Monthly Archives: September 2010

Quote of the Day – Garrison Keillor on Michelle Bachman’s Reelection Campaign

“It’s embarrassing to me and a great many Minnesotans that Michele Bachmann, a politician who is so busy grandstanding and giving interviews on Fox News that she doesn’t have time to serve the people who elected her, represents the 6th District in Washington. Minnesota‘s 6th District has some of the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the state, but in an interview with the St. Cloud Times, Congresswoman Bachmann was unable to name any “substantive” legislation she had passed.”

– Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion

Guest Article: Obama Will Triumph — So Will America, By Frank Schaeffer

This appeared in OpEdNews today:

September 30, 2010

Obama Will Triumph — So Will America

By Frank Schaeffer

Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter — are sticking with our President. Why?– because he is succeeding.
We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.
Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right. Obama’s critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe, the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition from both the right and left.

As the President’s poll numbers have fallen so has his support from some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008 election.

The left’s lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling “prophecy”– snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn’t have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office– none of which was his fault:

# An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries
# Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral
# The worst economic crisis since the depression
# America’s standing in the world at the lowest point in history
# A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war
# A health care system in free fall
# An educational system in free fall
# A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)
# An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left
# A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration”
And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

“Help” from the Right?

What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists — that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office — do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating “racist”, was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly!

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: “No!”

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies, child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at all costs!

“Help” from the Left?

What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in modern history!

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minuets of the President taking office, they’d been “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is stronger than any other president’s has been. Never that mind he signed a new hate crimes law!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how “disappointed” they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!

And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond” “Governing”?! What the hell does that world, uh, like mean?”

The President’s critics left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good measure. Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

The Obama critics’ ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality defining their ideas–say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the President had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation that voted Bush into office” twice!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community in just 12 short months — President Obama:

#Continued the draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Restored America’s image around the globe

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Banned torture of American prisoners

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of the American economy

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort to halt global warming

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stood up for educational reform

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Won a Nobel peace prize

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and balances

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and patience

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of job losses

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants” needing to “water the tree of liberty””

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Other than those “disappointing” accomplishments — IN ONE YEAR — President Obama “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!

Who actually has failed…

…are the Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

Here’s the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters” or hate-filled Republican detractors!

The Future Looks Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts — with a canny and calculating eye to the possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn’t get everything we wanted in the first short and fraught year Obama was in office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays, depending on your point of view) to everyone!

PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president please pass this on and hang in there!

And I am happy to pass it on! – Bill T

Author’s Bio: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author. He is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writer who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director and producer of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as “pretty terrible.” Frank’s nonfiction includes “Keeping Faith-A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps” and AWOL-The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes From Military Service and How It Hurts Our Country.” Frank’s latest book is, “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.”

We now enter the age of Tea Party Arrogance…

Joe Miller, who won the Republican nomination in Alaska with the support of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, isn’t arrogant. Gee, no, not at all. That’s why he cut a bunch of Tweets from his Twitter account. Fortunately, The Mudflats, my favorite Alaskan site, saved a screen dump before he cut them:
So… he’s shopping for office furniture and looking for a House and the election hasn’t happened yet. And Lisa Murkowski has decided to run as a write in… so it’s a 3-way race. And I understand Alaskans don’t like arrogant politicians.

This is one to watch.

The major issues are still there requiring attention… and Congress goes home accomplishing nothing.

This is the kind of job to have. Be elected to maintain and improve our Nation, get swamped by letters and blogs and broadcasters from the great majority of Americans pleading with you to attend to the problems, blame each other for doing nothing, and go home to campaign for office again. On top of that, you get paid pretty well to do all of this.

I am disgusted with Congress, both the people I voted for and trusted and supported and the people I already expected this crap from. As I have said in previous posts, we seem to have no system that works to really keep this political joke from being told. Voters seem to have no real control… that control is granted (and now endorsed by the Supreme Court) to major corporations and foreign countries.

