Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Having been busy with work, the holiday season, and getting ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, I haven't had a too much time to post.

But during these cold winter nights, I think about those feeling despair, struggling to make it, and alone with no family. To those I offer a prayer for God's peace and blessing, that they may have hope and find support during this holiday season.

I end with the hope that everyone is able to experience the love all around us...

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Senate Republicans want a Depression

I continue to be amazed at the idiocy of Senate Republicans. How eager they are to stand on principle and bloviate in front of reporters and television on why they couldn't in consciousness vote for the Auto Bailout.

First we need to recognize that we are NOT talking about a bailout. What we are talking about is a LOAN of significant amount to the Auto Industry, not just free money. This has already been done in 1980 when the US Government provided a loan to Chrysler, which enabled Lee Ioccoca to turn Chrysler around with the introduction of the K Car and the mini-van. With the revival of Chrysler, and the investments made, they were able to repay the loan back to the US Government with interest.

Secondly, while there are many problems within the Auto Industry brought about by poor decision making, lack of vision and strategy, and poor brand management, we need to recognize that part of the sudden downfall of the Big 3 has been due to the poor economic environment and market forces that created a perfect storm in an industry unable to react quickly.

The idea that the Auto Industry can react to market forces with lightening speed is ridiculous. We are talking about a heavy manufacturing industry that produces durable goods, you can not change production lines and factories with a switch of a lever. Moreover, what's even more idiotic is the idea that the auto industry can operate as a bankrupt company with restructuring as many opponents to the bailout loan are suggesting. Unlike the Airline Industry, the auto industry produces a durable good that most consumers keep for on average 7 to 10 years. An Airline ticket is a cheap service that is quickly consumed on a single use. Studies have been conducted, and it is clear that consumers will NOT take the risk to purchase a vehicle from a company that has been bankrupt.

While it's recognized that many changes need to come about in terms of the strategy, brand management, and operations within the Auto Industry, it's also clear that in order to bring these changes about, the Big 3 need capital to restructure.

What the Senate Republicans did by failing to provide the Big 3 with this loan is light a match that could implode the American Economy, resulting in the next Depression, because of their irrational dislike of Unions.

The idea that it is Unions that are at the heart of the problems of the auto industry and failure for resolution on the bailout loan is completely ludicrous. The only ones to blame are the peopel who voted against it - pure and simple. The UAW had made significant concessions; understanding that their whole future and industry was at stake. Furthermore, this constant lie being reported by the media and Congress on the idea of the $70/hour wage that American Union Autoworkers make is so blatantly false and irresponsible.

The Union Auto Workers do NOT make that much per hour, otherwise we would certainly be seeing a much better economy! Union Auto makers make on average $28/hour. The $70/hour that continues to be falsely bandied about is a COST to the company NOT THE WAGE! What the Auto Industry has done is totaled the entire COST wages + benefits for all current workers, IN ADDITION to ALL retired workers, and divided by ONLY current workers. As a result, not only are we reporting a false number to the American Public, but the American public and the Media are too stupid to understand the difference between wage and cost. Wage being the take home pay, and the cost being a more expansive number to a company. If this is the new standard for reporting income, should we change the federal income tax code to reflect this new definition?

Furthermore, when will we stop demonizing unions? It is because of unions that we have safer work places, child labor laws, and equitable pay. Do unions also have their problems? Sure, but let's not forget the good that they also bring. I would argue just as fiercely that the myth that "unions are the reason for the downfall of business" is just as ridiculous a generalization as the myth that "big business is just out to screw the worker".

Let's be clear, if the auto industry fails, we are talking an impact of potentially up to 3 million jobs and a reduction of $150.7 BILLION dollars in Personal Income within one year. This is a significant impact to the economy. This will have a huge multiplier effect on consumption and demand for goods and services. Think of the impact of the loss in income on other durable goods such as homes, appliances, clothing, and electronics. Outside of direct personal income, the failure of the Auto Industry would also impact their suppliers and vendors, who would in turn see a contracting of their business.

You can expect a knock on effect not only on the retail and service industry, but the US Government! Expect the government deficit to grow even bigger due to more payouts on unemployment and health care costs for the uninsured, along with lower tax revenues. The cost to the US government and the economy will be MUCH bigger than the $34 Billion dollars for the Auto bailout loans that were originally suggested.

We simply can not let an entire industry to disappear overnight without a plan to modernize and transition to a new industry.

There is MORE at stake than just an auto worker and auto industry. Anyone who thinks that we should just let the market forces work and let them fail, are totally shortsighted in understanding the complete impact and devastation it would have on the American Economy as a whole.

If the Auto Industry dies and the US economy spirals out of control, let's be clear, while there will be plenty to go around for blame on the mismanagement of the auto industry, the final implosion can solely be laid at the feet of the moronic and irresponsible Senate Republicans who voted against this measure, simply to assuage their ideology.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Goofus vs. Gallant

Barack Obama announced on Sunday, that he was going to appoint General Eric Shinseki as the Secretary of Veteran Affairs. This was a selection that was widely praised by all, in particular those in the military.
In the run-up to war in Iraq in early 2003, General Eric Shinseki testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that it would take "several hundred thousand soldiers" to secure Iraq:

I would say that what's been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers, are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems.

Just two days later -- and exactly five years ago today -- then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, swiftly and infamously dismissed Shinseki's assessment.
Obama's transition continues to develop at a steady and competent manner:
Mr. Obama is moving more quickly to fill his administration’s top ranks than any newly elected president in modern times. He has named virtually the entire top echelon of his White House staff and nearly half of his cabinet. Just a month after his election, Mr. Obama has announced his selections for 13 of the 24 most important positions in a new administration.

By comparison, Bill Clinton had filled only one of those jobs by this point in his transition, and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan only two. Even the elder George Bush, who had the advantage of succeeding a fellow Republican, had picked just eight a month after his election. George W. Bush, stalled by the Florida recount, had named a chief of staff at this point in 2000 but was waiting to find out if he would even become president.
Furthermore, the latest Gallup Poll has 78% of Americans approving of Obama's handling of his transition and his Cabinet picks.

John Stewart provides a humorous comparison between Bush and Obama, with a nod to the Goofus vs. Gallant comparison. For those who are old enough, this was a staple of the Highlight Magazines which taught kids between good vs poor behavior by example in a cartoon. I remembered reading these magazines at the dentists office when I was little!

