorance is the state and practice of ignoring any evidence that appears to contradict one's preconceived notions

Some examples: President Obama is a muslim or President Obama is not a citizen or climate change theory is a big conspiracy or evolution is only a theory.

People holding these views are wilfully ignorant in my opinion. There is a nice opinion commentary on this phenomenon in todays NYT called "Building a Nation of Know-Nothings" by Timothy Egan. One paragraph that deserves some thought:
The Democrats may deserve to lose in November. They have been terrible at trying to explain who they stand for and the larger goal of their governance. But if they lose, it should be because their policies are unpopular or ill-conceived — not because millions of people believe a lie.

It does appear that the TEA Party is especially adept at choosing know-nothing candidates. Sharon Angle, Rand Paul, Joe Miller, and our own local TEA partier Doug Hoffman. At least in the case of the first three individuals, it seems to say alot about the people who support these candidates.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Follow the Money

Who is actually funding the NYC "ground zero mosque" which is not at ground zero and not a mosque. We need to investigate whether muslim terrorists are investing money in this mosque.

Leave it to FOX news to find the possible source of some of this money. The Kingdom Foundation has funded Imam Rauf in the past, tried to give Rudy Giuliani 10 million dollars after the 9/11 attacks (which he refused) and supposedly funds radical madrassas all over the world. This is outrageous.

His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud is the chairman of this foundation. Where else does the foundation invest money? Well, Citigroup, Inc.; The Plaza Hotel (NYC); PepsiCo Inc.; The Walt Disney Company; Apple, HP, Eastman Kodak, Ebay, Motorola and surprise, surprise, The News Corp., parent company of FOX News.

What does Jon Stewart of the Daily Show have say about this?
"This is the proposed 'terror mosque.' We know that it's a terror mosque, because the money may be coming from a bad guy, who definitely owns part of Fox News. Now we know that he's a bad guy, because we just heard it on Fox News. And by hearing it on Fox News, watching Fox News, I'm increasing their viewership, and their advertising rates go up. Now part of that money goes to the bad guy we learned about on Fox, because he's their part-owner, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, allowing him then to 'make it rain,' so to speak, on the terror mosque.

"My point is this. If we want to cut off funding to the terror mosque, we must, together as a nation, STOP WATCHING FOX! It's the only way! Using their reasoning, it's the only way to cut off the revenue stream to these 'bad dudes.'"

Watch the whole thing


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Bush Tax Cuts

Remember the Bush tax cuts? No, I don't really either. At my income level, the tax cut was near invisible. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, and they were for the wealthy, are soon set to expire. Conservatives want you to think President Obama wants the tax cuts to end for everyone, but he doesn't. Ninety-eight percent of us get to keep the new tax brackets and the other 2% keep paying. At least, that's the plan.

Paul Krugman has a must read opinion piece in today's NYT's. Krugman reminds us that Republicans wrote the tax cut law so it would expire soon. Why did they do that? Two reasons, first to hide the cost of the tax cuts and second, so they could pass the law using reconciliation (the procedure Democrats aren't supposed to use to pass laws).

Making all the tax cuts permanent would cost 680 billion dollars over ten years. Conservatives want to spend that much money without making spending cuts. After all, tax cuts pay for themselves in conservative-world.

Right now, I'm guessing the Conservatives win on this issue. The tax cuts will be extended for all because Democrats are spineless and because it's what the rich want. And, the rich give the money to elect the politicians.

I fear for our economic future. I'm actually starting to believe I need to get what money I have and put it someplace my mattress.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The New Culture Wars

Remember the old conservative culture wars? Abortion, flag-burning, school prayer, gun rights and the Ten Commandments in government buildings? It kind of makes one yearn for the good old days. Promises were made to the religious right by conservatives, but the conservatives couldn't deliver. The above conservative culture issues seemed to have gone away because they aren't as effective in getting votes as they used to be.

Now we have culture wars II. The new culture war is based on the premise that you have to be afraid of the people who aren't like you, usually brown people. Immigrant anchor babies, immigrant terrorist babies, Mosque construction at ground zero by terrorist supporting muslims, and the double whammy of having a President who is not only a muslim, but wasn't even born in the USA.

And, instead of proposing new Constitutional amendments to ban flag-burning and make abortion illegal, the conservatives are now proposing that we repeal some of the Bill of Rights.

