Finito la Commedia


Sounds like Kinky Friedman

“Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.”
                                                                                              – Butch Hancock



One of the signs you no longer live in a democracy–election shenanigans

This article, which just appeared in the New York Times, describes a GOP effort to split the electoral vote in California (but not in Republican strongholds).  If successful, they would likely win the White House in 2008, even if they lose by a substantial margin of the popular vote.

Please forward to any Democrat friends you have who live in California or know fellow Democrats in California.
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OPINION | September 18, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist: G.O.P.’s Dirty Tricks Begin
By BOB HERBERT

The folks who gave us the Willie Horton ads, the Swift boat campaign, the purges of black voters in Florida and endless other dirty electoral tricks are at it again.

The folks who gave us the Willie Horton ads, the Swift boat campaign, the purges of black voters in Florida and endless other dirty electoral tricks are at it again.

Like crack addicts confronting the irresistible vial, the evil geniuses of the G.O.P. can’t seem to help themselves. This time — with an eye toward seizing the White House again next year, even if they lose the popular vote — they’re trying to rewrite the rules for the distribution of electoral votes in California.

Under current law, all of California’s 55 electoral votes go to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote statewide. This “winner take all” system is the norm in the U.S. It’s in place in all but two states, Maine and Nebraska, which have just four and five electoral votes, respectively.

Now comes a move, from lawyers with close ties to the Republican Party, to scrap the current system in California and replace it with one that would divide up the electoral votes in a way that would likely give 20 or more of them to the candidate who loses the popular vote in the state.

Democrats fear, correctly, that this maneuver could checkmate even their best efforts to win back the White House next year.

California is widely expected to go Democratic in the presidential election. Its 55 electoral votes are a hefty chunk of the 270 needed to win, and thus crucial to Democratic hopes.

Under this new proposal, the 20 or more electoral votes that would be denied the winner of the statewide vote in California, could well be enough to hand the White House to a Republican candidate who loses the popular vote nationally.

“Their idea is to have California be the only big state to do this,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist who is supporting Senator Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. “If the Republicans can poach 20 electoral votes from the Democrats in California, that’s the same as winning all the electoral votes in Ohio. You’re basically giving them the election.”

The effort to change the way Californians vote for president has been cloaked in the typically deceptive garb that the G.O.P. pulls out for its underhanded maneuvering. The proposal has been dubbed the “Presidential Election Reform Act.” It is being led by Thomas Hiltachk of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk, a law firm that has represented both the state Republican Party and G.O.P. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

According to The Associated Press, the firm was also linked to a political committee, largely funded by Bob Perry, that targeted Democratic candidates in 2006. Mr. Perry, a longtime supporter of George W. Bush, contributed millions of dollars to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose intense and deceptive campaign in 2004 was so damaging to the candidacy of John Kerry.

This crowd is no more interested in genuine electoral reform than Britney Spears is.

Mr. Hiltachk and his operatives are trying to gather enough signatures to get their proposal before the voters as a California ballot initiative next June. If they succeed, and the voters approve the initiative, the rules for apportioning the state’s electoral votes would be changed for the 2008 presidential election.

Instead of “winner take all,” 53 of the state’s 55 electoral votes would be apportioned according to the winner of the presidential popular vote in each of the state’s 53 Congressional districts. A single vote would be awarded to the winner in each district. (The other two votes would still go to the statewide winner.)

John Kerry defeated George W. Bush in California in 2004 and collected all of the state’s electoral votes. But Mr. Bush won the popular vote in 22 of the state’s Congressional districts. If this proposed system had been in effect, 22 electoral votes would have been withheld from Mr. Kerry and given to Mr. Bush.

“This clearly is a power grab by the Republican Party,” said John Travis, a longtime political science professor at Humboldt State University in California. Mr. Travis believes that while there may be problems with the Electoral College system, this is not the way to fix it.

“This is simply a way for the Republicans to manipulate California’s electoral votes to their advantage,” he said.

Democrats do not have perfectly clean hands when it comes to this sort of thing. A similar effort by Democrats in North Carolina was scrapped at the insistence of national party leaders, and not a moment too soon.

