Archive for October 27th, 2008
Sometimes, when a political campaign has run out of ideas and senses that the prize is slipping through its fingers, it rolls up a sleeve and plunges an arm, shoulder deep, right down to the bottom of the barrel. The problem for John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Republican Party is that the bottom was scraped clean long before it dropped out. Back when the polls were nip and tuck and the leaves had not yet begun to turn, Barack Obama had already been accused of betraying the troops, wanting to teach kindergartners all about sex, favoring infanticide, and being a friend of terrorists and terrorism. What was left? The anticlimactic answer came as the long Presidential march of 2008 staggered toward its final week: Senator Obama is a socialist.
“This campaign in the next couple of weeks is about one thing,” Todd Akin, a Republican congressman from Missouri, told a McCain rally outside St. Louis. “It’s a referendum on socialism.” “With all due respect,” Senator George Voinovich, Republican of Ohio, said, “the man is a socialist.” At an airport rally in Roswell, New Mexico, a well-known landing spot for space aliens, Governor Palin warned against Obama’s tax proposals. “Friends,” she said, “now is no time to experiment with socialism.” And McCain, discussing those proposals, agreed that they sounded “a lot like socialism.” There hasn’t been so much talk of socialism in an American election since 1920, when Eugene Victor Debs, candidate of the Socialist Party, made his fifth run for President from a cell in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he was serving a ten-year sentence for opposing the First World War. (Debs got a million votes and was freed the following year by the new Republican President, Warren G. Harding, who immediately invited him to the White House for a friendly visit.)
As a buzzword, “socialism” had mostly good connotations in most of the world for most of the twentieth century. That’s why the Nazis called themselves national socialists. That’s why the Bolsheviks called their regime the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, obliging the socialist and social democratic parties of Europe (and America, for what it was worth) to make rescuing the “good name” of socialism one of their central missions. Socialists—one thinks of men like George Orwell, Willy Brandt, and Aneurin Bevan—were among Communism’s most passionate and effective enemies.
This is a very interesting and potentially highly important development: a wiki to track election problems. Bookmark the site. Here’s what they say:
Welcome to the Election Protection Wiki -
“Citizens tracking voter suppression and election integrity.”
The Election Protection Wiki is a non-partisan, non-profit collaboration of citizens, activists and researchers to build a one-stop-shop for reports of voter suppression and the systemic threats to election integrity. We collect just the straight facts that are fully referenced to external, verifiable sources, and we need your help.
Things you can do:
I read about this recently (and maybe even blogged it): make mayonnaise with bacon fat in lieu of oil. But now you can buy bacon mayonnaise, ready made.
Justice well served. Stevens is scum. Duke Cunningham got 8 years; Stevens should get 24.
More here, which begins:
A federal jury on Monday found Republican Sen. Ted Stevens guilty of lying on his financial disclosure forms, ending in disgrace the four-decade Senate career of a man whose imprint on Alaska dates to before statehood.
It is the highest-profile felony conviction in a sweeping four-year federal investigation into corruption in Alaska politics, and an almost unprecedented conviction by a jury of a sitting U.S. senator.
Jurors found that Stevens, 84, willfully filed false financial disclosure forms that hid such gifts as renovations that doubled his home in size. Those gifts, valued at as much as $250,000 over seven years, came mostly from his former friend Bill Allen, the star prosecution witness in Stevens’ trial and the former owner of Veco Corp. The oilfield-services company was one of Alaska’s largest private employers before Allen, caught up in the federal corruption probe, was forced to sell it last year.
Now, voters will decide whether Stevens, who has represented the state in the U.S. Senate since 1968 and before that helped usher in statehood for Alaska, should continue to serve as their senator. For the first time in his career, Stevens faces a competitive re-election fight, against Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.
Stevens, who was indicted in late July, sought an early trial date, gambling he would face voters as an innocent man. Even without the conviction, though, to re-elect Stevens, voters would have to overlook four weeks of testimony that exposed some of the senator’s innermost financial and personal secrets to the world.
The guilty verdict will complicate not only his re-election bid but also the remainder of his term in the Senate. …
For lunch I made the sweet potato and tempeh stew, which is extremely tasty. I made typical changes:
- 3 large cloves of garlic instead of 1
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander (couldn’t find coriander seeds locally)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes instead of 1/4 tsp
- used the sweet potato unpeeled
- I had only maple yogurt, so I used that and it seemed an excellent choice
I did indeed have 2 lbs of sweet potatoes, and the stew had a very high ratio of stuff to liquid—which I like. In fact, I had to add 1 cup of water, so I ended up with 4 cups instead of 3. This stew is really excellent, at least to my taste.
A few days ago I made this recipe for chicken with vinegar, and it’s excellent. Just ask The Wife, who believes I’ve made it before (but I don’t think I have). Another extremely tasty dish.
