Barack Obama steps up for science - Don’t hold your breath for McCain to do the same

August 31, 2008

If there’s one thing we should know for sure, it’s that John McCain and his creationist running mate Sarah Palin will continue George W. Bush’s war on science. And in a world where scientific research and technological breakthroughs are increasingly vital for a nation’s future health, another four years of defying science in favor of trusting in faith will help the U.S. continue its rapid free fall back to the Middle ages.

At Science Debate 2008, a group of citizens got together to try and inject science into a Presidential debate that seems destined to completely deteriorate into a dialogue of foolishness. From the Science Debate 2008 Web site:

In November, 2007, a small group of six citizens - two screenwriters, a physicist, a marine biologist, a philosopher and a science journalist - began working to restore science and innovation to America’s political dialogue. They called themselves Science Debate 2008, and they called for a presidential debate on science. The call tapped a wellspring of concern over the state of American science.

Within weeks, more than 38,000 scientists, engineers, and other concerned Americans signed on, including nearly every major American science organization, dozens of Nobel laureates, elected officials and business leaders, and the presidents of over 100 major American universities. …Among other things, these signers submitted over 3,400 questions they want the candidates for President to answer about science and the future of America.

The organizers sent a list of 14 science-related questions to both Barack Obama and John McCain. Obama recently sent in his answers, and for those who live in the Reality-Based Community, his answers were a breath of fresh air. Among his responses:

Stem cell research holds the promise of improving our lives in at least three ways—by substituting normal cells for damaged cells to treat diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, heart failure and other disorders; by providing scientists with safe and convenient models of disease for drug development; and by helping to understand fundamental aspects of normal development and cell dysfunction.

For these reasons, I strongly support expanding research on stem cells. I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations. As president, I will lift the current administration’s ban on federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001 through executive order, and I will ensure that all research on stem cells is conducted ethically and with rigorous oversight.

I recognize that some people object to government support of research that requires cells to be harvested from human embryos. However, hundreds of thousands of embryos stored in the U.S. in in-vitro fertilization clinics will not be used for reproductive purposes, and will eventually be destroyed. I believe that it is ethical to use these extra embryos for research that could save lives when they are freely donated for that express purpose.

I will re-establish [the National Aeronautics and Space Council] reporting to the president. It will oversee and coordinate civilian, military, commercial, and national security space activities. It will solicit public participation, engage the international community, and work toward a 21st century vision of space that constantly pushes the envelope on new technologies as it pursues a balanced national portfolio that expands our reach into the heavens and improves life here on Earth.

As president, I will increase funding for basic research in physical and life sciences, mathematics, and engineering at a rate that would double basic research budgets over the next decade.

Don’t expect McCain to bother answering. There’s just no benefit for him to enter any debate that involves science when a good chunk of his supporters still believe the Earth is 6,000 years old and God planted bones of dinosaurs deep into the Earth as a test of faith.


Right-Winger on Sarah Palin: Loading up keywords and inventing allegations

August 31, 2008

One must give Ace of Spades some credit for SEO skills. Somehow a Google search for looking for Sarah Palin pictures landed on his site.

Of course, he immediately blamed lefty bloggers. Based on, well, absolutely nothing. And quite unshockingly, Ace doesn’t seem to have any clue why these awful Google searches are landing on his site somehow.

Of course, that didn’t stop ol’ Ace from just loading up even more SEO search keywords in his post to draw readers to his site. In fact, it probably goes without saying that ol’ Ace did the initial search himself and then started rabidly screaming about how “leftists” did it.

I base this on intensive research of the right-wing fringe, mind you. They sort of have a tendency to invent facts and run with them, I’ve noticed.

Not that it’s hard to find numerous actual instances of sexism against Sarah Palin from both the left and the right and the mainstream media. Or he can check his own comment section. But eight years of George Bush has taught the far right quite a bit about inventing sources, it seems. At least in this case it’s only a transparent ploy to get hits.


Frank Rich hits a Grand Slam against the Media

August 31, 2008

Frank Rich of the New York Times fully assaults the “dysfunctional press” covering the 2008 Presidential Election, and hits one out of the park.

All week long a media chorus had fretted whether he could pull off a potentially vainglorious stunt before 80,000 screaming fans. Well, yes he can, and so he did.

But was this a surprise? Hardly. No major Obama speech — each breathlessly hyped in advance as do-or-die and as the “the most important of his career” — has been a disaster; most have been triples or home runs, if not grand slams. What is most surprising is how astonished the press still is at each Groundhog Day’s replay of the identical outcome. Indeed, the disconnect between the reality of this campaign and how it is perceived and presented by the mainstream media is now a major part of the year’s story. The press dysfunction is itself a window into the unstable dynamics of Election 2008.

