Heckuva Job, Sarah

Blogger Andrew Sullivan has been on a roll lately with his insightful coverage of the Sarah Palin / John McCain journey into dishonor and distortion. In a recent post he highlights bits from a recent NYT article that states Palin’s tendency to hire long-time friends instead of qualified individuals for important positions. Sound like a certain President from Texas you know? From the NYT:

“So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, [Palin] appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as one of her qualifications for running the roughly $2 million agency. Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.”

I cannot overstate this position: We simply cannot afford 4 more years of Bush style government that Palin and McCain represent. Sullivan’s summary of the situation sums it up perfectly: “Does that not seem eerily reminiscent of George W. Bush’s appointment of Michael Brown to FEMA? Cronyism, debt, lies, religious fanaticism, and utter ignorance about foreign policy. You want another four years of Bush? McCain-Palin is the ticket.”

Support Barack Obama for President.

Sarah Palin: Not Ready for Prime Time

John McCain’s so-called running mate shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. It’s now painfully clear she doesn’t have the first clue about the United States’ role on the world stage. Not only that, but she doesn’t even have a firm grasp on her own party’s foreign policies or how they’ve be applied around the globe. Witness her utter unfamiliarity with the “Bush Doctrine”:



And forgive me if I, and the rest of the free world think that going to war with Russia over Georgia or another one of its former states is the worst idea in the history of the Republic. To saber rattle in this fashion is not only arrogant presumption, but plain dangerous. Especially since she and McCain haven’t even been elected, as least not yet. McCain and Palin represent a bleak future for this country. I pray to God the rest of the country realizes this in the weeks ahead.

Oh, and by the way, the revelation that Bush went into Pakistan this week without the country’s permission to root out Al Qaeda was exactly the same policy that Obama put forth last year. You know, back when such action was labeled by right-wingers as dangerous and naive. Obama had it right all along.

UPDATE: Any conservative who tries to tell you “there is no Bush Doctrine” is pushing bullshit. The Bush Doctrine was clearly outlined after September 11th, 2001 and has been referenced over and over in the main stream media and even by the GOP itself. John McCain himself knows what the Bush Doctrine is as is evident in this second video. Any attempt to defend Sarah Palin’s ignorance of the subject, and of the larger context of her lack of foreign policy is a farce. She has no excuse:

New Pieces of the Climate Puzzle

News out of Moscow this morning that Russian scientists are evacuating a research station near the North Pole early due to the increasing effects of climate change. Usually the floating ice station is abandoned in late August, but this year the 21 researchers and two dogs will leave now, in mid July.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the earth, satellite photos of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica reveal that the huge tract of ice is “hanging by a thread”. Neal Young who is a glaciologist with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart, says the breakup of the Wilkins Ice Shelf is inevitable and could lead to the de-stabilization of the entire peninsula.

Just two more examples of what is happening around the globe due to climate change. And while the ice caps melt, species die and we continue to pump out millions of tons of pollutants, George Bush has decided that his administration can’t be bothered to do anything about it. Not only that, but we have discovered that Vice President Dick Cheney edited a recent EPA report on greenhouse gasses, and just today Bush lifts the executive ban on off-shore oil drilling. Instead of funding new research into alternative and clean energy sources, this administration continues its long conflict of interest with big oil and the fossil fuel industry to help pollute our environment while contributing to global warming.

Worst. President. Ever.

Tony Snow Dies of Cancer at 53

Sad news this morning out of Washington D.C. Tony Snow, the former White House Press Secretary and reporter for FOX News has died at the age of 53 in his ongoing battle with colon cancer. Although Snow infuriated me no end as the shameless front man for the Bush administration, I had tremendous respect for him. Of all the various forms of cancer to fight, colon cancer has to be up there with lung cancer as one of the worst. Even amidst his chemotherapy treatments and ongoing health problems, Tony would somehow manage to stand at the White House podium, do his job, and do it well. He was a wonderful role model for those struggling against the disease and now we’ve lost him. Washington was a better place with Tony Snow in it. He’ll be missed by those on both sides of the aisle.

Doing What’s Right

When news came last week that the United States Senate House passed a “compromise” version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), complete with retroactive immunity for telcos who illegally spied on law abiding Americans, I was pretty upset. Like most, it looked like the Democrats had caved once again. In the intervening time however, the majority of Americans have made their displeasure known with the provision and so Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) plan to filibuster any attempt to pass the bill:

“This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.”

Their efforts are backed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Hopefully it will help send a clear and concise message to President Bush and the rest of those in Congress who happen to think the 4th Amendment, and indeed the Constitution itself, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up against this type of pressure from the President and his administration. John Gruber calls the pair of Senators heroes. I happen to agree.

