30 June 2006

Kentucky Blog Exposes Fletcher Lies

No surprise here: Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, who has already joined the ranks of indicted Republicans, has been tricked into exposing himself as a liar.

For out-of-towners, here’s the recap: Gov. Fletcher was indicted for conspiracy and misconduct charges (for being what Republicans call “loyal”). Eleven others in his administration were also indicted. He pardoned nine (a move chess players call "The George H.W. Bush gambit"). In fact, he tried to issue some kind of “blanket” pardon to cover everyone whether they were named or not.

29 June 2006

Queen Elizabeth vs. King Dubya

This Reuters article says that it costs each British taxpayer just over a dollar each year to support the royal family.

I wondered how much it costs each U.S. taxpayer to support Bush's war. According to my calculations, it's in the neighborhood of $1100.

Call it the RICE tax (Republican Incompetence, Cronyism and Evangelicalism).

It takes a hell of a bad President to make me prefer to buy another yacht for Queen Elizabeth than to continue paying the RICE tax.

Republicans to America: Blame Media, Not Us

Responding to the horrific spectre of investigative journalism, top Republicans call for throwing down the gauntlet on the media.

We're reminded yet again of one of the 14 characteristics of fascism:

Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

28 June 2006

Kentucky Wingnut Doesn't Understand Law, Blames System

Surprise! Another wingnut has come out of the woodwork to claim that the system is wrong because it doesn't conform to his out-of-the-mainstream evangelical views. [The Post...]

What do you mean you're not surprised?

26 June 2006

Local Officials Get Brazilian Soccer Names

Yesterday KatieG put up a post about this site which will generate a Brazilian soccer name from an ordinary name. I put in about a dozen names, mostly athletes, and got back some goofy names. For example, Kenyon Martin is Claudio Kenyisco.

Later I went back and played some more, this time with the names of local officials. Here's our city council World Cup team:

Jinho Da Costa

Oh, wait... that's only 9. Let's round it out with the mayor, Malliano, and 2nd district Congresswoman, Schma.

23 June 2006

Portman Pushes Line-Item Irony

I like appreciate Rob Portman. He exemplifies the fact that intelligence and sycophancy are not mutually exclusive.

Like a good lackey, Mr. Portman is now backing the Bush administration's call for a line item veto. The reason? To curb spending.

Please try not to laugh. This is serious. Republicans are serious about curbing spending (chuckle). Remember, this is the party of fiscal responsibility (chortle). That's why they've only increased government spending by 33% (snicker). That's why Bush turned hundreds of billions of dollars of surplus revenue into the largest deficit the country has ever had (guffaw). That's why Bush has never vetoed a single bill in 5 years. Because Republicans stand for fiscal responsibility (maniacal laughter).

Allow me to translate what Rob Portman and his authority figures are telling us: Republicans can't control themselves with money. Republicans can't be trusted with money. But it's not the Republicans' fault. No, sir. It's the system that's to blame. We have to change the system, not the people.

And there you have the Republican view of life in a nutshell. When other people screw up, they are wrong and must go. But Republicans can never screw up. At times it may seem like it, but it's really the system that's wrong and has to be changed.

Examples: If judicial decisions aren't congruent with Republican ideas, then it's the judges that must be changed. If 90% of the world opposes U.S. foreign policy, then it's the world that needs to change. If the Constitution doesn't back Republican ideas, then the Constitution is wrong. If the media doesn't support the Republicans then it's the media that's wrong. If decorated combat veterans oppose the ideas of draft-dodging Republican chickenhawks, then it's the decorated combat veterans that are wrong.

And no, they're not narcissists... they're just right. All the time. And if you don't think so, then maybe there's something wrong with you.

21 June 2006

Stem Cells Reverse Paralysis in Rats

Exciting research from Johns Hopkins, where scientists took stem cells, grew them into neurons (in the lab), and then transplanted them into rat spinal cords. Out of 15 rats, 11 regained some motor control.

It's still a big jump to go from rats to humans, but basically any time you can get stuff to work in mammals, it's very promising.

Next: using stem cells to grow neurons for evangelicals?

20 June 2006

Casino Backers Still Using Underhanded Tactics

Three weeks ago CityBeat news editor Greg Flannery reported on his encounter with a woman soliciting petition signatures for "scholarships for children in Ohio". The petition was actually for legalizing gambling.

Well, nothing has changed. I went to return a DVD (Da Ali G. Show, vol. 1) to Bughouse Video and a woman on the corner asked me if I'd like to sign her petition to provide scholarships for children. Thanks to Greg Flannery, I was prepared.

"Is that a petition for casinos?" I asked.

"It's to provide scholarships for children" she repeated.

"Is that a petition to legalize casinos or is that not a petition to legalize casinos?" I asked.

"It's not for casinos, it's for slot machines" she clarified.

