Monthly Archives: November 2008

So long, Red States – It’s Been Fun

Dear Red States:

So long, Red States – It’s Been Fun

We’re leaving. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of United Blue States of America. To sum up: You get Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Georgia, W. Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Lousiana, Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas. We get Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to North Carolina, and Florida. You get Utah and Arizona, we get New Mexico and Colorado. You get most of Nebraska, but we get Omeha and Warren Buffett. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue of Liberty, New York’s Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get Dell and WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss. We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to pay your fair share. We get Hawaii. You get Alaska. You get Sarah Palin and Brittney Spears. We get the Dixie Chicks – they’re moving to Virginia – Cyndie Lauper, Blondie, and Sheryl Crow. We also get Jimmy Buffet, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead, Brian Wilson, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen.

Since he moved to New York with Hillary, we get Bill Clinton. And we want Al Gore. You can have Rudy Guiliani.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition’s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms. Please be aware that we are pro-choice and anti-war; we’re going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they’re apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don’t care if you don’t show pictures of their children’s caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we’re not willing to spend our resources in Bush’s Quagmire. With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country’s fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95 percent of America’s quality wines, 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT. With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Ted Haggert, Hannity and Combs, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, the whole Fox News team, and Bob Jones University. We get Comedy Central, HBO, Hollywood and Saturday Night Live.

Additionally, 38 percent of you believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale then regurgitated, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is a theory but creationism is a science, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then us.

We’re taking the wine and the good weed. You can have moonshine and that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

Peace out and Hasta La Vista, Baby

** This is hysterical. However, I did not write it. **

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A Place for Caribou Barbie in the Obama Administration

I think Obama should create a position for Sarah ‘Caribou Barbie’ Palin in his Administration. She may not be good on energy policy, or foreign policy, and she can’t tell a professor from a terrorist (altho when you think about it, with their emphasis on reading books and thinking, intellectuals really are subversive). She doesn’t read newspapers, and she doesn’t know of any Supreme Court decisions she would change … but she is good at shopping, and spending Republican campaign funds. And in doing so she does us proud (and helps the Democrats). In her own inimitable way she helped elect Barack. So I think Obama should appoint her “Shopper-in-chief” authorized to spend RNC money on clothes, shoes, snowmobiles, make-up. Whatever. In addition to spending RNC money in ways that help Democrats, if she continues to spend $150,000 per month she will do more than any one person, with the possible exception of Paris Hilton, to jump-start the economy.

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Now the work begins!

President Elect Obama, Congratulations on your victory, on our victories.

Now the work begins. The first order of business is to reverse the policies that have proven so disastrous, even as President Bush rushes to cement his legacy by changing rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties, abortion rights, et cetera, as clearly described by The New York Times on Nov. 4

So Little Time, So Much Damage, Copyright, 2008, The New York Times.
While Americans eagerly vote for the next president, here’s a sobering reminder: As of Tuesday, George W. Bush still has 77 days left in the White House — and he’s not wasting a minute.

President Bush’s aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others — few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball. We fear it could take months, or years, for the next president to identify and then undo all of the damage.

Here is a look — by no means comprehensive — at some of Mr. Bush’s recent parting gifts and those we fear are yet to come.

CIVIL LIBERTIES We don’t know all of the ways that the administration has violated Americans’ rights in the name of fighting terrorism. Last month, Attorney General Michael Mukasey rushed out new guidelines for the F.B.I. that permit agents to use chillingly intrusive techniques to collect information on Americans even where there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

Agents will be allowed to use informants to infiltrate lawful groups, engage in prolonged physical surveillance and lie about their identity while questioning a subject’s neighbors, relatives, co-workers and friends. The changes also give the F.B.I. — which has a long history of spying on civil rights groups and others — expanded latitude to use these techniques on people identified by racial, ethnic and religious background.

The administration showed further disdain for Americans’ privacy rights and for Congress’s power by making clear that it will ignore a provision in the legislation that established the Department of Homeland Security. The law requires the department’s privacy officer to account annually for any activity that could affect Americans’ privacy — and clearly stipulates that the report cannot be edited by any other officials at the department or the White House.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has now released a memo asserting that the law “does not prohibit” officials from homeland security or the White House from reviewing the report. The memo then argues that since the law allows the officials to review the report, it would be unconstitutional to stop them from changing it. George Orwell couldn’t have done better.

THE ENVIRONMENT The administration has been especially busy weakening regulations that promote clean air and clean water and protect endangered species.

Mr. Bush, or more to the point, Vice President Dick Cheney, came to office determined to dismantle Bill Clinton’s environmental legacy, undo decades of environmental law and keep their friends in industry happy. They have had less success than we feared, but only because of the determined opposition of environmental groups, courageous members of Congress and protests from citizens. But the White House keeps trying.

Mr. Bush’s secretary of the interior, Dirk Kempthorne, has recently carved out significant exceptions to regulations requiring expert scientific review of any federal project that might harm endangered or threatened species (one consequence will be to relieve the agency of the need to assess the impact of global warming on at-risk species). The department also is rushing to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list — again. The wolves were re-listed after a federal judge ruled the government had not lived up to its own recovery plan.

