Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year's Eve

Boy how time flies. This time last year I was still fairly new to blogging, with only six months under my belt over at DFA, chatting away with people I still hear from to this day. I remember having a great time playing "Faux Gnus" and posting nonsense in a running game with other bloggers there as we posted "updates" to a holiday bat contest between the Dean staffers. I don't remember who won, but I do remember laughing a lot with people I had never met before.

For me this is a year I will always remember fondly, even if Bush did win. I met many new people whom I consider friends. I found a new outlet for my design skills that ties in my desire to make the world a better place. And I became a blogger in my own right.

Although I've got a way to go in all respects from design to my writing, I'm glad I was around to see 2004. I will always remember it as a positive life changing year.

So Happy New Year everybody.

When Disaster Strikes: Send Your Brother

Boy that ranch must be something. Not even a natural disaster or world scale can tear Bush away from his vacation down on the ranch with no animals that's still somehow a ranch. Instead, Bush is doing what all responsible world leaders do: he's sending his brother:

The decision to send Mr. Powell and Governor Bush, President Bush's brother, was seen by administration officials as likely to help defuse whatever hurt feelings there might be in Asia that the president was slow to respond, at least compared with how quickly many other nations reacted to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Administration officials also said a diplomatic payoff might also grow out of the current crisis, if disaster relief efforts encourage cooperation in areas of Indonesia and Sri Lanka with long-running separatist insurgencies.


Gotta love this administration. The president is slow to respond, so he seeks to smooth things over by sending his brother. What's next, a tour of the devastaion by his mother or father? Well, at least his father was a president. Heck, why not just give a TV appearance, live from the ranch of course, that would be broadcast all over the affected region. So what if they don't have homes, let alone TVs to watch. It's good PR.

Yes, the diplomatic payoff should be grand indeed. Help for those affected? It still stands at $35 million. Boy that Mr. Bush sure prefers action to words.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Social Insecurity

Looks like AARP might actually fight with the good guys this time. Snip:
"The full-page advertisements, to appear next week in more than 50 newspapers around the country, say the accounts would cause "Social Insecurity."

"There are places in your retirement planning for risk," the advertisements say, "but Social Security isn't one of them."
Oh, that's good.

Stingy and No Follow Through.

This whole business with Bush bristling about the US and other rich nations being called stingy has really hit a nerve with me. I don't get how the leader of the US, let alone the free world, can not respond to one of the largest natural disaters of our lifetimes for nearly 5 days, then have a press conference in which he "bristles" about the US and other rich nations being called "stingy." Now that's leadership. The richest nation in the world at first offers one-third what the President is spending on his coronation party, and he's upset that it might be looked at as stingy? The hubris is astounding.

But of course the SCLM is on this as well. As it turns out, not only is the US government, the richest in the world, stingy, but it welches on it's promises as well. From the NYT editorial board:
"...According to a poll, most Americans believe the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent.

"Bush administration officials help create that perception gap. Fuming at the charge of stinginess, Mr. Powell pointed to disaster relief and said the United States "has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world." But for development aid, America gave $16.2 billion in 2003; the European Union gave $37.1 billion. In 2002, those numbers were $13.2 billion for America, and $29.9 billion for Europe.

"Making things worse, we often pledge more money than we actually deliver. Victims of the earthquake in Bam, Iran, a year ago are still living in tents because aid, including ours, has not materialized in the amounts pledged. And back in 2002, Mr. Bush announced his Millennium Challenge account to give African countries development assistance of up to $5 billion a year, but the account has yet to disperse a single dollar."
So not only does the US government, the richest on the planet by a factor of nearly six , pledge less than other world leaders like the EU, but then it goes and doesn't follow through on it's promise of aide. Gotta love that! I wrote about this last week, as Bush has cut funding for charities due to his new found awareness of our huge deficit. Gee Sherlock, how'd that happen?

This is an exemplary display of why Bush makes me so angry. He makes me ashamed to be an American. He makes me ashamed of my government. How can the leader of the free world and his staff act like a bunch of spoiled school kids? At his press conference he was nearly belligerent in his rebuking of the "stingy" charge. You could hear the "how dare they" in his tone. When Bill Clinton actually took on a leadership role as Bush remained on vacation from his job as leader of the free world, here's how his official spokesperson responded to the world media:
..."The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.' "

"Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing the president's view of his appropriate role."
What the hell is that third grade crap? Are they going to call Clinton a poo-poo face next? Such a statement is such a petty immature obvious slap at the former president that is belongs in the school yard amoung children fighting over a ball rather than from the office of the most powerful leader in the world. And what actions, exactly, had Bush taken at this time? He cleared some brush and went for a much publicized bike ride. I'd be beyond embarrassed if I was him. Maybe my mother raised me differently than Barbara raised him. I just don't get it at all.