I’m William K. Wolfrum and I fully endorse Rich’s column. Read the rest here.


John McCain would serve the country for nothing - but takes the $228,000 anyway

August 30, 2008

In Sarah Palin’s e-mail requesting campaign donations from John McCain supporters she delivered this little gem:

“What I admire most about John McCain is his unwavering ability to put our country first and to ask for nothing in return for his decades of service …”

John McCain receives a salary of $169,300, plus health care and other benefits from the U.S. government.

McCain also receives a $58,358 annual disability pension payment from the government for the injuries he suffered as a prisoner of war.

So remember, earning $5 million a year is considered rich. Taking $227,600 per year from the government is not even to be considered. After all, he didn’t ask for it.

(Update: After adding in his Navy Pension of $11,038, the price it costs taxpayers for John McCain to give his service freely is at $238,638 per year. HT Chryslin.)


China reaps reward for U.S. overthrow of Iraq

August 30, 2008

You know, there was a time not long ago when red-blooded Americans were the ones that profited when the U.S. unleashed holy hell against a nation that had something it wanted. Ah, those were the days.

Iraq signs $3B oil deal with China

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Iraq has signed its first major oil deal with a foreign company since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry said Saturday.

It was the first time in more than 35 years that Iraq has allowed foreign oil companies to do business inside its borders.

The contract with the China National Petroleum Corporation could be worth up to $3 billion. It would allow the CNPC to develop an oil field in southern Iraq’s Wasit province for about 20 years, said Oil Ministry spokesman Assim Jihad.

It’s almost like the U.S. killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced millions of Iraqis for nothing.


Business as usual: McCain squanders Obama’s Dow Jones gains with VP pick

August 29, 2008

In a dramatic example of just how toxic Republicans are to the economy, the Dow Jones tumbled 170 points on the news that John McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

The losses nearly completely wiped out the Dow’s impressive gain of 212 points due to Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

With the Republican National Convention beginning on Monday, worried investors are prepared for the worst.


GOP kinda sorta maybe will help Veterans vote. Perhaps.

August 29, 2008

From The National Review:

I’m hearing that a delegate to the GOP Convention Committee on Rules will introduce an amendment at today’s meeting that would instruct caucus states to provide for some way for soldiers to vote. As it stands, military members deployed abroad have no way to participate in caucuses, and a coalition of veterans’ groups has been trying to change that. I’ll be at the meeting, and I’ll update you as soon as I hear anything.

So how hard is it to actually make sure that Veterans have a way to participate in caucuses? For the GOP - led by John McCain - harder than you’d think:

The amendment passed, but not before delegates from Texas, Louisiana and other caucus states led an effort to render it non-binding. I’ve posted the amendment below, with the original language in strikethrough, so you can see what they did:

Any process authorized or implemented by a state party for selecting delegates and alternate delegates or for binding the presidential preference of such delegates shall may use every means practicable, in the sole discretion of the state party, to allow encourage active military personnel the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

Clearly, this language changes the rule to something more like a recommendation …

But hey, Republicans are the party of defense, right. I’m not kidding.


The Promise(s) of Barack Obama

August 29, 2008

While I still maintain a level of pessimism over what will happen in November, for the reasons detailed, I felt that Barack Obama came off as Presidential in his speech at the Democratic National Convention. I attempted to view November through a lens of Realpolitik, and looking at Obama’s coronation last night through those same lenses, I believe Obama did very, very well for himself and the Democratic Party.

But I believe the “sure, he’s going to save the world but how will he do it and pay for it” meme being rapidly passed around through the media and through Obama’s opponents and undecideds is already and will continue to be overplayed. And while skepticism over a politician’s campaign promises is natural and necessary, should Obama be elected he would need to take a four-year nap in order to fail to deliver as spectacularly as the sitting President.

In his acceptance speech at the 2000 Republican National Convention, Bush promised that:

- He would give massive tax relief for all (how did you spend your $300?)

- He would fix Social Security while not touching it.

- He would ban late-term abortions.

- He would “protect the natural world around us.”

- He would shore up the Medicare system and “make prescription drugs available and affordable for every senior who needs them.”

- He would reduce world nuclear stockpiles.

- He would deploy a robust national anti-intercontinental ballistic missile defense shield.

- He would give American workers security and independence that no politician can ever take away.

- He would hold those who spend your tax dollars accountable.

- He would “renew the promise of America’s public schools.”

- He would give the military need better equipment, better training and better pay and respect them.

- That when he used the military “the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.”

- He would “change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect.”

Bush - who entered the 2000 election with a resume that is quite a bit like Obama’s but with several failed attempts to be a businessman - ran under the umbrella that “times of plenty like times of crises are tests of American character.” Few in the mainstream media were concerned with how he would accomplish these things. Few questioned if he was competent or experienced enough to accomplish his vast agenda.

