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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Last Words

Recently finished reading "Last Words" by George Carlin. It's a gripping detailed view into the mind and life of George Carlin, by George. What a life. What a memory! George is a real American hero; an iconoclassic. I don't see anyone carrying his torch, but fortunately I found a "large print" edition at the library. Highly recommended.


Monday, August 29, 2011


Hahahaha! Hey, everyone, don't forget! Add a link to Santorum to your blog or website!

You're welcome

Every now and then this idea rolls around and it's a good thing to remember. So the next time your conservative or Teabagger friends start ragging on you, slap them with some facts and tell them to STFU.

8 Historical Reasons to Show Liberals Love

If you work hard for a living, you can thank a liberal for:

The 8-hour workday, overtime pay, and the federal minimum wage (Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938). Labor activists started calling for an 8-hour day in 1836; Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the above provisions into law for many workers more than a century later.

If you or someone you love serves in the military, you can thank a liberal for:

The G.I. Bill of Rights, first enacted in 1944 under FDR, which provides funds for military veterans to receive education/training, started unemployment compensation for veterans, and facilitates loans for returning veterans to buy homes and start businesses.

If you are a member for an under-represented group often attacked by the (ever-fading) white male majority, you can thank a liberal for:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, enacted under Lyndon B. Johnson, which outlawed major forms of discrimination against blacks and women, including racial segregation and unfair voter registration requirements.

If you plan on getting old and/or sick some day, you can thank a liberal for:

The Social Security Act, enacted for limited recipients in 1935 under FDR and expanded under Harry Truman and LBJ, which helps ensure that people who are too old or infirm to work can still access basic necessities.

Medicare, which provides greatly subsidized health care to retirees. Medicare was signed into law in 1965 by LBJ as an amendment to the Social Security Act.

If you drink water, you can thank a liberal for:

The Clean Water Act, first enacted under Truman in 1948 (the Federal Water Pollution Control Act) and expanded under Jimmy Carter in 1977. The 1977 amendments created a greater structure for regulating pollutants contaminating U.S. waters and gave the EPA authority to implement pollution control programs.

If you’ve ever had a baby or a sick family member and didn’t want to choose between caring for them or losing your job, you can thank a liberal for:

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (signed into law under Bill Clinton), which allows employees who have worked for an employer for at least 1 year to take up to 12 weeks of leave for a family illness, birth or adoption within each 12 month period. Employers must apply accrued sick or vacation time to the worker’s family/medical leave and compensate workers for that time.

If you grew up in a rural area and enjoyed 20th century conveniences, you can thank a liberal for:

The Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (FDR), which provided federal loans for the installation of electricity in rural areas of the U.S.

Yes, But ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately’ – 10 Reasons to Thank Obama

Is Obama the idealized leader many hoped he’d be? No. Has the Obama administration accomplished more in two years than most Presidents have in two terms? Yes. Here are just some of the strides Obama and liberals made from 2009-2010 before Republicans gained control of the House:

If you or someone you love plans to go to college (and you’re not rich), you can thank a liberal for:

Student Loan Reform and Pell Grant Award Increases (part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010), which cut private lending companies out of government loans to save $61 billion in subsidies over the next decade, more than half of which goes to funding increases in Pell Grant awards (up to $5,550/year in 2011).

If you realize fossil fuels are ruining the environment, precipitating violent storms and bound to run out sometime this century – and you support the development of sustainable, clean energy, you can thank a liberal for:

Components of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (aka the Stimulus Bill) that made the largest investment in green technology in history. The bill introduced more than $70 billion for green activities, including a ten-fold increase over the Bush Administration in funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

If you have credit cards or loans and don’t enjoy getting ripped off, you can thank a liberal for:

The Credit Card Holders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009, which banned underhanded and predatory practices by credit card companies and provided new consumer protections, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (formed under the 2010 Wall Street Reform), which seeks solely to educate and protect consumers from unfair and predatory practices by financial institutions. Its goal is to make sure prices are clear up front, that risks are visible, and that nothing deceptive or abusive is buried in fine print.

If you or someone you love might need comprehensive medical treatment without wanting to get screwed over, you can thank a liberal for:

Health Care Reform (aka ObamaCare, aka Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010), which forbids health insurance companies from canceling coverage when a person gets sick, from refusing to cover preexisting conditions, and from imposing lifetime limits on medical care. The bill also established federal subsidies to decrease the price of health insurance (families of four earning up to $88,000 are eligible) and initiated federal oversight of premium hikes.

If you or someone you love is disabled or part of the LGBT community, you can thank a liberal for:

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which extends federal protection to victims who were attacked because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Shepard and Byrd were murdered in 1998, the bill was first introduced in 2001, and it finally passed in 2009.

If you or someone you love is homosexual – or if you just believe in the Fourteenth Amendment’s extension of equal protection under the law, you can thank a liberal for:

Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military without having to hide who they are.

If a teacher has ever touched your life, you can thank a liberal for:

The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act of 2010, which allocated $10 billion to avert public education layoffs (saving or creating 161,000 teacher jobs) and authorized $16.1 billion in Medicaid funding to help grant low-income people access to potentially life-saving services.

If you think American multi-national corporations should bear a bigger tax liability to help fund services for the people from whom they’re getting rich, you can thank a liberal for:

Funding the above education/Medicaid bill by reducing tax loopholes for companies making profits overseas. The bill was supported by the National Education Association and several workers’ unions; it was opposed by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Chamber of Commerce. Only one House Republican voted in favor of this bill.

