Monthly Archives: November 2007

Save Tucker! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Apparently MSNBC has finally realized, like the rest of the world did years ago, that Tucker Carlson isn’t entertaining, doesn’t conduct good interviews, and has a lock of Ayn Rand’s pubic hair which he keeps in a special pouch in his man thong (I made the man thong/lock of hair thing up). And so the thinkable has finally happened: The Tucker show is on the chopping block at MSNBC!!!

His two fans are trying to save the show. They even came up with a cool graphic:

They have a website (savetucker.org!! .org? yes, .org) with links to NBC/MSNBC execs you can email to try to “save” Tucker.

From savetucker.org:

Liberals want to save the whales. Environmentalists want to save the Everglades. Conservatives want to save the Confederate flag but we just want to SAVE TUCKER.

MSNBC executives are considering cancelling ‘Tucker’ with Tucker Carlson which airs on MSNBC at 6:00pm EST weekdays.

This decision by MSNBC will silence a conservative voice, part of a move by MSNBC to swing left and become “FOX for the Liberals,” dropping any pretense of objectivity or balance. Tucker Carlson is a conservative who brings a tone of civility and his unfailing good-humor to political talk television. Quirky and unpredictable, we love Tucker.

Aw, that’s sweet. Two conservatives said they “love” something other than green pieces of paper and war. And I love the “Liberals want to save the whales” line. Yes, sure, I guess. I mean, who doesn’t want to save the whales? But, due to the creeping fascism threatening to overtake our country, whale are kind of a low priority right now. First we save the constitution, and the republic, then the whales. Kay?

Maybe MSNBC will bring back Donahue after they axe Tucker. If they do, I hope he spends the entire first show saying “I told you so” over and over.

Another small point, a bone of contention among progressives: MSNBC has one show that is liberal/progressive, Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann. It isn’t even biased, it just features some stories told with research and facts that the other news programs ignore. It seems biased and tilted “left” because the entire rest of the network and cable news programs tilt so far to the right. On a true political spectrum, Countdown is firmly in the center, with Keith’s “special comments” sometimes just left of center.

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Filed under keith olbermann, msnbc, phil donahue, snark, tucker carlson

New Direction

This blog has a new title and a new direction. I realized some time ago that I enjoy reading buzzflash, truthout, truthdig, rawstory, talkingpointsmemo, bradblog etc. etc. more than trying to do what they do. I’ve got little free time and less talent. Therefore I can’t stay current or be as insightful as mega-prolific bloggers on the IBC like the workaday liberal, prof marcus and liberal doomsayer.

I’m instead going to try to focus more on quality over quantity, and branch out to more union (my local as well as general union-related stuff), local news and religious themes as well as politics. I will, however, probably still blog fairly often about the topic that sticks in my craw the most: the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration.

Below are A quote by Teddy Roosevelt, a poem about war from the front cover of The Salvationist magazine (November 10, 2007), and a passage from the old testament book of Job. All three seem especially moving to me of late.

To those who support the Iraq War with a bumber sticker and shopping trips, talk radio hosts, “greed is good” Libertarians, etc:

“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

Theodore Roosevelt

To those who discuss any war in bloodless terms like “precision strikes” and “collateral damage”:

From Passchendaele

to Flanders fields

Old pictures tell us
nothing’s changed,

Since Adam’s fall
so long ago

Our souls are poisoned
minds deranged.

And still men fall
on battlefields

Where fury finds
its raw release,

And brave hearts die
so far from home

While mothers kneel
and pray for peace

Uncredited, on the back cover on the november 10, 2007 Salvationist (google search turned up nothing)

And finally, because, like Howard Dean, Job is my favorite book in the New Testament (kidding). Rather, because I love the language and the images of this passage:

12 “A word was secretly brought to me,
my ears caught a whisper of it.

13 Amid disquieting dreams in the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,

14 fear and trembling seized me
and made all my bones shake.

15 A spirit glided past my face,
and the hair on my body stood on end.

16 It stopped,
but I could not tell what it was.
A form stood before my eyes,
and I heard a hushed voice:

17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
Can a man be more pure than his Maker?


Job 4:12-17. The passage always gives me chills. Job 4:18-21 state in no uncertain terms that the answer to the questions “Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?” is no on both counts. But a careful reading of the entire book of Job will reveal the opposite is true. God is fallible–according to the events of the book of Job. Read the book if you don’t believe me.

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CO Republican congresswoman OKs college financial aid for millionaires

Why should some rich businesspeople pay for their kid’s college tuition when they can get crony congressmen to insert loopholes in bills which will allow their scion to qualify for need-based financial aid?

From Financial Aid for the Rich (US News & World Report Nov 26-Dec 3) by Kim Clark:

A little-noticed loophole written into federal college financial aid rules allows the children of wealthy entrepreneurs to collect aid intended for the needy.

