Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

Brick-and-Happy-Gun logo (above) by Munky Wrench, of Bent Wrench Studios


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend Humor

In accordance with the law taht 87.3% of statistics are just made up on the spot, I happen to know for a FACT that 96.4% of Wrestling Fans vote Republican. That tells me that there's only about a 5% chance that this guy's actually a Liberal with an ironic sense of humor. LOL

Kudos to Silver Star Hall of Famer, FAILBLOG.ORG for making me LMAO.

Friday, January 29, 2010

GOLD STAR AWARDS, January, 2010

Times running out in the month, so I figured I better do this one today.  I could have justified putting this off a month or two, since we're up to 1940, and no one was inducted that year, nor in 1941.  But there's a site I really wanted to let you all know about, so we're skipping to Hall of Fame Election of 1942.  That year saw no Verternas Commitee picks and a single BWAA pick, so this will be a pretty short one.

The Rogers Hornsby GOLD STAR #14: Election-Projection

Now, first things last, let me say that I do not read this blog for the commentary.  The Blogging Ceasar is a Big-Red Conservatitve Republican and makes no effort to hide that. (He earned kudos from Hugh Hewitt for cripes sake!)  The reason that this site is so important to me is that he has, what I believe to be, the single best poll-data, number-crunching operation on the web, bar none.  During the 2008 elections I not only contributed funds, so that I'd get full access, but I was there every single day.  And compared to other poll data sites, his was consitently the most inclusive, the most up to date and had, again in my humble opinon, had the best method for breaking all that data down state by state to predict the outcome of the House and Senate races as well as the Electoral College results in the Presidential Race - by state.  He did this in 2004 and missed the call on, like, two states.  He was every bit as good this time around.  He uses National Polling Data and all available Local polls.  He accounts for the bias of the polling organization, as well as their pedigree. He weights recent polls more heavily and let older ones fall of after a certian period of time.  He uses each state's recent election trands and compares their Red/Blue leaning to the National Average.  And he takes all this info and chrunches it down to not only predict the result, but also estimate the margin of victory, in each state.

So if any of you are serious about following the upcoming elections or the 2012 race, assuming he's still doing this two years from now, I highly recommened checking this out, and even contributing some $$$ to get full access.  I gave him, like, five bucks, and it was WELL WORTH IT.  His site, and the information presented, are why I always say that Senators McCain and Obama were neck-in-neck, essentially tied until the day AFTER the 700 point plunge in the DOW, which happened the day AFTER McCain gave his now infamous "Fundmentals of the economy are strong" speech.  (Senator Obama then asked him, after the crash, "Senator McCain, which economy were you talking about?!")  So it's thanks to this tried and true Conservative blogger that I can say, with absolute certainly, that Obama's pending election didn't cause the economy to tank.  Rather that it was the tanking economy which put Obama over the top.  (In the week following the crash, and ensuing fallout, there were like 8 states that went from "too close to call" to "weak Obama" and several more that went from "weak McCain" to "too close to call."  Like I said, in the end he missed the call on just two states. (One Obama call that went McCain, and one McCain call that went Obama, IIRC.)

Anyway, he's got a good method and he's well worth checking out, even if we do disagree on partisan policy issues.


For reference, previous inductees include:
Ty Cobb's GOLD STAR #1: Media Matters for America
Babe Ruth's GOLD STAR #2: The Skeptic's Dictionary
Honus Wagner's GOLD STAR #3: Snopes
Walter Johnson GOLD STAR #4: Armchair Subversive
Christy Mathewson GOLD STAR #5: Humanism by Joe
Cy Young's GOLD STAR #6: The American Prospect
Nap Lajoie's GOLD STAR #7: The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity
Tris Speaker's GOLD STAR #8: Rational Wiki
Pete Alexander's GOLD STAR #9: Republican Offenders
George Sisler's GOLD STAR #10: Newshounds
Willie Keeler's GOLD STAR #11: Newscorpse
Eddie Collins' GOLD STAR #12: Wikipedia
Lou Gehrig's GOLD STAR #13: FactCheck.org
- and -
Hoss Radbourne's SILVER STAR #1: FAILBlog
Cap Anson's SILVER STAR #2: Some Grey Bloke
Buck Ewing's SILVER STAR #3: Sore Thumbs

Thursday, January 28, 2010

WHY the Republicans will ALWAYS run up the National Debt

I'd like to think that I'm not one to buy into paranoid copnspiracy theories too easily.  I mean... I've said many times that the Skeptic's Dictionary is my bible.  I think Glenn Beck is a delusional loon in desperate need of medication.  So, yeah... I'd like to think I know crazy when I see it.  Also, I'd like to think that, at least in the long term, people tend to be rational.  (Or failing that, then at least in the short term!)  And that's what's so crazy about the insane idea I'm about to present: It's really, truly rational, from the point of view of those on the Right.

In my last post I think I clearly demonstrated that, despite their rhetoric, it's Republicans rather than Democrats that spend like drunken sailors and run up huge debts.  And at the end I said that I'd explain why this is the case, or at least has been since 1980.  And it sounds crazy, unless you're just predisposed to believe ANYTHING about Republican's, but I'm actually not one of those types.  In fact when I first read this from some poster on MMFA a year or two ago, I dismissed it as "liberal bullshit." (Which, as a liberal, I think I'm especially entitled to call out from time to time! LOL) But the more I think about the more I appreciate the genius of it.

One of the things that you always hear from the Right is that we've got to rein in (get rid of) entitlements.  It's a nice buzzword that you can throw out there if you want to sound intelligent to a conservative crowd. (Of course, sounding intelligent isn't the same as BEING intelligent, but you won't get along with these people using your fancy librul edukashun and yer fancy librul LOGIC and REASONIN'.)  ANYWAY "entitlements" is a fancy way of saying, "Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, Food Stamps, etc..." and if you REALLY but into it you can throw in Public Schools, and just about everything else that most reasonable, moderate people have come to expect their governement to provide.  You see... the Right HATES these things.  They HATE they idea that someone might get something they didn't "earn" and that someone else (on the Right) is losing an opportunity to profit from providing it to them.  You see, in their ideal world, you'd have two classes: Company Owners and the Shleps who work for them.  One group would have pretty much EVRERYTHING and the other would have whatever the HAVES felt they were worth.  So... yeah, pretty much nothing.  It's the kind of environment revolutions spring from, but most on the Right think that little more than a bluff these days, at least in this country.  Anyway, suffice to say that ANYTHING that HELPS PEOPLE has to go.  After all, if people stay poor, then the cost of labor goes down, and it's supply-side economic heaven.  (Which is to say, HELL, but I'll save that for another post!)

So they want to kill Social Security, Medicare, etc... But the pretty much know they can't actually RUN on that platform.  President Eisenhower knew this to be true:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

(What happened to these kinds of Republicans?!)

So what to do? How do we get people on board with this?  Well, one way would be to run up huge deficits every year, and get to the point where financing the National Debt (that means the annual interest payments) would end up consuming so much of the Federal Budget that we would be left with NO CHOICE but to gut or cut these programs.  Now it's not like they can do this in just one year.  People might notice.  And congress, and the public will never go along with it, right?  But this has been going on for THIRTY YEARS now! Two or three generations of Americans have grown up knowing nothing but huge federal deficits, and have come of age to the constannt drum beat of how there's a crisis in Social Security and a crisis in Medicare... And by now, we almost take for granted that these programs are doomed.  That they won't be around by the time we retire.  And the media (all of whom are corporate owned, which means all ofwhom are Right leaning) have been very complicit in driving this message home, and in helping perpetuate the narrtive that it the spending levels of the Democrats that are the problem.

And think about it... At this point how DO we fix things?  Well... the right knows that only one or two thigns will happen: Either we cut spending, which will effect these programs.  That's fine with them, that's thei rultimate goal - to get rid of these programs.  Or we raise taxes.  And WHO will raise taxes?  Well, the DEMOCRATS of course!  Because they're the only one interested in sustainable long-term governance!  There only only ones interested in reversing this trend.  Tax-cuts and higher defiicits serve the Republican cause!  But the Right, and their lap-dogs in the media will hammer home the narritive that the Democrats are the "tax-and-spenders" and not showing "fiscal discipline."  They'll never really show you that the crisis was created entirely by Republicans, specifically so they can either gut these otherwise perfectly sustainable (and popular!) programs or be able top paint the Democrats as the party of "high taxes" and use this to win elections and get right back to their agenda of bankrupting the Government... in order to get rid of these otherwise sustainable (and popular!) programs.

At least when a Liberal runs a deficit, it with a Keynsian motive in mind: They want to help the economy, save jobs and maintain people's financial security.  And running deficits by NOT raising taxes and NOT cutting speding will do just that.  But the way these Republicans act, doing this even in boom-times, I can't see any rational outcome OTHER than bankrupting the governement.  So I ask again: WHO'S the party of fiscal responsibility?  The one who taxes and spends in a effort to improve the economy, and help improve people's standard of living, or the one who wants to bankrupt the government, get rid of all social programs, and eventually pay NO TAXES so that they can keep ALL the money, and no one else can have ANYTHING?

