Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Where the Right is Wrong

In a Blog titled Why Barack Obama Won’t be President, Adam Yoshida shows how he, a conservative blogger, has no moral decency or general ethics, but at least he is honest about his dishonesty and posts it on his blog. Adam shows no shame by spreading rumors he doesn't even think are true.

"And, while I’m at it, I’ll also ad that there are (unconfirmed) rumours that Obama himself is secretly a Muslim. Now, I don’t believe them but, if Obama ever runs for President, I won’t mind spreading them."

First, it should make no difference if Obama was Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddist, or any other religion. Just like it should make no difference if the president is a man or a woman, black or white, Asian or Hispanic. An American in an American.

Second, what also disturbs me is that I have had many good discussions with conservative bloggers out there. While I don't agree with many conservative positions, I respect those who are open to constructive discourse. Adam sullies the name of those conservatives who actually do want to build a better nation and can see beyond hate. Adam - Check out Political Musings or The Left Ain't Right to see how other conservative bloggers can get their points across without spreading lies.

Republican Trickery

Word has it that indictments will be handed down for James Tobin, the head of Bush's former New England campaign chairman. Tobin and crew were caught jamming Democratic phone lines in order to disrupt "get Out The Vote" efforts in New Hampshire in the 2002 elections. Two of Tobin's other cohorts have already been indicted. More to be posted as news is released.

The Valerie Plame Connection

Valerie Plame... The investigation in regards to who in the White House leaked her name is still ongoing. Two journalists are now facing jail time for contempt charges for refusing to divulge the name of the leaker/s in court. There is the question, should a journalists be forced to testify and break a vow of confidentiality? In analysis of this particular case, I believe the court should be allowed to hold the two in contempt if they do not divulge the leaker's name. This is why:

The public good is served by journalists being able to claim immunity from being forced to divulge who a confidential informant is. It allows an inside informant to become a whistle blower about governmental wrongdoing without fear of repercussions and allows wrongdoing to be exposed. 49 states and the District of Columbia have such "shield" laws intended to protect journalists from being forced to divulge confidential informants. Without this protection for reporters, the Deep throat would probably never come forward, many politicians taking bribes would never be caught, etc. But the case at hand is very different because the media is being used to commit a crime, not stop one. In most cases, the informant is trying to expose a crime or general wrongdoing within the government. Here, the person or persons who exposed Valerie Plame were not trying to correct an injustice, but used the media to create one, and in the process, may have committed a crime, not expose one. The reason the shield exists is to protect the public good, but nothing in the public good is protected when the reporter is protecting a potential criminal. The outing of Valerie Plame did not expose corruption or any other wrongdoing. It outed a CIA operative and it jeopardized national security. The immunity a journalist enjoys cannot be absolute or else abuse will ensue (as seen here). The Courts should not protect the media and the media should not protect the informants when the media is being used as a tool to commit a crime.

Monday, November 29, 2004

So Much for Republican Bipartisanship

The call for bipartisanship didn't last too long in the GOP. Hastert, the Majority leader, has stated that no bill will pass, even if it has the majority of Congress wanting to vote for it, unless the majority of Republicans also want to pass it. Of the 535 members of Congress, 421 members could support a bill and it would still be blocked by the GOP leadership. That means 78% of congress could want a bill to pass, but it would never come up for a vote because 114 Republicans don't like it. So much for representative democracy...

Hastert Launches a Partisan Policy

By Charles Babington, Washington Post Staff Writer

In scuttling major intelligence legislation that he, the president and most lawmakers supported, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert last week enunciated a policy in which Congress will pass bills only if most House Republicans back them, regardless of how many Democrats favor them... (Full Story)

Halliburton Loses More of Your Tax Dollars

Does this really surprise anyone. I admit that things are a mess over there but this is ridiculous. Take a look at you office space... look at all the things on you desk... your computer, your phone, papers, documents, stapler, tape dispenser, etc, etc. Now imagine you lost a third of them. Your boss would fire you in a heart beat. I deal with a lot of documents (and I mean a lot). If I were to lose a third of them, not only would I lose my job, but I would probably be sued for professional malpractice. Halliburton has had so many problems but no one seems to care in the Bush Administration. They fleeced the American tax payers, they were involved in bribes. And yet, they have not even been given a slap on the wrist as of yet. Under federal law, if there are under criminal investigation, the government should be withholding 15% of the payments. Is this being done? no... I suppose that is why the FBI has opened an inquiry into possible favoritism from the Bush administration.

Audit: Halliburton Lost Track of Property
By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A third or more of the government property Halliburton Co. was paid to manage for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq could not be located by auditors, investigative reports to Congress show... (Full Story).

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving Thanks

Well, I am out of here for the Thanksgiving holiday. I'll be back on Monday to keep my 4 or 5 readers informed and amused. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday. I will be giving thanks for the many blessings I have in my life. One of them will be for liberalism in America and all the good that it has brought to our country and to the thousands of Americans who have fought the good fight...


Mike gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Mike gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Mike's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Mike reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Mike dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Mike begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Mike's employer pays these standards because Mike's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Mike is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noontime and Mike needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Mike's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Mike's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Mike has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Mike and the
government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Mike is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired.His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Mike wouldn't have to.

Mike gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Mike enjoys throughout his day.

Mike agrees:
"We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Bush Gets No New Nukes

It doesn't help our efforts in non-proliferation by developing new "more usable" nuclear weapons. Cooler heads have prevailed on capital hill for at least a moment (but don't get me started on how some Republicans wanted access to our individual tax returns).

By Walter Pincus (Link)
Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - "Congress has eliminated the financing of research supported by President Bush into a new generation of nuclear weapons, including investigations into low-yield atomic bombs and an earth-penetrating warhead that could destroy weapons bunkers deep underground."

The Moral Values I Voted On

A lot has been said about the "moral values" vote this last election. These are one of the "moral values" I voted on. I could care less if two men get married, but I do care about a child that goes to bed hungry.

Report Examines Hunger in Families

WASHINGTON - More than 12 million families last year, about the same as in 2002, either didn't have enough food or worried about being able to feed everyone, the government reported Friday.

In about one-third of these 12.6 million families, or about 3.9 million, at least one member experienced hunger because he or she couldn't afford enough food at some time during the last year, said the annual Agriculture Department report.

The other two-thirds of families avoided hunger by reducing the variety of foods they ate, participating in federal food assistance programs or getting supplies from community food banks and emergency kitchens, it said.

The percentage of households last year that either experienced hunger or worried about it was 11.2 percent, a statistically insignificant change from the 11.1 percent of households recorded in 2002, said the report, based on a Census Bureau survey of about 60,000 households.

The report originally was scheduled for release in late October, but was delayed, prompting the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to accuse the administration of withholding bad news. A department spokeswoman said at the time that researchers had questions and wanted additional time for review.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Rummy Vs. Intelligence Reform Bill

If you have not heard, the House is blocking the passage of the Intelligence Reform Bill (Link). The problems lays within the turf battle between the Pentagon and who would control of the budget of a new intelligence department. Bush is pushing for the bill... Cheney is pushing for the bill... But Rumsfeld, who heads the pentagon, is the person holding up the bill (Link)... How there there still a turf war going on? Why can't Bush get his troops in line on this one? Republicans control the Senate. Republicans control the House. Republicans Control the White House. Republicans control the Pentagon and they still can't protect the American people...

This is the most incompetent group of buffoons...

Civil Rights Enforcement Falls Under Bush's Watch

And they wonder why more minorities don't vote for Republicans...

Study: Civil rights enforcement falls WASHINGTON (AP)(Link) — Federal enforcement of civil rights laws has dropped sharply since 1999 even though the level of complaints received by the Justice Department has remained relatively constant, according a study released Sunday.
Criminal charges alleging civil rights violations were brought last year against 84 defendants, down from 159 in 1999, according to Justice Department data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

In addition, the study found that the number of times the FBI or other federal investigative agency recommended prosecution in civil rights cases has fallen by more than one-third, from more than 3,000 in 1999 to just more than 1,900 last year. Federal court data also show the government has sought fewer civil sanctions against civil rights violators.

The study's co-author, David Burnham of TRAC, said the results show that civil rights enforcement dropped across-the-board during President Bush's first term in office. The Justice Department enforces a wide range of civil rights laws ranging from guaranteeing fair housing access to prosecuting hate crimes.

"Collectively, some violators of the civil rights laws are not being dealt with by the government," Burnham said. "They've declined by a huge number of cases. This trend, we think, is significant."

It's unlikely that the decline has occurred because fewer civil rights violations are occurring, the study suggests. The number of complaints about possible violations received by the Justice Department has remained level at about 12,000 annually for each of the past five years.

The Justice Department had no comment about the TRAC study.

When he announced his resignation Nov. 9, Attorney General John Ashcroft listed as one of the department's accomplishments a statistic that showed the number of civil rights prosecutions was slightly higher over the past three years than the previous three-year period. He also said the Justice Department has tripled the number of defendants charged in human trafficking cases compared with the previous three years.

The TRAC report gives no conclusive reasons for the reduction in civil rights enforcement but speculates that it could have resulted from federal prosecutors and investigators having spent far more time than in previous years on terrorism cases in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Civil rights cases made up a tiny fraction of the Justice Department's total of 99,341 criminal prosecutions in 2003. The study found, however, that only civil rights and environmental prosecutions were down from 1999 to 2003 as the total caseload rose by about 10%.