This is identity politics at it's worst. Be afraid. Be very afraid (usually of dark skinned people). The white Christians in the USA are being persecuted. Vote for us before it's too late and the muslims take over. Being in the middle of a severe economic crisis doesn't help. Someone needs to be blamed. How about blaming the guy who is a muslim and wasn't born in the USA.

This strategy is effective and will garner votes for the the short term.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Doug Hoffman, Castro, and Michael Moore

I saw Doug Hoffman in the Blue Moon Cafe this morning discussing strategy with a little weird guy. Couldn't really hear what they were saying but I did hear three words clearly. "Democrats", "Castro" and "Michael Moore". Hmmmm, an anti-HealthCare ad or an ad about how democrats hate capitalism? Just can't decide.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Just a quick question for Republican women

Are Republican women embarrassed at all that Sharon Angle, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin seem to be the best the GOP has to offer in female politicians?

Fox News and the Republican Party

Anyone with half a brain has known that Fox News has been an advertising arm for the Republican party for years. Now, Fox News (News Corp)has decided they would come clean today. BTW, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is Fox's No. 2 shareholder, so I hope he gets his share of influence in the GOP.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Dunning-Kruger effect

Bertrand Russell wrote The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Charles Darwin wrote Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. Russell and Darwin had noticed what's now called the Dunning-Kruger effect. The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias. It's why many incompetent people are very confident but their very incompetence denies them the capacity to realize their mistakes.

Dunning and Kruger put it this way: Overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it."

My interest in this phenomenon is due to comments to a recent article in the ADE concerning Bill McKibben's talk about climate change at Paul Smiths College.

The climate change "deniers" (skeptics?) seem to be 100% certain that humans are not responsible for recent warming trends. It's a conspiracy, it's the Sun, it's always happened, it's volcano's, man is too puny etc. etc. etc. Forget the scientific evidence, forget that most of their "explanations" have been investigated and found not to be contributing to the warming trend.

Am I 100% certain the climate is warming? Well, it's rare in science to be 100% certain about anything, so of course there are doubts. But all sorts of scientific evidence point to a warming trend due to increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Until there is good evidence that shows this is not the case, I guess I'll stick with the climate is changing crowd.

George Carlin, one of my favorites, once said something like: Imagine the average American...half of them are dumber than that. I'm afraid when it comes to certain scientific theories, it's a bit more than half.

You can read more about the Dunning-Kruger effect in this NY Times science article.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

There's Nothing to Fear.......or is there?

It's been a long hot summer. In fact, it's likely to be the hottest summer, if not the hottest year on record. But not only the temperature made this summer hot. We've had lots of fear-mongering about brown people. A white hating Ag department official, Arizona going to hell in a hand basket due to Hispanic looking persons, the New Black Panthers are plotting revolution against whites, beheadings in Arizona, anchor babies, terrorist babies, evil dangerous mosques being built on the 911 site in NYC etc. Will this be known as the Summer of Fear Mongering?

But do you want to hear something that actually should scare you a little? How about the discovery of a new antibiotic resistance gene that makes almost all beta-lactam antibiotics obsolete?

Beta-lactam antibiotics are antibiotics that contain a beta-lactam nucleus in their molecular structure, eg. penicillin and its derivatives, cephalosporins, and carbapenems.

Beta-lactam antibiotics are resistant to beta-lactamase, an enzyme produced by some bacterial strains which can break open the beta-lactam ring and render the antibiotic useless.

Carbapenems are a group of beta-lactam antibiotics that are highly resistant to beta-lactamase and is the last drug of choice to treat some bacterial infections. But now we have a brand new bacterial antibiotic resistance enzyme encoded by the New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) gene.

The appearance of the gene was first seen in New Delhi about a year ago. In the last year it has been isolated from bacteria in the UK, USA, and Africa. There are no current antibiotics to combat bacteria containing the NDM-1 gene. And, the gene is rapidly spreading via horizontal gene transfer.

Here is a nice quote from a recent paper Lancet paper: "Enterobacteriaceae with NDM-1 carbapenemases are highly resistant to many antibiotic classes and potentially herald the end of treatment with β-lactams, fluoroquinolones, and aminoglycosides—the main antibiotic classes for the treatment of Gram-negative infections."