The GOP’s Nightmare Begins Now

For months leading up to the presidential primary, Republican strategists, pundits and media mouthpieces were all chomping at the bit at the prospect of facing Hillary Rodham Clinton in the fall. The battle between the forces of Reagan-Bush conservatism and the “morally bankrupt” Clinton clan was one of the good fights that right-wingers everywhere were counting on to fire up the base, draw new, young Republicans and energize the religious right. Clinton herself perpetuated the myth that she was entitled to the Democratic nomination. When her campaign failed to plan for the political bombshell that turned out to be Super Tuesday, she had to know things were not going as planned.

I knew the right feared facing Obama in the general election. My suspicions were confirmed when Rush Limbaugh effectively told his ditto-head listeners to vote for Clinton in deep red states like Texas, a place where no God-fearing republican would admit to even liking Hillary, let alone pull a lever for her. Operation Chaos, as it was called, may have been sold under the guise of prolonging the battle between Hillary and Barack, but I suspect it had more to do with the desire of the right to give Clinton the boost she needed to take the nomination.

The best laid plans.

Ever since it was understood that Barack Obama would be the Democratic nominee, we’ve hear rumblings from the right that Obama was the wrong choice. Hillary is the more competitive candidate. Obama doesn’t have the “electoral math” to win against McCain in the fall. The simple truth is they’re scared shitless. Obama’s nomination puts them just where they didn’t want to be. This is now a race between a young, energetic and intelligent man who stands for real change and an older opponent who effectively represents “the status quo”. Obama has raised over 280 million dollars from over 1.5 million donors averaging about $100 each. McCain has to re-schedule his fundraising appearances because he doesn’t want to be seen with Bush.

I’m not going to kid myself and say this election is going to be easy. It won’t be. The right wing, from the Bush insiders like Karl Rove, hate radio jocks like Hannity and Ingram and internet right wingers like Drudge and Malkin are about to throw everything they have at the Senator from Illinois. They will do anything to try and slow down the speeding locomotive that is the Obama campaign. They and others fear the loss of power that Obama as President would represent and the shift in policies that would limit corporate control and restore the rule of law. They can feel the country slipping from their grasp like the snake oil they sold this country for the past 7 years. McCain stammers to a room of a few hundred and Obama draws crowds of tens of thousands. McCain and his supporters offer the rest of us unending war, promote the climate of fear started by Bush after 9/11, and attempt to drive a wedge between Americans. To these folks and others like them who live in ignorance of what true change is and what Barack Obama represents, I have only one thing to say…

Bring ‘em on.

No Sign of “Stimulus” Check Yet

It’s now May 25th, and every day I peek at my bank account online in the hopes that my fabled tax stimulus check will magically appear so I can pay for gas. Since my social security number ends in the 00-20 range, it was supposed to have been deposited electronically starting the week of May 2nd, but so far no luck. No problem I say, maybe I’m getting a physical check instead of direct deposit. Well, if that was the case, it would have been mailed out by May 16th which was over a week ago. Unless it fell between the seats of my mail carrier’s car, it hasn’t shown up in my mailbox either.

So my question is, has anyone actually received their stimulus check yet? No one I know has. Have you? I’m sure we can chalk this one up to government inefficiency, but still. They’ll probably go out 2-3 months after when Bush said they would. Typical.

UPDATE: You gotta love the Internet. Head to howispentmystimuluscheck.com and tell the story of how you spent your rebate (with photos!). Seems like paying off debt tops the list so far, so much for stimulating the ‘ol economy George!

UPDATE II: Just got a letter from the IRS yesterday (Tuesday, June 10th) saying I’ll receive our check by the 13th. Of course if I don’t get it within 6 weeks, I’m to contact them. I’ve heard that once you get this letter, the check follows soon after, so I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll see.

UPDATE III: Finally received our stimulus check in the mail today, June 16th, 2008. Only came one month late, so that’s not bad for the government I guess. Glad I’m not a disaster victim or something.

What He Said

Last night’s New Rules from Bill Maher were spot on. Bill managed to put into words exactly how I feel about the political climate in this country and the coming election. He spoke about Obama’s supposed “bittergate slip” (which the majority of PA’ers evidently don’t have a problem with) and elitism. Here are some of the best bits:

“So let’s separate the bitter from the idiots. If you think the Democrats are going to take away your bible, you’re an idiot. If you think they’re going to take away your guns, you’re an armed idiot. And if you think they’re going to take away your gun and give it to a Mexican to kill your god, you’re Bill O’Reilly.”

and

“So let’s focus on the thing… that the people who claim to be the non-elitists are the ones who constantly shift tax burden from the people who fire you, to you. John McCain voted to repeal the estate tax. Voted against the minimum wage. Has no health care plan and is fine with keeping the working class in Iraq for a hundred years, but he’s a real “man of the people”. And the President went to Harvard and Yale and inherited your country from his dad, but he’s not an elitist because he can neither read nor write.

What does it take to label someone elitist these days anyway? They wear shoes? They all buy their groceries at the gas station? Their dog has a name and their truck doesn’t?

You know who’s bitter in America? I am. Because shit-kickers voted twice for a retarded guy they wanted to have a beer with and everybody else had to suffer the consequences!”