October 2008 archive

Friday Philosophy: Gay, with Children

Coming down to the last few days before the election, we have seen the hatred and ignorance from the right with respect to marriage equality and equal rights in general…and California’s Proposition 8, Florida’s Proposition 2 and Arizona’s Proposition 102 in particular.  And we have heard from the supporters or equal rights, even though there may seem to have been few of them amongst our political leaders.

One group hasn’t been heard from so much:  the children.

I’m not talking about GLBT kids, though some of them may be.  The right wing…and even some people supposedly on the left…like to talk about the purpose of marriage being the protection of the family…and by their definition that generally means having children.

Are we hearing the voices of those children?  Do we even acknowledge that they are there.  Maybe we should listen to their voices, or at least see their words.

Time to Talk to Barack.

Barack Obama is going to win this election:  it’s a little hard to wrap the mind around that idea, but darn it, Bill Clinton won in 1992 and knocked Bush the First out for the count, so why not believe?  I think we understand that Obama is not going to enter his presidency with the progressive liberal agenda we would like to see.  But this is a chance to put our agenda on the table and push it hard, because with a Democratic congress, the next four years could be a turning point for this poor Democracy of ours.  Here are some suggestions for the agenda.

1.  Pull the teeth of corporate interests that are eating us alive.

2.  Put the bite on the national government to invest in public education.

3.  Throw out the standards and practices that diminish the existence of so many of us.

4.  Build from the rubble of our society one that cares about good health and a good environment.

Where will the money come from?  The 12 billion dollars this country spends each month to keep confict alive  End the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Not only is war expensive, but it’s also bad for children and other living things.


Help Cindy Sheehan defeat Nancy Pelosi!


Pelosi has been a disaster as speaker of the House, and a traitor to the Constitution.  She has removed impeachment from the table, enabled Bush’s warrantless and illegal surveillance of American citizens, continued to fund the occupation of Iraq, and supported the nearly one trillion dollar blank check to bail out Wall Street.  Whatever your party affiliation, whatever other feelings you might have about the candidates, if you care about your country and the direction in which it is headed, now is the time to make genuine change for the better.  Unseat Nancy Pelosi, vote in Cindy Sheehan, and send a message to the rest of Congress: NO MORE!



Happy Season Of The Witch to all who celebrate it, in whatever manner you celebrate it!

I shall now go get a beer! Woohoo!


A natural conclusion …

The journal Nature has come out with a solid endorsement of Barack Obama for President:  America’s choice.

The opening:

The values of scientific enquiry, rather than any particular policy positions on science, suggest a preference for one US presidential candidate over the other.

According to Nature‘s editorial page editor M. Mitchell Waldrop, as to Nature‘s record of presidential campaign endorsements.

To the best of the anyone’s knowledge currently here at the magazine, this is the first time.

Four at Four

  1. The Wall Street Journal reports Wall Street firms are considering limits on compensation after public outcry.

    In a sign that Wall Street is waking up to the political tempest over billions of dollars in year-end bonuses likely to be paid out at securities firms lining up for government infusions, top executives are in discussions to possibly cap their own compensation, according to people familiar with the situation.

    While the discussions remain fluid and many details still must be agreed to, the talks underscore an emerging consensus among some of the securities industry’s most powerful executives that the escalating pay controversy is creating yet another public-relations mess for Wall Street…

    And as Wall Street firms examine their pay and bonuses, distinctions are being made between the highest-ranking executives and lower-level traders and investment bankers who aren’t widely known beyond Wall Street but could get plucked away by rival firms if compensation practices are significantly altered.

    As a result, the most likely scenario in the firm-by-firm discussions is a sharp decline in compensation for chief executive officers, but fewer changes in how bonuses are paid to most employees, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Four at Four continues with an Iraq update, evidence of climate change on every continent, and an update on the North American bat die-off.

The war won’t end on Tuesday

From our friends at the Iraq Moratorium:

Yes, we know there’s an election in four days, and a lot of folks are preoccupied.  By all means, cast a ballot.  But don’t stop there.

No matter who wins or loses on Tuesday, the war in Iraq won’t be over.  It will drag on.  More blood will be shed.

We want the war, the occupation, and the bloodshed to end as quickly as possible.  

That’s why in three weeks, on Nov. 21, we will observe the Iraq Moratorium once again. We hope you will again be part of it, as people all across the country interrupt business as usual and take action to call for an end to the war.

If we’re going to end this war, it is essential that we keep the pressure on the people who are elected on Tuesday.  We learned after the 2006 elections that change does not come quickly, easily, or automatically.

Please plan to join thousands of others who will take some action, big or small, on Nov. 21 to mark the Moratorium.  You’ll find lots of ideas on the website, IraqMoratorium.com.