What the Democrats need to do now is make sure that California voters understand that they are the latest targeted pawns in the G.O.P.’s longstanding efforts to undermine not just the Democrats but democracy itself.
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http://select.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/opinion/18herbert.html?ex=1190779200&en=d39098e7db194b47&ei=5070&emc=eta1

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Update: Gee, that SUV makes your butt look big! and other ideas from an evil genius

SUVs are only an attempt to make you look cool - not a success

Back when I originally wrote “Gee, that SUV makes your butt look big! and other ideas from an evil genius,” I included these fun pictures to further illustrate my point. Somehow, they got left out of the final post. Thought you’d enjoy this evidence of people’s real feelings about their SUVs:

SUVs make you look like you have a small dick and itty bitty ballsSUVs make you look like you're compensating

Compensating for something, are they?

<wink>



Update: Norm Colman responds to my “Live Free or Die Horribly” letter!

Update to my previous post “Live Free or Die Horribly“:

Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman - aka The Empty SuitI have to give the guy credit: even though I specifically told him that I neither wanted nor expected a reply to my letter because I was sure he would just dismiss me as some “radical,” U.S. Senator Norm Colman sent a thoughtful, if a bit bright-eyed and idealistic, response to my angry e-mail. I think his response shows that he has considered the issues carefully, again to his credit. However, I have to conclude that he has not been watching the news. (Note: All typos below are as they appeared in his original e-mail.) My comments to follow:

Thank you very much for contacting me regarding military commissions for suspected terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay , Cuba .

The Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld ruled that a new, Congressionally-mandated system was needed to handle trials of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay . As a result, Senators John Warner, John McCain and Lindsey Graham introduced the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006. This legislation was passed by the Senate on September 28th, 2006, by a bipartisan vote of 65 to 34 with my support. The House subsequently voted on the measure and it was signed into law by the President on September 29th. The MCA provides the statutory framework for military commissions to try alien unlawful enemy combatants, and uses the Uniform Code of Military Justice as the basis.

I believe that in dealing with enemy combatants being tried for war crimes, the U.S. must ensure due process while administering justice. I believe that the trials authorized by the MCA, together with the system currently used to ascertain the status of suspected terrorists, will provide suspected terrorists with due process. Under the MCA, every detainee will have the opportunity to defend himself before a military commission, the structure of which exceeds all of our obligations as signatories of the Geneva Conventions and our own statutes.  Suspected terrorists will even have access to classified evidence being used to prosecute them, with certain protections for our national security.

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More shame for the Bush Administration

Assistant Interior Secretary Caught Rewriting Endangered Species Science

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that high-ranking political appointees within the Department of the Interior have to prevent the protection of several highly imperiled species under the Endangered Species Act. Click here to read the Washington Post story.

This latest example of the abuse of science centers on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Julie MacDonald, a civil engineer with no biological training, personally changed scientific conclusions and ordered the agency to refrain from protecting several species under the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act requires the FWS to use the best available science when making decisions regarding what species should be protected under the Act. 

The documents showing MacDonald’s edits and edicts were obtained by several conservation organizations through the Freedom of Information Act. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) brought the documents to the Washington Post in the context of the greater issue of political interference in science. Click here for a summary of the issue and to view the documents.

Through this effort, we have already achieved a notable success: Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV) has indicated that he will hold oversight hearings regarding this matter should his party take control of Congress after next week’s elections. But we’re aiming even higher: we’re asking new Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to take concrete steps to restore scientific integrity to the agency.

Sincerely,

Dr. Francesca Grifo
Senior Scientist and Director
UCS Scientific Integrity Program

P.S. The article has also appeared in the following newspapers. You can also consider submitting your letter to one of these publications:

Contra Costa Times
Denver Post
Houston Chronicle
Myrtle Beach Sun News
Rocky Mountain News
Salt Lake Tribune
Seattle Times

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Scientific Integrity Network

The Union of Concerned Scientists relies on individuals like you to support our research and advocacy.
Join us to promote practical, science-based environmental and security solutions.

