Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Few Weeks in Castle Rock

Every four years the United States sadly seems to take on the personae of Stephen King's fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Never has this been more true than in the past few weeks.

You remember Castle Rock, Maine the location for the book and movie "Needful Things." One by one, the people of Castle Rock obtained their heart's desires for little more than a promise to carry out a few mischievous pranks for an elderly gentleman named Leland Gaunt.

When the citizens of Castle Rock newly opened store named Needful Things, "they are all greeted by the seemingly kind old man, Leland Gaunt, and they all ignore the sign hanging in his shop, "Caveat emptor" ("Let the buyer beware"). One person after another buys the treasures he has in stock, paying surprisingly low prices and performing small "favors" (pranks) at his request. The person doing a prank usually knows the target, but has no real quarrel or relationship with him/her. Little by little, the pranks worsen existing grudges between the townspeople until they start turning violently against each other or themselves. " -- Wikipedia

Well the past few weeks political campaigning in the US has reminded me of the scene in which teenager Brian Rusk threw a barnyard full of turkey feces all over freshly washed sheets that were drying on
Wilma Jerzyck's line. Of course, Wilma was certain that her imagined nemesis Nettie Cobb had done it and tragedy ensued.

Here's McCain spokesperson Michael Goldfarb throwing his own load of turkey poop during an interview with CNN Reporter Rick Sanchez.


And how about this little practical joke being played by North Carolina's Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole on her Democratic opponent Kay Hagan.


And in the following video, McCain supporter Charles David Ficken attends an Obama rally in Raleigh, North Carolina with a 10-foot tall picture of Barack Obama in East African attire, shouting the United States doesn't need a "Muslim-leaning" person for president.


In a recent poll of Texas residents, 23% believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Leland Gaunt would certainly be proud.

Now if you haven't read the book or seen the movie "Needful Things", I'm not going to give away the ending. However, I will leave you with this sentence from Wikipedia's description of the movie:

"Those who have survived the entire harrowing ordeal find themselves
facing an uncertain future in what is left of Castle Rock."

Happy Halloween!

Ron Clark Kids - You can Vote However You Like

Kids get it. You can vote however you like without spreading the hate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Are These The Words of A Socialist?

Something to think about the next time that you hear the phrase "Redistributor-in-Chief"

Scroll to the bottom to see who made the following statements.

1. "Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God's hand for that person. Don't tell your neighbor "Maybe some other time" or "Try me tomorrow" when the money's right there in your pocket. Don't figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor when he's sitting there trusting and unsuspecting. "

2. "Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion:
  • eyes that are arrogant,
  • a tongue that lies,
  • hands that murder the innocent,
  • a heart that hatches evil plots,
  • feet that race down a wicked track,
  • a mouth that lies under oath,
  • a troublemaker in the family. "

3. " The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.

Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!

Blessings on all who play fair and square! "

4. "This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.

What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'

If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again. "

Who spouted this radical, leftist, socialist rhetoric advocating spreading the wealth?

1. Proverbs 3:27-28

2. Proverbs 6:16-19

3. Proverbs 11:24-26

4. Isaiah 58:6-12

Did you guess right?

Radical stuff, I know. Certainly not the stuff that "Joe The Plumber" wants to hear, or does he?

So the next time that someone accuses you of being a leftist, liberal who supports the "redistribution of wealth" know that you are in pretty good company.

In the following video New Republic Editor-at-Large Peter Beinart gives his take on Barack Obama's "vision" for the United States, and discusses its relation to American liberalism as a whole.


* bible passages are from "The Message" Bible translation

P.S. I'm NOT Joe the Plumber and he's not my role model.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Florida Governor Extends Voting Hours

Kudos to Governor Charlie Crist

Governor extends early voting hours | | The News-Press

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Charlie Crist just extended early voting hours to cope with an unprecedented high turnout at polling places across Florida.

While the governor's action solves one problem for voters, it poses another for county elections supervisors. They'll be on the phone to temporary employment agencies, looking for workers with some computer skills.