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Remarkable Athlete

As my friends and family can attest, I know nothing about sports, and in particular football.

However, I read with great interest a profile that Time Magazine did on Myron Rolle, an imposing 6'2 college football player for Florida State. What make Myron so special is that not only does he have athletic talent, but he's also a gifted student.
On Nov. 22, the Seminoles' safety jetted off to Birmingham, Ala., where he sat for a final interview for the Rhodes Scholarship, generally viewed as the country's most prestigious. After learning he was one of the 32 student-athletes in the country to earn the honor — and with it, two years of study at England's vaunted Oxford University — Rolle flew to College Park, Md., joined his teammates late in the second quarter and helped Florida State to a pivotal win over the Maryland.
The part that caught my attention was his response when asked about breaking the stereotype of an academic athlete.
The focus on academics and athletics started in grade school. My parents always put a high premium on academics, and I was always good at athletics. For high school, I went to the Hun School in Princeton, N.J., which is a very challenging boarding school, where I got more practice at balancing the two.
I found it interesting that while access to good schools was important, it always starts with individual responsibility and support from parents.

He'll have an exciting decision to make whether to take this opportunity to study abroad, or play in the NFL. Fortunately for Myron, he has a role model who he can look to for advice in Bill Bradley, who an addition to being a Rhodes Scholar himself, had a career in the NBA and in politics.
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sign of the times

Friday's jobless numbers reporting an additional loss of 533,000 jobs for the month of November continues to pummel the stock market, and brings great concern on the state of the economy. While the current unemployment rate is at 6.7%, the real unemployment rate is most likely much higher, as it does not take into consideration those who have simply given up looking for work.
The unemployment rate has been made less meaningful by the long-term rise in dropouts from the labor force. The simple percentage of people without jobs — including retirees, stay-at-home parents and discouraged would-be job seekers — can also be misleading, though. It has dropped in recent decades mainly because of the influx of women into the work force, not because the job market is fundamentally healthier than it used to be.

The Labor Department does publish an alternate measure of unemployment, which counts part-time workers who want full-time work, as well as anyone who has looked for work in the last year. (The official rate includes only people who told a government surveyor that they had looked in the last four weeks.)

This alternate measure rose to 12.5 percent in November. That is the highest level since the government began calculating the measure in 1994.

Perhaps the best historical measure of the job market, however, is the one set by the market itself: pay.

During the economic expansion that lasted from 2001 until December 2007, when the recession began, incomes for most households barely outpaced inflation. It was the weakest income growth in any expansion since World War II.
One person who has not, is Paul Nawrocki, who's taken to standing in the streets looking for work.
Paul Nawrocki says he's beyond the point where he cares about humiliation. That's why he weekly takes a 90-minute train ride to New York, where he walks the streets wearing a sandwich board that advertises his plight: The former toy-industry executive needs a job.

"Almost homeless," reads the sign. "Looking for employment. Very experienced operations and administration manager."

Wearing a suit and tie under the sign, Nawrocki -- who was in the toy industry 36 years before being laid off in February -- stands on Manhattan corners for hours, hoping to pass resumes to interested passers-by.

"When you're out of work and you face having nothing -- I mean, having no income -- pride doesn't mean anything," Nawrocki said. "You need to find work. I have to take care of my family."
This is just another example of the results of eight years of failed economic policies by the Bush Presidency and the Republican controlled Congress.

Republicans may excel at telling lies and using Rove Style politics to get elected, but it's pretty clear that they fail at governing. It's been demonstrated that both the Stock market and the economy performs much better under a Democratic President, as opposed to a Republican President.
President Bush's multitrillion-dollar tax cuts, which were strongly tilted toward the rich, could not prevent (and may even have contributed to) significant job losses. On the other hand, when Bill Clinton raised taxes on affluent people to balance the federal budget (while significantly expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for working poor people), unemployment declined substantially. Under Clinton's watch, 22 million jobs were created.

Prefer a broader historical comparison? In the past three decades, since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries oil price shocks of the mid-1970s and the Republican turn toward "supply side" economics, the average unemployment rate under Republican presidents has been 6.7 percent – substantially higher than the 5.5 percent average under Democratic presidents. (The official unemployment rate takes no account of people who have given up looking for work or taken substantial pay cuts to stay in the labor force.) Over an even broader time period, since the late 1940s, unemployment has averaged 4.8 percent under Democratic presidents but 6.3 percent – almost one-third higher – under Republican presidents.

Lower unemployment under Democratic presidents has contributed substantially to the real incomes of middle-class and working poor families. Job losses hurt everyone – not just those without work. In fact, every percentage point of unemployment has the effect of reducing middle-class income growth by about $300 per family per year. And the effects are long term, unlike the temporary boost in income from a stimulus check. Compounded over an eight-year period, a persistent one-point difference in unemployment is worth about $10,000 to a middle-class family. The dollar values are smaller for working poor families, but in relative terms their incomes are even more sensitive to unemployment. In contrast, income growth for affluent people is much more sensitive to inflation, which has been a perennial target of Republican economic policies.
Obama's inauguration can't come fast enough.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving and Thomas Jefferson

I traveled to Washington DC to spend with my family for Thanksgiving this year. Today we were fortunate enough to enjoy a crisp, sunny day, so instead of watching football or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, I ended up going for a walk along the Tidal Basin with my family. When we came across the Jefferson Memorial, we walked up, and I was struck by how timeless Jefferson's words regarding freedom and governance were, and how they still applied today, particularly given the recent tragic events, where terrorists attacked several hotels in Mumbai, India.

The violence, while intolerable, begs a question "Why"?

It's too easy and simplistic to just attribute these evil and violent attacks to soulless individuals who have no regard to humanity. Certainly, they demonstrate a lack of respect for human life, but we also need to look at the root cause for their anger.

For too long, mankind in every society has been prone to marginalizing the humanity and equality of others. The idea that Jefferson proposes, in the Declaration of Independence, is truly inspirational and timeless:
"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed..."

Despite differences in ethnicity, culture, or history, every race is looking for security, stability, and well-being. When society allows both social and economic inequalities, is it any wonder that we see such bursts of rage? If we are honest, when we turn our backs on the rights of others, on the humanity, and needs of others, we also have some share of culpability.

What brought economic revival in Europe was the Marshall Plan, the same approach needs to be applied for developing nations. When rich nations develop foreign aid packages to help invest in health care, education, and food production, the economic support will provide a greater and more meaningful solution toward fighting hatred and terrorism, than any missile defense system.