By far the biggest criminal prosecution category is illegal drugs, at about 33,100 cases last year, followed by immigration, weapons violations, white-collar crime and others. Of the 84 civil rights cases brought in 2003, almost half involved allegations of violations by police officers, with 17 involving racial violence and nine others some form of slavery or involuntary servitude.

The study was based on data collected from the Justice Department, federal courts and congressional budget documents. It was funded in part by the Carnegie Corp., the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund and the John and James Knight Foundation.

Bush Looks at a Tax Hike on the MIddle Class

Bush, 20 days past his election to a second term, is already looking for ways to help the rich and screw the middle and lower classes (Link to story). One of the proposals being floated is eliminating all tax on investments. Touted as a way to spur the economy, this will actually be a tax break for the rich and a shit of the tax burden to the lower and middle class tax payers.

How his plan works? The tax on investment income would be eliminated. This would be a tax break for me and the small percentage of other Americans that have a stock portfolio that pays dividends or own stocks that appreciate in value. This would not affect the millions of Americans that have been saving for retirement by using a 401K or other retirement account because there is currently no tax on these accounts. So, I would pay no tax on the dividends I get from Microsoft, etc. But, I get no benefit for the stocks I hold in my 401K.

Does not seem so bad, right? Well, here is where the middle and lower class get screwed. In order to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthy, the government would raise taxes on the middle and lower class.

First, the state and local tax deduction you take on federal taxes would be eliminated. Currently, if you pay taxes on the state or local level, you can deduct this amount from the taxes you pay to the federal government, thus reducing your tax burden. Under Bush's plan, this would be tossed. This means that the millions of Americans who do not receive substantial stock dividends would be getting a tax hike while the few Americans who receive much of their income in stock dividends would be getting a tax cut. Unless you make more off of your stocks than you pay in state and local taxes, your taxes go up, not down. Essentially, if you work for a coproration that issues stock and pays a dividen, your hard work ends up putting more money in the pocket of a person who has done nothing more than have enough money to buy stock in your company. They didn't put in the hours, they didn't deal with the daily hassel, but they get the tax cut while you get the tax hike.

Second, the deduction business (large and small) are able to take for paying a portion of your health care insurance would be eliminated. This means that most employees would be forced to burden the entire cost of their health insurance instead of sharing it with your employer. This would cost working families thousands of dollars more in out of pocket cost each year. The hard working Americans who already struggle to pay health care costs would be the hardest hit.

Third, by eliminating the tax on investments, the incentive to buy municipal bonds is gone. Municipal bonds, which are tax free, are a way for local governments to raise money to pay for your local projects, such as building new and better sewage plants, school systems, roads, etc. Municipal bonds pay less interest to investors than traditional corporate bonds, but are attractive to high income investors because the income is non-taxable. Without this tax break incentive, local municipalities would have to either forego issuing new bonds or would have to raise the interest payments on the bonds to compete with the higher returns corporate bonds pay. In the end, municipalities would have to raise your taxes or use more taxpayer money to pay the increase interest to bond holders. Either way, there is less money for local projects. Municipal bonds are an essential tool for your local community to provide you with the services you need.

So, by far, the vast majority of Americans would be getting a tax hike while only a few would be getting a tax cut.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Moore vs. Coulter - Who Hates America More?

The other night I was having dinner with Michael Moore and Barbara Streisand in our favorite Upper West Side elitist French restaurant and drinking expensive imported French wine. We were having our monthly meeting where we sit around and plot how to outlaw God and replace school nurses with abortion Doctors. After dinner, we broke out a bottle of good Russian vodka to toast the good ol' days of the USSR and our regrets of not defecting to it before the wall came down. Sucking on cheaply produced Chinese filterless cigarettes, we drank and laughed the night away. Knowing the plight of the proletariat was only going to get worse under the crushing boot of Bush led bougiose capitalists, laughter has been a rare occurrence in our liberal circles, so we cherished every moment in our waning days of moral superiority. Around the point that we had drained a good two thirds of the bottle and our tongues were loose from the effects of clear and icy-sweet soviet nectar, I hit the two of them with the "big one." I asked them why they hated America so much? The conservatives had been pegging the two for years, but no one had ever given me a reason. What made them turn their backs on the country of birth? While each had a different answer as too why they hated America, they were both very eloquent and quite persuasive as the Hollywood types so often are. In the end, they both agreed on the fact that America sucks and always will suck. But, alas, I finally knew what drove them to such loathsome contempt for the U.S. of A.

I was sworn to secrecy that night about the reasons why their hatred of America is so visceral, but I am willing to break my vow of silence if some Neo/TheoCon is willing to share with me the reasons Ann Coulter hates America so much, too. After all Fascist have as much distain for democracy as those pinko-commie-bastards, right? She distains every part of the bill of rights other than the 2nd amendment. She does not believe in freedom of speech (except her own). She has contempt for freedom of religion and right to assemble to redress the government. She has never met a warrant she didn't like. The right to privacy is a mere privilege to be awarded to only those Americans who swear allegiance to the theocratic/neo-conservative movement. I am not so sure she would not even advocating quartering troops in our homes. Not only does she not mind racism, but she encourages it. She is more misogynistic than Andrew Dice Clay after being turned down by a $10 hooker (Hickory-dicory-dock...). Although, I do have a good feeling she is a whole hatred supporter of the 21st amendment, but something tells me she would make a pretty mean drunk.

So, if anyone can tell me why Ann hates America so much, I will let you know why Moore and Streisand hate America. Quid pro quo, Clarisse... Quid pro quo.

Bizzarro World

Once upon a time, the Republicans were the party of fiscal conservatives and smaller government. That was one of the few things I really liked about the Repubs since I also believe in the same. Now, things have flip-flopped. Now the GOP is the party of big spending and big government and the Dems are the party of fiscal responsibility and states rights. Who wudda thunk. I am actually quite glad for this transformation. Now, the Democratic party represents almost all of my philosophies. It is socially progressive and fiscally conservative. The Republicans are the party of social regression on huge credit card spending. To my future children... Sorry... at least I voted for the other guy.

House votes to raise US debt ceiling

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US House of Representatives voted to raise the debt ceiling by 800 billion dollars, helping Washington avoid running short of operating funds.

By a party-line vote of 208 to 204, lawmakers agreed to increase the level of the US debt to nearly 8.2 trillion dollars, the third massive debt limit increase in as many years.

The vote comes one day after the US Senate, also on a party-line vote, approved a similar measure.

Democrats in Congress have decried ballooning US debt, which they warned could reach 14.5 trillion dollars in ten years unless drastic action is taken.

"I think there must be some spiritual immorality for children who are yet unborn to come into this world with a debt on their shoulders that their parents have no idea as to how it was accumulated," Charlie Rangel, top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said this week on the eve of the vote.

"I think it's wrong for ... to have foreigners purchase our debt and then at the same time we're going to tell them what their responsibilities would be as relate to enforcing international law," Rangel continued.

"It is an economic nightmare as to what would happen if all of the people who purchase all of our bonds ever got together on anything and decided the investment just wasn't worth it.

The 800 billion dollar debt level increase is expected to cover federal spending for one year.

Republicans Lower Their Ethics Standards

Ethics?... who needs ethics when you have the hard hitting Tom DeLay who will do anything (and I mean anything) to extend Republican control of the government. DeLay, who scoffs at laws, rules, ethics and everything else that is good and proper, will remain in control of his party even if indicted. An ex-exterminator in Texas, he appears to have spent so much time with the cockroaches, that he has become one of them.

The silver lining in this is that Christopher Shays, the lone Republican I voted for, stood up against the rule change. Keep this up Mr. Shays and I may just vote for you again in 2006. It also gives people like Moore more fodder to make the case as too why they are morally superior to Republicans.

WASHINGTON — By Richard Simon Times Staff Writer - House Republicans changed a party rule Wednesday to allow Rep. Tom DeLay (news, bio, voting record) of Texas to remain as majority leader even if indicted in an investigation of campaign finance violations in his home state.

The new rule, approved in a closed-door meeting, represented the first significant action taken by emboldened Republicans since they increased their House majority in the Nov. 2 elections.

The lawmakers defended the change as necessary to shield DeLay from what they said was a politically inspired investigation designed to weaken one of Washington's most powerful Republicans. Democrats, downcast since their election losses, delighted in accusing Republicans of an ethical retreat.

A Texas grand jury has indicted three fundraisers with ties to DeLay on charges of illegally funneling corporate contributions to GOP candidates for state office. DeLay has said that he has not been questioned in the investigation, which is being led by the Democratic district attorney in Travis County.

Dist. Atty. Ronald Earle said in a statement from his Austin office Wednesday that the rule change would have no effect on the investigation. "But it should be alarming to the public to see their leaders substitute their judgment for that of the law enforcement process," he said.

DeLay did not address the change during the meeting of more than 200 House Republicans, participants said. But he told reporters later that it was necessary to prevent Democrats from using the Republican Party's rules against Republicans.

"The Democrats have decided that they're going to use the politics of personal destruction to gain power," DeLay said. "What we are doing is protecting ourselves from those assaults."

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), one of the few Republicans who spoke out publicly against the new rule, said: "For the life of me, I don't know why we're doing this now."

