Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Forget, Is It McCain/Palin Or Palin/McCain

I could have sworn that I saw John McCain nominated for the Republican ticket two weeks ago but now I'm having some doubts. McCain was never too popular with the conservative base but by picking Palin they are rallying en masse. Watching the two of them up on stage while they lie, obfuscate and manipulate has got me thinking, who's selling this ticket to voters anyways? The audiences at their events clearly show that they love her, but him not so much.

From Politico:

At a rally outside Youngstown, Ohio, Tuesday night, dozens of attendees left while McCain was still speaking.

I caught up with a few of them. Some explained that the airplane hangar where the rally was being held had grown crammed and uncomfortable. Others said they had other events or commitments to get to.

Notably, though, the exodous had only begun after Palin spoke.

Now, the same thing has happened again.

"I look up, about five minutes into McCain's address and see a steady stream of people walking out of the rally," writes Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson from a McCain-Palin event in Cedar Rapids.
I'd be tired of him too, so I don't really blame these GOP faithful for that. Watching Palin just makes me want to tear out my hair, so I wouldn't bother going to an event with her, especially if she can't even get the name of my town right. Enthusiasm has been a problem for the GOP, but Palin has helped that tremendously. Her celebrity is a huge boon so it made me wonder what the hell is going on when she says things like this?

The Engineers Who Brought About Our Financial Crisis

These people may not bee fully culpable for the crisis we are in, but the CEOs of the largest financial entities are a large part of the problem. Care of American News Project, here are a few of them for your viewing pleasure:

McCain Goes Hypocritical And Out Of Context In One Fell Swoop

John McCain has been losing ground to Barack Obama all week and now his attacks on the Democratic nominee are going downhill in a hurry. McCain said he didn't know much about the economy, so he decided to prove it today by calling Obama's plan "just plain dumb." Of course, stupidity, greed and Republican policies that include deregulation got us into this mess, but there is no mention of that from Mr. Straight Talk.

From RawStory:

The Republican said his Democratic rival had failed to do anything to avert the crisis with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, two giant organizations which guarantee billions of dollars in mortgages which were taken over by the government on September 7.

"He didn't lift a hand to avert this crisis," McCain said, accusing Obama of remaining silent in Congress as the mortgage crisis was building.

McCain also pounced on a comment by Obama's vice presidential running mate Senator Joseph Biden that it would be "patriotic" for wealthy Americans to pay higher taxes at a time of economic need.

"Raising taxes in a tough economy isn't patriotic," McCain said. "It's not a badge of honor, it's just plain dumb."

McCain also omits the fact that he had no clue that the economic crisis was coming while Obama has been talking about the economic problems of ordinary people since he started campaigning. The crisis on Wall Street didn't come out of nowhere, it was precipitated by millions of Americans being taken advantage of by the financial sector and they simply left too many people stranded and the whole thing came crashing down on them.

As for being dumb and raising taxes, the only people that sounds dumb to are the ones that do not want to give up their multi-million dollar incomes. Obama wants to raise taxes on those making $250,000 a year or more, while cutting taxes for people that make less. What the greedy bastards on Wall Street and in the Republican caucus took from the middle-class, he wants to give it back. That isn't dumb, it makes perfect sense. In fact, go ahead and see what your taxes will look like if you go with Obama or McCain, chances are Obama is going to save you money and will try to restore the broken system in the process.

Whats Next? War With Spain?

John McCain said that we'd be fighting more wars, but I had no idea when he said it that Spain could be a part of those "rogue" nations. Our NATO ally and specifically Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was dissed by McCain in an interview by El Pais, the largest newspaper in Spain. Either it was a slap in the face, or McCain completely forgot who Zapatero and with that, what his talking point should be.

From ThinkProgress:

McCain proceeded to launch into what appeared to be a boilerplate declaration about Mexico and Latin America — but not Spain — pressing the need to stand up to world leaders who want to harm America. “I will meet with those leaders who are our friends and who want to work with us cooperatively,” according to one translation. The reporter repeated the question two more times, apparently trying to clarify, but McCain referred again to Latin America.

Finally, the questioner said, “Okay, but I’m talking about Europe - the president of Spain, would you meet with him?” The Senator offered only a slight variance to his initial comment. “I will reunite with any leader that has the same principles and philosophy that we do: human rights, democracy, and liberty. And I will confront those that don’t [have them].”

What was the question praytell? Simply, would you meet with the head of the Spanish government. Apparently that was a tough one for the old "maverick." Then it gets worse today when the campaign responds to everyone's bewilderment. To make the candidate look competent, Randy Schunemann said that McCain did indeed mean to not meet with Zapatero, but didn't go into detail on why. It is especially odd because as TP points out, McCain said he would meet with our NATO ally back in April. For someone that claims to be strongest on foreign policy, this is a frightening development for a potential President of the United States.

Blue, White And Now Green Collared Jobs

Forget about the class differences in the old blue and white colors. Today we must focus on green collared jobs, work that not only benefits the employee and company, but the environment we depend on as well.

Anonymous Hackers For Sarah Palin!

I would think that most hackers (those that aren't counter-attackers that work for corporations) tend to go beyond party politics and into the land of anarchy for their views on government. So when the Anonymous hacker got a hold of Sarah Palin's private email accounts it seemed that they were beginning to dabble in the mainstream and help expose Palin for the secretive corrupt politician that she is. Yet that would be wrong, because what this hacker did could possibly screw up the investigation into her illegal activities surrounding troopergate. Already, we can see the McCain campaign playing along and almost hear the laughter through the words.

From Wired:

The internet griefers known as Anonymous took credit for the intrusion, and screenshots of e-mail messages and photos belonging to the Alaska governor have been published by WikiLeaks. Threat Level has confirmed the authenticity of at least one of the e-mails.

"This is a shocking invasion of the Governor's privacy and a violation of law," Rick Davis, McCain-Palin campaign manager said in a statement. "The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them. We will have no further comment."

FBI spokesman Brian Hale said, "The FBI is aware of the alleged hacking incident involving Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and is coordinating with the United States Secret Service on the matter."

While the story addresses her penchant for using her private email account for government business, that isn't breaking news. We already know she's a Dick Cheney admirer. It is clear that she will be more of the same just as her Presidential running mate John McSame McCain. The thing about those emails is that they are part of the investigation into her actions concerning troopergate.