I realize that I'm channeling Glenn  Beck at this point, but I challenge you to come up with any other explanation that can reconcile Republican fiscal rhetoric with Republican fiscal POLICY.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WHO'S the party of fiscal responsibility?!

I love it when I hear conservatives talk about exploding deficits. And I love this not only because they only seem to care about it when there’s Democrat in the White House, and/or a Democratically controlled Congress, but they scoff at the very idea that the Democrats show any fiscal restraint, or are capable at all of reining in spending, while they proudly (and stupidly) post about the fiscal credentials of the Republicans. This whole notion is laughably absurd to anyone who knows what they’re talking about, just like the “liberal media” myth is, but if you need some facts to support your arguement, here’s something that might help:

(Click for full-size)

This graph shows the National Debt, adjuster for inflation to Y2K dollars. It's a modified (only for color) version of what can be found on The National Debt Clock's FAQ. It only goes to 2007, but you KNOW the problem's only gotten worse since then. The Right Wing Media keep hammering THAT home, don't they? And it’s all Obama’s fault, right? Even though we’re only about a month into the FIRST Obama budget, and the budgets for ’08 AND ’09 were in fact singed by George W. Bush! That’s a FACT by the way, not “liberal bias” or “making excuses.” I’ll own up to the deficit from 2010 on, but I won’t take any guff from some blowhard who was silent all through the Bush years, and who thinks that even the 2009 deficit has anything AT ALL to do with President Obama.

There a couple of things about the graph that might need clarifying. First off: Red = Republican Budget, Blue = Democratic Budget. I figured I’d keep that convention. Second, you’ve got to remember that a President ELECTED in Year X, doesn’t start his term until Year X+1 and the budget he passes that year doesn’t take affect until year X+2. So President Kennedy, for example, was elected in 1960, took office in 1961 and his first budget wasn’t in effect until 1962. That’s why you don’t see the first transition to Kennedy's Blue (from Eisenhower’s Red) until ’62, even though he was elected in ’60 and took office in’61. All clear? Good! Now let’s walk through the graph…

The first thing you see is a huge spike in the later Roosevelt years. The cost of the New Deal? LOL, no. That would be the cost of World War II. And it was paid down to a sustainable, strategic debt level within a few years despite another War (Korea) waged by his successor, President Truman. For the most part Truman had a balanced budget, even despite the war, and overall the natinal debt remained constant with a very slight downward trend until his final year in office. Switch to President Eisenhower, a Republican, and you’ve got about the same thing. Pretty consistent debt levels, even a very slight downward trend – and remember: He build a National Highway system! So even given that very New deal-esque / Keynsian stimulus project, he kept his budgets balanced as well. The Kennedy/Johnson years showed much the same thing. Even with the great society progrmas, the National Debt didn’t budge in those years. So far, I’d say both sides are on the same page when it comes to budgets, taxation and spending. (Namely: Pay for what you spend!)  And they’re both showing a restrained, but clearly Keynsian approach to managing the economy. (You can point to an expensive governement "project" is every case.)

Now it starts to change a bit in the Nixon/Ford years. Starting here we see the first appreciable up-tick in the National debt since World War II. Nothing extreme, but it does look like they’re starting to feel the combined affects of not only President Johnson’s social programs, but their own taxation policy, the Vietnam War costs, and the beginning of the economic turmoil that would plague us through the 1970’s. One thing that’s really apparent is that in President Nixon’s second term (three years of which were served by President Ford) not only did we have three years in a row that we ran a Federal Budget Deficit for the first time since World War II but each of these deficits were also the largest we’d seen since the War.  (This is evident becuase at no other previous time do we see as large an increase in the National Debt.)

Now… Given what was going on in the 1970’s, I don’t mean this as a swipe against Presidents Nixon and Ford. Truth be told, I don’t think either was actually a bad President. The more I read about Richard Nixon the more I despise the man, but the more I admire the President. There’s very little you can point to policy-wise to criticize, either in terms of foreign or domestic policy. (I’m not too crazy about his Supreme Court nominees, but hey: I AM a liberal, after all!) But I seriously don’t have any problem with the fact that they ran deficits. I’m a KEYNSIAN! And if you understand Keynes, you’ll understand that running a deficit in a recession (which pretty much describes most or all of the 1970’s! LOL) is no vice. I only point it out because the only people I hear harping on the deficit are REPUBLICANS, and even then only when DEMOCRATS are in office! But up to this point, there is no evidence to support that Democrats even really RUN deficits. I know, I know: It was a long time ago. Things are different t know. Yeah, they’re a lot worse… for REPUBLICANS!

Moving on, President Carter fits the mold, both for the Democrats being the ones to show fiscal restraint, and in support of the Keynsian model of economics. His budgets were wither balanced or ran a surplus, and yet the economy still taked. What does this show you? In addition to bolstering the Democrats as the one who know how to balance a budget, it also shows that a balanced budget doesn’t give you economic success. It as Keynes predicted: In bad times you HAVE to run deficits! You increase spending to stimulate the economy, and you worry about the budget only once things are on good footing again. Cutting spending HURTS.  And it hurts even more than raising taxes does in terms of people incomes.  So President Carter had the wrong plan at the wrong time… just like the deficit hawks (meaning Tea-Bag Conservatives) do NOW. But starting in 1982, the first year that a REAGAN budget was in effect… everything goes totally cattywampus.

Why the hell do these tea-baggers hold up Ronald Wilson Reagan as their idol? If they had any clue at all they should DEPSISE THE MAN! And George Herbert Walker Bush as well! Check it out… Every single year of the Reagan-Bush administration we ran a deficit. Every. Single. Year. TWELVE YEARS IN A ROW! Recession or Boom-times... It didn’t matter! Talk about runaway spending! Talk about out-of-control government! And not only did they RUN deficits, but they ran HUGE deficits! Every year the deficit was bigger than it had been in any year between Wordl War II and when they took office! I don’t have the exact number, but judging form that graph I’d say at least TWICE as big!  Imagine that: Twelve years in a row of running a deficit that DOUBLED the previous record, adjusted for inflation, and these poeple still claim credability on fiscal matter!  Their audacity in makig that claim is surpasssed only by the ignorance of their supporters who believe it.

And I’ll reiterate: I’m not necessarily trying to take a swipe a Reagan here! I found Reagan to be an inspiring leader, even if I did find his policies lacking. And I actually really liked George Bush, the elder. I’d have voted for him twice, had I’d been registered to vote at the time. So again: This is not MY criticism. It just shows that if the National Debt is your chief concern, maybe you shouldn’t idolize the guys who brought it from just under 2 Trillion Dollars (in Y2000 dollars, remember!) in 1981 to over 5 Trillion dollars in 1993. A twelve year trend of record deficits that increased the National Debt over two and half times and yet somehow these people can still claim “fiscal restraint” with a strait face. Unbelievable.

Oh… it gets even worse for them!

Once Bill Clinton comes into office, we immendiate see a DECREASE in the deficit. IMMEDIATELY. (Notice how the increase in the Debt is about half what it was in even the best year under Reagan or Bush’41?) And even so, if you were around at the time, you’d still have heard Rush Limbaugh, back in his early days, ranting in tirades about how Clinton’s ruining the country, taxing the hell out of us, running deficits… (See? They were blithering hypocrites even back then!) And yet, we not only had eight strait years of GROWTH under President Clinton, but by the end we saw a balanced budget, followed by TWO years of budget surplus. So again… WHO’S THE PARTY THAT HAS FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY?!  (And to anyone who would ask why he could have that surplus immediately, it just goes to show how bad thjings were under Reagan/Bush.  The spendign cuts and tax increases that were needed would have destroyed the economy had they gone it all at once.  At that point we were pretty much addicted to gov't spending and had to weened off slowly.  (And HOW MANY times od we here that it's the DEMCRATS that want to make people dependant on the government?!)

Oh… it gets even worse for them!

George W. Bush. The all-time heavyweight champion of drunken-sailor-like fiscial irresponsibility. Think about it: The man was handed a budget surplus, with low interest rates and a strong economy. Allhe had to do to keep a balanced budget, a suplus, actually, and continue to pay down the national debt was... NOTHING AT ALL! And within ONE YEAR he turned a record surplus into a record deficit! And that’s before the War in Afghanistan even started, let alone Iraq! What’s more, neither war was ever actually IN his regular budgets. Even several years in, he was still funding them with “emergency spending” bills. This was a gimmick to make his budgets look better, and his deficits smaller, but the effect on the National Debt is still the same. Deficit spending is deficit spending, after all. So he’s right back on the Reagn/Bush’41 path. He didn’t even raise taxes to fight his wars! It’s absurd! EVERYONE raises taxes to fight wars! (And THAT was also before TARP, the Auto bailout, the Stimulus, etc…)

Which brings us to President Obama. And here we go again, with the Right complaining about Obama, and the deficit. The claim he’s “tripled the deficit.” This is a LIE however, because his budget INCLUDES the war finding up front, rather than playing Bush’s childish game of “hide the salami” with it. In truth, his budget deficit is up something on the order on 20-30%. A modest increase only, and certainly on par with what we saw during the Reagan/Bush’41 and Bush’43 years.  (When these same clowns were silent about it.)