A national convention is not a time for a candidate for President to keep his hopes and aspirations grounded. It is a time for soaring rhetoric and hope. And that’s what Barack Obama delivered. And in doing so, he outlined his plans in far more detail than either Bush or Bill Clinton before him.

While his promises were oft-times grandiose, I have no doubt whatsoever that a President Obama would attempt to deliver on them with far more intellectual honesty than President Bush. And history should show us that how John McCain would deliver on the campaign promises he makes next week at the Republican National Convention.



August 28, 2008

Barack Obama just finished rocking the house. And regardless of one’s beliefs of his platform, experience, and past stances on issues that progressives truly find important, there should be no doubt that Barack Obama delivered on the biggest night of his life. It was an inspiring, intelligent and soaring performance.

Tonight, Barack Obama made history just by walking on the stage and accepting the Democratic nomination. Time and circumstance will tell if he will make more history in less than 70 days. But tonight, he was just superb.


Barack Obama coverage change of schedule

August 28, 2008


It is with regret that we announce that due to a severe case of ennui, Afonso will not be live-blogging tonight’s speech by Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention. We apologize for the last-minute change of schedule.


Focus on the Family prayers for rain are answered - God says no

August 28, 2008

Focus on the Family’s prayers that “rain of biblical proportions” would wash away Barack Obama’s speech tonight at Invesco Field in Denver have been rejected, said a spokesperson for God.


Tim Pawlenty is McCain’s pick, confirms Karl Rove on Fox News

August 28, 2008

Update: Sarah Palin, eh? I must admit I didn’t see that coming. May I just say, however, as someone who lived in Alaska, I’m quite curious about how smart it is to have an Alaskan politician involved at the national level.)

Karl Rove has chosen Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty to be John McCain’s running mate, Fox News has confirmed.

Rove, who spends his time as a Fox News pundit when not orchestrating the McCain campaign, gave Pawlenty a glowing review on Fox News, and Fox News has spent a great deal of time talking up Pawlenty.

“The first thing you go for when picking a vice-president is do no harm,” said Rove, confirming that McCain will do as he’s told him and pick the hyper-conservative.

Reached for comment, McCain grumbled and said “read my book,” as per instructions from Rove.

More on this as it develops.


Barack Obama to design golf courses alongside Tiger Woods?

August 28, 2008

Well, this is an odd report if I ever saw one:

Early this week, however, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton unleashed a bombshell strategy that promises to not just shake up the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign but also the entire United States economy.

Barack Obama has signed a long-term contract with Tiger Woods Design to design golf courses around the globe.

“This was the next logical step for Sen. Obama,” said Burton. “We saw exactly how much money Dubai was paying Tiger Woods to design a golf course, and we knew that with Sen. Obama’s international popularity this was something we needed to do.”

While the announcement that Obama will simultaneously design golf courses while continuing to campaign for the presidency - and continue afterward either as the President or Senator - will likely be met with skepticism, Burton pointed out all the positives.

“The numbers being tossed around for Sen. Obama to create his own signature golf courses are mind-boggling,” said Burton. “And every cent he earns will be used to offset the national debt, as well as create a national healthcare system.”

As I said, strange. Of course, it could just be coming from a bad golf web site desperately looking for some attention.



The need for a respite

August 28, 2008

Reading through the nearly 300 comments of the “Important Announcement” post at Shakesville, and viewing comments elsewhere regarding said post, one word has come up repeatedly - spite.

While going to a definition is trite and usually of little value, I find it interesting that the definition of spite, according to Merriam-Webster is “Petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart.”

Because at a dedicated progressive and feminist blog where numerous voices and perspectives are presented, I find the accusation that individuals that have not leaped aboard the Barack Obama bandwagon are doing so out of spite to be spiteful in their own way.

The United States of America is 232 year old. And in those 232 years, this great experiment in democracy has become thus - you have one choice for President. I understand the primary season is supposed to be a time to vet out the best candidate for your party, but many struggle to view it as little more than a choice of packaging. The present has been bought for us. Our choice is in how it will be wrapped. And this goes for both the Republican and Democratic parties, which are currently the only viable parties U.S. citizens been allowed. Basically, the United States is the loss of one major party away from being a one-party system. I fail to see the democracy in such a system.

The voice of voters has been quelled, and yet there is outright anger shown to any who dare defy or even question a rigged system.

What is spite? Spite is John Aravosis at Americablog viewing Hillary Clinton’s performance at the Democratic National Convention and - after literally years of belittling the Senator from New York - writing exactly one post about her. And that post is dedicated to showing Clinton’s name on a Hooter’s sign in Colorado. That is petty ill will or hatred.