We are committed to protecting your privacy, your email address will NEVER be sold or exchanged.

[Note from Finito la Commedia: I removed a section of the above message. The message contained a plea to write a letter in response to the above-referenced article to the Washington Post or one of the other newspapers listed. Since the requested letter was to be sent by November 3, 2006, I removed that plea from this view of the UCS’s e-mail.]

If government secrecy wasn’t enough for you, how about government lying?

This appears to be but one example of the Bush Administration’s refusal to believe scientific proof that their positions cause real damage. Indeed, it is an example of how the Bush Administration does not appear to believe in science at all.

Personally, I believe that certain Evangelical Christians have chosen to believe that science is just another belief system that can be disregarded. Unfortunately, in this case, for all of us, science is not the same as religion.

I speak as someone with at least the basic training in science that used to be required by public and private schools. The basic understanding of the scientific method that used to be considered necessary for all educated people.

I also speak as a religious person. Religion is not the same as science, and religious truth is not interchangeable with scientific fact – nor should it be.

In my life, I use scientific fact to further illuminate my understanding of the divine. I don’t use religion to spread false information or to promote irrational public policy.

Shame on those who do.



People who make me want to secede from the Union – part II

It’s Not that We Hate Gay People…Um, Well…Yes, It Is

If your state has a “Defense of Marriage” amendment on the ballot and you’re considering whether to vote for it, you’re probably relatively centrist.

After all, if you hated the very idea of people who are different from you being in committed, loving relationships, you would just vote for the damn thing and hope that would put an end to it.

But if you’re on the fence, please consider this short post so you’ll know who you’re getting into bed with.

I don’t have much to say, except that I have never seen the anti-gay marriage folks state their true objectives so boldly.

Here are some actual quotes from the primarygroup promoting the “Defense of Marriage” amendment in Wisconsin, 2006 – the Family Research Institute and their spokesperson, Julaine Appling.

Julaine Appling - Proof that Satan has infiltrated the Christian church“I think we’ve been extremely tolerant in allowing [homosexuals] to live wherever they choose.”
   – Julaine Appling, Isthmus, September 9, 2005 [a Madison, Wisconsin alternative daily which does not take a position against the amendment]

“Society needs to control sexual activity,” she said. “Anytime that you have rampant sexual activity, with no prescriptions on it, society is headed for trouble.”
-Julaine Appling, Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, “Decision 2006: Wisconsin votes on Same-Sex Marriage,” KARE 11, October 23, 2006

Does that represent your view? If so,

Go Blue State Sesesh!



People who make me want to secede from the Union – part I

Step One: Eliminate the Homegrown Freedom-Haters First

Here is an e-mail recently brought to my attention by a friend whose aunt had urgently—and approvingly—forwarded it to her. I should explain that although my friend is one of the most extraordinarily wonderful people I have ever known, her family is, well, not.

For example, my friend’s grandmother once told her that she should not be friends anymore with a girl from the grandmother’s small town in Kansas because she’d had a “polka dot baby.” [!]

In any case, my friend was absolutely horrified by this further example of her extended family’s hard-core, bigoted ignorance and passed this along with a shocked and angry note, including counter-argument. (This just goes to show that a strong person can overcome even the most pathetically weak, spineless, evil-minded relatives.)

Read the e-mail below for your illumination about what the civilized world is up against. If you would like to protest this type of hate-mongering by buying the EID stamp, please click on the picture of the stamp for a link to the U.S. Postal Service Web site.

CHRISTMAS STAMP

How ironic is this? They don’t even believe in Christ and they’re getting their own Christmas stamp, but don’t dream of posting the ten commandments on federal property? 

USPS New Stamp

This one is impossible to believe. Scroll down for the text.

If there is only one thing you forward today…..let it be this!
Click the stamp to buy it now from the US postal service

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of PanAm Flight 103

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the military barracks in Saudi Arabia

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE

REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on 9/11/2001

REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks

Now the United States Postal Service REMEMBERS and HONORS the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a commemorative first class holiday postage stamp.

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