Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood

I really can't think of a better symbol of today's GOP than an crotchety old white guy arguing with an empty chair.  Well, other than out-of-touch Ritchie Rich himself.

Movie star debates chair, loses

by Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog

Political conventions occasionally produce memorable moments that endure. The Chicago riots in 1968, Cuomo's "Tale of Two Cities" speech in 1984, Al kissing Tipper in 2000, Obama's "audacity of hope" in 2004 -- these are memories that quickly entered the political history books, reminding us why conventions still matter.
Last night, we saw another such moment, when Clint Eastwood decided to argue with an empty chair.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Chances are you've at least heard about Eastwood's "speech," but for those who missed it, trust me when I tell you it's worth your time. As Rachel explained on the air once it was over, "That was the weirdest thing I've ever seen at a political convention in my entire life, and it will be the weirdest thing I've ever seen if I live to be 100."
Apparently, the Romney campaign thought it would be a good idea to send an 82-year-old man onto the stage without prepared remarks. Eastwood was an odd choice anyway -- he's pro-choice and supports gay rights -- but I can appreciate the fact that the man enjoys an iconic status. He was the "surprise" guest, and convention organizers scrapped a compelling Romney bio film, just so Americans could see the Hollywood star's remarks.
Oops.
Jamelle Bouie, in arguably my favorite line of the convention, said, "This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama."
And even if we look past the bizarre chair shtick and the rambling remarks, the points Eastwood tried to make were a mess. The actor wants to withdraw quickly from Afghanistan, which is the opposite of Romney's position. Eastwood thinks it's a bad idea "for attorneys to be president," overlooking the fact that Romney has a law degree. He even felt comfortable mocking Joe Biden's speeches, even while delivering a meandering, cringe-inducing speech of his own.
But what helped make this a truly epic convention moment was the realization among Republicans that they'd made a horrible mistake. Paul Ryan was shown on camera looking deeply uncomfortable; Romney aides were overcome with a sense of dread; and it only took a few minutes for the campaign to start telling reporters that they weren't responsible for this train wreck.
A month from now, no one will remember a word from Romney's speech, but a decade from now, we'll still be talking about the time a confused Clint Eastwood had a debate with an empty chair, and lost.
Watch Clint's theater of the bizarre here.

Missed opportunity

Yes, I admit it.  I watched Romney's speech last night.  It was full of platitudes, lies, and more platitudes.  Specific it was not. 

I don't think I've ever seen a candidate act more wooden and cartoonish, and those beedy little darting eyes is not very comforting either.  Republicans must feel pretty demoralized about now.   I'll cover Clint Eastwood next - hahahaha.

Romney's missed opportunity to lead

By Steve Benen - Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

On Tuesday night, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) delivered the Republican National Committee's keynote address, and assured the audience, "Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear" -- a phrase Christie used three times. A day later, Paul Ryan vowed, "We will not duck the tough issues."

By last night, those promises seemed more like wishful thinking than campaign promises. Mitt Romney had a unique opportunity to step up, "tell us the hard truths," and take on "the tough issues," but in his formal introduction to the nation as his party's presidential nominee, Romney preferred to play it safe, delivering a generic, vague, and unambitious speech.

Going into last night, the former governor had a fairly straightforward task. In effect, his goal was to tell voters, "I'm Mitt Romney, and if you elect me, here's what I'll do."

The first part was easy. Romney talked about himself, and adequately demonstrated that he is not, in fact, an animatronic figure from Disney World. But the second part required effort and a little courage, and by the time the balloons were popped in Tampa, no one had any better idea what Romney would do in office than they did 24 hours ago.

Obviously, in a convention speech, I don't expect a candidate to bring out charts and start quoting GAO reports, but those who expect to be president in five months have a responsibility to present some ideas about what they intend to do with this enormous power.

And last night, I kept waiting for something, anything, that resembled substance, but it never came. About the closest thing Romney came to a meaningful policy idea was his stated goal of using public funds to subsidize private school tuition. That's a horrible idea, but I'll concede it at least counts as an idea.

But when it came to public policy, that was about it. Once again, the Romney campaign message boiled down to: President Obama hasn't done enough; I'll do more; just trust me.

Romney intends to cut taxes, and we're supposed to trust him that he'll figure out how to pay for it. Romney intends to destroy the newly-improved health care system, and we're supposed to trust him that he'll figure out what to replace it with. Romney intends to create millions of jobs, and we're supposed to trust him that he'll figure out a plan to make that happen.