Shays said it was wrong to change the decade-old rule, which was put in place to show that Republicans could live by a "higher standard than our Democratic colleagues."

The 1993 rule required indicted Republican leaders to relinquish their positions. The new rule gives the 28-member Republican Steering Committee, led by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, 30 days after an indictment of a party leader or committee chairman to recommend "what action, if any," the party's rank and file should take.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Afternoon Humor

Here is a little afternoon humor for y'all - Boom Chicago. I recommend the Bin Laden blooper video.

National Ammo Day

In recognition of National Ammo Day (yes, you heard me right) I have decided to repost a blog entry from earlier this year. Don't get me wrong, I have no argument with hunters or other responsible gun owners, but I do think it is a legitimate social argument to impose certain safety measures on the ownership of guns (i.e. closing the gun show loop holes and child safety locks). When the constitution was adopted by the 13 states, people used front load muskets. Now we have semi-automatic assault rifles.

I constantly hear the NRA saying that the 2nd amendment is more important than the first amendment because the 2nd amendment protects the 1st amendment. I find this assertion absurdly flawed for two reasons.

First, if the 2nd amendment was necessary to protect the 1st amendment, the Washington Post headquarters would have an arsenal and every priest would be packing heat. Wolf Blitzer and Judy Woodruff would be expert marksmen.

The second reason why I find this reasoning so flawed is because of the obscene suppression of our 1st amendment rights we have seen during this election cycle. Where were the gun toting NRA members when Sue Niederer was arrested for protesting her sons death at a pro-Bush rally. Where was Charlton Hesston when Nichole and Jeff Rank were arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts. What about Alexander Pincus who was arrested in New York when he wasn't even protesting. People all across this country have been arrested for peacefully protesting Bush and the NRA has never been there to back them up, never said a word.

If I were the NRA, I would be changing my mantra. It is the 1st amendment that has allowed them to pour millions of dollars into campaigns under the auspice of "freedom of speech." with out the 1st amendment, the NRA would not have nearly the clout it does nor the ability to change the outcome of elections or get assault weapons put back on our streets. The NRA does not care about our freedoms other then when it appies to their right to buy elections. It is, in fact, the 1st amendment that protects the 2nd amendment. Not vice-versa.

McCain Criticizes Bush on Climate Change

Senator John McCain yesterday called the White House stance on climate change "terribly disappointing" and said inaction in the face of mounting scientific data was unjustified...The hearings have been organized in part to build a case for the McCain-Lieberman bill, called the Climate Stewardship Act. Mr. McCain said that the bill, which he describes as modest, had probably lost some support in the Senate because of the election results, but that he looked at this as a temporary setback.
"We got 43 votes," he said of the last vote on the bill, a year ago. "We may get less than that given the change in the Senate. But we need to get people on the record.'' After a McCain climate hearing in September, for example, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian group opposed to regulations as a solution to most environmental problems, described the gathering as "another pep rally to build support for his energy rationing legislation" and said it had "focused on junk science." But Mr. McCain said yesterday that the evidence, which he called alarming, was clearer than ever. Particularly disturbing, he went on, is the rapid pace of warming. "The Inuit language for 10,000 years never had a word for robin," he said, "and now there are robins all over their villages."

If you have a small mole on your hand, it doesn't go away and then starts to grow, do you ignore it or do you see a Doctor about it? The mole may be benign or it could be malignent, you just don't know. Lets say that you do go see the Doctor and he says that he can't tell by just looking at it, he is going to need a biopsy. Biopsies cost money and time out of your day. Do you get it done or not? Lets say you get it done. The Doctor sends the specimen to a lab where a technician examines it. A week later, the Doctor calls you up and tells you that it was a very difficult specimene to determine. The lab had 10 different people look at it. 9 say it is cancerous and one says it is benign. The Doctor tells you that the best bet it to get it removed, but it could be a little painful for a while and is going to cost you $500. The second option is to watch and wait, but if the mole turns out to be malignant and you wait, they will have to amputate your hand, and that is assuming that it does not spread to other parts of your body and doesn't outright kill you. Do you get it done? Do you dismiss the 9 Doctors and listen to the 1? The one could be right. The nine are most likely right.

Most people would tell you that you are a fool if you don't get it removed. Why take chances, right? Global warming is the same thing. No scientific study can ever prove 100% the causes or the reprcussions of global warming. No study acan even prove 100% that global warming is occuring. Of course, no study has been yet preformed that can prove 100% that gravity exists either. 99% of the scientific data shows global warming is occuring and will have serious reprecusions. Why wait? why take the chance? We are playing with the world our children and our children's children will have to live in. I am putting my money on the chances that if I jump up, I will come down. I can't prove it, but I have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen whether I choose to believe in gravity or not. I am also willing to bet that we are having an effect on the tempature of this planet. I can't prove it, but I have a pretty good idea of what is going on. Lets not wait until they have to amputate a hand... or worse.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Bush's One Finger Victory Salute

Yeah... really "moral" guy

Bush's One Finger Victory Salute

GOP Pushes Rule Change to Protect DeLay's Post

Once again, hypocrisy rules the day.

By Charles Babington (Link) - House Republicans proposed changing their rules last night to allow members indicted by state grand juries to remain in a leadership post, a move that would benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in case he is charged by a Texas grand jury that has indicted three of his political associates, according to GOP leaders.

The proposed rule change, which several leaders predicted would win approval at a closed meeting today, comes as House Republicans return to Washington feeling indebted to DeLay for the slightly enhanced majority they won in this month's elections. DeLay led an aggressive redistricting effort in Texas last year that resulted in five Democratic House members retiring or losing reelection. It also triggered a grand jury inquiry into fundraising efforts related to the state legislature's redistricting actions.

House GOP leaders and aides said many rank-and-file Republicans are eager to change the rule to help DeLay, and will do so if given a chance at today's closed meeting. A handful of them have proposed language for changing the rule, and they will be free to offer amendments, officials said. Some aides said it was conceivable that DeLay and Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) ultimately could decide the move would be politically damaging and ask their caucus not to do it. But Rep. Jack Kingston (news, bio, voting record) (Ga.), another member of the GOP leadership, said he did not think Hastert and DeLay would intervene.

House Republicans adopted the indictment rule in 1993, when they were trying to end four decades of Democratic control of the House, in part by highlighting Democrats' ethical lapses. They said at the time that they held themselves to higher standards than prominent Democrats such as then-Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (Ill.), who eventually pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to prison.

The GOP rule drew little notice until this fall, when DeLay's associates were indicted and Republican lawmakers began to worry that their majority leader might be forced to step aside if the grand jury targeted him next. Democrats and watchdog groups blasted the Republicans' proposal last night.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last night: "If they make this rules change, Republicans will confirm yet again that they simply do not care if their leaders are ethical. If Republicans believe that an indicted member should be allowed to hold a top leadership position in the House of Representatives, their arrogance is astonishing."

House Republicans recognize that DeLay fought fiercely to widen their majority, and they are eager to protect him from an Austin-based investigation they view as baseless and partisan, said Rep. Eric I. Cantor (news, bio, voting record) (Va.), the GOP's chief deputy whip.

"That's why this [proposed rule change] is going to pass, assuming it's submitted, because there is a tremendous recognition that Tom DeLay led on the issue to produce five more seats" for the Republicans, Cantor said after emerging from a meeting in which the Republican Conference welcomed new members and reelected Hastert and DeLay as its top leaders.

Other Republicans agreed the conference is likely to change the rule if given the chance. An indictment is simply an unproven allegation that should not require a party leader to step aside, said Rep. Tom Feeney (news, bio, voting record) (R-Fla.). Rep. John Carter (news, bio, voting record) (R-Tex.), a former trial judge, said it makes sense to differentiate between federal and state indictments in shaping party rules because state grand juries often are led by partisan, elected prosecutors who may carry political grudges against lawmakers.

Republicans last night were tweaking the language of several proposals for changing the rule. The one drawing the most comment, by Rep. Henry Bonilla (news, bio, voting record) (Tex.), would allow leaders indicted by a state grand jury to stay on. However, a leader indicted by a federal court would have to step down at least temporarily.

"Congressman Bonilla's rule change is designed to prevent political manipulation of the process while preserving the original ethical principles of the rule," Bonilla spokeswoman Taryn Fritz Walpole said.

Hastert and DeLay, meanwhile, are publicly taking a hands-off posture. Hastert told reporters the decision was up to the conference, adding, "we'll see what happens." DeLay spokesman Stuart Roy said his boss "believes we should allow members of the conference to come to their own conclusions and let the conference work its will without him exerting undue influence one way or the other."

A Texas grand jury in September indicted three of DeLay's political associates on charges of using a political action committee to illegally collect corporate donations and funnel them to Texas legislative races. The group, Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, is closely associated with DeLay. DeLay says he has not acted improperly and has no reason to believe he is a target of the grand jury, which continues to look into the TRMPAC matter.

The House ethics committee on Oct. 6 admonished DeLay for asking federal aviation officials to track an airplane involved in the highly contentious 2003 redistricting battle, and for conduct that suggested political donations might influence legislative action. The ethics panel deferred action on a complaint related to TRMPAC, noting that the grand jury has not finished its work.