With subpoenas being issued (whether or not they are adhered to is a different matter entirely) it is important to keep that information intact and not in the hands of the Secret Service or FBI. Already, Palin has deleted the accounts and wiped out any pertinent information. Now Time reports that the Feds had already gone in to one of the accounts, but now the evidence is destroyed and who knows how far along they were in going through her files.

And really, what did those screenshots prove anyway? What earth-shattering information did Anonymous give us in exchange for Palin deleting the accounts? Political calculations with her Lt. Gov and praying with an aide are not shocking news when it comes to Palin or any GOP politico. The group should stick to fighting Scientology and keep their hands out of the election. If for any reason, that at least one of their members can not be trusted with what the collective does.

Giuliani's Latest Project: Messing With Big Pharma

Rudy Giuliani played his part at the Republican convention and will probably be an intermittent surrogate for McCain in the next several weeks, but that isn't what will take up most of his time. Giuliani held onto his lobbying firm aptly named Giuliani Partners, albeit loosely while he was running for President. That's how he rakes in his cash, dealing with shady figures from around the world so they can have "Mr. 9/11" at their side. Giuliani will do anything for a buck and this week we learn he'll even go up against the U.S. Pharmaceutical industry to do so.

From BBC News:

Indian drug firm Ranbaxy has hired ex-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as an adviser, the company says.

The move comes a day after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the import of more than 30 generic drugs made by the drug firm.

The FDA said it imposed the ban after it found manufacturing quality problems at two Ranbaxy factories in India.

Gee, how can Rudy Giuliani bring a pharmaceutical maker into compliance with the FDA? Apparently the FDA put the black mark on Ranbaxy for having unsafe conditions and contamination problems at their facilities. Will the Mayor go into the factory and shout "9/11, 9/11, 9/11" and make all violations go away?

Of course not, but it is important to remember that the FDA is run by a combination of Bushies and Pharmaceutical industry lobbyists. They don't care about unsafe conditions, just take a look at the dangerous drugs that have been allowed out into the market due to lax regulations. So what is the real problem here?

Well as Forbes points out, every single drug that was banned was being made by U.S. competitors. In fact, the only drug that was left on the shelves was Ganciclovir Sodium and no one in Big Pharma made it. The crony at the top of the FDA talked tough about safety and holding other countries up to high standards but she really isn't fooling anyone.

So the question is, what will Rudy do to grease the wheels at the FDA of the Bush Administration to help Ranbaxy out? I'm guessing that somehow, somewhere and some way, money and favors will be exchanging hands when and if Ranbaxy is suddenly found to be in compliance again.

Image from NY Mag

Rep. Cantor Tries To Escape From Bush's Legacy

Chris Matthews, in one of his more indignant forms, goes after Congressman Cantor for trying to distance himself from Bush. With Fiorina's "disappearance," McCain needed new surrogate blood to help him run from Dubya but with the record as it is, it is a tough job even for the most ammoral Republican.

McCain Stays Mum On His Buddies Earmarks

The most integral part of the McCain campaign's grasp on the mantle of reform is to talk about earmarks. The Senator may not have requested any directly, but his running mate flat out lies about her's despite everyone yelling at the top of their lungs that the claim is false. Palin's Bridge to Nowhere and the State of Alaska in general takes in the most per capita earmark dollars in the nation. So if McCain lies about Sarah, then what would he do about his best friends Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham's share of the pork?

From ThinkProgress:

The budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense has released an analysis of earmark requests in the 2009 Defense Authorization bill, finding 435 earmarks worth $5.2 billion. Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain asked for any earmarks. Joe Biden had an $11.6 million earmark. The Washington Times reports that McCain supporters Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) requested milllions:

Lieberman requested $35 million for “Technology development for F135 engine” for beneficiary Pratt and Whitney. Graham has $20 million in solo requests, including a $9.9 million earmark for a “Physical Fitness Center” at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

Would McCain veto those if he were president?” the Times asks. Reporter Christina Bellantoni called the McCain campaign to see if he would veto the earmarks. “Update, 5:45 p.m.: Silence from Team McCain,” she writes.

The defense industry loves Lieberman and Graham and I seriously doubt that McCain would try to throw cold water on those relationships. He was silent on the issue yesterday, so expect more of the same from McCain today. As long as truth gets in the way of McCain's message, he'll just continue to try and sweep the evidence of his hypocrisy under the rug.

Hitting Anti-Term Limit Rodents With An Email Campaign

Online petitions rarely make an impact on politicians like George Bush and Dick Cheney, even if they have half a million names on it protesting one illegal action or another. New Yorkers for Term Limits went ahead anyway with one of their own to target local City Councilman Oliver Koppell, who is vociferously trying to allow two-thirds of the City Council to run for re-election again, including himself. Many New Yorkers are pissed off at his and others attempt at changing the will of the voters that enacted the two-term limit on elected offices in the city and now is the time to act, or more appropriately, react. Here's why the ire is directed at Oliver's way.

From The Daily Politics:

New Yorkers for Term Limits sent the e-mail that appears below to some 11,000 people in Councilman Oliver Koppell's Bronx district earlier this week, directing recipients to "please tell Koppell to keep his hands off New York's Term Limits Law!"

Koppell isn't the only person advocating for the extention of term limits. But he is the driving force (aside from Mayor Bloomberg, that is) behind the effort and has asked for a bill to be drafted that would extend the current limit of two four-year terms to three.

Nelson Warfield, a media consultant to New Yorkers for Term Limits, said the effort is limited to the e-mails at the moment, but the councilman "can expect more." As to why Koppell is being targeted, Warfield said:

"It's like Ground Hog Day, everybody pays attention to the first rodent to stick his head out of the ground."

Mr. Warfield is to be commended for his choice of words. While Albany has their bloodsuckers, the city has its share of rodents, whether they work at City Hall or below it.