In a bill passed last year, Congress decreed that when determining how much each family can afford to contribute to a child’s college education, the federal government should not consider the assets of owners of businesses with 100 full-time employees or fewer. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado inserted this exemption, noting at the time that small-business owners should be treated the same as family farmers, who aren’t expected to mortgage their property to pay for college. Musgrave, a Republican, did not respond to requests for comment. The federal government will still consider the income of all business owners.

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave
(David Zalubowski/AP)

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Richard Robb of Mayo helped develop this ‘vision dome’ to immerse doctors in a scan, letting them travel through the insides of a heart. (JEFFREY MACMILLAN FOR USN&WR)
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A change in the law was needed because it can be difficult and expensive for owners of truly small businesses to tap the value of assets such as tools or inventory to pay tuition bills, says James A. Boyle, president of College Parents of America. But, he adds, “100 employees is kind of stretching it.”

Accountants and financial planners are now developing strategies to help wealthy entrepreneurs take legal advantage of this new federal definition of “need” by minimizing incomes and storing wealth as business assets.

Matt Geherin, a financial consultant in Rochester, N.Y., helped a client move property worth $700,000 into a limited partnership to reduce taxes and improve his children’s eligibility for need-based aid. The new exemption could “change our advice profoundly,” he says.

Somehow I don’t think the income and wealth of a business owner with 99–or even 25, employees is comparable to a “family farmer”. This deal reeks. Its just another bennie for the elite; a Christmas present to the “haves and the have more” from their sycophants in the GOP.

When I was in high school filling out applications for college, financial aid, grants, scholarships et al, my parents (mom especially) told me about the crooked playing field of financial aid: How the wealthy can game the system by moving/hiding assets and/or setting-up their children as financial independents. My mother seemed to think the wealthy accomplished this by finding their kids their own apartment–paid for by mom and dad, and not claiming them as dependents for tax deduction purposes. There’s probably more steps involved, and I don’t know for certain if this works, but the above story from US News makes me fairly confident its possible.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the thought the people able to afford their children’s higher education STEALING precious financial aid funds meant for the needy raises my blood pressure.

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Filed under class warfare, financial aid, GOP

Dennis Kucinich: A President who’ll get it right the first time

From the Vegas debate:

Impeach them now. Just close your eyes and imagine it. Then call John Conyers office and tell him to act on the resolution to impeach VP Cheney.

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Filed under democratic presidential debate, dennis kucinich, Impeachment

Randi Rhodes delivers "subtle" pro-impeachment message to Rep. John Conyers

Randi Rhodes gave a speech in Detriot for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Peace Action in Michigan on November 11th, 2007. Representative John “I was actually for impeachment before I was against impeachment” Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced her. Randi gave about a 38 minute speech stating what progressive democrats believe in, and also laid out numerous high crimes and misdemeanors of Mr’s Bush and Cheney. Her speech’s pro-impeachment message was aimed especially at Mr. Conyers, who was sitting about 20 feet away from the podium.

The video is long, Randi’s “We believe” theme is gratingly repetitive by the end, and you can tell she is scared to death of public speaking, but her message is clear, eloquent, and 100% true. Definitely worth watching.

All those who support starting impeachment proceedings against VP Richard B. Cheney should call Rep. Conyers and let their voice be heard.

America has no King. America needs no King. Save the Republic–Impeach Bush and Cheney.

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Filed under dick cheney, George Bush, Impeachment, randi rhodes

US Post Office: Killing Small Publishers is a win-win

I am a recent subscriber to The Nation magazine. To put it mildly, I love it. Unfortunately, Corporatists appointed the the USPS Board of Governors don’t. They love AOLTimeWarner. They love privatization. They love Ayn Rand and kicking puppies and stealing candy from children. (OK–I’m fibbing on the last three examples. I hope!). They love giving massive discounts to Time and other”big mailers”. And they love to give the “little people”–independent voices like The Nation, American Prospect, Mother Jones, The New Republic, and even the conservative National Review–the shaft.

From Mother Jones, Postal Service says killing small periodicals a “win-win” by Jonathan Stein (full story here):

Elijah Cummings was angry. The Democratic congressman from Baltimore represents a district that is home to the Afro-American Newspaper, a weekly publication that is in jeopardy of going out of business due to the United States Postal Service’s recent rate hike on small periodicals. Cummings’ testiness showed when a House subcommittee heard testimony on the rate increase from a host of postal officials earlier this week.

“If these small publications go out of business, is that a win-win?” Cummings asked James Miller, chairman of the USPS’s Board of Governors, the entity that approved the rate hikes, during one tense exchange.

“That’s a hypothetical,” Miller protested.

“Nah, nah, nah,” Cummings said. “You got a lot of businesses that put out publications that are saying that this is going to affect them in a negative way…. I’m asking you a simple question. If they go out of business, is it a win-win?”

