windelina: (happy bunny)
Maybe repetition is the key to driving it home. It certainly has worked for "flipflop".

There was no connection between September 11th/Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein.

If we're going to go off and start pre-emptive wars with countries that might be connected, that funded in the past, that just look suspicious...how about Saudi Arabia? You know - the country that gave us the MAJORITY OF THE 9/11 HIJACKERS.

I'm not for pre-emptive wars, but at least pick a reasonable target. Iraq had nothing except the guy that beat up daddy.
windelina: (happy bunny)
There's a new conspiracy theory wending its way through bloggers as only the best internet rumors do.

Covered in today's Salon, the rumor is:

Bush was wearing a wire during the debates. Specifically, so that he could be fed answers.

The "proof":


See between his shoulder blades?
You have to admit, it is rather odd looking. What in the world would be causing that bulge? It's not like there's a pocket back there. Maybe it's a radar tracker in case Bush gets lost...

The author of the article says that he investigated (cuz even he immediately thought "photoshop") and went to the original footage from C-SPAN and he found the image himself at minute 23.
Questions have been asked, but nobody official is responding.

Now, I will say that this would completely in character for what I believe about this administration: spin over substance.
And it's a well-known trick for on-site reporters, and lord knows the technology is there.

But mostly at this point, I'm amused by it. True or not - I enjoy the idea and that's enough for right now.
windelina: (cartoon happy)
Received today from one of my mailing lists:

In the past week, TLC received some great news about public support for transit. According to a new statewide poll conducted by the Itasca Project business group, more than three quarters of Minnesota voters are willing to pay higher taxes and/or user fees to fund transportation investments. Even more significantly, Minnesotans prefer a transit solution far more than highway expansion or even a combined approach.

When asked about short-term solutions in the next five years, 66% of respondents chose transit as the preferred solution, 13% chose highway expansion, and 19% chose a combination of transit and highways. Surprisingly, preference for a transit solution was higher in greater Minnesota, with 69% of respondents favoring transit, than the Metro, where 63% favored transit.

Focus groups conducted in conjunction with the polling suggested that there has been a large positive shift in the general public's perception of transit mainly due to the success of the Hiawatha light rail line. This shift is so important when arguing for a balanced and inclusive transportation system.

****

Needless to say, I'm a huge supporter of public transit. Mostly because I go to cities that have it and they are inherently cooler!
Think about it:
New York City has the Subway
Chicago has the El
London has the Tube
Paris has the Metro

Besides that, as someone who grew up poor, I can tell you how much a good bus sytem is key to survival.
windelina: (topofhead)
From: http://www.creators.com/opinion_show.cfm?columnsName=miv

PHILADELPHIA -- We all had our debate moments, but the one that stunned me was, "It's (Iraq is) hard work. I see it on the TV screens."

Watching it on TV, boy that is tough work all right. And what was the "hard work" thing about? Did Rove poll and find out people think the president vacations too much?

I also came to a full stop after the one about sending troops to die. "I never -- when I was running -- when we had the debate in 2000, never dreamt I'd be doing that." He never dreamt it?

It never occurred to him? Was this man prepared for the job? Help!

I lean to the "bubble president" theory of Bush's peevish, petulant performance in debate. They've kept him surrounded by people who keep telling him he's great. I blame Karl Rove, of course. Bush is not used to being questioned. In Bob Woodward's book "Bush at War," the president is quoted: "I'm the commander in chief, see, I don't need to explain, I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting part about being president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

He never has liked being questioned about anything, going back to his years as governor, when he often snapped at reporters who asked tough questions during press conferences. As president, he practically never has press conferences, so he's really out of practice, and since the R's control Congress, he gets no challenge there.

Now in Philadelphia, where politics is really special, they're having another dandy scandal where their pols sold out for peanuts. At least they're up from the $300 bribe during the late, great judges' scandal to a couple of grand per city hall official.

Meanwhile, the presidential race here is a pip. The Inquirer reports voter registration up dramatically, there are volunteers on every street corner in downtown Philly, the media are swamped with ads, door-knockers, rallies -- it's an election. Meanwhile, back under the radar, the level at which no one is paying attention, I learn via the Internet that the Republican National Committee's precious database, with all that info about our voting habits, was outsourced to India.

The New York Times didn't let this one sneak by: It Page One-ed the news that public libraries and schools around the country are no longer receiving high-speed Internet access and telephone service. The Bush administration, without public notice, put a moratorium on $1 billion in new grants the states expected to receive by the end of the year.