The Texas investigation is headed by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, an elected Democrat who has been bitterly criticized by DeLay supporters. Yesterday, Cantor called Earle's efforts "a witch hunt."

"It's a totally a partisan exercise," Cantor said. "It's coincidental with what's going on up here [in the Capitol], where they are trying every avenue to go after Tom DeLay because they can't beat him" on the House floor or in congressional elections. Changing the rule is not a sign that lawmakers think DeLay will be indicted, Cantor said, but rather a public rebuke of an investigation they feel is wholly unwarranted.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Will the Real VP Please Step Forward

My own little conspiracy theory - Cheney's little hospital visit was probably just a cold, but I don't think that will be the end to his health issues over the next couple of years. My guess is that Cheney will only last another year or two before he steps aside for "health reasons" so the NeoCons can hand pick their own candidate for the 2008 election. After Cheney steps down, the NeoCons will be able to confirm one of their own to the open VP seat, thus giving the future presidential candidate a springboard into the 2007 GOP primaries. Karl Rove and the rest of the posse don't like leaving things to chance. With the field wide open for GOP moderates like McCain or Pataki, the NeoCons will be pushing hard to make sure a fellow hawk who can also appeal to the newly empowered TheoCons will be sitting on top when the party ranks choose their next nominee.

Just my guess...

If anyone would like to comment on who they think would be Bush's sucessor, please do so.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Litmus Test

Over the weekend, Republican Majority Leader Frist once again chided Arlan Specter for his comments regarding whether or not an anti-abortion judge could win approval to the supreme court. Frist claimed, Specter, "who has questioned whether an abortion opponent could win approval to the U.S. Supreme Court must agree to back President Bush's nominees if he is to head the committee acting on those nominations, the Senate's Republican leader said. A chairman must be 'responsible to the feelings, the wishes, the beliefs, the values, the procedures that are held by ... the Republican committee members,' Frist said." (Link)

This is a very disastrous approach for the Republican party to make. First, the responsibility for any Senator is to his and her constituents, not to any party or any single person. The people of Pennsylvania are the ones who elected him to his position. The people of Pennsylvania are the ones who entrusted him to make decisions in their best interest. His first duty is to serve them, not the GOP. Additionally, the legislative branch was created as a check to the powers of the president, not a rubber stamp. It is not his job to fall into lock step at the will of Mr. Bush. Senator Specter knows he has a mandate from the people of Pennsylvania to protect the woman's right to choose. If Senator Specter would have run on a pro-life platform, he would never had defeated his opponent.

Second, the claim that the anti-abortion supporters do not use a litmus test for who they back for supreme court nominees is as ludicrous as saying the pro-choice supporters don't either. Both sides use a litmus test. Pro-lifers will be pouring through the past decisions of any nominee to see if his/her decisions appear to be in line with their beliefs. With Christian antiabortion groups are planning a "pray-in" on Capitol Hill tomorrow to try to block Specter, I don't think anyone can claim there is no litmus test on the Right (And does anyone else think it is ironic that litmus paper turns red when dipped in an acid and blue for base?)

Third, the GOP is walking a very fine line and stands the chance of alienating the pro-choice supporters within its ranks. By saying a person cannot be a Republican and be pro-choice is a dangerous move that could push millions of supporters out of its party. Bob Jones III, president of the Christian conservative Bob Jones University in South Carolina, recently urged Bush to purge moderates from the White House with statements like "If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them," in a letter to Bush after the election. "Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ," will only skrink the ranks of the GOP. (Link) It would be wise for the GOP to remember that it is made up of many factions, including many fiscal conservatives who are socially progressive. The 17% who made up the "moral values" vote going Bush's way in the last election (20% of the 22% who named moral issues as theit top concern voted for Kerry - Bush did not get all of the vote) cannot sustain itself as a power player in Washington for long without the support of the moderate Rupublicans.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Charitable Nation

I have seen a lot on the Poliblogs lately talking about the charitable donations by state. I concede, the Red states top the list for amount of charitable giving and the Blue states are at the bottom (Link). Not to be demeaning to the good people of the Red states that do sacrifice and give, but I think that would be expected since if you look at the list of charitable giving by state, it is very, very similar to the same ranking of states by poverty level (Link). Mississippi has the highest per capita charitable giving. It also has the highest per capita poverty. New Hampshire has the lowest per capita giving, but it also has the lowest per capita poverty. Louisiana has the second highest poverty, and is the 3rd most giving state. Minnesota is the 45th most giving state (pretty shabby) but has the 2nd lowest poverty rate in the country. Is it surprising then that a state that has less poverty would give less to charity? Additionally, Mississippi and Louisiana have two of the dirtiest environments. Minnesota and New Hampshire have two of the cleanest. Louisiana and Mississippi have two of the worst public school systems, Minnesota and New Hampshire have two of the best. Do you see a pattern emerging here? The states with the most social problems have the highest charitable giving rates since the states are not adequately addressing the issues. It would really speak poorly of the poorer states if their citizens did not give more.

For those of you out there who do give to charity, regardless of state or political leaning, thank you.

The Right of Might

I was looking to write a post regarding the Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau and how if Americans want less government handouts, we, as a society, need to step up to the plate and take on these responsibilities in our local communities. I suppose I will get to that issue at a later time, but re-read a section of the Contract that I had forgotten about which I believe is very poignant. This is the issue of Power vs. Right. The two principles are not mutually exclusive nor are they mutually inclusive. In order for the U.S. to remain the strongest nation on earth, we need not only to be feared, but also respected. For us to protect ourselves we need the world to feel a duty to us, not an obligation to us. This is constant throughout history, not just now.

The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master, unless he transforms strength into right, and obedience into duty. Hence the right of the strongest, which, though to all seeming meant ironically, is really laid down as a fundamental principle. But are we never to have an explanation of this phrase? Force is a physical power, and I fail to see what moral effect it can have. To yield to force is an act of necessity, not of will — at the most, an act of prudence. In what sense can it be a duty?

Suppose for a moment that this so-called "right" exists. I maintain that the sole result is a mass of inexplicable nonsense. For, if force creates right, the effect changes with the cause: every force that is greater than the first succeeds to its right. As soon as it is possible to disobey with impunity, disobedience is legitimate; and, the strongest being always in the right, the only thing that matters is to act so as to become the strongest. But what kind of right is that which perishes when force fails? If we must obey perforce, there is no need to obey because we ought; and if we are not forced to obey, we are under no obligation to do so. Clearly, the word "right" adds nothing to force: in this connection, it means absolutely nothing.

Obey the powers that be. If this means yield to force, it is a good precept, but superfluous: I can answer for its never being violated. All power comes from God, I admit; but so does all sickness: does that mean that we are forbidden to call in the doctor? A brigand surprises me at the edge of a wood: must I not merely surrender my purse on compulsion; but, even if I could withhold it, am I in conscience bound to give it up? For certainly the pistol he holds is also a power.

Let us then admit that force does not create right, and that we are obliged to obey only legitimate powers. In that case, my original question recurs.