The US government, and especially the Bush administration, don't want to use the EU's standard of percentage of GNP to measure true giving. Of course they don't. Since we are the richest nation in the world, we routinely give more as a final dollar amount than any other nation. By golly, that makes us look pretty darn good. But let me ask you a question. Suppose you make $300,000 a year, and I make $50,000 a year. I donate $500 dollars. You donate $1,000. Wow, you've donated 2/3rds of the total amount and twice my amount. Wow, you sure are generous. But if you look at percentage, I've given 1.0% and you've given 0.03% based on our incomes. Who's going to notice the donation more?

Hey, I can beat my 3-year old daughter at basketball too, but that doesn't make me a sports star.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Help

I've cribbed this from Kos. I don't think he'll mind. You know what to do:

American Red Cross International Response Fund
AmeriCares South Asia Earthquake Relief Fund
Direct Relief International International Assistance Fund
Médecins Sans Frontières International Tsunami Emergency Appeal
Oxfam Asian Earthquake & Tsunami Fund
Sarvodaya Relief Fund for Tsunami Tragedy
UNICEF South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts

Bush Bristles at "Stingy"?

Bush finally has taken time from his vacation to play world leader and make a public statement, from his "ranch". It seems the term "stingy" has stuck in his craw a bit. Heavens, who could have dared question the War President and the US of A like that. Oh, yes, someone "ill-informed":
In his first remarks since the weekend disaster that so far has killed more than 76,000, Bush -- like some in his administration previously -- took umbrage at a U.N. official's suggestion that the world's richest nations were "stingy," and indicated much more is expected to be spent to help the victims.

"Well, I felt like the person who made that statement was very misguided and ill-informed," Bush said from his Texas ranch. "We're a very generous, kindhearted nation, and, you know, what you're beginning to see is a typical response from America."

Bush noted that the United States provided $2.4 billion "in food, in cash, in humanitarian relief to cover the disasters for last year. ... That's 40 percent of all the relief aid given in the world last year."
$2.4 Billion is a lot of aid! But didn't we spend $147 billion and counting on Iraq? What we've spent in Iraq could have funded all global anit-hunger efforts for six more years. As a percentage, $2.4 billion is only 1.6% of what we spent stoping Sadam from using his vanishing WMD's.

But you know what? Wow, 40% of all the relief aid given in the world! That's impressive. But what is the gross national product of the USA anyway? Well, in 2004 it was $10.9 Trillion. Only Japan has a GNP over $4 Trillion, with most of the other large industrialized nations falling between $1-2 trillion. So let's see: The US is the richest county in the world by nearly a factor of five, and we are donating 0.14% of our GNP. But a country like Norway, with a GNP of $190 Billion in 2003 - or 1.7% that of the US - is donating 0.90% of their GNP- or greater than six times that of the US.

The United States is a very generous and kindhearted nation as Mr. Bush correctly notes. But the United States is also a wealthy nation far beyond that of all other nations on this earth. Being a highly spiritual person, I'm sure the President consulted with his lord about his uniquely powerful position to be an instrument of God by helping those victims of this unprecedented natural disaster. I wonder if he read this verse from the apposle Mark in his bible:
"And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, 'Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.'" Mark 12:41-44
By remaining on vacation, announcing initially only a small sum of $15 million from the world's richest nation in response to a global national disaster, Bush couldn't have thumbed his nose much better once again at the rest of the world. This hasn't gone unnoticed. From Juan Cole:
Indeed, the worst-hit area of Indonesia is Aceh, the center of a Muslim separatist movement, and a gesture to Aceh from the US at this moment might have meant a lot in US-Muslim public relations. Bin Laden and Zawahiri sniffed around Aceh in hopes of recruiting operatives there, being experts in fishing in troubled waters. Doesn't the US want to outflank al-Qaeda? As it is, the president of the United States is invisible and on vacation (unlike several European heads of state), and could think of nothing better to do than announce a paltry pledge. As Harris and Wright rightly say, the rest of the world treated the US much better than this after September 11.
So let's recap: Bush stays on vacation when other world leaders cancel theirs. Bush offers an initially paltry sum of aid, until shamed into offering more. Bush makes no public statements on the disaster until shamed into it. Then Bush has the hubris to bristle at reactions to his pledges as stingy. Another opportunity missed. Another display of arrogance. Another reason given for the world to view America negatively. Thank you Mr. Bush.