Now remember… and it bears repeating… I don’t think Bush'43 was wrong to do TARP, the Auto Bailouts or the first stimulus. Nor do I think Obama was wrong to continue these policies or pass his own stimulus. I’m a keynsian, and I aced Macroeconomics in grad school, and I KNOW how these things work. These things were NECESSARY.  So again, in and of itself, I am not trying to criticise Republicans or praise Democrats here. I’ve expressed admiration for both Reagan and Bush’41 and I’ve said before that I was never really a fan of Bill Clinton's. I do despise George W. Bush, I’ve made no secret about that, but overall I don’t want this to come off as a purely partisan hit piece. That’s NOT the point here.

The point, and what need to be taken away from all this, is that if you are concerned about the National Debt, and the annual Budget Deficits, whether you are a tea-bagger or not, there is NO EVEIDENCE, at all, going back almost 40 years, that the REPUBLICANS are the ones who show fiscal responsibility, and the DEMOCRATS are the ones who spend willy-nilly. If anything this is a swipe at the ignorant tea-baggers who are so angry, but have been brain-washed by the very people who caused the problem into blaming it on the only ones who've shown any interest in fixing it! If these tea-baggers had any brains at all, they be voting for DEMOCRATS, in droves!

But hey, since when has the media ever let FACTS get in the way of promoting Right-Wing propaganda?

Coming next… WHY the Republicans keep doing this, and why they’ll NEVER stop!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why Carter should have lost. - OR - How much damage did Nixon really do?

The late 1970’s was a lousy half-decade for America. And a lot of the bad stuff that happened was going to happen regardless. As close as the 1976 election was, it is impossible to think that Ford’s pardon of Nixon didn’t play some part in his loss. What’s more, without the Watergate scandal, Ford likely isn’t even running. And who knows? Maybe someone else would have won! And probably NOT Ronald Reagan. In 1976, the country was not ready for Reagan. In fact, thanks to Nixon’s malfeasance and Ford’s pardon, the Democrats were looking pretty good!

But, just for a moment, imagine if Ford (or some other republican) had won. And imagine if THEY had to deal with (and largely get blamed for) all the crap in the late 1970’s that would have happened regardless. Do you really think that, as malaised and hungry for change as America was in 1980 that they would have gone farther to the Right with Reagan? Not likely. It’s as likely to bet that TED KENNEDY might have ended up our 40th president.

Now… despite leaning decidedly liberal, I’m not an unabashed admirer of the late Senator Kennedy. As a legislator, he had many successes and wielded great influence. As a MAN, I found him lacking. But whatever. As it was, we got Reagan. And with Reagan we got runaway deficits and debt, and religious fanatics like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson gained mainstream influence. We also armed the Mujahadden, led by none other that Osama Bin Laden, to get Russia out of Afghanistan. And we all remember how grateful THEY were for our help. We also armed SADDAM HUSSEIN to keep Iran in check. Which brings me to…

George H. W. Bush. Bush’41. Actually, IMHO, not a bad President all around. Probably the best Republican administration since Teddy Roosevelt’s. But without Reagan selecting him as his vice President in 1980 and 1984, he would most likely have been retired and living in political obscurity by 1988. Not running for President. And if Daddy Bush was never anything more than an Ambassador or CIA Director, it’s hard to imagine George W. Bush running anything but the Texas Rangers. It’s far less likely he becomes Governor of Texas, let alone our 43rd President! (He traded SAMMY SOSA for CECIL EPSY for cripes sake! He was a moron even in BASEBALL!)

So Nixon’s crimes gave us Ford, and Ford’s pardon gave us Carter.

Carter gave us Reagan, who gave us crushing deficits, empowered religious loonies at home, armed religious loonies abroad and Bush’41.

And because of Bush’41, we have Bush’43.

Nixon really was a lousy President, wasn’t he?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My 2 cents (and not a penny more!) on the presidents

One of the boasts I made in my argument on MMFA  reagarding Bush beign a complete failure was that "I could easily name something I liked, and something I didn't, about every president, or what they did, since TR and probably 3/4 of the ones before him."  (That's EXCEPTING George W. Bush, of course.)  So, figuring that I'd better be able to back it up, I sat down over my lunch break that day and quickly rapped out that very thing: Something I liked and something I didn't like about every Preseident prior to Bush'43.  Just to dazzle you with amazing presidential knowledge (HA!) this was done in one go, without going to Wiki or any other site.  It's just off the top of my head.  I have cleaned up the format a little since then, just so it's legible in my blog, but I haven't changed any of the content since I first wrote it, back on Thursday's lunch break.  So here goes:

Clinton, Democrat:
Good: Fiscal Discipline resulting in budget surplus and a growing economy for eight strait years.
Bad: Telecommunications Bill and repeal of Glass-Stegal.

Bush’41, Republican:
Good: Strong foreign policy, both military and diplomatic.
Bad: Weak economic policy due to continuation of the Reaganomics he once criticized. (Deficits, taxes, etc... it's killed his presidency in the end.)

Reagan, Republican:
Good: Restored the pride in America and inspired up like no one since Kennedy. Short-term, his fiscal and monetary policy broke the stagflation of the late '70's.
Bad: Lousy long-term economic policies; brought radical Christians into the forefront of American Politics while at the same time arming radical Muslims.

Carter, Democrat:
Good: Peace between Egypt and Irsael. Arguably the most honest man, with the strongest principles and integrity of any man since Grover Cleveland, but let’s face it...
Bad: The results were disastrous!

Ford, Republican:
Good: Restored as measure of faith to the integrity of the Presidency.
Bad: His pardon of Nixon undermined a lot of this, and had lasting implications.
Ed Note: My next blog will be a bit of musing about those "lasting implications!" :)

Nixon, Republican:
Good: Strong foreign policy, both militarily and diplomatic – ENDED Vietnam War. Strong domestic policy: The EPA, FDA, OSHA, etc... But...
Bad:  better relations with China have led to US economic issues long term. Plus he WAS a crook. (Watergate, etc...)

Johnson’36, Democrat:
Good: Civil Rights Act, and related legislation.
Bad: Great Society was right-hearted by wrong-minded. Should have been carefully designed. Escalated Vietnam War.

Kennedy, Democrat:
Good: Strong foreign policy with Soviet Union, inspiring leader domestically.
Bad: Started Vietnam War and waffled on Civil Rights for most of his term.

Eisenhower, Republican:
Good: Strong leader with integrity. Visionary, who foresaw our current problems with the ‘military industrial complex.’
Bad: Um… he didn’t actually DO anything!

Truman, Democrat:
Good: A leader who took ownership of the tough issues. Ended the Second World War.
Bad: Truman Doctrine was right-hearted but wrong minded – led to Vietnam War. Korean War was the most poorly run war until the 2nd Iraq War. (Other than Vietnam.)
Ed Note: Let's leave discussing the implications and morality of dropping the A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for another post. 

Roosevelt’32, Democrat:
Good: New Deal led us out of the Great Depression and he led us through World War II.
Bad: Was actually tepid about New Deal – didn’t do nearly enough and tried to end it too soon. Gave the same lousy advice to Herbert Hoover before him, actually.

Hoover, Republican:
Good: He was an engineer. (Yes, that counts for something, in my mind!) (OK, not really.)
Bad: He should have stayed [an engineer]: Economic policies allowed the ’28 crash and led directly to the great depression. Was idealistic, but ideals were misplaced.
Note: To his credit, he couldn’t have known so at the time. He did what the conventional wisdom told him to. At the time, even FDR talked him OUT of some new-deal like programs that were very similar to those he later implimented!

Coolidge, Republican:
Good: Didn’t get in the way of the runaway growth of the roaring 20’s.
Bad: Didn’t get in the way of the runaway growth of the roaring 20’s.

Harding, Republican:
Good: OK. I got nothin'.
Bad: He was a crook with corrupt friends whom he lacked the strength and leadership to reign in. One of the two or three most corrupt administrations ever.

Wilson, Democrat:
Good: Arguably the most visionary foreign policy president of all time. Conceived a new way for Nation to resolve dispute aside from War. If anyone had listened to him, WWII might not have happened.
Bad: As visionary as was his foreign policy, his domestic policy was luddite – women’s suffrage, for example.

Taft, Republican:
Good: Continued economic policies of Roosevelt and even kicked them up a notch.
Bad: Not a very inspiring leader. A bit too plodding, too academic to be our top executive. Better suited for his retirement job: Supreme Court Justice.

Good: Strong foreign policy, with strong diplomacy. The man himself was a force of nature. One of the most inspiring presidents ever. Strong economic policy – “trust-busting” issues that no company gets “too big to fail” or to powerful for the gov’t to regulate.
Bad: It may have been more a sign of the times, but the man was a bit of a racist, especially with regards to the Native Americans.