So, if we are really unlucky, we might have real problems to deal with in the near future.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Black People are Gonna Get You

One thing always seems to get the vote for the GOP. It worked in the 60's and it is working now.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GOP: Keep Tax Cuts for the rich but we can't afford to help jobless

Seriously, GOPer's want to spend $68 billion per year on tax cuts for the rich and at the same time tell people who are out of work that we can't afford an extension to unemployment benefits. What is really shocking is that the GOP will likely gain seats in the next Congress. What is wrong with the American voter?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fixing Social Security

According to the Congressional Budget Office we have several choices.

I favor taxing covered earnings up to $250,000 without an increase in benefits or better yet, taxing covered earnings above the taxable maximum without an increase in benefits. Why? Because higher income earning men live longer than lower income earning men. Seems only fair that those that are going to live longer should have to pay more into the system.


Who Owns You?

I do believe wilfull ignorance is a major problem in the USA. People can't think critically, they cannot evaluate evidence (facts) that is staring them in the face. And, even worse, even if they see and understand the facts, a majority will not accept those facts. We are getting screwed by a big Red, White and Blue Dick.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It Sounds True; It Should be True: Therefore it IS True

Ever hear of Ted Barber? He's runnin fer Congress down home in Alabamy. He's the guy running the campaign commercials where he has conversations with ghosts of the founding fathers. He ran the commercial claiming we are all going to end up slaves or in nazi-like concentration camps.

Today he writes an editorial in the Washington Post defending his positions.

Over the past 18 months, the federal government has sought to seize or has seized control of the health-care industry, the financial industry, the mortgage industry, the automobile industry, student loans, broadband Internet and the energy sector through cap-and-trade legislation.

Some questions. Has the federal government seized control of the health-care industry? If they did, they used mostly Republican ideas to do so. Have they "seized" control of the finance industry? Explain how please. Where is the evidence for what Barber wrote in the above paragraph? What are the facts? Do facts even matter anymore?

A few days ago, Former Gov. Mitt Romney wrote an editorial in the Washington Post describing how bad President Obama's new strategic arms limitation treaty with Russia is. Paragraph after paragraph of demonstrable misinformation and lies were written. Facts did not matter. It sounded true, it should be true, so it is true. No matter the facts.

Sadly, at least 40% of us believe in this crap. It sounds true, it should be true, so it is true. Facts no longer matter.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Republicans for Corporations

Not that there are any new revelations here. The Republican party has not made a secret of their support of corporations over people...ever. One example not mentioned is the funding of the finance reform bill to be voted on shortly. Democrats want banks to pay for it. Republicans want to use TARP (taxpayers dollars) funds to pay for it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?

Joseph Nye Welsh was the lead counsel for the US Army when it was being investigated by the infamous Sen. Joseph McCarthy. When Sen. McCarthy accused one of Welsh's junior attorneys of being a communist, Welsh eventually said: At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

I wonder when someone will state some similar phrase to Republicans that are defending British Petroleum, especially concerning the $20 billion escrow account?

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) doesn't want to live in a country that "shakes down" private corporations. He has actually apologized to BP.

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) sees the escrow account as a "redistribution of wealth" fund.

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) says the fund was obtained using a "Chicago-style shakedown".

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) is worried the fund will hurt BP's profits.

Rep. John Boehner thinks the America taxpayer should fund some of the relief.

GOP candidate Sharon Angle says we need further deregulation of the oil industry.

Tea Party candidate Rand Paul stated that it is un-American to criticize BP.

And, not surprisingly, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are both opposed to the escrow account, as is Dick Army, one of the puppetmasters behind the tea party.

I wonder how many people in the Gulf states agree with the views of these people. And, why do the above individuals seem to favor BP?

In one way the views of the above people aren't really surprising. Shortly after President Obama was elected, the GOP decided that they would oppose ANYTHING that President Obama or Democrats supported. I also believe that these views will catch on with a good portion of the GOP and conservatives.

Unfortunately, the tea partiers and other right-wing nuts will suck of these views adding to the support of the BP supporters. The views stated by the above individuals will actually help them and not hurt them.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Loony Left

Rand Paul is blaming the "loony left" for his problems concerning his views on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But just who is the "loony left"? For Paul and probably most conservatives, any Democrat would be included in the loony left group. But there is no question that there does exist a "loony left".

For example, those people who do not "believe" in the protective capacity of vaccines. Or, believe that vaccines are responsible for autism. This group of people consist of those "new age" liberals that probably accept the evidence for global climate change but somehow can't accept the evidence for the usefulness of vaccines.

