Friday, May 30, 2008

Resources for Tracking the Bogus Primaries (MI, FL)

With all of the furor over the FL and MI primaries and the meeting planned this weekend I thought it might be appropriate to post some "information" for folks to peruse as they follow this weekend's "news":

The beginning of the storm: In August 2006, the Democratic National Committee adopted a proposal by its Rules and Bylaws Committee stating that only the four states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina would be permitted to hold primaries or caucuses before February 5, 2008.

In May 2007, the Florida legislature, (a Senate composed of 26 republicans and 14 Democrats; a House composed of 77 Republicans and 43 Democrats), passed a bill that moved the date of the state's primary to January 29, 2008, setting up a confrontation with the DNC.

Michigan moved its primary to January 15, 2008, also in violation of party rules. None of the top candidates campaigned in Florida or Michigan. The events were described in the media as beauty contests, and voter turnout in both states was relatively low when compared with record-high turnout in other states

Some analysis of the FL primary: So what does it mean that Sen. Hillary Clinton "won" the Democratic Primary in Florida? Not much, since none of the Democratic presidential candidates campaigned there and no delegates will be allocated to her. It was kind of a Potemkin village of a race, like the one in Michigan which also didn't count on the Democratic side because, like Florida, Michigan moved its primary to an earlier date against the wishes of the Democratic National Committee.

Some analysis of the MI primary: About 44 percent of Michigan Democrats voted against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) yesterday in the party's primary, with the vast majority of that group marking "uncommitted" on ballots that did not include any other major candidates.

Michigan primary results and Florida primary results

Given all of the above, there are only two "fair" resolutions, either of which is fine by me (for what that is worth).
  1. The delegates could be split 50/50 between Obama and Clinton.
  2. A re-vote could be held - but it would be expensive and it is kind of late for that.

I can think of no other resolution that fairly meets the needs of FL, MI, the Democratic part, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.

At First This Seems Ridiculous But...

The Panties for Peace campaign was launched by a group of women peace activists from a Burmese peace activist group called - Lanna Action for Burma which is based in Thailand. Since we initiated the panties for peace campaign for Burma, women’s panties (as well as male underwear) have been mailed out by activists to Burma’s foreign missions in Australia, Singapore, and European countries.

So far, sounds a bit nuts, right? But if you read on you will find this:

One of the main reasons for which we are encouraging people to send out their panties to Burma’s foreign missions is because the generals ruling Myanmar are superstitious and they believe that touching panties or the traditional women’s outfit sarong will eliminate their powers.

OK, maybe it still sounds a bit nuts, but I enjoy skewering superstitions, so I had to blog about it. And if you don't have any panties to contribute to the effort, might I suggest that you visit Knicker Picker! But be warned, if you visit Knicker Picker you might waste a lot of valuable time making those models try on various undergarments...

When Will They Ever Learn?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Thursday that he was "deeply disappointed" by a supporter's sermon at his church that mocked Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Chicago activist, also apologized for last Sunday's sermon at Obama's church, in which he said Clinton's eyes welled with tears before the New Hampshire primary because she felt "entitled" to the Democratic nomination and because "there's a black man stealing my show."

In video circulating on the Internet, Pfleger said the former first lady expected to win the nomination before Obama's sudden popularity.

With all the trouble that preachers and evangelists are causing the presidential nominees this year, do you think they'll ever learn and stop trying to secure endorsements from religious leaders? They really don't seem to help, do they? Consider all the "help" that Obama has gotten from Jeremiah Wright... and all the "help" that McCain has gotten from Rod Parsley and John Hagee...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Marines Distributing Coins for Christ in Iraq

If you read the linked story you'll learn that this practice is causing unrest among the Iraqis. Of course it is! The US Marines should not be acting as christian missionaries (or any type of religious missionaries, for that matter). How could anyone think that this is going to work? And who is paying for the coins, I wonder? I bet it is us. I bet tax dollars are being used to create these monstrosities.

