Sunday, December 04, 2005

At least the Republicans have a plan

Your tax dollars at work:

HOUSTON (AP) -- Calling the Bowl Championship Series "deeply flawed," the chairman of a congressional committee (R-Joe Barton) has called a hearing on the controversial system used to determine college football's national champion.
Surely with something of this great importance, Harry Reid won't have to shut down the Senate to get to the bottom of it.

via Atrios

The war on Christmas

Only on FOX:
"Is the "war on Christmas" hurting your portfolio? We'll go inside the Trading Pit with:"
And only on FOX:

From the November 30 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: Well, you know, on Monday night my colleague Bill O'Reilly said something so simple, controversial, but so dead-on accurate. I want you to listen to this. Take a look.

O'REILLY [video clip]: Every company in America should be on their knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable. More than enough reason for business to be screaming "Merry Christmas."

-------------------------

O'REILLY: ".....Secular progressives which are driving this movement, OK, don't want Christmas. They don't want it as a federal holiday, they don't want any message of spirituality or Judeo-Christian tradition because that stands in the way of gay marriage, legalized drugs, euthanasia, all of the greatest hits on the secular progressive play card. If they can succeed in getting religion out of the public arena --"
I guess we don't have enough missing white women to gobble up their attention.

It's nice of Mr. O'Reilly and the entire FOX crew to protect America from the liberal boogeymen going after Christmas. But come on, if this isn't silly, i don't know what is. Not to mention hypocritical. Madison Avenue (not to mention Santa Claus) hijacks Christmas and turns it into little more than a financial boondoggle, but the people FOX News have a problem with are those who say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas". I think that calls for an LOL. And if i recall correctly, Merry X-Mas was even a perfectly acceptable sentiment for the, oh, 30 years prior to Bill O'Reilly deciding he needed to pander to his audience and make them believe he's protecting them from us supposed Anti-Christs.

When it's gotten to the point that Charlie Brown has more sense than the FOX News Network....

Sunday, November 27, 2005

My teaching soapbox

I go on a teacher soapbox so often on here, those who don't know me probably think i'm a teacher. Those who do know me probably think i'm just sucking up to my niece. I'm not. I just look back on my life and i realize the people who had the greatest effect on me (for better or worse) were my parents, my high school football and baseball coach, and my teachers. My parents did it out of a love for me. My coaches out of a love of sports. Teachers, well, who knows why they put up with me? Anyways, here's an article by Anna Quindlen which pretty much makes the point i've been trying to make over the last year or so - that teachers are underpaid.

Highlights:

The average new teacher today makes just under $30,000 a year, which may not look too bad for a twentysomething with no mortgage and no kids. But soon enough the newbies realize that they can make more money and not work anywhere near as hard elsewhere. After a lifetime of hearing the old legends about cushy hours and summer vacations, they figure out that early mornings are for students who need extra help, evenings are for test corrections and lesson plans, and weekends and summers are for second and even third jobs to try to pay the bills.
------------------------
Instead of simply acknowledging that starting salaries are woefully low and committing to increasing them and finding the money for reasonable recurring raises, pols have wasted decades obsessing about something called merit pay. It's a concept that works fine if you're making widgets, but kids aren't widgets, and good teaching isn't an assembly line.
-----------------------
The point about tying teaching salaries to widget standards is that it's hard to figure out a useful way to measure the merit of what a really good teacher does......
...Tying raises to pass rates is a flagrant invitation to inflate student achievement. Tying them to standardized tests makes rote regurgitation the centerpiece of schools. Both are blind to the merit of teachers who shoulder the challenging work of educating those less able, more troubled, from homes where there are no pencils, no books, even no parents. A teacher whose Advanced Placement class sends everyone on to top-tier colleges; a teacher whose remedial-reading class finally gets through to some, but not all, of a student group that is failing. There is merit in both.
----------------------
In recent years teacher salaries have grown, if they've grown at all, at a far slower rate than those of other professionals, often lagging behind inflation. Yet teachers should have the most powerful group of advocates in the nation: not their union, but we the people, their former students.
Amen to that, i say.

If you hold to the notion that teachers are overpaid, imagine this scenario. Put yourself in a room with the 10 brightest, most ambitious and capable kids in your local high school. Ask them why they don't want to be teachers. $10 says one of the reasons is because teaching doesn't pay enough. Better to get a job as a CEO, run your company into the ground, and collect that nice hefty severance package they offer to get rid of you. And we complain about tenure...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Iraq in a nutshell

I think Josh has it about right. Our plan for Iraq amounts to little more than stay there until the place calms down.

I would add to that the whole notion of not cutting and running for fear of showing weakness amounts to little more than "get ourselves blown up just to prove we can".

That's all - got better things to do today.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pop quiz

Question #1: What do liars do?

If you answered "they lie", you get an "A".
But Bush, Cheney, and other senior officials have added several other arguments in recent days that distort the factual record. ....Knight Ridder addresses the administration's main assertions:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rush-Bo

Once again, i'm at a loss for words. Support the troops = donate to Rush Limbaugh.