If you or someone you love has a child for whom they can’t afford to purchase insurance, you can thank a liberal for:

Reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 2009, which expanded health coverage to 4 million more low-income American children and preserved coverage for 7 million children already enrolled.

If you or someone you love is dying or debilitated from a life-altering illness and you still want hope for a cure, you can thank a liberal for:

The end of the Stem Cell Research Ban, for which Obama takes full credit. He used an executive order in March 2009 to end former President George W. Bush’s ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

*This list is by no means exhaustive.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sewage Foam?



"Yesterday, earthquake; today, hurricane. Where do you go next — Tripoli?" –David Letterman

"The earthquake registered 5.8 on the Richter scale. I’ve had bigger heart attacks than that." –David Letterman

"The earthquake was so strong that the Tea Party shifted to the center." –David Letterman

"President Obama is enjoying the fun and sun in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s really sad when your SPF factor is higher than your approval rating." –David Letterman

"After the earthquake on the East Coast, they found Mayor Bloomberg standing under his desk." –David Letterman

"On the bright side, I didn’t have to shake my morning martini." –David Letterman

"They felt the earthquake at Martha’s Vineyard. It was so bad, President Obama nearly missed a putt." –David Letterman

"They traced the epicenter of the earthquake to N.J. Governor Chis Christie’s aerobics class. No, to Kim Kardashian’s honeymoon suite. " –David Letterman

"Today Mitt Romney announced he’s building a $12-million beach house in California. There’s a man who can read the mood of the country." –David Letterman

"A guy last week put a fatwa out on me. CBS has been great. When they heard about it, they started holding auditions for my replacement." –David Letterman

"A guy, a radical extremist, threatened to cut my tongue out. I wish I had a nickel … I think the first time was during the Academy Awards." –David Letterman

"I’m sorry I was late coming out. Backstage I was talking to the guy from CBS. We were going through the CBS insurance policy to see if I was covered for jihad." –David Letterman

"Tonight you people are more to me than an audience. You’re more like a human shield." –David Letterman

"The east coast is still cleaning up after the earthquake. Experts say this only happens once a century. It’s Larry King’s third." –Craig Ferguson

"Apparently there’s a crack in the Washington Monument. Calm down, Marion Barry, I said 'a crack.'" –Craig Ferguson

"Gaddafi's sons are getting arrested. A revolution is not the best time to be a dictator’s sons, or as they’re called in Libya, dictator tots. It’s tater tots with a “dic” in front." –Craig Ferguson

David Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard During The East Coast Earthquake"

10. "That was the scariest two seconds of my life!"
9. "It's lootin' time"
8. "Hey, you forgot your champagne"
7. "5.9 earthquake, it would have been a 6.2 if it had a better lead-in"
6. "These new Taco Bell chalupas are rockin' my world"
5. "My hiccups are gone"
4. "Wheeeeee"
3. "Call FEMEMA, the Federal Extremely Minor Emergency Management Agency"
2. "Darn, right in the middle of laser eye surgery"
1. "Kirstie, stop with the jumping jacks!"

"The CEO of Starbucks said that President Obama shouldn’t be vacationing during a crisis, and that he should be getting Americans back to work — so they can afford a $9 cup of coffee." –Conan O'Brien

"The White House is pointing out that all presidents take vacation. Teddy Roosevelt took trips to Long Island, Harry Truman would go to Key West, and George Bush would go to Legoland." –Conan O'Brien

"Joe Lieberman has written a memoir in which he reveals why having sex with his wife on the Sabbath is so important to him. It’s in the chapter called 'You Might Want to Skip This.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Some people think Gadhafi will go into exile somewhere harmless where we can keep an eye on him. I’m thinking 'Dancing With the Stars.'" –Craig Ferguson

"I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re hoping for an end to the bloodshed, a peaceful transition to democracy, and . . . cheaper gas." –Craig Ferguson

"There’s a fatwa on me. They say the guy that issued it is an Internet jihadist. Who says Obama isn’t creating jobs?" –David Letterman

"The State Department is investigating, but everyone knows it’s Leno." –David Letterman

"When they killed bin Laden, he had been locked in a house with three wives for six years. So when the SEALs broke in, he said, 'Just shoot me.'" –David Letterman

"Top Ten Thought’s That Went Through Letterman’s Mind After Hearing About the Threat"

10. “Someone wants to silence me? Get in line”
9. “Nothing says summer like a death threat”
8. “Why is the staff in such a good mood?”
7. “Save me, Oprah”
6. “Should I wear my Kevlar hairpiece?”
5. “And here I thought nobody watched the show”
4. “How can someone be so angry at a time when Kim Kardashian is so happy?”
3. “Some people get Emmy nominations, some people get death threats”
2. “This seems like Leno’s handiwork”
1. “Oh my God! They canceled ‘The George Lopez Show’”

"President Obama is on a bus tour to talk about jobs, and it turns out the bus was made in Canada. If he were a real American that bus would have been made in China.USA! USA!" –Conan O'Brien

"Obama said the housing market may not pick up again for another year or longer. On the bright side, President Obama now has nine people interested in his house." –Conan O'Brien

"Michele Bachmann said that when she is president, gas prices will come down to less than $2 a gallon. When asked how she’ll make that happen, she said she'll hunt down the CEO of Exxon and stare at him." –Conan O'Brien

