Friday, November 27, 2009

"Buy nothing day"

Nope - I don't participate in the "buy-nothing-day" celebration as protest against consumerism's "Black Friday."

BUT: today I bought almost nothing - three 2-liter bottles of 7-Up (on sale! $0.99/bottle) and two 12-can cartons of 7-Up.

I did NOT shop for xmas gifts.
I did NOT visit the mall.
I even avoided WalMart.

We were out of 7-Up. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Statistical illiteracy in action (over at Fox News)

From my friends at C&L:
Calling Fox News Quality Control: Pie Charts Are Supposed to Add Up to One Hundred
Let's see... 70% + 60% + 63% = 193%!

Trust me: I've taught undergraduate statistics, including "statistics for liberal arts" (aka statistics for dummies). I've taught graduate statistics. I've taught statistics for engineers in industry.
Most of the general public - the unwashed masses - can understand simple graphs.
... and almost all of 'em will spot the above-noted problem with Fox's pie-chart.

BUT: the folks at Fox News are pretty damn dumb!

p.s. it's also a bit weird that the "60%" wedge is bigger than either of the other two!

Good news!

From Think Progress:
Bachmann and Palin to unite for Tea Party convention.
Sarah Palin will star as the keynote speaker at next February’s First National Tea Party Convention, which will take place in Nashville, TN. Also attending: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). The right-wing Minnesota congresswoman has previously asserted that Democrats are trying to “sabotage” both her and Palin “to make sure that we don’t have a prominent national voice.”
Heck, I could almost support a Palin-Bachmann ticket... as a Progressive! - you know, the first Female/Female national ticket! - I'd gladly send 'em $$$.

more "Happy Thanksgiving" - oops, almost forgot

Previous Thanksgiving post mentioned family in town.
This omitted extended family in town: bro-in-law's two brothers (his sister didn't make it up from Ruidoso this year), and his Mom. My son's college friends - now a happily married couple. We've known these "kids" since my son's freshman year at NMT... in 1993. I'm pretty sure they've spent every Thanksgiving with us since then! (He's an environmental engineer; she, a hydrologist.)
[note: they keep making noises about hosting Thanksgiving... but haven't yet! My advice this year: announce in mid-October!... (tho' I believe my wife's sister in fact enjoys hosting!)]

Once upon a time we were the regular hosts. One year my wife decided that everyone would sit at one contiguous table! - Between the extended family and the kids' friends, we had upwards of 30 people attending that year, but we managed to get 'em all seated at one very long 'table' - actually many, many tables strung end-to-end from dining room through living room. I've never let her live this down! (But it was sort of fun... in a masochistic way.)

Sigh. It's past now.

Till next year!

... one more thing: for many, many years I always managed to have a vegetarian Thanksgiving. This was not intentional - it's just that I kept filling my plate with the non-meat offerings and then found myself too full to enjoy turkey. Last year & this I've been wiser: starting with turkey, then ladling on the the non-meat offerings. Either way, I leave no way for dessert!

One of the things about a semi-potluck Thanksgiving: everyone brings enough to feed everyone. This results in a surfeit of food!
No - I don't feel guilty.

Light posting next few days... see ya Monday

Other stuff going on.
I anticipate light posting next few days.
With any luck I'll write a few letters.
See you Monday.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Continuing what is now a 3-year-old tradition:
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
It's secular - religious overtones are secondary.
It's American - the rest of world goes on happily without us.

Most of all, for me the basic premise - giving thanks - is a good thing. Yes, I am thankful for my family, for my undeserved good-fortune in life, for friends.
As mentioned in previous years, most of my family is in town. None of us started out here - we all just ended up here. I've 3 sisters. 2 of 'em are in town, with their husbands. My mom is in town. My wife's folks are in town. Her sister & bro-in-law are in town. A sister's sister-in-law is in town. Our kids are in town. My daughter-in-law's folks are in town. We added a nephew this year.

Usually, some one family hosts a huge Thanksgiving spread.
This year, for reasons I don't know, two families are hosting: my sister & my wife's sister.
We'll be heading to wife's sister's... tho' we may drop by my sister's, too.
Happy Thanksgiving, with friends & family!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

They create their own reality

Perino: No Terrorist Attacks In America Under Bush (VIDEO)
Rachel Weiner,HuffPost
25 Nov 2009
Dana Perino, recently nominated by President Obama to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, made an odd claim Tuesday night.

On Fox News, the former press secretary suggested President Obama was playing politics by refusing to describe the massacre at Fort Hood as a terrorist attack. "We should call it what it is," she said.

"We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term," she told Sean Hannity. "I hope they're not looking at this politically. I do think that we owe it to the American people to call it what it is."

[emphasis added]
How do you argue with these people?

"If wishes were horses, Beggars would ride"
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."
[unnamed White House aide, quoted by Ron Suskind, NYT Magazine, 17 Oct 2004]
The context of that long-ago post was the magical thinking rampant in W's administration.
Apparently not much has changed for loyal Bushies.

[... others have noticed: whenever Cheney and the rest of W's cabal speak, they assume W's presidency began on 12 Sep 2001.]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Digby says it best

... but why is no one else saying this at all?
Or, more to the point: Why are House & Senate Dems not saying this - loudly, frequently?
Anyway - if they want a crib sheet, Digby has one:
Truth And Consequences
by Digby
This must-read report in the New England Journal Of Medicine lays out the facts about the cost to society in lost lives, productivity and money for failing to assure that everyone is covered by health insurance. And the costs of treating them late in preventable emergency situations is far, far higher than it would otherwise be. This should be obvious, but it's not.

The conservatives frame this problem in contradictory terms, arguing both that people ARE covered and that it will cost us too much to cover them. They further insist that people shouldn't be allowed to free ride on the system, that there should be no mandate to buy insurance and that any government administered health system is an infringement of their freedom. But these various ideas are just a smokescreen.

It's quite obvious that what they truly believe is that people who don't have insurance should not be allowed to get health care and that if they get sick they should be allowed to die unless they can find some charity or raise the money. There's no other way to reconcile their beliefs.

If conservatives believe this, they should say so instead of framing the issues in terms of whether or not we're going to "young and dynamic" vs "middle aged and secure" as David Brooks deceptively does in his column this morning. If you think that people who don't have health insurance (or the means to pay cash) should be barred from getting medical treatment, then you should be willing to make that argument up front. I would guess that there are more than few people in this country who believe just that. People who have insurance.
Seriously: Why don't the Dems take to the airwaves with these talking points??? ... pointing out the logical implications of the GOP's position? ... stressing the basic economics of health care?

... and it probably wouldn't hurt to mention the Preamble: if timely access to affordable, high-quality health care doesn't count as "the general welfare" of "we the people", what does???

How did the GOP end up in the driver's seat?

Oh, good - I'm not alone

From C&L:
Mr. President, Dump Your Economic Team and Fix This Unemployment Crisis.
My target has been Geithner, but I can see the wisdom of sacking Summers as well.

Stiglitz & Krugman would probably be too scary to get confirmed - Senate GOPers wouldn't let 'em come to a vote!
(Another reason we need just a few more Dems in the Senate... )

Just for fun

The DNC could use the RNC's ideological purity test in anti-GOP ads - just rephrased. Something along the lines of "What they say" versus "What they really mean" comes to mind:
1) We oppose economic relief for Main Street; we support huge bonuses for Wall Street;

2) We oppose Medicare and Medicaid; we support the profits of predatory health insurance companies;

3) We support global warming, the melting of the polar ice-caps, and the demise of the polar bear;

4) We oppose unionization and unions; we support big business's unfair labor practices;

5) We don't want any more Hispanics in our America;

6) We support never-ending, futile wars;

7) We support belligerence and saber-rattling; we disdain diplomacy;

8) We're anti-gay;

9) We're don't believe Supreme Court decisions are the law of the land; we support the health insurance industry's right to ration care;

10) We support unmitigated gang violence, the right of psychotics and felons to buy guns, and the drug cartels that have turned our inner cities into war zones.
You can probably paraphrase better than I. Try it. It's fun!

Will the DNC take advantage of this golden opportunity?
I'm not holding my breath!

Here's your chance!

You, too, can get $$$ from the RNC simply by supporting any 8 of the following 10:
(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers' right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion;

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.
... well, at least that's the proposal being discussed by the GOP:
Republicans considering ideological purity test for candidates
Tues, 24 Nov 2009
Ten members of the Republican National Committee are proposing a resolution demanding candidates embrace at least eight of 10 conservative principles if they hope to receive financial support and an official endorsement from the RNC.
It gets better.