OK... So that's part one.  I couldn't come up with anything good for Harding, and my Hoover good was really, really weak.  And yeah, granted their both Republicans, but they're not exactly ones that the Right usually holds up as shining examples of leadership anyway.  So that's 17 president and I got 32 out of 34 good/bads right off the top of my head.  Not perfect, but I'll take the 94% as a solid "A."  I think that's good enough! LOL

Moving on... the target is now just 75%.  This was a bit tougher though...

McKinnley, Republican:
Good: Economic and foreign policies laid the groundwork for those of TR.
Bad: I got nothin'.

Cleveland, Democrat:
Good: He’s honest. He’s honest. He’s honest. (That's was an actual quote about the man.) Also a strong leader, kind of a Democratic version of TR.
Bad: I got nothin'

Harrison’22, Republican:
Good: I got nothin'
Bad: I got nothin'

Arthur, Republican:
Good/Bad: Like several other VP’s who were thrust into office (Tyler, Filmore, Ford) he really just ran the course. Luckily there wasn’t much going on!
Ed Note: Count this as 1 point out of 2.

Garfield, Republican:
N/A: Got shot too early to DO anything.
Ed Note: Garfield and Harrison'9 will not be counter in the final tally.

Hayes, Republican:
Good: I got nothin'
Bad: A do-nothing who left most of the tough issues for his successor.

Grant, Republican:
Good: Finally got country backl on track follwing Civil War and Reconstruction.
Bad: Although the man himself was not necissarily part of it, the Grant administration was one of the two or three most corrupt in hostory.

Johnson’17, Democrat:
Good: I got nothin' (Although his impeachment was bullshit.)
Bad: Screwed up the Reconstruction.

Lincoln, Republican:
Good: Did no less than SAVE this country from an existential threat. Greatest defender and crusader for civil rights until LBJ.
Bad: NOTHING, he was the best, and just for this one, I'm counting this as a point!

Buchanan, Democrat:
Good: Nothing.  He was the worst, and just for this one, I'm counting this as a point!
Bad:  Did nothing while the country tore itself apart. Supported preservation of Slavery as a ‘States Rights’ issue.

Pierce, Democrat:
Good: I got nothin'.
Bad: Did nothing while the country tore itself apart. Supported preservation of Slavery as a ‘States Rights’ issue. (Yeah, just like Buchanan.)

Filmore, Whig:
Good: I got nothin'.
Bad: Like several other VP’s who were thrust into office (Tyler, Arthur, Ford) he really just ran the course… while the country tore itself apart. (Yeah, just like Buchanan and Pierce.)

Taylor, Whig:
Good: I got nothin'.
Bad: Made little progress on slavery issue – left it for others to address.

Polk, Democrat: 
Good: Oversaw greatest land expansion of any President.
Bad: Extension of Statehood is what kicked the slavery issue into high gear.

Tyler, Whig:
Good/Bad: Like several other VP’s who were thrust into office (Filmore, Arthur, Ford) he really just ran the course. Mishandled transition though, and alienated his own party.

Harrison’9, Whig:
N/A: Died WAAAAY to early in his term to say anything at all about him.
Ed Note: Garfield and Harrison'9 will not be counter in the final tally.

Van Buren, Democrat:
Good: I got nothin'.
Bad: First truly lousy president we’ve ever had.

Jackson, Democrat:
Good: One of the strongest men ever to hold the office. Was transformative in his economic policies. In many ways, he changed the role of the chief executive, and changed what people expected of the office.
Bad: If you want to pinpoint the beginning of the "imperial presidency" it's earliest roots would be in the Jackson presidency.

Adams’6, National Republican:
Good: I got nothin'
Bad: The first president we had that wasn’t stellar. Took muckraking to a new level in his campaign against Jackson. (Though it should be mentioned that Jackson did the same!)

Washington (Federalist), Adams'2 (Federalist), Jefferson (Democratic-Republican), Madison (Democratic-Republican) & Monroe (Democratic-Republican):
Good: All founding fathers, all fantastic successes, all legendary presidents.
Bad: Nothing bad to say, and I'm talking 5/5 here, I don't care!  (OK - Adams'2 wanted to be King.  He was kind of a kook.  Still one of the greatest Americans that ever lived.)

So there you go - 32/34 on the first part, and 23/44 on th second. So only 52% on the second part, but most boast was only that I could do 75%.  So that's about 69%%of the goal, or just D+ work. Oh well, sue me. LOL 

And if you see anything here that you find to be incorrect, remember: This was just off the top of my head, with no research involved.  And yes, that includes remembering them all, in order, and which party they belong to. ("Look at the big brain on Bret!" ~Jules Winfield) So yeah, there may be one or two things I got mixed up.

In any case, I may have exagerated my boats a LITTLE bit, but I'll stand by my judgment of George W. Bush as a complete failure and somewhere between the 3rd and 5th worst president of all time: Better than Hoover or Buchanan, on par with Pierce and Harding.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fun: Conservative Problem Solving

Yeah, it's an old joke, but it's a classic. Here's my crack at it:

(click for full size)

Now... TELL me this isn't apt! LOL

Fun stuff from yesterday, spilling over into today over on MMFA.

I swear... some these cons, even when they don't really disagree with you, they can't just say, "Sadly, I agree." The see a liberal and they HAVE TO argue, even if they end up arguing 99% the same point!

If a Conservtaive wants to bash Jimmy Carter? Yeah: I'll admit that, sadly, he was a very lousy President.  Not the worst - states didn't start to secede from the union (Buchanan) and the entire world wasn't plunged into a ten-year long economic recession the likes of which we'd never seen before (Hoover.) But yeah, pretty bad.

But, if challenged to come up with one single thing he did right?  That's easy.  A lasting peace accord between Israel and Egypt.  He's pretty much the only president since the formation of Israel to make ANY progress towards peace in the middle east.  And unlike some of the other treaties over the years, this one has LASTED; 30+ years now, and counting.  How much easier was/is the Gulf War in '91 or the Iraq War in '03 or the War in Afganistan or the greater War on Terror[ism] knowing that at least one of the major players in the region will abinde by their treaty and (essentially) remain on our side, or at worst neutral?  That's a pretty substantial success, no matter HOW you look at it, or WHAT party you roll with.

So I find it amusing that [Name deleted, but it's pretty obvious if you look at the link!] couldn't come up with ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE of something George W. Bush did right, after dismissing my opinon of Bush as a "100%, complete and utter failure" as merely being left-wing bias and liberal nonsense.

Now... he did admit that Bush was BAD, but he kept accusing me of being the partisan one, the black-and-white thinker, even though all I needed was ONE EXAMPLE and I would have admited that I was exagerating.

But I maintain that it is NO exageration to judge George W. Bush a complete and utter, 100% FAILURE, and somewhere between the 3rd and 5th worst presidents of all time.  He's not Hoover or Buchanan, but he's no better than Pierce or Harding either.

Basically? Everything he touched turned into a big steaming pile of shit.

We weren't just "worse off than we were eight years ago..."  EVERYTHING is worse than it was eight (now nine) years ago!  EVERY SINGLE ISSUE!  EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF OUR SOCIETY (that he had an influence on) IS WORSE THAN IT WAS BEFORE HE GOT THERE!  He did not make any progress on a SINGLE PROBLEM facing tis country.  (Even the one problem he had made some progress on: The "problem" that rich people didn't have enough money? Six years of "progress" was wiped out AND THEN SOME in the last two!  The man couldn't even make the rich richer, even as he made the poor poorer!  How fucked up is THAT?!)

And RightOn (whoops!) at least had the guts to TRY and prove me wrong, even though he made about a dozen posts and still failed by a wide margin. (He sure used a lot of words for guy who wasn't really even trying!)  My challenge was open to ANY CONSERVATIVES.  And NOT ONE OF THEM even attempted to defend a SINGLE THING about Bush!

Egypt/Isreal might very well be the only thing Carter did right in four years, but it's at least ONE THING.  Seriously: What did Bush'43 do that didn't screw everything up

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

THIS is not THAT, Part Three: Affirmative Action is not Racism

NOTE: Nothing to say about Brown & Coakley. We'll see how it all works out. I don't think it changes as much as the conservatives thinks it does, at least in the short term, since the Democrats never really DID have their 60 votes anyway. And the ones who will "run for cover" are mainly the Blue Dogs who we couldn't have counted on anyway. Health Care was an uphill slog as it was, and Brown is more like a pebble in the shoe than a broken leg. What's more, he's from MASSACHUSETTS, not... say... ALABAMA. He'll either be on their Rino list or he'll be hitting the bricks in 2012.

Anyway, I really don't want to talk about that. I want to do the last of my "THIS is not THAT" series. So here's why AFFIRMATIVE ACTION is not RACISM.

I don’t think I really need to define racism.

I DO think that some clarity is needed as to why affirmative action is not racist, or racism. At least… not necessarily. I’m not saying that there’s never been a dysfunctional case of tokenism out there, or someone with a racial quota, but these things are not really part of affirmative action, do NOT really help minorities anyway, and while they may have grown out of a desire to protect a company or other organization from discrimination suits, they are not really effective in doing so.