Worst. President. Ever.

Bush Compassion II

From Atrios, we find another shining example of Bush compassion. Upwards of 80,000 people have been killed by the tsunami that hit Asia over the weekend. What' Bush doing on behalf of America? His compassionate best:
The Bush administration yesterday pledged $15 million to Asian nations hit by a tsunami that has killed more than 22,500 people, although the United Nations' humanitarian-aid chief called the donation "stingy."
There goes those uppity United Nations people again. $15 million isn't chump change. But I guess the stingy lable hurt. Appearances matter you know. The amount is now up another $20 million. But let's add some perspective on that $35 million, shall we:
The war on terror will take center stage at next month’s second inauguration for President Bush in Washington, D.C.

[...]

There will be a total of nine inaugural balls this year, a youth concert, a parade, a fireworks display and, the official swearing in ceremony at noon on Jan. 20.

[...]

The estimated budget for the event is $30-40 million, but that will not cover security costs.
Bush compassion. 80,000 people die, and the US offers $35 million in aide. But to inaugurate Bush, the US will spend at least as much, not counting security costs to the tax payers.

But speaking of Bush, where is he?:
The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

[...]

Some foreign policy specialists said Bush's actions and words both communicated a lack of urgency about an event that will loom as large in the collective memories of several countries as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do in the United States. "When that many human beings die -- at the hands of terrorists or nature -- you've got to show that this matters to you, that you care," said Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.
So we're spending more on a party than we are on relief for a natural disaster that killed over 80,000 people. So what if our president has yet to make any public statement about this tragedy. So what if Bush thinks clearing brush and staying on vacation is more important than world relations. This is America, the greatest, most generous and caring nation on the planet. Um, about that:
Among the world's two dozen wealthiest countries, the United States often is among the lowest in donors per capita for official development assistance worldwide, even though the totals are larger. According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of 30 wealthy nations, the United States gives the least -- at 0.14 percent of its gross national product, compared with Norway, which gives the most at 0.92 percent.
As Carter notes in his post, if the US is a leader, then let's lead.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Blogosphere and the DNC Chair

One discussion I get into frequently on the various blogs I post on regards what 'we" should do about the future of the party. I always try to bring to people's minds that even though I - and probably most of you reading this - believe blogs are key to the future of the Democratic party, "we" are not the party leadership. If anything, unfortunately, the blogosphere represents a minority within the party.

We are vocal because of the very nature of blogs. We get that a blog is a natural way to reach out and communicate with one's constituency. The party leadership? The don't get it. To them we are a mailing list of potential donors.

Kid Oakland over at dKos hits it on the head with his post tonight. Here's a snip:
It's not simply that the heads of Democratic Congressional delegations have seen fit to nominate an anti-choice, "concede before we've begun to fight" on Social Security Democrat...it's that in doing so they've proven to me that they have nothing whatsoever to do with our lives.

And when I say our lives I don't mean some kind of cheesy media version of us netizens.  Anyone who did GOTV this fall knows who we are....we're the folks who give a sh*t...the ones with extra coffee cups rolling around in the back of our cars...the ones getting up in the early AM to bus to PA or NV or Ohio...the ones who show up...and there's something in each of our personal stories that makes us politically active, that makes us fight.  

And you can't really get much taken for granted than we are.  It's as if the 500,000 strong march in protest of the Republican National Convention was made up of ghosts...a ghost march of families, the old and the young...of voices peacefully raised up against Bush and his war...marching through the center of our largest city as if we didn't exist.
I would agree, with the exception of the three reform candidates out there - Dean, Rosenburg and Fowler - the DNC, using Kid Oakland's words, "doesn't know who we are, much less what we think and who we are fighting for."

Jerome at MyDD has been all over this issue with his cattle calls and discussion of DNC candidates. In his post today "Concerning Dean & the DNC," Jerome ends it with a passage that I feel hits the nail on the head:
I do believe that we the people bought this party, and that we own it; but that doesn't mean we get to run it. To do that, we've got to win it over. And I believe that will happen in February, but if it doesn't, it's a public vote, and accountability at the state level will begin. Regardless of what Pelosi or Reid or the ASDC or the DGA desire, the Democratic Party is going to be radically reformed to represent the people- from the bottom clear to the top.
This boys and girls is what it comes down to for me. We need to retake the party because our leaders don't know us and don't care to. We in the blogosphere do not run the party - yet. But there seems to be a consensus building in the blogosphere on how the party should be run. A 50-state strategy, support for candidates at all levels, and taking over the party from within all seem to be favored. Hmm, I wonder where I've heard that before...

