Frontal Lobe :: Opinions/Editorials

A Hopeless Legion of Loons Email Print

"Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Slippin' and a slidin', peepin' and a hidin', won't be your fool no more."
~~Little Richard

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Politics -- Spinning Out of Control Email Print

"The two parties have combined against us to nullify our power by a 'gentleman's agreement' of non-recognition, no matter how we vote ... May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either the Republican or the Democratic Parties."~~W.E.B. DuBois (1922)

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Union Slap-downs? Email Print

by Cody Lyon

It might also serve Americans to call upon the greater spirits of worker history in this nation and remember too, that it wasn't unions who over time stripped private sector workers of any sense of collective bargaining power over the years, it was instead company hunger for a better bottom line on Wall Street.

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Tear Down This ... surplus (Reagan) Email Print

For tribute paid to President Reagan at the 100-year mark of his birthday, a huge impact of the Reagan years can't be forgotten — though it collides with the sunny "rebirth" notion of the centennial remembrance.

In 2 terms as president,  Ronald Reagan launched a government-deficit, tax-cut, soaring dollar policy which shifted the economy sharply to buying more and more the goods manufactured in other countries instead of made onshore, and also selling US assets and bonds (rather than goods) to foreigners, thus turning the US into a net debtor nation, quite abruptly.

The chart below appeared in an article in Fortune magazine in 2003 by Warren Buffett and Carol Loomis (graph viewable also here (pdf) or here.)

For the first time in modern times when the nation was not at war, the U.S. turned to financing the economy by giving foreigners ownership of more of our assets than we had a financial stake in assets of theirs abroad.

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Hey, American People! Email Print

"The time is always right to do what is right"~~ Martin Luther King, Jr

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Your taxes - we "laid the trap" - Dan Bartlett Email Print

In the most up front admission yet that the 2001 deficit-ballooning tax cuts were a sop to the mega-rich but created a fiscal (plus political) time bomb, the former Communications director for the Bush presidency, Dan Bartlett, is gushing:


"The fact that  we were able to lay the trap does feel pretty good, to tell you the truth."


On the 10-year auto-expiration, he says, "We knew that, politically, once you get it into law, it becomes almost impossible to remove it."

"That's not a bad legacy."

In an interview with Howard Kurtz of the DailyBeast, chief of staff Andy Card concurred with Bush's communication chief, explaining that the non-permanent, sunsetting tax change allowed it to win passage without having to muster an impossibly high 60-vote threshold for approval. (It was approved in 2001 with 58 aye votes, and the Democrats didn't stop it by filibuster.)

So how can the Democrats pull out of the trap now?

This morning, Senate Republicans filibustered the bill that would continue tax cuts, except in full for millionaires.

The GOP senators aim to hold out for full tax cuts for the wealthiest, at an extra tack-on of $700B to the debt.

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Hope in a Time of Sorrow Email Print

  There seems to be a constant series of examples in history that reflect what we are living through this week: from Psistratus in Athens to Caesar in Rome to the Duke of Lancaster in 15th-century England to Napoleon to Lenin and Hitler and now to Karl Rove, a multitude of fellows have harnessed populist outrage to their own carriage in order to seize power.  That outrage, changing the metaphor, flows into the furious stream into which Boehner and McConnell and Palin launched their boats last night.

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Democratic Future, Black Holes, and Obama Polls Email Print

We still have the senate and the presidency, so let's focus on the future.

Back in the 1960s British Cosmologist Fred Hoyle, who coined the term 'Big Bang', wrote a series of papers theorizing that life on Earth (and perhaps elsewhere) began out in the seeming void of deep space. His peers thought he was delusional.

Until along came Lew Snyder, then of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. He asserted that Hoyle had the right idea and that prebiotic molecules (molecules believed to be involved in the processes leading to the origin of life) could not only evolve in deep space, but could also be distributed throughout the universe enduring the unimaginable torment of interstellar travel.

Furthermore, he could prove it.

Seems that many compounds have a unique and identifiable radio-wave signature - something that can be detected with the use of radio telescopes.

With this method, they theorized, you could point radio telescopes at the cosmos and by measuring the radio-wave signatures you could determine the molecular compounds that exist in the targeted region. This would tell us if complex, organic and prebiotic compounds are created and endure in deep space.