Here's Liz's photo of the email, but you can simply write to Koppell or call his office at 212-788-7078 to tell him what you think of his attempt to subvert the will of the voters. Since Koppell's term is up next year and he has to serve his own self-interest, he's skipping the opportunity to put the issue to a vote in a city-wide election. So while's he's busy maneuvering to get this passed while trying not to make Bloomberg look like an ass in the process (he needs the Mayoral seal of approval ya know?), lets make sure we keep his office tied up as much as possible.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Greta Van Susteren "Grills" The First Dude

I wonder if the lawyer within Greta is humiliated by what the "journalist" has become. Working for Fox News, this story (albeit edited to some degree) is indicative of her downward slide as a credible member of the Fourth Estate:

Brodsky Blasts Yankees And The City

The Yankees are about to be eliminated from making the playoffs any day now, but that is not what has Westchester State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky so upset. What is at stake is the new Yankee Stadium and what it is costing New York City's taxpayers. Supposedly the Yankees threatened to leave the city if they didn't get hundreds of millions in tax breaks (where the hell they would go, I don't know). Then city officials "caved" to their demands and in return got a sweet luxury box. That wasn't enough for Steinbrenner's organization, so when they asked for an additional $250 million, people like Assemblyman Brodsky and Congressman Kucinich started to get involved.

From The NY Times:

New York City and the Yankees may have violated federal tax regulations and state laws in using $943 million in tax-exempt bonds to build the baseball team’s new stadium, according to a report issued on Tuesday by Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky.

Saying the taxpayers are footing the bill for the $1.3 billion Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and are getting little in return other than higher ticket prices and the loss of parkland, Mr. Brodsky, a frequent critic of the deal, said that the report stems from a review of thousands of pages of previously unreleased documents.

Although city officials and the Yankees hotly disputed many of the findings, the report concluded that the city and the state invested as much as $850 million in cash and tax breaks in the new stadium, which sits across 161st Street from the team’s historic home in the South Bronx.

“This stadium is being built by the people of the city and the state of New York,” Mr. Brodsky said during a press conference at the north end of the new stadium, at 164th Street and Jerome Avenue. “In return, they’re getting almost nothing. This deal does not serve the public’s interest. It serves the Yankees’ interest.”

Of course the Yankees protested the lengthy and damning report, but that is to be expected (one excuse is that they employed people to build it, as if the stadium would have magically appeared by itself). The facts are that the team and those that helped them to acquire taxpayer funds with little to no benefit to the community.

Brodsky is taking his report to Washington in order to bolster Kucinich's mission to make it tougher for corporate entities to take such advantage of public dollars and eminent domain laws. Hopefully we'll see some reform on this issue soon. Though until we have a President that isn't a former baseball team owner who took advantage of these tax breaks himself, President Obama will have to be the one to sign the bill into law.

AP Exclusive: Two-Faced McCain

The AP's Glen Johnson ripped John McCain apart today for his flip-flopping, lying and dishonest ways. Of course that is as much an exclusive as McCain is a maverick. Nevertheless, I am glad to see the AP catch up with the rest of us that have seen McCain's true colors all along. I must say though, Johnson uses a good brush to paint McCain for who he really is.

From the AP:

VIENNA, Ohio (AP) — John McCain embraces and expels Washington like an accordion player belting out a song.

Squeeze in and he touts his vast knowledge of the capital city. Draw out and he casts himself a reformer bent on changing its ways.

It's a remarkable dichotomy echoed throughout the Republican establishment, as a party that's held the White House for the past eight years tries to retain its grip in what has shaped up as a change election.

None other than the current president's brother has shown the GOP's willingness to deny the past as it looks to the future.

Yeah, Jeb is just the right guy to advocate for a reformer. Who's his brother again? Mm hmm.

Oh and it gets so much better:

This time around, though, McCain is projecting a dual image: the outside insider. A 25-year veteran of the House and Senate, a white man like all the rest of the country's presidents to date, McCain is trying to fend off a 44-year-old, first-term senator angling to become the first black to reach the Oval Office.

It's prompted almost melodic speechmaking and statements.

Squeeze in, and he's the new capital tour guide for his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"I can't wait to introduce her to Washington, D.C. I can't wait," he said to cheers Monday in Jacksonville.

Draw out, and he's never set foot in the city himself.

Yeah, McCain has been there for what seems like forever. Now it is about time for him to step out. With the right amount of work and dedication, he'll still be a Senator after election day. Then in two years we'll get the right candidate to challenge his Senate seat in Arizona....then he'll be done for good. Perhaps he can play the accordion for real when he's permanently retired to his ranch in Sedona, because America is sick of his tune in Washington.

Worried About Your Vote Counting? Then Make Sure It Does!

Let's face facts people. Voting in America isn't the easiest thing to do. Some countries compel you to vote, others take holidays and some (including our very own state of Oregon) have it done by mail. Yet for the most part, voting has and is a struggle for us, yet many people remain apathetic. Tell me this, if it really didn't matter, then why have so many people fought and died for the right to choose their leaders? We're not asking you to solve the world's problems, just go out and make sure you are registered and ready to go on November 4th.

$85 Billion For AIG And Wall St. Is Still Unhappy

Last night you, myself and three hundred million Americans helped pay to take over the insurance giant AIG. We've loaned this company $85 billion dollars in exchange for a 79.9% share and the choice of a new CEO. So how did Wall Street respond this morning? The market opened more than two hundred points down. Some thank you, right?

From The NY Times:

The Dow Jones industrials plummeted more than 200 points in the first minutes of trading, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost about 2 percent. The Dow was down 190 points at 9:40 a.m.

Stocks fought their way to a positive finish on Tuesday, but spent much of the day in negative territory. On Monday, the American stock market suffered its worst single session since the days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Shares of A.I.G. shed another 33 percent even after the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department decided last night to prop up the ailing insurer with an $85 billion loan. Federal officials appeared to take the extraordinary measure after fears arose that a collapse at A.I.G. could set off catastrophe consequences in the global financial system.
Now I hear that there are a lot of smart people on the Federal Reserve Board, but if they think that this loan was going to solve our financial crisis or even stem it, then it is time for a few people to go back to Econ 101. No amount of federal giveaway to the titans of business will help us. According to that last paragraph, we've already lost 33 percent of that investment loan and nobody knows where it'll stop.

This must be one of George Bush and John McCain's fundamentals. When their friends screw up with a highly deregulated market, simply bail them out with the taxpayer's money. Does that sound fair to you? Where was your $85 billion when the choice came down to food on the table or the children's health care? Where were those billions when you lost your job overseas because of NAFTA and its subsequent trade deals? Where was that money when the American people needed it?

George Bush, John McCain and the people they keep in the Federal Reserve care about the market and nothing else. Sure, we need to keep business going, but business doesn't go without the people that make it run. CEOs may make decisions, but workers are what allow them to be there in the first place. Deregulation and the resulting corruption is what put us here, and only a reversal of that is going to get us out, no matter how many borrowed billions we throw away in this fire.