So, as usual, first things last…

If you run a company, and have you token black, token Hispanic, token Indian, token Jew and token Asian dispersed throughout the company in an effort to avoid the appearance of racism and protect yourself form discrimination suits, guess what? You’re not only a racist, but you’re very likely to lose a discrimination case. The first bit of evidence against you is the very idea that having a token, or meeting a racial quota, somehow relieves you of the responsibility to actually look at people as people. To look at their qualifications, and to appreciate the benefit that a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives will bring to your company. Sticking someone in a job just so you can have a “token black guy," you have not only failed to do ANY of what I’m describing above, but you are admittedly giving him the job grudgingly. And no one will really be fooled by that. What’s more, if another more qualified minority comes along and fails to get a job because your “racial quota” is filled? Well, again, not only is your racism revealed, but this minority absolutely has a discrimination case to make, a hard one to prove, admittedly, as most discrimination cases are, but a legitimate one all the same unless you have a better reason for turning him down than “we already have a black guy in that department.”

The other problem with tokenism and quota’s is the potential for discrimination against whites. The problem with “reverse-racism” (which is a bullshit term, discrimination on the basis of race is RACISM, regardless of the race of the victim) is not nearly as pervasive as the Right would have you believe, but I won’t even try to claim that it’s NEVER happened, nor that a system based solely on meeting percentages would not inevitably result in it happening. In any cases, quotas are in fact already considered discriminatory anyway, and are not a part of affirmative action by design. (Only by unintended consequence, when they exist.)

And remember: quotas don’t really help minorities. Not only will highly qualified minorities face the same discrimination once the quota is met, but minorities performing poorly in position that they are under qualified for and given solely on the basis of their race, to fill a quota, will in turn reflect poorly on the group, and reinforce the negative stereotypes that may exist about that group. So no minority community really benefits from this sort of practice.

And there is an inherently racist problem with arguing that affirmative action is racist: Doing so assumes that the most qualified candidate for a job will always be white. The mere act of calling someone a “token” or (as was said about President Obama and Justice Sotomayor) the “Affirmative Action Candidate” assumes that there was a clearly superior white candidate that got passed over solely on the basis of race. Now… I’m not saying that there wasn’t one, but did you ever notice how the people, who claimed that Sotomayor was only nominated due to Race or Gender, could never point to a White, Male potential nominee that they considered superior? Yeah, some partisans could point to someone who better fit their overall political agenda, but these nominees are not typically considered superior by any broad audience. (Basically not by anyone who doesn’t share that person’s agenda!)

And harkening beck to my “Diversity is not Racism” post, it is also important to realize that a candidate who had to fight for everything they had IS, in fact, already more qualified for a job than an “equally qualified” candidate who led a privileged life. And that was my big problem with the University of Michigan Law School case. (Disclosure: I got my Masters from the U of M.) The case was brought by a white, female applicant who claims she was rejected so that a less qualified minority could be accepted to the program instead. Now, she did make a reasonably strong case: Better GPA, better SAT’s / LSAT’s, extra curricular activates, etc… But there’s a problem, and this why I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision here: The black applicant was more likely to have come from a low-income neighborhood, and to have gone to a poorer school, that offered less support. What s/he achieved was done in an atmosphere where far more that just homework and tests had to be overcome. Their SAT score was achieved despite the inferior schooling they were more likely to have received. Their LSAT score was achieved despite the fact that they were more likely to have had to work a job or two to put themselves through school. This also explains why they didn’t have the same extra-curricular activities, clubs, etc… The person who brought the case went to a private school, had her education paid for, etc… I’m not saying she didn’t work hard, and earned the grades and score she got, but consideration has to be given to the fact that the other student may have had to work harder to overcome things that had nothing to do with her ability, in order to achieve a similar, albeit slightly inferior resume. One would expect that a student who had an easier life outside of school to get better results with less effort in school. And a candidate from the streets Detroit with a 1200 SAT score and 3.5 GPA, probably IS a superior candidate to a Bloomfield Hills, private school, trust-fund baby with a 1280 SAT score and 3.8 GPA. The former candidate, IMHO, has demonstrated not only a superior work ethic, but superior potential and tenacity.

To argue that she got in “only because of her race” is to ignore all that she had to overcome because of her race and the advantages you were given because of yours. And that’s the problem with arguing against affirmative action. I’m not saying it’s perfect. It isn’t. Overcoming the very natural inclination that ALL human being have for like to attract like is not an easy thing to do. But arguing against quotas is mostly a strawman, and arguing against affirmative action is hard to do without making a racists argument, as it’s almost impossible to do so without assuming the inherent superiority of whites.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

THIS is not THAT, Part Two: Terrorism is not War

More fun today on MMFA, picking up where we left off yesterday with Coakley and Brown and eventually meandering into how little Conservatives really understand about economics.  BUT... That's not what I want to talk about.  In Part Two (of Three, I believe) of "THIS is not THAT," I want to attempt to define TERRORISM, in my own words, from my own POV, and contrast it with WAR.

So first things last: WAR, or an ACT OF WAR, is basically any kind of violence or attack on the population or infrastructure of one country, carried out according to the foreign policy of another.  And that last bit is what seperates WAR form TERRORISM.  Both LOOK the same, but an act of WAR is officially and legally the act of another soverign power.  So if Iran blew up something in the United States, it would clearly be an act of WAR.  And in that case there's no need to bring terrorism into it!   After all, an act of WAR justifies a response in kind.  IOW: We'd nuke the shit out of them.  If a word like WAR is sufficient to allow us to do that, why do we feel the need to bring in another one?

So... to be TERRORISM, first and foremost, it must be the work of an individual or group that IS NOT acting on the orders of a soverign country.  Terrorsim need not cause death, or even injury.  Blowing up an empty building can effectively sew fear.   Terrorism is not random: It's motivated by a political agenda of some kind.  That agenda CAN be religious, but it doesn't have to be.  An act of terrorism needs to carry with it the implied threat that it can heppen again; that "we" can "get to you."  There shouldn't be an effort to HIDE who's responsible for an act of TERROR.  To be effective, a group must claim responsibility so that people will know that the act was commited to bring about their political agenda.  That won't work if no one knows who did it.  And there's one more thing, and this is a minor point, and a personal one, but I have a hard time calling anything "terrorism" that doesn't involve a BOMB of some kind.  To me, GUNS just don't cut it.  So yes, to that end, John Muhammad and Nidal Hasan are not "terrorists."  Their crimes just don't fit the definiton and their religion is irrelevant.

Niether man really had any broad political agenda.  Muhammad fits the defrintion of a Serial Killer or possibly Spree killer rather quite well, and if he wasn't Muslim, no one would even be TALKING about terrorism.  Hasan had no real political agenda either.  He just didn't want to go to be deployed. He may have been consorting with muslim radicals, but without his imminent deployment, he likely would not have done what he did, when he did it. His actions were not being done to STOP the war, just to avid his own involvement.  What's more, his actions are TEXTBOOK spree-killer.  If he was white, not muslim, and shot a bunch of people in a school yard or from the top of a McDonald's, again: we wouldn't even consider it terrorism. 

And why should their RELIGION matter?  Is it terrorism if a muslim robs a bank?  Knocks over a liquor store? Steals a car?  Kills his wife?  Kills the man he found with his wife?  Sells alchohol to a minor?  No.  It would be absurd to think any of that that.  But if a Muslim kills a bunch of people?  AUTOMATICALLY we assume it's terrorism. 

It's nonsense in these two cases and here's why: As soon as either man was caught, there was no additional threat.  The threat had passed.  They were not part of a larger network.  They were not the first of many attacks to come.  We knew the minute either man was taken down, that the nightmare was OVER.  That's a feeling that is far better related to serial killers than terrorists.  If we captured Bin Laden, do you really think we should breath a sigh of relief?  Not really.  More likely we should brace ourselves for the retaliation of his followers.  After 9/11 we feared another attack so much we made radical changes to our society to prevent it.  Not so with Muhammad or Hassan.

Also, why are THEY terrorists and not Seung Hui Cho? After all, HE killed a ot of people.  HE scared people. (Disclosure: I'm a Hokie myself!) He even had a political minfesto, albeit a rambling, poorly written one.  Are we letting him off the terrorism hook because he's not MUSLIM?  Perhaps in some people's minds, but it's far more reasonable to do so becuase, like I said, once he was caught the nightmare was over.  There was no implicit threat of additional attacks.

Tim McVeigh fits the definition pretty well without any Religious influence at all.  Blew something up.  Killed a bunch of people.  Had a political agenda - one eerily similar to that of Glenn Beck and the Tea-Baggers, I might add.  One can argue that he didn't "claim responsibility" for the act, but he eventually DID. (And he was caught after just the first one, so we really can't say how things might have played out if he'd gotten away with it.)  As for the threat of more attacks?  Well, we were concerned enough about them to bump up sercurity, change some traffic patterns in Washington DC and install anti-truck barriers in front of all federal builidngs. So yeah - I'd say that we were pretty worried about them.