UPDATE: I bumped this up from its weekend position so that more people would see it and perhaps introduce Go at their schools. – LG
The Elder Grandson has been playing Go for some years now, and recently he introduced Go at his new school, using a Go equipment grant from the American Go Association. The equipment available is shown in the photo. So TEG is now teaching Go to kids who are interested. He told me about a game he played with a new player: he gave the guy 9 stones, and the game was close. The new player even recognized that a ladder (shi cho) is doomed, which is pretty good for a first game.
TEG was already playing Go when the Hikaru No Go series arrived in the US, and he’s been a great fan of those books—as am I.
I know that some of my readers are teachers—and students—so you might want to look into getting Go equipment for your own school. Here’s how. Note that the grants include funds for teachers. From that link:
To encourage local schools and after-school programs to set up funded go educational and extracurricular programs, the American Go Foundation will provide matching grants as follows to support establishment of new programs:
- We will match salaries of up to $15/hr in the first year for classes that average more than 15 students per class, up to $1000/teacher and $500/class. The hourly match is $10 in year two and $5 thereafter.
- $200/program in matching funds is also available for equipment and books for a student library.
- Matching funds are available for the purchase of a demo board.
- Direct funds are available for small tournament prizes up to $50/year.
Programs must submit a year end report to the AGF with (at least) number of students, level of play, basic teaching method, and a short narrative of the highlights of the year/semester
The Board reserves the right to waive any and all of these limitations for programs which serve more students and/or are demonstrably effective in developing players who participate outside class or participate over time. There is no reimbursement for transportation costs or travel time.
Other teaching programs (college, adult, institutional and mixed ages) may apply for matching grants for teaching, books, or equipment. They will be considered and awarded based on the program, community support, and the availability of funds.
Click here to learn more about our teacher support program.
The GOP is really working all out to stop people from voting. From ThinkProgress:
More than 50,000 registered Georgia voters have been “flagged” because of a computer mismatch in their personal identification information. Situations like Georgia’s are “raising fears of potential vote suppression in crucial swing states” because “lists of people with mismatches are often systematically cut, or ‘purged,’ from voter rolls.”
UPDATE: More on bad voting machines in West Virginia and other states.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On Thursday, Secretary of State Betty Ireland defended her selection of touch-screen voting machines by Election Systems & Software, after several voters complained the machines were switching their votes from Democrats to Republicans.
That same day, during a ceremony at the Capitol, Ireland presented a special award to Gary Lee Greenhalgh, the ES&S vice president who sold Ireland on the machines.
Ireland called Greenhalgh “a pioneer in the use of technology in the election process.”
But Greenhalgh left the company mysteriously in May, and neither he nor company officials will say why.
And while Ireland praises both Greenhalgh and his former employer, other states have rejected ES&S voting machines because of alleged security and accuracy problems.
An independent study determined that ES&S touch-screen machines could be …
I don’t contribute to the DCCC because I get the appeals from Chuck Schumer, who (together with Dianne Feinstein) pushed Mukasey on us as Attorney General. But there are more reasons to avoid donating to DCCC: they back Democrats who don’t have Democratic values. Read this:
Have you ever thought about donating to the DCCC? Some of the tens of millions of dollars that comes in and goes out of there actually goes to help good candidates like Darcy Burner and Martin Heinrich get elected. But very little. It’s got a bit better since 2006 when it was run by pro-war fanatic Rahm Emanuel and being against the war was almost the kiss of death. Now the D-Trip is run, at least ostensibly, by a progressive, Chris Van Hollen. Still, the bulk of the money they take in goes to help elect reactionary nominal Democrats from deep in the bowels of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.
Sunday’s NY Times celebrates how the “diversity” of having anti-choice activists running is putting more seats into play. Into play for what? Democrats, Inc? Who gives a damn about that except Insiders? Most people who vote for Democrats are doing so because they believe in what the party is supposed to stand for. But the Rahm Emanuel Democratic Party is standing on its head and has more in common– much more– with the Republican Party insiders than with its own grassroots.
Did you give a donation to the DCCC this year? If you did you contributed towards the ending of a woman’s right to choice. No hyperbole; that’s a fact. The DCCC has spent around $1.5 million on electing Bobby Bright an anti-choice fanatic and Alabama reactionary.
In fact, Mr. Bright is one of a dozen anti-abortion Democratic challengers the party has recruited to run for the House this year and has aggressively supported with millions of dollars and other resources in culturally conservative districts long unfriendly to the party.