World Science Festival

Brian Greene, a Columbia physics professor and author of The Elegant Universe, and his wife, Tracy Day, an Emmy-winning documentary producer, gathered up the city’s Nobel laureates (and Alan Alda!) and had them put together the coolest presentations they could devise. Thus the World Science Festival was born. The festival kicks off May 28 and runs for five days. It is being held in New York City.

I wish I was able to attend this, it sounds like fun.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Scotty Beams Us In

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan charges in an explosive new book that President George W. Bush and top aides shaded the truth to make the case for the Iraq war, which he declared unnecessary.

This is news? Haven't we all heard this before? Although I guess not from an insider... and controversy sells books, like McClellan's recently published What Happened -- Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.

President Bush’s much-criticized flyover of the hurricane-damaged area was Karl Rove’s fault, not McClellan’s, the former press secretary says. Rove kept insisting on it, despite McClellan’s suggestion that it was a bad plan, he writes.

Does that surprise anyone? Well, maybe that it wasn't Cheney's idea...

I guess, to me at least, the bottom line here is that Scotty was part of the crew who fucked things up. He can write about it not being his fault. He can claim that he thought the war was unnecessary. But he was right there spouting the administration's talking points, day-in and day-out. This book won't change that...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Biblical Wisdom, Part 11 -- On Bastards

1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.

2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 23:1

Wouldn't you think that anyone with his member cut off or his stones wounded would have suffered enough? And it just doesn't seem fair to me to punish the child (that'd be the bastard) for the "sins" of his parents. Then again, if you read the bible god doesn't give a shit about fairness.

Why Mommy and Daddy are Democrats

Here are some sample pages from the children's books Why Mommy is a Democrat and Why Daddy is a Democrat. I enjoyed them so I thought I'd share...

Nice imagery here... the only thing missing is the WTC towers!

This one was especially nice because those little Democratic squirrels are being protected by Mama squirrel from that hideous lumbering Republican elephant...

It is unfortunate that the Earth looks like a nerd when it feels better.

What do you think? Are these fun or what?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

McCain Won't Support Our Veterans

This is appropriate for Memorial Day...

From The Progress Report: (On May 22nd) the Senate honored U.S. troops by passing a 21st Century GI Bill, expanding educational benefits for veterans who joined the service after Sept. 11, 2001. "Congress today resolutely asserted that it is time for those of us who have been calling on these brave men and women to serve again and again to assist in providing a meaningful chance for a first-class future," said Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who sponsored the legislation. Seventy-five senators voted to fund veterans yesterday, providing a veto-proof majority. Yet not only did Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) not vote for the bill, he didn't even show up to vote (the only other senators missing were Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), for health reasons, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who had to attend a funeral). In the past, McCain has promised to "do everything" in his power to look after the nation's military. But a look at his record on veterans issues shows that he has unfortunately favored conservative pandering instead...

McCain's record on supporting veterans is one of the worst in Congress. IAVA has given him a grade of a "D" for voting against veterans' priorities so often between 2000 and 2006. A scorecard of roll call votes compiled by the Disabled American Veterans found that McCain has voted for veterans funding bills only 20 percent of the time. For example, in May 2006, he voted against an amendment providing $20 billion to the Department of Veteran Affairs's (VA) medical facilities. In April 2006, he was one of just 13 senators to vote against providing $430 million to the VA for outpatient care "and treatment for veterans." McCain has railed against comprehensive universal health care and wants to give veterans the "freedom to choose to carry their V.A. dollars to a provider that gives them the timely care at high quality and in the best location." But as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman notes, "[T]he Veterans Health Administration is one of the few clear American success stories in the struggle to contain health care costs. ... [I]t's an integrated system -- a system that takes long-term responsibility for its clients' health -- to deliver an impressive combination of high-quality care and low costs." McCain's plan, however, would "privatize and, in effect, dismantle the V.A." In his narrow-sighted focus on eliminating earmarks, McCain may also cut funding for military housing.