Sure enough, in 1969 they discovered interstellar formaldehyde - a complex, prebioitc compound. Since then, astronomers have discovered more than 150 molecules in deep space. Most interesting of these found is acetonitrile, a molecule structurally similar to glycine - one of the building blocks of biological proteins.

All this is profoundly important as it sets the stage for validating a once-absurd theory - that life on Earth (and perhaps throughout the universe) may have been seeded from deep-space chemical reactions.

This cold-sounding theory of our origins clearly runs counter to cherished beliefs that we are God's children or that we have a special place in this universe. Such a possibility could prove profoundly unsettling to many to say the least.

But there is no worry here. Not because the possibility doesn't exist. It does. The reason not to worry is that people en masse tend to see only what is in front of them and only that which is most emotionally comfortable.

For most people, such things are far too arcane and intangible to seriously consider. What they see before them and what they've been taught growing up is all that they know and all that they care to know.

And that is the way it is with most things - with evolution, with global warming -- and so it is with ideology and politics.

Whatever is before us is all that there is. The economy is a disaster.  There's a war in Iraq. The jobless situation is devastating. The housing market is in shambles. Obama is the president. And the Democrats are in charge.

That leads to an obvious conclusion for most - that Obama and the Democrats have brought this upon us - that they are the ones who must pay the price for our pain.

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Reversing History Email Print

 
Glenn Beck and Karl Rove and Swift-Boat financier Bob Perry who is sending hundreds of thousands to Susana Martinez, are not just trying to prevent New Mexico from, for example, participating in the new health care exchange that will bring competition for the first time into health insurance coverage. Their goal is not nearly so limited.  These men, Beck and Rove, and women like presidential contender Sarah Palin, and senate contender Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, are not about now. They are explicitly--they say so outloud--about reversing all the gains of the 1930s New Deal and even before. They want to forget the passion and suffering that brought about a century of liberal reform.

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Dead man voting - and raking leaves Email Print

Alfred Brewer of Wichita, Kansas had no right to show up and vote in the primary in August. So says the GOP nominee for Secretary of State, Kris Kobach. That's because, Kobach has said, records show Brewer died in 1996. Kobach fears the voter rolls are rife with mistakes that will encourage voter fraud.

Reached Thursday at his home where he was raking leaves, Brewer, 78, was surprised some people thought he was dead.

"I don't think this is heaven, not when I'm raking leaves," he said.

The zombie voter would be a victim of 2 mixups, one a birthdate issue when Brewer originally registered decades ago with just "age" (in years) instead of DOB. Those legacy registrations produce a placeholder birth date of 1/1/1900 in the records. Second, Brewer has the same first and last name as his Dad, who died in 1996.

Question: why do the state Republican party officials want or need to purge eligible voters from the election rolls?


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Democrats Should've Passed Everything I Wanted the Way I Wanted it in Obama's First Two Years! Email Print

Who cares! Let the GOP win the House tomorrow

We don't need no stinkin' House majority.

What have the Democrats done for us anyway?

Sure, Time Magazine says that the Democrats have implemented "the most ambitious energy legislation in history... ...pouring $90 billion into clean energy, including unprecedented investments in a smart grid; energy efficiency; electric cars; renewable power from the sun, wind and earth; cleaner coal; advanced biofuels; and factories to manufacture green stuff in the U.S. The act will also triple the number of smart electric meters in our homes, quadruple the number of hybrids in the federal auto fleet and finance far-out energy research through a new government incubator modeled after the Pentagon agency that fathered the Internet."

Oh, and it also said that, because of Obama and the Democrats, "There's $8 billion for a high-speed passenger rail network, the boldest federal transportation initiative since the interstate highways. There's $4.35 billion in Race to the Top grants to promote accountability in public schools, perhaps the most significant federal education initiative ever -- it's already prompted 35 states and the District of Columbia to adopt reforms to qualify for the cash. There's $20 billion to move health records into the digital age, which should reduce redundant tests, dangerous drug interactions and errors caused by doctors with chicken-scratch handwriting. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calls that initiative the foundation for Obama's health care reform and "maybe the single biggest component in improving quality and lowering costs."

But they just keep going on and on and on about all that... ...boring.