The second sentence reads:
The "Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates," is designed to force candidates to prove that they support "conservative principles" while opposing "Obama's socialist agenda," according to The New York Times' Caucus blog.
[emphasis added]
Ah, yes - invoke St. Reagan - he who grew the National Debt from 33% of GDP to more than 50% of GDP!!!

A 1983 PBS series, Reilly: Ace of Spies, included the following outburst from Joseph Stalin, delivererd some years after Lenin's death, in response to a challenge from one of Lenin's loyal supporters to the effect that, "It's what Lenin wanted":
"How long will this country be run by a dead man?"
How long will St. Reagan run the GOP???

Me? I'm hoping for a very long time!
... oh, and I also think the "ideological purity test" (aka, "Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates") is a GREAT idea!
Maybe I'll write a letter to RNC chair Steele expressing my whole-hearted endorsement of Reagan's Unity Principle as a litmus test for all GOP candidates.

do they know?

Do the Tea-Party crowd realize that they're being butt-fucked by their corporate masters?

Will anyone tell 'em?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our MBA president at work... sigh

U.S. Fears Iraqis Will Not Keep Up Rebuilt Projects
Published: November 20, 2009
BAGHDAD — In its largest reconstruction effort since the Marshall Plan, the United States government has spent $53 billion for relief and reconstruction in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, building tens of thousands of hospitals, water treatment plants, electricity substations, schools and bridges.

But there are growing concerns among American officials that Iraq will not be able to adequately maintain the facilities once the Americans have left, potentially wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and jeopardizing Iraq’s ability to provide basic services to its people.

The projects run the gamut — from a cutting-edge, $270 million water treatment plant in Nasiriya that works at a fraction of its intended capacity because it is too sophisticated for Iraqi workers to operate, to a farmers’ market that farmers cannot decide how to share, to a large American hospital closed immediately after it was handed over to Iraq because the government was unable to supply it with equipment, a medical staff or electricity.
Where to start?

Sadly, everywhere and nowhere.

This is what happens when ideology and ideological purity prevail.

Could someone please explain to me why the neocons still get airtime on primetime news - cable & network?

What would happen if we just walked away?
I don't know... but I'm willing to bet $$$ that whatever happens couldn't be any worse than maintaining the status quo.

... and then there's Afghanistan.
What would happen if we simply walked away?
Again - I don't know. (Well, I've got some guesses - none of them uplifting or attractive.)...
... BUT, again - I'm willing to bet $$$ that an honest, realistic cost-benefit analysis - the stuff the GOP presumably thrives on - would reveal that walking away is the best course of action.

Would peace and harmony suddenly break out in south-central Asia? Well, no - probably not.

Would we be more secure and more fiscally sound?

Stop the madness!

p.s. Somewhat surprisingly, I'm getting tired of posting bits entitled "Our MBA president at work"... I'd sincerely hoped that Obama would repudiate W's legacy - both abroad and at home. I've been sorely disappointed.

fun day in the emergency room... light posting

Wife to ER today.
Now home.
Light posting remainder of evening.
See ya tomorrow.

p.s. on the bright side, I had ample time to complete Saturday's NYT crossword puzzle!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

46 years ago

Nov. 22, 1963

I was in 6th grade.

Is it time to stock up on staples?

Thanks to Woody for calling this out:
15 Signs American Society Is Coming Apart at the Seams
You have a population of 50 million people who are in desperate need of money, they most likely have no health insurance and can’t afford to get health care or help of any kind.
While the richest 1 percent have never had it so good, a significant percentage of the U.S. population now has firsthand experience in this. Millions upon millions of Americans are poor, broke, struggling, starving, desperate… and armed.

We are sitting on a powder keg!
Could be fun!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Some fun numbers

The GOP are the fiscally responsible ones, right?
Here are some fun numbers:
When St. Reagan took office in 1981, the national debt was 32.6% of GDP.
When he left office, it was 53.1% of GDP!
[Yep - in Ronnie's 8 years, he increased the debt by more than 20%, as % of GDP.]

When Bush I took office, the national debt was 53.1% of GDP.
When he left office, it was 66.2% of GDP!
[Yep - that stalwart fiscal conservative Geo. H.W. Bush increased the debt by 13% during his 4 years.]

When Clinton took office, the national debt was 66.2% of GDP.
When he left office, it was 57.4% of GDP!
[Yep - Clinton - the free-spending Democrat - reduced the national debt as % of GDP!]

When W took office, the national debt was 57.4% of GDP.
When he left?... 75.5% of GDP!!!
Dems - INFORM the voters about the myth of GOP 'fiscal responsibility'.
Show 'em numbers and graphs - they'll get it!

note: in fact, as % of GDP the national debt decreased from Truman thru LBJ - Great Society & all!
It ticked up again under Nixon and Ford.
Carter brought it down a tad.
Then came Reagan.
From Truman to Clinton, NOT ONE Democratic administration has increased the national debt (as % of GDP).
The Republicans? - Only Eisenhower reduced the debt for duration of his administration! It went down in Nixon's first term, then ticked up again under Nixon/Ford.
- Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and W ALL increased the debt!!!

Staying on message

2010 is fast approaching.
The Republicans are confident they'll win back the House, maybe the Senate.

Sad thing is, they could be right!
How? - Simply by staying on message:
Obama's deficit
Obama's recession
Obama's wars
It's not that hard: blame Obama & the Dems for all the country's current ills.

The somewhat obvious solution - that I nevertheless feel compelled to mention just in case Dems might be paying attention:
The message???
W and the GOP are the illness.
Dems are the cure.
Don't be afraid to REMIND the voters that W & his GOP enablers inherited a $230Bn budget surplus from that profligate tax-and-spend liberal Clinton.
W left office leaving a $240Bn budget deficit.

Who got us into two "wars without end"?
- W and his GOP enablers.

It took eight (8) years to dig this hole - it's gonna take a while to climb out...
BUT - if we give the shovel back to the GOP, they'll keep digging.

Dems are the cure? Yes! Specifically,
Health care is a human right.
We're cleaning up after W
W's wars
W's recession
W's deficit (does anyone remember W's tax cuts???)
Do not - repeat, do NOT - respond to GOP talking points! - not EVER!!! Rather, stay on message. Yes, it's boring, and you sound like a broken-record... BUT IT WORKS!

Whatever currently ails the country is W's fault - W and his GOP enablers.
Never let the electorate forget this one simple fact.
... in addition, to the extent that the patient is recovering, it's due to Democratic intervention & treatment!!!

W and the GOP are the illness.
Dems are the cure.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Trade ya a Geithner for a Fisher!

Big Banks Should be Broken Up, Not 'Coddled': Fed's Fisher
Published: Friday, 20 Nov 2009
Banks that are considered too large to fail should be dismantled rather than "coddled," Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said on Thursday.
Fisher suggested the only way of ensuring that such financial giants do not pose recurrent problems is by making them smaller.

"This means finding ways not to live with 'em and getting on with developing the least disruptive way to have them divest those parts of the 'franchise,' such as proprietary trading, that place the deposit and lending function at risk and otherwise present conflicts of interest," Fisher said in prepared remarks to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
How come Geithner isn't saying anything like this?

The suggestion that "too big to fail" = "too big to exist" is being heard more frequently of late, and from respectable people - not just nut-jobs like me.

I remind loyal readers that you just may have heard this suggestion here first!... back in February!!!

What if Dems acted more like the GOP?

From TPM:
Here It Comes
Straight from House Minority Leader John Boehner's office:
"Sen. Reid's Government-Run Health Plan Requires a Monthly Abortion Fee"
We Are All Jihadists!
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): Republicans are about to launch a "holy war" to derail health care reform.
My question: what if Dems responded in kind?

Something along the lines of,
GOP aligns with terrorists, declares jihad on America
... maybe in a press-release issued by Majority Leader Reid.

Or they could just make stuff up - like Boehner does:
Republican healthcare plan mandates sterilization for immigrant teens!
But, no.

What the Dems will do instead is embark on pointless efforts to respond to GOP charges! - Basically this 'tactic' (such as it is) puts the GOP in the driver's seat. LBJ was a master of this:
[paraphrased]In one of his early Congressional campaigns, LBJ is said to have advised his campaign manager to accuse his opponent of having carnal knowledge of his pigs.

"You want me call him a pig-fucker?", the aide queried.

To which LBJ replied, "Make him deny it!"
If Dems insist on replying to every Republican calumny, they have effectively lost the debate.

Local note: in the 2006 NM-1 Congressional race, challenger (Dem) Patricia Madrid fell into this trap repeatedly, effectively putting incumbent (Rep) Heather Wilson in charge of Madrid's campaign. Every time Wilson took a swing at Madrid, Madrid stood up to it and took it on the jaw! It was then - and is now - a ridiculous and fruitless debating technique.