He could tell us more, but he doesn't want to, and this isn't supposed to be alarming.

Watching the speech, I got the sense that Romney had made a careful calculation: if he attacks President Obama enough, and sticks to generic Republican platitudes, it might be just enough to eke out a narrow victory. If he asks voters to just trust him, without a coherent rationale or any kind of substance, maybe a narrow majority will simply go along.

But therein lies the rub: Romney hasn't given Americans any reason to trust him. The problem isn't just the frequent falsehoods -- and I'll review last night's whoppers in more detail a little later today -- but also the fact that the Republican is asking the country to take a leap of faith based on nothing. He won't give us details, he won't give us policies, he won't give us specifics, but he'll go back to Bush-era policies and voters should simply assume they'll work this time.

The point of an "I accept your nomination" convention speech is to tell the nation what kind of president you'll be. Romney failed last night because he lost sight of this simple goal.

You can watch Romney's speech here, if you have the stomach for it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kohn will be fired

Wow, a "reporter" on FOX News, of all places, calls out Paul Ryan for blatant lies during his speech last night.  I'll bet she won't be with FOX much longer.  They don't exactly have a reputation for being hard on Republicans, even Bush.

Fox News' Sally Kohn: Paul Ryan's RNC Speech 'Was Attempt To Set World Record For Blatant Lies'

According to Fox News columnist Sally Kohn, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday "was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech."

"On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold," Kohn wrote.

In a surprising move, Fox News joined CNN, The Huffington Post, the Washington Post's Wonkblog, and ThinkProgress in publishing a fact-check of the Republican vice presidential nominee's speech, finding that the speech was full of lies and misleading assertions.

Kohn, who describes herself as a "progressive voice on Fox News," wrote in her Thursday column that though Ryan came off as likable during his speech, his misrepresentations and omissions "caused a much larger problem for himself and his running mate."

In contrast, several Fox News commentators praised Ryan's speech on air after the event, without mentioning his misleading claims, according to Media Matters.

In her column, Kohn called out four lies in Ryan's speech. She critcized Ryan for blaming President Obama for the shutdown of a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wis., that actually was closed during the Bush administration. She also knocked Ryan for pinning the blame for S&P's downgrade of U.S. debt on Obama, when Republicans in Congress helped precipitate the downgrade by threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

"The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth," Kohn wrote.

Original.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yes, vagina....

Funny one....

Yes, Vagina, There Is No Sanity Clause
John Cory, Reader Supported News

28 August 12


Women, don't worry your beautiful little brains about the recent brouhaha over legitimate forcible rape and pregnancy and all that lady-parts crazy health care talk or the fact that all that crazy talk is actually included in the GOP platform.


Mike Huckabee said that forcible rape can be a really good thing, and he's a compassionate conservative, right? He pointed to Ethel Waters, a child of rape who couldn't have become famous singing Taking a Chance on Love if she had been born, you know, the regular way.

Sharon Angle said that when life hands you lemons you need to make lemonade, because - well, I'm not sure but I guess lemons are the biblical fruit of rape or something. And Missouri GOP Committeewoman Sharon Barnes defended crazy Todd Akin by saying, "... at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don't kill it."

God might have been too busy to bless you with protection from being raped, but He loves you enough to give you a souvenir. And you damn well better keep it.

It's like that scene at the end of "Life of Brian," where everyone gets crucified on a cross and they break into song: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

What you need to understand is that this is all about big government and big government needs to be shrunk small enough to fit into your bedroom or better yet, shrunk to the size of a transvaginal probe that fits in your uterus because that's the only way to protect the rights of the unborn, because once the child is born, they don't have any more right to survival than the rest of us. That's what makes America great.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dear Mr. Akin...

An open letter to Republican senate candidate from Missouri...