NY Man Responsible For Push Poll Attack On Obama

This week's political news out of Florida consisted of a reported push poll attack on Florida. The "pollsters" would not name themselves to their callers after claiming that Hamas hearts Obama and other such fear-based attacks. Perhaps the group responsible for it figured this would fly under the radar, but in this day and age it isn't too hard to pinpoint the perps. So who are the manipulators of this scheme you ask?

From Rochester Turning:

We’ve written before about local Republican operative David Flaum. It looks like our boy has finally hit the big time. The Republican Jewish Coalition, of which Flaum is chairman, just got nabbed making nasty push poll calls:

The Republican Jewish Coalition, which is launching a campaign against Obama on behalf of Senator John McCain, sponsored the poll to “understand why Barack Obama continues to have a problem among Jewish voters,” the group’s executive director, Matt Brooks, told Politico. [...]

It’s probably too soon to call Flaum the Roger Stone of Rochester, but clearly he’s going places.

It’s a little troubling that he’s on the Board of Trustees at Syracuse University and the University of Rochester. So much for the myth of liberal universities.

Flaum is trying hard to emulate Roger Stone and Karl Rove. While it may score him brownie points with the local GOP, I find this hard to stomach if I were on the Board of Trustees with this political hack. Having different political views is good for discourse inside an University but deception and manipulation of voters is not the most admirable of qualities to impress upon the students there.

Show This To Every Undecided Voter

Save for a few exceptions, most Republicans and Democrats know who they are voting for in November. It is hard to sway a tree with its roots planted firmly in the GOP's propaganda but not everyone is a highly charged partisan. For the Independents and unregistered who are affected by our economic crisis and can't move to another of their eight homes, this is the video you should watch....then go online and read the rest.

The Media Bent Over For McCain And They Can't Get Up

The traditional media was for the most part in the pocket of the McCain camp for quite sometime, even before he had a "camp" so to speak. They loved his brazen remarks and random statements that bucked his supposedly more conservative party. Now that he has become a tool of the neo-con right they aren't so fond of him, but as Eric Boehlert of Media Matters points out, McCain's campaign could care less.

From Media Matters:

Did you hear the media are mad? According to Howard Kurtz at The Washington Post, the press is angry at McCain for his patently untrue lipstick attack ("It's false. It's ridiculous"), and they're seething over how Sarah Palin keeps telling her demonstrably false Bridge to Nowhere tale even after members of the media pointed out her stump-speech applause line was a lie. (A "whopper.")

During the past week, virtually every major news outlet has produced welcomed, hard-edged fact-checking pieces about how the Republican ticket goes far beyond bending the truth and just plain snaps it out on the campaign trail.

In the past, that kind of truth-telling would have embarrassed campaigns and likely caused a dramatic change in the rhetoric. But what do McCain and Palin do in response? They pretty much ignore the press and its critiques.

Writing on The New Republic's website, Eve Fairbanks spelled out the conundrum, capturing the dumbfounded realization that spread through the press corps. It's like that scene in a movie when the superhero realizes his unique power (for the press, it's collective indignation) has suddenly been rendered useless:

Reporters demolished the claim that the Palin opposed the Bridge to Nowhere, and yet the McCain campaign insolently still uses it. Writers dismantled the McCain campaign's untrue assertion that Barack Obama compared Sarah Palin to a pig yesterday, and yet the campaign put out an audacious ad featuring the ridiculous allegation, presumably on the assumption that Real Americans don't care what the elite press says anyway.
Real Americans care about what the media says, they just put it into context. Boehlert points out that most people just don't pay attention to them as much because most of what Chris Matthews et al put out is complete garbage. The author cites several examples from the current election season as well as Kerry's windsurfing from four years ago. However there is a silver lining. If the media would keep reporting facts and times when candidates lie for more than fifteen minutes, then people will start paying more attention.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Even McCain's Own Family Doesn't Like Him Anymore

John McCain may only have approval ratings hovering in the mid 40s, but at least he has his family, right? Well not all of them are on board with the Cynicism Express anymore. Adam Vaulx Boles was a fan of his cousin from the time they were kids, while John was imprisoned by the Vietnamese and even when McCain ran for President in 2000. Now Adam doesn't even recognize his own kin.

From The St. Petersburg Times:

John and I are related through our grandmothers. Katherine Vaulx McCain and Huetta Vaulx Boles, both of Fayetteville, Ark., were sisters. My side of the Vaulx family represents a long line of Democrats, but it is with no small amount of pride that we've followed the life and career of now-Sen. John McCain.[...]

Although neither my father nor I have ever voted for a Republican, when John threw his hat in the ring in 2000, we were both very proud and encouraged, and not just because he's our relative. This was the first Republican who, on a national stage, was saying things like, "If we repeal Roe vs. Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women will be performing illegal and dangerous operations," and, "Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer-reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance." Wow!

Here was a man who was not abiding by partisan lines, who was, instead, living up to his promise of "straight talk" and commonsense thinking. The right-wing Republican base may not have agreed with everything he said, but the rest of America certainly respected him for speaking his mind honestly.

Adam sounds almost like one of those Democrats that support McCain despite him not sharing their principles only with the issue of family attached. Don't worry though, that isn't the end of the Op-Ed by any means:

So, where is the straight-talking, commonsense John McCain of 2000? I'm afraid he is long gone, replaced by a desperate version of himself who seems to contradict nearly everything he once stood for.[...]

A part of me is made very sad to write this article. As I've said, my family has followed John's life and career with no absence of pride. If there ever were a Republican we might consider voting for, it would have been my cousin John.

But, as he continually demonstrates in this campaign, my cousin John is long gone. "Straight talk" has been replaced with "flip-flop." Saddest all, this is the same man who, when campaigning in 2000, told a crowd of supporters, "I don't think Bill Gates needs a tax cut. I think your parents do."

My parents, John, need some help after the economic destruction Bush has wrought in the last eight years, but it's clear you're not the one who'll give it to us. America's working families no longer recognize you, nor does your own.

If McCain had a heart, that might have hurt. But John has proven time and again that the only principle he has is to win and everything else be damned. The truth went out the window a long time ago. Caring about the lies has also gone away, now his family (at least this cousin) is distancing themselves from him and the toxic campaign he is running.