The guy that I often use as an example of a non-Muslim terrorist is Ted Kaczinsky. He fits the bill: Bombs, killings, fear of more attacks, Political manifesto.  But did he claim responsibility?  Well... yeah, like McVeigh after he was caught, but it went on for a while with Kaczinsky.  He DID however leave calling cards - bomb parts were initialled with "FC" for "Freedom Club," for example.  But unlike McVeigh, his acts were not sufficiently public enough that the really caught the public's attention.  Most of American didn't know anything was going on until the caught him.  So... it could be argued that he's more of just a serial killer that a terrorist, due to the lack of publicity.  However, there's no also doubt that SOMEONE was getting the message and KNEW that these attacks were all from the same guy, so I'd say that counts.

So that's the test:
1) Violent Act
2) Political Agenda
3) Claim of Responsibility (of some kind)
4) Implicit threat of another attck
5) NOT tied to the foreign policy of a soverign country
6) I still say BOMBS or MISSILES rather than GUNS.

And Religion doesn't enter into it, beyond it's possibly being part of the political agenda they want to bring about.  (OK, if Muhammad or Hassan were really trying to impliment Sharia Law in America, they'd be a step closer to being terrorsist.  But neither was really all that into that. One guy was just a nutbag and the other just a coward and a traitor.)  But in any case being Muslim is neither requred nor sufficient to make one's commission of a  violent crime into an an act of terrorism.

BTW... I should hope it's obvious that the "War of Drugs" or the "War on Poverty" of even  the "War on Terror" are not literally WARS.  It's an un fortunate reality that the only metiphor we really have in our public discourse for solving problems is declaring war on them.  How exactly owuld even prosecture the "War on Cancer" for example? Bomb hospitals?  "War on Terror" is the closest thing to an actual "War," but what COUNTRY are we fighting? None really. We're fighting IN many countries.  But were not fighting against any of them. So it's not a war.  It's just a clumsy metaphor for using the military to fight a problem.

Monday, January 18, 2010

THIS is not THAT, Part One: Contraception is not Abortion!

Interesting discussion on MMFA today.  And unless you're a truly brainwashed right-winger, I can't imagine how ANYONE could have a hard time admitting that Coakley's words were cleary being taken out of context, to the point where the meaning of her whole message has been dramatically altered.  But RightOn kept right on rolling, demonstrating that when it comes to partisan politics ENGLISH is apparently not his native tongue. (Reading Comprehension FAIL, though I still enjoyed the debate.  He's one of the guys that I know I can hit hard, because I know he'll come back at me just as hard.  That's what makes it so worthwhile! I really had a blast today! LOL) And should you have any doubts about MY interpretation of her words, here's FACT CHECK's take on it.  From that, it's pretty clear to me who's doing the lying, and who's merely making partisan points that are, in fact, TRUE in thier ads!  And Coakley'd ad, addressing Brown's absurd health care ammendment, alone might have been worth posting about, but Pongowinston TWICE refered us (in the same trhead) to THIS NONSENSE.

Now... first let me handle that laughably hypocritical blog post.  (1) Only Right-Wing morons think that voting for a bill means that you whole-heartedly support every single aspect of that bill.  (And even THEN, only when it serves their purpose too!)  So it's utter nonsense to think that by supporting the health care bill in general, that some how means she anti-abortion, becuase of the one ammendment in their in a vain attempt to pccify REPUBLICANS.  Which brings me to (2) We all know who the "Pro-Life" (anti-Choice) party is, and who that ammendment is in there for.  So don't go trying to make the Dem's look bad by saying their anti-abortion, even in cases of rape.  They aren't anti-abortion at all, ins't that your lot's usual narritive?  And seriously - since when did conservatives start caring about a woman's access to abortion services anyway?  But even putting the author's hypocritical accusations aside, the two ammendments are a false comaprison anyway.

Brown's, which would allow providers to opt out of emergency contraception on religious grounds, is not the same thing as what's in the bill that Coakley supports, which would allow providers to refuse to perform abortions on religous or moral grounds.  (And I love how he says that "even nmore broad" as if only religious people have the right to have principles! Typical RW, Christian arrogance.)  But after reading all this, I thought I'd say a bit about how I see the abortion vs. emergency contraception argument.

I'm actually OK with the ammendment that Coakley can live with, and utterly despise the one Brown proposed.
With regards to abortion, I am 100% OK with a Doctor or other health care provider refusing to perform abortions, in all cases that don't save the life of the Mother.  And Religion does not need to rear it's ugly, horned head in order for this to make sense.  The principle here is very simple: The OB need merely see both mother and baby/fetus as his patients for his hypocratic oath to prevent him from doing harm to either.  I will not put an instrument in someone's hand and legally compel them to do soemthing they feel is immoral.  I will never "force their hand."  What's more, I can support it on practical grounds, because abortions that are not life saving, very rarely (never?) need to be done RIGHT NOW.  A given person usually has options other than the just the one doctor, and if they don't at the time, they still have some time to find them.

 The situation is entirely different with emergency contrception.  In order for this to be effective, it MUST be given within a specific time window.  And the clock is ticking.  If you're in a rural area, and the next hospital is a few towns away... THAT'S NOT AN OPTION.  Niether is waiting until the next day.  Now... let's say the Nurses, Doctors, etc... are all strict Catholics.  Well... the church says. "No contraception."  So... what does that mean for them?  IT MEANS THAT IF THEY ARE RAPED AND FACING A FORCED PREGNANCY THAT THEY CAN'T HAVE ANY!!!  It certainly DOES NOT give them the right to deny legal and accepted medical care to a rape victim who either INS'T Catholic, or decides (as 99% of them do do) "Screw the church, I'm not having my rapists baby!"   And refusing to give someone else emergency contraception is tantamount to raping them all over again.  Worse actually, as it forces them to actually BEAR THE CHILD of their attacker.  It's nothing more than a despicable forcing of THEIR RIDICULOUS SUPERSTITIONS onto someone else.  Your religions binds YOUR OWN ACTIONS only.  It does not bind those of anyone else.

And I feel every bit as strongly about pharmacicsts who refuse to fill birth control pill scripts.  Putting aside that estrogen is used for far more than just contraception, this again is nothing more than them telling you how to live.  Them forcing their values on YOU.  If THEY don't believe in contraception, then it is on them not to practice it.  They have no say in what YOU DO.  YOUR LIFE is none of their business, nor does THEIR RELIGION compel YOU to act in any given way. It is just not thier call. And I would be 100% happy to revoke the liscense of any pharmacist who does business that way. Period.

One final thing, because I titled this, "Contraception is not Abortion," I'd like to use some logic from a RW anti-abortion bumper sticker that I'm sure we've all seen: If it's not a baby, then your not pregnant!  Well... I've already spelled out my thoughts on when the potential for life begins, but let's take that, and apply it to the bumper sticker logic... How about: If you don't have a fetilized embryo implanted in the wall of your uterus then you're not pregnant! Sound good? And how about: If you're not pregnant, the it's not an abortion? Here's another popular one: Abortion stops a beating heart! Well... Not if the embryo never implants in the uterine wall it doesn't! Because it never happens!  And that what emergency contraception does.  It prevents abortion (with is the ending of a pregnancy) by preventing the pregnancy from ever happening.  No reasonable definition of "pregnant" could fail to include an embryo in the uterine wall, and no pregnancy test in the world would detect the embryo until after it implants.  And once it does, no method of contraception will continue to work. 

So, like I said: The clock is ticking.  And the ER sure as hell is not the time or place to force your superstitious nonsense onto a rape victim, and end up victimizing her all over again.  It's absurd, and anyone who would support such a measure fails basic logical reasoning, biology 101 and constitutional law.  Any health care provider who would victimize any human being in this way deserves to lose their liscense revoked.  Period.  (After they've been sued for whatever they can be.)

You cannot have freedom of religion, until you have freedom from religion.  And ALL of the founding fathers knew this to be true, regardless of what the modern conservative revisionist would have you believe.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti, Limbaugh, Robertson, Olbermann

As I'm hearing in now the death toll in Haiti is estmated at 100,000.  I'm absolutey gobsmacked by that number.  It's just... insane.  In a country of just under 10 Million, this is the equivalent of New Your City expericing THRITY 9/11's in a single day.  At least 30,000 MORE than were killed by the Atomic Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. I can only hope that these estimates are wildly exagerated.  I'm just... stunned by this.  Humbled by the awesome power of the earth we live on, and by such a massive loss of life in a single event, on a scale that no American can even wrap their heads around.

Showing their usually lack of tact, and in this case BASIC HUMANITY, Rush Limbaugh and the "Reverend" Pat Robertson were quick to add their usual verbal incontinence to the otherwise common-sense mix of charity and sympathy being expressed throughout the country...


And, you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, "We will serve you if you will get us free from the French." True story. And so, the devil said, "OK, it's a deal."

And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.


I want you to remember it took [Obama] three days -- three days -- to respond to the Christmas Day Fruit of Kaboom bomber. Three days. (NOTE: What he doesn't want you to remember is that it took Bush SIX days to respond to Richard Reid. Six days.)  And when he came out after those three days, he was clearly irritated that he had to do it. He didn't want to do it. He comes out here in less than 24 hours to speak about Haiti.