The Huffington Post is one place these new age loony leftists seem to get their information. Take for example this post by "integrative physician" Dr. Frank Lipman on the usefulness of the swine flu vaccine. Dr. Lipman questioned the swine flu vaccine's safety. Right off this indicates to me the good Doctor does not understand how flu vaccines are manufactured.

For some reason the loony left seems to be very suspicious of science based medicine. Many members of the loony left prefer to use "alternative medicine" such as homeopathy, naturopathy or hydrotherapy.

Another group of the loony left are those that want the right to get sick from drinking raw milk. Raw milk is regulated, as are many other food products, because there is a possibility of infecting yourself with some dangerous pathogens when drinking unpasteurized milk. The loony left is willing to take that chance however.

Then there is the hypocrit group of the loony left. These liberals want the US to be self sufficient in energy. But, not if it ruins the "view". Or, they combine the "view" criticism with health issues, as has been done by Dr. Nina Pierpont.

Now don't get me wrong. Show me convincing scientific evidence that raw milk is safe, that vaccines cause autism, that you can be healed with water and that wind turbine syndrome is an actual danger to health and I'll be the first to join the loony left.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Feingold on War

How many Senators will join Sen. Feingold in asking for an Afghanistan timetable? One trillion dollars spent on war over the last ten years. Thousands dead. For what?

No More Soldiers Should Die in Afghanistan

Memorial Day should be an anti-war day. Yes, fallen (dead) soldiers should be remembered. But wouldn't it be far better not to have dead soldiers in the first place? This is especially true over the last ten years. Think of the soldiers lives wasted in Iraq. And, for what? Can anyone answer that question? Think of the ongoing war in Afghanistan. When was the last time in history that Afghanistan was brought under foreign control? The Russians couldn't do it, why do we think we can do it (and why do we want to)? Again, can anyone explain what we are doing in Afghanistan? Fighting Al Queda? Then why aren't we fighting in Pakistan or Somalia?

We need to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible. Let's not have to remember anymore dead soldiers from those worthless causes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

More Krauthammer Bloviating

Today Charlie explains why the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is the responsibility of environmentalist. The enviromentalist have prevented drilling on land and in shallower waters, forcing oil companies into deep water drilling. This by the way is pretty much the current conservative talking point.

Charlie is wise in saying
Obama is no more responsible for the damage caused by this than Bush was for the damage caused by Katrina
. He is saying that, because unlike many conservatives, he realizes that by calling the oil spill disaster "Obama's Katrina", he is admitting that the Bush Administration screwed up the response to hurrican Katrina. And we cannot have that.

I'm will to place a good amount of the blame on Obama. President Obama came into office knowing the Minerals Management Service was basically the oil companies regulating themselves. He said he would fix that situation and he did not.

But who is really to blame? Where is the personal responsibility? Who wants cheap gasoline? We do. "Drill baby drill was the mantra of the majority over the last 18 months. Politicians, wanting to keep their jobs, make decisions based on keeping those that want cheap gasoline happy. Hell, even President Obama caved on not allowing deep water drilling.

So there is plenty of blame to go around. BP for being crappy engineers (actually, more likely the fault of BP accountants). The MMS for not doing their job of regulating. President Obama for not fixing the MMS. But let's face it. We all need to take a little responsibilty because we don't want to pay what everyone else in the world pays for fuel.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

America Speaking Out

Have you heard about the Republican website "America Speaking Out"? Here is your chance to tell Congress what you think, what you want, and how to solve America's problems. Great idea....right?

Well, before you answer that question I suggest you visit the site and read some of the comments. Now I admit I'm not the best writer around. But, I can string enough words together to get my point across in a semi-coherent manner. I'm not the greatest speller around, but I know how to use a dictionary.

A good majority of comments on "America Speaking Out" are poorly reasoned, misspelled, and consist of just 'good ol' common sense'.

Some suggestions: repeal child labor laws, children these days are too coddled. Or, deport the illegals but tatoo a big letter 'I' on their chest before they are deported. And, where would we be without the Obama is not a citizen comments.

The comments on the website speak volumes about the makeup of the Republican/Conservative party.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Andrew Wakefield Story

Dr. Andrew Wakefield of MMR vaccine causes autism fame has been struck from the medical register in the UK. I just thought Wakefield was a dishonest researcher until I read the "facts in the case" which can be found here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Rage is Not about Health Care - Part 2

Are Tea Partiers Racist? It seems not all of them, but a recent survey indicates a substantial proportion of Tea Partiers have racist sentiments.