Dear Mr. Akin, I Want You to Imagine...

by Eve Ensler

Dear Todd Akin,
I am writing to you tonight about rape. It is 2 AM and I am unable to sleep here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am in Bukavu at the City of Joy to serve and support and work with hundreds, thousands of women who have been raped and violated and tortured from this ceaseless war for minerals fought on their bodies.
I am in Congo but I could be writing this from anywhere in the United States, South Africa, Britain, Egypt, India, Philippines, most college campuses in America. I could be writing from any city or town or village where over half a billion women on the planet are raped in their lifetime.
Mr. Akin, your words have kept me awake.
As a rape survivor, I am reeling from your recent statement where you said you misspoke when you said that women do not get pregnant from legitimate rape, and that you were speaking "off the cuff."
Clarification. You didn't make some glib throw away remark. You made a very specific ignorant statement clearly indicating you have no awareness of what it means to be raped. And not a casual statement, but one made with the intention of legislating the experience of women who have been raped. Perhaps more terrifying: it was a window into the psyche of the GOP.
You used the expression "legitimate" rape as if to imply there were such a thing as "illegitimate" rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.
When you, Paul Ryan and 225 of your fellow co-sponsors play with words around rape suggesting only "forcible" rape be treated seriously as if all rapes weren't forcible, it brings back a flood of memories of the way the rapists played with us in the act of being raped -- intimidating us, threatening us,muting us. Your playing with words like "forcible" and "legitimate" is playing with our souls which have been shattered by unwanted penises shoving into us, ripping our flesh, our vaginas, our consciousness, our confidence, our pride, our futures.
Now you want to say that you misspoke when you said that a legitimate rape couldn't get us pregnant. Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evil content? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us? It would seem you were saying that getting pregnant after a rape would indicate it was not a "legitimate" rape.
Here's what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are on your bed or up against a wall or locked in a small suffocating space. Imagine being tied up there and imagine some aggressive, indifferent, insane stranger friend or relative ripping off your clothes and entering your body -- the most personal, sacred, private part of your body -- and violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart. Then imagine that stranger's sperm shooting into you and filling you and you can't get it out. It is growing something in you. Imagine you have no idea what that life will even consist of, spiritually made in hate, not knowing the mental or health background of the rapist.
Then imagine a person comes along, a person who has never had that experience of rape, and that person tells you, you have no choice but to keep that product of rape growing in you against your will and when it is born it has the face of your rapist, the face of the person who has essentially destroyed your being and you will have to look at the face every day of your life and you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.
I don't know if you can imagine any of this (leadership actually requires this kind of compassion), but if you are willing to go to the depth of this darkness, you will quickly understand that there is NO ONE WHO CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE to have or not have the baby, but the person carrying that baby herself.
I have spent much time with mothers who have given birth to children who are the product of rape. I have watched how tortured they are wrestling with their hate and anger, trying not to project that onto their child.
I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.
Why don't you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.
And by the way you've just given millions of women a very good reason to make sure you never get elected again, and an insanely good reason to rise.
#ReasonToRise

Eve Ensler
Bukavu, Congo
Eve Ensler is the author of The Vagina Monologues.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tomatoland

Finished another book, this one "Tomatoland" by Barry Estabrook.  Published in 2011, the author first travels to South America in search of ancestral wild tomatoes, then to Florida to examine the exploitation of migrant farm workers, especially concerning the picking of tomatoes for market.  

Estabrook uncovers some instances of modern-day slavery in Florida, a reminder that big business will ruthlessly exploit the least-powerful workers, unless and until they are checked.  He spends a lot of time on the legal struggles and victories of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an amazing "union" of migratory workers striving to improve the living and working conditions of the migrant pickers.  The CIW fueled the successful "Penny-Per-Pound" campaign against Taco Bell and others.  Presently, they are succeeding with their "Campaign for Fair Food."  Thanks to the bright lights of publicity, conditions have improved for a number of migrants.  They remain, however, some of the lowest-paid workers in America, exempt even from minimum-wage laws.  

Estabrook wraps up the book on hopeful notes by highlighting some small, organic farmers who are carving a niche for themselves by providing superior-tasting tomatoes to targeted markets    

Tomatoland is a good overview of the modern-day tomato industry, and it feeds into the present-day popular foodie push for better-tasting, localized, more-sustainable food supplies.  Highly recommended.  And thanks especially to D&J for loaning it to me.  I'd been trying to check it out of the local library for a few weeks now with no luck!  

(Oh yeah!  Speaking of tomatoes, it looks like we're going to have a HUGE crop this fall!!)  



Friday, August 24, 2012

Welcome Lee

The post below was written by a relative of mine, Lee.  Lee has been a lifelong Catholic and is currently a teacher of political science at the college level.   This may just be the first "original" post on this blog by someone other than myself.   