Again?... and so soon!

From AmericaBlog:
Fox News displays old campaign footage to claim Palin is getting ‘huge crowds’ at her book signings
Wasn't Sean Hannity called out by Jon Stewart just last week for using archival footage of the "9/12" event to suggest that the Reactionary Republican Rally on 5 Nov generated HUGE crowds?

What - Fox figured no one would pay attention this time?
... of course, I'm sure it was an "inadvertent" mistake.

Exactly what evidence can Fox News present to argue that they're a real news channel - not simply a PR branch of the GOP??? I know they claim to be a real news channel - but can they present any evidence to justify the claim?

Update: From TPM
Fox Apologizes -- Again -- For Using The Wrong Footage
"We mistakenly aired what's called file tape of Sarah Palin. We didn't mean to mislead anybody in that tease. It was a mistake, and for that we apologize," said a host of [Fox's]Happening Now.
Well, no - they didn't claim it was 'inadvertent' this time!

p.s. I'll repeat my free advice for Fox News: if in fact it was simply a mistake to merge year-old video with current, you might want to adopt a better filing system!

Oh, good - I'm not alone

From HuffPost:
Rep. DeFazio: Fire 'Timmy' Geithner

Sam Stein | HuffPost Reporting
19 Nov 2009
Rep. Peter DeFazio called for the firing of President Barack Obama's top two economic aides on Wednesday, accusing them of pursuing a recovery plan skewed too heavily in Wall Street's favor.
Asked specifically whether Geithner should stay in his job, DeFazio replied: "No.
DeFazio said that there is a growing consensus among the Congressional Progressive Caucus that Geithner needs to be removed. He added that some lawmakers were "considering questions regarding him and other economic advisers" -- though a petition calling for the Treasury Secretary's removal had not been drafted, he said.

"[Obama] is being failed by his economic team," DeFazio concluded. "We may have to sacrifice just two more jobs to get millions back for Americans."
I think I'll send DeFazio's re-election campaign some $$$.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Obama says talks under way on Iran sanctions

For what it's worth: Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... and has more-or-less adhered to the provisions of the treaty.

India is NOT a signatory. We've GIVEN India nuclear technology.

Pakistan - our best bud in south-central Asia - is NOT a signatory... and there's evidence they've provided nuclear technology to other so-called "rogue" states. We've got sort-of-good relations with Pakistan.

Why are we so obsessed with Iran?
Our obsession makes 'em stronger!... specifically, our obsession makes Ahmadinejad and his ilk stronger.
Why don't we try something different?

A gentle reminder:
A popular definition of insanity:
Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.
[note: this has been attributed to Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, and a few others... If anyone knows the true source, I'd like to hear!]
I can't guarantee that ignoring Iran would make the Ayatollahs any more reasonable, but why not give it a try? - What we've doing for the past 30 years - sanctions coupled with acrimonious rhetoric - hasn't been working all that well!

Maybe it's time to try something different.

A bit of Dylan Thomas

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

What I really have in mind is
Rage, rage against the noisy babble of morons and Luddites
[Just for fun: Google the phrase, "morons and Luddites".]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Paul Simon sings the Progressive's Plight

Don't it just seem like this... more than sometimes?
"You know the nearer your destination,
the more you slip sliding away."

Dog bites man!

Obama, Holder predict conviction in 9/11 case

Oh, good - I'm not alone

"The Rant" by Tom Degan: Sarah Palin: Going Rove
Tom Degan is also pulling for Palin:
If you will be kind enough to indulge me, I would like to propose a toast: Here's to Sarah Palin; may she never - EVER - go away.
I am going to go out on a limb here: No woman since Eleanor Roosevelt has done more to further the cause of progressive politics in the United States of America than has our Sarah.
Don'cha just love her? I sure do!

Please, please, please: to all my fervent GOP friends (that may be a null set) - PLEASE nominate Sarah in 2012! Cheney/Palin, Palin/Cheney, Beck/Palin, Palin/Beck... Romney/Palin, Palin/Romney... I'd be delighted with ANY of these tickets! Is Fred Thompson still around? How 'bout Palin/Thompson?

As a special favor: any chance you could get Sarah to either
a) campaign against incumbent Republicans and for REAL Republicans in 2010 GOP Congressional primaries
b) campaign for Conservative party candidates against Republican incumbents in the 2010 general election???
Please. Pretty please, with sugar on top!

Yes - I'm getting really tired of seeing all the coverage Going Rogue and Sarah are getting... BUT: if this is her ticket to the big-time and, with Beck's help, she can use this fame to secure the GOP nomination in 2012, I'll grit my teeth and bear it!

Please: let me know when she establishes a campaign committee.
I'll happily send $$$ her way.

Public service for GOP (I'm not sure they've read this before)

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Happy Birthday!

W. S. Gilbert
18 November 1836 – 29 May 1911
"Now give three cheers, I'll lead the way:
Hurrah, hurrah, hurray!"

War, sports metaphors, and Iraq

... from someone with direct knowledge!
Wings Over Iraq writes:
On Sports Analogies
When I first arrived in Iraq, we sat down to brief a general regarding our upcoming year-long mission. The general, after a few introductions, turned to the commanders in the unit we were replacing. He noted their accomplishments during their deployment, which took place during 2007-2008, just as the violence in Iraq began to drop off precipitously. The general claimed, "This team here has taken the ball to the twenty yard line. And I think you guys", he said, pointing to us, "are going to take this one all the way across the goal line to put this one into the 'W' column for the United States of America"

Some cheered when they heard this, but I remained skeptical. (Sorry, but the last time someone dramatically claimed that we won the war, he wasn't exactly right).

A year later, as we transferred control to another unit, I heard the following speech from yet another general:

"You guys have taken this one to the twenty yard line, and I think [your replacements] are going to take this one to the goal line as we depart Iraq and turn over responsibility to..."

[emphasis in original]
The forever receding goal line seems no closer now than then.

I assume newly arrived troops still hear that they replace folks who have "... taken this one to the twenty yard line", and their job is to score the TD.

How many FU's have we exhausted so far? - yes, "success" (whatever the hell that means) is still - and always - just around the corner.
Iraq, Afghanistan...

Thanks again, W!

... and, oh: Stop the madness!!!

My free (worth every penny!) advice to Keith Olbermann

Mr. Olbermann:
I don't watch or listen to Rush, BillO, or Glenn.
There's a reason for this.
I prefer your show... BUT: you force me to watch & listen to Rush, BillO, and Glenn.
Get over it!

My advice to you regarding these jokers (and Faux News in general) is the same advice I send my Congressional delegation regarding Iran: ignore them!
Iran is NOT an 'existential threat' to America. - by huffing & puffing against Iran, the neocons only inflate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
By obsessing about Faux News on Countdown, you only inflate these blow-hards.

There's a relevant Aesop's fable: The frog and the ox.
Let them puff themselves up till they burst.
They don't need your help - they'll do it all by themselves, just to show off!


p.s. my knowledge of this particular Aesop's Fable derives from Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore - the song, "Things are seldom what they seem" includes the lyric, "Bulls are but inflated frogs"
It's getting so's I can't bring myself to watch KO, knowing that he'll force me to watch Rush, BillO, and Glenn.

As stated, I choose NOT to watch or listen to these idiots for a reason.
And, yes - I believe what I say: just as the neocons' obsession with Iran only puffs up Ahmadinejad, KO's obsession with Faux News only contributes to its credibility.

A meme I encourage!

From C&L:
William Kristol Hates American Soldiers
Yes! - Republicans hate America and Americans.
A meme (pronounced to rhyme with "cream") is a postulated unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. (The etymology of the term relates to the Greek word μιμητισμός (pronounced /mɪmɪtɪsmos/) for "something imitated".)
What I would like to see imitated:
Republicans hate America and Americans
There are many, many examples... Republicans favor corporate profits over the welfare of ordinary Americans; Republicans favor endless war, however futile - so long as someone else's kids are dying; Republicans favor terrorism over law; Republicans believe America is a small, weak country - existentially threatened by the likes of Iran.

These messages - this single meme - ought be rehearsed repeatedly by all of us progressives... and even by the not-so-progressive Dem establishment: DNC, DCCC, DSCC.

Write a letter today!

C&L bounce

444 and counting.
Thanks Mike!

... so how come no one posts a comment?... except for the usual suspects, of course.