You do have to ask what the tea party "rage" is about. It can't be income taxes because most of us got an income tax reduction under President Obama. Nor can it be about the federal deficit or debt or size of the government. If that was the case, we would have seen plenty of tea party demonstrations during the GW Bush years. Is it about government being intrusive in our lives? If it is, where is the outrage over the new Arizona "show me your papers" law?

Signs carried by tea party demonstrators give us a hint that many of them have problems with non-white people.

So what do the latest survey results tell us?

Well, the first part of the above graph gives us a hint. A substantial portion of tea partiers (73%)believe that blacks don't try hard enough compared with 33% of those who oppose the tea party.

Sixty percent of die hard tea partiers also believe that "we have gone too far in pushing equal rights in this country". This attitude compares with 23% of tea party skeptics. Seventy seven percent of tea party skeptics believe that "If people were treated more equally, we'd have many fewer problems in this country", compared with only 31% of tea baggers.

The tea party tells us they are upset about big government and government intrusion into our lives. Unfortunately, 56% of tea baggers disagree that "The government can detain people as long as they wish without trial". Ninety percent of us non-tea baggers disagree with this statement.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Essential Fatty Acids - Part 1

Fatty acids are organic, carboxylic acids consisting of long, unbranched chains of hydrocarbons. Fatty acids can be either saturated, with no double or triple bonds (top left), or unsaturated, containing one or more (polyunsaturated) double or triple bonds (top right).

Unsaturated fatty acids can be found in either the cis or trans configuration.

In the cis configuration, the hydrogen atoms are found on the same side of the double bond. In the trans configuration, the two hydrogen atoms are on the opposite side of the double bond. Fatty acids in the cis congiguration are bent or kinked. This affects their melting temperature resulting in the fats being liquid at room temperature.

The human body can make most of the fatty acids it needs. However, there are two essential fatty acids the body cannot make. These fatty acids, linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids, must be ingested because humans lack the enzymes necessary for producing double bonds at the Omega-3 and Omega-6 positions. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are made from the two essential fatty acids. These acids are catagorized based on their physiological properties using the n-x nomenclature.

The top fatty acid pictured is named using the conventional nomenclature for fatty acids where the first double bond is counted from the carboxy end of the molecule (the COOH end). The Omega-x (or w-x)nomenclature is the opposite. The location of the first double bond is counted from the methyl end of the molecule. In the above case, the first double bond is located at the 3rd carbon and the second double bond is located at the 6th carbon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Should We Let the Bush Tax Cuts Expire?

All the data indicates that keeping the Bush tax cuts will only allow the deficit to grow larger and larger. The Bush tax cuts are the largest contributor to large budget deficits. Who would have guessed?

Are Americans Childish?

Who's at fault for our current political and economic state? Is it the out-of-control partisanship in Congress? Is it the Senate filibuster, which now requires a supermajority for anything to get done in the Senate? Is it President Obama for enacting huge stimulus and health care spending (remember he ran and got elected on those platforms).

Over a year ago, a majority of Americans supported the stimulus spending. Now, a majority say we are spending too much. We seem to want help for unemployed workers but at the same time we denigrate them as people who live off government handouts.

How about the current financial re-regulation proposals? We were incensed that bailed out financial companies got bailed out and CEO's got huge bonuses. Now it seems we don't want financial re-regulation - or at least the conservatives don't.

We are upset about National Debt and budget deficits, but we can't seem to explain what exactly we want to cut to reduce deficits. Don't cut medicare, or social security, and certainly not the defense budget. Balance the budget by cutting medical lawsuits or cutting government "waste". And, cut taxes at the same time. Really, that's crazy talk and we know it.

Now many want to cut the stimulus or stop it. But at the same time we want spending on infrastructure - roads, bridges etc. Cut the stimulus, but extend unemployment benefits. Make up your minds.

What do we want? Do we want a smaller government or not? If we do, we need to cut spending. I've yet to have a conservative politician tell me what should be cut. They will tell you they support spending cuts and smaller government, but ask them where they propose to cut spending and you hear crickets chirping. The fact is, you don't win elections by promising to cut medicare or social security.

Our deficits are huge. Anyone with even half a brain knows that at some point taxes will need to be raised to balance the budget and pay down debt.