"A new survey has Rick Perry ahead of Mitt Romney by 11 points, and Michele Bachmann is five points behind him. I think it’s going to come down to who wears the most flag pins." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Perry is an attractive candidate for many conservatives, because he wants smaller government, to cut national spending, and he knows how to fire a grenade launcher. He’s like the Sarah Palin of politics." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Rick Perry was once a Democrat. Just once, in college. He was experimenting." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Donald Trump may be running for president, and why not? He’s got that everyman quality that we can all relate to." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Rick Perry is now the front runner. Of course they’re letting him run in front. Because he’s the one with the gun." –Stephen Colbert

‎"Texas governor Rick Perry has been in the race only three days, and he's already blowing away the competition like it is a trespassing coyote." -- Stephen Colbert

‎"There is no coordination between Colbert Super PAC and the Perry campaign; that would be wrong and illegal. They are as separate as church and state under a Perry Administration." -- Stephen Colbert

"It's never enough for the media. They're like children: 'Mom, can I get a Paul Ryan?' 'I just got you a Rick Perry! And you already broke your Michele Bachmann. And before I get you anything else, where the f**k is your Ron Paul?'" –Jon Stewart

"Texas Governor Rick Perry distanced himself from George W. Bush by saying, 'I went to Texas A&M. He went to Yale.' In other words, his idea of instilling confidence is by saying, 'Don’t worry. I’m not as smart as George W. Bush.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Michele Bachmann wished Elvis Presley a happy birthday even though it's actually the anniversary of his death. When told about the mistake, Bachmann said, 'My apologies to Elvis, and the entire Costello family.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Mitt Romney said he was in Iowa when he was actually in New Hampshire. He explained, 'I accidentally mixed up my sea of white people.'" –Conan O'Brien

"The White House sent Vice President Joe Biden to China today. So now we owe them a trillion dollars AND an apology." –Conan O'Brien

"Newt Gingrich, who came in 8th place in the Iowa Straw Poll, said he's 'not dead yet.' Then he was invited on 'Dancing With the Stars,' and he said, 'OK, now I'm dead.'" –Conan O'Brien

"A study showed that every hour of TV you watch after the age of 25 shortens your life by 22 minutes. That doesn't sound too bad to me. You'd probably watch TV with that 22 minutes anyway." –Jimmy Kimmel

"President Obama is touring the country in a bus, because nothing inspires hope in the economy like the president riding in a bus." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Mitt Romney is calling Obama's bus tour the 'Magical Misery Tour,' which is kind of funny coming from a member of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hair Club for Men." –Jimmy Kimmel

"President Obama’s new slogan is: 'I Thought We Could, but It Turns Out the Other Guys Are Assholes.'" –Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart, riffing on Rick Perry's remark that Americans should want a president who's "in love" with America: "You want a president who would, in a rainstorm, grab America's hand and take shelter with America in a nearby barn. Maybe help America out of its wet clothes. Maybe lay America down on some hay bales. And then, as America and Rick Perry become one, the sounds of their lovemaking merging with the thunderstorm's cacophony, the barn shutters rattling, the livestock, the livestock they want to look away but they can't, their eyes are transfixed. I am Rick Perry and, unlike Barack Obama, I will f*ck the shit out of America."

"Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll. She said she hasn't been this excited since she won last year's 'Who's Crazier Than Sarah Palin' contest.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Tim Pawlenty announced that he's dropping out of the race for president. Pawlenty said he wants to spend more time with his family because even they don't know who he is." –Conan O'Brien

"The NYPD created a new unit that will use social media sites to catch criminals. Criminal caught on Facebook and Twitter will be arrested, while criminals caught on MySpace will be told about Facebook." –Conan O'Brien

"Republican Congressman Phil Hinkle, who voted to ban gay marriage, was caught propositioning a male prostitute. Hinkle said, 'Well, I wasn’t going to marry him.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Michelle Bachmann paid $30 each for 6,000 voting tickets in Iowa and got 4,800 votes, so 1,200 people stole her $30. It’s funny that someone who doesn’t believe in government handouts paid 6,000 people to vote for her." –Jimmy Kimmel
"Only 39 percent of Americans approve of the job President Obama is doing. Ratings are at an all-time low, but ratings for 'Jersey Shore' are at an all-time high." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Now that Pawlenty is out, the big question is whether Bachmann or Perry will get his supporter." –Stephen Colbert

"In Iowa in her tent Michele Bachmann had Randy Travis and a petting zoo. Of course you were only allowed to pet animals of the opposite sex." –Stephen Colbert

"Why would the Josh Brolin character from 'W.' be running for....what!? That's a real guy?" –Jon Stewart on Rick Perry

"He's not George Bush on steroids. Rick Perry is what happens if Lex Luther distilled down George Bush essence in a laboratory and crossed it with gun powder and semen from the finest thoroughbred in Lubbock, and then strapped that concoction onto a nuclear missile and shot it into the f*cking sun! And then, waited, waited, waited, until one day, on the anniversarry of the Alamo, a solar flare, yada yada yada, Rick Perry!" –Jon Stewart

"If all of Jon Huntsman’s supporters met at the Ames, Iowa Quiznos, the fire marshal would say, ‘yeah, that’s fine, here are some more seats.'" –Jon Stewart

"How did libertarian Ron Paul become the 13th floor in a hotel?" –Jon Stewart on the media ignoring Paul's second plash finish in the Iowa Straw Poll.

Sex toys stolen!

Who says the Montrose is dead??

Montrose Thief Grabs Bag of Sex Toys; Owner Really Wants Them Back

Dan Fergus spotted this poster today and uploaded his picture of it to Facebook.