"Our House is on Fire Too."

You've got to love that Bush compassion. You see, he's finally realized we have a huge federal deficit. Huge. So huge that in efforts to keep his promise to reduce it by 50%, Bush is going after all those big ticket items like charities and the poor. Tax cuts for the affluent and super rich? Naa. That's off the table.

So it would seem that Medicaid is costing the government a good deal. Heavens, don't those state governors know there's a budget deficit to solve? Guess not:
BOSTON, Dec. 25 - Fearful that President Bush plans to shift more Medicaid costs to the states, the nation's governors are mounting a bipartisan lobbying effort to stave off new federal limits on the program.

[...]

Showing rare bipartisan unity, governors of both parties said in interviews this week that they would press hard in the coming months to preserve or even increase their current Medicaid allotments.

"I certainly understand the need to balance the federal budget," said Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a Republican and the vice chairman of the governors association. "But people need to remember that to balance the federal budget off the backs of the poorest people in the country is simply unacceptable. You don't pull feeding tubes from people. You don't pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy."
Of course we shouldn't pull out those wheel chairs or feeding tubes sillies. Let's just stop states from effectively requesting more funds for their Medicaid budgets. That's completely different from denying healthcare to the poor. Or not:
Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts is among several governors battling the Bush administration's efforts to eliminate a practice some states use to get more federal Medicaid money. The federal government says these states' practice of transferring money to county governments or local hospitals is a way to get more federal Medicaid money by making it appear that they are spending more on Medicaid than they are.

In Massachusetts, the Bush administration says $580 million in federal Medicaid money obtained using such a practice was an improper grant. Mr. Romney disagrees.

"This was a practice approved by the federal government, and it's one of the ways that we provide health care to the poor and needy," said Eric Fehrnstrom, Mr. Romney's press secretary. "Discussions are going on now between us and the federal government so that we can find a way to continue with this practice."
So it was a practice approved by the federal government. Don't they know 9-11 changed everything! There's a HUGE budget deficit going on. HUGE! To do a Rumsfeld: Rules change. Do we wish it was different. Sure. Do we wish we didn't have a budget deficit. Sure we do. But that's not the case now. There's a huge budget deficit! More from the governors:
Governor Huckabee of Arkansas, where nearly a quarter of the population is on Medicaid, said the governors' objective in the coming months would be to ask the federal government to "first do no harm."

He said the soaring federal budget deficit had made federal officials realize "their house is on fire, and they're probably so consumed with the flames around them that they're unaware as they look to us for water that our tanks are empty.

"Folks, our house is on fire too," Mr. Huckabee added, "and asking us to put out your fire is probably not the solution."
A quarter of Arkansas is on Medicaid? Well now, we can stop looking for where that budget deficit came from now, can't we. I'm sure it couldn't be those job creating affluent people who got huge tax cuts. Naa. Must be the poor in Arkansas.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Under Oath? Not for Them.

He's the "War President." He's the highest ranking public official. What do these two statements have in common? They are both actual legal arguments against testifying under oath. The first was used by Bush to avoid being caught for perjury. Now Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's leader in foot dragging where investigation into Ohio's less than stellar election performance says he shouldn't have to testify under oath either:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has requested a protective order to prevent him from being interviewed as part of an unusual court challenge of the presidential vote.

Blackwell, in a court filing, says he's not required to be interviewed by lawyers as a high-ranking public official, and accused the voters challenging the results of ``frivolous conduct'' and abusive and unnecessary requests of elections officials around the state.

Citing fraud, 37 people who voted for president Nov. 2 have challenged the election results with the Ohio Supreme Court. The voters refer to irregularities including long lines, a shortage of voting machines in minority precincts and problems with computer equipment.
Gee, why would old Kenneth suddenly be worried about having to testify under oath? Could it be that a presidential candidate who barely lost a questionable Ohio vote has filed in federal court? Although you'd never know it due to the media coverage the SCLM is not giving it, the Kerry/Edwards campaign has joined the legal proceedings in Ohio:
This afternoon, an attorney representing the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign filed two important motions to preserve and augment evidence of alleged election fraud in the November election. The motions were filed in the matter titled Yost et al. v. Delaware County Board of Elections and J. Kenneth Blackwell (Civil Action No. C2-04-1139) with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The document is titled "Motion Of Intervenor-Defendant Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. For A Preservation Order And For A Leave To Take Limited Expedited Discovery."