I'm SO not kidding.

When you give an "Adopt A Soldier" subscription, your gift will be matched with a member of the military for a full year. He or she will receive unfettered access to Rush 24/7 online as well as every big, colorful issue of The Limbaugh Letter. When giving, make sure to let us know in the appropriate checkbox if it is ok to pass along your email address to the service person receiving your gift subscription, so that they can have the chance to thank you themselves.

PLEASE NOTE THAT GIFTS MADE UNDER THIS PROGRAM ARE NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
$49.95


Perhaps i missed something in that i looked around to try to find something suggesting the $49.95 was donated to charity. I came up empty. Feel free to correct me.

Until then, if i should ever get this shameless, please do society a favor and shoot me.

Hat tip to Crooks & Liars

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Oh Brother Redux

I know this is a few days old, but how can we mention comments from right wing whackos without mentioning Bill O'Reilly?

Linked:

O'REILLY: Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."

"And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."
Sometimes words escape me. I mean, what can you say about a guy who attempts to wrap himself in the flag at the same time he seems to be advocating a terrorist attack in San Francisco? Now i realize Bill O'Reilly isn't Pat Robertson, but good grief.

Think what you want about voting to bar military recruiters from local schools - though i would guess San Francisco isn't the only area that would like to do that. But what about all the San Franciscans who are veterans? Or current military volunteers? Does Bill O'Reilly want to bomb them too? Seems so. So if you wanna get in Bill O'Reilly's good graces, well, you know what to do.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Oh brother

Why does God hate America?
Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" and warned them Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.
I guess Pat Robertson's God is one spiteful dude.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Saddam Lite

Linked:

Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.
-------------------------
But now new information has surfaced, including hideous photographs and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack, which provides graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.

In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete.

"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."

In the year and a half or so that i've been doing this, i've never posted an article that made me say "Please don't let that be true". But i'm saying it now. I don't pretend to be an expert on white phosphorous. But if it amounts to a chemical weapon, and if we used chemical weapons on the Iraqi people, after attempting to justify this war of so called liberation with the statement "Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people", then it'll be at least 3 years before i'll again be able to say i love this country.

I went to the site mentioned in the article to attempt to view the pictures they were talking about, but it was all in Italian, and i couldn't find them. But with this news about to come out, it would explain why Silvio Berlusconni (sp??) might attempt to distance himself from Bush's war, as he did a week or so ago.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Putting my training to work

Senator Tom Coburn on Meet The Press this morning:

MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask about something else, and this intrigued me when I watched you during the John Roberts confirmation hearing when you were explaining how you came to make a decision and you used your skills as a doctor. Let's watch.

(Videotape, September 14, 2005):

SEN. COBURN: I've tried to use my medical skills of observation of body language to ascertain your uncomfortableness and ill at ease with questions and responses. I will tell you that I am very pleased both in my observational capabilities as a physician to know that your answers have been honest and forthright as I watch the rest of your body respond to the stress that you're under.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe as a physician you can tell whether a candidate for the Supreme Court is telling the truth?

SEN. COBURN: I think you can certainly tell when they're ill at ease with a subject and sometimes telling the truth or not. I think you can do that. I think you can do that--anybody can be trained to do that--by body language, respiratory avoidance responses. Yeah, I think you can.

MR. RUSSERT: And have you used those skills to make judgments like that?

SEN. COBURN: Mm-hm, I certainly have.

MR. RUSSERT: Has any--have you ever detected someone lying?

SEN. COBURN: Uh-huh, lots of times.

I know where he's coming from. I've often used my blogger skills of observation of body language to ascertain George Bush's uncomfortableness and ill at ease with questions and responses. I will tell you that I am very satisfied both in my observational capabilities as a blogger to know that his answers are typically full of shit as I watch the rest of his body respond to the stress that he's under.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saturday Morning Funnies

Complements of my Conservatively Liberal niece - this is pretty darn funny. Worthy of The Daily Show.

And while we're at it, i'd found this one (Quicktime required) last fall during the campaign. I've watched this probably 15 times and i still laugh when i see it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tidbit

Linked: (and for those not in the know, The Club For Growth is an ultra conservative organization - not all that removed from being the Conservative "Moveon.Org")

Number of Pork Projects in Federal Spending Bills

2005 - 13,997
2004 - 10,656
2003 - 9,362
2002 - 8,341
2001 - 6,333
2000 - 4,326
1999 - 2,838
1998 - 2100
1997 - 1,596
1996 - 958
1995 - 1439

I'm gonna hammer this, and hammer this and just keep on hammering this. If it bores you, tough. To the Sean Hannity/Bill O'Reilly/Rush Limbaugh fiscal conservatives, fiscal conservatism begins and ends with "cut my taxes".


Tip 'o the hat to
Andrew Sullivan.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

JibJab.....

Takes on Walmart.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Back to the front.

Linked:
The President has said that “as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” He claimed that 80 Iraqi army battalions are fighting alongside American troops. He did not say how many Iraqi battalions are capable of fighting without American troops. But, this week, General Casey did. The answer is: one.

