Monday, December 25, 2006
Give it a read.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
R18 -- Shift resources from Iraq to Afghanistan
Where have I heard this before? Hmmm.... oh yeah, out of just about every Democrat's mouth immediately prior to being accused of aiding the terrorists, loving Sadam, hating America and being traitors. Hell, we didn't want the resources or focus shifted away from the hunt for Osama in the first place. But I digress. Good luck selling this one to the Bush adminionstration, boys -- George W. Christ has already made it clear that he doesn't spend any time worrying about Osama -- apparantly he thinks we're better off with Osama still on the loose rather than brought to justice for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
R19 -- Bush should set milestones, keep in touch with the Iraqi gov't monitor and encourage their progress in reaching those milestones and keep the Iraqi and American people fully informed as to that progress.
Again... good luck selling them on this one, boys! We've been waiting three years for clearly defined objectives in OUR effort and frankly, we're lucky this cloak-and-dagger adminionstration has let is in on the fact that we even went to war.
R20 -- If the Iraqi gov't shows that it's trying to make progress toward achieving the objectives set forth for them, we'll continue "training, assistance, and support for
Iraq’s security forces, and to continue political, military, and economic support for the Iraqi government" if they do, we can begin to reduce our military or civilian presence in Iraq.
...or could if we weren't going to continue doing all those things for them.
R21 -- If they don't become more capable, we should reduce our military and civilian presence
...but, as stated above, we can do that only if they DO bcome more capable. So, in a nutshell, we're staying either way.
R22 -- The President should state that we don't want to establish permanent military bases in Iraq, unless the Iraqui government we helped install and who are currently relying on us for just about everything ask us to establish them.
I'm not going to be the only one who reads this one this way. I wonder why they didn't suggest that we enact legislation preventing this or any other administration and this or any future Congress from ever establishing permanent US bases in Iraq, EVEN if we're asked.
R23 -- "The President should restate that the United States does not seek to control Iraq’s oil."
...And then we should make it clear that we won't purchase, trade for or accept by any other means so much as one drop of it... and then we should begin, in earnest, to develop and switch completely over to technologies that will send fossil fuels the way of the dinosaurs they're made from. This will successfully eliminate any concerns that we have any interest, whatsoever, in that finite commodity. (But, we won't.)
R24 -- Some of the dates we set for achieving milestones in Iraq are unrealistic, so rather than go back and edit this report to suggest more realistic dates, we're adding this recommendation to say that those dates are unrealistic and suggest a different deadline by which Iraq should meet those objectives.
Seriously, that's what recommendation 24 is!! Go read the report for yourself.
R25 -- Oh and the milstones we listed earlier were a good start, but we thought of some more and rather than go back and edit that section...
The next set of recommendations addresses steps the study group believes Iraq needs to take to accomplish political reconciliation, so I'll stop here and pick there, next time.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Before I get into the 79 recommendations (btw, this will have to be a multi-part series hobbled together as I can snag a moment of free time here and there) I want to share with you my knee jerk reaction to the overall document. Like most of you, I saw a LOT of media coverage of the report prior to getting a chance to read it, myself.
Considering the unanimous media opinion that it was a hard hitting, straight shooting, no holds barred, blunt-object-whack at the Prez, I was expecting it to be one of the (if not THE) most scathing indictment of the President, by anyone, to date. Perhaps my expectations colored my reaction, but I was sorely disappointed. The (to my eye) blatantly purposeful use of passive voice to soft peddle the critique and spoon feed it to the adminionstration made me want to gag. The time for molly coddling this President has long since passed and should never have existed. He's a grown man and sitting President, for criminy sake, not a cranky child who's fretting in public and needs to be gently reminded of his surroundings and manners! Now... on to the recommendations...
R1: Implement the new diplomatic offensive before Jan. 31 of this year
Whether you think implementing it, at all, is good strategy, you have to admit that this recommendation beats the hell out of having Bush show up in Iraq in a Santa suit, dragging an open (but unused) parachute behind him, for a photo-op with the troops.
R2-iii: Secure Iraq's borders
Before this report launches into the group's recommendations, it discusses the many problems with the President's handling of the war, including the rapid decline of support among Americans and the need to turn that red, white and blue frown upside down. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm thinking that spending our hard earned tax dollars and indebting ourselves even more severely to foreign crowns to secure Iraq's borders -- which were secure until we laid them open, while leaving our own borders wide open and unprotected might not be conducive to bolstering public support for Bushie's Botched Folly.
R3: Get the Iraqis, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference together in the same room to discuss coming together to suppot the newly installed Iraqi government that most of them are already trying very hard (and succeeding) to undermine.
Ohhh Kay. Um... if this sounds like a trick to ME... Seriously, while the opposite is normally true, this may be the ONE and ONLY meeting of foreign leaders & diplomats that Bush would HAVE to attend, in person, for anyone to show up.
R4: Establish an Iraq International Support Group
I don't really have a comment on this one, mainly because I just don't see it happening regardless of whether it would be a good or a bad thing. I just wish I'd been there to witness Georgie's reaction when he read this one, because you KNOW what HE thought this meant!! (I feel sorry for the people who have to explain these things to him -- the desire to eff with his mind must be overwhleming.)
R5: "The Support Group should consist of Iraq and all the states bordering Iraq, including Iran and Syria; the key regional states, including Egypt and the Gulf States; the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; the European Union; and, of course, Iraq itself Other countries—for instance, Germany, Japan and South Korea..."
Take a moment. Re-read the list of nations in the recommendation... really read it... now just ponder on the realities involved in this recommendation for a moment. (I'll wait.) OK, NOW you know why I don't see this support group thing coming together anytime soon. It would be nice if it could come together and could succeed, but... going back to what we're sure Bush thought was meant by "support group," the world isn't a warm fuzzy waiting for an excuse to happen... it's somewhat more complicated than that and some of those complications run pretty damned deep. Our blatant and arrogant lack of respect for those complications is part of what got us into this mess in the first place... it sure as Hell isn't going to get us out of it.
R6: The Secretary of State or the President should lead the U.S.'s diplomatic offensive effort
Whoa... hold up a minute! I thought this report rather established that their leadership is what led us so far down the path to chaos and that these two couldn't lead a snipe hunt expedition (aka "the search for WMDs) without screwing it up, much less anything of international importance.
R7: The UN Secretary General should designate a special envoy to carry out his work in regards to the diplomatic offensive.
Hey, now here's an idea! Maybe we could appoint a special envoy to lead the US effort, made up of people who have at least half a clue what they're doing, instead of putting Condi and/or Bush in charge.
R8: "...develop specific approaches to neighboring countries that take into account the interests, perspectives, and potential contributions..." "The Study Group recognizes that U.S. relationships with Iran and Syria involve difficult issues that must be resolved. Diplomatic talks should be extensive and substantive, and they will require a balancing of interests. The United States has diplomatic, economic, and military disincentives available in approaches to both Iran and Syria. However, the United States should also consider incentives to try to engage them constructively, much as it did successfully with Libya."
If bribing them doesn't win their support, we can always go back to the old standby of punishing those nations who don't see things our way. I'm being snide because I'm a realist. The talks would not consist of balancing interests or bringing these nations to the table, as equals, to fascilitate a cooperative effort toward devising strategies and solutions and a course of action that is equitable to all. It would involve bringing them to our table, as nations of the free world WE lead and selling the strategies, solutions and course of action we devised without their input and fully intend to implement with or without their participation, cooperation or support.
I'll save the other recommendations for future installments, to be posted as I find the time and inclination.
Lest I've made it seem as though I believe otherwise, let me very clear: We DO need a new plan. That's not an opinion, it's a fact.
I'm not sure if this is the plan we need or not -- but I can say with full confidence that it's a damned sight better than the plan we've been working with, to date. (Which seems to consist, primarily, of pretending there's a plan.)
