Monthly Archives: September 2008

I heart Michelle Malkin (not really)

Here’s a letter of mine that I don’t think will get printed in the letters to the editor (even though I think it’s 100% on the money).

As an American who loves my country and my countrymen, as a veteran, as a good neighbor, and as an Obama supporter with a bumper sticker on my car and a sign in my yard, I’m offended by Michelle Malkin’s latest screed. By insinuating that people should “double-check [their] door locks at night” if they have a Obama supporter in the neighborhood, Malkin has attacked and besmirched the character of millions of Americans and flipped the Biblical command to love thy neighbor on its head: Malkin instead wants you to hate and fear your neighbor.

Many columnists have attacked Obama for his real and imagined failings, but Malkin topped all that. Not content to just slam Obama, she wants to pit Americans against their neighbors and paint all Obama supporters as deranged “cultists” coming to get you while you sleep. As she wrote those words she is no doubt aware that this summer an unemployed, disgruntled American walked into a gay-friendly Church in Knoxville, TN and opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing 2 people. His “suicide” note detailed his desire to kill liberals since he couldn’t kill the politicians they had voted into office. On the killer’s bookshelf were books by Michelle Malkin’s peers with titles like “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder”. A few weeks later an Arkansan was fired from his job and drove straight to the Democratic Party headquarters and calmly shot the Democratic Party Chair dead.

The vast majority of Americans are reasonable, good and decent people. Reasonable people can debate, agree, disagree, and generally get along. Michelle Malkin is not a reasonable person. And her columns are inching towards hate speech (which, though vile, is rightly protected by the first amendment). Let us pray that her hateful words and dehumanization of roughly half of America don’t incite more troubled Americans to commit violence.

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McCain to a tee

I often reprint nasty letters to the editor from my local paper, the Springfield Republican, so I guess I’m long overdue to print a thoughful and interesting one:

Sen. McCain ‘blew it’ on the U.S. economy

As a senior and a veteran – and a registered Republican – you’d think I’d be right in line with those supporting the McCain-Palin ticket. But I’m not.

There are dozens of reasons and I’ll hit a few that many others can probably identify with.

First of all, I’m not that impressed with McCain’s history starting from finishing at the bottom of his class in Annapolis to crashing four planes as a pilot. Then there was his admitted six years of adultery and involvement as one of the Keating Five, the messy S&L Scandal of 1989, and the coup de grace his endorsement of Sen. Phil Gramm’s amending the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that basically eliminated much of the regulation that caused the meltdown last week just shows he has no grasp of the economy or how it all works.

Gramm, a close McCain advisor, was earmarked to be McCain’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury and is also the guy who created the “Enron Loophole.”

McCain totally blew it when he made the big mistake of telling us that the “economy is fundamentally sound” last Monday as a giant sinkhole was forming on Wall Street. He doesn’t have a clue, and is really out of touch. Can’t remember how many houses he owns. I wouldn’t trust John McCain with a dollar of my money.

McCain’s choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate is equally ludicrous. If he needed the women’s vote, why not Kay Bailey Hutchinson or someone else with some experience? Last week, she’s attended the “Close Cover Before Striking School of Foreign Policy” by spending a few hours meeting nine “important people at the United Nations. This sounds more like a SNL skit than a serious and meaningful campaign that will get America back on its feet. I’m voting for the Obama-Biden ticket.

MIKE LANGIERI

Longmeadow

OK. I think Mr. Langieri was spot on with his assessment of McCain.