We have a number of questions for the creator of the poster, to wit:

You really want to get these things back from wherever they've been since they've been gone?
What do you mean, "in good shape?"

And so we called the number on the poster. Nobody answered, so we left a message. We'll update as soon as more information becomes available. 


Friday, August 26, 2011

Diamond Planet

Who'da thunk it?  Now, why would God do that?

Astronomers discover planet made of diamond

LONDON (Reuters) - Astronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard.

The new planet is far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.

"The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon -- i.e. a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own Sun," said Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

Lying 4,000 light years away, or around an eighth of the way toward the center of the Milky Way from the Earth, the planet is probably the remnant of a once-massive star that has lost its outer layers to the so-called pulsar star it orbits.

Pulsars are tiny, dead neutron stars that are only around 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) in diameter and spin hundreds of times a second, emitting beams of radiation.

In the case of pulsar J1719-1438, the beams regularly sweep the Earth and have been monitored by telescopes in Australia, Britain and Hawaii, allowing astronomers to detect modulations due to the gravitational pull of its unseen companion planet.

The measurements suggest the planet, which orbits its star every two hours and 10 minutes, has slightly more mass than Jupiter but is 20 times as dense, Bailes and colleagues reported in the journal Science on Thursday.
In addition to carbon, the new planet is also likely to contain oxygen, which may be more prevalent at the surface and is probably increasingly rare toward the carbon-rich center.

Its high density suggests the lighter elements of hydrogen and helium, which are the main constituents of gas giants like Jupiter, are not present.

Just what this weird diamond world is actually like close up, however, is a mystery.

"In terms of what it would look like, I don't know I could even speculate," said Ben Stappers of the University of Manchester. "I don't imagine that a picture of a very shiny object is what we're looking at here."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rodney Ellis

Rodney Ellis is a Democrat in the Texas State Legislature District 13, which is MY district.  I am sad to say that I am rarely PROUD of the my elected representatives, but Rodney gets a big thumbs-up on this one.

Rodney recently received a grade of F from "Empower Texans."  This group is but another of the right-wing front groups posing with a nice name, but dedicated to "free markets," greed and big business.

August 24, 2011

Michael Quinn Sullivan
Empower Texans
PO Box 200248
Austin, TX 78720

Dear Mr. Sullivan:

Thank you for your letter regarding Empower Texans 2011 legislative scorecard. Upon reading it, my first thought was of George Bernard Shaw, who responded to one of his critics thusly: "I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. Your critique is in front of me. Shortly it will be behind me."

Then I realized this thought was perhaps too harsh and too confrontational for, in fact, I am proud to have earned an "F" from Empower Texans for my work in the 82nd legislature. I know I am doing things right in Austin, and would seriously question both my judgment and values were I to receive any higher grade.

I am proud to have opposed Voter ID, which does nothing to protect the sanctity of the ballot and is designed only to limit the participation of the disenfranchised; I am proud to have fought against those who held the Rainy Day Fund hostage and to use an additional $3 billion to alleviate devastating cuts to vital programs; I am proud to have voted for other bills that would have reduced the impact of those cuts, and to get rid of tax loopholes that provide billions in tax breaks to huge oil companies even as we cut funding for our children's schools and health care; I am proud to have voted against hypocritical "look at me" votes calling on Congress to balance the federal budget while we failed to actually balance our own, and against the interests of the predatory payday loan industry. I will wear my "F" grade from Empower Texans as a badge of honor and look forward to further disappointing you in the future.

To paraphrase the greatest President of the 20th Century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: I welcome your hatred. After all, I'd much rather be a champion of the powerless than a lickspittle of the powerful.


Rodney Ellis

New French tax

Just last week, you might have heard that several of France's wealthiest people told the French government that they were willing to pay higher taxes to help the country reduce its debt.  Well, yesterday, the French government decided to do just that, increasing the tax rate on the wealthiest by an extra 3%.

Now look at our pitiful country.  With a Democratic Congress, they couldn't (or didn't) even rescind the Bush tax cuts.  This country is becoming hopelessly stupid and greedy.  (Becoming?)

France introduces new tax on high incomes

The French government is to impose an extra tax of 3% on annual income above 500,000 euros (£440,000; $721,000).

It is part of a package of measures to try to cut the country's deficit by 12bn euros over two years.

The tax increase came after some of France's wealthiest people had called on the government to tackle its deficit by raising taxes on the rich.

Paris has also reduced its economic growth forecast for 2012 to 1.75% from a previous 2.25%.


And it has cut its 2011 growth forecast from 2% to 1.75%, Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said.

He said the new tax would remain in place until France reduces its budget deficit back under the EU's intended limit of 3% of GDP, which should occur in 2013.

France plans to trim its public deficit to 5.7 % this year, 4.6 % next year and 3% in 2013.

"This is a rigorous policy that will allow France to remain relaxed," Mr Fillon said. "Our country must stick to its [deficit] commitments. It's in the interest of all French people."

Faced with flat growth, the persistent threat to the country's precious AAA rating, and all sorts of turmoil on the nervous financial markets, President Sarkozy is wielding the axe.

In total he's proposing 12bn euros of savings over the next two years.

Higher taxes for big companies, a cap on tax deductions applying to overtime - and a new "special contribution" from the wealthiest in the country.

It's a U-turn - in so many ways - designed to reassure investors and voters alike that only he can be trusted with the French economy.