What I want done, TODAY, is for the Bush adminionstration to define "victory" in regards to Iraq by spelling out, clearly, the specific objectives that must be achieved for us to declare "victory" and exactly how we will measure whether those objectives have been achieved. We're paying for this mess -- with what will be multiple generations of our tax dollars, with the ceding of power to foreign debtors, with the lives and limbs of our sons and daughters serving in Iraq, etc. We can't even begin to hope to devise any workable strategy, either on our own or in concert with the other nations of the world, until that question is answered.
THAT is the first reality that must be dealt with -- until it is, we're just talking about stepping forward on a treadmill.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Please, please take a few seconds to light a candle:
(Thank you to Joe Serra for passing this on to me. After you've lit a candle, please pass this on to another.)
Monday, December 04, 2006
But, one suggestion really caught my attention. Rummy suggested that it might help to put a spin on the war that would lower our expectations. No, seriously, this was one of his suggestions -- I think the idea is that if there's not SUCH a stark dichotomy between the reality and the propoganda, we won't be as apt to notice that it's going as badly as it is. Like if I tell you the gunshot wound I'm about to inflict on you is going to hurt like hell, you won't notice the pain nearly as much as if I'd said "this won't hurt a bit."
There's just one little flaw* in this plan -- it would be impossible to lower our expectations... a lot of us, whose patriotism was called into question for it, expected exactly what has transpired since before the invasion offically began. ...And, for the record: nobody wishes more desperately than we do that we'd been proven wrong.
*The countless other flaws in this plan are not so little.)
Friday, December 01, 2006
Snap, Crackle & BURN! -- The perfect gift for guys who wear pink & girls who don't, guys who wear eyeliner, girls with mohawks, guys who wear girl jeans, girls who wear guy jeans, punks, goths, emos, skaters, hipsters, head bangers, rockers, Poindexters, metros.... and anyone else who deals with Neander-Jethroes on a regular basis!)
Bawdy Mistletoe -- Still holding the Mistletoe high over your head, hoping for a quick platonic smooch? Live a little! Wear your Mistletoe low, this season and have some REAL fun!
REMEMBER: Don't repost or e-mail to pals 'til you sign up for a CafePress affiliate account and tack your PID onto the URLs -- if your repost or forward results in any sales, you'll snake 20% of the total! How friggin' sweet is that?
Thursday, November 30, 2006
(Neo-con to American Translations)
- Alternative Energy Development
- Looking for new places to drill for oil
- America First
- Reference to America's position on the list of nations to destroy
- America Hater
- Anyone who demonstrates a stubborn patriotic loyalty to the outdated America that was shaped by our ignorant liberal forefathers and impedes its destruction to make way for the new, authoritarian America being shaped by our glorious Neo-con masters
- Constitutional Rights
- Refers solely to the 2nd ammendment
- Tactic employed only when the military of a nation hoarding our oil is well armed and capable of launching a full on counter offensive.
- Exporting Democracy
- Drilling for oil in the same old places, but under new (neo-con) management.
- Holy Land
- Where those godless bastards are hoarding our oil
- Slang term referring to something that's already underway or has already transpired
- Stay the course
- We haven't secured the oil, yet
- Support the troops (as an edict to others)
- Don't question the war or it's off to Gitmo with you
- Support the troops (as a pledge or boast)
- Underdeploy, under equip and then blame the troops while cutting their family and veterans benefits. (Note: can also used as slang for "photo op" with persons attired in what appears to be military garb, whether actual military personnel or not.)
- Terrorist or Terrorist Sympathiser
- 1. Those bastards hoarding our oil
2. Any American who disagrees with or questions the neo-con agenda
3. Any American belonging to an opposing political party
- War on Terror
- Tactic employed only when multiple UN inspections have proven that the military of a nation hoarding our oil is virutally unarmed and incapable of mounting any semblence of a defense.
- Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Euphamism for "our oil"
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
A few moments ago, as hubby was perusing the blogsphere, he laughed out loud as he read this headline: "WalMart Faces First Holiday Slump In a Decade."
I guess next year, they'll go back to "Happy Holidays" -- if their stockholders are willing to risk keeping that much religous connotation. Because, obviously, the problem lies in the semantics and not in this wretched big box neo-conomy.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
...And where's Georgie? Is he in the war room? Is he at the Pentagon consulting with the generals? Is he hard at work in the Oval Office? No. He's off playing in his mountain biker costume.
We needed to win a much larger Congressional majority than we did. It's going to be a LONG two years.
Meanwhile, in other news...
In a misguided attempt to solve the problem of wars being fought primarily by the sons and daughters of the poor, Congressman Charles Rangel is, once again, pushing to reinstate the draft. He believes that if Congressmen in the House and Senate would be sending their own children or the children of those constituents who can afford to donate to their campaigns, they'd think twice before voting to take the country to war.
Sounds reasonable enough, but the roster of Vietnam-war draft dodging Chickenhawks currently in charge, proves that even with the draft, Iraq would still be a rich man's score to settle and a poor man's war to fight. The wealthy will always be able to afford and the powerful will always be able to pull strings to ensure that the poor and powerless shoulder the burdens and bear the sacrifices of battle.
Hey, I have a novel idea: I propose no vacations, days off or even leisure time for anyone in the Senate, House, Executive Branch, key administration appointments, cabinet positions or the Pentagon whenever the nation is at war. No parties, galas, roasts, fun photo ops, holiday celebrations, mountain biking excursions, fishing trips, golf outings, telecommuting from the ranch or Camp David or Kennebunkport, fiddling on rooftops, etc. It would be a miniscule sacrifice compared to that made by our troops and their families, but it would be a good symbolic start.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
alternate lyrics by Melhi (8-9-06)
to She by Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day
She teaches science
A constant fight to penetrate our absent minds
You've set your designs -- to kill her science
With your book and hide the bones
I don't care, I'll keep ignoring, doesn't matter who
She can't reach me.
Guaranteed the same holds true for you!
School bell rings, I ain't learned a thing
I'll learn the same sh*t from you!
She's been forced out
Now you pound her desk to sell your point of view
Wa-king up my mind
You've smashed her science
Through the thickness of my skull
I just woke up and the world makes sense now, thanks to you!
I've been acting like a total fool without a clue!
Scream at me, testify and preach
My mind's been freed by the truth!
I just woke up and the world makes sense now, thanks to you!
You must think that I'm a total fool without a clue!
Scream at me, but I'm out of reach
Won't make believe, just for you!
I've also switched over to the new beta Blogger, so if anything looks funky, it's them, not me. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
Soooo... expect me to start running my mouth through my keyboard again, after the holiday weekend!
Happy Turkey Day, everyone... Gobble Gobble HICcup! (some of you fellow punk fans might get that.)
Monday, November 20, 2006
You'll find the series in the January 2006 archives.... linked in the right hand column on this page.
Thank you for your patience,
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I couldn't have said it better, myself. Thank you, Mr. Durbin.
I shared some of my "Cheney shot an old guy in the face" and "brownie points" humor, online. But, most of my little monologues, one-liners and barbed quips are delivered in traditionally Democrat fashion: orally and in person to willing recipients who enjoy the experience even if they're reluctant to admit their enjoyment to the whole world. ;)
I'm sure that if I wasn't evil incarnate, I would be particularly ashamed of the many, many, many laughs I got out of the Foley scandal.... even some of my tamer ones are certain to have doomed me to an eternity in Hell:
"Thanks to the Bush administration, the petroleum industry is reporting record profits... and say what you will about Foley, but you have to give the guy credit for single-handedly doing the same for the petroleum jelly industry."
"I don't know why everyone's acting so surprised, Foley was always very open about it. He'd routinely arrive late to the House floor and excuse himself with 'Sorry, I was getting a little behind this afternoon.'"