Veterans Day

Thank you

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Root Causes

I read a lot of the Conservative's/TheoCon/Regressive's (whatever you want to call them) blogs out there to see what they are saying and to see why they are saying it. Something I constantly hear from them is how Liberals/Progressives/Elitists (whatever you want to call us) take the side of the people who produce the terrorists. I hear we are more concerned about the plight of the "oppressed people" than the safety of our own citizens. This is not only false, but very insulting. It is not that the left condones terrorists behavior due to the plight of "oppressed" people. It is that we are looking at the root causes of terrorism in addition to the consequences of terrorism, because that is a crucial element in the equation. Yes, there are the occasional lefties that believe everyone is a victim and not answerable for their actions, but that is a minority. There are also wackos on the right who condone Timothy McVey's actions in Oklahoma. So lets leave the fringe elements on both sides out of the discussion. I personally, don't know anyone who condones terrorism (left or right). We all agree we must fight the war on terror. Where we do disagree is how to win the war on terror. What we (the left) do realize is that there is not terrorism without context (yes, the liberal "nuance" factor). Terrorists are not born, they are bred. We feel that trying to solve the root causes of terrorism is an essential part of the greater "war on terror," and that military action alone will never end this conflict. Whether you accept it or not, oppression is one of the many root causes of conflict. Throughout history, anytime there is a group of people who feel "oppressed," whether justified or not, they fight back. From the Visigoths against Rome to our own founding fathers against Britain, the feeling of oppression ultimately manifests in violence. Take, for instance, Chechnya. Most Americans think this is a problem that started more recently than it actually did. The fact is is that the Chechens and the Russians have been fighting for 150 years. The conflict has less to do with religion than self determination. Russia has waged a brutal war to subjugate the Chechens for over a century. Does this justify killing school children by Chechen terrorists? Absolutely not, but you can see the root cause of the problem. Military might alone has not cured the problem in Russia and Russia's actions in Chechnya makes our war on terror look like a day at Disney Land. You must look at the conflict in context and only then can you start to solve it. Russia can fight this war for another 150 years and never win. The only way to win this type of conflict through only military might is to kill them all. Not just the terrorists, but the children of the terrorists, the brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, first cousins, in-laws, next door neighbors, etc, and every single person who identifies with that group. Another example is the Palestinian/Israel conflict. The reality is is that people just don't wake up one day and decide to strap sticks of TNT to their chest and become a suicide bomber. There must be a convergence of many factors to create such hatred that one is willing to give up their own life to take the life of innocent people. You put a young man in a situation where outsiders occupy his home, he cannot find work, he sees no positive future for himself, has had a sibling or parent killed by an Israeli helicopter rocket, send him to a misguided Mullah and you are going to get trouble. Do these factors justify the means? Again, absolutely not, but unless you change the paradigm you will never change the outcome. Israel can occupy the west bank for another 40 years and never end this conflict. Are the Israeli's justified in defending themselves? Yes. Will the conflict ever end by military action alone? No. The problem is is that too many people do not see the great complexity of the situation. When Robert McNamara sat down with the former leader of the North Vietnamese many years after the end of the war, the Vietnamese leader explained why the US did not and never would win that war in the way the US was fighting it. They knew the US was much stronger militarily. The Vietnamese had been fighting the French for years before us. The French were much stronger militarily. Then they fought us. We were much stronger militarily. Strenght alone would not win that war. They had lost approximately 3.2 million people, and they were prepared to give up another 3.2 million. Not because they saw us as weak. They knew we were stronger. They knew they would lose a thousand of their own people for every one of ours. They fought because they thought they were fighting against oppression. The very interesting thing about Viet Nam is a one point, we did start to win that war. It was when we changed the paradigm. A large part of why the North Vietnamese were able to find support in the South's peasants was because of the feudal system of "land owners" and "tenant farmers." The communists were able to recruit soldiers because they were able to frame the war as a fight against both outsiders (France and America) and a fight against their own feudal system (Landlords). The economic situation was a root cause. Nixon was able to change the paradigm by changing the economic system, thus eliminating one of the root causes. No longer were the farmers serfs and servants to the upper class. Once this "oppressive" element was eliminated, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong lost much of their support by peasants in the south. When this happened, the North could no longer fight the gorilla insurgency they had utilized for many years. Now they had to face the US man to man. In the face of overwhelming US military power the North conceded and signed a peace treaty. Both the US and the North knew that the war would rekindle once the US had pulled out, but this shows that thinking about the causes of a conflict can result in figuring out how to win (or at least win long enough to get out). The US can be gung-ho all it wants, but that will not make us safer in the end. "Strength" alone will never win the war on terror, we must also rid the motive. That is the liberal ideology and that is why we think we need to fight a smarter war.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Dr. Strangelove

Here is a little more info on the Dr. W. David Hager debate that is raging across e-mail.

TIME - Jesus and the FDA By KAREN TUMULTY Saturday, Oct. 05, 2002 ( Here and Here and his UK Bio page)

A quiet battle is raging over the Bush Administration's plan to appoint a scantily credentialed doctor, whose writings include a book titled As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now, to head an influential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel on women's health policy. Sources tell Time that the agency's choice for the advisory panel is Dr. W. David Hager, an obstetrician-gynecologist who also wrote, with his wife Linda, Stress and the Woman's Body, which puts "an emphasis on the restorative power of Jesus Christ in one's life" and recommends specific Scripture readings and prayers for such ailments as headaches and premenstrual syndrome. Though his resume describes Hager as a University of Kentucky professor, a university official says Hager's appointment is part time and voluntary and involves working with interns at Lexington's Central Baptist Hospital, not the university itself. In his private practice, two sources familiar with it say, Hager refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. Hager did not return several calls for comment.

FDA advisory panels often have near-final say over crucial health questions. If Hager becomes chairman of the 11-member Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, he will lead its study of hormone-replacement therapy for menopausal women, one of the biggest controversies in health care. Some conservatives are trying to use doubts about such therapy to discredit the use of birth-control pills, which contain similar compounds. The panel also made the key recommendation in 1996 that led to approval of the "abortion pill," RU-486—a decision that abortion foes are still fighting. Hager assisted the Christian Medical Association last August in a "citizens' petition" calling upon the FDA to reverse itself on RU-486, saying it has endangered the lives and health of women.

Hager was chosen for the post by FDA senior associate commissioner Linda Arey Skladany, a former drug-industry lobbyist with longstanding ties to the Bush family. Skladany rejected at least two nominees proposed by FDA staff members: Donald R. Mattison, former dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, and Michael F. Greene, director of maternal- fetal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Despite pressure from inside the FDA to make the appointment temporary, sources say, Skladany has insisted that Hager get a full four-year term. FDA spokesman Bill Pierce called Hager "well qualified."

Study: Arctic Warming at Twice the Global Rate

OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- Global warming is heating the Arctic almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet in a thaw that threatens millions of livelihoods and could wipe out polar bears by 2100, an eight-nation report said on Monday.

The biggest survey to date of the Arctic climate, by 250 scientists, said the accelerating melt could be a foretaste of wider disruptions from a build-up of human emissions of heat-trapping gases in Earth's atmosphere.

The "Arctic climate is now warming rapidly and much larger changes are projected," according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), funded by the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Arctic temperatures are rising at almost twice the global average and could leap 4-7 Celsius (7-13 Fahrenheit) by 2100, roughly twice the global average projected by U.N. reports. Siberia and Alaska have already warmed by 2-3 C since the 1950s.

Washington Post Editorial Here

Do Liberals Live Longer/Healthier Lives?

Maybe. The recent report by public health doctors showed the relative health of Americans across the country by state (Link). Apparently, after 15 years of improvements, the state of our health has now stagnated. The good news is that report by state shows that being liberal might be good for your health (or at least blue "socialist" states have better health care systems). Of the top 10 states, 8 are Blue. Of the bottom 10 states, all of them are staunchly Republican (except Florida - we are still not totally conceding Florida).

Monday, November 08, 2004

Bush's Second Term Agenda

With all of his political capital, Bush's second term agenda will contain the following Acts:

The Jobs Creation Act - This act will create jobs with a repeal of the minimum wage. A business will be able to hire 2 people at $2.50 and hour instead of only being able to hire one person at $5.15. Thus, the number of employed persons will be dramatically increased.

The Stockbroker Retirement Fund Act - Lets face it, Social Security is defunct and needs to be put to sleep. But that does not mean all Americans need to be left out in the cold. By privatizing SSI and allowing Americans to invest their money in the stock market, stockbrokers will be able to collect over a trillion dollars in fees so they can retire early. Stock market goes up, great! Stock market crashes and you lose your entire retirement, who cares! They get paid either way... Florida keys, here they come.

The Tax Reform and Reduction Act - Spend too much of your time trying to figure out those complicated 1040 forms and schedules? Haven't figured out how to use "Tax Cut" or "Turbo Tax" on the computer? Don't fret because taxes are now on the honor system. You just simply write out a check for how much you think is fair. And you don't have to worry about your tax dollars going to government agencies you don't like (NEA, NIH, etc.)... you get to pick and choose! You like roads, give $25 to the highway development fund. The police department piss you off by giving you a speeding ticket for doing 80 mph in a school zone?... No problem, give them nothing this year. That will teach them to pull you over. Don't like those books they make kids read in public schools, like "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "Romeo and Juliet"? No longer an issue. Just drop of some Gideon's Bibles at your local school that you took from the last Holiday Inn you stayed at. Free for you, fun for them.

The Poverty Reduction Act - com'on, poor people are just lazy or they would not be poor, right? That is why the government will now consider it a crime to be poor and will fine anyone living below the poverty level $25 a day until they get off their lazy asses and start contributing to society. After all, there is no motivating factor better than possible starvation and having to live out of your car during the winter months. Once they realize that work can be fun, they will be raking in the dough in no time.

The Pollution Related Illness Reduction Act - They only reason people develop cancer or respiratory diseases from air and water pollution is because we are just too weak. Kids are coddled too much these days with all of these indoor air purifiers and Brita water filters. It creates a nation of pansies. Instead, we will start building their tolerance to various toxic chemicals early in life. Fluorine in the water will be replaced with small levels of arsenic. Instead of air purifiers, you will be able to put an air polluter in your child's room which will emit small amounts of car exhaust while he/she sleeps. Not only are you building your child's tolerance to air pollutants, CO2 makes you drowsy so your kids will fall asleep without a fight. School lunches will only serve Salmon and Tuna that contains high levels of mercury. Not only will they immunize themselves from mercury, but they will get the heart healthy Omega 3 oils. We can kill two birds with one stone, healthier kids all around.

The Liberal Draft Act - It is quite obvious that all liberals hate America and with Bush winning re-election by the slimmest margin for any incumbent president ever, something needs to change or those gun loathing, Jesus hating liberals might win the next election and impose additional liberties on our society. Therefore, any registered democrats between the ages of 18 and 65 are now eligible for the draft and will be sent to Iraq to fight. If the military doesn't make them love their country, at least there is solace in knowing that their are no atheists in foxholes. Even if the liberals return from Iraq, still hating America, at least they will have enough religion to know that banning gay marriage is much more Christian than feeding the poor and healing the sick.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

King George

I have to say, the man is a Class A Jackass. I'm sorry, but he is. He is already showing his arrogance again. He forgets that he was elected by the American people. That means he works for the American people, they don't work for him. He was not anointed king, but he acts that way. Maybe on your ballot it included a provision on how many questions a reporter could ask, but it was not on mine. I highly doubt that it was the will of the people to limit reporters to one question.