Sixteen executives, including Europe's richest woman, the L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, had offered in an open letter to pay a "special contribution" in a spirit of "solidarity".

It appeared on the website of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.

It was signed by some of France's most high-profile chief executives, including Christophe de Margerie of oil firm Total, Frederic Oudea of bank Societe Generale, and Air France's Jean-Cyril Spinetta.

They said: "We, the presidents and leaders of industry, businessmen and women, bankers and wealthy citizens would like the richest people to have to pay a 'special contribution'."

They said they had benefited from the French system and that: "When the public finances deficit and the prospects of a worsening state debt threaten the future of France and Europe and when the government is asking everybody for solidarity, it seems necessary for us to contribute."

They warned, however, that the contribution should not be so severe that it would provoke an exodus of the rich or increased tax avoidance.


Note:  I had to remove the post titled, "Liberals are smarter" because it's just embarrassing, especially when one looks at the U.S. Congress.  Liberals may indeed be smarter, but they have a severe testicular deficit.  If they were truly smarter, they would have figured out a way around the Republicans stubborn intransigence.  Oh wait, could be that there are actually no liberals IN Congress.  Certainly not in the White House.  Which could explain a lot.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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Job Creators!

Bill Moyers returns!

Yay!  Our local PBS station better find a spot for him!

Media Advisory

Bill Moyers Is Back
A return to public broadcasting--but not to PBS

According to a report in the New York Times (8/22/11), public television icon Bill Moyers will be back on the public airwaves next year--but not on PBS.

The new show, Moyers & Company, will be distributed to stations for free by American Public Television. The Times reports that "PBS told Moyers it couldn’t find an appropriate timeslot."

The Times adds that the show "will focus on one-on-one interviews with people not often heard on television."

Showcasing viewpoints not often heard on commercial media is precisely the point of public broadcasting. But few of the shows distributed by PBS aspire to that goal, as FAIR's numerous studies of public broadcasting have shown (Extra!, 11/10).

Moyers' return is good news for viewers seeking diverse and dissenting viewpoints. PBS's failure to find a suitable timeslot for such a show demonstrates once more that the network's understanding of its mission is sharply at odds with the founding vision of an independent, critical public broadcasting system.

See FAIR's Archives for more on:


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

100 degree days

From the SciGuy, Eric Berger...


Well, we did it. Houston got its 33rd 100-degree day of the year on Monday, breaking the all-time record for 100-degree days during a single year set in 1980. I’ll have more in the forecast section below, but rest assured this is a record we’re going to pad during the coming week.

What troubles me the most is that our water reservoirs are taking a beating in the current drought.

According to the Texas Water Development Board, the current level of the upper Texas coastal region‘s water reservoirs (this includes Harris and most surrounding counties) have dropped from 91 percent of capacity in January to 64 percent today.

As you can see in the chart below, the region’s reservoirs are at the lowest levels on record in two decades of data keeping. (click the pic)

Can you imagine where we will be if the drought continues for another year? Bye-bye green lawns, and that’s just for starters.


I'm not sure how much longer we can go with no rain.  Last week, Houston implemented Stage 2 Water Conservation measures, which restricts watering to four days per week, depending upon your street address.

We're running out of water, and now we've started taking about 100 million gallons per day from Lake Conroe, about 60 miles north of Houston.

As one weather dude recently said, "This is not proof of global warming.  It's a consequence of it."  Got that, fundies?

Euphoria in Libya

At the main square in Benghazi, Libya, people have been gathering to celebrate the end of the rule of Muammar Qaddafi. As euphoric Libyan rebels advanced into Tripoli on Sunday, there were scenes of jubilation in the rebels’ de facto capital, Benghazi, where thousands celebrated in the streets. One large sign in the middle of the square in Benghazi features a picture of the “Fantastic 4” (from right to left): Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and U.S. Ambassador the U.N. Susan Rice. The text on the sign reads: “God Bless You All. Thanks For All.” The signs were photographed by the AP’s Alexandre Meneghini:

And how long will it take the putrid Republicans to start giving Bush credit for Qaddafi's fall?

Optical illusions

As if this world isn't wierd enough already!  Spend some time here and wonder what else about life is an illusion?

Don't bother

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Medicare for all

The high cost of health insurance on the private market is what is keeping us in the work force.  Through my company, my wife and I pay about $250/month for some pretty good coverage (still relatively high deductibles, however), but if we had to buy the same insurance on the open market, it would cost $1000/month or more.  That is just too much.  

If this country could snap out of its conservative mindset and provide Medicare for all, we could retire and make room for all of those unemployed.  Republicans, however, seem intent on RAISING the age of access to Medicare.

What a country.

Medicare for all is Democrats' best option
by Robert Reich

Two appellate judges in Atlanta - one appointed by Bill Clinton and one by George H.W. Bush - have just decided the Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to require individuals to buy health insurance. The decision is a major defeat for the White House. The so-called "individual mandate" is a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's 2010 health care reform law, scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

The whole idea of the law is to pool health risks. Only if everyone buys insurance can insurers afford to cover people with pre-existing conditions or pay the costs of catastrophic diseases.

The issue is headed for the Supreme Court (another appellate court has upheld the law's constitutionality), where the prognosis isn't good. The court's Republican-appointed majority has not exactly distinguished itself with progressive views.

Chalk up another one for the GOP, outwitting and outflanking the president and the Democrats.

Remember the health care debate? Congressional Republicans refused to consider a single-payer system that would automatically pool risks. They wouldn't even consider giving people the option of buying into it.