"You can't really blame Foley. After Bush got in office and the Republican party had control over all three branches of government, Foley had so many requests for job recommendations coming in from pages, he had to find some way to determine which deserved to get ahead and which didn't. So, he decided to follow President Bush's lead and give it to those who proved to him they sucked the most."
...In other news:
President Bush has appointed Dr. Eric Keroack to oversee the federal Office of Population Affairs. As deputy assistant secretary for population affairs, Dr. Keroack will oversee that department's $283 billion dollar budget and our federal teen pregnancy, family planning and abstinence programs. This appointment does not require Congressional approval and the doctor is expected to assume the position in the next few weeks. Dr. Keroack is currently the medical director for the Dorchester, Mass. based non-profit Christian organization, A Woman's Concern and is a strong and active opponent of pre-marital sex, abortion and the use of contraceptives.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Hmmm... I hear water-boarding is a good way to get information out of people who don't like sharing it.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Back by Popular Demand:
God Hates Bigots -
God Made Amanda & Eve, too!
If God Didn't Make Steve, Who Did?
New Political Swag:
President Pelosi? -
She's just a microwaved pretzel away from the oval office!
Bush Fatigue -
Just like Clinton Fatigue, but real!
Right's Worst Nightmare -
Nancy Pelosi for President '08
New Pop Culture Swag:
For the Ultimate Sinner --
If I had a dollar for every sin I'm going to H*ll for, I could buy my way into Heaven
Step Up or Step Off --
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
We did NOT wake up to a Democrat Congress, today.
We woke up to a pink-slip toting Republican Congress scorned. Think the last few years have been rough? Wait 'til you get a load of the next two months, baby.
Hell hath no fury...
Impeachment is about determining whether laws were broken and holding someone accountable if they were. It's as much about "getting even" as putting alleged murderers, rapists and thieves on trial to determine their guilt or innocence in those crimes and to prescribe sentencing if they are found guilty or clear their names if they are found innocent.
Impeachment isn't a political bargaining chip -- it should never be "off the table" unless there's nothing to merit articles of impeachment and it should never be on the table unless the President puts it there with his conduct.
Put impeachment back on the table, Nancy. You're not the busboy, here.
Yesterday, we raised our voices to respond and our response was very simple: "No. This is OUR country, you work for US and you're going to do what WE want."
That they're scrambling, today, to determine whether our collective panties were in a knot, yesterday, over Iraq, scandals, corruption, stem cell research, etc., only proves that their eyes and ears have been and remain stubbornly closed to us. We didn't mumble.
No President begging for four more years. No sitting Veep shilling for a promotion. It's anybody's game and everybody who's anybody seems to be game to take a shot at the big prize!
Fasten your seatbelt kiddies -- it's going to be a thrill ride!
(For those dying to know, I got 40% in a district where the numbers indicated that anything over 18% would be a good showing. :) )
Monday, November 06, 2006
Bush's Economic Plan
To the tune of "Winter Wonderland"
Where's the dream, we were livin'
Life was good, under Clinton
We slave to survive, we're hungry tonight
Thanks to Bush's economic plan
Gone away, is the surplus
Here to stay, debt that plagues us
He strings us along, and tells us it's strong
Trust in Bush's economic plan
In the desert, he just blew it all and
He outsourced our jobs, the buck is down
He's made sure the wealthy will pay no tax
Oh, we could use some jobs right here and now!
Wealthy pals how they've prospered - Arab sheiks, oil mobsters
Too broke to erase, the mess that they've made
Thanks to Bush's economic plan
Foreign lenders, oh how much we owe them
America's in hock to foreign crowns
At the rate our foreign debt is growing
Impossible to ever pay it down!
Mexico's masses spilling
Through the fence no one's building
They'll work for less pay, so they get to stay
Thanks to Bush's economic plan
Thanks to Bush's economic plan
Thanks to Bush's economic plan
Thanks to Bush's economic plan
Thanks to Bush's economic plan
Sunday, November 05, 2006
While many of the archived articles were lost to deletions and cannot be restored, articles shelved in draft status or successsfully backed up to remote storage will be restored to public view as time allows.
Meanwhile, if you haven't voted already, set time aside in your schedule to vote on Tuesday. I don't have to tell you what's at stake -- you're living it.
Full Story Here
(Nice try, Dick -- but a lot of us have already voted.)
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
-- August 2006 --
Pickin' On Pluto!
Unlike the former planet, itself, Pluto swag is Hot! Hot!! Hot!!! ...And the Melhi Ink Pluto Store has the funniest Pluto shirts and bumper stickers in the solar system!
What else is new, this month?
New political Inkware in the storefront:
Show your Democrat pride with our sweet little Democrat Donkey (and just the donkey!) available on a variety of kick ass gear!
Any Democrat For President '08!
The "Any Democrat" 2008 Presidential campaign bumper sticker in our "Pick Your Donkey" section was so well received that we've added a whole section of "Any Democrat" swag -- stickers, buttons, t-shirts & more!
Pick Your Donkey '08
2008 Presidential campaign bumper stickers (24 candidates to choose from, plus "Pick Your Donkey" and "Any Democrat" for yellow-dogs and undecideds.)
"Rich Man's Score -- Poor Man's War"
New non-political Inkware in our Miscellaneous Boutique section:
Fly the unfriendly skies with our "Don't Snake My..." snake!
"Don't Snake My Window Seat" (Thanks to New Line Cinema for licensing CP shopkeepers to create & sell official Snakes On A Plane merch!)
Your mom wants to buy these shirts!
"Your Mom is Emo," "Your Mom Ollies" etc... (6 to choose from)
Saturday, July 29, 2006
The Tesla Motors Roadster seats only two, but will feature lithium-ion batteries and boast an amazing per-charge range of 250 miles! (...And this is no hippy-dippy "ugly bug" alternative fuel vehicle, it's a sports car -- click on the link above and see for yourself!)
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Click Here For Full Story
Belden to build $30M Mexican plant, close two U.S. plants
St. Louis Business Journal - 10:34 AM CDT Monday
Print this Article Email this Article Reprints RSS Feeds Most Viewed Most Emailed
Belden CDT Inc. said Monday that it plans to invest about $30 million to build a new Mexican manufacturing plant and outsource the operations of two U.S. plants. The plan is expected to save Belden $12 million annually.
*heavy, heavy sigh*
Friday, June 02, 2006
For those of you who enjoy taking a look the latest swag in the Melhi Ink store, I have added a couple of new slogans in the Texicalizona (border fence) section ("The Great Wall of Texicalizona -- If we build it they will stop coming" and "The Great Wall of Texicalizona -- America's BIGGEST tourist attraction." Also, by popular demand, I've added two new versions of the peace ribbon to the Peace Ribbon section -- Conservative Red and Patriotic (red, white & blue.)
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Written by Melhi, April 12, 2005
To the tune of "Vasoline" by Stone Temple Pilots
(Note: listening to Fuzz Farm's wonderful cover version of the original song, as you read my parody lyrics, will not take you away from this page.)
Won't try their crude alternatives
No sub for Devil's Ale
Too addicted now to break its ho-old
Fix or food? We won't eat
Sacrifice the air we breathe
Kill and die, lie and cheat
Blow it all to smithereens!
Can't fight complete dependency
Pumped up, we've found our grail
Unholy chalice carved in bone
Slaves in our master's liege, we are
So hooked we can't survive
Without the buzz that it provi-ides
We'll destroy all we see
Just to get it on the cheap
Pay the price, ever steep
Got to feed our endless need
We crave the junk... though we curse the price
We'll pay the price... yes we will
Helpless and tremb-l-ing, we are
Strung out and unrefined
Can't quench a thirst that won't subsi-ide
Killing you, killing me
Earth's revealed her swollen teats
Greedy swine, on our knees
Suck-l-ing her gasoline
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Thu May 11, 6:59 AM ET
WASHINGTON - The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter. (read full article)
Well... isn't that convenient?