Moreover, even within the US, the effects of poverty, hopelessness, and inequality in our inner cities is evident on a daily basis in the news. We can do more to improve crime and violence in our cities, if we could focus more on improving the income inequality and education of inner city kids.

While it's always a good thing to take stock of what we are grateful for on this annual day of giving thanks, thinking of those who are less fortunate than ourselves is something we should do more often.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Americans, Brits, and Canadians on Holiday

Last week, I had a much needed mini-break with "Les Filles", my best friends from Geneva, and we had a great time in San Francisco and in Las Vegas.

San Francisco was gorgeous, and was only marred by one day of bad weather, but the day we chose to drive down the coast to Carmel, ended up being beautiful. It was just an amazing drive, and gave one the sense of how immense and varied the American landscape really is.

Then it was on to Las Vegas, where we had a day out on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. The views were amazing! Of course there was the requisite gambling, but as I am fairly risk averse, I didn't participate too much, but it was still fun to watch the others.

We were there to celebrate two birthdays, and had a great time at Fleur de Lis in Mandalay Bay , with aperitifs at Mix, where we were able to enjoy our cocktails with a great view of Las Vegas at night.

I had a great time with my friends, but as usual, all good things must come to an end...

p.s. still working on the photobucket slideshow to add to this post...
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

In Defense of Lawrence Summers

Recently, NOW has made some noises about not wanting Larry Summers as a candidate for Secretary of Treasury. I feel that he is being unfairly maligned for being a misogynist for some comments he made, while as President of Harvard University. Just as the rightwing idiots who took a comment that Gore made, out of context and ran with it, saying "Gore invented the internet" is false; so is the story about Larry Summers being against women or saying women are not as intelligent in Math and Science.

In 2005, Larry Summers was asked to speak and address the question about how they can diversify the workforce in Science and Engineering, and more specifically about increasing the number of women. You can read his entire speech here, and judge for yourself. However, this is what really was said, and how what Summers said was taken out of context.
There are many aspects of the problems you're discussing and it seems to me they're all very important from a national point of view. I'm going to confine myself to addressing one portion of the problem, or of the challenge we're discussing, which is the issue of women's representation in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions, not because that's necessarily the most important problem or the most interesting problem, but because it's the only one of these problems that I've made an effort to think in a very serious way about.
Essentially he was saying that there are three main proposals for why we don't have many women in the upper echelons:
...The first is what I call the high-powered job hypothesis. The second is what I would call different availability of aptitude at the high end, and the third is what I would call different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search.
Summer's first reason, the high powered job hypothesis, speaks to a very real problem that we face in our society today. We all know it, not just women, but men. How do we push forward with having a successful career and having a family? It takes A LOT of work and focus to move up, whether in industry or in academia. Quite frankly, I know many people where their career couldn't have succeeded without the support of their spouse. Moreover, for women the burden becomes especially harder, because we need to make choices. If we have a family, then the father has to take just as a great a role in the share of raising the family, or in some cases, be the stay at home dad.

As a single 38 year old female, I'm single for a reason - my career. I put in long hours, and I made that choice a long time ago. In my profession, women in senior leadership positions either do not have children or if they do, their husbands are the ones who have flexible careers and follow their wives from location to location. While the cultural views of stay at home dads, and gender roles in marriages are changing, historically, we have been a society that expected the men to be the providers.

Summers recognized this social environment. He wasn't supporting it, nor was he saying that it was right, but that it was the current reality.

I think it is hard-and again, I am speaking completely descriptively and non-normatively-to say that there are many professions and many activities, and the most prestigious activities in our society expect of people who are going to rise to leadership positions in their forties near total commitments to their work. They expect a large number of hours in the office, they expect a flexibility of schedules to respond to contingency, they expect a continuity of effort through the life cycle, and they expect-and this is harder to measure-but they expect that the mind is always working on the problems that are in the job, even when the job is not taking place. And it is a fact about our society that that is a level of commitment that a much higher fraction of married men have been historically prepared to make than of married women. That's not a judgment about how it should be, not a judgment about what they should expect. But it seems to me that it is very hard to look at the data and escape the conclusion that that expectation is meeting with the choices that people make and is contributing substantially to the outcomes that we observe.
His second remark regarding the difference in aptitude on the high end, was what put him in hot water, and quite frankly was misunderstood. His remarks were looking at the variability (standard deviation) between Men and Women. He was NOT making an inference between the average intelligence of men and women. He was stating that the intelligence of men was probably MORE variable than women.

Here is what he said:
If one supposes, as I think is reasonable, that if one is talking about physicists at a top twenty-five research university, one is not talking about people who are two standard deviations above the mean. And perhaps it's not even talking about somebody who is three standard deviations above the mean. But it's talking about people who are three and a half, four standard deviations above the mean in the one in 5,000, one in 10,000 class. Even small differences in the standard deviation will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out. I did a very crude calculation, which I'm sure was wrong and certainly was unsubtle, twenty different ways. I looked at the Xie and Shauman paper-looked at the book, rather-looked at the evidence on the sex ratios in the top 5% of twelfth graders. If you look at those-they're all over the map, depends on which test, whether it's math, or science, and so forth-but 50% women, one woman for every two men, would be a high-end estimate from their estimates. From that, you can back out a difference in the implied standard deviations that works out to be about 20%.
Essentially from his methodology, he is ASSUMING that there is no IMPLIED difference in average intelligence between men and women. Summers made a deduction on the standard deviation of the upper tail to figure out what the variation would be to account for this difference between the number of men and women.

His ONLY POINT that he was trying to make is that men have a 20% greater variability than women. Actually if you think about it, what Summers is saying is that women could be more consistently smart, because their standard deviation is less. While with men, they can either be really smart, or really stupid.

Finally with regards to his third reason, on discrimination:
The most controversial in a way, question, and the most difficult question to judge, is what is the role of discrimination? To what extent is there overt discrimination? Surely there is some. Much more tellingly, to what extent are there pervasive patterns of passive discrimination and stereotyping in which people like to choose people like themselves, and the people in the previous group are disproportionately white male, and so they choose people who are like themselves, who are disproportionately white male. No one who's been in a university department or who has been involved in personnel processes can deny that this kind of taste does go on, and it is something that happens, and it is something that absolutely, vigorously needs to be combated.
He wraps up with this:
So my best guess, to provoke you, of what's behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people's legitimate family desires and employers' current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination. I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them.
So that's how Larry Summers finally got pushed out of Harvard, because his comment about the "variability of aptitude" was misinterpreted and misunderstood by a math illiterates. Granted, his abrasive personality, and other management controversies as a University President also contributed to his resignation, but surprisingly when polled, a majority of Harvard Students did not see the need for his resignation.