Digby says it best

"I don't care if Obama bows down to the powerless Japanese Emperor. I'd really like if he stopped bowing down to Wall Street titans however."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our 'liberal' media at work

A risky setting for NYC trial of 9/11 suspects
By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer
Sat Nov 14, 2009
WASHINGTON – In a move both politically and legally risky, the Obama administration plans to put on trial the professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and four alleged accomplices in a lower Manhattan courthouse.
Trying the men in civilian court will bar evidence obtained under duress and complicate a case where anything short of slam-dunk convictions will empower President Barack Obama's critics.
Well, at least it didn't say "anything short of slam-dunk convictions will empower the terrorists"!

Why is the setting "risky" - the very first word in the attention-grabbing headline?
Well, Mr. Barrett does try to make a case for the adjective:
"The venue for the biggest trial in the age of terrorism means prosecutors must balance difficult issues such as rough treatment of detainees and sensitive intelligence-gathering with the Justice Department's desire to prove that the federal courts are able to handle terrorism cases."
Okay - prosecutors have to overcome W's insistence on so-called "harsh interrogation" (aka, "torture"). Well, yeah - that might be tricky. But ANY legitimate legal proceeding - no matter where - would be faced with the same dilemma. Even SCOTUS has been skeptical regarding the legitimacy of the military tribunal system.

Just a question: what's a "slam-dunk" conviction, and how can it be distinguished from a regular, run-of-the-mill conviction?
The descriptor is meaningless, but suggests - with no supporting argument - that prosecutors will be under extra pressure... you know, beyond just prosecuting the terrorists allegedly responsible for 9/11.

But, seriously: the opinion that anything short of "slam-dunk convictions" will empower Obama's critics is just that - an opinion... held primarily by GOPers!
(If the author is suggesting that his opinion is a fact, it'd be nice if he could provide, you know, evidence... or at least a supporting argument - not simply make the assertion and walk away.)

And just how does trying the men in civilian court "complicate" the cases???
If anything, it should simplify them: well-established procedures in place, no questionable ad hoc procedural rulings, well-understood law... all these argue in favor of civilian courts and against the cobbled-together military tribunals.

Ah, yes: this is the Associate Press! - handmaiden of the GOP.
I forgot.

He speaks!

Geithner: US must not drop ball on financial fix
By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer
Tue Nov 17, 2009
WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress on Tuesday that efforts to strengthen the global financial system to prevent another deep crisis will falter if the United States drops the ball on overhauling regulation of its own banking system.
Of course, we already knew he could speak. Can he do anything else?

The article notes that, "The administration unveiled a financial overhaul package last spring."
I musta missed it.

my letter to Obama

Today, 17 Nov 2009:
Dear President Obama:

Treasury Secretary Geithner is not up to the job. Fire him.

From the recently released SIGTARP report:
"Confident that a private sector solution would be forthcoming, FRBNY did not develop a contingency plan..."
[emphasis added]
Does this sound familiar? It should: it characterizes the decision-making process under your predecessor in the Oval Office. No one had the imagination to foresee alternatives. From Condi’s, “no one could have imagined…” to Greenspan’s, “this crisis, however, has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined…”, W’s tenure was characterized by an absence of imagination, and the consequent failure to plan effectively for foreseeable alternatives.

The SIGTARP report strongly suggests that TreasSec Geithner suffers this same disease.

In Congressional testimony last fall, former TreasSec Paulson stated,
“There is no playbook for responding to turmoil we have never faced.”
This was two (2) months after the shit had hit the fan. My advice to him at the time was that his #1 priority in these two months ought to have been drafting a playbook!

When TreasSec Geithner assumed the reins, I sent him similar advice: draft a playbook!
Put together a plan – no, a strategy, starting with a strategic objective. Show it to us. Convince us that you know how we get from where we are now to where we want to be.
(It would help to start by giving us a hint where you think we want to be!)
I’ve yet to see a comprehensive, self-consistent strategy from Treasury.
Is there one?

Treasury Secretary Geithner suffers from an absence of imagination, and has provided no evidence that he is up to the job.
Fire him. Today.

Yes - I do anticipate a reply, with a hand-written address!

p.s. in an email to President Obama covering much the same territory, I also suggested that a committee of seven (7) randomly chosen citizens could do a better job formulating policy than has TreasSec Geithner.

just for fun: my letter to SecTreas Geithner

... dated 24 May 2009:
Secretary Geithner:

You’ve been getting a lot of press recently:
Geithner Dismisses GOP Socialism Charge as 'Ridiculous'
Tim Geithner Chats with Newsweek's Jon Meacham
Geithner Vows to Cut U.S. Deficit on Rating Concern
“It’s very important that this Congress and this president put in place policies that will bring those deficits down to a sustainable level over the medium term,” Geithner said in an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday.

Some free advice (worth every penny): Shut up and get to work!

This headline from is not encouraging:
TARP Warrants Show Banks May Reap ‘Ruthless Bargain’

Please, Secretary Geithner, STOP "chatting".
STOP giving interviews.
STOP taking advantage of photo ops!

START (finally, at long last) to do your job!
Hint: Addressing GOP talking points is NOT your job!
You might start by getting the best deal possible for taxpayers, NOT the banks.

After that? Put together a plan – no, a strategy, starting with a strategic objective. Show it to us. Convince us that you know how we get from where we are now to where we want to be.
(It would help to start by giving us a hint where you think we want to be!)

News that the banks are screwing us - with your blessing - is not comforting.

If you're not up to the job, quit! – Maybe you should be a talk-show host.
(I received no reply.)

... and one more thing

Another tidbit from the "Conclusions" of the SIGTARP report:
"Second, the now familiar argument from Government officials about the dire consequences of basic transparency... once again simply does not withstand scrutiny.
Federal Reserve officials initially refused to disclose the identities of the counterparties or the details of the payments, warning that disclosure of the names would undermine AIG's stability... and the stability of the markets.
After public and Congressional pressure, AIG disclosed the identities.
Notwithstanding the Federal Reserve's warnings, the sky did not fall..."

[emphasis added]
I'd really love to see a similar analysis of the 'state-secrets' privilege as it is used to conceal from We the People what our Government is doing in our names!

But wait, I get ahead of myself. This bit from the "Conclusions" includes a powerful coda:
The lesson that should be learned - one that has been made apparent time after time in the Government's response to the financial crisis - is that the default position... should be that the public is entitled to know what is being done with Government funds."
[emphasis added]
Again - I'd really like to see this be the default position in all MY Government's dealings - whether financial, military, foreign policy, intelligence... ALL my Government's dealings:
The public is entitled to know what is being done with Government funds.
Is this too much to ask?

Does this sound familiar?

From the "Conclusions" of the TARP Watchdog's Report:
"Confident that a private sector solution would be forthcoming, FRBNY did not develop a contingency plan..."
[emphasis added]
Ah, yes - the W years! - no one EVER bothered with contingency plans!... for anything!!!

Mr. Obama: Fire this man!

Loyal reader fpm sends this:
"The smartest man in the room is not always right."
- Richard Holbrooke
Given recent disclosures about Geithner's role - as NY Fed President - in AIG bailout, I'm thinking the more appropriate quote runs something like...:
"The smartest man in the room isn't always that bright!"
There are a bunch of headlines from which to choose. I'll go with Financial Times - as a conservative mainstream source:
Geithner under fire over AIG payments
By Tom Braithwaite in Washington
Published: November 17 2009
The New York Federal Res­erve under Tim Geithner “severely limited its ability” to extract ­concessions from AIG’s counter­parties in talks that ended with $27.1bn (€18.18bn, £16.25bn) of public money transferred to the likes of Société Générale and Goldman Sachs, according to a government watchdog.
Neil Barofsky, special inspector-general for the troubled asset relief programme, said in the report that the New York Fed made “policy decisions” that weakened its hand in negotiations with AIG’s counterparties.
HuffPost is less circumspect:
How Can Geithner Survive This?
Geithner Singled Out In TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky's Scathing Report On AIG Bailout
How, indeed?

Loyal readers may recall that a year ago (18 Nov 2008) I chastised then SecTreas Paulson for making this inane statement:
"There is no playbook for responding to turmoil we have never faced."
At the time I offered SecTreas Paulson this advice:
SecTreas Paulson, not that it's my place to tell you your job, but: isn't it a reasonable expectation that your top priority over the past 2 months ought to have been drafting a playbook???
As far as I can tell, SecTreas designate Geithner didn't worry too much about drafting a playbook, either... in fact, I've seen NO evidence that SecTreas Geithner has any clue what the hell he's doing!... This impression seems to be confirmed by the TARP Watchdog's report on Geithner's actions as NY Fed President: Geithner hadn't a clue then, either!

Mr. Obama: Fire this man!

p.s. here's link to the TARP Watchdog's Report

Monday, November 16, 2009

Making a difference

From a local correspondent:
Harold Schlumberg makes a difference! As we get older we sometimes begin to doubt our ability to "make a difference" in the world.