The purpose of the motions is twofold: A) To preserve all ballots and voting machines pertaining to the Yost matter for investigation and analysis; and B) To make available for sworn deposition testimony a technician for Triad Systems, the company that produced and maintained many of the voting machines used in the Ohio election. The technician has been accused of tampering with the recount process in Hocking County, Ohio, though other counties are believed to have also been involved. Any officers of Triad Systems who have information pertaining to said tampering are likewise subject to subpoena for sworn deposition testimony.

If the judge in this case allows these motions, and these individuals are served with subpoenas for deposition, the information disclosed under oath could have a major effect on the case. Likewise, judicial approval of these motions will open the door to forensic analysis of both the ballots cast and the machines they were counted on. If tampering took place, such an analysis could reveal it.
This could get interesting, if only for making Blackwell sweat as he comes up with really good excuses for the long lines... in Democratic precincts, the lack of voting machines... in Democratic precincts, and the higher percentage of spoiled votes... in Democratic precincts.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Bush on Compassion

Bush speaks on compassion at Christmas:
"Christmastime reminds each of us that we have a duty to our fellow citizens, that we are called to love our neighbor just as we would like to be loved ourselves. By volunteering our time and talents where they are needed most, we help heal the sick, comfort those who suffer, and bring hope to those who despair, one heart and one soul at a time."
Of course, Bush contradicts his actions the day before:
With the budget deficit growing and President Bush promising to reduce spending, the administration has told representatives of several charities that it was unable to honor some earlier promises and would have money to pay for food only in emergency crises like that in Darfur, in western Sudan. The cutbacks, estimated by some charities at up to $100 million, come at a time when the number of hungry in the world is rising for the first time in years and all food programs are being stretched.

As a result, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services and other charities have suspended or eliminated programs that were intended to help the poor feed themselves through improvements in farming, education and health.

"We have between five and seven million people who have been affected by these cuts," said Lisa Kuennen, a food aid expert at Catholic Relief Services. "We had approval for all of these programs, often a year in advance. We hired staff, signed agreements with governments and with local partners, and now we have had to delay everything."
Bush breaks yet another set of promises as he talks about compassion for his fellow man. Hypocrite.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bizzaro World

Last time I checked, I grew up in America. You know, the land of the free, home of the brave. The land of opportunity. The beacon of light upon the hill. The land where an everyday bus driver could buy a modest home and raise a family. You know. America.

But lately I've had this disturbing feeling that I've become trapped in a waking dream in Bizzaro World. And in my Bizzaro World dream, I'm living in an America I don't recognize at all.

An America where facts just don't mean anything. An America where the right wing Fox News claims "Fair and Balanced" as its motto. An America referred to as the "Homeland" in a way that almost entices the term "Fatherland" to spring to mind quicker than anything about huddled masses. An America where "support our troops" is equated to supporting a guy who couldn't pass his flight physical yet plays dress up on an aircraft carrier declaring "mission accomplished'. An America that witnesses the repeated failures of just such a sitting president, the repeated scandals of his administration, the policy decisions based on words like "suiciders", "evil doers", and "internets", yet steps up to the voting booth and says proudly "Thank you sir. May I have another."

Then the realization sets in like a cold fog lifting from one's brain after an automobile accident: Bush America is my nightmarish Bizzaro World. Where else but in Bizzaro World could a rich frat boy with political connections, not to mention drug and alcohol addictions, grow up to mangle not only the English language, but the economy, the environment, the world's stability, and the office of the executive all in one fell swoop.

I just don't get it.

In the America I grew up in, America went to war with good reason. America did not go to war for 27 separate and questionable reasons. America did not go to war for reasons that prove to be overwhelmingly false. America didn't invade a country when a previous president, for example the father of the current president, decided it was a bad idea for a variety of reasons when he had the chance to invade first. And the America I grew up in did not invade a country that didn't attack us or our allies.

In the America I grew up in, when America did go to war, it went prepared, and gave our troops what they need to fight and survive. It didn't run out of bullets and have to purchase 130 million of them from the British government. It didn't have to hold a bake sale to provide body armor for our troops. American troops didn't dig through garbage dumps for "rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that's already been shot up" to armor their unarmored vehicles. The Secretary of Defense didn't hide behind a false excuse of "physics" when the Humvee armor vendors were only running at half capacity and wished to produce vehicle armor faster.