And please take a minute to list the activity you’re planning, so others can learn about it and participate, or take heart and inspiration from what you do.  Use this easy form to share your plans.

And if you can spare a dime, buddy, we sure could use it, now that the campaigns are winding down.  We’ve operated for more than a year on almost no money or paid staff.  But even a shoestring operation needs to buy a shoestring now and then.  We’d be most grateful for any help you can offer.  Go here to donate.

The Vision Thing…Part Three

Foreign Policy

Perhaps no other area of policy illustrates and encapsulates the sheer stupidity, brutality, arrogance, wrongness and…well…stupidity of the Bush Administration than it’s horrific foreign policy. Embracing and enacting the blatant “Might Makes Right” philosophy of the Neo-cons and their childish desire to Rule The World! as an American Empire has harmed both our country and the world in ways we will not fully appreciate for decades. Perhaps even, as the newly manufactured anti-American terrorists it has spawned grow up and pass this awful legacy down, generations.

At approximately 500 Billion dollars a year in Pentagon budgets adding up to nearly 4 TRILLION dollars over the last eight years (admittedly not the sole fault of Bushco) plus the 700 Billion in war supplementals…..we could have BOUGHT Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of invading them and killing and torturing their citizens and making the entire Muslim world hostile, if not outright belligerent, towards America. It was an out and out Christian Crusade, masquerading as foreign policy. As many have said a Global War On Terror is a ridiculous concept, as you cannot wage war against a tactic. Such sheer lunacy as this is nearly incomprehensible, when looking back at it.

So let us look forward.


A Break in the Case Against Torture?

From The Independent:

CIA officers could face trial in Britain over torture allegations

Senior CIA officers could be put on trial in Britain after it emerged last night that the Attorney General is to investigate allegations that a British resident held in Guantanamo Bay was brutally tortured, after being arrested and questioned by American forces following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has asked Baroness Scotland to consider bringing criminal proceedings against Americans allegedly responsible for the rendition and abuse of Binyam Mohamed, when he was held in prisons in Morocco and Afghanistan.

The development follows criticism of US prosecutors by British judges who have seen secret evidence of torture committed against Mr Mohamed, including allegations his torturers used a razor blade to repeatedly cut his penis. The Attorney’s investigation is expected to include allegations that MI5 colluded in Mr Mohamed’s rendition. Mr Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian national and British resident, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, when he was questioned by an MI5 officer.

The Physics Of Delusion

TRALFAMADORE, NM (IWR Satire) –  Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that according to the multiple universe theory of physicist Dr. Hugh Everett that he can now “guarantee” a win on Nov. 4 in a squeaker victory that won’t be clear until late that night in parallel universe somewhere out there.

“I guarantee you that two weeks from now, you will see this has been a very close race, and I believe that I’m going to win it in some alternative world,” McCain told interim “Meet” moderator Tom Brokaw. “We’re going to do well in this campaign, my friend. We’re going to win it, and it’s going to be tight, and we’re going to be up late.  Well, we will be in some other parallel universe anyway.  All Sarah and I need to do is sort out the physics so we can construct a machine to travel to that parallel universe and celebrate our close victory!”

Candidates Ralph Nader and Ron Paul predicted that they would win in alternative universes too.

The Elitist Snack & Drink Election Day/Night Celebration Premature Edition

I know this is way too early to write about the sort of celebration we will have next Tuesday night and, ahem, the price we’ll pay the following day: a post-celebration that many of us will suffer as the MOTHER of all HANGOVERS! I spell it EXCESS! When Blake wrote “The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom”, he wasn’t wrong!

Yes, excessive it will be, and we have earned it after enduring 8 years of conveyor-belt propelled BS, false promises, stupid wars, the raping of the constitution, economic downgrading and a lot more. Of course eating right is elitist and since this election is the most important one this century (and possibly the last one) I’m going to throw caution to the wind and celebrate properly by purchasing, bartering, demanding, begging for the primo stuff to be on hand during the long hours of the election results. Here’s to the future!

The State Of Heath Care Makes You Sick?

The Real News talks to Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard, and to Dr. Don McCanne, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, about both John McCain’s and Barack Obama’s campaign promises and rhetoric about health care and finds them both drastically wanting.

October 30, 2008 – 7 min 42 sec

Health care in the USA Pt.1

McCain proposals will make things worse; Obama’s won’t be enough

The health care system in the US is ranked 37th overall in the world even though it spends almost double per capita of what other industrialized countries spend. 47 million are not insured and almost 2 million filers and their dependents per year claim medical bankruptcy. The Real News Network spoke to Dr. Steffie Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School and Dr. Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Program who say John McCain’s health care proposals would make things worse than they are now and Barack Obama’s proposals won’t work and won’t be enough to fix the problems. The US government must do more on behalf of the American patient.

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