The president and the Democrats caved, as they have on almost everything. They came up with a compromise that kept health care in the hands of private insurance companies.

The only way to spread the risk in such a system is to require everyone to buy insurance.

Which is exactly what the two appellate judges in Atlanta object to. The Constitution, in their view, doesn't allow the federal government to compel citizens to buy something. "Congress may regulate commercial actors," they write. "But what Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die."

Most Americans seem to agree. According to polls, 60 percent of the public opposes the individual mandate. Many on the right believe it a threat to individual liberty. Many on the left object to being required to buy something from a private company.

Had the president and the Democrats stuck to their guns during the health care debate and insisted on Medicare for all, or at least a public option, they wouldn't now be facing the possible unraveling of the new health care law.

After all, Social Security and Medicare - the nation's two most popular safety nets - require every working American to "buy" them. The purchase happens automatically in the form of a deduction from everyone's paychecks.

But because Social Security and Medicare are government programs, they don't feel like mandatory purchases. They're more like tax payments, which is what they are - payroll taxes.

There's no question payroll taxes are constitutional, because there's no doubt that the federal government can tax people in order to finance particular public benefits.

Americans don't mind mandates in the form of payroll taxes for Social Security or Medicare. In fact, both programs are so popular even conservative Republicans were heard to shout "Don't take away my Medicare!" at rallies opposed to the new health care law.

Requiring citizens to buy something from a private company is entirely different. If Congress can require citizens to buy health insurance from the private sector, reasoned the two appellate judges in Atlanta, what's to stop it from requiring citizens to buy anything else? If the law were to stand, "a future Congress similarly would be able to articulate a unique problem ... compelling Americans to purchase a certain product from a private company."

Other federal judges in district courts - one in Virginia and another in Florida - have struck down the law on similar grounds. They said the federal government has no more constitutional authority requiring citizens to buy insurance than requiring them to buy broccoli or asparagus. (The Florida judge referred to broccoli, the Virginia judge to asparagus.) Social Security and Medicare aren't broccoli or asparagus. They're as American as hot dogs and apple pie.

The Republican strategy should now be clear: Privatize anything that might otherwise be a public program financed by tax dollars. Then argue in the courts that any mandatory purchase of it is unconstitutional because it exceeds the government's authority. And rally the public against the requirement.

Remember this next time you hear Republican candidates touting Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's plan for turning Medicare into vouchers for seniors to buy private health insurance.

So what do Obama and the Democrats do if the individual mandate in the new health care law gets struck down by the Supreme Court?

Immediately propose what they should have proposed right from the start - universal health care based on Medicare for all, financed by payroll taxes. The public will be behind them, as will the courts.

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and the author of "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future." He blogs at To comment, go to


Friday, August 19, 2011

LG goes green

It's a step in the right direction.   Whether true or not.

Have you heard the news? has joined LG Electronics in an inspiring new partnership.   

LG Electronics, a global brand and household name for electronics, earned the CarbonFree® Certified label for six products that will debut in stores January 2012.
This marks the first time LCD TV, LCD monitor, refrigerator, clothes washer, LED lamp or solar panel products have undergone the rigorous life cycle analysis process to earn's third-party certified label.

So what makes this inspiring? In addition to our carbon-reducing projects, believes industry leadership is key in the fight against climate change. We're proud to include LG Electronics among an impressive list of businesses that provide carbon-neutral products to consumers and can't wait to see green LG appliances on shelves across the nation.

Because like LG's motto says: Life's Good When it's Green.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

21 Reasons...

Rick Perry's Texas is a complete disaster?  Well, I don't know about "complete" disaster, but Texas is in pretty sad shape in a lot of categories.  But that big Texas swagger overcompensates for a lot of shortcomings. 

Ever since Perry officially announced his candidacy for President, there has been a flood of critical examinations of Perry and Texas.  I hope that it continues.  If the criticism dies down, people will forget and just might elect this idiot. 

We Texans warned the rest of the nation about Bush, and Gore got a million more votes than Bush did, but we all know that the Supreme Court had to step in to give the presidency to Bush.  And then Bush stole it again in 2004, but we didn't riot at the time, so .... we see what happened to the nation.  Near-collapse. 

Unfortunately, as far as I know, nothing has been done to fix the electronic voting machines, so anyone can win elections, depending upon who TPTB want to have in office.  It's absurd to me that we cannot trust our own votes any longer.  It's not really a democracy if your choices are made for you.

21 Reasons Rick Perry's Texas Is a Complete Disaster

Third World status – the real promise of a Rick Perry administration – shouldn't be a goal to which the United States aspires.

Rick Perry's road to the White House will be paved with spin and blatant lies of omission. He's basing his entire campaign on a single data-point: Texas, with 10 percent of the country's population, has produced 37 percent of net new jobs in the U.S. since the recovery.

That kernel of truth, as I noted recently, is mostly a result of a massive increase in the state's population – much of it due to Hispanic immigration. Texas' unemployment rate has actually risen even as those jobs were being created. Texas also leads the nation in creating crappy minimum wage jobs without benefits – the number of minimum wage workers increased by 150 percent between 2007 and 2010.

He also lucked into a boom in energy prices in his oil and gas-rich state – another factor having nothing to do with his governance.