“I would say if they cannot cover their costs, it is a win-win situation,” said Miller. “Let me tell you why I think that. Because other classes of mail would be covering their costs.” He went on to explain that every American letter writer pays 200 percent of the cost of shipping his or her letter because small magazines and periodicals don’t pay their fair share.

“So your answer is, it’s a win-win for everybody but the people who go out of business,” Cummings retorted.

“Yes, yes,” Miller said, adding, “It’s not that I’m heartless. It’s not that we’re heartless. We have to cover all sides. And I think the fairest thing is for every class of mail to cover the cost directly attributable to carrying their mail.”

The problem is, Miller’s comments muddled the issue, to put it charitably. Since the 1970s, all classes of mail have been required to cover the costs associated with their delivery, what’s called attributable cost. But periodicals, as a class, get favorable treatment: They don’t pay overhead, meaning that they don’t foot the bill for the Postal Service’s infrastructure, employees, and so on.

That’s a tradition that goes back to the origins of the nation. The founding fathers saw the press as the lifeblood of democracy—only informed voters could compose a true democracy, they believed—and thus created a postal system that gave favorable rates to small periodicals. (George Washington actually supported mailing newspapers for free.) For 200 years, small periodicals and journals of opinion were given special treatment.

Here’s some stupid questions for Mr. James Miller: Does the Post Office really “win” when thousands of small press and independents go “belly up” due to the rate hike? Isn’t that still, like, lost revenue? Or will the PO save more money by slashing jobs due to the decrease in mail volume? How will they accomplish this with the Postal Unions’ “no lay-off” protections?Does AOLTimeWarner and the like think subscription numbers for their mags are really going to skyrocket if they kill off all the independent voices?

I know the answer: They don’t care. Maintaining an informed electorate–HA! Morons buy more crap they don’t need more often. And they always vote for who they’re told to vote for. Upholding the will of the Founders of this country and Framers of the Constitution–Double HA! Those moldy relics? Who gives a shit what they wanted; what they realized was essential to maintaining our democratic tradition? Not the Postal Board of Governor’s or the Board of AOLTimeWarner, for certain.

Their goal is privatization. Privatization at any and all cost. Carve up the Post Office and sell the choice pieces to big donors. Flush the rest. Get the mega-corporations the biggest bang for the fewest bucks. Charge the people premium prices for services they once got for free. Universal service for all? F that. It sounds like a socialist-style entitlement program–which is a big no-no in a free market capitalist society. You live outside the hub cities or in the ghetto: sorry, no mail delivery for you unless you pay for it. No handouts, no free rides, no siree.

In Postal rate hikes, as in life, there are winner and losers. You can recognize the winners: They own islands and wear watches that cost more than you or I make in a year. The losers, as always, be us: Small publishers, postal employees, and the postal customers.

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Filed under mother jones, postal rate hike, the nation magazine, usps

Anti-Gays to flee Massachusetts, the new "Sodom"

This letter to the editor is from the Thursday, November 6th, 2007 edition of the Springfield (MA) Republican:

Gay marriage opponents may flee Massachusetts

After Gov. Deval L. Patrick lobbied and twisted the arms of legislators to switch their votes on the proposed constitutional amendment to ban homosexual and lesbian marriage, it is not surprising that he now wants to legalize casino gambling. After all, one more vice does not really matter. We are already on a long slippery slope; and if we don’t alter our moral compass, we will self-destruct.

While some writers to The Republican wrote to applaud Massachusetts as being tolerant, progressive and the only state in the country to legalize gay marriage, I see a 50-50 parallel that I wish to point out. Fifty votes of the legislators were required to put the gay marriage issue on the ballot. We fell short by five votes, thereby killing the proposed amendment.

According to the Bible, Genesis 18:22-24, the ancient twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were so plagued with sin and homosexuality that God decided to destroy the cities. However, he made the “mistake” of telling Abraham of his plans. Abraham then lobbied God, pleading with him to spare the city if he could find 50 righteous persons. God agreed, but 50 righteous persons could not be found, so God sent two angels to lead Abraham’s family out of the city. God then carried out his original plans and destroyed those two cities. II Peter 2:6 confirmed the Genesis account, stating that God turned Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes as an example for those who would live ungodly.

Maybe those of us who believe in the God of the Bible, traditional marriage, high and ethical standards, should flee Massachusetts, leaving only those who believe in homosexual and lesbian marriage to face the wrath of the God they don’t believe in.

JAMES A. BROWN-Springfield

Let’s hope Mr. Brown makes good on his threat and beats feet to a venue more appealing to him. I suggest the land of Canaan, circa 1000 BC.