I'm not sure the current state of our government is the fault of politicians. We get to vote politicians out every 2-6 years if we don't like what they are doing.

To see who is at fault for the current political and economic climate - look in the mirror.

"The Rage is Not About Health Care" (nor taxes)

A few weeks ago, New York Times columnist wrote an interesting opinion piece "The Rage Is Not About Health Care". For almost 3 weeks I've been mulling over commenting on the article.

Upon passage of the Health Care Reform bill, conservative heads everywhere started exploding. John Boehner's face almost turned red, if that's possible, from anger. Tea Partier's spat hateful comments at Congressmen Lewis and Frank. References to President Obama being Hitler, Stalin, Lenin etc. continued. Bricks were thrown through office windows, a gas line cut on the house of a congressman's brother and death threats were phoned in to congressional offices. As Rich pointed out, it was a "small scale mimicry of Kristallnacht".

What exactly did Democrats do to incite this anger? They campaigned on passing health care reform legislation. They continually folded to conservative demands and modified the HCR bill until it was a mirror image of Mitt Romney's health care reform bill in Massachusetts. Hell, the individual mandate was a conservative idea!

As Rich points out, the anger over this issue is similar to that over the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I agree. But like Rich says, the rage is not about HCR. The rage started shortly after President Obama was elected. In fact, there was plenty of rage against candidate Obama at Palin rallies well before he was elected.

Here is a key sentence in Rich's column.
The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House - topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman - would sow fears of disenfranchisment among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play.
Rich points out that these are the people Tea Partier's want to "take our country back" from.

Is this racism, sexism, bigotry? I don't know. But the white anglosaxon protestant needs to realize that the demographics of the US is changing. Most young people are no longer racist or intolerant. The mostly white and republican Tea Party members need to understand that they are rapidly becoming a minority group, at least by race.

Rich also pointed out something I didn't know.
The Republicans haven't had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have only had three in total since 1935 (my emphasis)
No, the rage is not about health care, or taxes, or spending. It's about the fear of becoming a minority. It's about race.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

100,000 Visits

It has taken a little over 4 years, but sometime tonight or tomorrow I will have my 100,000th visitor. Thank you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Racist Running for NY Gov

They tell me that the Tea Party is not racist. Maybe they're not. But some of their political candidates are racist. The above picture was emailed to political and business associates of Carl Paladino, the Tea-Party-backed guy running for governor of New York.

When asked about the emailed pictures (there are many others) Paladino had a simple reply. It's the Democrats fault.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Next Supreme Court Justice

Here are the rules for President Obama in selecting the next Supreme Court justice.

First, she/he must strictly interpret the Constitution and not be an "activist judge". None of this overturning 100 years of legal precedence allowing corporations to finance elections.

Second, she/he cannot be a liberal. Only conservative Presidents are allowed to select conservative justices. President Obama must pick someone who is right-of- center, that is plenty liberal enough.

Third she/he shouldn't be too smart. Smart people are "elites". We need someone with common sense, like a member of the tea party. Pick someone with the brain power of a, I don't know, Clarence Thomas?

Fourth she/he should not be a she or a minority. White men rule.

Fifth he needs to consult with the leaders of the conservatives...Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity before he makes any decision.

However, even if President Obama follows the above rules, he can be certain that his nominee will face a filibuster.

Like Ezra Klein says
President Obama could nominate the guy on the Quaker Oats box and Glenn Beck would find a way to connect him to Trotsky on his blackboard ("you know who else liked oatmeal!?").
Since we know Republicans are going to filibuster anyone who President Obama nominates, my suggestion is to pick a young, far-left, highly qualified black woman. It would be fun to watch Republican heads explode.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

What's Happened to the GOP?

I stumbled across this piece by Chris Curry at Here is a very small sample of his post.
Then something happened in the 1990s. The leaders of the GOP grew belligerent. They became too religious, almost zealots. They became intolerant. They began searching for purity in Republican thought and doctrine. Ideology blinded them. I continued to vote Republican, but with a certain unease. Deep down I knew that a schism happened between the modern Republican Party and the one I grew up with. During the fight over the impeachment of President Clinton, the ugly face of the Republican Party was brought to the surface. Empty rhetoric, ideological intolerance, vengeance, and religious zealotry became the common currency. Suddenly, if you are pro-choice, you could not be a Republican. If you are for smart and sensible taxes to balance out the budget, you could not be a Republican. If you are pro-civil rights, you could not be a Republican.