If it has taken two years, 2,000 lives, 15,000 wounded and $218 billion appropriated so far to stand up one battalion of 800 Iraqi troops, how long will it take to stand up an army of 140,000 troops? At the pace of one battalion every two years, we will be in Iraq for 150 years. What is the timetable for standing up Iraq’s army?

Conservatives will usually try to deflect the issue by suggesting Liberals should quit whining about the problem and propose some solutions for once. Sorry, but the Liberal solution was to not get in this predicament in the first place. We were ignored. Not only were we ignored, but we were then outvoted by people who seemed to suggest it was such a wonderful deal they'd love to do it again. So now it's your turn, Mr & Mrs Conservative. Figure it out and do it quick. But until then, you're gonna hear it.

Oh, and:

"Bomb blasts killed six Marines in western Iraq...."

-----------------------------------

"The American deaths brought to 1,950 the number of U.S. troops who have died since the beginning of the war in 2003, according to an Associated Press count."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ian Fishback

I've touched on the name Ian Fishback a few times in the comments section. He's the Army Captain referred to a few posts down.......here.

For more detail on him and his ordeal, Andrew Sullivan has an article in the London Times that can be read here:

For even more, go to Sullivan's main page here where he's been posting quite a bit on it.

And to put his views in proper perspective, Andrew Sullivan is a Pro Iraq War Conservative who does enough to piss off both sides - which i would assume only means he must be doing something right.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Quote of the day

I've got Shrek on the TV Tube and Prince Farquar (or whatever his name is....the short guy) just said:

"Some of you may die, but it's a sacrifice I am willing to make."

Just thought i'd put that out there.

The troops hate the troops

The U.S. Army has launched a criminal investigation into new allegations of serious prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan made by a decorated former Captain in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, an Army spokesman has confirmed to TIME.
---------------------
The new allegations center around systematic abuse of Iraqi detainees by men of the 82nd Airborne at Camp Mercury, a forward operating base located near Fallujah
--------------------
Much of the abuse allegedly occurred in 2003 and 2004, before and during the period the Army was conducting an internal investigation into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, but prior to when the abuses at Abu Ghraib became public.
--------------------
The Captain is quoted in the report describing how military intelligence personnel at Camp Mercury directed enlisted men to conduct daily beatings of prisoners prior to questioning; to subject detainees to strenuous forced exercises to the point of unconsciousness; and to expose them to extremes of heat and cold—all methods designed to produce greater cooperation with interrogators.
---------------------
Specific instances of abuse described in the Human Rights Watch report include severe beatings, including one incident when a soldier allegedly broke a detainee's leg with a metal bat. Others include prisoners being stacked in human pyramids (unlike the human pyramids at Abu Ghraib, the prisoners at Camp Mercury were clothed); soldiers administering blows to the face, chest and extremities of prisoners; and detainees having their faces and eyes exposed to burning chemicals, (emphasis mine) being forced into stress positions for long periods leading to unconsciousness and having their water and food withheld.
There's more.

I just watched a clip of Bill O'Reilly giving Wesley Clark a hard time for meeting with Cindy Sheehan. Apparently Cindy Sheehan is some sort of wild radical who hates America. But i'll tell ya what's radical. Radical is acting like Pol Pot. Radical is turning a blind eye when your President acts like Pol Pot. Radical is defending people for acting like Pol Pot.

To anyone who thinks Howard Dean is radical (you know who you are), i'll make a bet, if you're willing, and we'll let God be the judge. When we die, i go where Howard Dean goes, and you go where George Bush goes. Takers?

And oh by the way. Perhaps we should revisit Dick Durbin's comments.
"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings," Durbin said. "Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."
I still have no idea why he apologized. Oh wait, yes i do. Because Conservatives whined too much when he said them.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Me

You are a

Social Liberal
(75% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(38% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Democrat




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Welease......Woger

Sir, we have no Roger.

THE PRESIDENT: .....blah blah blah And so it's a long border. One of the things is that we need to continue to train the Iraqis to be better controllers of the border, and that's one of the missions that General Casey briefed us on today.

Bianca. Nobody named Bianca? Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question.

Q I'll follow up.

THE PRESIDENT: No, that's fine. (Laughter.) Thank you though, appreciate it. Just trying to spread around the joy of asking a question.
Then, a bit later: (and here's the kicker)
Q Mr. President, could we talk more about --

THE PRESIDENT: Are you Bianca?

Q No, I'm not. Anita -- Fox News.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay.

Q Just a quick question --

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry.
Saturday Night Live should be so funny.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Get 'em while they're hot

The Virgin Mary Sonogram current bid $122.


Yup, that's her. Posted by Picasa

Alright, just for fun, let's assume that does look like the Virgin Mary (though i didn't realize she had such a big nose....or is that supposed to be her foot?.....anyways). My question would be, why pay over $122 for the sonogram when you could just do what i did and take the picture off the internet?

ed note: Snarky comments kept to a minimum......you know.....just in case.