Obama Waffles Will Get You A Beat-Down

Elon James White of the Brooklyn Comedy Company examines two "Value voters" and racists who created the infamous Obama waffles. If you try to pass off the waffles as a joke about Obama's supposed flip-flopping, you might want to stick with white friends, because your covert racism isn't welcome anywhere else.

Markowitz Doesn't Know What's Best For Brooklyn

While Mayor Bloomberg is busy trying to make the disclosure process for politicians less intimidating, Marty Markowitz has proven that if anything there should be more questions and harsher penalties for lying and/or manipulating for the ethically challenged politicos in our fair city. It turns out that the comedian/Atlantic Yards cheerleader/Borough President has been a little less than honest with his charity second Borough office and how it gets financed.

From The NY Daily News:

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz directed nearly $700,000 in city contracts to a nonprofit he controls - sometimes in amounts just small enough to avoid public scrutiny.

It's an ethically questionable arrangement that stunned government watchdog Dick Dadey of the Citizens Union when he was told about it by the Daily News.

"If it's not illegal, it certainly raises some very serious ethical questions and it should be banned," Dadey said.

Not only did the total amount raise eyebrows, but several payments for four contracts worth $24,999, all of which were $1 under the limit before the the City Controller had to examine it in detail. Those four were part of eighteen no-bid contracts given to the charity he runs. The explanation for the way things are handled is that Best of Brooklyn can accept private donations, but seriously, this is not ethical at all and should probably be illegal.

As the DN points out, the problems here are vast, from employing his city staffers, using the money to promote Brooklyn (that's part of his job as boro President) and styming other charities from city money that could be far more deserving. Markowitz at the very least put an end to this immediately and really should pay restitution to the city for his highly unethical behavior.

As GOP Likened Al Gore To The Internet, McCain Links Himself To Cell Phones And Wi-Fi

Eight years ago the GOP successfully used an out of context comment to insinuate that Al Gore said he invented the Internet. Thanks to a hapless traditional media with almost no one to correct that falsehood at the time, people believed it and contributed in some form to declining popularity throughout the election season.

Now here we are in 2008, and Barack Obama is far too smart to fall into that trap. Yet McCain is apparently dumb enough to set some vicious snares for himself. After delaying his response to questions for the Science Debate 2008, his answers were.....well, you've got to see this.

Devilstower over at DailyKos sums up the good parts for us too:

Take this reply to a question about maintaining America's lead in innovation.

I am uniquely qualified to lead our nation during this technological revolution. While in the Navy, I depended upon the technologies and information provided by our nation’s scientists and engineers with during each mission.

Let's stop there for a second. Here John McCain insists he's uniquely qualified to discuss technology because... he used some. Forty years ago. This is the same kind of high standard by which he assured us that Sarah Palin knew more about energy than anyone else in America, and Phil Gramm was one of the smartest people in the world on the economy. At least he didn't claim any MacGyverite tech affinities developed in Hanoi.

Okay, let's continue.

I am the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The Committee plays a major role in the development of technology policy, specifically any legislation affecting communications services, the Internet, cable television and other technologies. Under my guiding hand, Congress developed a wireless spectrum policy that spurred the rapid rise of mobile phones and Wi-Fi technology that enables Americans to surf the web while sitting at a coffee shop, airport lounge, or public park.

And, stop. There you have it, people. John McCain not only invented cell phones, he tossed in wifi as an afterthought.

Of course none of McCain's responses are grounded in any sort of truth. As Devilstower and the Senate's record clearly shows, McCain was on the wrong side of the legislation that helped to foster the technology that scientists helped to create. Now that John needs something to show that he is pro-science (hint: mentioning Sarah Palin is not a good idea) he does what his campaing is all about, making stuff up.

Oh and not content with the amount of bullshit that John spewed on the questionaire, one of his top aides mentioned that McCain also invented the Blackberry. I wonder what the Canadian company RIM thinks about that?

McCain Proves He's A Jerk To Mika Brezezinski

John McCain is known for being a hot-head, but when he goes on national television and talks with journalists, you'd think he'd be polite. Instead of following that protocol, McCain attacks Mika Brezezinski on the air, calling her an Obama supporter when she has clearly been trying to stay non-partisan. Mika is disgusted by it and so should anyone who watches it.

Sarah Palin Is No Advocate For The Disabled

Sarah Palin may take really good care of her newborn baby Trig, who was born with Down Syndrome. Though for her to use Trig as a way to claim she'll fight for the disabled and special needs children is a travesty. If she was what she claimed she was, her policy decisions would reflect it, but they don't. Every year thousands of special needs kids are treated to the Special Olympics, where they can be athletes and heroes in their own right. For Sarah Palin however, that is just another wasteful government program.

From ThinkProgress:

Campaigning in Colorado today, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) promised renewed attention to kids with special needs. She declared, “Ever since I took the chief executive’s job up North I pushed for more funding for students with special needs,” and cited her own family’s experience with the issue.

It’s a stretch to say she “pushed” for any policy improvements. Though Palin did sign a law increasing special education funding in Alaska, “she had no role whatsoever” in its development, according to the bill’s author, Rep. Mike Hawker (R). Moreover, as governor, Palin vetoed $275,000 in Special Olympics Alaska funds (Page 100, SB 221 with vetoes), slashing the organization’s operating budget in half.

Compassionate conservatism at its finest! I guess when you are a slick, wealthy politician like Palin you can afford to take care of Trig in the manner that is best for him, but for all those that she "advocates" for, you're on your own. Or maybe what she meant is that she'd pray for the families that have an additional economic burden with their kids that need special attention. Sarah, I'm not a religious guy by any means, but I do know that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20) and you do not even have to believe in God to follow that one.

Paterson Readies His Budget Axe Yet Again

Sunday night was the first I had heard of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch. One of the first things I wondered yesterday morning was when Governor Paterson would call legislators back up to Albany for more budget cuts. While Congress may act first on a stimulus package, a crisis on Wall Street can be felt far and wide but the epicenter is still New York. So what is a Governor to do that has already slashed almost $500 million from the budget?

From The Times-Union:

"I would not be surprised if the budget deficit we just cut down may skyrocket back up, and I may have to call on the Legislature to come back and grapple with it again," Paterson said Monday during an interview on the New York City-based NY1 news channel. He repeated that contention on the regional cable TV channel Capital News 9.