It started with minorities: they left the party. Then women; they divorced the GOP and sent it to sleep on the couch. Then, the young folks; they left and are leaving the Republican Party in droves. Then, someone stood up and told my niece and my grandchild that they are not fully Americans — just second class Americans because they are homosexual. They wished hell and damnation upon my loved ones just because they are different. Are we led by priests or are we led by rational politicians? Now, we have became the party of the Old Straight White Folks. We should rename the Republican Party the OSWF rather than the GOP.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Feds Make $8 Billion Profit

So the Federal government bailed out Citigroup to the tune of 45 billion dollars. Citigroup is raising $20 Billion to pay back the loan portion of the bailout. But what about the 25 billion dollars in common stock that the (we) Federal government owns. Well, it turns out they are going to sell it for 33 billion dollars - an $8 billion profit.

That's socialism for you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who Are the Tea Partiers

A Quinnipiac University national poll released today gives us some idea. Although it's really no surprise.

Looking at voters who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement:

•74 percent are Republicans or independent voters leaning Republican;
•16 percent are Democrats or independent voters leaning Democratic;
•5 percent are solidly independent;
•45 percent are men;
•55 percent are women;
•88 percent are white;
•77 percent voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008;
•15 percent voted for President Barack Obama.

72% of tea baggers have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin.

So the Tea Party is basically made up of very conservative members of the Republican party (the base)who are upset that the Bush years did not turn out the way they hoped and are pissed now that Democrats hold the reins of power.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google the Adirondacks!

Google the Adirondacks has a "mission to promote the greater tri-lakes region as the best location for the Google Fiber Experiment". Go there immediately and add your comments in support of Google choosing the Adirondacks for their fiber experiment.

While you're at it visit the Google the Adirondacks Facebook page and become a fan. Let's all lobby Google now!

Everyone Loves a Winner

Yesterday a sizeable number of people did not support the health care reform bill. Today, there is a whole new picture.
By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as "enthusiastic" or "pleased," while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."
I'm willing to bet there are a significant number of people in that 49% who did not support the Bill yesterday. Then there are likely a significant number of people who have a lets wait and see attitude. Others who were "opposed" to the Bill were progressives who didn't think it went far enough. There is still a large group of people who bought into the lies and misconceptions about the Bill. Many of them will soon see that there are no death panels. In any case, some people just love being on the winning side and I expect support of the passage of HCR will continue to rise.


You may not like the "progressive" politics, but "The Story of Stuff" does make you think.

Are Federal Taxes Too High?

Complaints about taxes are everywhere. But are Federal taxes too high? According to the Tax Policy Center only 4 countries had taxes lower than the USA in 2006: Japan, Korea, Turkey and Mexico. All taxes, collected in the USA, accounted for about 28% of GDP compared with 36% of OECD countries. Many countries in Europe exceed 40% of GDP in taxes. Those are the countries that provide lot's of services to their citizens. The difference seems to be in how taxes are levied. Personal income taxes comprise 36% of US tax revenues. Most other countries use a "consumption tax" as a source of federal revenue. Surprisingly, corporate taxes in the USA account for only 12% of tax revenue in the US, only 1% more than most members of the OECD.

Where Were the Republicans?

Richard Cohen, not one of my favorites, writes this:

Anger comes from fear. What was once a white Protestant nation is changing hue and religion. It is no accident that racial epithets were yelled at black lawmakers on Saturday in Washington and a kind of venom even gets exclaimed from the floor of the Congress: "You lie!" "Baby killer!" The protesters were protesting health-care legislation. But they feared they were losing their country.

I think this is right. The tea party is a perfect example of the above. They are mostly white, middle-aged to older individuals who are fearful of change. Our nation is changing and persons of a conservative bent take change poorly.

Social security was passed with 81 republican votes in the House and 16 votes in the Senate. Only 6 republican senators voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Medicare was supported by 13 republican senators. The health care reform act passed without the support of a single republican.

So what was different in that vote? The answer is pretty simple. There are no longer republicans in the GOP like those that voted for SS, or Civil Rights, or Medicare. Those were RINO (republicans in name only) republicans. The Republican party today is made up of fearmongers, doomsayers, and politicians who care more about getting re-elected than doing the right thing.

See the post immediately below. Republicans have decided that the way to regain control of government is to obstruct every Democratic proposal, then run a campaign on how Democrats were unable to pass any legislation. It may work in the short run. But remember, the nation is getting less white, less racist, less religious (albeit very slowly) and more tolerant.