In the America I grew up in, America rewarded those who did a good job, and fired those who did not. The president didn't give the highest medal the country has to offer to those who consistently got it wrong, whose decisions resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives, or created a quagmire that will exist for an estimated ten to fifteen more years.

The America I grew up in helped those in need, both at home and abroad. It didn't cut Pell grants while keeping tax cuts for the most affluent in our society. It didn't cut aid to global food bank and charity programs that help children or the poor achieve a better life or just survive. It didn't try to hand over one of the most effective social programs in the history of the country, Social Security, to wall street brokerage firms.

The America I grew up in was a moral leader for the world. It did not ignore the tenets of the Geneva Conventions. Its president did not endorse or ever encourage the use of torture. It did not change the rules of the houses of congress to protect political leaders indicted of crimes.

But in my Bizzaro World waking dream, Bush America does all of this and more that I can recall. Even better, Americans re-elect him president. Of course since this is Bizzaro World, coverage of elections law violations in Ohio, also known as election fraud, will receive less coverage than that of a professional athlete getting beer tossed on him, shockingly, by a Detroit fan.

So in following with the Bizzaro World laws of physics, Americans will inaugurate a president with historically low approval ratings. A president for whom only 49% approve of his overall job as president, and the majority disapprove of his handling of the economy, Social Security, healthcare, and Iraq. Since we're speaking in Bizzaro World terms, Americans have of course re-elected the same president whom the slim majority of them say is strong on terrorism while 56% of them simultaneously think the Iraq war was not worth the cost. But his victory by less than three percent will be hailed as a "mandate", and Bush will spend his well earned political capital as he sees fit, his critics be damned.

Finally, if there be any doubt in the validity and existence of Bizzaro World, for the icing on the cake, Time Magazine will remove any such doubts, naming Bush Person of the Year, thus proving that God does have one hell of a sense of humor.

Someone wake me.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Buy Blue

This year for my present, I've asked my wife for a compound miter saw. I do a lot of home improvement, and as my friends know, I'd put crown molding on just about anything. With the cost of these saws finally within my means, my wife and I will go out and pick out a new saw for me sometime in the next couple weeks or so. Normally this would include a trip to Home Depot, where I've spent a great deal of my disposable income over the past ten years.

But not this year.

One of the reasons the Republicans are so well funded is that many businesses donate nearly exclusively to GOP candidates, think tanks and causes. That's fine, and is their right. But now that I know that Home Depot donated 94% of the time to the Republican party, I think I'll support a local business or another chain that has been a bit more even with its contributions.

Why should I buy my books from Amazon, who gives 61% of their donations to Republicans, when I can support Barnes and Noble or Borders who give 98% and 100% of their respective donations to the Democratic Party? Why should I shop at Safeway, donors 84% of the time to the GOP, when I can go to Cost Co. and Whole Foods and help them continue to give their 98% to the party I support?

Will my small purchase decisions make much difference? Maybe. If I and the other 50+ million Americans who voted for Kerry this year shift $100 from Red to Blue businesses then we've moved $5,000,000,000. That five billion with a capital "B". My holiday purchase decision to use Borders for my books, local businesses for my saw, and shopping at CostCo will account for much more than $100 in business moved to Democratic Party supporting allies in the business community.

Check out the Buy Blue website for a list of businesses and just where their contributions went this election cycle. This year when you shop, Buy Blue.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

RFS

It's been a while. I've been under the weather. But at least I've figured out what's wrong with me:
Real Fucking Sick (RFS) is a psychological disease that is reaching epidemic proportions among Reform Democrats. Brought on by severe mental stress caused by the rapid awareness that their party leadership isn't worth a shit, cases of RFS skyrocketing.

A feeling of abandonment, isolation, and feelings of donor abuse, referred to by Shiteater and Cann as "donorism," are typical symptoms of RFS. Severe cases of RFS are often accompanied by fits of screaming at Democratic leaders appearing on Meet the Press, and Turret's like cursing of Joe Lieberman in public for no seemingly logical reason to bystanders.

Often publicly stigmatized, RFS sufferers are urged to contact their nearest Reform Democratic organization or meet up host immediately. The only known cure for RFS is experimental, and involves group work with other Reform Democrats endeavoring to overthrow the status quo in the Democratic Party leadership. Such activity is best done in a group setting with professionals trained in grassroots organization, and should never be undertaken alone.

Liberal amounts of Illegitimis non carborundum should be prescribed in the interim period to help the patient achieve "normal" social interactions with non-RFS sufferers.
Where can I get that perscription filled?