Larry Summers is quite frankly the most brilliant mind that we have in our country today, and sometimes with geniuses, their social IQ isn't what it should be. He is known to be abrasive, and yes he can make occasional gaffes. How many of us haven't made a dumb comment in the past?

Quite frankly, we are in the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we need to have the best mind on the job. Moreover, it is women who are hit the hardest during economic downturns, so I find it slightly ironic that feminists feel the need to go against the best interests of women, simply because of a remark that was taken out of context.

Now for those who have a beef with Larry, because he was for de-regulation. That's a different issue, and something that is more substantive and worthy to beat him over the head with.

However, one least defense on his part, he has seen the error of his ways, and in fact he is a big proponent of what's fundamentally wrong with this economy - which is Income Inequality.
According to former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, the shift of income inequality over the last quarter century simply dwarfs the amount of money being discussed in partisan debates over wealth redistribution -- and represents a serious crisis of legitimacy for society.

In the last 29 years, Summers said, "you'll find that the share of income going from 80 to 99th percentiles has stayed the same. And those in top one percent have gained about $600 billion. Those in bottom 80 percent have lost about $600 billion."

Summers then calculated that this overall transfer of wealth averaged out to an additional $500,000 per year in earnings for those in the top one percent, and an $8,000 loss every year for those in the bottom 80 percent.

"If the bottom 80 percent had kept pace and earned that $8,000 ... their income growth would have been twice as high over the last generation as what we in fact observed. Think about this number: $600 billion a year. It is immense compared to any discussion of changing the tax system here or there," Summers added.
Some final thoughts, gave their two cents on Obama surrounding himself by nerds:
Here's a radical suggestion: Barack Obama should pick the smartest people he can find for his Cabinet...But it makes sense for Obama to give greater weight to intellectual acumen and subject-specific knowledge than his recent predecessors have, both because of the depth of the problems he faces and because of his own style as a thinker and a decision-maker. Bush, whose ego was threatened by any outburst of excellence in his vicinity, politicized all policymaking and centralized it in the White House. Obama, happily, has the opposite tendencies. He is intellectually confident, enjoys engaging with ideas, and inclines to pragmatism rather than partisanship.

Another interesting article from SLATE.COM about Larry Summers:
Summers rose despite himself. He had energy and brains (and humor) but also a nasty arrogance. He was impatient with those less intelligent than himself (that is, everyone), lecturing members of Congress who asked stupid questions, berating foreign finance ministers for their foolishness, sneering at colleagues, undermining rivals, and generally abusing his staff. Summers had a poisonous reputation on Capitol Hill and an unsteady status in the White House—protected by his brilliance and by Rubin, but distrusted.

Summers—too smart and ambitious not to recognize his problem—approached it with the same exacting logic he brings to everything. He realized that he was in danger of being permanently tattooed as a jerk and perhaps blackballed from higher office. So, as Clinton's second term began, he set about domesticating himself. Says one longtime Summers staffer: "He had a huge incentive, because he could see that he couldn't get far in Washington rubbing people the wrong way. He realized this was a chunk of stuff he needed to learn. So he did it. It was like learning French for him."

Summers tried to imitate some of Rubin's gentility. He began repeating self-deprecating Rubinisms: "It's just one man's opinion, but …," and "I may be wrong but …" He taught himself to endure congressional idiocy and journalistic doltism with a smile. He remained as intense and hard-working as ever but eased up on berating his staff...He is zealous about global inequality. As a political economist, he lobbied incessantly for small steps that could have outsize benefits: educating girls, developing vaccines against diseases of poor countries, and forgiving Third World debt.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Obamas on 60 Minutes

This 60 Minutes interview, set to air tomorrow night, will their first interview since the election.

Watching this clip, I can't help but think "how cute is this couple!"

Here's the transcript:
"When did it sink in?" Kroft asked Michelle Obama.

"I'm not sure if it has really has sunk in, but -- I, I remember, we were watching the returns and on one of the stations Barack's picture came up and it said, 'President-elect Barack Obama,' Michelle Obama responded. "And I looked at him and I said, "You are the 44th president of the United States of America. Wow. What a country we live in.' "

"How about that?" the president-elect chimed in.

"Yeah," the future first lady agreed.

"Yeah," said the future 44th president. "Then she said, 'So are you going to take the girls to school in the morning?' "

"I did not!" protested Michelle Obama, laughing. "I didn't say that."

"It wasn't at that moment," quipped her husband.
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Are you smarter than a 3rd Grader?

Watch these kids have a debate on the Iraq War....

The kid on the left spoke much more intelligently and seems to be much more informed than most adults. There's a high probability that this kid is even smarter than Sarah Palin.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Books for Oprah's Book Club ?

Today was a day for book deals, as news came out that Nate Silver, the baseball Statistician and pollster extraordinaire, has received a deal for two books:
... one about the art of prediction and the other a Freakonomics-style guide to the mechanics of electoral politics. Mr. Silver's agent, Sydelle Kramer of the Susan Rabiner Agency, told publishers she wanted indications of interest by Tuesday, but evidently the indications came faster than expected (so much for the art of prediction) and Ms. Kramer decided to just hold an auction today. According to several sources, that auction has ended, and Penguin Group USA has prevailed. Which of Penguin's imprint will publish Mr. Silver has not yet been determined, however, as there are at least three within the company that are jockeying for the privilege. The pricetag, we hear, is above $600,000 but below $1 million—a healthy sum even though it's paying for two books rather than just one. Update, 5:00 p.m.: New intelligence says Mr. Silver's advance is in the neighborhood of $700,000, give or take a few grand.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Joe The Plumber, who is apparently going to have his own book (co-written by a real writer):
But charity isn't Wurzelbacher's sole goal. Sharing the wealth also means helping himself. To that end, he's working with writer Tom Tabback on a book about American values.
"Everyone came at me to write a book. They had dollar signs in their eyes. '101 Things Joe the Plumber Knows' or some stupid s--- like that. Excuse me, I am sorry," he said. "You know I will get behind something solid, but I won't get behind fluff. I won't cash in, and when people do read the book they will figure out that I didn't cash in. At least I hope they figure that out."