I also find it very interested that Mr. Langieri didn’t even mention Mac’s #1 claim to fame: his status as a former POW. Mac’s 5 1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton has been his political “get out of jail free” card, if you’ll pardon the terrible, and a little indelicate, pun, and its absence from Mr. Langieri’s letter may suggest McCain has finally over-exploited the signature event of his life. I’m probably making a mountain out of a molehill, but this seems important to me. If you ask 100 people to describe McCain, a large majority would probably include “POW” in their description, because it’s the biggest part of him. I’ve long felt that McCain’s experiences, though horrific, are cheapened when he reduces them to jokes and throw-away lines for political gain. But I can see why he does it, because those tactics have been very effective to this point. McCain has earned the utmost respect for his service and his sacrifice, but do his experiences as a POW pardon him for his political and moral misdeeds? I don’t think so, but they have, and do. McCain’s POW story saved his ass during his extramarital affair with Cindy & messy divorce from his first wife Carol. People shrugged and said “He was in a box for 5 1/2 years, you think he’s gonna still be the perfect husband? Cut him some slack.” It saved his ass during the Keating 5/ S&L crisis. “He gave a lot for this country in the Hanoi Hilton, can’t we bail him and his buddies out when they make some honest mistakes? Let’s cut him some slack.” It saved his ass when Cindy ran her medical charity as a personal drug store. “He was a POW, for god’s sake, you want him to be the perfect, attentive husband? Cut him some slack.” It saves his ass when he makes his goof/gaff du jour, like confusing Shia and Sunni “There weren’t any GD Muslims at the Hanoi Hilton. . .”

I’m hopeful there are a lot more Republicans out there like Mr. Langieri come November 4th.

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McCain tried to privatize Social Security before. . .

. . .and if elected, he’ll surely try, try again.

This Obama ad makes it pretty clear: A vote for John McCain is a vote to abolish Social Security. President Bush and Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain tried and failed to privatize Social Security in 2005. With Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns, AIG et al in mind, imagine if they had gotten their way. If they did, some of the big investment banks that have recently gone belly up would’ve been handling your Social Security “Private Account”. After the turmoil on the stock market the last year, and specifically the last week, your “Private Account” wouldn’t buy you a cup of coffee, let alone food, heat, and shelter in your old age.

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Politics IS like driving

My new favorite slogan, which should be made into a bumper sticker:

Politics is like driving.
To go backward, put it in R.
To go forward, put it in D.

(from a commenter on HuffingtonPost called DebbieinPhx)


On the APWU front, I have been trying to get Union muck-a-mucks to order APWU for Obama signs, posters, etc. for about a week and my requests are falling on deaf ears. I’ve talked to the VP and the Secretary/Treasurer, and both seem clueless that a major Presidential election is about a month-and-a-half from now, and many members of our local might want some “free” (paid for by The APWU’s PAC, to which I donate, so I’m actually paying for a part of it) Obama swag. The Treasurer is a friend, and normally is good about this stuff, but apparently there is a muy muy malo union meeting the day after tomorrow and all the officers are stressed out. Hopefully the storm will blow over by friday and they’ll be able to function again, otherwise I’m just going to ask the Treasurer for his password so I can order the stuff myself.

Here’s a pic of the Postal Workers for Obama Tee (which isn’t free, but is a bargain at $10 for a Union-made, American-made screen-printed tee):


APWU Offers Campaign Material In Support of Obama’s Candidacy

APWU Web News Article #79-08, Sept. 3, 2008

With enthusiasm for Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for president running high among postal workers, the APWU is offering a wealth of material online to support his candidacy.

Locals and state organizations that wish to assist in Obama’s historic run for the White House can order posters, bumper stickers, and yard signs bearing the slogan Postal Workers Back Obama. Buttons with Obama’s likeness also are offered. These items will be sent to locals and state organizations free-of-charge, with the costs born by APWU COPA.

T-Shirts are available at $10 apiece.

In addition, flyers are available covering topics such as Obama’s position on the economy, healthcare, labor issues, and veterans’ concerns. Flyers also are available about John McCain’s positions on healthcare, trade, and workplace safety.

Bulk orders will be accepted from local presidents, secretary-treasurers, or legislative directors. (Bulk orders keep shipping and handling costs low, and help locals coordinate support for Sen. Obama’s campaign among their members.) To place an order, visit www.apwu.org/election2008/materials.htm.

Union members also are invited to review information about the union’s support for Sen. Obama, as well as in-depth information about the voting records of both candidates, at www.apwu.org/election2008/index.htm.

“I encourage union members to vote for Sen. Obama, the candidate for change,” said APWU President William Burrus. “I urge them to talk to their co-workers, families, and friends about the importance of this election. I hope the material we have developed will assist in that effort.”

Delegates to the union’s National Convention at the end of August voted unanimously to approve a resolution endorsing the Illinois senator’s bid for the nation’s highest office.


My favorite Palin story so far is from the cover of the New York Post (Wed, 9/3/08 Late City Final Edition). The headline, in giant type, reads:

SHINING KNIGHTS: GOP defends damsel in distress Palin; Chivalry isn’t dead!

The story was about John McCain and Fred Thompson “defending” Palin from the attacks of the liberal left press and the democratic party. Obviously the story was written before the “any attacks on Palin are sexist” meme was rolled out by the McCain and the conservative echo chamber, because it would be difficult to find a more sexist headline and story than the Post’s. According to them, Palin is a disneyesque Princess in need of a stud on a steed to save her. Good thing poor, frail Sarah has two strong, noble gallants like John “Maverick” McCain and “Grandpa” Fred Thompson to ride to her rescue.

What is truly despicable is that the GOP has seriously presented Gov. Palin is a candidate for the second highest elected office in the country while simultaneously denying the American public a chance to “vet” her–and savaging anyone who dares to try. It is only a good strategy if the press and the public let them get away with it.


Anybody who wants to know anything factual (ok, ok, with a few speculations thrown in–but clearly identified as such in the posts) about Gov. Sarah Palin, our could-be VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA come January 2009, should visit either mudflats or the Palin Report. Mudflats is an Alaskan and has photos and videos of the Palin rally and Palin protests from Tuesday, with commentary. Apparently the people of Alaska are adamant about letting us voters in the “lower 48” know that a lot of folks in Alaska DON’T THINK GOV. PALIN IS QUALIFIED TO BE THE GOVERNOR OF ALASKA, LET ALONE THE VP OF THE USA.


Great news America, you just bought the world’s largest insurance company for $85 billion!

From ABC news:

As another financial crisis loomed with the possible collapse of insurance giant American International Group (AIG), the Federal Reserve stepped in Tuesday evening to take control of the company by providing up to $85 billion in loans.

AIG

(ABCNEWS.com)

With taxpayer dollars now supporting the world’s largest insurance company, the government hopes that Wednesday morning, when the doors open for business at AIG offices around the world, it will be seem like business as usual.

With the recent dramatic changes on Wall Street, it is anything but.

With more than 74 million customers around the globe, AIG provides coverage for everything from cars to homes to businesses. And with more than $1 trillion in assets and more than 116,000 employees, AIG’s looming collapse pushed the nation’s central bank to take the dramatic step of bailing out the company, fearing its failure could have resulted in greater financial instability, higher borrowing costs, reduced household wealth and weaker national economic growth.

Of course, the down side to buying an insurance company with billions and billions in worthless paper is that they’ll sell us (the taxpayers) the worthless paper and keep their assets. This is the free market at its finest: Lie; cheat; steal; and when you get caught, blame everything on the government while simultaneously begging them to bail your worthless a** out.

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Full Text of Anne Kilkenny Letter (RE: Sarah Palin)

Via andrys.com, Aka Warrior Librarians (?), here is the infamous
Anne Kilkenny letter regarding Alaska Gov. and Republican VP
Candidate Sarah Palin. Note I've included Anne Kilkenny's
name but not her email--but really, everybody
on the internet has both by now.


From Alaska: The Palin Letter


A note to all by Anne Kilkenny
Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the
last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in
common: their gender and their good looks. :)

You have my permission to forward this to your friends/email contacts
with my name and email address attached, but please do not post it on
any websites, as there are too many kooks out there . . .

Thanks,
Anne

[ Note by web_admin: This was already posted on Washington Independent
comments area and was meant by the author to be read by many, but
readers need sourcing. The NY Times has talked with Anne since.
]

ABOUT SARAH PALIN
I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular
girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and
won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because
she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She
kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents
for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby.
There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out
there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a
champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly
sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his
work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or
so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their
major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything
like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6
years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over
33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the
City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation
(1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she
promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration
weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed
money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it
with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage
the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said
she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a
new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece
of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was
still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it
would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that
could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus
in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will
make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while
she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's
surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected
City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated”
her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top
cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure
and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that
an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't
fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation
for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she
later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded
for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew
her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in
help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got
the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one
of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no
background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great
job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party)
engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some
undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all
her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and
garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a
gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from
Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel
politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to
nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing
projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative
action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant
she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated
them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a
fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly
stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's
mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package
of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march
to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to
global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state
initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from
pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the
state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s
lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.


CLAIM VS FACT
•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since
•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill
that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to
promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby
BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life
legislation
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has
residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city
administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores
and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city
without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built
streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on
residents
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union
doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim
that she is pro-labor/pro-union.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?
First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed
voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting
programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny +
Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen
when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because
few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out
of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no
fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will
cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100
or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's
attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to
say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

CAVEATS
I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in
spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor)
from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of
Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust
for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible
for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are
swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the
population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The
day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the
current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was
5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to
2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008

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McCain smears Obama and Boy Scouts

It’s sad that the Rovian influence can warp even a decent man and a former POW. After deploring the vile attacks of Rove et al in 2000, John McCain has embraced them in 2008.

The newest low: An attack ad which claims Barack Obama wants comprehensive sex education for Kindergartners. The truth: Barack Obama wants kindergartners taught to tell a teacher or trusted adult if they’ve been improperly touched and if a stranger is around in certain situations.

Another organization promotes the same ideas to kindergartner-age children: The Boy Scouts of America. Here’s the cover of an 8-page comic (h/t Kilzoy) that outlines what I guess John McCain would call The Boy Scouts of America’s comprehensive sex-ed program for kindergartners (they call it the Youth Protection program–and as a former Boy Scout I am in no way demeaning the BSA, a fine and honorable organization).


On the cover are animal representations of (left to right) a Webelo, a Cub Scout, and a Tiger Cub. These levels of scouting cover 1st to 5th grade boys.

Here’s the 3-R’s of scouting Youth Protection program (from BSA website):

The “three R’s” of Youth Protection

The “three R’s” of Youth Protection convey a simple message to youth members:

  • Recognize situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
  • Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
  • Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the Scout know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred

Shame on you, John McCain. That’s not change we can believe in.

Here’s one industrious Obama supporter’s rebuttal:

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The Duke


My poor mother and I see eye-to-eye less and less these days. She is a W. Bush dead-ender, and now, if not a McCain/Palin fan, at least a venomous hater of Barack Obama. To her liberal is a dirty word, and she’s called me a “radical” several times in the last year. I am a radical, I guess, but I still think its a label a mother should’nt put on her son, unless as a compliment.

My mother loves John Wayne. Loves him. She’s seen most or all of his movies, and she feels he’s a straight-shooter and a maverick much like her guy John McCain.

I never disliked the “Duke” growing up, but in adulthood I’ve grown to both pity and look down on the man. Mostly its due to his avoidance of military service in WWII. Here’s a guy who was an untalented B-movie actor and used the war as a way to catapult himself to stardom by making patriotic war films. He stayed behind to nurture his budding career when other, more talented actors like Clark Gable, Gene Autry, Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, and James Stewart went to fight. His mythic and macho, honorable and just depictions of war and warfare painted an idealistic portrait of war for his and future generations of American young men, who went overseas and learned the truth about combat the hard way while Wayne stayed home and got rich. Wayne’s wiki page suggests he wanted to enlist, but more than that he wanted to be a movie star. He ultimately chose the latter.

Evidently the Duke’s non-enlistment in WWII defined much of the rest of his life as a conservative uber-patriot. Wayne’s third wife Pilar wrote in her biography of him, “He would become a ‘superpatriot’ for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying home.” (Pilar Wayne, John Wayne: My Life With The Duke)

The real kicker for why I dislike the Duke came last week when I began reading Nixonland, by Rick Perlstein (buy it here or here or here). From a 1971 interview with Playboy magazine:

John Wayne: “I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.”
. . .

JW: “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from the Indians. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.

Ouch.

John Wayne: B-movie star, chickenhawk, redbaiter, and self-described white supremacist and general racist.

John Wayne wiki here.

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