Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Welfare Does Not Breed Persistent Poverty | TPMCafe

Sweden and Norway are getting it right. Not so, the States
"But new studies, as detailed in this week's Economist magazine (subscription) show that countries with MORE spending on the poor have LESS persistent poverty than in the US.

Contrary to many Americans' self-image, there is less social mobility from generation to generation in the United States than in supposedly class-bound Europe-- and the European states like Sweden and Norway with the highest welfare spending also had the most people born in poverty becoming middle class when they grew up:"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006

Jonah Goldberg Still Lame

Jonah Goldberg trots out all the tired old dogs about Gore. He is wishing to return to the days of yore when the media sucked up all that drivel. It pleases me no end that Gore is now able to show us the man he is. And that scares Jonah so much that he...simply...can'

Tri-City Herald Suckin on the Koolaid

In a typically saccharine piece about honoring those who have died in our country's wars the editors of our daily rag display the tainted fluid coursing through their veins by invoking the all-purpose justification for such loss, Freedom. But I'm sorry, Chris. 2500 souls sacrificed in the pointless war in Iraq with no end in sight doesn't sound like freedom to me. It's simply an egregious and just-plain-stupid abuse of power. All the justifications trumpeted by this administration for the death of your sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers have proven to be counterfeit. They have been sacrificed not to freedom but to ineptitude.

Every year since this bloodletting began I have pointed out that as the loved ones for whom these fine people have offered up the ultimate sacrifice, we have a sacred obligation. That obligation is to provide them with leadership that cherishes their dedication. Because we allowed this pack of fools to be elected, we must now share the shame.

As we have opportunity to exercise our civic duty in the days to come let us remember what happens when we don't care enough to pay attention. It isn't a matter of a few dollars wasted here or there. It is literally life and death. Let us treat it as such.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Local Politics

As every election season begins to heat up our local Democratic Party looks around for viable political candidates. And typically there are never enough to fill all the available races. As a result many races are uncontested and sometimes the candidates who do run are not as strong as we would like. Unfortunately this is a pattern that tends to be self-perpetuating. Without viable candidates to put before the public the Party appears to be ineffective. There the many worthy folks out there who could be a valuable contributors to our efforts but they do not feel empowered to identify themselves as Democrats. And without them our Party is in fact much less effective than it would otherwise be.

I don’t write this to moan and whine about the situation but rather to perhaps get people worked up enough to do something about it. Too frequently we have depended on the charisma of one candidate or another to attract people into doing the sometimes grinding work of party building. This is not a recipe for long-term success. So what do we do?

It is well-recognized that the training ground for strong candidates is local government and public service. The better track record a person has as a public servant the more likely they are to have success as a candidate. So in the current crop of budding public servants, where are the Democrats? Why does it seem that this arena is so dominated by persons of the opposition? What gets them in there? I think the answer is one of motivation. Public service and especially volunteer public service can be thankless and there has to be some payoff that makes all that grief worth the while. Typically Democrats have passions and causes that get them into the ring. I submit that the opposition has more tangible motivations, power and greed. That may be stating it a little too bluntly but I think it captures what I mean. The opposition sees government as a means to perpetuate the accumulation of wealth for themselves and their peers and as a way to make sure that the people they favor are a bit more equal than those they don’t. When their day’s work is done someone in the power network is making a bit more money than they were before or some “undesirable” type of person has become less of a threat to the social order as they see it. Power and greed work and they always have.

At a local level this can go on “under the radar” because there are just not enough watchdogs to cover the territory. Even the media gets compromised because they aspire to become a part of the power network themselves rather than the champions of those who have no power. “Well, we’ve got trouble my friend, right here in River City….” The very fact of the absence of a viable Democratic opposition to the Republican-dominated local government leads me to a conclusion that the local level is a target-rich environment. As Democrats we need to get in there and find them. Attend the meetings of your City Council and other public boards and commissions. I have no doubt that what we find there will ignite the kind of passion for justice and integrity that motivates Democrats into public service.

Santorum doesn't live here anymore

oEditors in Pittsburg point out that Little Ricky claims an empty house as his Pennsylvania residence. If I were a Pennsylvanian I would m wonder if my senator represented me in the same way, vacuous.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Catholic Doctrine Kills Embryos

It seems that church-approved birth control practice, the rhythm method, actually kills embryos. Eggs fertilized by stale sperm don't implant. Talk about yer unexpected consequences...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Adversity Breeds Sheep

It seems that people who take hard knocks early in life learn not to trust their own judgment. This makes them easy marks for someone else, anybody else, to lead them into all kinds of mischief.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Real Medical Malpractice Problem

Don't let those self-serving doctors fool you. Statistically the real malpractice litigation problem is not that too many get settlements they don't deserve. It's that not enough deserving people get awards.

Friday, May 12, 2006

31 Percent

What does a 31% approval rating mean? I recently campaigned in a local election with the platform of "I'm not qualified for the job. You would be a fool to vote for me." I got 31% of the vote. Clearly 31% of the voters don't really care or are clueless. So who is a remaining supporter of Bush (hswib)? From here it looks like the clueless and uncaring.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Confident Democrats Lay Out Agenda

Confident Democrats Lay Out Agenda:
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in an interview last week that a Democratic House would launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, 'You never know where it leads to.'"

It's time to dump Doc.

Lying Is Exposed By Micro-expressions We Can't Control

A psychologist is having some success in interpreting tiny facial expressions that are quite difficult to control. It's not compared directly to a polygraph but it appears to be just as good. The obvious advantage over the polygraph is that the analysis can simply be done from video images. Or even in person with specific training. In any case the subject need not be aware that he or she is being truth-tested.

I wonder what we could learn if we took another look at critical videos of this administration's (hswib) public appearances. If their lips are moving...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cole vs. Hitchens--Smackdown

Christopher Hitchens embarrasses himself when he makes a lame attempt to take on Juan Cole.


With an administration like this it's sometimes hard to tell the real life from the satire. Priceless!

An Inconvenient Truth

If you are lucky enough to be near a venue this sounds like a film to see. Note to self: talk to these people and see how one can get a local showing out here in the political hinterland.

Raising Taxes on People Who Work

Let's be clear. When we reduce taxes on the favored activities of the super rich we are actually raising taxes on people who work. The body politic needs to wake up to that fact.

"Intelligent Design" takes another hit

It's been a bit of a mystery how wings could evolve and the ID folks are quick to wade into the gap in their desperation to bolster their case. But it turns out that for a ground-dwelling biped, even a partial wing is an advantageous adaptation. You didn't have to become airborne to gain benefit from a wing.

Crossing a line

Does it bother you that the Replubican House is about to grant arrest powers to the CIA and NSA?

Kennewick Man in the News

That old guy buried down by the river may revolutionalize continent's history.