Paterson's remarks came during a tumultuous day on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 500 points -- its worst drop since Sept. 11, 2001 -- on the news of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing, the takeover of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, and the state's plan to devise a lifeline for American International Group insurance company.

The upheaval will likely mean mass layoffs and a drop in state income tax revenues. Officials say the results of their midyear financial report, usually finished in late October, will dictate whether lawmakers need to impose another round of cuts.

Legislative leaders took a wait-and-see attitude toward another crisis session.

The wait-and-see won't last long and Albany could become a center of chaos as early as next month, before election day. Paterson talked about tax hikes as well as budget cuts, so that is better than this past special session where it was all about cutting services from the Republican Senate and the Governor's office.

As TU points out, this upcoming session should be even more intriguing than the last, as voters across New York will decide if control of the State Senate swings to the Democrats or not. Only two seats will make a difference, that is if you don't count the DINOs in there at the moment. Legislators definitely have big decisions as they face their constituents in a few weeks and will have to judge whether they balance the budget by raising taxes or cutting programs, because revenues are going to drop even further thanks to Wall Street.

Walt Monegan Comes Forward About Palin's Crusade Against Him

After promising to cooperate with the investigation into her abuse of power as Governor, Sarah Palin is now backpedaling away from justice. She thought she could stall the bipartisan investigation but neither Republicans nor Democrats in Alaska are budging. So when she started running away from being held accountable, the fired commissioner that is at the center of this scandal has decided to speak to Rachel Maddow about what went on.

Let The Push Polls Begin

We are now exactly seven weeks from election day and John McCain has a problem. We already know he can't win by talking about himself. That has been proven over and over again. He isn't even inspiring, did you see the "crowd" he attracted yesterday (not that is a steep drop, since he's been lying about attendance as well)? People want change and he isn't giving it to them, Obama on the other hand is surging ahead based on a message of change from the ways of the last eight years and not even the fact that Sarah Palin has a vagina can make a difference.

So what is McCain to do? He tried to start waging an all out culture war since Palin joined the team but now not even that tried and true GOP meme is holding much water. Somehow people stopped caring about lipstick when they saw Wall Street nosedive yesterday, reminding them of their own economic plight. Well McCain can't dwell on those issues since he basically wants to continue the same policies that Bush has used to screw us over during the last eight years. So now it is time to pull out another dirty trick from the bags of GOP henchmen, the pushpoll.

From No Blood For Hubris:

It is deja vu all over again, again.

PT Key West resident Joelna Marcus received a phone call today. She was asked if she is Jewish, and she replied in the affirmative.

She was asked if she was religious.

She was then asked if her opinion of Barack Obama would change if she knew that Obama had given lots and lots of money to the PLO.

Sounds like liar John McCain's Smear-Talk Express, not unlike Ol' Man River, just keeps rollin' along.

Update: Another FL voter (from Gainesville) has revealed he too received a similar push-poll call.
And here's a push-poll recipient from PA.

The assertion by the push-poller is ridiculous and holds absolutely no weight. It is the same exact thing that was used to knee-cap another Presidential hopeful eight years ago. When John McCain surged out of New Hampshire in 2000, a devastating call put in by Karl Rove to voters across the crucial state of South Carolina. It was a horrendous thing done to McCain and his family, I even felt bad for the guy. Now for his campaign to use the very same ploy against Obama is beyond the pale, but sadly, completely expected.

Bloomberg Tries To Cut Ethics Requirements For Public Officials

Just when the climate in Albany and down here in the City couldn't be more corrupt, Mayor Bloomberg is taking a stab at making it easier to hide personal information for public officials. Ethical scandals haven't just been occurring in Albany but down here in New York City as well. Quinn had her slush funds exposed not too long ago, Dennis Gallagher was found to be a scumbag and our last Mayor was Rudy Giuliani, so enough said. If anything these men and women who are elected to represent us should be willing to or made to disclose anything and everything that is pertinent to the way they govern and what things or people might influence them in one way or another. So why is Bloomberg going in exactly the opposite direction?

From The NY Times:

Among the proposed changes, public servants would no longer have to provide dollar amounts or ranges on outside income. In addition, they would need to report only gifts (worth at least $50) they received from people who did business with the city, not all gifts larger than $1,000, as is the current law.

Also slated to come off the disclosure form are investments worth between $1,000 and $10,000 and real estate holdings located more than a quarter-mile outside the city limits.

Among the planned additions to the forms is the disclosure of relatives who hold city jobs, a question intended to discourage nepotism.

Of those generally required to submit disclosure reports, most are elected officials, candidates for public office, policy makers, purchasing agents and other high-level public servants.

The bill was meant to reduce the paperload for volunteers, but this ends up giving politcians cover in so many ways. While there are some good things in there, the bill is still flawed and good government groups were the first to react to this news.

Still, the proposed changes are causing ripples among groups that promote transparency in government and are not convinced that less is more. Several said they were concerned that the changes had not been widely discussed before becoming part of the legislation. “It seems to me whenever there’s a shrinkage of information, the public should be concerned,” said Norman Siegel, a longtime civil rights advocate who is running for public advocate next year.

Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, a watchdog group, said: “I wouldn’t want the disclosure forms changed in a way that would limit or diminish information that has been previously required. In fact, there may be good reasons to increase the disclosure requirements as opposed to loosening.”

Less is definitely not more in this case and Bloomberg should be well aware of that. The fact that the bill was partially hidden by an effort to help city volunteers is rather distasteful. Actually, it almost tastes as sour as the Mayor's subtle influence in the term limits battle that is now being discussed across the city. Like in that debate, this seems like another attempt by the Mayor and his minions in order to hold on to more power at the public's expense.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Obama's Latest Ad Highlights McCain's Dishonest Campaign

The greatest thing is that none of this is really Obama's words. All the evidence comes from how the media is beginning to see John McCain. Once people start associating the word "liar" instead of "maverick" when thinking about the GOP nominee, he won't stand a chance next to the candidate that signifies hope and change.

Barack Obama Has The Right Message For This Horrific Financial Day

Senator John McCain thinks that the economy is fundamentally sound and that we should keep dropping taxes for the rich while wasting ten billion dollars a month (and lives) in Iraq. Obviously this has not been working as evidenced by our mounting national and personal debt. Today we are starting to see the beginning of the blowback for these conservative policies with large and storied financial institutions falling like a house of cards. Unlike McCain who is advocating for more of the same, Barack Obama has exactly the right message:

This morning we woke up to some very serious and troubling news from Wall Street.