It is at these times that our hopes are boosted by the remarkable achievements of other "seniors" who have found the courage to take on challenges that would make many of us wither.

Harold Schlumberg is such a person.
I've often been asked, 'What do you old folks do now that you're retired'? Well..I'm fortunate to have a chemical engineering background, and one of the things I enjoy most is turning beer, wine, Scotch, and margaritas into urine. And I'm pretty damn good at it, too!!
Harold should be an inspiration to all of us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Works for me!

Liz Cheney suggests Cheney presidential ticket in 2012

I'd really like to see a Cheney/Palin GOP ticket in 2012!
... not sure Obama could mobilize the Progressive base, but I'm pretty sure Cheney/Palin would!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Well, that was fun!

"Curmudgeons' night out" went well... very well attended!

It was fun meeting OneFly (Outta the Cornfield)... and of course always joyful to chat with Pat (Family & Friends) and Woody (The Well-Armed Lamb).

... I probably oughta point out that Woody has MANY blogs - all of 'em good reads. Visit Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) for a complete list.

Me? - I've barely the energy to maintain just one blog!

OneFly brought a couple of friends with him (hey - the more, the merrier!... How come these were our only guests?).
Anyway... one of 'em had a tale to tell regarding the joys of the U.S. health insurance system:
After 30+ years working, he was recently injured on the job - fell and broke his femur... the round part that fits into the hip joint.

He filed for Worker's Comp - an 'on-the-job' injury, right?

X-rays revealed a "pre-existing condition": slight arthritis.
Worker's Comp refuses to pay.

Meanwhile his private health coverage demurs: this was a WORK-RELATED INJURY - so Worker's Comp should cover it!
The joys of our wholly dysfunctial health insurance system... that the GOP thinks is just great!

I'm curious: how many of us in our 50s DON'T have "slight arthritis" in just about every joint???
Better not fall and break something!

Back to here-and-now: Thanks to Pat, Woody, & OneFly (Tom) for a delightful afternoon!
... Pat: the beer selection was awesome! (... even if Spinn's didn't stock Bass!)

Milestone: $700Bn and counting

The cost of W's Iraq fiasco today surpassed $700Bn!

... Why aren't the fiscally responsible GOP asking how we're gonna pay for it???

Let's party!

Curmudgeons' night out has been moved to the afternoon...
... specifically, Saturday afternoon - 3 p.m., 14 Nov.
"Spins", in Montano Plaza - Coors & Montano.

In attendance: Woody of The Well-Armed Lamb, Pat of Friends & Family, Russ of Private Buffoon, and a special guest appearance by OneFly of Outta the Cornfield!
[We'll likely be signing autographs!]

Join us!

Friday, November 13, 2009

courtesy of The Onion

U.S. Deports Lou Dobbs
CNN Host Had Been Living Illegally In Country Since 1961
November 12, 2009 | Issue 45•46
WANTAGE, NJ—Acting on anonymous tips from within the Hispanic-American community, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on Wednesday deported Luis Miguel Salvador Aguila Dominguez, who for the last 48 years had been living illegally in the United States under the name Lou Dobbs.

Once upon a time I car-pooled with a fellow who got all his news from The Onion.
Now I know why.

How come MSM don't ask this question?

From Think Progress:
Why Are Hawkish Lawmakers Willing To Pay For An Escalation Of The War But Not For Health Care?
Has anyone asked Tom Coburn if he'll vote to fund more troops in Afghanistan? Where's the money coming from, Tom???

Recall - Coburn is the guy blocking the Disabled Vet Benefit bill... 'cuz he wants to see how we're payin' for it!

This has been another episode of, "Our 'liberal' media at work".

Stupak's arithmetic

Stupak claims he's got 40 Dems behind his amendment... and that if the final bill doesn't include this hateful anti-abortion provision, they'll all vote agin' it.

So what?

Here's my arithmetic.
435 = total House membership.
258 = Dem members.
Simple majority = 218.

Let's give Stupak his 40 (doubtful).
258 - 40 = 218.

Yep - even if Stupak has his 40 votes, and the rest of the Dems are loyal, a bill without his hateful amendment passes the House.

this is just fun

From Think Progress:
RNC employee health insurance plan covers abortion

Thursday, November 12, 2009

... wandering further astray

Hammerstein got it wrong!
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

["You've got to be taught", Oscar Hammerstein, South Pacific]
Well... no, you don't.

Fear of "The Other" seems to be the natural human condition.
You've got to be taught that "The Other" is YOU! - that we're all humans, with the same emotions and motivations. With the same DNA.
It's a hard lesson.

We've been here before. Within 11 years of our country's founding, The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed, under John Adams.

In fact, a not-so-careful reading of our history...
Kasper Gutman: These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Wells' history, but history nevertheless.
[The Maltese Falcon]
... again, a not-so-careful reading of our history reveals that the U.S. has never lived up to its promise that "all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...". NEVER.

An engaging parallel:
Sacco and Vanzetti were followers of Luigi Galleani, an Italian anarchist who advocated revolutionary violence, including bombing and assassination. Galleani published both Cronaca Sovversiva (Subversive Chronicle), a periodical that advocated violent revolution, and an explicit bomb-making manual (La Salute è in voi!). At the time, Italian anarchists ranked at the top of the government's list of dangerous enemies, and had been identified as suspects in several violent bombings and assassination attempts (even an attempted mass poisoning), going back to 1914.
[Wikipedia article, Sacco and Vanzetti]
The Galleanists and other anarchist groups were the Al Qaeda of early 20th-century America. Congress passed a series of "Patriot Acts":
On June 15, 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act. The law set punishments for actions interpreted as acts of interference in foreign policy and espionage - including many activities that would be seen by contemporary standards as dissent, such as the publication of magazines critical of the government. The act authorized stiff fines and prison terms of up to 20 years for anyone who obstructed the military draft or encouraged "disloyalty" against the U.S. government.
Congress also passed a series of immigration, anti-anarchist, and sedition acts (including the Sedition Act of 1918 and the Anarchist Exclusion Act) that sought to either criminalize or punish (through deportation) advocacy of the violent overthrow of the government or desertion from the armed forces, defiance of the draft, or membership in anarchist or revolutionary organizations.

In 1919, the U.S. House of Representatives refused to seat Socialist representative Victor L. Berger from Wisconsin because of his socialism, German ancestry, and anti-war views.

[Wikipedia entry, Palmer Raids]
Does any of this sound familiar?

Anti-immigration hysteria.
Harsh - and illegal - suppression of dissent.

We have been down this road before.
More than once.

"You've got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made"???
We've got to learn that "The Other" is US!

... wandering fairly far astray

In replying to Wolf Blitzer's bullying of Col. John Galligan (ret.), I'd hoped to find some pithy quote from Clarence Darrow explaining why he took the Leopold & Loeb case.
[yeah - i sent email to Wolf - with no pithy Darrow quotation, only the dialog from "A Man for all Seasons"]

... anyway, I found no pithy Darrow quotation with his explanation. But I DID find this pithy quotation from Darrow's summation, in which he argued against the death penalty:
"If the state in which I live is not kinder, more humane, and more considerate than the mad act of these two boys, I am sorry I have lived so long."
Note: Darrow's 'defense' consisted of...
-1) having both young men plead guilty (thus avoiding a jury trial)
-2) arguing passionately for life-imprisonment - NOT the death penalty.

If you're curious, there's a webpage: Illinois v. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb.

Digression: in his novel, Jailbird, Kurt Vonnegut laments that Sacco & Vanzetti are now so forgotten as to be confused with Leopold & Loeb.

It's been a while...

... since I've had occasion to use my favorite quotation from Robert Bolt's play, A Man for All Seasons.
I think Wolf Blitzer gave me a chance on Wednesday in his interview with Col. John Galligan (Ret.) who is one of Maj. Hassan's defense attorneys.
Blitzer: A lot of folks, when they heard I was interviewing you, they asked me how could a retired U.S. military officer, a full colonel, go ahead and represent someone accused of mass murder? And I want you to explain to our viewers why you're doing this.
[transcript, The Situation Room, 11 Nov 2009]
Col. Galligan answers this question quite well.

Wolf seems not entirely satisfied.
Indeed, why defend this guy?

My stock answer?
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

[emphasis added]
Yes: for my own safety's sake!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our 'liberal' media at work

Did Fox News alter footage of a conservative rally?