Will questions be raised in the next month of campaigning which will find truth in what a candidate will actually stand for, actually DO? Is honesty too much to ask for? If candidates are prepared to spend outrageous amounts of their own money to shut opponents out of the media (Linda McMahon has pledged to spend $50 Million of her own dough in CT, a state where a Senate election used to find $13 Million as outrageous), will we find out what they would hope to accomplish when (not if) elected?

I doubt it sincerely. And yet, if I decide not to vote, I am paying into the problem. What choices remain? Think back to a country founded by patriots who saw the domination of money (ie: the British Government and The King) and power as a threat to their lives and freedom. What would they say if they saw us today?

‘Ferris Bueller’ Star Jeffrey Jones Pleads Guilty

Findlaw.com, the legal news blo, posted this yesterday…I just found it. Go to Findlaw for the whole article:
clipped from blogs.findlaw.com
Jeffrey Jones is best known for his role as an over the top principal in the cult classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He also starred in Beetlejuice and Ed Wood. In between his acting jobs, Jones added a new credit to his name: sex offender. Now, ABC News reports that Jeffrey Jones plead guilty to failing to update his sex offender status.
In 2003, Jones plead no contest in a case that charged the actor with “employing a teenage boy to pose for sexual explicit photos.” As part of his sentence, Jones was required to register as a sex offender, and as is the case with every sex offender he was required to keep his information updated every year.
The Los Angeles judge ordered the 64 year-old Jones to 250 hours of community service and three years probation for failing to update his information. The punishment represents the importance of keeping sex offender registration information current, and how seriously courts take the offense.
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Ramona is asking such important questions this morning…

I love reading Ramona’s pieces. This one began:

Fox News and the C of C thank you for voting Republican. But don’t call us, we’ll call you.
So, all you “Mad as Hell” people who idolize Fox “News” and their partners in crime, the Koch Brothers, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Republican Party, let’s hear what you’ve learned from that bunch you’ve been following so religiously. What’s the plan? What’s marvels are in store for you when they take out the government and make it obsolete?”

…and then went on:

clipped from ramonasvoices.blogspot.com

Wait a minute–you haven’t asked?  Okay, then.  Obviously you haven’t been thinking about it, but I have.  I’ve made up a list of questions for you to ask as soon as you’ve put all those constitution-loving patriots back in the cat-bird seat:
How soon will all the jobs be back?
What’s the forecast for a booming housing market?
Can we stop paying taxes now?
When will all wars end?
Can we get the the gays and liberals and non-Christians and brown-skinned people out of our sight ASAP?
Now can we force all kids to pray in school?
How soon before the poor aren’t among us?
Do we have to take our guns to town?
When you outlaw abortions are you going to expect me to take care of those little brats?
When DC is a ghost town will the rents go down?Why is Obamacare bad again?

and last but not least (because this one is very, very, very important):

Do you like me?  Do you really, really like me?
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Thanks, Ramona.

Two more deaths to note: Arthur Penn and Tony Curtis

I’m afraid my obituary list gets longer today, marking the deaths of film director Arthur Penn (88) and actor Tony Curtis (85).

Penn, who directed such great films as Bonnie And Clyde, The Miracle Worker, and  Little Big Man, was one of the most influential directors of our time, changing the way films were made – director-based instead of studio-based. He died one day after his 88th birthday.

From the NY Times bio:

1953, Penn was writing and directing live TV productions for the Philco Playhouse and Playhouse 90. Earning a shot at feature films, Penn combined the Method acting concentration on character psychology with the story of legendary Western outlaw Billy the Kid in The Left-Handed Gun (1958). Starring Paul Newman as Billy and shot in crisp black-and-white, The Left-Handed Gun emphasized ’50s rebel neuroses over pastoral spectacle, becoming more of a character study of youthful revolt spiked with dramatic violence than a typical good vs. bad oater.