"No thanks" I said and went on my way.

Lying, gambling and learning. Like peas in a pod, no?

Ben Bradlee on Journalism

Last night PBS aired a show called "Free Speech". It was a conversation between Jim Lehrer and Ben Bradlee. I wish more Americans understood journalism the way Bradlee describes it:

Lehrer: Do you think that most Americans understand what our job is? What is it that we do that they should understand?

Bradlee: We're trying to tell you every day what happened in the last 24 hours, that's all. Not what they said happened, not what you think should happen, but what did happen. Readers should expect an honest, straightforward account of what the hell went on yesterday- what's important. What is important.

19 June 2006

Surprise! U.S. Troops Used Illegal Torture Techniques

Now I know what you're thinking, "Can it really be torture if it's done by the U.S.?"

The answer is of course "no". The U.S. doesn't torture. How many times does Dick Cheney have to remind you liberals of that? Don't you know he has better things to attend to?

And there's also the issue of whether it can really be torture if the "victims" (so-called) are Muslim? The answer is of course "no". Muslims are not as good as Christians. Their religious leaders were dresses. They promote guns and violence. They think they know the word of God. They interpret their holy book literally. They want their religious leaders to the government and judicial systems. Must I go on?

But the liberal media just can't stop, can it? I mean, just look at the tripe they're trying to push on us now:

A US military report has found evidence to suggest that US Special Operations troops used unauthorized interrogation techniques against detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004.

...during a four-month period in early 2004 US troops used these illicit methods long after approval for them was rescinded.

...reports proved the Bush administration did not take inquiries on prisoners’ abuse seriously.

Awful, isn't it? I'm just as mad as you are. At the media, of course. I would never think of not supporting President Bush and the troops. Oh, that reminds me... I need to pick up another sticker for my bumper. My Escalade is so big that I need a sticker on both sides. That's how much I love my country.

15 June 2006

Fourth Strike for Chris Henry

Does Chris Henry deserve another chance?

The Bengals WR has just been arrested for the fourth time in six months
. Last December he was arrested on a drug charge. He followed that up with a gun charge, then a DUI, and now he's charged with buying booze for underage teenage girls. He boinked one of them, but she was 18 yrs old. It didn't matter, since she filed rape charges anyway. But it turned out she lied and now she is also being charged with making a false report.

Drugs, guns, booze and sex. Welcome to the life of Chris Henry.

After his first arrest, Henry told the judge he needs to grow up and turn his life around. Obviously, he has not done that. And that is despite the support of his teammates and coach Marvin Lewis. In the short time Marv has been here, we've learned that he runs a tight ship. He doesn't put up with bullshit. But he stepped in as a bit of a father figure and supported Chris Henry and gave him a chance to get his act together. Henry did not step up.

Coach Lewis finally admitted that Henry is embarrassing the team. But he can't do anything about it, because Bengals rules prohibit taking action because of a player's off-field actions (this is my understanding).

Chris Henry had potential. I think we all saw that. So did Daryl Strawberry. So did Dennis McClain. So did Bode Miller. But maybe it's time to accept that Chris Henry is just another "amost was".

On an unrelated sports note, I'll go ahead and congratulate the Mavs on the NBA title. Based on what I've seen, Miami would need a miracle to win the title.

On another unrelated sports note, I saw the Detoit Tigers come back to win in the bottom of the ninth. How can anyone not like Pudge? Did you see it, KatieG?

Yet another: If you didn't see the NHL game last night, it was a heck of a finish! As a sports fan, I love games that go into overtime. Just love them.

14 June 2006

Imprisoned GOP Official Speaks Out

A follow-up to this post about the Bush campaign official who was sent to prison for breaking the law (i.e. being a Republican):

(from Wes)

For nearly a decade, Allen Raymond stood at the top ranks of Republican Party power.

But most recently, Raymond has been in prison. And for that, he blames himself, but also says he was part of a Republican political culture that emphasizes hardball tactics and polarizing voters.

"A lot of people look at politics and see it as the guy who wins is the guy who unifies the most people," he said. "I would disagree. I would say the candidate who wins is the candidate who polarizes the right bloc of voters. You always want to polarize somebody."

...he said he got caught up in an ultra-aggressive atmosphere in which he initially thought the decision to jam the phones "pushed the envelope" but was legal. He also said he had been reluctant to turn down a prominent official of the RNC, fearing that would cost him future opportunities from an organization that was becoming increasingly ruthless.


And now you know how the GOP works (in case you're one of the sad many who doesn't). There's always a sycophant willing to sacrifice ethics for personal gain ("loyalty" if you need to translate into Republican).