Why is this headline phrased as a question?
The correct construction is exclamatory:
Fox News altered footage of a conservative rally!
The note at the end of the article concedes that...
At the tail end of Sean Hannity's show Wednesday night, at approximately 8:55 p.m. EST, the Fox News host had the following message concerning the controversy:

"Although it pains me to say this, Jon Stewart, Comedy Central, he was right... It was an inadvertent mistake but a mistake nonetheless.”
Apparently this admission that Jon Stewart & The Daily Show were right in noting that Fox & Hannity had faked the footage wasn't relevant enough for the folks over at Yahoo Newsroom to change the headline!

p.s. free advice for Fox News (worth every penny!): if in fact it was an "inadvertent" mistake to merge 2-month-old video with current, you might want to adopt a better filing system!

Dare we hope...

... that this is good news?
Official: Obama wants his war options changed
By BEN FELLER and ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press
11 Nov 2009
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
[emphasis added]
Hmmm... sounds like Obama just might be looking for the "declare victory and leave" option!

... or is this hoping for too much?


111109 is prime.
(11112009 is not prime.)

hmmm... could be the end of civilization as we know it

AP sources: Reid eyes payroll tax hike on wealthy

Hey! I made it to DailyKos... sort of

I've been getting a fair amount of mileage out my visit with Ed Kimmel in September - he being the fellow in YouTube video carrying the "Public Option Now" sign thru 12 Sep Tea-Partyers on the National Mall (vid: Teabaggers can't handle a little dissent)

He's now returning the favor, and getting some mileage out of my visit with this DailyKos diary entry (i'm the "friend from high school"):
Being a Part of Someone's Best Week
And, yes: my thank you to him did say that my visit was one of my best experiences in recent memory!

Today in mathematics

Thanks to loyal reader Kevin for bringing this to my attention:
Leibniz is credited, along with Sir Isaac Newton, with the discovery of infinitesimal calculus. According to Leibniz's notebooks, a critical breakthrough occurred on 11 November 1675, when he employed integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of a function y = ƒ(x). He introduced several notations used to this day, for instance the integral sign ∫ representing an elongated S, from the Latin word summa and the d used for differentials, from the Latin word differentia. This ingenious and suggestive notation for the calculus is probably his most enduring mathematical legacy. Leibniz did not publish anything about his calculus until 1684. The product rule of differential calculus is still called "Leibniz's law". In addition, the theorem that tells how and when to differentiate under the integral sign is called the Leibniz integral rule.
[Wikipedia entry, Gottfried Leibniz; emphasis added]

Infrastructure spending

I've noticed some chatter regarding last spring's stimulus bill, and how the money is being spent. Seems some of the 'infrastructure' projects are questionable: re-paving & widening roads, as opposed to rebuilding bridges.

Anyway, I am here to report that in Albuquerque, infrastructure IS being improved - I don't know if stimulus money is being used or not... well, in some instances, I know it's NOT, since the projects were undertaken well before the stimulus bill was passed.

For the past several years the two interstate highways passing thru town - I-25 & I-40 - have been upgraded. Their junction - the Big-I - was completely rebuilt about 10 years ago. Most of the I-40 overpasses & ramps have been redesigned and rebuilt. The I-40 bridge over the Rio Grande has been rebuilt.
Yes - the continuous construction has been inconvenient... BUT: the new highways, overpasses, and ramps are really quite nice!

I'm not sure whom to thank for this foresightful construction, but someone ought to get credit for directing public $$$ to serious infrastructure improvement, at least here in Albuquerque.

p.s. a digression: the Big-I - the junction of I-40 & I-25 - is the only place in New Mexico where two interstate highways intersect!

Good news: the Buggy Whip Party

US Sen. Lindsey Graham censured by SC county GOP
AP, 11 Nov 2009
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Republican leaders in a South Carolina county have censured their own U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for working with Democrats on a climate bill and other legislation.
The party resolution passed Monday says Graham has weakened the Republican brand. Bennett expects a similar resolution to be introduced at the state GOP convention next year.
We need to encourage the SC GOP: YES - please include a similar resolution in your 2010 Party Platform! - Ideological purity is paramount!!!

"And you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure. You know, at one time there must've been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company?"
[Lawrence Garfield - the Danny DeVito character - in Other People's Money]
I'm all for turning the GOP into the buggy-whip party! (Actually, I'm all for the GOP turning the GOP into the buggy-whip party!)

Veterans Day!

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas shoe store owner named Al King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during World War II. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into "All" Veterans Day. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce took up the cause after determining that 90% of Emporia merchants as well as the Board of Education supported closing their doors on November 11, 1953, to honor veterans. With the help of then-U.S. Rep. Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.

Congress amended this act on November 8, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with Veterans, and it has been known as Veterans Day since.

Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978 it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11 (with the exceptions described above). Since this change, there has been a trend against being closed on the holiday. It began with businesses (excluding banks) and in recent years some schools and local governments have also chosen to remain open.

[Wikipedia entry, Veterans Day]
Now you know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Gov't making health care decisions for us!

Palin was right!
With the Stupak Amendment, the House has voted to make our health-care decisions for us!
Thanks a lot, Dems!!!

I'd like to offer an amendment prohibiting anyone receiving public money from buying insurance that covers heart by-pass surgery.
... or maybe liposuction...

Abortion is a legal, medically-justifiable procedure.
Who is Congress to dictate that my insurance can't cover it???

Monday, November 9, 2009

Digby says it best

Every once in a while I wonder why Dems are so... spineless.

Digby's post today captures the same frustration:
Goldilocks Was Betrayed
... why in the hell do they [liberals] go into every discussion having already given away everything but their bottom line?
Why, indeed!

eBay currency index

I've not visited eBay in a while.
That 499.99 GBP item? Now at $830.43.

I don't think this is the worst exchange rate I've recorded, but it does indicate a very weak dollar!

A modest proposal

For Abortion Foes, a Victory in Health Care Vote
Published: November 8, 2009
WASHINGTON — A restriction on abortion coverage, added late Saturday to the health care bill passed by the House, has energized abortion opponents with their biggest victory in years — emboldening them for a pitched battle in the Senate.
Both sides credited a forceful lobbying effort by Roman Catholic bishops with the success of the provision, inserted in the bill under pressure from conservative Democrats.

[emphasis added]
Tricky issues at play here: First Amendment's separation clause meets First Amendment's freedom of speech provisions.

I believe I have the knife that will cut this Gordian knot.
Abolish tax-exemptions for religious organizations. All exemptions, all religious organizations.

In my naive reading, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." means what is says. Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion.
As it stands, the Government, with its tax-exemptions for religious organizations, plays umpire in the game of "Are you a church?" SCOTUS has gotten involved. By granting tax-exemption to what the government recognizes as "religious organizations", Congress implicity establishes these as legitimate religions. The Church of Joe the Plumber likely will NOT be granted an exemption - and is thereby dis-established by the government.

In return, religious organizations, like any other legal 'person' - individual, partnership, corporation - will be free to engage in political speech to their hearts' contents, with no strings attached.

Of course, donations to religious organizations would no longer be tax-deductible.

This could probably be drafted in a fairly short paragraph. "Sections X, Y, and Z of the United States Tax Code are hereby amended. No church, synagogue, mosque, coven, cell, convent, friary, etc., shall be granted a tax-exemption. All income deriving to any such, whether as an individual or a corporation, shall be subject to the relevant tax rates stipulated in the United States Tax Code. Furthermore, no donations to said organizations shall henceforth be eligible for a deduction under section Q of this code."

See how easy it is!

p.s. Here's just one example of the Government's ability to effectively "establish" an organization as a religious entity - or not - based wholly on tax-code interpretation:
In 1967, the IRS stripped all US-based Scientology entities of their tax exemption, declaring Scientology's activities were commercial and operated for the benefit of Hubbard. ... The case was eventually settled in 1993, at which time the church paid $12.5 million to the IRS—greatly less than IRS had initially demanded — and the IRS recognized the church as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. ... Scientology cites its tax exemption as proof the United States government accepts it as a religion.
[Wikipedia article, Church of Scientology; emphasis added]
If nothing else, keeping such cases out of court would save us a lot of hard-earned tax $$$!

Our tax dollars at work

NASA on crusade to debunk 2012 apocalypse myths
Monday, 9 Oct 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The world is not coming to an end on December 21, 2012, the US space agency insisted Monday in a rare campaign to dispel widespread rumors fueled by the Internet and a new Hollywood movie.


personal note: last update (honest!)

Teresa was diagnosed with "neutropenic fever":
Neutropenic Fever
James Metz, MD
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001
Neutropenic fever is an oncologic emergency. If you are receiving chemotherapy, you are at particular risk of developing neutropenic fevers. Neutropenia occurs when your white blood cells, specifically the neutrophil population, becomes dangerously low.
Neutropenic fever may cause serious effects, including death, very quickly.
Her absolute neutrophil count (ANC), measured in cells per microliter of blood, was 0 when admitted.
"Severe neutropenia" is ANC < 500.