In other news...
Laura Bush, whose job approval rating is 61% (despite having no elected or appointed or even PAID position in the administration, to be rated on) does not believe the polls in regards to her husband's 29% (and dropping) job approval rating. She reports, as evidence that her husband is still wildly popular, that at all of the events she attends, the pro-Bush Republicans allowed into those events come up to her to praise her husband by repeating her husband's "stay the course" catch phrase. (We at Melhi Ink are looking forward to the interview where Laura reveals that she's certain she's the prettiest girl in the world and cites as evidence her mother's assurances.)
Curiously, though, Laura Bush will be acting as an unpaid emissary -- appearing at Republican fund raisers and other Republican political events in the stead of her husband (and/or Vice President Dick Cheney) whose low approval and high disapproval ratings (which Laura doesn't believe exist) would only hurt Republican causes and candidates with consituents (whom Laura believes adores her husband and everyone associated with him.)
Friday, May 12, 2006
Yes, I mind if the government keeps track of my phone records!
I love my country, I'm not acquainted with or in any way associated with anyone who does not. It is a waste of the taxpayers' money and of our nation's intelligence resources, not only to keep track of how often I phone to get the correct local time and temperature or the frequency and length of my phone conversations with my mother, but to track the similarly useless and mundane information that can be found in the phone records of my friends, family and neighbors, who are good, hard working, patriotic Americans, all!
This is a gross and dangerous misdirection of money, energies and resources that would (and SHOULD) be far better spent gathering, compiling and analyzing intelligence data that is actually useful to the sole and specific purpose of keeping Americans safe from further acts of terrorism!
Monday, May 08, 2006
|Natural Gas -- Natural gas is an American resource. One in five new public transit vehicles is a natural gas vehicle. Natural gas vehicles are available in two versions. Dedicated vehicles use only natural gas. Bi-fuel have two fueling ports to allow fueling with either natural gas or traditional fuels. Dedicated vehicles are the more efficient option, because the engines are optimized for natural gas. |
Considerations: Shorter range than traditional fuel vehicles. Requires special certification for operation. Vehicles cost up to $6,000 more than comparable traditional fuel vehicles. Fuel savings depend on local price of natural gas.
Cons: Public fueling stations and lighter weight personal & commercial vehicles are not widely available to consumers. Consumers with access to public natural gas fueling stations can, however, buy kits to retrofit traditional fuel vehicles for natural gas at a cost of around $4,000. The extraction process is already damaging ecosystems across all of North America. Natural gas is not a renewable resource, natural gas prices have climbed in recent years due to the slowing of imported natural gas from Canada and the failure of domestic production to keep up with current demands, the need for foreign sources is already creating some of the same international conflicts that exist over our need for foreign oil -- most notably creating tensions with China.. Just as we've already reached peak production with oil, we're expected to reach peak production with natural gas in 2020, at the latest. We will soon face the same crisis with natural gas that we currently face with crude oil.
In development: Natural Gas / Hydrogen blends.
|EVs (Electric Vehicles) EVs run solely on electricity, stored in onboard batteries. You recharge these vehicles at home, overnight. A small amount of additional charge may be obtained through solar panels built onto the vehicle's roof and/or spoiler and from the braking system. EVs are not a new technology. EVs were on the road and quite popular with consumers dating back to the late 1800s. |
Considerations: Lower speeds and shorter range than traditional fuel vehicles make these vehicles better suited to in-town driving by low mileage drivers. Recharge time is measured in hours compared to the mere minutes it takes to refuel a traditional fuel vehicle. Batteries add weight and bulk to the vehicle, affecting performance and cargo/passenger space. Consumers can purchase kits to convert traditional fuel cars to EV. Converting your vehicle would cost around $10,000. It is also worth noting that owners of 2004 or newer Toyota Prius hybrids can purchase kits for a mere $45 that will allow them to enable the "EV-only mode" (aka "stealth mode") feature that is available on all European models but is, for some unknown reason, disabled on all U.S. models and left unmentioned in U.S. user manuals.
Cons: Manufacturers pulled EVs from the market as California's Zero Emmissions laws were weakened. Toyota was the last to cease production in 2003. Some of these manufacturers began purchasing EVs back on the secondary market specifically to shred them, so that EVs would no longer available to consumers, even on the secondary market. A few EV owners have kept their vehicles and still drive them, but parts and qualified service can be difficult or even impossible to find, so many of these owners have formed and joined EV enthusiasts groups, where members help one another find or even make replacement parts. "Fuel" savings for those few fortunate enough to own an EV are dependent on the price paid for the electricity to recharge these vehicles.. Off-grid consumers already generating a sufficient surplus to maintain charge on an EV would enjoy the maximum savings, but these consumers are also less likely to live in areas where the range & speeds of an EV would serve their needs. Generally, the older the batteries the less land-fill friendly they are.
In development: Lighter weight, more efficient batteries for increased speed and range, but no developer has currently set a goal for bringing any EV, improved or otherwise, back to the U.S. market. For EVs to return to market, strong zero emissions and/or alternative fuel laws will have to be passed and protected from those who seek to weaken such laws for their own financial gain in the oil industry.
|Ethanol - Ethanol is produced from plants and can be produced domestically. Currently, there are no Ethanol-only (E100) vehicles on the market. Flex-fuel vehicles that use E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gas) and public E85 fueling stations have only limited availability to consumers and are found primarily in the midwest. Flex fuel vehicles reduce, but do not eliminate dependence on fossil fuels. E85 prices are similar to gasoline prices. E85 vehicles are similar in price to traditional-fuel vehicles. E85 emmissions are substantially cleaner than tradional fuel emissions. |
Cons: Because Ethanol is available only in Ethanol/gas blends, it does not eliminate the use of fossil fuels to meet transportation needs. There is currently an attempt from the political right-wing to spin Ethanol into a more expensive and difficult to produce resource than it has proven to be during its time on the market.
|Hydrogen - This is not new technology. Hydrogen cars have been in development and trotted out by the media as the definitive "coming soon!" solution for decades, but much like the joke implied on those "free beer tomorrow" novelty signs, "soon" never means "now." |
Considerations: There are currently two distinctly different types of hydrogen vehicles in development. One uses hydrogen as fuel and uses an internal combustion engine. The other is a hydrogen electric that uses hydrogen fuel cells (batteries.) Either has the potential to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels to meet our transportation needs.
Cons: There are currently no hydrogen powered vehicles or public fueling stations, available to consumers. While several hydrogen vehicles exist in development and hydrogen is once again being hailed as the solution we'll soon be switching to, there is, in fact, no serious, concerted effort on anyone's part to bring hydrogen vehicles to market. Without that effort, hydrogen is nothing more than a useless talking point.
|Bio-Diesel - This diesel fuel is manufactured largely from plant oils, but can also be manufactured from animal fats, it can be produced domestically and requires the same diesel engines currently fueled with petro-diesel. Running your vehicle on pure (B100) bio-diesel would reduce emissions 90% compared to running the same vehicle on pure (B0) petro-diesel. |
Considerations: Consumers can purchase equipment to produce B100 bio-diesel fuel at home or can purchase larger systems to allow them to operate as B100 suppliers. Consumers in sufficiently warm climates, can also convert some diesel vehicles to run on new/used cooking oil (used cooking oil can often be obtained at no cost from restaurants, but must be well filtered prior to use.) These conversion kits include a second fuel tank, switch and heating system, which help prevent solidified (cold) cooking oil from clogging the fuel system and engine. Kits are available for several diesel vehicles and cost around $500 (labor not included,) but may require the additional purchase and installation of a Bosch fuel pump for compatibility. Diesel engines, excepting those with rubber seals that are easily corroded by cooking oil, are compatible with cooking oil because diesel engines were originally invented & designed to run on peanut oil and have changed very little over the years.