Under Perry, endless tax breaks for politically connected Texas corporations helped create a massive budget deficit that Perry first addressed with federal stimulus funds – money from a program he decried as a “misguided” desire “to spend our children’s inheritance” -- and then by cutting spending on education and the state's already threadbare social services to the bone. With the exception of a few economic basket-cases like Mississippi, Texas is way ahead of the pack in the race to the bottom.

Rick Perry's line on this is obviously quite different. In announcing his candidacy last weekend, the governor bragged that “we have led Texas based on some just really pretty simple guiding principles. One is don’t spend all of the money. Two is keeping the taxes low and under control. Three is you have your regulatory climate fair and predictable. Four is reform the legal system so frivolous lawsuits don’t paralyze employers that are trying to create jobs. Over the years, we have followed this recipe to produce the strongest economy in the nation.”

This talking-point is being echoed across the conservative message machine. The Wall Street Journal editorialized that “the core impulse of Obamanomics is to make America less like Texas and more like California, with more government, more unions, more central planning, higher taxes.” In May, Newt Gingrich told Fox News host Sean Hannity, "I know how to get the whole country to resemble Texas.”

It's a terrifying thought. Looking at the number of jobs a state has added in isolation is deeply misleading; we don't only face a jobs crisis in this nation, we face a crisis of rising economic insecurity. The American middle class is embattled, and keeping up with population growth by adding jobs serving up fast-food and greeting Walmart shoppers doesn't help ameliorate the kind of economic pain millions of Americans are suffering.

So, to add some perspective, let's take a broader look at how Texans are faring under Rick Perry's watch. (Several of the following items were compiled by Peter Montgomery at Right-Wing Watch.)

1. Texas leads the nation in the percentage of its population without health insurance (2010).

2. Only one state covered a smaller share of its poor population with Medicaid (PDF).

3. It's also number 1 in the percentage of children who lack insurance (2009).

4. Texas ranks dead last in the number of women who receive early prenatal care (2010).

5. It has the sixth highest rate of infectious diseases in America (2010).

6. It ranked 35th in the share of its children being immunized (2010)...

7. ...And 40th in overall health (2010).

8. Those numbers shouldn't come as a surprise – Texas had the ninth lowest level of health care spending per person (2010).

9. Texas ranked 36th in the nation in terms of its high school graduation rate (2010).

10. It has the lowest share of the population aged 25 and older holding a high-school diploma of any state (2008).

11. Its students have the sixth lowest SAT scores in the country (2008).

12. But Texas ranks fourth in terms of teen pregnancies (2005).

13. It's got the 16th highest crime rate (2010).

14. It ranks 17th in occupational fatalities (2010).

15. It's tied (with Missouri) for 19th in terms of the share of its citizens requiring food-stamps (2009).

16. It leads the nation in the amount of recognized carcinogens released into the air (2002).

17. Has the fourth highest amount of toxic chemicals in the environment (2002).

18. Texas’ per capita income growth was the eighth slowest of any state in the country between 1998 and 2008.

19. It ranks 47th median household net worth (averaged from 2007 to 2009).

20. Only seven states have a higher percentage of children in poverty (2010), and ...

21. ... Only nine states have a higher percentage of people of all ages living below the poverty line (2008).

This is what conservative governance leads to – slow growth, poor social outcomes, greater inequality and fewer protections for workers and the environment.

And that is indeed what the right would like to see imposed on the nation as a whole.

In March, Republican staffers on Congress's Joint Economic Committee released the study responding to criticism that the deep public sector cuts they advocated would derail an already anemic “recovery.” The paper called for “decreasing the number and compensation of government workers,” which the staffers said would spur job creation because “a smaller government workforce increases the available supply of educated, skilled workers for private firms, thus lowering labor costs.”

So, a central plank in the GOP's economic recovery plan is to flood the market with yet more unemployed people in order to drive wages (which have stagnated for an extended period) further down.

In theory, an unhealthy, poorly educated population earning poverty wages in a country with low taxes, minimal environmental regulation and crappy public services would indeed lead multinationals to create more jobs here at home, but Third World status – the real promise of a Rick Perry administration – shouldn't be a goal to which the United States aspires.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America.


Warren Buffett

One of the richest people in America, Warren Buffett is practically PLEADING with Congress to raise his taxes.  How can it be fair to tax the ultra-rich at lower rates than the lower- and middle-classes?   But I guess, to Republicans, fairness has nothing to do with it.  They just want the money.  As much as they can get.  Screw everybody else.

Raising the tax rates on the wealthiest Americans is about the easiest fix to help out our budget imbalance.   It's such a no-brainer that Congress' refusal to do it is breeding massive resentment.  A large majority of Americans want to raise taxes on the wealthy.  Only the Republicans stand in the way.  And weak-kneed Democrats.

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich


OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meet Rick Perry

Can you hear it?

For Whom the Whistle Blows
By Steve Bhaerman (aka Swami Beyondananda)

"In these 'beginning times,' we can expect the lifting of veils and the blowing of whistles."
-- Swami Beyondananda

These are times of revelation, and two things are getting revealed simultaneously: how our power has been taken from us, and how we can reconnect with our Source of true power. As I've likely mentioned many times before, the original meaning of "apocalypse" is "the lifting of the veils." The veils that Swami has called the "irony curtain" are being peeled away, and the sound of whistleblowers blowing whistles can be heard even through the media's blather of babblum.

It's easy to look at these times of radical (to the root) transformation as "end times." Certainly, it's the end of a way of being that is obsolete and unsustainable. But like the caterpillar transforming into butterfly, it is also a time for something else to be born. We on the planet today are right now living in two worlds, as one paradigm dissolves and another one emerges. In Spontaneous Evolution, Bruce Lipton and I call it "the changing of the Gods."