In coming weeks, we expect the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a final rule that would weaken a program created by the Clean Air Act, which requires utilities to install modern pollution controls when they upgrade their plants to produce more power. The agency is also expected to issue a final rule that would make it easier for coal-fired power plants to locate near national parks in defiance of longstanding Congressional mandates to protect air quality in areas of special natural or recreational value.

Interior also is awaiting E.P.A.’s concurrence on a proposal that would make it easier for mining companies to dump toxic mine wastes in valleys and streams.

And while no rules changes are at issue, the interior department also has been rushing to open up millions of acres of pristine federal land to oil and gas exploration. We fear that, in coming weeks, Mr. Kempthorne will open up even more acreage to the commercial development of oil shale, a hugely expensive and environmentally risky process that even the oil companies seem in no hurry to begin. He should not.

ABORTION RIGHTS Soon after the election, Michael Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, is expected to issue new regulations aimed at further limiting women’s access to abortion, contraceptives and information about their reproductive health care options.

Existing law allows doctors and nurses to refuse to participate in an abortion. These changes would extend the so-called right to refuse to a wide range of health care workers and activities including abortion referrals, unbiased counseling and provision of birth control pills or emergency contraception, even for rape victims.

The administration has taken other disturbing steps in recent weeks. In late September, the I.R.S. restored tax breaks for banks that take big losses on bad loans inherited through acquisitions. Now we learn that JPMorgan Chase and others are planning to use their bailout funds for mergers and acquisitions, transactions that will be greatly enhanced by the new tax subsidy.

One last-minute change Mr. Bush won’t be making: He apparently has decided not to shut down the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — the most shameful symbol of his administration’s disdain for the rule of law.

Mr. Bush has said it should be closed, and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and his secretary of defense, Robert Gates, pushed for it. Proposals were prepared, including a plan for sending the real bad guys to other countries for trial. But Mr. Cheney objected, and the president has refused even to review the memos. He will hand this mess off to his successor.

We suppose there is some good news in all of this. While Mr. Bush leaves office on Jan. 20, 2009, he has only until Nov. 20 to issue “economically significant” rule changes and until Dec. 20 to issue other changes. Anything after that is merely a draft and can be easily withdrawn by the next president.

Unfortunately, the White House is well aware of those deadlines.

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Landslide – Liberal Mandate

Obama and FDR – I have been saying that we need an FDR, and that Obama has the resolve and the intelligence to be as good a President as FDR. Franklin Delano Roosevelt won by landslides in ’32 and ’36. Herbert Hoover believed in “rugged individualism” and, in ’32, that the philanthropy of the wealthy would solve the nation’s economic problems. He did not pull the U. S. out of the Depression. FDR did, and did it, in part, by creating the safety net and regulatory infrastructure that George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan have dismantled.

McCain has called Obama “a socialist.” He has also tried to equate Obama with Hoover. If this is correct, then Obama is a “free market socialist,” a “capitalist socialist.” But McCain was wrong on both counts. And it is John McCain whose ideals echo the failed policies of Hoover, along with his predecessors Warren G. Harding, and Calvin Coolidge, and their contemporaries, George W. Bush, Phil Gramm, Dick Cheney.

Describing the Republican Administrations of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, FDR said “the Nation looked to the government, and the government looked away” and “government by organized mob.” This is what we have seen again during the last 8 years; both abroad and at home. In the war in Iraq and in the response to Katrina, in firing prosecutors, in wiretapping Americans, and in the “signing statements, and executive orders with which George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have governed by fiat. And they have not governed well. Maybe they meant well, but that’s not good enough.

We need effective government. As Lincoln said, “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

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L is for Landslide!

New York. Election Day, 2008. 6:00 PM.

In Missouri 100,000 people went to see Barack. In Ohio last week 6,000 went to see McCain, and 4,000 were children taken out of school and bussed in. So it doesn’t look to me that there are people waiting on line for 2 or 3 hours to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

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Obama, McCain, and Management

Two sitting Senators have been elected to the Presidency: Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy. Harding was a disaster, one of the worst, but not in Bush’s league. Kennedy was one of the best. But it’s not an important question today because neither McCain nor Obama has “executive” experience.

And Bush has a MBA, from Harvard, and we know what a great President he was.

So what has Obama managed? He managed to graduate at the top of his class at Harvard law, managed Harvard Law Review, managed to understand the U. S. Constitution well enough to teach it in law school. He has managed to write two very well written books, managed to win election to the U. S. Senate, and has thus far managed a very well run Presidential campaign.

And McCain? He has managed to crash 3 U S Navy airplanes, managed to get 2 more shot out from under him. He managed to survive each crash. And he managed to stay in the Navy, despite these mishaps, thanks I guess, to his father and grandfather. He managed to marry a very pretty woman, and managed to divorce her after she had been in an automobile accident. Then he managed to run around with several other women before marrying another very pretty one – who was worth about $100 million because her father managed to go to college on the GI Bill after WW II, and then use his education and his talents to become very successful in business. McCain also managed to spend about 25 years in the Senate, managed to be censured by the Senate for ethics violations having to do with receiving very large sums of money by Charles Keating, a crooked banker. He managed not to notice when his wife became addicted to pain killers. He managed to pick one of the least qualified people for his running mate, and has managed one of the sleaziest presidential campaigns I remember.

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