If Only The Republicans Knew

If you were ever so declined, as I was, to open up and read the 2008 Republican Party Platform, you might have noticed something, printed lovingly, on page two of the pdf document. It’s a few words, barely a line or two, from “America the Beautiful”.

This platform is respectfully dedicated to our
“…heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life.”
America the Beautiful
Katharine Lee Bates

My first thought, though I probably shouldn’t say this, was, “Wasn’t she a Socialist?” But then I grabbed the nearest two-by-four and smacked myself over the head, because I was getting her confused with Francis Bellamy, the author of The Pledge of Allegiance, who, it turns out, is a guy! (I did say I shouldn’t say this, didn’t I? Serves me right.) Anyway, the man who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance did not believe in the same things today’s Republican Party believed in, but they still feel they should recite his words at every political event. Not that I’m trying to say they like to turn patriotism into a political issue or anything. Ironic indeed. Hey, did someone say “ironic”? Just wait, there’s more!

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Saturday night Superhero party!!!

Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
The Flash
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the “Which Superhero are you?” quiz…

Take the quiz and report back. We’ll be here to poke fun at you. ;)

(My) Friends, Loaners, Countrymen – Lend Me Your Earmarks

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In her Republican Convention acceptance speech, Sarah Palin said:

“I have protected the taxpayers … and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.

I told the Congress “thanks, but no thanks,” for that Bridge to Nowhere.”

We already know that she was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it – a classic flip-flop followed by a misleading political speech. But, what about other earmarks? As a champion for reform to end earmark abuse, as stated in her speech, surely she would set an example by not accepting earmarks.

Well, maybe not.

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Oh, the Irony!

Ron Chusid over at Liberal Values caught this little gem:

The words “I fought corruption” should never pass the lips of a charter member of the Keating Five.

–Megan McArdle on John McCain’s acceptance speech

Priceless. Absolutely priceless.

If only it was only McCain who was the liar.  Every single person who spoke at the Republican National Convention was either a liar, condescending, snide or out-and-out nasty.

This is apparently the new GOP.

I luvs me some Barbara Boxer

Bob Geiger quotes Barbara Boxer on John McCain’s convention speech:

Last night at the Republican National Convention, John McCain used the word “fight” more than 40 times in his speech. In the 16 years that we have served together in the Senate, I have seen John McCain fight.

I have seen him fight against raising the federal minimum wage 14 times.

Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Barbara Boxer

I have seen him fight against making sure that women earn equal pay for equal work.

I have seen him fight against a women’s right to choose so consistently that he received a zero percent vote rating from pro-choice organizations.

I have seen him fight against helping families gain access to birth control.

I have seen him fight against Social Security, even going so far as to call its current funding system “an absolute disgrace.”

And I saw him fight against the new GI Bill of Rights until it became politically untenable for him to do so.

John McCain voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time in 2007 and 100 percent of the time in 2008—that’s no maverick.

We do have two real fighters for change in this election—their names are Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

What’s not to love?

Saturday Morning News

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Probes Into Sales of Land

Two government lots were sold for $1 each to a housing corporation that lacked the tax-exempt status it claimed.  More on the story Link.

Four Years Later, Still Sorting Fallout of Republican Convention

The 2004 Republican National Convention lingers on in the expensive and bitter afterlife of civil rights lawsuits.  More on the story Link.

FDA Plans To Post List Of Drugs Under Investigation

The Food and Drug Administration will begin posting every three months a list of drugs whose safety is under investigation because of complaints brought to the agency’s attention by drug companies, physicians and patients.  Just when you thought your prescription drugs were safe.

Palin Not Making Sunday Show Rounds

Only one member of the presidential slate will not appear on the Sunday public affairs shows this weekend and it’s the newest addition – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Democratic nominee Barack Obama will appear on ABC’s “This Week” while his running mate Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) will stop by NBC’s “Meet the Press.”   More on the story Link.

Hanna rakes Carolins with rain, wind, some floods

RALEIGH, N.C. – Tropical Storm Hanna blew hard and dumped rain in eastern North Carolina and Virginia Saturday, but caused little damage beyond isolated flooding and power outages as it quickly headed north toward New England.   More on this story Link.

Students at Tempe school recognized for mentoring effort

During the past few years, there have been waiting lists to get into the school’s Best Buddies chapter, part of an international mentoring program that pairs a typical teen peer and a student “buddy” with an intellectual disability.  What a great story Link.
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Palin: The Real Scandal-Toxic Policies

Seen from the air, Sarah Palin’s state is an environmental wonderland. From Anchorage to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, there is a vast landscape of snow-capped peaks, fjords, crystal glaciers, coastal lagoons, wide river deltas and tundra.

The guardian of this wilderness – and Governor of Alaska – has, this week, become one of the most recognizable faces in the world. But behind her beaming smile and wholesome family values is a woman aligned with the big oil and coal firms that are racing to exploit Alaska’s vast energy reserves. In the short term, that has bought her popularity at home.

It is a stance that guaranteed John McCain’s new running mate a rapturous reception at the Republican convention this week where the response to the coming energy crisis was a chant of “drill, baby, drill”.  But the woman who could soon be a 72-year-old’s heartbeat away from the United States presidency has an environmental policy so toxic it would make the incumbent, George Bush, blush.