The situation with Lehman Brothers and other financial institutions is the latest in a wave of crises that are generating enormous uncertainty about the future of our financial markets. This turmoil is a major threat to our economy and its ability to create good-paying jobs and help working Americans pay their bills, save for their future, and make their mortgage payments.

The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren’t minding the store. Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

I certainly don’t fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It’s a philosophy we’ve had for the last eight years – one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It’s a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise, and one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.

Well now, instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up – from the struggles of hardworking Americans on Main Street to the largest firms of Wall Street.

This country can’t afford another four years of this failed philosophy. For years, I have consistently called for modernizing the rules of the road to suit a 21st century market – rules that would protect American investors and consumers. And I’ve called for policies that grow our economy and our middle-class together. That is the change I am calling for in this campaign, and that is the change I will bring as President.

Change isn't just an empty slogan for politicians to throw around while their policies are meant to keep the status quo going. McCain can say the word "change" all he wants but his actions show he wants the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor. Barack Obama wants to take us in a different direction than the one we've been heading in for the last eight years, so for the next fifty days we must work to get him in the White House in order to start the ball rolling.

Return Of The Vito In Staten Island?

Rumor, or shall I say a targeted polling operation has it that Vito Fossella may try to re-enter the race for the Congressional seat that still bears his name. Originally Vito dropped his re-election bid when he was arrested for driving under the influence and the subsequent story of his hidden family (hidden from his wife and three kids) surfaced. The result was the not-so-surprising revelation that the GOP is a fractured bunch down in Staten Island.

Now that Straniere is the nominee and the fact remains that he isn't well liked even amongst his own party, perhaps Vito thinks he can become the hero and save the day (or at least hang on to one seat for the Republican caucus). Either way, this sounds like the latest piece of bad news for an already desperate race on the part of the Republicans.

From The NY Post:

Embattled Staten Island congressman Vito Fossella may be trying to make his way back onto the ballot this November, sources confirmed to The Post last night.

Pollsters reached out to Staten Islanders over the weekend looking for their opinions about Fossella, who chose not to seek re-election after being arrested for DWI and amid revelations that he fathered a child with a mistress. The polling was originally reported in the Staten Island Advance.

Making a run on the Republican ticket might be next to impossible because another pol, Robert Straniere, has already locked up the nomination. "I just don't see it," said one friend, noting Fossella's DWI trial starts next month.

I don't see it working out either, but frankly, I don't see it working out well for the GOP no matter what they do. Straniere is the name on the ballot and Vito would have to presumably be a write-in candidate. It may be more probable for that to work on the Island rather than any other borough, but it is still a long shot for them to even get the party to coalesce, let alone the majority of voters. The really sad thing is though (for the GOP) that an attempted Vito comeback may just be the best thing going for them.

Fiorina Lies For Palin's Earmark Hypocrisy, But The Truth Still Shines Through

Carly Fiorina was busy this weekend lying her ass off for the McCain/Palin campaign. Fortunately for the rest of us, Senator Claire McCaskill and ABC News host George Stephanopolous were ready to interject the truth about Sarah Palin and her record with earmarks.

GOP "Family Values" Summit Serves Up Obama Waffles, Lou Dobbs Loves Em'

Over and over again we hear that the Republicans are the party of family values and that Democrats are dirty hippies who want to rip apart the nuclear household. They have organizations with names to support that meme and talk incessantly that they are the ones that will hold the traditional family together. One thing that they forget is that they're also the party of not-so-hidden racism and bigotry, and it was on display at their latest even this weekend.

From RawStory:

An exhibitor at the 2008 Value Voters Summit - sponsored by the Family Research Council and counting among its speakers former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been selling seemingly racist anti-Obama waffles. The product is pictured below. Summit security would not allow photographs to be taken inside the exhibit hall. "I asked the 'chef'... if he was at all concerned that this might be viewed as a white man putting a black man into a frying pan," Raw Story reporter Larisa Alexandrovna wrote Saturday. "He laughed and said, 'I hope so.'" The first image shows a gaping caricature of Obama under the words "Obama Waffles," with the tagline "Waffling the World Over." The second shows Obama in a turban with the words, "Point box toward Mecca for tastier waffles."

At first a skeptic could just dismiss this as characterizing political waffling on issues. Yet taking a look at the product gives an instant indication as to what the creators of this garbage were meaning to do. Oh and this wasn't just for the fringe, even CNN personality Lou Dobbs loved the racially-tinged waffles:

According to the the site's blog, Lou Dobbs, who was also speaking at the convention, lauded the product Friday.

"My wife will love this," Dobbs purportedly said. A photograph of Dobbs with a box and one of the sellers is online here.

Lou (or his supporters) had it taken down, but thanks to the miracle of the Internet, you can see the screen shot...and the ugly truth of the racist right.

The More We Learn About Palin, The Scarier She Gets

Since Sarah Palin was a political unknown up until about two weeks ago, tons of information has come out about her. Being kept in the spotlight since then and continuing up until election day will produce a steady stream of news as Americans become increasingly involved in the upcoming election. After the deluge of the first week, a strong and steady stream of facts persists. This weekend the NY Times chronicled her tenure as Governor and Mayor, showing her to play a personal and local game of politics that involved hiring her friends that weren't competent for their positions. Vendettas were executed with the power of the state government behind them, when at most they should have had the force of Maury or Jerry Springer.

The litany of interviews and accounts from her record were appalling, especially to people that care about reform and not just using the word as a slogan. Yet even a lengthy article in the Times couldn't detail everything. Since then we've learned that she had a tanning bed installed in the Governor's Mansion shortly after she took over (not too much sun in Alaska during the winter months) and the state paid for a timely rewiring of the Mansion around the same time. Of course this has nothing to do with her potential policy decisions as Vice-President (though she doesn't even know what a VP does, so we might be O.K. there). Yet in American politics today, such things as a $400 haircut and windsurfing have profound impacts on the electorate, so who knows where that one will go.

Another disturbing fact is her virulent activism against those that choose to have abortions. She is firmly on the side of the choice debate that is against women from deciding what to do with their bodies and so far right that in her mind, abortions should be against the law even in the case of rape and incest. While she fights against the rights of Americans, she has dedicated time to blocking access to abortion clinics in the past.