Next time I'll pay closer attention to a fever!

Oh, good: I'm not alone!

From Woody over at The Well-Armed Lamb:
How's All That "Hearts & Minds" Stuff Working, Fellas?
Again: air-power is a blunt instrument.
It cannot control territory or populations.
It can blow stuff up!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

visit tom degan's The Rant

I derive a great deal of pleasure from doing what I do. But there are a few points of extreme unpleasantness to be sure. One of these is the fact that I am forced to spend a lot of time thinking about people like John Boehner.
[Tom Degan's Rant; emphasis added]
Yes - that helps to explain some of the periods during which I infrequently post.

... then there's this, from Starbuck at Wings Over Iraq:
Any snarky commentary I might have on foreign policy and military affairs needs to take a back seat to today's tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas.
Silence is golden.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

personal update

wife was off iv's today.
in the best of all possible worlds, she'll be discharged tomorrow (sunday).
no fever.
no h1n1.
no anything that they can look for.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My email to Boehner

House Minority Leader:
Most of us learned this in 8th-Grade Civics. You, apparently, need a refresher.
United States Constitution
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
That bit about "... life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? That's from the Declaration of Independence, which has no legal standing.
The Constitution DOES have legal standing. In fact you, as a Representative,
"... shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution..."
Try harder.
It's fun and easy!

self-promotion (perhaps a tad early)

My collection of Gilbert & Sullivan memorabilia will be on display at the Albuquerque Public Library (Main Library) in February, 2010.

I'll also be delivering a "Lunch at the Libary" talk on Gilbert & Sullivan, 17 Feb, noon - 1 p.m.

FYI: Applebee's Veteran's Day offer

Applebee's is offering veterans & current military a free entree on Veteran's Day - 11 Nov.

Acceptable proof of service includes DD-214.

I think I'll take 'em up on it! (The wife likes Applebee's... maybe she'll be out of the hospital by then!)


Friend A:
Professional statistician and USMC reservist. Called to active duty on pointless 'homeland security' detail following 9/11. After about 1.5 yrs of this nonsense, he was sent to Kuwait and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. E-5 when called to duty; E-7 when he returned from Iraq.
He's close to the most conservative person I know - both personally and politically.
We manage to conduct civil political discussions on occasion.

... oh, yeah: he just got notice that he'll be going to Afghanistan as part of Obama's surge!

Friend B: Includes the following on his Facebook page:
Now this makes me proud. Utne Reader declares Montgomery Co, MD number one on its list of "10 Most Enlightened Suburbs" and, in the first sentence, lists as a reason, the fact that "it is home to probably the leftiest 'burb anywhere (Takoma Park)" --- as in "Edward Kimmel, 58, of Takoma Park, MD" (quoting my description from the Wash Post pict. after the tea party.)
Eat your heart out, Berkley.
I stayed with Ed on my September visit to DC.

Somehow I manage to maintain friendship with both these fellows, with no apparent cognitive dissonance. I think they'd enjoy a beer together - tho' they'd likely agree on nothing!

During Friend A's post-9/11 deployment, I vowed to write him 1 letter/week for the duration of his deployment. (I made this vow in recollection of how wonderful mail-call could be - when you got mail!) I almost met my commitment, missing perhaps 3 weeks... and we continued to correspond via snailmail for a year or so after his return to civilian life.

'twas this experience that converted me to a snailmail guy. I now try to maintain correspondence with half a dozen folks. It's fun, and provides the illusion that I am participating in a time-honored civilized tradition!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Curmudgeons' night out??? - update

OneFly plans to be in town towards end of next week.
PM has suggested a spot at Coors & Montano.
Woody is up for anything, and hints that he may add a new member!

This just might pan out.

A fun, snarky characterization

Appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show, Jane Hamsher of Firedog Lake characterized Joe Lieberman (I-CT) as:
... the Carrie Prejean of the Senate

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How 'bout them Cubs!

Yankees, 7-3.
Win Series, 4-2.

personal note

Wife was admitted to UNM Hospital today, with 102 temperature... went as high as 103 before they pumped her full of antibiotics (to which, it turned out, she was allergic!).
After seeing her white count, and with her chemo-suppressed immune system, the med folks took all of 10 mins to make decision to admit her.
Fun times.

This sucks

Maine voters reject gay-marriage law
The noisy babble of morons and Luddites wins again.

Curmudgeons' night out???

Any chance anyone out there is ready for another Curmudgeons' Night Out?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just for fun: Republicans hate Americans (but not their wives!)

KO noted this tonight:

Joe Wilson (R-SC; "You Lie!") yesterday:
Joe Wilson: Obama Should Be ‘Held Responsible’ for Swine Flu Vaccine Shortage
Monday, November 02, 2009
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) says President Obama should “be held responsible” for the government’s lack of preparedness in addressing the swine flu epidemic. Wilson said this was one crisis Obama could not blame on any other administration.
Commenting on this article, NewsVine notes,
This is an amusing article. What it fails to mention is that Wilson voted against the Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which would've devoted $2 billion to fight H1N1 as well as other pandemics. And somehow, that translates to the President's fault.
... then there's this revelation:
Joe Wilson's wife Roxanne has been diagnosed with swine flu...
Ah, yes: Wilson blames Obama for lack of preparedness only when Wilson's wife gets the flu... Cleverly concealing the fact that he voted against funding swine flu preparedness!!!

Ain't the Republican party GRAND!
(They are, after all, the GRAND OLD Party.)

New blog added to "My Blog List"

The Rant.
Yet another progressive point of view.

Give him a visit!

p.s. His header (the place where PrivateBuffoon quotes Gilbert&Sullivan) quotes the First Amendment! - I like him already!

NY-23 update

Hoffman (C) concedes.
Owens (D) wins!
Current tally: 87% of precincts reporting, and some 11K absentee votes yet to be tallied -
Owens (D): 49%
Hoffman (C): 45%
Scozzafava (R): 6%
This in a district that has been safely Republican since only slightly after The Deluge.

Recall my none-too-confident prediction from Sunday, 1 Nov:
- Owens: 46%
- Hoffman: 43%
- Scozzafava: 11%
I over-estimated Scozzafava's residuals... but I've still got the 11K absentee ballots to bring her total up (these were presumably returned before she dropped out of the race). Otherwise, I didn't do too badly calling the Owens v Hoffman race!

Again: I'm really hoping the Tea Party folks learned their lesson! - and redouble their efforts in 2010!!!
I'll gladly contribute $$$ to any Tea Party-favored non-incumbent in 'safe' Republican districts next fall! Drive out the moderate Rs, bring in the REAL conservatives!!! YES.

Will Glenn Beck accept my $$$ to help finance his camapaign appearances? Sarah Palin?
Please: Let me give you $$$... BUT: only for your favored alternatives in otherwise 'safe' Republican districts!

Come to think of it, are you planning to field any REAL CONSERVATIVE challengers to these incumbent Republican Senators?
Richard Shelby of Alabama
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
John McCain of Arizona
Johnny Isakson of Georgia
Mike Crapo of Idaho
Chuck Grassley of Iowa
David Vitter of Louisiana
Richard Burr of North Carolina
Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
Jim DeMint of South Carolina
John Thune of South Dakota
Bob Bennett of Utah
I'd be happy to donate $$$ to any REAL CONSERVATIVE opponents you field against any of these folks, too. (Coburn & DeMint are probably out - I can't imagine you finding anyone more conservative than either of 'em!)... But Grassley was cited by Obama as a good-guy in health reform debate: he's clearly a fellow traveler!... and Vitter has serious personal moral issues! Surely you can find better, more sincere, more conservative candidates! Let me help!

I just sent my condolences...

... to a friend in VA.
McDonnell is their new governor.
[note: this one isn't much of a surprise.
Maybe next time the dems will pick a candidate who likes campaigning!]

no baseball today...

... guess i'll watch some election returns. (oh, boy!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Phillies' bats come alive!

... and a good thing, too! - so did the Yankees'!
Phils win, 8-6.
NYY lead series 3-2.

Next two games in NY - can Phils pull it out???

Miracle-Gro, anyone?

Woody over at The Well-Armed Lamb praises Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) for turning the tables on the so-called "loyal opposition": you know, citing FACTS about the 44,000 Americans who die each year because they couldn't afford health insurance!

Loyal reader PM comments on Woody's post:
"It's about time a dem grew some balls."
I note that MSM attack Grayson for having the temerity to speak truth to power. Ignoring the message, MSM are happy to kill the messenger!