Those of us receiving a signal from the heart and soul of who we truly are, from this newly emerging organism called Humanity that seeks to live in harmony with the natural world, can feel - in the short run - discouraged. Yes, the caterpillar is deconstructing before our eyes, but where the heck is that butterfly? It's one thing for the house of credit cards economy to come crumbling down, but the fraying of the web of life is something else entirely.

It is that signal of love, harmony, coherence, well-being, peace, happiness that we attune to in that still, small voice - or perhaps in loud, thunderous revelation - that is the gathering place where the butterfly emerges from the field of possibilities into physical reality. That is why I choose to refer to this pivotal period in human history as The Beginning Times. As we divest ourselves from the creepy crawly caterpillar civilization that no longer serves us, and invest in that which brings love, harmony, healing and peace into our psyches and our world, it is most important to Gather Under One Big Intent.

While each of us is ultimately responsible for the healing of our own psyche and establishing the connection with our Spiritual Nature, doing this in the context of community accelerates the process at a crucial time. And while it's easy to gather with those who share similar "tribal values," it is even more important in these times to reach out toward those who may not agree with us and find common ground in the heart.

We will need to cultivate that gathering place as more toxic secrets get revealed. Only the power of love can metabolize those toxins, and only the safe space of respectful listening can help people emerge from obsolete belief systems to find a greater truth. This is no idealistic abstraction. It has been demonstrated and is being demonstrated in Transpartisan gatherings in Seattle and elsewhere.

A Peek Behind the Irony Curtain

In these transitional times, where we are still gathering the courage to gather together, it is important that we honor the "whistleblowers" who are lifting the veils on that which we are most reluctant to look at. I have often defined "conspiracy theory" as "something which, were it true, you couldn't deal with." As an example, what if our own government or elements within it had something to do with the 9/11 attacks? What would that tell us about the powers that be in power, and what they would or wouldn't do? Better to dismiss any other possible explanation of what happened that day as "conspiracy theory" so we don't have to deal with that betrayal, either psychologically or in reality.

Even around far less controversial issues, it's hard to find those with courage to face inconvenient truths. In this regard then, let's honor Rep. Dennis Kucinich for standing by Bradley Manning when most legislators and the mainstream media left him hanging in the wind. For that matter, let's honor Bradley Manning who is doing today what Daniel Ellsberg did forty years ago - blew the whistle on a costly and unwinnable war that benefitted the few at the expense of the many. If you want to see a truly inspiring film - and also how far we've devolved in forty years - go rent The Most Dangerous Man in America, which tells the story of Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.

Another whistleblower hero of mine is journalist Mark Crispin Miller, who was an early "voice in the bewilderness" regarding election fraud. He has been on the case in the recent races in Wisconsin, even as Democratic Party regulars have been looking past the smoking gun, insisting "everything is fine." I first met Mark several years ago when he was promoting his book, Fooled Again: The Real Case For Electoral Reform, about his discovery of fraud in the 2004 election. A one-time professor at Johns Hopkins and currently a professor at NYU, it was painfully clear how his transformation from mainstream maven to truth-teller had impacted his life. Consider what happened to Van Jones when his name was associated with a petition to re-investigate the 9/11 attacks, or Rosie O'Donnell being relieved of her services after bringing up the same issue.

Truth-tellers - those who have the courage to point out the empire's bare buttocks when others are afraid to look - are now marginalized through isolation and "career assassination." I could see how once Mark stepped across the imaginary line to suggest that George Bush was re-elected President in 2004 through fraud, he was now viewed as "a guy with aluminum foil on his head." Here's an interesting statistic, though. At the Transpartisan Summit two years ago in Denver, a gathering that represented all points across the political spectrum, from mainstream to mainly extreme, an anonymous keypad survey revealed that 70% of those assembled believed that our government had prior knowledge of, or had a part in, the 9/11 attacks.

We now must face the realization that neither the mainstream media nor - for the large part - our elected officials can be trusted to tell us the truth. There is only one way that I see to "overgrow" the current dysfunctional order, and that is an emerging movement of independent citizens willing to discover a more likely story together. Neither the progressives nor the conservatives alone have the political or moral authority to confront the wooly mammoth in the living room. Only a transpartisan upwising of citizens ready to release the partisan trance can provide the foundation for a new political order. Interestingly but not surprisingly, this is what America's founders meant when they used the term, "We, the People." They understood something that science is now discovering that collectively we may be much wiser than our most knowledgeable experts. Bruce Lipton and I cover "the Wisdom of Crowds" extensively in Spontaneous Evolution, and this knowledge has inspired my work in transpartisan politics.

So ... yes, the "whistle" - the alarm, the wake up call, the call to awareness - blows for me, for thee and for we. And we are called upon not just to lament and rail about what we don't want, but to design together what we do want. It is time to bring the two qualities of the heart, compassion and courage, into cooperation and accord. And the way to do this is by bringing right and left front and center to bring forth a true American Evolution.

The transpartisan movement to overcome the partisan trance to reunite America around the core virtues and values we hold in common can use your help now! If you feel so inspired, go here to PayPal to donate (send money to, and go here to download our Reuniting America e-book to discover how Americans from across the political spectrum are helping to overgrow the current dysfunctional system.

To find out more about Reuniting America and how YOU can help change the political game in America, go here ... from here on in, it's politics as unusual.