09 June 2006

French Open Final Might Make History

It's down to the final weekend, and only 2 men now stand between Roger Federer and tennis history. Unfortunately, those 2 men have beaten Federer more than anyone else on the tour. Federer seems to have overcome the Nalbandian curse, but he has his hands full with Rafael Nadal. Nadal has won 57 straight matches on clay and is the defending French Open champ. He is the only player to beat Federer this year. So Federer has to beat the best clay court player in the world on his best surface (I am assuming Nadal will win his semifinal).

That's a tall order, and when I think about it, that's how it should be. To win 4 straight slams in amazing enough, but to beat the world's best clay-courter and defending champ on clay would be truly extraordinary. What a way to complete a Grand Slam.

But like I said, that's a tall order. I can't remember a more anticipated matchup in a grand slam final. This is the one everyone has been drooling for. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be a dud. That's happened too often in the French finals in recent years.

Go Roger!

08 June 2006

Council Should Vote on City Manager Nominee

City Council says the mayor needs to submit multiple candidates for city manager so that they can choose who is best. Mayor Mallory says he just needs to submit one name for an up or down vote.

I haven’t read the city charter, but I’ve watched Mallory over the years, and I’ve noticed that he’s a careful study of rules, procedure and regulations. So if I had to guess who read the charter correctly, I’d guess Mallory.

But it’s another point that gets under my skin: council members aren’t complaining that there are better candidates out there. They are only complaining that they don’t get to interview more candidates. But the only reason they have given for interviewing more candidates is that they want to interview more candidates.

What this tells me is that these council members do not know what they want in a city manager, whereas Mark Mallory does. If they knew what they were looking for, they would quickly interview Milton Dohoney and ask him about the specific issues that matter to them. But they don’t know what issues matter to them, so they can only carp about not having more choices.

It’s like asking for a multiple choice test because you’re not quite ready for fill-in-the-blanks.

Valerie Lemmie lambasted council for micromanaging everything on the city manager’s desk, and it looks like the new council is doing the same thing before it even hires someone. If they can’t say exactly what they are looking for and why Milton Dohoney does or does not meet their expectations, then they shouldn’t make excuses and blame the mayor for it. They should either abstain or vote based on his background and qualifications.

07 June 2006

States Sue EPA Over Lax Pollution Controls

New York, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont joined Wisconsin in filing the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The states, led by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, want the government to require tighter pollution controls on the newest generation of power plants.

The cities of Washington and NYC have also joined the lawsuit. What about Cincinnati and Hamilton County? The Ohio Valley has high pollution and high incidence of air quality sickness. Asthma mortality rates are higher than average as well. It certainly makes sense for SW Ohio to be interested in this issue, if not join the lawsuit.

But since this is an issue that affects our region directly, does it make sense to join the lawsuit? Would City Council support it? Would Mayor Mallory?

County Commissioners DeWine and Heimlich are in the pockets of corporate special interests, so it’s unrealistic to imagine them backing the lawsuit, but what if David Pepper gets elected? That would give Portune and Pepper the majority.

Feel free to contact council and the mayor with your thoughts. If you want to give your two cents to the EPA as well, I believe this is the person to write to (no email listed; guess the EPA still prefers snail mail):

Jeffrey Holmstead
Asst. Administrator for Air & Radiation
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20460-0001

01 June 2006

War, Faith and Reason

I'll be in Roanoke, VA until Monday to attend (and photograph) a friend's wedding. I'll suspend blogging until I return.

But I will leave you with 3 thoughts to ponder. Two are below; the 3rd is in the previous post.

From the poem Dulce et decorum est by Wilfred Owen (which is in the opening to Chris Hedges' excellent book War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning):

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.*

(* It is sweet and meet (fitting) to die for one's country).

And from Friedrich Nietzsche:

"Christianity and the Emotions":

Within Christianity there is also a great popular protest against philosophy: ...To this end, it denies virtue as it was conceived by the philosophers - as victory of reason over emotion. It condemns rationality in general, and challenges human passions to reveal themselves in their extremest grandeur and strength as love of God, fear of God, as fanatical faith in God, as the blindest hope in God.

The Power and the Glory

See if you can guess whose thoughts these are:

My profession progressed satisfactorily, but that was far from satisying me. The question of further simplifying my life and of doing some concrete act of service to my felowmen had been constantly agitating me, when a leper came to my door. I had not the heart to dismiss him with a meal. So I offered him shelter, dressed his wounds, and began to look after him...

But I was still ill at ease. I longed for some humanitarian work of a permanent nature... So I found time to serve in the small hospital. This work brought me some peace. It consisted in ascertaining the patient's complaints, laying the facts before the doctor and dispensing the prescriptions. It brought me in close touch with suffering Indians...

(From Gandhi's autobiography, The Story of My Experiments With Truth (and please note that it's Gandhi and not "Ghandi")

Gandhi went on to free an occupied nation of several hundred million people without money, military, media or Mr. Jesus. What did he understand that America does not?

(The Power and the Glory is a novel by Graham Greene)