This could shut down service in many states. It is particularly critical in rural areas. The Federal Communications Commission wants tighter rules put on the grants that finance equipment and service, supposedly to prevent fraud. However, the big telecommunications companies have been fighting the so-called "Gore Tax" ever since the law passed back in 1996. According the Times, the FCC has been reducing the companies' contributions to the program for the past nine months. In the name of sound management, the FCC is forcing the entity that runs the program to liquidate more than $3 billion in investments at a loss not yet calculated. Boy, that's shrewd management.

Speaking of both radar and stupid government, for a truly pathological example of how ideological fixations and denying reality can cost us dearly, to the $200 billion for the disaster in Iraq add at least $150 billion to deploy the unproven and unworkable missile-defense system, nee Star Wars. Since Star Wars was a pet scheme of Ronald Reagan's, Republicans insist on trying to carry out this nutty idea, the equivalent of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Ye olde military-defense complex also has a rather large stake in keeping this dog of a program going.

We have spent $90 billion on it since 1983, with much more to come. The thing is supposed to be deployed this year, but it will have no demonstrated capability and would be ineffective against a real attack by long-range missiles. Between 1999 and December 2000, the thing has been five for eight against targets WITH the information of the time and place of the launch and the missile's trajectory fed to the interceptor. In other, words, totally rigged tests.

The list of what's either wrong or doubtful about this system is nearly endless. The Union of Concerned Scientists points out we have no evidence it will ever be able to distinguish between warheads and weather balloons. The New Yorker notes that none of our enemies has ICBMs and we are trying "to protect a nation from terrorists with box cutters and suitcase bombs."

Sometimes, I get the feeling the whole country is being run by Paris Hilton.
windelina: (Firefly)
George Bush:
is seeking to allow coal-fired power plants to put three times more mercury into the air than the current Clean Air Act allows. (Clear Skies Summary Document, pp 18-19, revising sections 107/110 of the Clean Air Act)

is weakening the law that requires power plants and factories to install modern pollution control technology when they make changes that would increase air pollution. (New Source Review, 67-Federal Register 80186, 12/31/03)

proposed a policy directive to allow a combination of untreated and treated sewage to be discharged into waterways during rainstorms. (H.J.Res 2, Senate Vote 12, 1/22/03)

suspended a more protective standard for arsenic in drinking water set during the previous administration. (He was forced to reverse his policy after public outcry.) (66-Federal Register 99 5/22/01)

refuses to support the principle of "polluter pays" and believes taxpayers, not polluters, should pay to clean up abandoned toxic waste sites. GAO Superfund Program: Current Status and Future Challenges, July 2003)

reversed his campaign promise to cut emissions of carbon dioxide. (White House Announcement 3/13/01)

backed out of the Kyoto treaty to reduce international greenhouse gas emissions. (White House Announcement 3/28/01)

proposed cutting energy efficiency research and development by 27% overall. (Budget of the US Government FY 2002)

opened millions of acres of National Forests to increased logging in the name of wild fire protection. (Public Law 108-148,117,Stat.1887)

Do you feel SAFER?
windelina: (Firefly)
My mood and my confidence have increased since my whine-fest of earlier in the week.

Largely because - as I suspected might happen - I've gotten through creating most of the blocking and choreography now. I've even had a chance to go back and revise some blocking and choreography I wasn't happy with.
After tonight, there is only one scene left to block (the last scene in the show). Not complex at all, actually. Oh, and one goofy little dance interlude to figure out.

But I have till next Wednesday.

So, my week of coming home from rehearsal and having to put in another 2 hours (either late night, early morning, or over lunch) is done.

My mood is tipping back to the "gosh I'm clever" side of the spectrum again.

And after a bunch of "quiet downs!" last night, I came up with a new plan to keep control and get attention at rehearsals.
(I will NOT use a whistle. I was in a show where the music director did that for one night. He stopped after one night because I believe he saw the incipient homocide in our eyes.)
I cannot whistle myself, so that's out.

Instead, I will launch into "OooooooooOOOOoOAK!-lahoma, where the wind goes sweeping down the plains..."

That oughta get their attention. And it will feel less angry than hollering "hey!!" every five minutes.

Alas, we are not going to Duluth this weekend. But this is actually a positive. The thought of leaving town was doing more to stress me out than to make me happy, at this point. It also means we can attend Ms.Ethel's Iron Alcohol Party. Yay!
I would like to go to Duluth some time. I've never been.

Of the few minutes I saw of the debates (till I get that tape from Mr. Kingsley), my favorite moment was Kerry, in essence, saying that the President's plan for Korea/China was stupid and reminding people that Bush has a problem with the truth.
And the moderator turns to a rebuttal from Bush (huge paraphrasing): "Do you have anything to say? He brought up Truth. Do you have a response? Does that bother you?"
And Bush...has no real response. It's not like he delivered a decisive statement either. He didn't say, "I have stated my plans, I believe they are sound, I feel no need to respond."
No. He stuttered. He fumbled. He dropped the ball hugely.