Cons: While B-100 does exist, its availability to consumers who do not produce it themselves or buy from a private producer is extremely limited. The government has been dragging its heels on the approval of B-100 or any petro-bio blends higher than B20, citing "more experience with B20 & lower blends" as an excuse to maintain our dependency on fossil fuels. (Note: they have more experience with fossil fuels than they do ANY alternative, so this same excuse can be used to keep any real solution off the market!!) Thus, petro-diesel is usually mixed with bio-diesel and made available in B20 (or less) blends. Petro-bio blends may contain as little as 5% bio-diesel and still be labelled "bio-diesel." at the pump. Bio-diesel consumers whose intent is to eliminate their use of fossil fuels should be aware that it is highly unlikely they're pumping pure B100 bio-diesel at public fuel stations.
|Compressed Air - Compressed air vehicles are currently in development in France & Spain. Click here for more info. This is not a new technology, but a new, still-patented, application of the technology with several improvements as research and development have progressed. These vehicles run solely on compressed air -- recharge times are expected to vary from a few minutes at public rapid-recharge stations to four to six hours when charged at home with the electricity-powered compressors that are built into the engine. Some additional recharging is obtained from the air-recovery braking system. . If these vehicles come to market in the U.S., the factories will function as domestic vehicle & parts manufacturing, service, retail sales and public refueling facilities -- giving the added benefit of jobs creation. They also hope to place rapid-recharge stations at regular gas stations to increase the vehicles' daily driving range and make them a viable alternative for a broader consumer market. |
Considerations: Slower top speeds and shorter range than traditional fuel vehicles, so the overall concerns are currently similar to those of the EVs, but with shorter recharge times and without the noiseless operation of an EV. As development continues, it is hoped that both speed and range will be increased while recharge is decreased. It is planned that consumers may choose to pay extra for "hybrid" models that are also fitted with back-up traditional fueling options, to increase range & speed. The price will be based on the Euro, but the cost for a family-model that will seat 7 and be suitable for car-pooling, as well (similar to a mini van) is expected be around $12,000 (base model) at the dollar's current value against the Euro.
Cons: Not yet available to consumers. This new application of compressed air technology still in the development stage. While some franchise licenses have already been sold to potential U.S. manufacturers of these vehicles, no definitive date has been set for bringing air cars into production in any market. The developers are currently seeking investors to continue research and development toward reaching the goal of international mass production..
In Development: Increased speed & range. Decreased recharge time. Non transportation applications of the technology. Large scale public transportation systems.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
You know all those menial labor jobs we lazy Americans don't want to do?
Guess what! It's not that we don't want to do them, it's that we want paid a fair wage for doing them. We aren't competing for those jobs because we can't compete for those jobs against people who do those jobs for slave-labor wages paid under the table or worse, who aren't holding jobs, but are themselves held in debt bondage (also known as "indentured servitude" or "slavery.")
It is estimated, by some sources, that on average, an illegal Latino immigrant (the only group of illegal immigrants anyone seems aware of, but FAR from the only group) who's been in the country less than 10 years, earns an average of just 38% of what an American worker would earn. It's actually even less than that when you factor in the burden rate an employer avoids by illegally paying "undocumented wages."
The fact is, American citizens are better off going on welfare and spending those 40+ hours each week with their families than breaking their backs working for the wages some illegal immigrants are working for. It's not that the manual labor segment of the working (or should-be-working) class doesn't want to work, it's that the incentive to work, which wasn't necessarily all that great to begin with in the manual/menial labor sectors, has been stripped away by employers who, more than a century after the abolition of slavery, are still arguing that the U.S. economy can't survive without slaves. Except for some of the gang at Enron, who had absolutely no problem saying it straight out, these employers have adopted more politically correct language, they call it "cheap labor," but it's the same old argument.
Suddenly, the nation is all abuzz about the problem of illegal immigration and how to solve it. There are several proposed solutions, both from politicians and from regular, everyday citizens. Let's examine a few of these bright ideas, shall we?
1. Eliminate public aid -- The idea, here, is that Americans should be cut loose from the government purse strings by abolishing all public aid programs. The idea is that this would force the welfare class into the workforce and force them to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs in the manual labor sector.
What this plan would accomplish is more than just forcing welfare recipients into an even deeper level of poverty within the workforce -- because everyone working or seeking work in the manual and menial trades, not just those who had previously been on welfare, would be forced into competition for jobs.
If I'm competing with people who can usually expect to be paid two dollars an hour, I have to bid lower to get the job. Let's say I offer to do a 40 hr./wk job for a buck-fifty an hour and I get the job. Score one for the displaced American worker, right? Wrong.
At the rate I bid, I'll be working a full time job to gross just $60/wk. -- based on a 52 week work year, that's just $260/mo. or $3,120 per year. Even before deductions are taken out, my yearly earnings won't cover my mortgage payments for a full quarter... much less cover utilities, property taxes, property insurance, groceries, gasoline, automobile insurance & maintainence and any bare-necessity health care expenses that might spring up in my family of six, during the year.
But, let's say I'm not a homeowner. Let's say I'm a renter who's never more than barely scraped by and I've got my family of six crammed into a low-end two bedroom, 1 bath unit. On my new income, I won't be able to cover the $600 or more per month rent payment any better than I could have on nothing and I won't be the only one in this (sinking) boat.
As a result of the decreased standard of living in this class, those who make their livings renting or selling goods and services to this segment of the workforce would be forced to lower rents/prices. In the case of landlords, few, if any, could lower rents into the necesssary price range and still cover expenses, much less continue to make a living.
Thanks to the ripple (or, if you prefer, "trickle up") effect, this plan would effectively lower the overall standard of living for all but the wealthy in the United States and conditions would worsen until they were similar to those that drove the illegal immigrants from their homes, in search of opportunity, in the first place.
If you're worried about America becoming Mexico -- stop thinking language and start thinking ecomony.
2. Felony Immigration -- The idea, here, is to make illegal immigration a felony and to be very aggressive about rounding up all of the illegal immigrants in this country and enforcing the immigration laws.
I'm the first to point out that we may as well not have laws on the books if we're not going to enforce them. Had we enforced the existing laws, all along, this wouldn't be a hot button issue. But, because we haven't enforced these laws, all along, this plan has some serious flaws.
We didn't have the resources to evacuate thousands of our own poor from New Orleans in advance of Katrina, but suddenly, we have the resources and manpower necessary to find, take into custody and transport millions of illegal immigrants, scattered across our nation and trying not to be found, back to their various home countries? Of course we don't.
So, maybe I'm mistaken. We're talking felonies, here, right? Maybe the plan isn't to deport them after we smoke them out of their hidey holes, but to stuff these millions of people into our already overcrowded prisons, where you and I can foot the bill for their room, board and healthcare for ten to twenty.
This plan has no substance, because it isn't workable in the real world, with our limited resources. The people who have proposed this plan are smart, well informed people -- they knew before they proposed it that it's unworkable. They also know it plays well to the emotions of those intentionally uninformed people who are fired up over this issue, but trust others to do their thinking for them. This is just another empty talking point for politicians to shout from the stumps from now until November. Sadly, the real plan (winning votes) behind their proposal will probably be quite successful.
3. Guest workers -- The idea behind this plan is basically to pander to pro-slavery employers who don't want to share the profits with the people who break their backs creating the profits because it's easier to exploit people who are afraid of being rounded up and deported. This is the unwritten law we've been living by, all along -- if it was working, we wouldn't be discussing this issue. The goal here isn't to fix the problem, it's to block us, through legislation, from solving the problem.
This is just legitimizing the exploitation and enslavement of undocumented workers - or, if you prefer analogies, it's like passing a law to allow "selective population control" in the park, between dusk and dawn, so the town can say it no longer has a "serial killer" murdering blondes in the park, at night.