Tony Curtis, who died last night, was active as a performer for five decades. Not bad for a Lower East Side Jewish boy. Bernard Schwartz (Tony’s real name) was born on June 3, 1925, to Helen and Emanuel Schwartz, Jewish immigrants from Hungary. Emanuel operated a tailor shop in a poor neighborhood, and the family occupied cramped quarters behind the store, the parents in one room and little Bernard sharing another with his two brothers, Julius and Robert.

In the 1950s Curtis appeared in Some Like It Hot and The Defiant Ones, among many others, with major leads that took him through the 1970s. Later in life he did smaller parts, but never really stopped acting. His final screen appearance was in 2008, when he played a small role in “David & Fatima,” an independent budget film about a romance between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Muslim. His character’s name was Mr. Schwartz.

He is survived by his 6th wife and his first daughter (with Janet Leigh), Jamie Lee Curtis.

Greg Giraldo – Dead at 44

The Last Comic Standing judge, frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show and Comedy Central fixture was a Columbia and Harvard Law School-educated attorney who became a master of insult comedy. He died at age 44, four days after an accidental overdose of prescription medication.

Shortly before the end…

Anyone who spends a couple of hours switching around between CSpan and CSpan2 in an afternoon gets a real feeling of despair watching political parties working against each other instead of for the rest of us. For the last couple of days I’ve been watching both Houses debate trade issues (always coming back to how China screws us by devaluing the Yuan), Federal spending on things that are not making our economy any better, and both sides claiming they are addressing the things the American people want them to.

To tell the truth, everything is going to get worse. While the Republicans are working as hard as they can to make sure the Democrats accomplish as close to nothing as possible, thus getting their party’s numbers up in the coming election and perhaps getting control of the HofR or the Senate, they don’t seem to realize that if they gain power the Democrats will pull the same crap on them. If one says, as an American, I’d like both sides to work together, it is pretty much ignored.

So what do these politicians do? They spend most of their speeches on the floor complaining about each other. They don’t do the easiest things… the things that would increase employment (for which we would gladly pay necessary taxes), things that would get us out of military overexpenditures as the last international empire builders, things that would rebuild our infrastructure which the last 25 years of tax cuts have allowed to crumble. What are we able to do about it?

Do we turn into something like the Tea Party which is manipulated by the Republicans and based on white greed and racist contradictions? Do we try to convert our existing parties to be actual representatives of our concerns and needs and not those of extremely wealthy and manipulative international corporations? How do we do it?

When this all ends… when it all falls apart and we are left stranded and in deep doodoo…will there be anything left to turn to?

This is so depressing I can hardly breathe.

________

UPDATE:

After putting this post up this afternoon, I was looking at some videos of Rachel Maddow and found one commenting on the Republican hypocrisy related to the Recovery Act that she did last February. Amazing how this relates to the same garbage going on between parties… and how serious this problem will get if the Republicans take over either (or both) Houses in November. Take a look:

Matt Taibbi on the Tea Party Movement…

The current issue of Rolling Stone has an investigative article by Matt Taibbi entitled: Tea and Crackers: How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster. Allow me to say that it is both amazing and revealing. Here is a brief section… please, please, please go in and read the whole thing… you will not regret it:

By  Matt Taibbi
Sep 28, 2010 7:01 AM EDT

This is an article from the October 15, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.

It’s taken three trips to Kentucky, but I’m finally getting my Tea Party epiphany exactly where you’d expect: at a Sarah Palin rally. The red-hot mama of American exceptionalism has flown in to speak at something called the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, a gospel-music hoedown in a giant convention center filled with thousands of elderly white Southerners. Palin — who earlier this morning held a closed-door fundraiser for Rand Paul, the Tea Party champion running for the U.S. Senate — is railing against a GOP establishment that has just seen Tea Partiers oust entrenched Republican hacks in Delaware and New York. The dingbat revolution, it seems, is nigh.

“We’re shaking up the good ol’ boys,” Palin chortles, to the best applause her aging crowd can muster. She then issues an oft-repeated warning (her speeches are usually a tired succession of half-coherent one-liners dumped on ravenous audiences like chum to sharks) to Republican insiders who underestimated the power of the Tea Party Death Star. “Buck up,” she says, “or stay in the truck.”