Oh, this is what he lives for. He lives for serving those in misery. Now don't misunderstand here, folks. See, this is -- I wonder -- I don't have the whole press conference, but I wonder: Did he apologize for America before acknowledging we are the only people on Earth that can possibly help them out down there in any significant way?

That place, Haiti, has been run by dictators and communists. And how long is it gonna be, how long is it gonna be before we hear Obama and the left in this country say that what we really need to do is reinstate the communist Aristide to the leadership position down there to coordinate putting the country back together? The Haitian economy is entirely dependent on foreign aid. They produce nothing -- zilch, zero, nada.

Yes, I think in the Haiti earthquake, ladies and gentlemen -- in the words of Rahm Emanuel, we have another crisis simply too good to waste. This will play right into Obama's hands -- humanitarian, compassionate. They'll use this to burnish their -- shall we say -- credibility with the black community, in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community, in this country. It's made-to-order for 'em. That's why he couldn't wait to get out there. Could not wait to get out there.

Reverend Robertson? Mister Limbaugh?


I'd like to say it a bit more eloquently, but I'm afraid that between the shock I'm feeling over such a huge loss of life, and my anger as these two shining examples of conservative excrement, that I'm just not even capable of saying any more.

I will say this however... Keith Olbermann had some pretty choice words for these two just now on MSNBC...

To "Mister" Robertson (of whom he said, "it is laughable now to try to call him reverend."):

"Sir, because of your tone-deafness and your delight in human misery and your dripping, self-satisfied, holier-than-thou senile crap, I'm likelier to believe now that you are the devil."

He went on, ending with:

"Mr. Robertson, Mr. Limbaugh, your lives are not worth those of the lowest, meanest, poorest of those victims still lying under that rubble in Haiti tonight. You serve no good, you serve no God. You inspire only stupidity and hatred, and I would wish you to hell. But knowing how empty your souls must be for you to be able to say such things in a time of such pain, I suspect the vacant, purposeless lives you both live now are hell enough already."

I don't know Keith.  All the Hell's I've ever read about seem too good for these fiends.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bad words and PC nonsense...

I had hoped to find one with just George Carlin's part, but after watching this, I now think that Richard Pryor's part is equally important. Whatever. They're arguably the two greatest comedians that ever lived, so I'm not going to quibble...

Watch this a few times if you don't get it. No one makes liguistic points like Carlin and NO comedian has a better command of the word "Nigger" than Pryor. It's important stuff, so make sure you understand it before going on...


I want to voice my grievance at all the PC Bullshit being unloaded yeatserday and today on Harry Reid by the Right and Michael Steele by the Left. Steele for using the phrase "Honest Injun" and Reid for predicting potential electoral success for Obama because (and I'm paraphrasing here) "he isn't TOO black."

Let me say, UNEQUIVOCABLY, that I don't believe either statement was RACIST, and neither man owes anyone an apology. (OK... Reid to Obama maybe. By my prez is cool, and he understood and forgave. That's what makes him strong and makes him the man of charecter that his is.)

First of all, let me deal with Steele's case, becuase it's the easier one. There are PLENTY of GOOD REASONS not to like Michael Steele. There are PLENTY of LEGITIMATE things that anyone on the Right OR the Left might criticize him for. Personally? I think he's an incompetant baffoon. (And there's no one I'd rather have running the show for the Pub's, except maybe GLENN BECK!) But calling him out for this is NOT ONE of those GOOD REASONS or LEGITIMATE CRITICISMS. It's nothing more than PC bullshit.

First off... was there even a single Native American who was actually bothered by this? If there was I sure as shell didn't hear any! So he used an outdated coloquialism. Was this poor judgement? In this (ridiculous) day and age, perhaps. But RACIST? How? Unless they were discussing a proposal that negatively impacted Native Americans and he was trying to joke his way out of it, of he just said SOME OTHER derrogatory things, and he was saying this as part of his apology? It's just an outdated phrase. If this is the exent of your evidence of racism, then you'd have to also admit that RIchard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Chris ROck must HATE balck people: They actually CALL them "niggers" ALL THE TIME! And of course, that's just absurd, because it's like that great sage Saint Carlin said: CONTEXT! CONTEXT! Otehrwise it's just a bunch of white liberals acting like the 'PC Police' that the Right always paints us as!(Why do we let them do this?!)

So for christ's sake, please stop attacking Steele with this PC bullshit. Not only do I hate having to defend the asshole, but it distracts from all the other REALLY STUPID SHIT he and the Republicans have come to stand for. I was arguing this point on MMFA earlier today. And I stand by my posts there, including both the fact that his apology was unecessary, but also that he showed no charecter at all for the way he gave it. It should be pretty hard to screw up something that you shouldn't even have to do in the first palce, but boy... HE MANAGED IT. (I TOLD you he was a bafoon!)

Now... Reid's statement is a little more "out there." I can definitely see why people get up in arms about this. But what is Reid really saying? Is it any more than what Dr. Bill Cosby said a few years back? Is it any less true? And - and this is the most important thing - is it REALLY about BLACK PEOPLE, or does it say as much if not more about WHITE PEOPLE? Seems to me that Speaker Reid is lamenting (rightly or wrongly) not only the state of Black Leadership today, but also (much more to the point) the divide between blacks and whites. In suggesting that someone who was [PP] more black would not be electable... Well, for one thing: HE'S RIGHT. (Look at the Rev. Jessie Jackson in '88, or the Rev. Al Sharpton. Think either of THEM would stand a chance? And it's not like they can't speak, or use ghetto slang. They're just TOO BLACK.) Now... Reid is a bit out of touch here, to say the least. I'm not completely heartless, after all! I think his remarks COULD be considered very dismissive of the likes Alan Keyes, J.C. Watts, Gen. Colin Powell, Condeleeza Rice or for that matter Jackson or Sharpton, ALL of whom in some quarters, would be considered legitimate candidates by many people. Our first Black President? No, admittedly not likely. But Reid certainly missed the mark with all of them, luming them into the "Flavor Flav" category. OTOH... his larger point that what would hold them back is the lack of WHITE support that President Obama GOT (for whatever reason) is still valid.

In any case, he apologized to President Obama and the President forgave him. (Powell, Watts, Rice, Jackson, Sharpton and Keyes? Couldn't tell you. Probably not.) Funny thing though... Just as with Steele, it has not been THESE PEOPLE that have really been calling out Reid! It seems that MOST of the shouting has come from RW WHITE GUYS, and it has sounded pretty much like "If a Republican had said that (or if WE had said that) the Liberals would CRUCIFY him (or us)."

Here's the thing...

What Reid said: [he] "believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate" like Obama who is "a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect.'

OK... definitely not winning any sensitivity awards here, definitely not the most enlightened statement he's ever made, but I still think that DR. BILL COSBY would hear this and pretty much be nodding his head in agreement. (Bill, if you're reading this, I love you, man! If I'm way off base here, by all means LET ME KNOW!) And again, it's as much an admission of linergering racism on the part of whites a it is any kind of statement about blacks.

And the thing is... if someone on the RIGHT had said it, it would have probably sounded more like this:

[We] "believe the country might be ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, assuming there was one without that Negro dialect."

Or some such thing. And you know what? They probably think they were the same! Kind of like Rush Limbaugh saying that "the NFL and NBA look like the bloods versus the crypts" is somehow 'the same' as Rev Sharpton commenting on how sports has developed a "culture of violence."

The thing is: If a black person wants to take Reid to task? Fine. Go right ahead. If Obama was ticked. Thas cool. (I can't imagine it, but whatever.) Hell, if ANY liberal or someone with a relatively enlightened view on race wanted to call him out (or ME for that matter!) I'M TOTALLY FINE WITH THAT!

What I don't need is some crusty old white guy, from a party which, for the last 40 some years, has brought into it all of the racist, white south following the civil rights movement, and who have a history of racially charged rhetoric and policy, telling ME or ANY LIBERAL or DEMOCRAT that they're being racist. What's next? Michael Vick telling me I don't walk my dog often enough?

Reid's words were poorly chosen, as were Steele's. But in and of themselves, neither is evidence that either man is a racist. The brouhaha over Steele shows just how PC and absurd some liberals are getting, and the Right calling out Reid is just another shallow attempt on their part to hide their own hypocrisy on the issue by distracting the attention away from them.

They do this A LOT. Projecting is all the Right is really any good at! It's their whole strategy. So DON'T LET THEM DO THIS! It's time we got over both remaarks and moved on. As I said before, there's plenty of things wrong with Michael Steele, and there's certainly no shortage of people on either side of the ailse who also think that there's plenty of things wrong with Hary Reid. But THESE STATEMENTS are not among these things!

Don't let the Right have their victory by projecting racism onto US, or by letting them portray US as the "PC Police." No good will come of that. Get over it. Move on. What's at stake is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than this.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Congratulations, Andre Dawson!