Thankfully Americans are beginning to see the real Sarah Palin and not the carefully crafted politician that so many GOP operatives have been working overtime on. Just this weekend, one of the largest political rallies was held in the history of Alaska in honor order to protest their Governor(where the image above is from). If you get that type of response in supposedly "red" Alaska that knows Sarah, you can only imagine the reaction the other forty-nine states will have once they know her as well.

It's Bad When Rove Calls Out Your Lies

Even the official chief liar and manipulator Karl Rove couldn't spin away the blatant string of lies that McCain has tried to pull over the American people:

Greenspan Laments Faltering Economy He Created And McCain's Wish To Continue It

Alan Greenspan rightly slammed McCain for his proposal to lower taxes again for the rich while not reducing spending. It is just idiotic to keep borrowing money from other countries at the rate that we do and not expect dire consequences to our market. Now that "Black Monday" is upon us and European markets are already off by five percent, we are about to get a taste of what McCain wants to continue.

From The Huffington Post:

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan offered a woeful outlook of America's economic situation on Sunday, saying the crisis with the country's financial institutions was as dire as he had ever seen in his long career, and predicting that one or more of those institutions would likely collapse in the near future.

"Oh, by far," Greenspan said, when asked if the situation was the worst he had seen in his career. "There's no question that this is in the process of outstripping anything I've seen and it still is not resolved and still has a way to go and, indeed, it will continue to be a corrosive force until the price of homes in the United States stabilizes. That will induce a series of events around the globe which will stabilize the system."[...]

In light of these dynamics, Greenspan noted that the government was left with tough decisions: which institutions are "so fundamental to the functioning" of society that they demanded a federal safety net? Earlier in the week, the former fed chairman noted that such choses extended to tax policy as well. In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Greenspan argued that the country couldn't afford the tax cuts being proposed by John McCain without an equally massive reduction in spending.

"I'm not in favor of financing tax cuts with borrowed money," he said. "I always have tied tax cuts to spending."

Now those comments are well and good now, but Greenspan did not admit to all the trouble he helped create throughout his tenure as Federal Reserve Chairman. Entire websites are dedicated to chronicling his failure to guide our economy away from exactly what he is decrying now. We've been borrowing for far too long and now multiple factors are helping take down an Investment Bank institution that has stood on Wall Street since 1850. The same factors led to Merrill Lynch selling itself to Bank of America and now Washington Mutual threats of going under as well.

We are in a serious economic crisis and any Republican (like McCain) that says the fundamentals are strong have no right to be near any levers of power that can affect the teetering system. The rich can always ride out downturns like this, but they don't give a shit about the poor...don't expect McCain to be any different. As for Greenspan, he helped start this mess so for anyone to be listening to him without a skeptical ear is just beyond absurd.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moving Energy Subsidies From Fossil Fuels To Renewables Could Quadruple Jobs

Right now billions in subsides are given to the oil companies from politicians who receive their campaign donations. Yet with a little long range planning, that money could be reinvested into clean energy and quadruple the jobs provided by the current pollution-driven scenario. Nothing good comes from oil, except for the continuation of our petro-economy that is slowly killing our environment and by extension, all of humanity and the biosphere too. So imagine, if you will, the possibilities of a green economy, full of green jobs.

From The NY Times:

Investing in clean energy could create four times as many jobs as investing in the oil industry, according to a report issued on Tuesday by the Sierra Club, United Steelworkers, the Blue Green Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council and Audubon New York. And clean energy investment would result in about three times the number of good-paying jobs, those that pay at least $16 an hour, according to the report, which was written by the Center for American Progress and the Political Economy Research Institute.

Clean energy, to help deter the effects of global warming, could help reduce New Yorkers’ fears of rising temperatures and receding shorelines. The report encourages investment in six areas: retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency, expanding mass transit and freight rail, constructing “smart” electrical grid transmission systems, wind power, solar power and next-generation biofuels.

Such jobs are based on the proposed investment of $100 billion over two years, through a cap-and-trade program like those sponsored last year in Congress that would “drive private investments into clean energy and raise public revenue through carbon permit auctions.” And spending $26 billion on retrofitting, for example, could save $5 billion in energy costs a year, for a net savings after five years or so, according to the report.

Of course not all jobs include going out to remote locations and building giant wind farms. A large part of this budding industry can be found close to home, whether it is by installing small wind generators or simply making current buildings more energy-efficient. Changing the way we live in deference to the future of the planet may sound hard because of the massive scale of our economy. However, there is no better option and honestly, if it pays well to help save the world job by job then that just sweetens the pot.

Deconstructing McCain's Lies, One At A Time

This is a devastating video that John McCain and his die-hard supporters never want you to see, simply because it contains the truth that refutes their constant stream of lies.

Who Will Get High-Speed Rail First, CA Or The Northeast?

While most of Western Europe and East Asia is criss-crossed by dependable high-speed rail connections, the United States is still in the preliminary stages of building the first line. Of course, we have start somewhere and thus far we have two geographic candidates, California and the Northeast. Right now rail service in California is slow to say the least and while the Northeast has good service, it can be much better. So what is going on with both plans for improvement now?

From DMI Blog:

In November California voters will have the opportunity to vote for high-speed rail linking San Francisco with Los Angeles.

High-speed rail in the Northeast also came closer to reality in July when the House of Representatives passed the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which includes provisions that support the development of high-speed rail for the Washington, DC to New York corridor.

Both initiatives are still a long ways from becoming reality. If the California ballot proposition is passed, the state will still have to locate federal and private funding sources.

The California line would take two and a half hours from San Francisco to L.A. and cost $55. A quick search on shows me that a flight between the two cities takes about an hour and fifteen minutes and costs between $118 and $188. When you factor in the amount of time you spend getting to and waiting at the airport, the high-speed rail option seems like it will be very competitive.

So the plans sound good and the benefits are tremendous. The problem is if our government is capable of making the investment to actually build the tracks and the cars to run on them. Finding the dollars to make it happen is a lot harder than dreaming up the plan. With all the money we throw away in Iraq, give away to the defense industry and give back to wealthiest amongst us, the feat is nearly impossible. The only way I see this happening is if we have a President willing to change the direction the income gap is going in...and having a Vice-President that cares about rail travel (since he's been riding Amtrak to work in the Senate for over three decades).