The book, called "Joe the Plumber -- Fighting for the American Dream," is to be released by a group called PearlGate Publishing and other small publishing houses.

"I am not going to a conglomerate that way we actually can get the economy jump started. Like there is five publishing companies in Michigan. There's a couple down in Texas. They are small ones that can handle like 10 or 15,000 copies. I can go to a big one that could handle a million or two. But they don't need the help. They are already rich. So that's spreading the wealth to me," he said.
Having just come from a mini holiday in Las Vegas, I'm wondering what the odds are that Joe the Plumber's book ever actually get's published? I'm also curious what the market is for Joe's pearls of wisdom.

Myself, I am looking forward to reading Nate Silver's books, as his website gave a very interesting statistical analysis on the probabilities of the election, based on the state polls.

Another book got a lot of buzz today, this one has been out for sometime, and that's Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals". Kearns had written about Lincoln's Cabinet:
Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.
Goodwin described the effectiveness of Lincoln's approach:
Sorely underestimated as both an effective orator and leader, Abraham Lincoln surprised both his colleagues and critics as he rose to political prominence. But what's even more surprising was his ability to surround himself with a coalition of supporters made up almost entirely of men who had been both his political enemies and enemies of each other. Lincoln carefully navigated this "team of rivals" to achieve not only political success, but also victory in the Civil War. Could Obama be taking a page out of Lincoln's playbook??
This all came on the rumors of potential candidates for Secretary of State. Both Governor Bill Richardson and Senator Hillary Clinton have traveled to Chicago to meet with President-Elect Obama, officials on both sides have leaked word that they are strong contenders to be appointed SoS.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama is considering primary election rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Richardson to be his secretary of state, according to Democratic officials who revealed his secret meetings with both as he weighed the decision on folding former foes into his new administration.
News also came out that John McCain is set to meet with President Elect Obama on Monday - oh to be a fly on the wall of that meeting!
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama's Presidency

Now that the election is over, the media's attention and frenzy for news turns to Obama's Presidency, his agenda, and most importantly Cabinet picks! Already rumors that Rahm Emanuel would be Obama's Chief of Staff were confirmed when he formally announced his acceptance for this tremendous position of responsibility.

What's interesting is that already we see a hint of how Obama would govern as President of the United States from his quick actions post Election Day.

He has campaigned on transparency and public involvement in the government process. In this regard, Obama is providing a way to get the American public to get engaged in their own government with the Change Government Website.

Moreover, it appears that the tradition of giving plum Ambassadorships to large donors is a thing of the past.
There is major agita among some key elements of President-elect Barack Obama's juggernaut. For example, the big-money types and "bundlers," the fundraisers who helped put together Obama's stunning financial advantage, are expecting their reward -- say a nice, cushy ambassadorship in Rome or Paris or London. (By tradition, about one-third of the nation's 190 ambassadors are political appointees. They're the ones who get the fine European postings.)

But the chatter is that they'd better not count on it. The traditional sale of most ambassadorships, so aptly carried on during the Bush administration, may not continue. Early speculation is that Obama may be more inclined to follow the Clinton model and select people, often political types, with some foreign policy credentials or knowledge of a country's language or culture.
Rahm Emanuel's selection as Obama's Chief of Staff again shows the judgment that Obama exercises by selecting a capable, savvy, experienced, and loyal partner to be a part of his team. Rahm (aka "Rahm-bo") has a reputation for toughness and for getting things done. This sends a clear signal that Obama is focused on delivering results. Clearly this has the GOP scared, and fearful of the demonstrable results that Obama will be able to deliver with a Chief of Staff like Rahm Emanuel.

Already, some of the GOP were trying to pain Emanuel as partisan and a "bad choice" on the part of Obama. Rep. Boehner (R-OH) demonstrated how petty and childish the GOP plans to be going forward by releasing the statement.
“This is an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil and govern from the center.”
The RNC was quick to put out a statement that was made no bones to hide their unhappiness upon hearing the news:
“Barack Obama’s first decision as President-elect undermines his promise to ‘heal the divides,'" said RNC spokesman Alex Conant. "Rahm Emanuel is a partisan insider who played a lead role in breaking Washington. The White House needs a chief of staff – not a chief campaigner like Emanuel. Our nation will be ill-served if Obama runs the White House the way ‘Rahmbo’ ran the Democratic Congress.”
Interestingly, the Washington Post, also observed the same thing, and gave it's advice, although I am doubtful that Boehner and company have any rational sensibilities left.
The less-than-gracious GOP statements, and the turmoil in the House leadership ranks, underscore the choice ahead for the Republican minority: whether to try to cooperate with the new president or, with moderates an endangered species in the party, to form an unyielding opposition. We are not in the business of giving either party advice on how to tend to its electoral interests, but the public does not seem positively inclined toward political jockeying and reflexive obstructionism. Republicans should, of course, stand up for their principles, although the party, in the aftermath of its loss, will inevitably spend some time debating exactly what those are. But the country -- and, we suspect, the party as well -- would benefit from a sincere effort to find common ground with the new administration on some of the daunting issues facing the country in the months ahead.
The response from Lindsey Graham gives an inkling of the growing divide in the Republican party between cultural warriors such as Boehner, and more traditional or moderate conservatives within the Senate.
"This is a wise choice by President-elect Obama. Rahm knows Capitol Hill and has great political skills. He can be a tough partisan but also understands the need to work together. He is well-suited for the position of White House Chief of Staff.

I worked closely with him during the presidential debate negotiations which were completed in record time. When we hit a rough spot, he always looked for a path forward. I consider Rahm to be a friend and colleague. He's tough but fair. Honest, direct, and candid. These qualities will serve President-elect Obama well."
Some Democrats have concerns whether Emanuel is an appropriate choice given that he served as part of Clinton's White House Staff. This is where I think Democrats need to be careful in not making the same mistake as Bush and Cheney did when they entered the White House. Bush and Cheney were practically religious zealots about removing people from government positions if they were in any way associated with Democrats or the Clintons. It wasn't about experience or knowledge, it was about ideology. Hence, the illegal firings in the justice department, and the litmus tests they imposed on party loyalty.

This kind of slash and burn style brings problems because you risk losing qualified individuals with talent. For example in the business world, a successful merger of two organizations takes into consideration the top talent and best practices between the two companies, in order to create something greater than the sum of the two parts. Any company that ignores or denies the value that the other company can bring to the table, does so at their own peril.