Stay in what truck? I wonder. What the hell does that even mean?

Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn’t a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — “Government’s not the solution! Government’s the problem!” — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

“The scooters are because of Medicare,” he whispers helpfully. “They have these commercials down here: ‘You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!’ Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.”A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.

After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.

“I’m anti-spending and anti-government,” crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. “The welfare state is out of control.”

“OK,” I say. “And what do you do for a living?”

“Me?” he says proudly. “Oh, I’m a property appraiser. Have been my whole life.”

I frown. “Are either of you on Medicare?”

Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!

“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”

“Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”

I’d love to go on here, but I owe it to Rolling Stone to have you go THERE.

Another medical test this morning…

I’m killing time in Hagerstown at the Higher Ground Coffee Shop, sipping my coffee while I wait before going to Dr. Khan’s office. I have a “legs and toes” test this morning…don’t ask, I don’t know, something to do with mu diabetes and my nerves…and I had to borrow Elly’s car to get there. To do that, I had to drop her off at work at 8:30, 2 hours before my Dr.’s appointment. Therefore I pick a coffee shop with a WiFi hookup.

This afternoon I’m working on getting some money for parts from my dead car… money I can put into Linda’s Subaru. I’ll start with Brown’s, since one of the guys there said he had someone who might be interested. I’m not sure how much I trust them, though… they could have found my car dead when it overheated two weeks before and I spent over $1200.00 on having a radiator put in and other parts. Shepherdstown is a small area, though, and I don’t have access to a lot here, so I’ll have to give them a shot.

Oops… just about 10:00 AM… time to get out of here……

If You Want To Know Why The Government Doesn’t Work…

…ask Jim DeMint.
This article in this morning’s HuffPo really got to me, especially after yesterday’s Cloture failure on Offshore Business practices.Here’s the start of the article… go in and read the rest:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Jim DeMint
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) raised eyebrows on Monday when his office emailed GOP aides to let them know that he would block all legislation that he and his staff have not personally cleared until the November elections.

Now, however, a Democratic senator is coming forward to relay that DeMint’s threat of grinding the consideration of bills to a halt is nothing new. It has been a formal policy of his since Obama was elected president.

“It is my understanding Jim DeMint has had a standing hold on everything throughout this two year process,” Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told the Huffington Post on Tuesday. “When I have had amendments on a couple of occasions, I have been told: ‘Absolutely, we in the Republican leadership are fine but you are going to have to clear it with Jim DeMint because he has a standing hold on everything.’ So I’m not sure this is a real change from what he has been doing.”
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West Virginia: Here’s the newest TV spot from the Dems…

Vote for Manchin…here’s why:

Clear?

Something new you didn’t know you needed…

A Star Trek Pizza Cutter:

Another Rally at the Lincoln Memorial: Progressive Groups present “One Nation” on October 2.

If you can’t wait for Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert on October 30, you’ll be glad to know about the “One Nation” Rally coming up in DC:
clipped from www.truth-out.org
On October 2 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, One Nation Working Together, a coalition of local, state and national organizations, will host the One Nation March to stir progressives to a similar grassroots activism, with a mission to improve national policies in jobs and public education. In uniting leaders in civil rights, labor, faith and the environment, the One Nation March aims to “demonstrate our re-commitment to change,” a reference to the message that helped elect Obama during the 2008 presidential race.
Among the 150 groups comprising One Nation Working Together are the Courage Campaign, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Communication Workers of America (CWA), the National Council of La Raza and Planned Parenthood.
The AFL-CIO, among other unions, plans to coordinate thousands of union members around the country to knock on doors on October 2 in a get-out-the-vote effort.
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A Quote from the President on the Upcoming Election…

I hope active progressives will take this to heart:

“It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we’ve got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.

——-


“The idea that we’ve got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible.

———

“We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that’s what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we’ve got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.


“If you’re serious, now’s exactly the time that people have to step up.”