While what Lee wrote was not initially intended for publication here, he graciously agreed to allow me to publish it.  Lee wrote this in response to an article in the New York Times, linked below, and there is also a link to a writing on political ideology (not written by Lee).  Hopefully there will be more from Lee in the future.

Subject: NYTimes.com: The Caucus: G.O.P. Approves Strict Anti-abortion Language in Party Platform 

Hell, even the Catholic Hierarchy doesn't agree with this one.

What in the world is wrong with these people? I think they're an offshoot of the Taliban  Republican Tea Party. If they want religion in politics they should move to Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia.  We sure as hell don't need these kind of idiots in the USA. 

These folks have a severe mental handicap.
Have these folks ever read the Constitution or the Federalist Papers, the foundation which our Founding Fathers worked so hard to embed in our democracy?  These anachronistic folks are simply such that they want to go back to the days of the crusades.

Those of you who legitimately know just a little bit about political ideology, look at the chart, check it out on the net [Political Ideology "spectrum" Chart] and see how far right the Republican Party has moved; one more step and they're in Nazi Land.  Some of them are already there.

What used to be Right Wing politics is now mainstream Republicanism.

I've attached a writing on political ideology, somewhat lengthy but extremely informative.  A lot of folks say they're liberal or they're conservative and, most of the time, they don't know what they're defining.  The definitions used today are mostly false and taken out of the 1950s McCarthy era.  Enjoy the read.  It may drive you crazy but that's as close as I can get you to a legitimate poli-sci classroom.

Please take special note as to how much religion has played a force in political ideology, the very factor which our Founding Fathers tried to eliminate, but there are some very strong forces which today still try to inject into our every day political system. They prefer to have a theocracy rather than a democracy.  Theocracy belongs in church, democracy belongs in the Halls of Congress.
Lee



The Caucus: G.O.P. Approves Strict Anti-abortion Language in Party Platform 



Political Spectrum link currently under construction

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I guess you can

Just "make stuff up", that is.  Mitt Romney has been doing it all year and he's the Republican choice for President.  All his lies, fabrications and distortions haven't soured the Republicans on him.  So far.  It's pretty amazing.   There are but a few brave Republican souls who try to call Romney on it.  Makes one wonder about anyone who calls himself a Republican and supports Romney.

Maybe you can 'just make stuff up'

By Steve Benen

Just over the last two weeks, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has released three television ads and two online videos devoted exclusively to -- you guessed it -- welfare. The issue was a complete non-factor in the 2012 race until the Republican decided the racially-charged, peripheral issue could be exploited by telling a transparent lie.

The latest video was released overnight.

In this new clip, viewers hear from Danny Vargas, the former National Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, who again accuses President Obama of removing work requirements from federal welfare law.


In this plane of reality, President Obama did not remove work requirements from federal welfare law. The Romney campaign simply made this up. The facts are unambiguous: governors asked the Obama administration for some flexibility on the existing welfare law, and the White House said that'd be fine, so long as the work requirement isn't weakened. It's consistent with the policy endorsed by many Republican governors, including Romney himself, just six years ago.

And yet, it's the basis for a ridiculous lie, predicated on Romney's assumption that voters are easily fooled, and his campaign will pay no price because the media won't call him on it.

For his part, President Obama weighed in on the subject yesterday, and as Greg Sargent noted, it was "the first time Obama himself has charged that virtually Romney's entire campaign is based on a 'centerpiece' that's flat out false." Take a look at these comments from the president's press briefing:

"I don't think that Governor Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad. But keep in mind this is an ad that I didn't approve, I did not produce, and as far as I can tell, has barely run. I think it ran once. 
"Now, in contrast, you've got Governor Romney creating as a centerpiece of his campaign this notion that we're taking the work requirement out of welfare, which every single person here who's looked at it says is patently false. What he's arguing is somehow we have changed the welfare requirement -- the work requirement in our welfare laws. And, in fact, what's happened was that my administration, responding to the requests of five governors, including two Republican governors, agreed to approve giving them, those states, some flexibility in how they manage their welfare rolls as long as it produced 20 percent increases in the number of people who are getting work. 

"So, in other words, we would potentially give states more flexibility to put more people back to work, not to take them off the work requirement under welfare. Everybody who has looked at this says what Governor Romney is saying is absolutely wrong. Not only are his super PACs running millions of dollars' worth of ads making this claim; Governor Romney himself is approving this and saying it on the stump.