Quotes below from his press conference November 4th, 2004

QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you. As you look at your second term, how much is the war in Iraq going to cost? Do you intend to send more troops or bring troops home? And in the Middle East more broadly, do you agree with Tony Blair that revitalizing the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political issue facing the world?

BUSH: Now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. How will you go about bringing people together? Will you seek a consensus candidate for the Supreme Court if there's an opening? Will you bring some Democrats into your Cabinet?

BUSH: Yes. Again, you violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people.



Dave has posted to audio Here

An Open Letter To A Divided Nation

This was submitted to me by Russell Dalferes, a friend of mine. It is long, but a good point I believe.

The last two Presidential election cycles have shown this country to be evenly divided -- and not in the warm, fuzzy "democratic" way of emotionless voting and then ambivalent acquiescence to the candidate with the plurality, but seemingly bitter, passionate division the likes of which this country has not truly seen since the Civil War. Even the bitterness and struggle surrounding the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s doesn't truly compare with the stark dichotomy that election results are showing this year. Just look at how many states had election margins of only one or two percentage points, between candidates that are so vastly disparate that the "undecided voter" should have been as extinct as the T-Rex. And yet, despite the immense rhetorical, personal, and political differences between President Bush and Senator Kerry, the country seems to have chosen sides as if the two camps needed equal numbers for a grand game of touch football.

I don't believe it for an instant. I truly do not believe that this country is evenly divided into two completely divergent ideological camps. This is not just a personal hope, or a wish, or a pipedream -- I think it is a statistical impossibility for a country of 300 million or so citizens, with 200 million or so eligible voters, to be perfectly split down the middle into two equally sized camps. Even among my friends, who have had similar life experiences and political indoctrination as I've had, we can find a plethora of political differences in only a brief conversation.

I truly do not believe that everyone who voted for George Bush actually thinks the President has performed well over the last four years and deserves to have another four in office. I truly do not believe that everyone who voted for John Kerry thinks the Senator has performed well as a Senator and deserves to be President. While there may have been more "anyone but Bush" voters than the opposite, there are sizeable numbers of voters on both sides of the issue who are voting not for the candidate's (or even the party's) views on the issues, but for some other purpose.

So why do we get the results of the last two elections? Because we have no other choice.

All we get, as the allegedly all-powerful electorate, is two choices, fully sanitized and vetted for the purposes of appealing to as many people as possible without presenting any real ideas. OK, maybe we get two-and-a-half, since the Ralph Naders and Ross Perots of the world give us a little election-night sideshow every once in a while. But realistically, we're left with two choices. And that's just wrong.

Clearly, the two choices are whomever the Democrat and Republican conclaves deign to present to the world, like debutantes who have been coached on the proper etiquette of: not causing a scandal by maintaining the status quo; being as likeable as possible, even if it means lying to the crowd; and, Heaven Forfend!, never appearing to be more intelligent than the person you meet at the ball, for fear that he may resent you for it and not ask you to the cotillion at the big white house. The obvious problem is that in order to get the parties to make the proverbial "smoke-filled room" choice of candidates to present to the public, those candidates have to please the party. Otherwise, who's going to pay for the debutante ball in the first place?

But this is where the false-positive ideological split in this country comes into play. Even inside each of the two major parties, there are factions, subgroups, parties-within-the-party, even bitter differences.

I truly do not believe that every Republican is in favor of reversing Roe v. Wade, or that every Republican favors denying gay people the right to marry or have civil unions, or that every Republican cares only about protecting large corporations, or that every Republican desires to see the country run strictly by the moral mandates of the Bible, or that every Republican believes that we do not need the good graces of international public opinion in order to function in the world. But strong voices inside the party believe all of those things.

I truly do not believe that every Democrat wants bigger governmental intrusion into our lives, or that every Democrat wants to raise taxes to pay for entitlement programs, or that every Democrat would rather save the spotted field mouse instead of jobs for his constituents, or that every Democrat favors the right to choose over the protection of the unborn, or that every Democrat is a card-carrying ACLU member who doesn’t give a damn about victim’s rights. But strong voices inside the party believe all of those things.

So what happens is we have two large groups of supposedly like-minded political players, the members of each not necessarily agreeing on the entire party platform, but joined in a never-ending battle with the opposition – a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” pact, that has the pleasant side effect of coming with a big war chest and a national political machine. It also makes it easy for the electorate, since there are only two real choices, and the choices can be made easily based on buzz-word issues without presenting any choices that really require thought or education on the issues. Don't like abortion? Then you're a Republican. But what if you want universal health care? Then you're a Democrat. Easy, for both the candidate and the voter. How much of our "informed" electorate really chooses the President based upon more than one or two factors? It's a telling signal that the two best possible predictors of how someone is going to vote are how often they attend church and how much education they have. If your biggest problems with the country are based on moral principles (such as abortion, homosexuality, “family values”) that you develop from reading the Bible, then you’re a Republican; if your biggest problems with the country are based on social principles (such as civil liberties, environmental issues, corporate globalization) that you develop from reading college-level textbooks or newspapers, then you’re a Democrat. And the voters pick a couple of issues that are important to them, then choose sides for the fight.

That's the point of it all: the fight. I truly believe that many, if not most, of the elected officials from the two major parties care more about beating the opposition than actually accomplishing something meaningful. Otherwise, Presidential campaigns would not start two years before the election, sitting elected officials would not need to raise $10,000 or more per week during their terms of office, and election ads would not be focused on only a handful of “swing states.” I live in New Orleans, and in the time from the Democratic primary until the weekend before the election, I did not see a single Presidential commercial on TV – and I watch a lot of TV. Both parties knew that Louisiana was going to break for the Republicans, so we the people of the great state of Louisiana just got no political speech in the most hotly contested political race in a century. If it were about ideas, or ideology, such a stark absence from an entire state would never be tolerated.

The media plays into this fight as well. Every news channel, political talk show, magazine, and newspaper plays straight into the hands of the two opposing forces. There is always the Democrat spin-doctor seated across from the Republican spin-doctor, the liberal editorial on one page facing the conservative editorial on the other, an aphorism on one side answered by a sound byte on the other. The only coverage is for the two choices that the vast majority of the electorate did not tap for nomination, further reinforcing the “us versus them” staging of a national political campaign. There is almost never an independent voice.

It doesn’t matter that there might be someone who is pro-choice, AND anti-big government, AND concerned about the environment, AND in favor of maintaining this country’s corporate and economic power, AND in favor of a strong military, AND in favor of legalizing marijuana, AND pro-death penalty but anti-discrimination in the application of the death penalty, AND in favor of raising the minimum wage, AND who considers himself moral and ethical without being religious, AND who thinks the rule of international law is a good thing, AND who thinks that the United States can still be the most important economic and military superpower in the world. Where does that member of the electorate look for his candidate? I’ve looked, and I can’t find such a candidate, because I’m not allowed to see anyone but the two hand-picked, plain-spoken, starched-collar puppets of the two-party system.

Where is the voice of moderation? Of pluralism? Of DEMOCRACY? The constitutional republic in which we live can no longer be deemed a democracy – if it ever truly could – because a democracy necessarily includes the consideration of all political thought, not just the thought presented by the two big bullies on the block. What the United States has become, as evidenced by the last two Presidential elections, is an oligarchy, in which all political decisions are made by a small number of people in both major parties and then packaged to the public as if the public had a true choice in the matter. But in a true, ideal, Aristotelian-Platonic oligarchy, decisions are made by a group of benevolent elites, coming together to make decisions for the population because the group of elites understands what’s best for the country far better than the masses. Instead, the current system in the U.S. is an oligarchy of opposition, in which the elites are not benevolent, they rarely come together to make decisions, and they look to the uneducated populace to tell them what is popular, rather than what needs to be done.

To return full circle to the impetus for this tirade, I truly do not believe that either the Republican or the Democratic party is populated by like-minded people. I believe there are moderates and extremists in both parties, social liberals and conservatives in both parties, economic liberals and conservatives in both parties, hawks and doves in both parties, religious and secular people in both parties. A center-left Democrat may look surprisingly like a center-right Republican on all but a few issues. And when it’s all considered, I truly believe that the surprising majority of Americans are fairly centrist, despite (or maybe because of?) the election results.

So why is there no moderate party? Why do we always have to choose between a pendulum swing in one direction or the other? Where is the party that proclaims, “We believe in conservative economic issues, but we’re liberal on social issues?” as many Americans believe. Where is the party whose platform says, “We may believe in God, but we don’t think God should run the country?” Where is the party that states, “A candidate can be moral and ethical without being religious?” Where is the party that says, “We are both pro-worker and pro-company, because when one does well, the other usually does, too?” Where is the party that says, “Compromising two opposing views will lead to better lives?” Where is the party whose candidates proclaim, “I want to be elected, but I don’t need it. Vote for me if you like my ideas?” Where is the party that actually reflects the will of the people?

Pundits on either side of the issue, well-armed for this fight with polling results, will say that the candidates already reflect the will of the people, because such extensive opinion polls are conducted prior to any political decision that by the time the decision’s announced, the parties already know what the reaction of the people will be.