Republicans only need to keep using current tactics to eventually destroy their party.

Monday, March 22, 2010

5 Year Blog Anniversary

I missed my own blog anniversary. First post, March 10, 2005.

The Republican Plan to Destroy President Obama

You can read the whole thing here, but this is what stands out:

The GOP game is as simple as it is hypocritical. First: Reject every Democratic proposal — including some of the exact same initiatives that Republicans championed under Bush — while branding the consensus-seeking Obama as a radical leftist. Second: Stoke populist fury over exploding deficits, even though they're the fallout of eight catastrophic years of Republican rule. (President Bush inherited a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion and left behind a forecasted deficit of $3 trillion.) Three: Promise to fix what's wrong with Washington — despite having waged an all-out war to make government appear as broken as possible.

Wait for the Senate reconciliation vote on health care reform. All of a sudden Republicans are going to start supporting ideas that Democrats want removed from the Senate version of the health care bill. Republicans now want to make sure those items in the bill they were complaining about last week.....remain in the bill. The whole idea, of course, is to keep those special handouts to Florida and Nebraska in the Bill, so they can continue to complain about them.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

FOX News - Nonpartisan and Fair

Decide for yourself.

Why Do Americans Have So Much Hate?

Here are the tea baggers upset with a man with Parkinson's disease. No hand outs here, you have to work for what everything you "git". No compassion whatsoever.

Teabaggers kind of remind me of the residents of South Park.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Mumps is a contagious disease caused by infection with a virus which belongs to the genus Paramyxovirus. The most common symptom of mumps is swollen parotid glands which are the large salivary glands located anterior and inferior to the ear. The mumps virus can be transmitted via the respiratory route (coughing), kissing, and contact with saliva. The virus also survives for short period on surfaces and can be spread by contact.

The incubation period for the mumps virus is 14-25 days with a 3-5 day prodromal period. Involvement of the of the central nervous system is common, but often asymptomatic in children. CNS involvement rarely manifests itself as encephalitis in adults. Shedding of virus in the saliva begins about 6 days prior to onset of symptoms and continues for another 5-9 days.

In postpubertal males, inflammation of the testicles occurs in about 50% of those infected. Sterility rarely results but testicular atrophy is more common.

The mumps virus can also infect the pancreas resulting in the disturbance of endocrine and exocrine functions. This can result in diabetic manifestations and has been hypothesized to be a cause of juvenile insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

The mumps paramyxovirus is enveloped and consists of a single negative sense segment of RNA, 15-19 kb in length containing 6-10 genes. More information on the genome of the mumps virus can be found here.

Mumps can be serologically diagnosed using ELISA to detect mumps-specific antibodies or using RT polymerase chain reaction to detect viral particles in the saliva.

Treatment consists of bed rest and over-the-counter drugs to relieve pain. Aspirin should not be taken, especially in those below the age of 20 due to a link to Reye Syndrome.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Good Question for Journalists

Why has our profession, through its general silence -- or only spasmodic protest -- helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?
Howell Raines

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Proposed Budget Plans

You have to admire the courage of Rep. Paul Ryan's roadmap to fiscal sanity. The guy is actually willing to propose privatizing social security, cutting medicare and cutting taxes (mostly for the rich...see above chart). No wonder other Republicans aren't coming out of the woodwork supporting his propsals. But, he sort of has the right idea.

Here are my budget proposals. First, cut the defense budget 100 billion dollars a year. We spend more on defense than most of the rest of the world combined.

Second, institute a war tax to pay for our ongoing wars. It should be a tax that completely covers waging two wars. Then let's see how much support American's have for those wars.

Third, raise the retirement age at which you can draw full social security. It was raised some time ago to 66. If that one year age increase made such a big difference, an increase to age 67 should be helpful. Also, increase the amount of salary that is taxed for social security.

Fourth, Medicare.....Institute Medicare for all (single-payer). Most of the developed (and even some of the undeveloped) world has done this sucessfully. Why spend so much money on defending our fearful population from terrorist attacks when thousands are dying every year from lack of adequate health care.

Fifth, institute an immediate program to increase the number of college graduates in the USA. Our country is rapidly falling behind as the "go to" country for science and engineering. We need a plan like those put in place after WWII and after the Soviets launched Sputnik.