... and then I ask: What would it take for more Dems to grow some balls?
Viagra? Miracle-Gro?
Maybe if a few more Dems spoke up, the message would start to sink in.

Please, someone, tell me! What does it take??? - I'll order a case & send it to NM's Congressional delegation.

new addition to 'my blog list'

Loyal reader & long-time blogger PM claimed he was dropping out of political blogging some time ago.
He lied.
Tho' titled Family & Friends, his current blog is no less political than his old one... (and I've been happy to steal from it!)

So: Family & Friends is now added to "My Blog List".

Among other things, PM notes that another one of our favorites - tho' often using more earthy language than either of us is comfortable with - seems more often than not to hit the nail on the head. I refer to The Well-Armed Lamb, by friend Woody.

... and I'd be just an unrepentant sinner if I didn't call your attention to yet ANOTHER brilliant poster: OneFly over at Outta the Cornfield. His language, too, is somewhat more... earthy than mine, but he, too, seems more on-target than most of the folks I read.

(Maybe I'm just reading the wrong folks.)

So - how come nobody is listening to this quartet?

Just for grins, here's the latest from PM:
Our Achilles Heel
…the 1776-1783 (American Revolution) conflict contained two strategical problems… The first of these was that once the American rebellion spread, its suppression involved large-scale continental fighting by British forces at a distance of 3,000 miles from the home base… maritime superiority alone could not bring the largely self-sufficient colonists to their knees… To conquer and hold the entire eastern territories of America would have been a difficult task for Napoleon’s Grand Army, let alone the British-led troops of the 1770’s The distances involved… exacerbated the logistical problems: “every biscuit, man, and bullet required by the British forces in America had to be transported across 3,000 miles of ocean” (D. Syrett, Shipping and The American War 1775-1783[London 1970]) … Moreover, colonial society was so decentralized that the capture of a city or large town meant little. Only when the regular troops were in occupation of the territory in question could British authority prevail; whenever they were withdrawn, the rebels reasserted themselves over the loyalists… (How many troops were) now needed to reimpose imperial rule—150,000, perhaps 250,000 “It is probable,” one historian has argued, “that to restore British Aurthority in America was a problem beyond the power of military means to solve, however perfectly applied.”
Well... yeah: PM's posts frequently reference history, which helps explain why they're so out of touch with policy-makers!

BUT: does this description of Britain's dilemma strike a chord?

aside: back in the good old days, W was quite fond of citing the American Revolution as his model for Iraq.
He wasn't all wrong... he just didn't correctly identify the sides!

G&S in popular culture

TCM aired Village of the Damned a few nights ago.
I watched it.
In the small English village of Midwich everybody and everything falls into a deep, mysterious sleep for several hours in the middle of the day. Some months later every woman capable of child-bearing is pregnant and the children that are born out of these pregnancies seem to grow very fast and they all have the same blond hair and strange, penetrating eyes that make people do things they don't want to do.
Anyway... when folks wake up from the "deep, mysterious sleep", one of the villagers re-starts the record he was listening to.

The record?
Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NYY take 3-1 lead

... with a 2-out, 3-run 9th!
7-4 final score.
Phillies' pitching deserts 'em.

Our "liberal" media at work

Bob Schieffer Likens H1N1 Flu Vaccine Shortages To Hurricane Katrina

NY-23: update

Good news?
NY GOP Scozzafava Endorses Democrat Bill Owens

I'm not Nate Silver, so these numbers don't mean much... but:
... recent polls had Scozzafava at 20%, Dem Owens at 36%, Conservative Hoffman at 35% (presumably 9% undecided).

Since Scozzafava is still on the ballot (the election is Tuesday!), she'll doubtless still pull some support - let's give her 10%.

As the 'moderate' Republican, with NRA backing, her endorsement of Owens might just mean something.
Let's suppose her endorsement gives Owens 60% of her remaining vote:
- .6*.1 = .06; leaving Hoffman with .4*.1 = .04.

Election day tally?
- Owens = 36% + 6% = 42%
- Hoffman = 35% + 4% = 39%
- Scozzafava = 10%
... and if the 'undecideds' follow the trend:
- Owens: 46%
- Hoffman: 43%
- Scozzafava: 11%
Don't quote me.

If by some miracle Owens DOES win, the Tea Party crowd will still claim victory - and loudly denounce the renegade Scozzafava.
I'm not-so-secretly praying for this.

Maybe next time?

After all the fuss, public health plan covers few
One of my occasional readers has noted that "politics is the art of the possible" (Otto Von Bismarck, remark, Aug. 11, 1867).
[No, Bismarck is NOT my reader; my reader only cited him!]

Perhaps the current watered-down version of public option from the House is the best we can expect today.

On the bright side, an occasional reader notes:
I don't know what kind of health care reform will come out of this session, but I strongly suspect it won't be much. There is, however a silver lining behind this very dark cloud. I am reminded of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Don't be embarrassed if you've never heard of it, there really isn't a hell of a lot to remember about it; a mere pittance, really - a scrap of leftovers tossed out to "American Negros" (in the parlance of the age) in order to appease them. But it made the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - the one we remember - all-the-more easier seven years later.

We'll live to fight another day.

[Tom Degan's Daily Rant]
... an interesting analogy.
I think I'll hold onto it, in the spirit of "cooperate with the inevitable".

Still, I can hope that the noisy babble of morons and Luddites can be silenced, even today.

Calling out a comment

In response to post, guess nuthin' happened friday..., loyal reader Woody posted the comment:
I don't think the tale apocryphal: In his diary for July 4, 1776, King George wrote, essentially, "Today nothing happened."
Somehow I doubt I'll look back on 30 Oct 2009 and discover that I missed a world-changing event... BUT - the George III citation is priceless!

Well, maybe...

From loyal reader fpm:
Weekly thoughts
An elderly man was always cheerful and contented, although he had been up to his neck in trouble all his life. When asked the secret of his serenity, he replied, "I learned to cooperate with the inevitable." Certain things just can't be helped. They are beyond our control. Stop fighting difficulties that can't be avoided. Follow this man's philosophy. "Cooperate with the inevitable."
On the one hand it's an active verb, "cooperate", which is good.

On the other hand: how does one distinguish the 'inevitable' from that over which we just might have control??? - When does 'cooperation' become 'passivity' or 'resignation'?
(Does it matter?)

All in all, probably not bad advice... just needs to be applied judiciously.

NY-23: Good news?

Republican in NY House race suspends campaign

Once upon a time - about a week ago, I think - the conventional wisdom seemed to be that Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman might just draw enough votes away from Republican Dierdre Scozzafava to give the Democrat, Bill Owens, a fighting chance.

Then the Tea Party wing of the Republican party started playing hardball - sending in Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, and Tim Pawlenty (!) to stump for Hoffman while simultaneously declaring Scozzafava too liberal!... (much to the chagrin of the Republican Old Guard, represented most visibly & vocally by Newt Gingrich.)

Anyway, today the conventional wisdom seems to be that Scozzafava - being an "ultra-liberal" by upstate NY standards - might have been drawing votes away from Owens... and that her withdrawal may in fact benefit Owens.
It would be sort of fun if, faced with a choice between an outsider (Hoffman doesn't live in the district) who knows nothing about local issues (panned by local paper's editorial board for his ignorance) but who has strong bona fides as a REAL conservative - given a choice between him and an apparently sane Democrat... might the voters of NY-23 choose the Dem???

Me? I'm now looking forward to 2010 more than ever.
... I'm also thinking I should start sending $$$ to Conservative Party challengers in what look to be 'safe' Republican districts!
... and do whatever I can to get Sarah & Fred to campaign for all of 'em!!!... it probably wouldn't hurt to get Glenn Beck on the endorsement circuit, too.

I note that Steve Pearce - reactionary Republican from southern NM - beat Heather Wilson - sort of moderate Republican - in Republican primary for Domenici's vacated Senate seat in 2008 by successfully painting Wilson as too liberal and not a REAL conservative.
Pearce went on to get trounced in the general election by Tom Udall!
(61% Udall; 39% Pearce)

I'm all for the right fielding REAL conservatives, and think this should be encouraged.

aside: I understand that NY-23 has been Republican since just after The Fall. Either way it goes, I'm betting the Tea Partyers will claim victory:
- Hoffman wins... well, this is a clear electoral victory, no special pleading needed.
- Hoffman loses? They started seriously campaigned too late, and the she-devil Dierdre Scozzafava stole the election from 'em.
I'm more than happy to grant 'em a victory dance no matter the outcome.
Again: I'll start looking for Conservative Party candidates to support in 'safe' Republican districts.