"So the contrast I think is pretty stark. They can run the campaign that they want, but the truth of the matter is you can't just make stuff up. That's one thing you learn as President of the United States."

That certainly sounds reasonable. In theory, part of leadership is realizing that you "can't just make stuff up."

But Romney believes he can ignore this maxim and win anyway. He's working under the assumption that the political rules have changed, we've entered a new era of post-truth rhetorical norms, and there are no longer punishments for deliberately saying the opposite of the reality.

Indeed, we've created a system of incentives -- Romney will benefit by crafting a racially-charged lie, which has no bearing in fact, but which rallies his base, for whom the distinction between fact and fiction isn't terribly important. At the same time, the lie will begin to permeate the mainstream's understanding of current events, thanks to reporting that tells voters, "Romney claims Obama gutted welfare law; Obama disagrees."

Greg Sargent added, "It's true that there's serious truth-stretching on both sides.... But it remains the case that we are seeing nothing from the Obama side that's anything like what Romney is attempting. Romney right now is premising one of the central arguments of his whole campaign on a complete lie."

And with each passing day, Romney appears increasingly certain he can get away with it.

Michael Tomasky explained today, This is not normal. Normal is to stretch the truth.... But the Romney welfare ads have no grain of truth at all."

Romney is testing American politics, pushing past boundaries, raising uncomfortable questions about just what kind of man he really is. Eleven weeks before Election Day, however, Romney just doesn't seem to give a damn.

Original.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, RGI

Happy (very belated) Birthday to Robert Green Ingersoll, one of the greatest Americans to grace this land.  

When Ingersoll was alive, freethought and atheism was flourishing in America.  People would come to hear him speak, for hours, by the thousands.  

Unfortunately, something went wrong, and this country took another lethal dip into the fetid cesspool of religion.  Religious belief came back with a vengeance in this country.  

Nowadays, in our modern, "enlightened" era, no politician can be elected without expressing some kind of fealty to an imaginary being in the sky that knows all, sees all, but doesn't do a fucking thing about anything.  We have really fallen backward.  What a tragedy.

Robert G. Ingersoll

August 11, 2012

photo
On this date in 1833, Robert Green Ingersoll, who became the best known advocate of freethought in 19th-century United States, was born in Dresden, N.Y. The son of an impoverished itinerant pastor, he later recalled his formative church experiences: "The minister asked us if we knew that we all deserved to go to hell, and we all answered 'yes.' Then we were asked if we would be willing to go to hell if it was God's will, and every little liar shouted 'Yes!' " He became an attorney by apprenticeship, and a colonel in the Civil War, fighting in the Battle of Shiloh. In 1867, Ingersoll was appointed Illinois' first Attorney General. His political career was cut short by his refusal to halt his controversial lectures, but he achieved national political fame for his thrilling nomination speech for James G. Blaine for president at the national convention of the Republican Party in 1876. Ingersoll was good friends with three U.S. presidents. The distinguished attorney was known and admired by most of the leading progressives and thinkers of his day.

Ingersoll traveled the continent for 30 years, speaking to capacity audiences, once attracting 50,000 people to a lecture in Chicago—40,000 too many for the Exposition Center. His repertoire included 3 to 4-hour lectures on Shakespeare, Voltaire and Burns, but the largest crowds turned out to hear him denounce the bible and religion. Ingersoll's speaking fees ranged as high as $7,000, in an era of low wages and no income tax. He married Eva Parker Ingersoll, a rationalist whom he deemed a "Woman Without Superstition," in dedicating his first freethought book to her. He initially settled in Peoria, Illinois, then in Washington, D.C., where he successfully defended falsely accused men in the "Star Route" scandal, the most famous political trial of the 19th century. The family later relocated to New York. A devoted family man, he lived with his extended family, and the Ingersoll "at homes" were celebrated, both in Washington D.C., and in New York. Religious rumors against Ingersoll abounded. One had it that Ingersoll's son was a drunkard who more than once had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll wrote: "It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!" The 12-volume Dresden Edition of his lectures, poetry and interviews was collected after his death and has been reprinted many times. D. 1899.
“All religions are inconsistent with mental freedom. Shakespeare is my bible, Burns my hymn-book.”

“I do not borrow ideas. I have a factory of my own.”

“I do not believe in putting out the sun to keep weeds from growing.”

“With soap, baptism is a good thing.”