That is the highest number of anti-abortion candidates the party has fielded in recent memory to run either for open seats or against Republican challengers, according to party strategists and a leading anti-abortion organization… The Democratic effort to seek out candidates like Mr. Bright has not been without tensions, given the party’s reliance on abortion rights groups for fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts. And there is the fundamental reality that the Democratic Party’s platform explicitly embraces abortion rights. …
You are now warned. From the post at the link:
… In spite of all this, escolar is indeed very buttery and delicious, and should be enjoyed, but never in portions larger than six ounces. …
I don’t understand why the Right so dislikes the ACLU, which spends its money and time defending people’s Constitutional rights. I would think that this mission—defending the rights granted by the Constitution—would be something that the Right would enthusiastically suppport. The reason they do not is unclear to me.
At any rate, the ACLU has put together a prioritized transition to-do list that’s well worth reading. It begins:
The next president will become chief executive of a nation that has been greatly weakened – in particular, our freedoms, our values, and our international reputation have been greatly undermined by the policies of the past eight years.
Presidents have enormous power not only to set the legislative agenda, but also to establish policy by executive order, federal regulation, or simply by refocusing the efforts and emphases of the executive agencies. The new president must use all of these tools to restore our freedoms and move the country forward.
Doing so will require determined action in the face of inevitable opposition. It will require conveying to the American people why grants of unchecked power do not actually make us safer, and why Americans must stand firm in protecting the values that at our best we have always represented and defended at home and around the world.
It will not be easy to undo eight years of sustained damage to our fundamental rights. But it can be done.
This paper lists many of the actions that the new president should take in order to decisively signal a restoration of American values and a rejection of the shameful policies of the past eight years.
The first year of any new administration is crucial and sets the stage for what will follow. The new President needs to hit the ground running and to make full use of that first crucial year.
We have grouped needed actions into those that the new president should take on day one, in the 100 days and then the first year. Those actions include executive orders as well as mandates or directives from the president to his cabinet secretaries and agency heads. …
No surprise, really. From the NY Times:
After a surgeon removed a cancerous lump from Karen Medlock’s breast in November, he recommended radiation, a routine next step meant to keep cancer from recurring.
But he did not send her for the kind of radiation most women have received for decades.
Instead, the surgeon referred her to a center in Oakland, Calif., specializing in a newer form of treatment where radioactive “seeds” are inserted in the tumor site. It could be completed in only five days instead of the six weeks typically required for conventional treatment, which irradiates the entire breast using external beams.
To Ms. Medlock, it seemed an obvious choice. The newer treatment — given through a system called MammoSite — has been performed on about 45,000 breast cancer patients in this country since the Food and Drug Administration cleared it for use in 2002.
Only when Ms. Medlock, 49, sought a second opinion did she learn a startling truth: MammoSite is still highly experimental.
The MammoSite system is among the thousands of devices the F.D.A. lets onto the market each year after only cursory review and with no clear evidence that they help patients. Doctors are free to use those products as they see fit, without telling patients that the devices are not proved. And because the doctors are frequently paid more by Medicare as a way to compensate them for the extra time and expense of adopting new procedures, these unproven products can become widely adopted. …
Read what Paul Krugman (Nobel prizewinner) has to say.
These are pretty cool. I have to admit that I’m still sleeping in the same bed I bought in Cleveland (well, Lakewood) in 1962. (Not the same mattress, though.)
Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president of the United States, does not appear to know as much about science as a smart 5th grader. Perhaps you have heard this. On Oct. 24, during a policy speech in Pittsburgh, she went after that darn “earmark money” again.
“You guys have heard some of the examples of where those dollars go,” the fun Alaska governor said to the guys in the audience, acknowledging their media savvy about Congress members, who sometimes acquire public money for frivolous projects. “You’ve heard about the bridges. And some of these pet projects. They really don’t make a whole lot of sense.”
A troubled look crossed her face. “And sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good, things like …” she grinned, shaking her head side to side, her voice rising to a facetious pitch “… fruit fly research in Paris, France.” Feeling in tune with the guys in her audience, she added, “I kid you not.”
From the point of view of the confident governor, who reportedly once remarked that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time,” contradicting 200 years of paleontology, you can see how spending public money to study fruit flies seems so dumb.
It’s difficult to know what Palin cared about during the 5th grade. But had she been curious about science, she could have learned that the humble fruit fly has the most fabled pedigree in biology. Following Mendel and his famous peas, major discoveries in genetics — that genes are aligned on chromosomes; that chromosomes determine gender — have come from the fruit fly.
One could recommend that Palin…
Monday = 2-day stubble = shave stick + Slant Bar. I used the Simpsons Key Hole 3 Best to work up a very fine lather, and the fearsome Slant, with an aging Treet Classic blade, smoothly and easily sliced away the stubble. Blue Floïd is a fine aftershave, lightly mentholated, and now I’m ready for the (very overcast and foggy) morning.