4. Path to legitimacy. -- The idea, here, is that a percentage of undocumented workers will desire the benefits of legal citizenship and will shift to the legitimate workforce. Once shifted, they're less easily exploited and instead of forcing you and I to compete with them at their slave-wage level, they'll start competing with us at our legitimate-wage level. In theory, that's a really great plan and I'd love to get behind this one.
Unfortunately, the plan, while well intentioned, is short sighted and naive. Those who make the shift won't be duking it out with us for those jobs. They'll be as cut out of competition for those jobs as we are because new, easily exploited undocumented workers will continue to replace them, in the workforce. No "documented" worker, whether natural born citizen or naturalized citizen, will be in the running for those jobs.
Hey, I have a novel idea! Let's try enforcing existing labor, wage and anti-slavory laws so it's NOT so simple for employers to exploit immigrant workers and cut natural born & naturalized citizens out of the workforce!
Slavery is already illegal. We banned it with the 13th ammendment of our constitution. It's not illegal to BE a slave. It's illegal to buy, sell, trade or own them. So, instead of rounding up the slaves and flogging them for being slaves, shouldn't we be going after the employers who hold "undocumented workers" in so-called "debt bondage?"
Paying workers "undocumented wages," paying less than the minimum wage, failure to match social security contributions and failure to pay workman's comp are already illegal. The local grocery store would NEVER get by with paying natural born U.S. citizens less than minimum wage, in cash, under the table. So, why are some employers given a pass when they do the same with undocumented workers? Hmm?
Hiring "undocumented workers" is illegal. Period. It doesn't matter what an employer pays them, how an employer pays them or why an employer hired them or even whether you or I like that this is the law. It does matter whether the law is enforced on more than just the occasional prominent household's hiring of a single undocumented babysitter or handyman. There are MILLIONS of undocumented workers -- and that they're called undocumented workers means each of them works SOMEwhere, which means SOMEone hired them.
Now, about our vanishing manufacturing industry and those overseas sweatshops....
Thursday, March 30, 2006
KOLR-10 of Springfield Missouri reports that a federal judge has sentenced Omari Ali Zackery, 28, to nine years in federal prison without parole for the attempted robbery of the TelComm Credit Union in Springfield. Zachary had pled guilty to the charge, last April and had been found guilty, last November, on a separate charge of using a handgun in the attempt.
In other news...
Jack Abramoff and his former partner, Adam Kidan , were each sentenced to 5 years, 10 months (the minimum sentence,) plus 3 years' probation for successfully defrauding investors of 60 million dollars in a casino investment scheme that is believed to have played a part in the slaying of casino owner Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis (in whose murder both Abramoff and Kidan deny having any role.)
Abramoff and Kidan remain free from prison, however, in return for their continued cooperation with the investigation of Boulis' death. Their continued cooperation, to the satisfaction of prosecutors in the Boulis case, could result in their sentences being reduced even further.
(In regards to both cases) What happened to "tough on crime?"
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
"As a surgeon, I did my best work when people were sound asleep, cutting out their hearts, putting new hearts in. And now what I need to do, everybody says, is do your best work and not put people to sleep. That's what I'll work on."
Oh...kay... Did he just say he wants us awake and screaming when he rips our still-beating hearts from our chests with his bare hands?!?!
Cripes, and I thought old "Shoot-em-in-the-face" Cheney was a tough old bird-hunter!
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
George Bush thinks a Hong Kong firm (with strong ties to China's government, cited by military intelligence as a potential security risk and conduit for contraband cargo and having a subsidiary prevented in 2003, from buying out a telecommunications firm for national security reasons) should be put in charge and that no U.S. customs officials -- or anybody else, for that matter -- should oversee, double check or even be present for the scan. If they say a shipment is safe, by golly, it's safe!
Bush is so sure about placing the safety of our nation in this firm's hands that he didn't waste their time, his time or our nation's time with a bidding process that would have forced them to compete for the job. He's so sure that he didn't consider, for one moment, the idea of trusting Americans with American security.
Meanwhile, in other news...
- Indentured servitude (aka slavery) is alive and thriving in America, thanks to the estimated 50,000 Chinese immigrants smuggled into the U.S., primarily through our ports, each year.
- Chinese troops are training troops south of our borders in Latin America.
- Our manufacturing industry continues its exodus to Asian sweatshops at the behest of the Big Box industry, as working class Americans remain unemployed or under-employed.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
"I mean, if I can say why. Let us assume that I have people arguing before me to do it or not to do it. I think it is quite a thing to be arguing to somebody who you know has made a representation in the course of his confirmation hearings, and that is, by way of condition to his being confirmed, that he will do this or do that. I think I would be in a very bad position to adjudicate the case without being accused of having a less than impartial view of the matter."
Yes, it's quite a thing to argue before a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who admitted at his confirmation hearing that he has no intention of being impartial in your case. Apparantly, though, it's quite another thing to argue before a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who admitted to an overseas audience, just weeks earlier, that he has no intention of being impartial in your case.
The AP reports on a NewsWeek story:
"Justice Antonin Scalia reportedly told an overseas audience this month that the U.S. Constitution does not protect foreigners held at America's military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
"...The comments came just weeks before Justices were to take up an appeal from a detainee at Guantanamo Bay."
Ok, I give up. Why, exactly, is one of our Supreme Court Justices speaking to and taking questions from a Swiss (or any foreign) audience about ANYthing?
Monday, March 20, 2006
Meanwhile, New Orleans is still a city littered with debris and covered in mud with businesses that remain closed and people who remain displaced from homes no longer tenable in neighborhoods left to rot.
What happened to "America first?"
Friday, March 17, 2006
In fewer than four years, Blagojevich has reorganized and successfully balanced our state budget without raising state income taxes or state sales taxes.
How are we Illinoisans suffering from Blagojevich's budget tightening? Are we sacrificing our children, working families and seniors? Far from it!
We're the only state in the U.S. whose kids, ALL OF THEM, are guaranteed health insurance coverage! We've also insured hundreds of thousands of our seniors and working adults!
Education funding was increased by 2.3 billion and our graduation standards were raised for the first time in more than 20 years.
60,000 new jobs were created in Illinois and with our minimum wage of $6.50, we're one of just 16 states with a minimum wage above the $5.15 national minimum wage.
Crime rates are down, in every category, across the entire state. Traffic fatalities in the state are at a 61 year low.
What's more, because our state is increasingly pro-kids and pro-working families under Blagojevich, more pregnant women are choosing motherhood and the number of abortions performed in Illinois has dropped to the lowest numbers since 1973!!
We got all of this and more! From a Democrat.
A lot of people believe in the Republicans' favorite campfire tale bogie-man... the evil tax and spend Democrat. But, the truth is that both parties tax because both parties spend. (A tax cut, at any level of government, that isn't matched to or exceeded by budget cuts is an expensive ploy for popularity points with costly, long term, ramifications.)
If you don't think Republicans like taxing us every bit as much as Democrats do, it might interest you to learn that it was a Republican Governor -- Richard Ogilvie -- who, in 1969, instituted the Illinois state income tax and that each and every increase, since then, has come from Republican Governors! One of our most popular Republican Governors, Jim Thompson, not only passed Illinois' largest-ever income tax increase, he also gave us a whopping 25% increase in our state sales tax!
Some Blagojevich critics want our health care for kids and the increased education funding undone. But, by and large, we Illinoisans like that our kids are healthier, smarter and safer and that it's getting a little easier to afford to raise them here.
The candidates vying for the Republican nomination in the governor's race are vowing to put this state back on track. What they've failed to take into account is that if we wanted to go where that train was taking us, we wouldn't have disembarked at the last stop.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Bush, to a conference of the National Newspaper Association March 10, 2006:
"Dubai services more of our military, military ships, than any country in the world."
Us: We're glad you brought that up! We have a few bones to pick about that, too.