Look, vote for Bush if you want. It's your right (and I will defend your right to do so). But don't try to tell me he's any good at public speaking or speaking extemporaneously (does he even know what that word means?).
Now, the fact that you want the "leader of the free world" to look like an uneducated ass in most public situations is your own choice...
windelina: (Columbia)
Bush (paraphrasing): "The commander in chief cannot say 'wrong war, wrong time, wrong reasons'."

If Kerry were my puppet: "But see how I'm NOT the commander in chief. I'm the guy who wants the job because I'll do it better by recognizing these things before invading."

With the followup: "It is not demoralizing to the troops to admit to a mistake. It is demoralizing to insist everything's fine while they DIE."

In a more heartening aside:
I didn't see the debates last night due to rehearsals (well, I caught the last 10 minutes, about).
Many in my high school cast got increasingly squirrelly throughout the night, wanting to be DONE so they could go watch the debate.
And a few had turned on the tv in another room so they could watch it when they weren't onstage.

They are engaged and interested and surprisingly well-informed.
Unsurprisingly, given their obvious interest in the arts, they seemed adamantly anti-Bush.
And the one Nader supporter in the group has already realized that Nader is just a Bad Idea right now. (He's a senior and may actually be old enough to vote.)

Also heartening: signs up at the high school "Hey Seniors! If you're 18 by November 2 - VOTE!"
windelina: (happy bunny)
Bush's position on the following:

Bush does NOT favor including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements
Bush does NOT favor the US being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
or the International Criminal Court
or the treaty banning land mines
or the Kyoto Treaty on global warming
Bush DOES want to build a missile defense system, and he wants to build it NOW before doing more research on its capabilities
Bush DOES favor increased defense spending

This War President sent men to Iraq without adequate supplies (body armor, anyone).
He's has cut pay and benefits to military personnel.
And instituted involuntary and mandatory extensions of tours of duty, even for personnel suffering from exhaustion, stress and likely PTSS.

He took a budget surplus and turned it into the largest deficit in history.

Overall, there has been a net jobs loss in the four years of his presidency. Job growth continues sluggish over a year after the recession ended.

And on top of all that, he's a bigger "flip-flopper" than Kerry could ever aspire to be.
Against the 9/11 commission, then for it.
Against Condi Rice testifying, then for it.
Against testifying himself, then doing it (although demanding it be off the record, NOT under oath, and that he have Cheney with him).
Those are just the recent ones. Go back to his 2000 campaign, where his rhetoric was a lot more moderate and see just how much he's changed his positions.

But if you're against abortion - he's your man.
If you believe you're safer now - he's your man. (And you also need to do some real research on our flight safety standards, our chemical and weapons plants, and our intelligence communications network.)

Bah. I don't get it. Iraq is a mess, and (my opinion) our presence there is just making things worse. We need to support a UN takeover - perhaps the insurgents (NOT terrorists, thank you) would respond better to a truly unilateral world force.

Everything points to the fact that - it seems - a majority of Americans would prefer to "give up freedoms" to ensure safety. In my cynical hyperbole, they would prefer an Orwellian existence, as long as it meant they still had their tv and their cheetohs.
windelina: (Firefly)
I was pretty on top of my elected officials in the old neighborhood, but realized I hadn't looked it up for the new house yet.

So, here are the people who represent me (supposedly):
My US Senators are Mark Dayton and Norm Coleman (I knew that without looking it up)
My US Representative is Martin Olav Sabo (I also knew that without looking it up, although I usually blank on his name and just remember "the three name guy")

I am in district 58(A) which means
My state representative is Joe Mullery
My state senator is Linda Higgins

I am in Minneapolis Ward 4, so my city councilperson is Barbara Johnson

Now, I need to do some homework on a few of those to find out who much they truly represent me.

And in closing, I could name at least three cabinet-level departments, and could've guessed at about 5 more.
The full list:
Agriculture
Commerce
Defense
Education
Energy
Health & Human Services
Homeland Secuirty
Housing and Urban Development
Interior (Gale Norton I hate you!)
Labor
State (bend over a little farther Powell)
Transportation
Treasury
Veterans Affairs (I had NO idea this department existed)
Attorney General

And of course, the Veep sits on the cabinet as well.

Thus concludes your civics lesson for the day.
windelina: (dreads)
Bid to Save Tax Refunds for the Poor Is Blocked
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 23, 2004; Page A04
"Congressional negotiators beat back efforts yesterday to expand and preserve tax refunds for poor families, even as they added $13 billion in corporate tax breaks to a package of middle-class tax cuts that could come to a vote in the Senate today."