Well, I’m serious. And I’m going to do everything I can to keep the Mitch McConnells and John Boehners from dragging us back into the pit we have been crawling out of. Please join me… get your friends to vote, wherever you are (I’m in West Virginia where the Senate Race is now looking like a major competition!)

Sorry, Senator Dorgan… No Cloture on Overseas Business Bill

Requiring a 60 vote plurality to avoid filibuster on the Senate bill S.3816 to tax overseas investments to keep jobs from being taken away from our shores (see yesterday’s post “Why it’s important that we get behind Senator Byron Dorgan…“), the opportunity to correct a real problem was killed by a when only 53 Senators voted for Cloture. This fell seven votes short of allowing the bill to even be discussed by the Senate.

Along with the Republicans who all voted this out was that traitor to the Middle Class  Joe Lieberman (Asshole – CT) who is, hopefully, going to be retired at the end of his term. A vote against this bill really indicates who may be in the pockets of big corporations that refuse to pay taxes to the country they made their mark in as they give 50¢ an hour jobs to Mexicans and the Chinese. I’m beginning to think that some of the Teaparty complaints may have some validity (it’s too bad they are so stupid about so many other things.)

_____

Note: It has just been announced that former President Jimmy Carter has been hospitalized in Cleveland, OH. The former President has been on a book tour where he has been making three or more appearances a day… possibly draining on an 86-year-old.

We wish President Carter our best and hope he is back out on the tour soon.

I really need your support to keep this blog going…

Contribute $5.00 or more and receive one of my classics, Bill’s Barnhart Ornaments, as a gift for supporting Under The LobsterScope.

In 2004 I started Under The LobsterScope during the election season. For six years I have presented the best liberal-oriented material I could find and my own comments on politics and the arts (and a few other subjects).

I need your support to keep this blog going… when I started I was employed and well-paid, but, as a result of the Bushified economy, I was more-or-less unemployed for four years, and now I have retired having reached early Social Security eligibility. Under The LobsterScope is my major achievement each day.

I’m asking if you will donate at least $5.00 to Under the LobsterScope. If you do, you get my picture font,Bill’s Barnhart Ornaments (usually priced at $29.00) , absolutely FREE OF CHARGE, sent to you immediately by e-mail. This font is based on the historic floral and decorative dingbats from the Turn of the Century Barnhart Brothers and Spindler Type Specimen Book. These are classic font images and not available anywhere else. I created the font over 22 years ago and it has been one of my best sellers ever since.

That’s it. $5.00 or more and I will send you this font (partial sample below) which is only available at my UTF Type Foundry site.

Even a small donation of $1 or $2 helps (although $5 helps a whole lot more…and gets you the font. Some folks who really like this blog give even more!) The amount is up to you. We accept contributions through PayPal and the credit/debit cards shown below.

Remember…All contributors of $5.00 or more receive a copy of my Picture Font, Bill’s Barnhart Ornaments (I send you the versions for both Macs and PCs, plus a handy keyboard chart). As I said, I regularly sell this font for $29.00

This offer will end on October 30th.

I appreciate those of you who have come on board every time I’ve put up a new Free Font and hope more of you will join in. Previous donors have received four of my Free Fonts…Bill’s Universal Symbols, Bill’s Cast O’Characters, Bill’s Dingbats and Bill’s Century Marks. Since several contributors have come back more than once, it is clear that this is viewed as a “good deal”.

So please click on the “Donate” button below:

Thanks,
Bill T.

After a rainy night, a sunny day…

There was a heavy rain last night, which is great, since it has been so dry around here throughout the Summer and into the Fall. Our rainfall is a couple of inches below last year and it is not likely to catch up, so any big rain is welcome. And it keeps me from having to water the garden today, saving our water bill a tiny bit.

However, as I got out of bed this morning (at the urging of my dogs who were waiting to walk) and looked out the window, I saw the sunshine lighting up the puddles on our wet back deck and looked up to a blue sky with white, fluffy clouds. And while Yahoo’s weather report on my monitor says we will have partial rainfall this morning, it looks to me like it’s gone.The weather report goes on to say that rain is likely to return on Thursday, so I guess I’ll be ready when it comes. Maybe by the weekend we’ll have nice weather (hope it stays cool, too… the last couple of days have been great.)