Don't get us wrong. We're totally on board with the idea that Ed's Shop & Tank, conveniently located on a street corner near us, is too small and not so conveniently located to the overseas ports where our military ships need to be refueled & restocked and that, until the inevitable launch of a Wal-Mart one-stop-Naval-shopping flotilla capable of servicing, refueling and restocking entire fleets, we have no choice but to rely on companies located in the areas our ships are making port.
We don't like that a foreign government, friend, foe or neutral is privy to so much sensitive information about our Naval fleet. We don't like that U.A.E.'s purchase of Inchcape Shipping Services from a private British firm was allowed to go through silently and with, as far as we can ascertain, no scrutiny, just as you'd hoped the Dubai ports deal would go through.
But, you still haven't figured out what it is that we don't like about the Dubai ports deal, have you?
- We don't like that our national security is being treated like a mundane commodity to be traded on the international market. We don't see our national security as a head of hog or a bushel of corn and we're deeply concerned that you do seem to see it that way.
- We don't like that you whipped our nation into a years-long "America First, terrorists lurking in every shadow, don't trust any country that isn't a democracy -- especially if it's in the middle east, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11!" frenzy only to turn around and pay a foreign, middle eastern government that isn't a democracy and was home to two of the 9/11 hijackers to take over such an important part of our national security AND to take any jobs that go along with providing that security.
- We don't like that supporting the U.A.E., instead of supporting the U.S.A. is the one and only thing you've been willing to buck Congress over, in the entirety of your Presidency.
Bush: "I'm concerned about a broader message this issue could send to our friends and allies around the world, particularly in the Middle East,"
Us: We'd love to believe that, we really would. But that's not the tune you were humming about broader messages sent to our friends and allies around the world when you took us to war in Iraq. You told us, then, that what our allies think about us isn't as important to you as our interests and security. We believed you meant that. We still believe you meant that. So, we suspect that what you're really concerned about is that the trade talks that were supposed to take place between the U.S. and the U.A.E., this week, have been postponed in the wake of the Dubai ports deal collapse.
Now, let's see, what tradeable commodity was likely to be discussed at these talks? Was it our national security? No, those talks are what got these talks postponed. Was it the export of goods manufactured in the good old U.S. of A? Couldn't be that -- we've already exported our manufacturing industry. It was oil, wasn't it, Mr. Bush? The "drug" you made such a point of telling us we're addicted to (and you were right -- we are.) You're worried that our strong, patriotic, bi-partisan objections to the ceding of our national security to a foreign government might have ticked off our drug dealer, aren't you? If that's what is really behind this, you can give it to us straight -- we're a strong people, we can take it. Give us a chance.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
If you haven't heard the news, yet and you're confused as to what the heck I'm on about...
Claude Allen, Bush's domestic policy advisor and formerly a Bush nominee for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court was busted, in January, by a Target store after two years (that they have video evidence to support) of purchasing items, returning to the store with the receipt for those items and an empty Target bag, filling the bag with items identical to those on the receipt and then taking them to customer service for a refund.
In 2004, Democrats had major issues and serious questions about Bush's nomination of Allen and threatened to filibuster -- the neo-con faction of the Republican party blasted Democrats for daring to have, much less voice concerns and the threat to filibuster was painted in the right wing press as a full frontal attack on Bush, minorities, Christianity, Republicans, the courts and the nation.
The Whitehouse was notified shortly after Allen's arrest and a few weeks later, Allen resigned his position alleging that it was to spend more time with his family.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
(Big Box Blues)
By Melhi written: Mar. 9, 2006
To the tune of:
I've Been Working On the Railroad
Clicking the link to hear a webbed copy of the original song, while you read the parody lyrics, will not take you away from this page.
Dyin' For The Discount Store
I've been working in the fact'ry
's where I've earned my pay
I've been working in the fact'ry
But they closed it down today
Can't pronounce the place it's goin'
Some-where in Asia, I' been told
Gave our jobs to little children
Five or six years old
Can't pay what I owe
Everyone I know's
Workin' in the discount sto-o-ore
Gonna lose my home
Everything I own
Lose it to the discount store!
They can make it cheaper with minors
Slashin' all the wages down low
Mark it up a little bit higher
Grow a bigger discount store,
And it's working...
Squeezed the little stores out
Shut all the factories do-ow-ow-own
No more shoppin' around
Curse the mighty discount store!
F*** the mighty discount store!
I've been sleepin' on the sidewalk
Near a sewer grate
Since they boarded up the whole block
And the traffic went away
Now the tumble weeds are blowin'
No-body's earning any more
Man the dream is dead, we're dying
For the discount store!
F*** the discount stooooore!
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
72 percent believe the United States should exit Iraq within a year. Only 23 percent agree with Bush that US troops should stay in Iraq "as long as it takes." Even among our Marines, who were the least likely to support troop withdrawal within a year, a majority, 58%, think withdrawal is the best course of action.
A whopping 85% said the main US mission was "to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9/11 attacks." This is appalling because Saddam had absolutely no role in the Sept. 11 attacks -- and more than anyone, our troops should be fully informed as to the true nature of their mission. Further, 77 percent said that the reason for the Iraq war was/is "to stop Saddam from protecting Al-Qaeda in Iraq." This is appalling because there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq until we toppled Saddam's regime, laying Iraq's borders wide open for them to cross.
As appalling as these numbers are, they are also telling because our troops honestly believe these things with every fiber of their beings. They're fighting for what I've said, all along, that they're fighting for -- America. Not for Iraqi democracy, not to find WMDs, not for cheaper oil, but FOR AMERICA. This isn't A just and noble cause, it's THE just and noble cause... a cause our troops would NEVER dismiss lightly. Yet, a majority of our troops STILL think Iraq is such a lost cause that it's time to pull out. That says more about how bad and how hopeless the situation is over there than any activist, pundit, blogger, politician or news journalist has even scratched the surface of conveying to us.
If you want to support our troops and don't know what to do (something I've heard a lot of people say, over these last few years,) you can follow my link to the poll, find out what our troops think, print out copies, run a highlighter over the most important findings, write a note in the margin if you like, and send it to your Senators, Representative and President. Write letters to the editors of newspapers in your area, citing the poll results.
When benefits are cut to our troops, their families and our veterans... speak up about it. Blog on it, post to appropriate forums about it, send letters to Washington, organize protests. Make some noise!! If they can fight for us, surely we can fight for them.
Monday, February 27, 2006
The photos that were published in the Birmingham news as well as hundreds more that didn't make it into the spread, the full story behind the spread and interviews with photographers, civil rights leaders, people who appear in the photos, etc, can be seen online at: http://www.al.com/unseen
Thanks to Hooloovoo for sending me the link.
That, dear reader, is why I've been remiss in discussing the ports/Dubai issue, here.
There is simply no vitriolic spew venomous enough to express the intensity & depth of my anger and, while I subscribe to the philosophy that there is humor in all things, I am too blinded by my rage to find that needle in this putrid haystack, yet.
My muse is dumbstruck and instead of whispering quips and songs and poetry and ideas in my ear, faster than I can hope to record them, she fuels the fires of my rage by looping a collection of soundbytes ... George W. Bush repeatedly mentioning the deaths of our fellow countrymen at the hands of terrorists on 9/11, Bush's oft-repeated campaign promises not to cede national security to foreign powers and, finally, to one honest soundbyte from the post-SOTU damage-control spin: "He didn't mean it literally."
- U.A.E. is one of only three nations to have recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government.
- The Taliban, not Saddam's government, harbored bin Laden and Al Queda.
- The Dubai company in whom we're being forced to entrust our national security, via our ports, is owned not by stock holders in the company nor by independent businessmen, but by the government of U.A.E.