Let's be clear, what makes Obama so refreshing, and what he means by Change is "Pragmatism". Forget any of the other terms, liberal, socialist, centrist, etc. Obama is first and foremost pragmatic.

He's about what works and what doesn't. Don't expect Obama to be prejudiced against anyone because of who they worked for or which party they belong to. It's clear that for Obama, it's about who is going to be effective, add value, display judgment, knowledge, and experience. This is the BIG change. It's about what you know, and how you will contribute to making a difference.

Change means saying no to governance based on ideology
Change means valuing experience, valuing collaborative approaches, and knowledge
Change means taking the best practice approach

This means that Obama will be looking back at history and taking the best approach for what works.

Ideology has no place in governance, and Obama provided us a glimpse of his pragmatic nature when asked of his philosophy for selecting Justices for the Supreme Court. In an interview with Brian Williams, Obama made it clear that "Roe v. Wade" was not a litmus test for him, that it was more about past experiences, judgment, and their philosophy with regards to the US Constitution.
WILLIAMS: Senator, a question about the Supreme Court. Everyone running for President always says, especially on the narrow issue of abortion rights -- no litmus test. It's said on both sides of the issue. And if that's true, if you're not going to call a future Justice into the Oval Office, if you're successful in this endeavor and bring up the subject, how then do you also avoid surprises? I don't think George H.W. Bush, 41, ever dreamed that in Justice Souter he was appointed a dependable liberal vote.

OBAMA: Right.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And as -- Eisenhower for years called Justice Brennan, his biggest mistake in office. Two surprises that just come to mind.

OBAMA: Right. Well, look, I think that you -- what you can ask a judge is about their judicial philosophy. And as somebody who taught constitutional law for ten years, who actually knows a lot of the potential candidates for Supreme Court on the right as well as on the left 'cause I've taught with them or interacted with them in some way -- I can tell you that how a Justice approaches their job, how they describe the path of interpreting the Constitution, I think can tell you a lot.

And so my criteria, for example, would be -- if a Justice tells me that they only believe the strict letter of the Constitution -- that means that they possibly don't mean -- believe in -- a right to privacy that may not be perfectly enumerated in the Constitution but, you know, that I think is there.

I mean, the right to marry who you please isn't in the Constitution. But I think all of us assume that if a state decided to pass a law saying, 'Brian, you can't marry the woman you love,' that you'd think that was unconstitutional. Well, where does that come from? I think it comes from a right to privacy. That may not be listed in the Constitution but is implied by the structure of the Constitution.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008


It's official - Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States

Titans Spirit (Score) - Trevor Rabin
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I Voted Today !

I voted today, and participated in our democratic process, unique to our country. This is a right that every American has that protected by the constitution, and for which many have fought for.

I voted for Change and for a brighter future for America

I voted for Restoring Honor and rejecting Torture

I voted for Fairness and finally saying no more to failed Trickle Down Economics

I voted for Veterans and our Servicemen around the world

I voted for Respect and to say no more to Divisive Politics

I voted for Equality for ALL AMERICANS and not just a select few

I voted for ending American Hegemony and rejoining the International Community

......I voted for Barack Obama.

We need to make sure our democracy stays vibrant, stays law abiding and respectful.To a certain extent we are a beacon of democracy for the world. As much as the Constitution has done for us, the American democratic example can do for the world.
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Eve Sadness and Hope

There was news today that Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has passed away.
It almost seems too bittersweet that she would pass away before Election Day.

Madelyn Dunham:October 26, 1922 - November 3, 2008
She and her late husband Stanley raised the young Barack in Hawaii for many years while his mother, who had remarried, lived abroad.

Known within the family as "Toot", a shortened form of the Hawaiian word "tutu" meaning grandmother, she gave him a stable home and the traditional American values brought from her own Midwestern childhood. She was also a trailblazer in her own right, having risen from a lowly position to be one of the first women vice-presidents of the Bank of Hawaii.

In a major speech on race he gave in March, Mr Obama described her as "a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world".
When my own father passed away, it was a shock and yet not completely a surprise, as he had been diagnosed with cancer. After a hard battle, the cancer became too much, and spread too far and too quickly. We knew we didn't have a lot of time left, but I knew that still his thoughts were for us. That is always the way with parents and grandparents, they think more about the happiness and well being of their children. I can only imagine how much pride Obama's grandmother must have had for his accomplishments.

If Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States, it will mean so much to so many Americans, including myself, but in particular to many older Americans who experienced the Civil Rights movement.

This picture of this older gentleman in Times Square watching Obama's acceptance speech in Denver during the Democratic National Convention says it all.
The tears and naked emotion on this man's face would move anyone with a heart. So many African Americans never thought that they would see this day in their lifetime.

Tomorrow I will cast my vote for Barack Obama, and hope that America finds the strength and the common sense to vote for Obama, our best hope for the next President who could lead the US into a new chapter in history.
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where is Moses when you need him?

When I saw this on the Wonkette, I was completely and utterly flabbergasted. These so called "Christians" are praying to a golden bull to fix the economy. Some 700 Club nutcase, Cindy Jacobs, as reported by the CBN, called for a "Day of Prayer for the World’s Economies".

Um apparently they forgot the first two of the Ten Commandments :

1. I am the Lord your God, You shall have no other gods before me
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol

In January of this year, Cindy Jacobs was in a worship service when the Lord spoke to her, “Cindy, the strongman over America doesn’t live in Washington, DC – the strongman lives in New York City! Call My people to pray for the economy.”

This word so shook Cindy; she knew she had to call the people of God to converge on New York City the week of October 29 for an emergency prayer rally to cry out against economic collapse in the midst of shaking.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama Speaks to the Nation

Barack Obama is truly a once in a generation leader.

I couldn't help but wish it was longer - the 30 minutes went too quickly for me. But I can definitely say it was worth every penny of my donation :-)
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Yellow College Republicans

I came across this video of College Republicans attending some sort of conference in DC, where they were fortunate enough to hear Tom Delay (aka "Hot Tub Tom") former Congressional Member and Campaign Finance & Ethics Violator. I realized that within 10 seconds, that this was really a showcase of the most pathetic excuse for college students. For some reason, they are able to successfully come across as a joke, with just enough earnestness to give one a creepy feeling. I found these students to be the typical "chickenhawk" Republicans who are able to spout the usual Republican Talking Points, without really knowing what they are talking about.