As story in the Strib today about the latest agreement to extent the tax cuts for 5 years WITHOUT FINDING THE FUNDING TO DO IT puts the cost of the tax breaks for poor families at 7 billion. So, 7 billion for the poor was axed but 13 billion for the corporations was okayed.

As the Center for American Progress has pointed out (via this Kos diary <http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/8/10/163741/463>) getting tough with poor people while letting big business and wealthy people slide is the Bush administration's m.o. "The Bush administration has simultaneously reduced audits of the biggest corporations (many of which finance its political campaigns) while increasing scrutiny of indivduals. More specifically, that increased scrutiny has fallen on the working poor, even as high-income and corporate tax cheating increases," CAP recently reported.

Yep, I'm getting my news from biased sources. And I'm sure the Center for American Progress is partisan too. But what if it were true? Individuals audited more often as the biggest corporate scandals in American history are happening...

To get the bad taste out of your mouth, I offer the Incomparable Daily Show:


JON STEWART: Well Stephen, what do you think is going to happen now at CBS News?

STEPHEN COLBERT, Daily Show Senior Media Correspondent: Jon, there's got to be some accountability. Dan Rather is the head, the commander in chief if you will of his organization. He's someone in the ultimate position of power who made a harmful decision based upon questionable evidence. Then, to make things worse, he stubbornly refused to admit his mistake, choosing instead to stay the course and essentially occupy this story for too long. This man has got to go!

STEWART: Uh ... we're talking about Dan Rather...?

COLBERT: Yes Jon, Dan Rather. CBS is in chaos, it's unsafe, riven by internal rivalries. If you ask me, respected, reputable outsiders need to be brought in to help the rebuilding effort.

STEWART: ... at CBS News?

COLBERT: Yeah, at CBS news! What possible other unrelated situation could my words be equally applicable to?! Now people need to be held accountable. The commander in chief, the vice president, the secretary of defense, the national security adviser -- everyone at CBS News needs to go! Jon, I can tell you, Walter Cronkite is rolling over in his grave.

STEWART: Walter Cronkite is still alive.

COLBERT: Not according to my sources ... at CBS News.

Well-said

Sep. 23rd, 2004 11:34 am
windelina: (topofhead)
From an article in Salon.com today by Phillip Robertson, their war correspondent who has been in Iraq for five months (bolded emphasis mine):

The war, illegal and founded on a vast lie, has produced two tragedies of equal magnitude: an embryonic civil war in the world's oldest country, and a triumph for those in the Bush administration who, without a trace of shame, act as if the truth does not matter. Lying until the lie became true, the administration pursued a course of action that guaranteed large sections of Iraq would become havens for jihadis and radical Islamists. That is the logic promoted by people who take for themselves divine infallibility -- a righteousness that blinds and destroys. Like credulous Weimar Germans who were so delighted by rigged wrestling matches, millions of Americans have accepted Bush's assertions that the war in Iraq has made the United States and the rest of the world a safer place to live. Of course, this is false.

But it is a useful fiction because it is a happy one. All we need to know, according to the administration, is that America is a good country, full of good people and therefore cannot make bloody mistakes when it comes to its own security. The bitter consequence of succumbing to such happy talk is that the government of the most powerful nation in the world now operates unchecked and unmoored from reality; leaving us teetering on the brink of another presidential term where abuse of authority has been recast as virtue.

The logic the administration uses to promote its actions -- preemptive war, indefinite detention, torture of prisoners, the abandonment of the Geneva Convention abroad and the Bill of Rights at home -- is simple, faith-based and therefore empty of reason. The worsening war is the creation of the Bush administration, which is simultaneously holding Americans and Iraqis hostage to a bloody conflict that cannot be won, only stalemated.

Over the last three years, practicing a philosophy of deliberate deception, fear-mongering and abuse of authority, the Bush administration has done more to undermine the republic of Lincoln and Jefferson than the cells of al-Qaida. It has willfully ignored our fundamental laws and squandered the nation's wealth in bloody, open-ended pursuits. Corporations like Halliburton, with close ties to government officials, are profiting greatly from the war while thousands of American soldiers undertake the dangerous work of patrolling the streets of Iraqi cities. We have arrived at a moment of national crisis.

At home, the United States, under the Bush administration, is rapidly drifting toward a security state whose principal currency is fear. Abroad, it has used fear to justify the invasion of Iraq -- fear of weapons of mass destruction, of terrorist attacks, of Iraq itself. The administration, under false premises, invaded a country that it barely understood. We entered a country in shambles, a population divided against itself. The U.S. invasion was a catalyst of violence and religious hatred, and the continuing presence of American troops has only made matters worse. Iraq today bears no resemblance to the president's vision of a fledgling democracy. On its way to national elections in January, Iraq has already slipped into chaos.

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