This is absolute nonsense. Polling on hot-topic issues rarely reflects the actual realities of life in America – and polling is also affected by the presence of only two choices in the matter. Beliefs espoused in opinion polls are notoriously stronger than beliefs actually exercised in daily life. When asked on the phone whether someone believes gays should be allowed to marry, many people will respond by saying “no,” because it goes against their religious beliefs, but how many of those people are actually personally affected by gay marriage, either negatively or positively? I’ve known a number of gay people in my life, and whether they get married or unite civilly will have no direct effect on my life, my morals, or my ability to marry someone of the opposite gender. When someone is asked whether “moral issues” are important in the selection of a Presidential candidate, polling says that a significant majority of Americans say “yes,” but how is the candidate’s morality an indicator of his ability to be President? I think most people would agree that Jimmy Carter is a very moral man, but perhaps was not the most stunning President that this country has ever had; on the other hand, many people would say Bill Clinton is not the most moral man, but he was a good President. When asked about economic issues, opinion polls often reflect the respondent’s employment or lack thereof, but how much of the opinions in economic polls are actually influenced by considered thought on the subject? I’d say very little, because slightly more than half of the electorate just elected a President who gave the country tax cuts while waging two expensive wars involving occupation of standing and reserve armies, while simultaneously running up the largest deficit in the country’s history, and while losing millions of jobs.

The point of all of this is that I’m unbelievably tired of the two-party system, which forces the congregation of candidates with differing views in the name of beating the opposition, for no other reason than to beat the opposition. For those of you out there who aren’t in the extreme left or the extreme right, why do you not force the creation of a centrist party? Why do you blindly accept the mandates of the DNC and the RNC every four years, when there are literally MILLIONS of viable candidates excluded from every election cycle by the velvet-rope mentality of the current political duet? Why do you not question the fact that we’re not even allowed to vote for the Vice President anymore because the running mates are lumped in with the candidate for President, when the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution clearly envisions separate elections? What if you wanted to elect a President of one party and a Vice President of another? Why do you include yourself in one party or another when you don’t agree with many of their views? Why do you perpetuate the lack of choices?

I think a lot of the reason why people do this is because true democratic politics is “hard work,” as once-and-future President Bush would say. It requires knowledge of the issues – many issues, not just your rant-of-the-moment kind of issue. I think many voters are either Democrat or Republican because that’s what they’ve always been, that’s what their parents/spouses/friends are, and habits are hard to beat. I think voicing an independent opinion is more difficult than lumping yourself in with the crowd. And, most importantly, I think people would rather vote for the winner, rather than for the candidate they think is best – otherwise, news outlets would have no need to announce poll results to the general public, because if the population cared more about the message than who was winning, the only people who would want poll results would be the candidates themselves. While I hesitate to cast aspersions on the greater portion of the electorate, I think when it comes to political affiliation, voters tend to take the path of least resistance.

Well, I’m tired of subsidizing the idleness of the two-party population. Give me a third party. One that is focused on political centrism, not extremism or fringe politics. One that does not espouse only one major issue (like the Green Party) or radical change in the form of government (like the Communist Party). One that does not have to pander to religious dogmatism (like the Republicans) or to political correctness (like the Democrats). Give me an all-issue, viable, inclusive, tolerant, secular, practical wedge to shove right between the Democrats and the Republicans and to siphon their centrist members. Give me candidates who don’t have their strings pulled entirely from the far right or the far left, but feel small pulls from both sides and work to balance the tug-of-war with realistic compromise. I promise I, along with many others, will vote for you, and there won’t be post-election litigation because we’ll take the election in a landslide. Give me a choice that just might cure the division in this nation. Give me a third force.

Give me the Moderate Party.

Why We Need Allies

In Bush's second term, I implore him to be more mindful of our allies and to re-cultivate the relationship. The fact of the matter is, is that we need allies, plain and simple. I will attempt to put this analogous form.

When I was in junior high and high school, my friends and I would spend a lot of time at the Minnesota State Fair, so I will try to use that as my analogy.

Say you (U.S.) are standing around at the fair with some of your friends (N.A.T.O.) in front of the butter sculpture exhibit. Some little punk (Osama) comes up and blindsides you with a couple of punches. Maybe because he doesn't like your shirt or maybe it is because he thinks you were looking at his girlfriend wrong, but either way, he had no legitimate reason for cold-cocking you. He intended to knock you out with his surprise punches, but you are the biggest, strongest guy at the fair. He bloodied you up a bit, maybe knocked out a tooth or two, but he didn't knock you out and now you are just plain ol' pissed. You friends are horrified by what just happened and they are pissed also. So, you all decide you are going to find this guy and make him pay. You all head off to find this guy. Along the way, you run into another guy that you have a beef with. He is a bully (Saddam) and an all around jackass but at the current moment is no threat to you. You are pissed off so you decide to take some of your anger out on him. Your friends say, "hey, we are with you on getting the guy that hit you, but we don't want to get into a fight with this other guy right now. It is going to get really messy if we do. Lets take one issue at a time." You tell them to screw off, you are going to take this other guy out with or without them. They think you are being hot headed and arrogant. They tell you again to back off, but you refuse. Now they are pissed at you because of the way you are acting towards them. So, they decide that they'll just sit it all out. Now, you get into the fight with the bully and he turns out to be a lot more scrappy than you thought. And now, instead of spending your time trying to find the little punk that hit you, you are in a fight with someone else. Now, for the sake of argument, lets say you finish the fight with the bully. He lays on the ground and you stand there ready to continue the pursuit of the little punk. But, it is only you standing there. Your friends are gone. You have lost your posse. You can only cover so much ground by yourself, where, if you had your friends, you could have spread out and quadrupled your ground. Not only do you not have extra eyes and ears, you have no one watching your back to make sure the punk doesn't come up behind you with a 2x4 and try to finish the job. You might get lucky, but your odds of getting the guy and protecting your back would have been much better if you didn't piss off your friends. Yeah, it may have felt good to take out the bully, but the greater cause is hampered. It would have been a whole lot better to get the punk first, keep your buddies and then think about what to do about the bully.

Basically, you have to think about your actions before you act. What is the objective? Will my actions help or hinder my objectives? The little punk is still out there. He is on the run, but he is looking for a 2x4 and waiting for us to look in the wrong direction for just a second too long. If it were up to me, yes, Saddam would still be in power. First, I want to take out the guy with the 2x4 with someone watching my back before I take out Saddam. We could have dealt with him later.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Kerry Concedes

It is officially over... I am tired... I only hope that Bush will use his second term to try to heal wounds instead of create new ones. I hope he will govern from the center instead of the fringe. I hope he will realize that we cannot spend the fortunes of future generations for immediate gratification. I hope that he realizes that one out of every two Americans do not agree with how things are going and that he will not snub us like he has done for the last 4 years. I hope... I hope... I hope...

Is There Still Hope?

I doubt it for this election, but liberals are eternally optimistic. That's our providence and our down fall. We are optimistic because we believe that there are better days ahead of us and that progress is innate. We are optimistic because, when it comes down to it, we always win in the end. So much of our "accepted" norms today are a liberal ideas of the past. As much as conservatives my fight it, you cannot stop human progress.

The US Constitution - a liberal idea (conservatives wanted a new King)
End to segregation - a liberal idea
Women's right to vote - a liberal idea
Minimum wage - a liberal idea
Child labor laws - a liberal idea
Social Security - a liberal idea
Standards for food safety - a liberal idea
Consumer protection laws - a liberal idea
Minimum safety standards in the work place - a liberal idea
Family Leave Act - a liberal idea
Etc, etc, etc.

I rarely hear a conservative claim these are bad ideas. They often say, "well these are right because they are common sense." Well, your conservative forefathers fought against them tooth and nail. They claimed they were not common sense ideas. They claimed these ideas would destroy the fabric of our nation. But in the end, the ideas only made our society stronger. If you think I am exaggerating, go back and read some of the things conservatives said about child labor laws and how bad an idea it was - It was an infringement on the right to contract freely. Look at the transcripts of the minimum wage arguments - it would bankrupt 50% of American business. Look at the film footage of fire hoses turned on civil rights activists. Read the accounts of the women pegged with stones for wanting the right to vote.

In the end, liberals will win. We always do. We will have science make our lives better and longer through stem cell research. It is already happening in California. We will have health care for all Americans, not just the rich. We will have better schools in all neighborhoods so all American children get to start life on an equal playing field. We will recognize all Americans as equals regardless of race, gender or sexual preference. We will provide medication at affordable prices. We will increase the minimum wage to a level that puts workers above the poverty level. We will balance the budget so we do not pass along our debt to our children and grandchildren. We will stop companies from freely polluting our air and water.

You cannot stop progress. This may be a set back, but only a minor one. We have always won and we will continue to win because we are optimistic and because we will not give up. I will accept Bush as my president if he is duly deserves it. I will continue to criticize him when he is wrong, and on the rare occasion he is right, I will give him credit. But I will not give up my fight for a better tomorrow, and better America because I know we will win.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day - Updated Till the End

7:00 am - Alarm goes off... Grrrr!!!

7:10 am - Alarm goes off again...

7:14 am - pangs of guilt starting to spread through my body since I am not springing out of bed and dashing to the polling place to carry out my civil duty. Decide not to wait for the next snooze alarm to go off.

7:30 am - out the door.

7:32 am - walk past my former polling place which is now for district 10 instead of district 2... Stupid district 10... Now I have to walk to somewhere around the New York border.

7:40 am - still walking...