In any case, an intrepid individual took it on his own to interview these College Republicans to get an idea of what their views were on the key political issues of our day, in particular the War in Iraq. What ensued was almost as funny as something you might see on "The Daily Show". Unsurprisingly, many stated that the war in Iraq as a good thing, a necessary evil. Why? Because we are "taking the fight" over to them.

That's it - that's their reason. Put aside the fact that they are completely, and utterly dead wrong, what makes them total losers, is the fact that they are such war hawks, but when asked about future plans to join the military, not a single one has any plans to serve in the military. No National Guard service, no ROTC, nada, zip.

Funny enough, they all have excuses for why they can't serve. Some gave the excuse that they couldn't join the military because they were in college. Many gave the ever popular reason - debilitating health issues like trick knee or flat foot; otherwise you know it, they would be there on the front lines fighting. What's wrong with these Republican offsprings?? Why are they all so defective? One sad individual even alluded to mental problems not allowing him to join the military. The most pathetic was a fat kid who admitted he couldn't handle the physical requirements.

Above all else, this is something I don't understand, if there is a justification for war, why do we not have more people serving in the military? The percentage of the able population serving is at a ridiculously low level. Why isn't there more outrage and disgust about the lack of sacrifice on the part of the American public to do their part and pay for this war. Why is it that the American public has lost interest in hearing about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan? I'm pretty certain that Paris Hilton is getting more coverage than the events in Iraq.

This is what I find concerning - these morons are the future who may potentially be in a position to influence the direction of the country by their votes, or even more frightening be in a position to determine policy like Dick Cheney or Paul Wolfowitz. They have no clue what War means. To them it's just a video game like Halo3 or potentially a war movie like "Top Gun", where the hero always gets the girl and defeats the bad guys, all while some over the top, testosterone pumped, cheesy rock music plays in the background.

No one has any sense of reality or acknowledgment of the ugly side of war, and most disappointing is how the topic of Iraq is handled like a football rally - usually with words and cheering about "winning" and "Victory". Exactly what did we win? What defines victory? Who did we defeat??

I do not profess to know what the soldiers, who have returned or are still serving, are feeling. Quite honestly if you haven't walked a mile in someone's shoe, you will never know their experience. But what's tragic is that these "College Republicans" don't even consider for a second, the ugly side of war; the potential mental challenges, confusion, death, anger, fear, and guilt that many of the returning soldiers coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan may be grappling with.

Ironically, Chickenhawk Republicans may say they support the troops, but just try to bring up the topic about raising taxes to fund the war effort; funds that would improve the Veterans Hospital, the GI Bill, and to ensure that the troops have the right supplies to do the job they need. Any mention of taxes, and immediately arguments come up about how taxes kill the economy and that big government is not the solution. They will point to the fact that tax hikes are not needed, that all that is needed is to cut the wasteful spending such as earmarks on Bear DNA studies or cut spending on welfare or unemployment. Or better yet, kick out all the illegal immigrants, and for sure we will be able to find the savings to fund the war. What they refuse to acknowledge is that the Iraq War has cost us over $3 trillion dollars, earmarks account for $12 to $18 billion dollars of the annual budget - you do the math.

If they had any smidgen of intelligence in their pea sized brains, they might eventually consider the horrors and sacrifices war brings. If they were truly living out the "christian" values that they believed in, they wouldn't deny the tragedy in the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have died in Iraq. Yet their attitude, along with many of the right wing republican base seem to marginalize the growing number Iraqi civilians who have died during this war as a nuisance. From their point of view, they are thinking "Why should we care about some dead Iraqis? They are all towel wearing muslims aren't they? All Muslims are terrorists aren't they?".

At least this is what's being said at McCain/Palin Rallies.

If they truly did have any capability for rational thought or open minds, then they would certainly be much more circumspect about the idiotic nonsense they are taught to spout. The unfortunate fact is they have been brainwashed by Republican talking points and Fox News, to the extent that they are now incapable of questioning or reasoning with any modicum of intelligence. Personally, it seems an education is being wasted on these characters.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Section 60

There is a new documentary out by HBO, which I think is a must see for anyone who thinks that the Iraq War was a good thing, or as Joe the Plumber puts it "taking the fight to them".

"Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery" called "the saddest acre in America," Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery is a burial ground for U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a place that epitomizes the honor of service and the cost of war. The third in a trilogy of Iraq-related HBO documentaries (following the Emmy®-winning "Baghdad ER" and the Emmy® nominated "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq") from Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill, the moving verité special SECTION 60: ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY commemorates the lives of the deceased and the mourning of their survivors.

"Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery" provides rare, intimate glimpses of the loss, love and pride felt by Section 60 visitors, underscoring the human toll exacted by the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, while honoring those who sacrificed their lives for their country. Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill capture the sights and sounds of this quiet pocket of Arlington National Cemetery, where families and friends grieve, honor, remember and find comfort and community with others who share profound loss. A reverent snapshot of the ever-expanding Section 60, the film comprises vignettes shot from early morning to sundown. Mourners ranging from young widows and family members to fiances and fellow soldiers visit Section 60 to try and connect in spiritual and physical ways with the loved ones they've lost. The parents of a Muslim serviceman tell how they moved to the U.S. 25 years earlier to pursue the freedoms for which their son died. A group of mourners mark the anniversary of a soldier's death by playing a patriotic country ballad on a boom box. A father camps out on his son's grave with a quilt, a bottle of bourbon, and one of two "Iraqi freedom cigars" his son had sent from Iraq, with the promise to smoke it on his return. The sister of a fallen soldier calls Section 60 "one of the most honorable places in America."

Anyone watching this should ensure they have a box of tissues on hand. It is a very heartbreaking documentary.
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wassup Boys 8 Years Later

LinkCharles Stone was a film director who found success through Music Videos and short films, but is probably best known for his commercial that he directed and starred in for Budweiser, for the SuperBowl game, along with his friends - the infamous "wassup" .

Now he revisits his boys 8 years later in a video for change.

The Original 8 Years ago

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The GOP becoming the Party of the Ignorant

Sarah Palin gave her first "policy" speech yesterday on one of her future platforms to focus on special needs children. I use the word "policy" very loosely. It was yet another emotional speech about how Palin understands and knows what she would do, just because she has a child with Down's Syndrome and because her sister has a child with autism. Parents have children, but that doesn't make them Pediatricians.