“[Of William Jennings Bryan] He talks, but he does not think.”

— Robert G. Ingersoll. For more information on Ingersoll, read American Infidel by Orvin Larson.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Yes on 64

This is important!  Yes on 64!  Colorado, get up! (Click it)

Paul Ryan jokes

Paul Ryan is a bit of a joke.  If there was a God, Obama would win the election.  But...there is no God, so.....hmmm...

"Republicans like Paul Ryan because they say he's a fiscal conservative, and that's a perfect balance for Romney who's a guy that has an elevator for his Cadillacs." –David Letterman

"Speaking of Paul Ryan, a new poll actually found that 42 percent of Americans do not approve of Mitt Romney's running mate, which isn't too bad considering most Americans don't approve of Paul Ryan's running mate." –Jimmy Fallon

"Mitt Romney has picked Paul Ryan as his running mate. Experts say Ryan can add something vital to this campaign that Mitt Romney lacks: a personality." –Jay Leno

"Mitt Romney kept his selection of Ryan as his VP nominee secret for more than a week. You know how he was able to keep it secret? He had it hidden next to his tax returns." –Jay Leno

"Paul Ryan is full of excitement, he's drawing big crowds. The only thing holding Paul Ryan back now according to political experts is Mitt Romney." –David Letterman

"Have you seen these guys, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? They look like father and son dentists." –David Letterman

"Paul Ryan likes to hunt and we all know that a vice president who hunts is always a good choice." –David Letterman

"Tell me one area where Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin would disagree? I cannot find one area. So somehow he's the smartest guy in the party and she's the stupidest woman on earth, but they agree on everything." -Bill Maher

"We are all still trying to measure the impact of Romney choosing Paul Ryan for Vice President. Does it make Romney look more exciting? Does it make Ryan look old enough to drink?" -Stephen Colbert

"Mitt Romney is hoping to energize conservatives with his choice of Paul Ryan as running mate. That’s like trying to spice up a bowl of oatmeal with more oatmeal." –Jimmy Fallon

"During the announcement, Mitt Romney said that he and Paul Ryan are 'America's Comeback Team.' You know, as in come back in four years and try again." –Jimmy Fallon

"How many of you have the Paul Ryan fever? They say that Paul Ryan will humanize Romney. And I thought, hell, an amoeba could humanize Romney." –David Letterman

"I like the looks of this Paul Ryan, the representative from Wisconsin. He reminds me of who your sister would date in college. He looks like one of those guys who pretends to be a doctor on an infomercial. He reminds me of the guy at Olive Garden who comes over to see how everything was." –David Letterman

"In college Paul Ryan drove the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. So he and Romney have something in common. Both have the experience of driving a car with a dog on the roof." –David Letterman

"On Sunday, Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate. Forty-three percent of Americans have never heard of Ryan and the others thought he was the private that Tom Hanks brought home from Normandy." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Romney and Ryan kind of look like a father and son in an ad for Super Cuts." –Jimmy Kimmel

"And then there's Congressman Paul Ryan. On the plus side, he has piercing blue bedroom eyes. On the minus side, he's a heartless smirking bastard, and the only people who can stand him are heartless smirking bastards. And Mitt, you already have that vote locked up." –Bill Maher 

"Paul Ryan introduced a budget plan that would overhaul Medicare and make deep cuts to other social and healthcare programs because he believes the American people have said loud and clear: 'stop using my tax dollars to take care of me.'" -Seth Meyers


Victory Bonds!

Here's a piece of political action that Democrats AND Republicans can get behind, but I'm afraid that most Republicans will oppose it, simply because it "MIGHT" make Obama or the Democrats look good.  Can't have that.  No no no.  Prove me wrong Republicans.  Do the "right" thing for a change.

Even if Republicans DON'T believe in climate change or global warming, this is STILL a good idea.


Dear Involved Citizen!

We have a bill!!

On August 2, our Clean Energy Victory Bond bill was introduced in Congress.

And as of today, the Library of Congress has published the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, the culmination of several years of hard work here at Green America, and the support of clean-energy advocates like you all across the country.

Just like World War II era victory bonds enabled ordinary Americans to raise billions of dollars for the war effort, these new bonds are projected to raise enough money to generate 1.7 million new jobs manufacturing, deploying, and maintaining renewable energy projects. This bill ends the financial uncertainty around current federal programs, extending the imperiled Production Tax Credit for wind energy -- and other renewable energy incentives -- for as long as a decade.