And then there is Rolling Stone that made the extensive case that Obama "Averted a Depression", "Sparked a Recovery", "Saved the U.S. Auto Industry", "Reformed Health Care in America", "Cut Corporate Welfare", "Restored America's Reputation", "Protected Consumers", and "Launched a Clean-Energy Moonshot".

So what!

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Cell-Phone-Only Households Will Save Democrats: Look at the Numbers Email Print

The latest rage - or outrage - on the right is this Newsweek Poll. You know, the Newsweek poll - the one that said that Obama has a 54% approval rating and that 48% of registered voters prefer to vote for a Democrat, while only 42% lean Republican.

That Newsweek Poll.

Seems the Repuglinuts don't like that poll because it doesn't fit their teabag revolution narrative. They slant their brows in angry scowls, slam their hammy fists and declare the poll an outlier, unfit for human consumption!!!

"Look at Real Clear Politics," they insist. "Their totally and completely non-partisan analysis of polling numbers shows that the Newsweek poll is a fake, a lie, a CONSPIRACY - all designed by the VLWC to raise the specter of Republican failure only days before the greatest and most important election of forever."

Oh, what a world!

Hmmmm.

So what about that Newsweek poll? Was it an outlier? Was it in any way valid? Are we desperate for a sprig of hope? Are we totally delusional?

After all, that Newsweek poll totally disagrees with all those other, much, MUCH more  legitimate polls that show Obama with a -0.0% likey-likey rating and a generic ballot that suggests a pickup for the Republicans somewhere between 1.2 million and infinity seats in the House.

The Reality is that these pollsters sometimes have a difficult time adjusting to a thing we all refer to as "Progress". Say it with me Pro-gress.

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Early voting update: Nevada, no enthusiasm gap Email Print

We have 5 days of early voting in Nevada, more than 82,000 ballots are banked. So it's time to update our earlier tracking that showed no voter fatigue in either party. First, the registration update for Sept. yielded a "huge spike"  of 14,700 voters added, double the number in Aug. The breakout shows: 5061 D,  4026 R and  4040 I.

Now to the early voting. Nevada's 2 largest counties report turnout by registered affiliation.  From Clark (pdf) and Washoe together, since Saturday 37,107 registered Dems have voted and 33,471 registered Republicans.  And 12,366 non-partisans.  Translating to:   45% D, 40% R, 15% I.

We don't know how they've voted, of course. But the turnout lines up with each group's registration ratio. Again, Nevada is not being swung by a turnout gap.

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Stop Celebrating Christopher Columbus Day Email Print

Well, the day has come and gone. Some were grateful to have the day off from work while ALL school children were psyched to have the day free from school.

But I think it's time to find something else to celebrate in October, as I'm sick of having the day off in the name of a shameless, murderous, tyrant. Aren't you?

I'm sure you've heard by now -- your first grade elementary history lessons were crap - lies your teacher told you in order to perpetuate a fairytale that Columbus was a hero.

To get a taste of Christopher Columbus' real character, It's best to hear the story in his own words. So let's start with this journal entry, written by Columbus himself. (Source: Howard Zinn's, A People's History of the United States).

The entry is Columbus' reaction to the innocence, and hospitality of the indigenous Arawak population of his `new world'.

When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

"They... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."

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How to Avoid Another Iraq Debacle Email Print

Have you ever heard an idea that was so brilliant and clever, so simple and beautiful that it rang right through your being - an ideological love-at-first-sight? On every level it made total sense and triggered "Why didn't I think of that".

Well, I heard such a thing the other day - some guy somewhere on the radio (so I'm not trying to take credit for the idea), but the guy sounded so damn sensible that I thought I should share the idea.

Okay, okay... so let's set the stage.

Here we are, over seven years into the invasion of Iraq. The cost has been incalculable in terms of loved ones lost, families broken, international respect dissolved, trust in government undermined.

Financially, the invasion's cost has had both short and long-term destructive consequences. CostofWar.com estimates the to-date cost of the Invasion at $737 billion - a bargain by most other estimates. The Washington Post insists that the true cost of the war is at least $3 trillion -- this compared to the Bush Administration's projection of a laughable $50 billion.

HA!!!

But the joke is on us. After all, we knew he and his cronies were lying when they lied us into Iraq. All the objective evidence pointed to one thing - that Saddam was a paper tiger with no program of 'weapons of mass destruction' and no means or intent to begin one, yet here we are. ALL the goddamn evidence pointed to that.

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