Spite is Nora Ephron being unable to stop herself from calling Clinton supporters narcissistic and clumping them all together as if they were one monolithic group that marched together lockstep with no concern whatsoever for their nation.

Spite is Stephen Kaus seeing Hillary Clinton’s speech and viewing it as a reason for an all-out assault on her and her supporters.

Spite is sricki at MyDD unleashing a torrent of ad-hominens - in a post that is an apparent attempt to show some type of understanding - and finishing with “If you don’t know whether you can vote for him, I would recommend sitting back silently, watching and reading, or contacting people privately.”

Spite is seeing Democrats being lavished by AT&T for their help in allowing them to walk away unscathed after violating the law and the privacy of so many Americans. And then having said Democrats refuse to comment about the cozy relationship.

Nonetheless, I completely understand the opinion that every last effort must be made to defeat John McCain and the Republicans. But I also understand the level of frustration many have in a Democratic Party that has shown little interest in holding Republicans accountable, or were plainly complicit in their actions the past eight years.

And I also understand those who believe that the system is so utterly broken that they refuse to take part in political parades that are little more than a front for corporate interests.

I even understand the opinions of the dwindling number of old-school conservatives that believe in fiscal responsibility, accountability and personal liberty. Conservatives that have been left in the lurch after the GOP radically rebuilt as a party that despised civil liberties, embraced theocracy and fascism and has its platform written for it by its corporate sponsors.

I understand all of the above because I believe American citizens need to desperately hold on to any choice they currently have, for they just don’t have many choices any longer outside of which brand to buy.

In the end, I believe in every individual’s right to choose in an era where choice is being taken from us all at a frightening rate. And I view the tactic of demeaning and demonizing those that refuse to fall in line with the current unnatural order of things as the ultimate act of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. And of this we desperately need a respite.


The Associated Press puts the blame on Elizabeth Edwards

August 26, 2008

When it finally became official that John Edwards had an affair, many felt hurt and betrayed. Still more felt a stab of pain for Elizabeth Edwards, who emerged from her husband’s campaign as a powerful liberal voice.

A couple weeks later, however, the Associated Press has gone way, way out of its way to vilify her.

“Wife blasted for keeping Edwards affair secret”

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) — Two weeks after a devastating revelation sent her husband into political exile, Elizabeth Edwards isn’t getting the steady sympathy usually afforded to a woman scorned.

Instead, she’s faced criticism from dedicated Democrats who think she was too willing to keep the affair a secret to help John Edwards’ political ambitions, as well as her own.

At a time when she was expected to hold a prominent role in pushing an agenda of improved health care for Americans, she stands silent. While fellow Democrats converge in Denver, Colorado, to nominate Barack Obama for president, Edwards remains in seclusion in North Carolina.

It seems an odd way to treat a woman with incurable cancer wronged by a cheating husband, the latest in a series of deep hardships in life that includes the death of a teenage son.

But some former followers have questioned the recklessness of keeping the affair under wraps even though her husband — a former U.S. senator, two-time presidential candidate and the 2004 vice presidential nominee — said he confessed the affair in 2006, before the campaign began in earnest the next year.

Who are all these angry Democrats coming forward?

1. Brad Crone, an N.C. Democratic political consultant known for advising N.C. Democrats to avoid going after Elizabeth Dole’s Senate seat.

2. Chris Lehane, described in the story as “Democratic consultant who helped President Clinton through his cheating scandal.” And Lehane in no way “blasted” Elizabeth Edwards.

3. A commenter on Daily Kos.

4. Betsy Wells, a former Edwards delegate who didn’t “blast” Elizabeth Edwards, either.

And that’s it. Those are the “Critics (that) say Elizabeth Edwards lost their sympathy for keeping (the) affair secret.” In fact, it wasn’t even close to “critics” who said that. It was an unnamed commenter on a blog post.

Basically, the AP wanted to do this story during the Democratic National Convention, and ran with it regardless of its non-existence. The idea that Elizabeth Edwards has anything to answer for in regard to her husband’s affair is beyond hurtful, it’s pure misogyny. And that misogyny came purely from the AP. It was an invented story that’s sole purpose was to shame, insult and disrespect Elizabeth Edwards.

This is what passes for political discourse to the Associated Press these days. With John McCain stooge Ron Fournier running the joint, you can expect a lot more like it in the coming weeks. But it’s unlikely they’ll be able to match the outright hatefulness they produced in this transparent attack on a woman that deserves nothing less than outright admiration and respect.


Next Page »

Enter 300x250 Banner Code Here
  • Details: Love never dies. Ok, everything dies. But this is still sweet.

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera