Wednesday, July 30, 2008

McCain Lies about Obama

McCain Charge Against Obama Lacks Evidence -

A Week In John McCain's Shoes — His $520 Ferragamo Loafers, That Is

See article.

Mukasey wants a new declaration of war!

From American Civil Liberties Union
This sounds so outrageous, it seems like a joke or something out of 'The Onion.'

Attorney General Michael Mukasey is demanding that Congress issue a new declaration of war so that anyone that this president or the next one declares to be an 'enemy combatant' can be held indefinitely without a trial.

The new declaration of war would make the entire globe — including the United States itself — a “battlefield” where the president decides who will be locked up forever.

With only four weeks left in the Congressional schedule and only six months left in the Bush presidency, Mukasey’s ridiculous power grab should be laughed out of town. But given this Congress’ track record, the Mukasey proposal is no laughing matter. Especially because it also includes a cover-up of the Bush administration’s systemic torture and abuse of detainees.

We can’t take for granted that Congress will reject this outrageous proposal. We have to meet it with an immediate wall of protest that says to Congress: “Don’t you dare.”

I just told my members of Congress to reject the dangerous Bush/Mukasey plan. You can do the same thing here:"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

McCain in melt-down mode?

Fox News reported this, apparently with approval! Quoting McCain
It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.
Apparently that's the sort of off-the-cuff thoughtless remark that McCain tends to make. Mississippi Republican Senator Thad Cochran said, "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine," Cochran told the Globe. "He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me." New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici once said, "I decided I didn't want this guy anywhere near a trigger,"

He ventured forth to bring light to the world

By now probably everyone has seen this column by Gerard Baker, but if you haven't it's here. These are some extracts. If only it would come to pass.
And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness. …

In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.

As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cult of Death

From Emily Yoffe on Slate's The XX Factor.
Samir Kuntar entered Israel on a boat from Lebanon and kidnapped a young father and his 4-year-old daughter. He shot the father, Danny Haran, to death in front of his daughter, Einat, then killed her by smashing her skull against a rock with a rifle-butt. Israel has just released him and others of his ilk, in exchange for the bodies of two of their soldiers. His return to Lebanon is a national holiday. The streets are filled with cheering. What a triumph for the terror organization Hezbollah, which all but controls Lebanon and has long been demanding Kuntar's return. In an excellent column on this, Mona Charen asks, 'What can you say about a people who welcome a child murderer as a hero?'

Monday, July 21, 2008

Whole, separate, unique, living human beings?

William Salatan has an interesting blog entry in Slate about the the South Dakota law requiring doctors to read a script to women seeking an abortion.
The script, dictated by the legislature three years ago, declares that any abortion 'will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.' …

I have to say, it's a relief to learn that the embryo is so complete and independent. I mean, it solves the whole problem. Here's this woman who just wants to be separated from her embryo. And lo and behold, it's already separate! No need to agonize. Just detach it and let it grow. It's separate, it's whole, it's living. Cancel the abortion. Perform a separation instead.

Sure, some cranky district attorney might take you to court, claiming your separation was really an abortion. Make sure you countersue for legal costs, because you've got a slam-dunk case. The law under which you're being prosecuted doesn't just declare that embryos and fetuses are separate. It also defines abortion as "the use of any means to intentionally terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant with knowledge that the termination with those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the fetus."

How can South Dakota claim that you should know separation will kill the fetus, when South Dakota has insisted on informing you, prior to the procedure, that the fetus is already whole and separate?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beyond Sicko

Marty Kaplan has a HuffingtonPost article that claims that the reason we are not healthy as a nation isn't that we don't cover everyone with health care and isn't that we waste our health care dollars on insurance company efforts to avoid paying for care. He says it's a result of
the social determinants of our physical condition. Determinants like income, class, education, racism, the availability of public transportation, land-use policy, environmental policy, participation in the political process and a host of other factors that don't depend on our genetic makeup or our propensity to take personal responsibility for diet and exercise. Determinants that flow not from luck or individual choices, but from laws, regulations and priorities set at all levels of government and in the private sector as well."
Unfortunately, he didn't cite a source for that claim. I left a comment asking for one.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Support the CSU

Go here to send an email to the "big 5" to support the CSU.

Can't get no publicity

Harry Shearer is complaining that he can't get advertising media outlets to let him buy ads for his new album Songs of the Bushmen. So I though I'd give him some free space.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Creating Identity

Tricycle's Daily Dharma has this about "Creating Identity."
When the Buddha confronted the question of identity on the night of his enlightenment, he came to the radical discovery that we do not exist as separate beings. He saw into the human tendency to identify with a limited sense of existence and discovered that this belief in an individual small self is a root illusion that causes suffering and removes us from the freedom and mystery of life. He described this as interdependent arising, the cyclical process of consciousness creating identity by entering form, responding to contact of the senses, then attaching to certain forms, feelings, desires, images, and actions to create a sense of self.

In teaching, the Buddha never spoke of humans as persons existing in some fixed or static way. Instead, he described us as a collection of five changing processes: the processes of the physical body, of feelings, of perceptions, of responses, and of the flow of consciousness that experiences them all.

Our sense of self arises whenever we grasp at or identify with these patterns. The process of identification, of selecting patterns to call "I," "me," "myself," is subtle and usually hidden from our awareness. [Paragraph breaks added.]

-Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book
This is an interesting extract since it lays out two ways of looking at self. The first, which it dismisses as "grasping," consists of identifying with the patterns and processes which are ourselves. The second way, the five processes, are exactly those processes. They are just as real and just as valid as a way of understanding self.

To dismiss the notion of us as entities by referring to it as grasping at or identifying with patterns or processes is just as misleading as presuming that we consist of static components.

We consist of processes rather than things. But processes are just as real as things and qualify as entities just as well.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Conservatives Ready To Battle McCain on Convention Platform

I hope we can count on a good fight. The following is the lead paragraph in a story from
Conservative activists are preparing to do battle with allies of Sen. John McCain in advance of September's Republican National Convention, hoping to prevent his views on global warming, immigration, stem cell research and campaign finance from becoming enshrined in the party's official declaration of principles.
The picture published with the story has this caption.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain and wife Cindy are greeted by Larry Abrams as they walk into worship service at the North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix.
I understand that McCain is not religious. I wonder how much of a sacrifice he thinks he is making by attending worship services every Sunday between now and the election.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008


What an interesting idea. GreenGraffiti, a Dutch advertising company, creates signs by selectively spray-washing dirt off sidewalks and walls.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Support Wesley Clark

On Sunday, General Wesley Clark spoke honestly and bluntly about what it takes to be Commander in Chief. He said that while Senator John McCain's service made him a hero to millions, including Clark himself, McCain's experience doesn't trump the poor judgment that he's shown on some of the most important issues in recent years.

General Clark is right, but the media's been twisting his words and accusing him of saying things he didn't say.

When the media distorts the facts on important issues like this, it has serious consequences. Can you sign the petition supporting General Clark and tell the media to stop distorting his comments?

A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to major news media outlets.

You can sign the petition in support of Wesley Clark here.