Congress is outraged -- not just on my side of the political aisle, but across most of the political spectrum. I had begun to doubt whether there was any real patriotism left on the other side of the aisle. Discovering that there is still some genuine love for this nation among my right-wing countrymen has been the only bright spot, for me, in this whole thing. But, even with a non-partisan, truly patriotic effort in Congress to protect our ports and our nation, Bush has promised to do the one thing that NOTHING, so far, has been important enough to him for him to even consider -- override the Congress with a veto.
With this veto promise, Bush has proven that his decision to hand our national security over to the U.A.E. is the single most important goal he's set in the entirety of his Presidency, to date.
We've lost our jobs to foreigners. We've given up our rights and freedoms so that people in foreign lands may enjoy them, instead. We've drenched foreign sands with the blood of our children. We're so heavily in debt to foreign powers that they own more of our country than we do. Now, we're handing our national security over to the U.A.E. government and we're supposed to accept it because we're part of the global economy.
We were never part of the global economy. We were the sacrifice to its master -- led willingly and blindly, on false promises of eternal financial salvation, to the altars of Greed where we were laid bare and bled to death by its high priests.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Senator Kerry's approach to foreign policy would give foreign governments veto power over national security decisions.
But, that's exactly what Bush was already doing and continues to do, with his fiscal policies.
Thanks to tax cuts for the wealthy, elimination of the surplus, runaway deficit spending and job losses in the working class, foreign interests hold the lien to America.
Our lienholders include (but are not by any means limited to) Japan, China and OPEC. Yes, OPEC. That they hold the existing liens cedes a great amount of power over both our domestic and our foreign policies to these outside powers -- that we continue to seek additional loans from these powers makes us beholden to them.
If you watched the news, yesterday, you probably know that Cheney shot a guy in the face and that Entwistle returned from England to face charges of murdering his wife and infant daughter.
BUT... if you watched C-span, yesterday afternoon, you learned that in the 2007 budget, we will pay more interest on the national debt, most of which will go to foreign banks, not back into the American economy, than we'll be spending on homeland security, education and our veterans, combined -- and not just a little more, a LOT more. Further, we will NOT be paying down the principal on the existing debt.
Had you watched this presentation, you would also have learned that, if we did not have to allocate such a huge portion of our budget to paying the interest on these debts, the same money could instead provide approximately one million dollars per day to each and every Congressional district in the United States, for the entire year.
American children, seniors and veterens are among those who will be affected by deep domestic spending cuts in our 2007 budget -- because we must, instead, send our tax dollars to Japan, China, OPEC, etc.
...And next year, the interest payments that will have to be allocated for in the 2008 budget will only be higher and the percentage of the budget that will be available to allocate for American interests will only be lower, because we are going to continue to borrow even more from foreign interests.
Meanwhile, the wealthiest Americans, those who do the least amount of work to earn their incomes, will be getting yet another tax cut, placing an even greater portion of this debt squarely on the shoulders of the working class -- who already have little or no remaining disposable income thanks to rising costs for basic necessities such as fuel, utilities, food, health care, home/car/health insurance, etc.
THIS is what you should be hearing about on the news. THIS is what's really important. THIS isn't funny.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Mr. Cheney, in a stunning display of courage, has agreed to pop out of his hidey-hole to sit down for an exclusive Fox "News" interview, today. The interview will take place at 2:pm and Fox has promised to milk excerpts to death for ratings leading up to the official airing, scheduled for 6:pm.
Unlike a full press interview, where we might expect the Veep to be subjected to such irrelevant, troop-disparaging, America-hating, National-security-jeopardizing, unanswerable hypothetical questions as "Why did you wait so long to go public?" or "Are you implying that you, personally, administered medical care to Mr. Whittington for a full 18 hours?," or "You waited HOW long to inform even the President?!" we can trust the bastions of non-partisan, America-loving fairness, balance and truth at Fox "News" to stick to the important and tough questions on the minds of Americans. Questions like... "What can we do to help ensure that you receive a medal or some other prestigious honor for selflessly leaping into action to save Harry's life, letting your quarry get away?" or "Why did Harry spoil your shot?"
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Asked whether the pellet could move farther into his heart and become fatal, hospital officials said that was a hypothetical question they could not answer.
Whoa... major case of deja vu! Hypothetical... can't answer... That sounds sooo familiar. *shiver* OH! Wait a minute! Of course it does -- how could I forget the Gonzalez confir... *gulp*
It seems a birdshot pellet has somehow managed to lodge in his heart and cause a mild heart attack, despite barely breaking the skin and the extent of damage being a speckling of raised red spots that resemble chicken pox. Doctors are reportig that Mr. Whittington will have to remain in the hospital for at least another seven days and that his condition will be monitored closely.
White House officials, meanwhile, are having fun with the shooting, getting off some good-natured ribs at the Veep's expense.
***Live Blogging Mode Engaged***
THIS JUST IN, AS I WAS TYPING!!!
CNN has just downgraded the lodging of that pellet in Mr. Whittington's heart and the resulting mild heart attack, as was reported by one of Whittington's doctors, on CNN, just moments ago, to the pellet merely "brushing up against" Whittington's heart and causing some "complications."
Melhi Ink would like to wish CNN God-speed in their ongoing efforts to cure Mr. Whittington by supper time.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Spooky, isn't it?
Nothing has been going right for the Bush administration, lately. They just can't seem to catch a break. And now, Cheney has to go and shoot some old guy in the face.
I'm so glad this shooting was just an accident and not a cleverly orchestrated plot to distract our attention away from all the really important stuff that's going on. Because, if it was, I'd have to swallow my Democrat pride and give props where they're due by saying, "WOW -- way to take one for the team, Harry!! Abramoff and Libby could sure learn a thing or two from you!"
So, if it resulted in barely a flesh wound, what the heck put the guy in the ICU trauma ward for more than 24 hours?
Was Cheney field-dressing him before paramedics arrived?!
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Harry Whittington (aka, the guy Cheney shot, yesterday,) is said to be in stable condition in the ICU trauma ward.
But rest easy, dear reader. You see, Cheney didn't put a bullet into the guy, he just peppered him. Whew! Now, isn't that better than what you were picturing when you first heard that he'd shot someone? You bet it is!
Even CNN, clearly the most evil America-hating news channel on the planet, is assuring us that it was more similar to pelting him with a bunch of B.B.s than actually shooting him.
Apparantly, this was such a non-shooting-like shooting that even CNN can't find anything in it to blow out of proportion with their liberal bias to fulfill their devious mission of damaging Cheney! If even they are cutting the veep some slack, we can be sure that this whole thing was not at all similar to Cheney mistaking his long-time pal for a wee little bird and putting the geezer in Intensive Care by pumping him full of buckshot!!
It's just an amusing, harmless oopsie we'll all be laughing about -- after Mr. Whittington gets out of ICU.
I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait to hear all about how Cheney was both the hero and victim in this whole "A funny thing happened while I was out quail hunting..." story.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Or does he?
Week after week, we've tuned in to Stephen's Threat Down segment to arm ourselves with the knowledge that bears are the biggest threat facing America, today. By now, most of us are well equipped and prepared to deal with the bear-orist threats that hang over us like a pall. ...a huge, snarling, sharp toothed, razor clawed pall.
Well, Mr. Colbert, it turns out you're only half right! As we learned from The State Of The Union Address, the biggest threat facing Americans, today, is not bears, but roving bands of genetically engineered man-bear hybrid monsters!
Since man-bears are likely to be smarter than the average bear, this is no ordinary boo-boo. Oh, no.
While these demon man-bear sleeper cells have been preparing to come out of hybernation to topple our democracy and feast on our flesh, we haven't prepared for them, at all. If they came out of their cave-condos, today, we'd be at their mercy -- human picnic baskets!
For the sake of our nation... nay, our very species... I hope Stephen corrects this rare Colbert-or in his next installment of the Threat Down. The public must be warned!