Mr McCain has stressed he is concerned about global warming and has come out against drilling in the Arctic reserve. But, in recent weeks, he has wobbled on the issue. And environmentalists are describing Mrs Palin, who denies climate change is man-made, as “either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading”.

She wants to start drilling. She wants to block US moves to list the polar bear as an endangered species. And she has allowed big game hunters to shoot Alaska’s bears and wolves from low-flying planes.  The 44-year-old governor says a federal government decision to protect the polar bear will cripple energy development offshore. As a result, she is suing the Bush administration, which ruled the polar bear is endangered and needs protection.

The US Geological Survey says climate change has shrunk Arctic summer sea ice to about 1.65 million sq miles, nearly 40 per cent less than the long-term average between 1979 and 2000.  In such a situation it was unconscionable for Governor Palin to ignore overwhelming evidence of global warming’s threat to sea ice, says Kassie Siegel of the Centre for Biological Diversity.

“Even the Bush administration can’t deny the reality of global warming,” Ms Siegel said. “The governor is aligning herself and the state of Alaska with the most discredited, fringe, extreme viewpoints by denying this.”

Governor Palin would also like to bring open-cast coal mining to Alaska’s Brooks Range Mountains, an act of environmental vandalism in the eyes of many.  The Palin administration has allowed Chevron to triple the amount of toxic waste it pours into the waters of Cook Inlet. This, even though the number of beluga whales in the bay has collapsed from 1,300 to 350 – the point of extinction – because of pollution and increased ship traffic.

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From a distance: The real scandals

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The real news, the headlines, should not rest on Sarah Palin as they still do, but on the economic situation in the US. So I will start with what I consider to be a major scandal and deal with Palin as the ultimate “Manchurian Candidate” below the fold.

The major scandal I am talking about is the bailing out at your expense of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as reported by the New York Times and the Washington Post. I add here excerpts from major  economic newspapers:

The Financial Times:

The US Treasury has moved closer to a rescue plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two struggling government-sponsored mortgage groups whose fate is key to the future of the US housing industry and financial markets.

The exact form of the proposed government rescue remained unclear, but share prices for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac declined 30.3 per cent and 26.6 per cent respectively in after-hours trading, reflecting investor concerns that the rescue plan would wipe out holders of equity in the groups while guaranteeing their debt. (read more)

The Wall Street Journal:

It is also expected to involve the government injecting capital into Fannie and Freddie. That could happen gradually on a quarter-by-quarter basis, rather than in a single move, one person familiar with the matter said. (read more)


Senior Bush administration and Federal Reserve officials called in top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Friday and told them that the government was preparing to place the two companies under federal control, officials and company executives told the New York Times.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson were present at meetings with James Lockhart, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator of the two companies, and with Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd and Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron on Friday, Reuters can confirm. There were separate meetings with the two CEOs. (read more)


The Washington Post reported that the government would make quarterly injections of funds as the companies’ losses warranted, avoiding a large up-front taxpayer cost, citing sources it didn’t name. Debt and preferred shares would be protected, and common stock would be diluted while not wiped out, the Post said.

The New York Times said most or all of both the common and preferred shares would be worth little or nothing.(read more)

In the case of Fannie Mae the history, as I understand it, goes like this: Founded in 1938 by the government with your money. Then, to cover the Vietnam War costs, what already belonged to you was sold to you for which you spent some more of your money. Then is was provided with some healthy GSE competition,  (Freddie Mac also sponsored with your money) and left out to fare in the shark infested waters of the financial industry, always, as a GSE, fostered with guarantees from your money. Finally saved with your money which nixed your common shares (in short: your money) and now being artificially kept alive to protect the fat cats investments with your money. Impressive indeed. I dare state that, had this happened in France, there’d be Government buildings on fire by now.

Things will get better soon. There’s always this Maverick Ticket running now, which will change all that, standing up against Big Oil, Big Finance, oh yes and Big Business as a whole. Just vote for another Republican ticket and everything will change.

Not so fast! Sarah Palin is a godsend for Big Business! Why? Continue reading

Big Trouble in St. Paul over Journalist Arrests

Journalists and St. Paul citizens assembled outside St. Paul City Hall today to deliver more than 60,000 letters to Mayor Chris Coleman and prosecuting attorneys demanding that they immediately drop charges against all journalists arrested this week as they covered the Republican National Convention

By Friday morning, dozens of journalists, photographers, bloggers and videomakers had been booked by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office in what appears to have been an orchestrated round-up of media makers covering protests during the convention.

In St. Paul this week, a new generation of media makers is under assault by the city’s mayor and law enforcement officers.  These local officials think freedom of the press extends only to their allies in mainstream media.  

For the rest of us, practicing journalism is a crime.

“From the pre-convention raids to the ongoing harassment and arrests of journalists, these have been dark days for press freedom in the United States,” said Nancy Doyle Brown of the Twin Cities Media Alliance, who delivered the letters on behalf of the nonpartisan media reform group Free Press.

Stories That Will Never Be Told

She was joined by a crowd of local activists and journalists, including Amy Goodman and Nicole Salazar of Democracy Now!, KFAI-FM radio host Andy Driscoll and Mike Bucsko, executive director of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild.

“Tragically, there are stories that the world needed to hear this week that will never be told,” Brown said. “They won’t be told because reporters working on them were sitting in the back of squad cars, were stripped of their cameras, or were face down on the pavement with their hands cuffed behind their backs.”

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