Big thanks to Rep. Bob Filner (D, CA), who is sponsoring the bill, along with 10 co-sponsors, and big thanks to more than 40 other organizations* who are backing the bill with us. Now we need to get this bill passed. Here's where your support is crucial. This is what we need you to do:

1. Call your representative -- Look up your representative's telephone number here, give their office a call, and tell them that you enthusiastically support H.R. 6275, the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012. If you would be willing to to buy some of these savings bonds (as little as $25 is enough), tell them that too. We need to rapidly bolster bi-partisan support for this job-creating, renewable-energy-boosting bill.

2. Pledge to buy the bonds -- If you haven't already signed on at cleanenergyvictorybonds.org as a future purchaser of the bonds after the legislation passes, please do so right now. We need to be able to show clearly that these bonds have the support of the American people in every congressional district in the country. It's a win-win-win. You support clean energy and American jobs, you put some of your money away in a savings bond, and when they mature in 10 years, you’ll get back the purchase price plus interest.

3. Tell your friends -- This part is key! We need to rapidly spread awareness of this bill. Everyone who hears about this strategy loves it, because the bonds advance goals that both Republicans and Democrats can get behind. If you have ever thought about forwarding an e-mail from Green America to your entire address book, this is the e-mail to forward. Tell your friends to sign on at cleanenergyvictorybonds.org, and post a link to the site on your Facebook page. Tweet about it, blog about, tell your neighbor over the fence. However you communicate with others, please share the news of this bill.

This might just be the most exciting project Green America has ever worked on. Thank you so much for being a part of it.

Here's to a clean-energy victory,

Alisa Gravitz
Executive Director
Green America

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Watch this video!

This Video MIGHT Stop Romney From Becoming President

Of course, most Democrats already realize what the GOP is pulling.  The real tragedy is that so many in the GOP are going along with these despicable tactics and are not speaking out about them.  What has America come to?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2010 Hero

"2010 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award," that is.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bestowed that award on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (the CIW), a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs, mostly agricultural low-wage jobs (read: tomato pickers, citrus pickers, etc) throughout the state of Florida.  

Wow, a pretty strong "labor" movement.  In Florida.  Spawned by the relentless exploitation of migrant workers by large growers.  There has always been power in numbers.

snip from the CIW website:


In late 2010, we signed an agreement with the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange to extend the CIW’s Fair Food principles – including a strict code of conduct, a cooperative complaint resolution system, a participatory health and safety program, and a worker-to-worker education process – to over 90% of the Florida tomato industry. This watershed moment ended a 15-year impasse and was hailed in the New York Times as “possibly the most successful labor action in the US in 20 years.” With that agreement, the Fair Food Program was born.

Today, bolstered by the independent auditing and oversight of the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), the Fair Food Program – which emerged from the successful Campaign for Fair Food and seeks to affirm the human rights of tomato workers and improve the conditions under which they labor – has begun an unprecedented transformation of farm labor conditions in Florida’s fields.

Millions of additional dollars are flowing into the industry each year from participating buyers, to be passed on by the growers to their workers to increase wages. Audits are revealing and addressing systemic weaknesses that in the past led to worker abuse. Workers receive ongoing education from the CIW – on the farm and on the clock – about their new-found rights and responsibilities under the Program. And complaints from the fields are investigated and resolved by the FFSC.

But the pace, depth, and sustainability of this transformation will ultimately depend on the participation of all the major purchasers of Florida’s tomatoes. Despite widespread support for the innovative, collaborative solution at the heart of the Fair Food Program, the supermarket industry (with the notable exceptions of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's) has yet to do its part, and is thus the one remaining obstacle in the way of long-awaited, sustainable change in the fields.

Why is it that getting business to pay a fair wage has been such a struggle in this country?  And around the world?  I shudder to think what this country would be like if there'd never been a labor movement.    

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cosmic Hum

Cosmic hum?  Hey, I'm a believer.  In fact, I'm a firm believer in the power of the hum to help move the bowels along their way.  I shit you not.  Or, I shit you.  Or shit you not.  Whatever!



The Healing Power of "Cosmic Hum"
Sound can be healing. It can calm and soothe us, bringing us into deep states that relax us, countering the negative effects of stress. One of the most powerful ways of experiencing this is by listening to specific music.
When we listen to sound, it goes into our ears and into our brain. It affects our nervous system which affects our heart rate, our respiration and our brain waves.
I have been in the field of researching and applying the use of sound for healing for nearly 30 years. “Cosmic Hum” may well be one of the most powerful recordings I’ve created and is already a favorite of yoga practitioners, those who meditate and those who simply want to relax. Like many of my other recordings, such as “Chakra Chants”, “De-Stress”, “Holy Harmony” and “Ultimate Om”,  it is being used for stress reduction and pain reduction, helping calm and relax the listener.
snip

I wanted to share awareness of “Cosmic Hum” with you, because for many the health benefits of this recording may prove to be extremely useful and effective. It is not music as you may normally think of it, so don’t go expecting Mozart or Beethoven. However, what you’ll hear in the humming sounds of this recording are frequencies that may have extraordinary relaxing and transformational effects. “Cosmic Hum” is available on Amazon.com, iTunes,healingsounds.com and other music sources.

Read more.  Click here.

Olympics porn

On a lighter note, thanks to modern video & camera equipment, we are getting some outstanding images from the recent Olympic games.  And also some ... uh ... rather erotic images, too.

Here's a small sampling:




Click here for more.

Romney/Ryan logo

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rand on faith

OK, last post of the day.  Maybe.  This is a good one.

Paul Ryan says that he is a Catholic.  And here's a snip from s CNN story about Romney announcing the Ryan pick earlier today:

Romney called attention to Ryan's religion Saturday in introducing him as his running mate: "A faithful Catholic, Paul believes in the worth and dignity of every human life," Romney said. 

You can find the rest of that article here.

So, how do we square Ryan's "faith" with his deep belief and respect for Ayn Rand?


Let's see some things that Ayn Rand had to say about religion and faith.

Ayn Rand

  1. Ask youself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves--or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.
  2. In that world, you'll be able to rise in the morning with the spirit you had known in your childhood: that spirit of eagerness, adventure and certainty which comes from dealing with a rational universe.
  3. The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive- a definition that invalidates man's consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence...Man's mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God... Man's standard of value, say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, whose standards are beyond man's power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith....The purpose of man's life...is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question. [Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual]
  4. For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket - by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners. [Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual]
  5. ...if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.... the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind. [Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged]
  6. Playboy: Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?
    Ayn Rand: Qua religion, no - in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man's life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy. And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very - how should I say it? - dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith. [Playboy interview with Ayn Rand]
  7. If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn't make sense - you're ready for him. You tell him there's something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you can play it deuces wild. [Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead]
  8. And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.
  9. This god, this one word: I. [Ayn Rand, Anthem]
  10. If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.
  11. There has never been a philosophy, a theory or a doctrine, that attacked (or 'limited') reason, which did not preach submission to the power of some authority. [Ayn Rand, The Comprachicos, in The New Left]
  12. Are you in a universe which is ruled by natural laws and, therefore, is stable, firm, absolute - and knowable? Or are you in an incomprehensible chaos, a realm of inexplicable miracles, an unpredictable, unknowable flux, which your mind is impotent to grasp? The nature of your actions - and of your ambition - will be different, according to which set of answers you come to accept.
  13. (The Doctrine of Original Sin) declares that (man) ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge - he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil - he became a moral being/ He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor - he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire - he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which (the preachers) damn him are reason, morality, creativeness joy - all the cardinal values of his existence.
  14. The alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short circuit destroying the mind.
  15. Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought.
  16. [T]he only real moral crime that one man can commit against another is the attempt to create, by his words or actions, an impression of the contradictory, the impossible, the irrational, and thus shake the concept of rationality in his victim.
  17. Definitions are the guardians of rationality, the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration.
  18. To fear to face an issue is to believe the worst is true.
  19. Thinking men cannot be ruled.
  20. To rest one's case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies- that one has no rational arguments to offer.
  21. ...if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.... the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind. [Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged]
  22. "Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind, and a step that travels unlimited roads." [John Galt, in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged]

You can find the original here.

The rightwing Christo-fascist fundies are just going to love Ayn Rand, huh??  Or, what?  Ryan already through Rand under the bus?  Flip/flop. Flip/flop.  Can't have "reason" intrude on our "faith" now can we, Republicans?

He'll fit right in with Romney.  Two rotten peas in a pod.

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