So I hardly see how this will make her an expert on Special Needs Children, particularly given her own relatively short experience as a mother of a special needs child, and the fact that it doesn't appear she seems to have done any research on the educational support that special needs children may require to help improve their motor skills and neurological development.

She didn't lay out any specific policy on research, education, or funding. It was all about prayer and how "In a McCain-Palin administration, we will put the educational choices for special needs children in the right hands their parents." - in other words you're on your own to deal with your own problems.

Then comes the most outrageous line, where Palin brings up spending or earmarks on a study about Fruit Flies.
Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] You've heard about some of these pet projects they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.
By this very statement, she displays her ignorance once again. If she cared so much about special needs children, and the challenges that parents face, she may want to know about the types of research that are being carried out to understand the protein deficiencies that lead to neurological conditions such as autism.

[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for..nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.

Professor Meyers, a Biologist with the University of Minnesota had this to say:
Yes, scientists work on fruit flies. Some of the most powerful tools in genetics and molecular biology are available in fruit flies, and these are animals that are particularly amenable to experimentation. Molecular genetics has revealed that humans share key molecules, the basic developmental toolkit, with all other animals, thanks to our shared evolutionary heritage (something else the wackaloon from Wasilla denies), and that we can use these other organisms to probe the fundamental mechanisms that underlie core processes in the formation of the nervous system — precisely the phenomena Palin claims are so important.
This is truly becoming the party of the "know-nothing". I have said it before, and I'm going to say it again - what does McCain and Palin have against science? Why do they paint any spending on science as wasteful?

They take great delight in valuing "gut thinking" more than intellectual discourse. What's worse is that they don't care that they are ignorant. Facts don't matter - only emotion. Any attempt to appear thoughtful or intellectual is just ridiculed with disparaging comments about "elitists".

The GOP Party needs to take a good long look at it's platform and rethink the future of their party as noted by several conservatives such as Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker, Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Buckley, Ken Adelman, Susan Eisenhower, Charles Fried, Colin Powell, and many others. McCain and Palin, along with their supporters, are in denial in their ability to attract a majority of Americans to their party if they continue this path of creating a more narrow party.

It seems increasingly apparent that the only people left who support McCain and Palin are either rabid Christian fundamentalists, ignorant or uninformed voters, or straight out racists. Having seen and heard the comments coming out of the mouths of the McCain/Palin supporters, it's just too much for anyone with a modicum of reasonable intelligence to tolerate.

Check out the Las Vegas Sun, where they have a video of a McCain/Palin Rally, in which the paper describes the "anger, fear, and racism" that is occurring more frequently at Palin's Rallies.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Soundbites I never want to hear again after Nov. 4th

This election year has been fraught with soundbites, and here are a few that I hope I never have to hear again after Obama gets elected on November 4th!

  1. "Drill Baby Drill"
  2. "One heartbeat away from the presidency"
  3. Pitbulls (with or without lipstick)
  4. "Hockey mom"/"Soccer Mom"/"Wal*Mart Mom"
  5. "Joe Six-pack"
  6. "Joe the Plumber"/"Sally the hairdresser"/"Bob the Builder"/etc
  7. "Nobama"
  8. "Maverick"
  9. "I know how to [fill in action]"
  10. "Pro America"/"real America"
  11. "Anti-America"/"fake America"
  12. "Bridge to Nowhere"
  13. "reach across the aisle"
  14. "country first"
  15. "My Friends"
  16. Any phrase with a suffix "-gate" (lipstick-gate, trooper-gate, Neiman-Marcusgate)
  17. "POW"
  18. Any phrase with "moose" or "caribou" in it (Mooseburger, Caribou Barbie)
  19. "Straight Talk"
  20. "Surge"
  21. "Hail Mary Pass"
  22. "gotcha journalism"
  23. "Eastern Media Elite"
  24. "Main St"
  25. "Washington Outsider"
  26. "game changer"
  27. "in the tank for"
  28. "executive experience," especially in context with small town mayors
  29. Any phrase using "Elite" incorrectly
  30. Any phrase using "Socialism" incorrectly
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Comedians for Obama

Of all the endorsements that Obama has received, some laughs can be had by some comedians and entertainers who endorse Obama.

Ron Howard has a hilarious clip bringing back the "Fonz"

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Then we have Larry David airing his nervousness about election night. Here I am with Larry David - I am so nervous and I can't wait for Election Night to be over, and to know that Obama has won by a landslide!
I can't take much more of this. Two weeks to go, and I'm at the end of my rope. I can't work. I can eat, but mostly standing up.....Five times a day I'll still say to someone, "I don't know what I'm going to do if McCain wins." Of course, the reality is I'm probably not going to do anything. What can I do? I'm not going to kill myself. If I didn't kill myself when I became impotent for two months in 1979, I'm certainly not going to do it if McCain and Palin are elected, even if it's by nefarious means. If Obama loses, it would be easier to live with it if it's due to racism rather than if it's stolen. If it's racism, I can say, "Okay, we lost, but at least it's a democracy. Sure, it's a democracy inhabited by a majority of disgusting, reprehensible turds, but at least it's a democracy." If he loses because it's stolen, that will be much worse. Call me crazy, but I'd rather live in a democratic racist country than a non-democratic non-racist one.
Even Al Bundy gets on the Obama bandwagon as he shows how Al the "Shoe Salesman" could save more in taxes under Obama than McCain.

And of course we can never get enough of how cool Obama is, as he shows he can be a better dancer than John McCain.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Palin's Fashion Faux Pas!

Yesterday, the story broke out on Politico, that the RNC has spent more than $150,000 to dress Sarah Palin and her family.
According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.
While clothing shouldn't be an issue, the fact is Palin has been campaigning to the "Wal-Mart" moms and hockey moms. I don't know about you, but I don't know any Wal-Mart mom wearing Valentino or Manolo Blahniks!

Apparently there are some really pissed off Republicans!

In contrast we have the Obamas discussing Barack's frugal shopping habits:

In addition, Barack Obama has been teased about his lack of interest in fashion, and how old his clothes are. Check out his shoes, which have been re-soled repeatedly due to the amount of time he's spent pounding on the Campaign Trail.

Michelle Obama appears on the "View" in a chic, but inexpensive dress from "White House/Black Market". Within days, there was a huge demand for this dress that caught everyone's attention.

Below we see Michelle Obama in a dress from H&M ($34.95)

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