OK... if you're looking for politics tonight, you'll be disappointed. Tonight I want to take a look at the one election that I put above all others: The Baseball Writer's Association of America's Hall of Fame Election, who's results were announced today.

So tonight, it's BASEBALL. Hopefully some of you are still reading!

Congratulations to Andre Dawson. The guy had speed, power a phenomenal glove and was a class act and clubhouse leader throughout his career. I've been a fan and a Hall Booster of his from the start, some I'm glad to see this day come.

I thought I'd go ahead and round-out what MY ballot would have looked liked, if I was allowed to vote. (Players listed in order of Vote Percentage, shown in parenthesis)

#1 - Andre Dawson, OF (77.9%, Inducted)
Played: 1976-1996 for the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox & Marlins: .279 AVG, 438 HR, 1591 RBI, 119 OPS+, 8-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glove, 1977 Rookie of the Year, 1987 Most Valuable Player. What did this guy NOT do? I'm glad he's in, and I'm surprised it took this long. I guess the writers are starting to appreciate some of these guys (like Jim Rice, last year) more now that they realize the effect that steroids has had on the numbers.

#2 - Bert Blyleven, RHP (74.3%)
Played: 1970-1992 for the Twins, Rangers, Pirates, Indians and Angels: 287-250 W-L, 3.31 ERA, 3701 K's, 118 ERA+, 2-time All-Star. I've been boosting Bert for years too. I'm glad to see that he's probably a lock for next year. The guy gets a bum-rap because he failed to win 300 games. He was 13 short, in a 22 year career, playing mostly for lousy teams. (1970's Twins, 1980's Indians, 1990's Angels.) Plus he twice came back from injuries that caused him to miss full seasons. This guy BELONGS. Period.

#3 - Roberto Alomar, 2B (73.7%)
Played: 1988-2004 for the Padres, Blue Jays, Orioles, Indians, Mets, White Sox and Diamondbacks: .300 AVG, 210 HR, 1134 RBI, 116 OPS+, 12-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove. OK - he SPIT at an UMPIRE. That's REALLY, REALLY BAD. But there is no denying that he is arguably the best defensive second baseman of all-time and arguably the greatest all-around second baseman since Joe Morgan in the mid-1970's. He might not be first-ballot material, but he belongs. Average, Speed, flashes of Power and the Best Glove ever? Yeah, he'll be in next year as well.

#4 - Jack Morris, RHP (52.3%)
Played: 1977-1994 for the Tigers, Twins and Blue Jays: 254-186 W-L, 3.90 ERA, 2478 K's, 105 ERA+. Blyleven & Morris combined prove that the BWAA will use any excuse not to elect someone. The punish Blyleven for not ahving enough Wins, even though he excelled in every other stat, and the punish Morris for not dominating the other stats and ignore the fact that he was the winningest pitcher of the 1980's. He was also MONEY in the Post Season YEARS before his historic 11-inning duel with John Smoltz in the 1991 World Series. He was a battler and a winner and he belongs. That being said, I don't think he'll make it. Ever. But he'll ALWAYS get my vote.

#5 - Barry Larkin, SS (51.6%)
Played: 1986-2004 for the Reds: .295 AVG, 198 HR, 960 RBI, 116 OPS+, 12-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glove, 1995 Most Valuable Player. OK, HOW can Robby Alomar get 73.7% on his first ballot and Larkin get only 51.6? They had the same bloody skill set (Fielding, Speed, Average and occasional Power) and their resumes are practically identical. The big difference is the Gold Gloves, but Larkin was cheated out of several early in his career by Ozzie Smith, who won a few late in HIS career based more on reputation than actual performance. Plus Larkin never spat at an umpire, and spent his whole career with one team while Alomar wore out his welcome everywhere he went. Same career, but the guy with CLASS gets 20% fewer votes. Makes less sense to me that the 2000 SC decision in Bush v. Gore!

#6 - Lee Smith, RP (47.3%)
Played: 1980-1997 for the Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Reds and Expos: 71-92 W-L, 478 Saves, 3.03 ERA, 131 ERA+, 7-time All-Star. Now that Relief Pitchers are finally getting their due, can someone please explain to me why a guy who held the all-time Saves record for 13 years isn't even on the radar?

#7 - Mark McGwire, 1B (23.7%)
Played: 1986-2001 for the Athletics and Cardinals: .263 AVG, 583 HR, 1414 RBI, 162 OPS+, 12-time All-Star, 1-time Gold Glove, 1987 Rookie of the Year. Statistically, he's one of the greatest hitters of all-time no matter how you slice it, bar looking at batting average exclusively. (And who does that anymore?!) Steroid allegations are a bitch I guess, and doing your best impersonation of a politician in your congressional testimony won't help any. I know he juiced. I'm over it. He'll be in eventually, once we have a chance to look back at this era from a longer historical perspective.

#8 - Alan Trammell, SS (22.4%)
Played: 1977-1996 for the Tigers: .285 AVG, 185 HR, 1003 RBI, 110 OPS+, 6-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glove. Should have been the MVP in 1987. No question he got absolutely ROBBED. Earlier today, a co-worker told me that the reason he hates Derek Jeter is that there's no reason to hate the guy. He BEATS you, but he shows so much class that you can't hate him for it. And he HATED that! And I realized that this was exactly why I "hated" Trammell growing up. Back when his Tigers and my Red Sox were in the same division, he ALWAYS beat us, and yet was such a class act that you just HAD to tip your cap to him. GOD, I HATED THAT! He belongs. He'll never get in, I'm sad to say. But he should. When they played head to head, 27 of the 28 teams in the league would have taken Trammell over Ozzie Smith. Yet Smith's in and Trammell's not even CLOSE? WTF?! (Yes, I understand WHY, but it's still bullshit!)

#9 - Fred McGriff, 1B (21.5%)
Played: 1987-2004 for the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Devil Rays, Cubs and Dodgers: .284 AVG, 493 HR, 1550 RBI, 134 OPS+, 5-time All-Star. I think that McGriff will get in, especially as the ballot gets more and more loaded down with steroid cases. I don't they'll pull a Bert Blyleven on him and say, "Well, he fell short of 500 HR." I mean... he was SEVEN short, and the 1994-95 strike might have had SOMETHING to do with that, no? But the guy had ten 30+ Home-Run seasons, mostly in years when that still meant something. He had the misfortune of starting to decline just as offensive numbers picked up. He'll get in in a few more years though.

To answer your question, YES. I am intentionally withholding my vote from Edgar Martinez, Tim Raines, Don Mattingly, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy, Harold Baines and the rest of them. I may eventually be swayed on Raines, but you won't convince me on any of the others.

So congratulations again to Mister Dawson, as well as Whitey Herzog (Manager) and Doug Harvey (Umpire) on their selection by the Veterans Committee.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Atheism / Religion Argument

"I contend we are both atheists - I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you reject all other gods, you will understand why I reject yours as well."
~Stephen F. Roberts

I saw [the above quote] posted by TBONE today on http://mediamatters.org/columns/201001050042

Before I go any further, let me say that I am not a “true” atheist. I'm solidly agnostic. God might or might not exist. I don’t know, and can’t know, therefore it would be reckless of me to CONCLUDE anything. What I DO know is that the most learned theologian in the world today, knows no more about God(s) than I do. All they have over me is a vast repertoire of knowledge regarding what man has believed about God(s) over the centuries. And seeing how much it’s changed? Why on earth should I believe in merely the most recent one to come along? If 500 years from now, Scientology becomes the dominant religion in the world, I hope that the atheist of that day are able to read this: I WAS AROUND WHEN THEY WERE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF KOOKS AND CULTISTS AND I CAN ASSURE YOU, IT’S ALL BULLSHIT.

And in reality, it really is ALL bullshit. Every religion ever concieved asks you to believe something that's either impossible or at a minimum something that there is no evidence, at all, to support.

But the opening quote is arguably the best way to debate atheism with a religious person. Or, if they’re not buying it, try this:

1) Ask them if they believe in ZEUS, RA or ODIN. Not worship now, but do they believe in the existence of these deities as actual, living entities?

2) Once you both agree that the idea of ZUEA/RA/ODIN being REAL is absurd, ask them WHY, and remind them that their reason should not be one that could be applied equally to God/Allah/Yahweh/Jehovah /etc…

3) Flip it: Ask them for an argument supporting the exsistance of God (etc…) that could not be used equally to support the exsistance of Zeus (etc…)

It logically can’t be done. To argue for the exsistance of something without evidence is to accept the theoretical exsistance of ANYTHING... without evidence!

Believe in Angels? What about Demons? Why those and not Goblins, Unicorns or Leprechauns?

Well... I know why. Because that would be absurd, right?

(See three step process above)

Now... in truth? I don't care what YOU believe. I really don't. Believe whatever you want. I won't mock; in fact you'll find I'll be very respectful of it, just as long as you don't try to call science, or history and for God's sake don't try to use the government (or the schools) to force me (or my children) to go along with it.

That's all we ask. If denying you the right to wage war on our non-belief constitutes us waging war on your belief, then so be it. I'll just list that among the millions of absurd things religion asks that you believe.