Today I’m getting back to my car hunt, in case something happens with Linda’s Subaru and that doesn’t go through. I also want to find out about transferring license plates from my dead car and I also want to see if I can sell the Toyota Echo off for parts. Even a few bucks to go into the next vehicle would be appreciated. Anybody out there interested? It has a new radiator and everything but the engine is in good shape. drop me an email at btchakir@mac.com if this is something you might want.

A Quote for Our Times…

Jon Stewart

Image via Wikipedia

“So two years ago America broke up with you, because you had badly mistreated her. … And you come back rapping on our door, hat in hand, and you say, ‘Baby, I know you love me. But if we get back together, I pledge to you, I promise you, I will still try to f*ck your sister every chance I get.'”

Jon Stewart, on the GOP‘s new “Pledge to America”

And that about sums up the GOP’s approach to the Middle Class…

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Why it’s important that we get behind Senator Byron Dorgan…

Dorgan (D – North Dakota) is the Senator who introduced legislation, S. 260, to shut down a tax loophole that rewards U.S. companies that move U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas. The legislation would close the loophole that allows U.S. multinational companies to defer paying income taxes on profits they make from the U.S. sale of the products manufactured in foreign factories, until those profits are returned to the United States, if ever.  Manufacturers who remain in the United States receive no similar subsidy.

While passage of this law has obvious benefits for the U.S., it has been something Dorgan has been trying to get through for ten years.

You may not believe it, but when a U.S. company closes down a U.S. manufacturing plant fires its American workers and moves those good-paying jobs to China or other locations abroad, U.S. tax law actually rewards those companies with a large tax break called deferral. The tax code allows these firms to defer paying any U.S. income taxes on the earnings from those new foreign-manufactured products until those profits are returned, if ever, to this country. If a company making the same product decides to stay in this country, it is required to pay immediate U.S. taxes on the profits it earns here.

– Senator Byron Dorgan

Examples of products that used to be manufactured in America but now are being made in China or Mexico or other countries? How

No longer Made In America

about Nabisco Fig Newtons, which are now made by 50¢ per hour workers in Mexico. Or Huffy Bicycles, formerly made in Ohio, now made in China by 33¢ per hour workers. Or Etch-a-Sketch. Or La-Z-Boy furniture. Or Fruit of the Loom underwear. The list goes on and on.

And we support the outsourcing of products in two ways. When we go to Wal-Mart or K-Mart (companies that demand our products at the lowest prices) and purchase them we give tacit support to the throwing away of American jobs. But that isn’t the only way we support major corporations who screw Americans out of their jobs…we give them tax breaks for doing it! These are called “Deferrals” and they are totally legal.

We have lost so many jobs, especially in the 8 Bush years when close to 750,000 jobs a month disappeared as work making everything

Made In Mexico

from solar panels to Radio Flyer Wagons went to China, Mexico, and other countries where child labor at 50¢ per hour for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, can create products for minimum corporate expense. It will be extremely difficult to bring jobs back, but without changing the law so that tax breaks go to those who remain in America to carry out manufacturing and not to those who rob us of jobs and send the production overseas.

The Senate is debating the issue today. Needless to say, no Republicans are stepping up to the plate yet and Republican leader McConnell (R-Kentucky) has stated that no problem exists. The President signed legislation today to make $50 Billion Dollars available to banks for loans to small businesses. Hopefully, this will create employment and perhaps see new products manufactured in our country.

One could hope.

It looks like I may buy Linda Bartash’s Subaru Outback…

Linda is getting a new car (through her company, I think… it’s a Ford Fusion that she had to order in Illinois) and when she gets it she would sell me her Subaru Outback (1998 and very well maintained) at a good price. I checked to see if this was a car that could get beyond the 250,000 miles that are on it and, from all I’ve read so far, in well-maintained condition this could get twice that amount of mileage and still be running. With my rate of driving (about 12,000 miles a year) I’d probably be long dead before that amount of miles was hit. The only problem here is that Linda doesn’t know when her new car will get here… it may take a couple more weeks, which would leave me in my carless condition for longer than I wanted. However, I’ll deal with it as well as I can.

The first week of Thurber Carnival is over and I don’t have a call until Friday night, so that’s one more thing I can put out of my mind. Now I have to arrange getting to two Doctor appointments this week and two or three next week. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Perhaps Reality Will Set In…

Rex Babin in the Sacramento Bee:

Perhaps the Teabaggers are suffering from shortness of view…

– and –

Chan Lowe in the South Florida Sentinel (reprinted from 2009):

Perhaps McCain can tell…

– and –

Matt Davies in The (Westchester NY) Journal News:

Perhaps the Congress will get back to this after the election…

– and –

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Perhaps real Americans are uneducated and closed minded…

Art Clokey, Creator of Gumby, Dead at 89…

clipped from www.artknowledgenews.com
Animator Art Clokey, whose bendable creation Gumby
became a pop culture phenomenon through decades of toys, revivals and satires,
died Friday. He was 89.
Clokey, who suffered from repeated bladder
infections, died in his sleep at his home in Los Osos on California’s Central
Coast, son Joseph told the Los Angeles Times. Gumby grew out of a student
project Clokey produced at the University of Southern California in the early
1950s called “Gumbasia.” That led to his making shorts featuring Gumby
and his horse friend Pokey for the “Howdy Doody Show” and several series through
the years.
He said he based Gumby’s swooping head on the
cowlick hairdo of his father, who died in a car accident when Clokey was nine.
And Clokey’s wife suggested he give Gumby the body of a gingerbread man. Clokey
said that though Gumby eventually became one of the most familiar toys of all
time, he was at first resistant to roll out the bendable doll.

Eddie Murphy brought a surge in Gumby’s popularity in the 1980s with his send-up of the character on “Saturday Night Live” as a cigar-smoking show business primadonna.

Clokey said he enjoyed Murphy’s profane Gumby.

Passing on an important message from Howard Dean:

Governor Dean’s organization is trying to keep the best progressive Congressfolk in place as they are challenged by very dangerous people from the right. I pass on this message I received from him this morning:

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold needs our support right now.

For months, polling has shown Russ neck and neck with his right-wing opponent Ron Johnson and Johnson has already spent over $4 million on slash-and-burn television ads to mislead voters and scare up votes. In fact, he’s been out spending Russ on T.V. by 3 to 1 and as of this week, it appears to be working. The most recent polling shows Senator Feingold down by 7%.

This is unacceptable.

Senator Russ Feingold is one of the strongest progressive fighters in the Senate. Time after time Russ has delivered for America and Wisconsin. It’s up to us to make sure he has the resources to fight back and win.

Contribute $5 now and give Russ Feingold the resources to fight back

Ron Johnson is a multimillionaire right-wing Republican who wants to cut Social Security, repeal the entire healthcare bill, and extend all the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for wealthy millionaires instead of helping middle class Americans. He’s already committed to spending at least 15 million of his own money to win. When asked how much more of his personal fortune he’s be willing to dump into his own election, his response was “all of it.”

The good news is we can beat Ron Johnson and re-elect Russ Feingold with people-power.

Russ is running a real grassroots campaign. They’ve already contacted 228,696 Wisconsin voters, opened 22 field offices across the state, and his most recent T.V. ad is playing in heavy rotation. Russ will win not just because he has a strong record of delivering for Wisconsin, he’ll win because he has the best volunteers and supporters working to get out the vote.

In short, Russ will win, because of you.

Contribute now and send a real progressive back to the U.S. Senate

Let’s face it; elections are going to be close all over the country this November. It’s up to us to make sure we take great progressives like Russ Feingold over the top on Election Day.

Working together, we’re unstoppable. That’s why I know I can count on you today.

-Howard

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
Founder, Democracy for America