7:50 am - still walking... But I am bounding past old the old people also walking to the polling place... At least Bush's senior citizen medication bill was so bad none of these old people I am passing can afford their arthritis medication, so they are especially slow now. They will be standing behind yours truly when they get to the District Poll.

7:53 am - get to my precinct. Sweet, no line out the door. Looks like that brisk walk paid off.

7:54 am - go inside... Holy mother of... Little did I know that this building could hold so many people inside. Looks can be deceiving.

8:00 am - check my blackberry. Get a double whammy. Bush takes Dixville Notch NH 19-7. At least that is 5 votes better than Gore did. Also see the Ohio voter challenge ruling has been overturned. I can just hear the giddiness in Karl Roves voice and the scramble of 10,000 republican feet to the minority neighborhoods to try to block every 1st-15th generation American that walks through the door.

8:20 am - Both the man in front of me and the woman behind me are calling into their offices to tell them they would be late. Haven't they been watching the news? Did they really think they would be in and out? I told my boss not to expect me before Thursday...

8:46 am - finally hit the stairwell to the second floor.

9:02 am - reach the head of the line to check in. Greeted by a panel of 4 poll workers. They are all older than the wind, but some of the nicest people this side of St. Paul. They easily find my name and check me off... Damn it! A lawyers worst nightmare... no conflict!... Bums out my whole morning. I go to secondary line to use the voting booth. Pick the line that looks like it has the most republicans in it. They tend to vote line Republican more than Democrats do in these parts.

9:03 am - Read the giant print out of the city charter initiatives. Oooo... changing the term of the City Parks Commissioner from 2 years to 4 years... sound like a scorcher issue.

9:14 am - My line moves the fastest. I give myself a little pat on the back for thinking ahead... got to give the efficiency award to the Repubs.

9:16 am - enter the voting booth and pull the lever... the curtain closes behind me. Oh, the decisions... Bush or Kerry, Bush or Kerry? Oh, what the hell, I'll vote Kerry. He's got better teeth... Next - House - Republican Chris Shays or Democrat Diane Farrell. This is an actual tough one. Farrell is a Democrat. I think I may have even pitched in a couple bucks to her campaign, but I also really like Shays. He is the type of Republican I can actually get behind because he is fiscally conservative but socially progressive and cares about the environment. I wish more Democrats and Republicans were more like him... So, I flip the lever for Shays. After all, you are voting for the person, not the party. That is why I am a registered Independent. Pull the lever for Dodd... Good Democrat... I vote against the term extension for the Parks Commissioner... I want to keep him honest damn it!

9:18 am - I pull the big red lever... My heart stops beating. Am I doing it right? did I have all the right people checked? Was Buchanan on the ballot? Chink-Chink... It's all over now.

9:19 am - I bound out the door, happy to have preformed my civic duty, my right, my obligation! God bless this great country of ours!

9:23 am - walk the other direction past Mrs. Whipple, still making her way to the polling precinct. Briefly think about offering her a piggy back ride the last block but then decide as nice as it might sound in my own head, it probably would not sound so great coming out of my mouth. Just wave and keep on trucking. I have to still change and catch the train into work.

11:00 am - finally get into work. Scan the internet for voter suppression complaints against the Repubs... Nothing yet... Good, maybe they finally decided they want to join us in an actual democracy, not an oligarchy. But I doubt this will last too long.

1:46 pm - waiting sucks! So, I decide to answer some comments posted to my blog while I was on vacation. One struck me as note worthy - the commenter said in regards to the poll challengers, "If you were a legal voter would you be intimidated by this tactic? Sounds like they were trying to prevent fraud. Is that wrong?" Theoretically, the poster is right, there would be nothing wrong with the tactic. If theoretics were true though, we would not need the 4th Amendment, but theoretics are not accurate at the polling booth anymore than they are in criminal law. Let me put it this way. Have you ever been in a restaurant and have your credit card declined even though you know there is no reason for it? You may know that you have not reached your limit and that you have made your payments on time, but the mere fact that the waiter looks at you with the sly "deadbeat" look is still embarrassing. There is no reason to be embarrassed because you are not a deadbeat, but you still are embarrassed none-the-less. The same thing is true at the polling place. If someone questions my right to vote, and I have to get out of line while the challenge is disputed, it is embarrassing and may discourage people from voting. Additionally, it makes everyone's wait longer. Everyone in line has other things to do. If the person at the end of line gets paid by the hour, he/she may not be able to afford to wait 2+ hours in line. Would you want to double your wait time either? So, yes, challenges do intimidate people.

4:21 pm - Waiting still sucks... work still sucks. Little news of controversy. There are some sporadic reports by both Dems and Repubs of fraud, intimidation, etc. We'll have to see how big the problems are later. Even checked overseas news sites.

4:31 pm - Just heard the radio report that the Marines are on the verge of retaking Falluja. If you are religious, please say an extra prayer. If you are not, keep them in your thoughts.

5:02 pm - Read the early exit polling from the Drudge report. It came out a little later than I though it would... lost bet with co-worker... no soft pretzel for me. Don't put any faith in the reports. Exit polls are a very poor predictor of final reports and don't forget about the 25% of the population that voted early.

5:59 pm - If you want to read some of the Jackass things both parties are trying to pull to supress the vote, go here (Link). Proud non-partisan Jackass hater since 1973

6:15 pm - Zogby International is calling it for Kerry (I highly believe this to be a hoax, but if even not, the sampling is just too small and too much time left). East cost, you have an hour and a half left (except NY) rest of the country, you still have plenty of time to get to the polls. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! If any of you are still undecided (god, I have no idea how), use history as your barometer - the Redskins lost Sunday (even with out the help of Steve Spurrier). When ever the Redskins lose their final home game before the election, the incumbent always loses - 100% of the time. You can't fight fate... Succumb to your destiny... Vote Kerry... Trust me, meaningless correlations are never wrong...

6:42 pm - Order dinner from Hurley's Saloon. Not that you should much care, but I got a sirloin steak sandwich on French bread... Mmmm... steak. Some people think all liberals are vegetarians. This is patently untrue. I am an omnivore and damn proud of it. If God did not intend for us to eat animals, he would not have made them taste so good. I respect vegetarians for their beliefs and sticking to their principals, but for someone who grew up in the country, next to a dairy farm and also doing a brief stint in my grandfathers butcher shop, I am a meat eater. Plain and simple. As my roommate says, "bacon makes everything taste better."

P.S. never try to ride a cow... trust me. Especially when wearing cowboy spurs your father brought back from a trip to Mexico.

P.P.S. Dad, if you read this, it is just wrong, wrong, wrong not to explain to a 7 year old the difference between pesos and dollars. Seriously, do you know how bad I felt when I thought I had lost a pair of $350 spurs...

7:24 pm - Food arrives. They give me Hunt's ketchup instead of Heinz. Is this a bad omen? I am a hockey player... we are a very superstitious group.

7:35 pm - pools starting to roll in. 39 electoral votes for Bush, 3 for Kerry. Nothing dramatic here.

Kentucky - for Bush - good music, great booze, bad politics.
West Virginia - for Bush - Too bad, I was hoping they would come to their senses this election.
Indiana - for Bush - go figure. I know they are just doing this to me because Penn State beat them last year 55-0 in football. I admit, I kind of rubbed it in to some friends I have from Indiana, but getting me back like this, voting for Bush, is just plain ol' mean.

Vermont - for Kerry - Thank god for that Phish get out the vote campaign or this one could have been a squeaker.

8:07 pm - so far Bush 66, Kerry 77. But no surprises... nothing on the swing states. Stupid swing states... Obama has won. Cool, that guy kicks ass.

8:13 pm - Ok... got to make a break for it. Gotta get out of the office, make it down 23 floors, catch the F train home, walk flour blocks and then up 4 flights of stairs... time me... ready, GO!

8:38 pm - Just got in. Not too bad if I say so myself. Did I mention that I had a huge suitcase to tow along behind me. Walk in... My roommate is in her room, asleep I presume, so I have to use my blackberry to e-mail myself and then post later. EC count 102 bush, 77 kerry. Still no surprises.

8:51 pm - check the fridge. Only 3 beers. Not nearly enough to play election night drinking games... The good thing about NY... You can always get beer at the bodega. Not quite as easy as Louisiana where they have drive thru daiquiri shops, but oh well...

9:01 pm - 155 to 112. No surprises... Once again... Stupid swing states. They mock my pain...

9:11 pm - Bob Woodward is on. Great writer... Bad speaker.

9:16 pm - North Dakota goes for Bush. It doesn't surprise me, but it disappoints me. My step mother is from ND. Good hockey, great people. I really like ND, I wish they were going for Kerry.

10:00 pm - turn to the daily show... the only place to really get your news.

10:16 pm - Roommate wakes up and lets me use her computer. Thank you. She thinks I am crazy for watching... little does she know... I am...

11:05 pm - Some computers in Florida will only let you vote for Bush. Thanks to Debold corp, I am sure. PA goes for Kerry. The state of my birth. The state of the constitutional congress. Go State. Side note - Scott Peterno is running for congress. He is a childhood friend of mine. He is running as a Republican, but no one is perfect. No results on that one yet.

11:20 pm - Minnesota is looking good for Kerry... Com'on MN, Daddy needs a new pair of shoes...

... to be updated throughout the day.