As far as his letter, I have a few quibbles about the Bible passages: Abraham haggled with God and got him to agree to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if God could find 10 righteous people there–down from the 50 righteous people that was God’s initial offer. (Genesis 18:23-32) The Angels escorted Lot’s family out of Sodom, not Abraham’s. And as far as I can tell from my reading, there is no mention in the text of God actually looking for any righteous people in Sodom. In any event, Sodom and Gomorrah are utterly destroyed by God’s wrath, Lot’s wife looks back at the blast and is vaporized, and later, in a cave, Lot’s daughters take turns getting Lot drunk then raping him while he’s unconscious, thereby getting pregnant by their father and carrying on the family line. Genocide. Incest. Rape. All in all its a pretty gruesome story, and not one I’d look to for inspiration or instruction.

Truth be told, I’m sick and tired of religious zealots cherry-picking from the Old and New Testament to justify their hatred of those not like them. If you a Bible literalist and you only hate gays after reading Genesis, you really are missing out on a lot of hate. I suggest re-reading the whole book, along with the rest of the Old Testament. El Shaddai (The Lord) hated lots of people back then–often for reasons that were, at best, nebulous. And if modern-day Christians are to award gays with “most hated” status, and back it up with scripture, why is it there so few mentions of gayness = badness in the holy book? If gayness was so hideous to the Lord, why didn’t God put “don’t be gay” or something similar on the ten commandments given to Moses–being as these were the first, and most important, written laws God gave the people? Wouldn’t that have driven home, beyond the shadow of a doubt, how horrible gayness was?

Let’s face it, back then God didn’t need much reason to destroy people–or even whole cities. God cursed the Israelites with misery, pain and death in large quantities because one guy stole gold from the plundered city of Jericho that God had claimed for himself. When the guy came forward and admitted to the theft, God had the Tribes stone him to death–along with his immediate family and entire clan, who didn’t do anything wrong other than be related to the thief.

God’s punishment for adultery is death. Ditto for not honoring your mother and father.

Two of Aaron’s sons were killed for bringing unauthorized fire before the Lord in his temple. Moses and Aaron were killed for not giving God proper credit for giving them the power to make water flow out of a rock in the desert.

God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac, and spared Isaac only as Abraham was about to plunge his blade into the boy’s throat. God decided that since Abraham was willing to kill his only son for the Lord, that he had the proper fear of his God. I guess God thought fearing him was more important than loving him.

God tormented Job, killed his family, cursed him etc. etc. Job’s crime? He was too devout. The Satan (at the time an angel, and God’s arbiter: he decided if Jews were holy enough to get into heaven, or something like that) thought Job was a phony-baloney and suspected Job would renounce God if God made Job’s life on earth hell. Job doesn’t renounce God under a moderate level of torture, so Satan turns up the heat and really heaps on the abuse. Job still doesn’t crack, merely asks if God will explain why he’s made to suffer so? God doesn’t explain why Job had to suffer even though Job had been pure and true his whole life, or apologize, but he does heal him and restore his family and lands. This is a happy ending in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament God also condones slavery, allowing the Jews to own slaves, and long as the slaves aren’t other Jews. He even makes a code of laws governing the treatment of slaves, allowing a master to beat their slave with a rod, as long as they don’t beat the slave so savagely that the slave needs more than 3 days to recover from his/her beating.

God orders genocide in the Old Testament, making the Jews exterminate certain defeated peoples. In several cases, after a city’s army is defeated, God orders the Jews to kill every man, woman, child and animal in the city, then burn it to the ground. He then has the Jews pour salt over the scorched earth, so that nothing will grow there.

Polygamy was also OK with God. David and Soloman had scads of wifes and concubines (sex slaves). Abraham had two wives. In fact, most Jewish men did. Big families equaled big tribes, which were essential for survival.

I could go on all night with these anecdotes from the Holy Bible. My point is this: unless you plan on following all the laws/edicts/demands of the Old Testament God, don’t take one or two passages of anti-gay sentiment and demonize and condemn a fairly large segment of the world population. So, unless you’re going to be a slave-owning genocidal polygamist, you probably should just let go of your anti-gay tendecies. Anytime one goes to the Old Testament for guidance, it’s important to remember we’re talking about stories and laws governing a people at the dawn of human civilization, thousands of years ago. Might the anti-gay stuff have been included because gays don’t, and didn’t, procreate? No babies meant small tribes, which was a big no-no in those times. Large, often polygamous and incestuous, families meant large tribes, and large tribes meant large armies to attack or defend against other tribes. Big tribes survived, and small tribes were slaughtered and/or enslaved. This is one reason I can think of that openly gay people were persecuted. Also, as only a small minority of people are gay, being different, then, as it is today, meant you were going to get marginalized and victimized.

After all this depressing stuff, I suddenly have a hopeful vision: I see Massachusetts as it will be after Mr. Brown and all those like him depart. It’s a really wonderful place.

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