Crist issued an executive order this afternoon, extending voting to 7 p.m. -- 12 hours a day -- for the remainder of this work week. Early voting had been conducted eight hours a day.

Crist also ordered 12 hours of early voting for the weekend, either all on one day or split between Saturday and Sunday. That's also an increase from eight hours, which was provided by statute.

Tell James Dobson What You Think of His Fear-mongering Message

A Message from the Matthew 25 Network

James Dobson's organization, Focus on the Family Action, recently published a letter purporting to offer a vision of 2012 after four years of an Obama administration. This letter, filled with doomsday projections, is fearmongering of the worst kind - a sensationalist fiction with almost no basis in reality.

As Christians we have been choosing hope over fear for 2000 years. Our public witness should reflect our deepest hopes, not provoke unfounded fears.

We've set up a form that will send an email message to Focus on the Family's Citizen Link email address. It will also send a copy to us here at the Matthew 25 Network so that we can post a collection of the statements online.

Respond to the letter!

posted by Matthew 25 Network at 6:59 AM -

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Al the Shoesalesman Gets a Tax Cut

Find out your tax cut under Barack's plan at whether you're single or married with children.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Food for Thought: Were 9/11 Victims "Real Americans"

If you apply the Sarah Palin standard the majority of the people who lost their lives in that big-city, eastern, liberal bastion of New York City would not be considered as "real Americans". Nor would those "Washington insider" Pentagon employees or the majority of passengers on Flight 93 meet the Palin standard.

And when you think about it, a large number of US troops probably do not meet the Palin "real American" criteria either.

Of course, as suggested by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), the media can always conduct an in-depth investigation to see if members of our military are "pro-America". After all, swearing an oath of allegiance isn't enough proof. And if you don't tow the GOP line, being a decorated general and former Secretary of State doesn't count for much either.

Sarah Palin is fighting efforts to protect the polar bear

Rather than working to save our polar bears, Governor Sarah Palin has launched an all-out effort to block protections for them. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Palin covered up evidence from her own scientists showing the need for polar bear protections. Now shes doing the bidding of the oil companies and trophy hunters in a lawsuit to prevent the government from listing of our polar bears as a threatened species. As governor, Sarah Palin has been a disaster for polar bears, wolves and other wildlife. A heartbeat away from the presidency, she could do even worse.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I May Never Look at Monday Night Football the Same Again

It's no secret that this lady is one major football fan. Somewhere in my garage is a storage tub with an original copy of the Life Magazine issue with Joe Namath, my Drew Pearson autograph, my collection of all things Joe Montana and all of the other football related things that I cherish.

It's also no secret that I have more than a few Vince Gill and Keith Urban CDs as well as a great Patsy Kline compilation in my collection.

So I'm sure that you can imagine that for years I've danced around the living room whenever the opening to (ABC/ESPN) Monday Night Football started to play. Thank heavens there are no photos of this.

And through all of its 38 years on the air, I've felt nothing but love for MNF. Albeit, my affections have been tested by the move to ESPN. MNF has gone from Cosell, Guifford & Meredith to Tirico, Jaworksi and Kornheiser. I guess it's the equivalent of being married for 38 years, not quite the same thrill. But I digress.

Elections have come and elections have gone but Monday Night Football remained a refuge from it all -- until now.

Thanks to Hank Williams Jr. I may never look at MNF the same again.


Now don't get me wrong. Hank Williams, Jr., has every right to support his political choice and every right to release a campaign song. But doesn't truthfulness count for anything, anymore. I have to wonder if he thinks that everyone who identifies him with MNF is also a McCain/Palin supporters who believe that Obama is "palling around with terrorists" and Fannie and Freddie were more responsible for the subprime mortgage meltdown than Countrywide.

Of course, I suspect that ole Bocephus is probably in a better position with Disney, parent company of ESPN, than fellow musician Pink was with General Electric, parent company of NBC.

You remember Pink, the voice who launched NBC's Sunday Night Football and who was mysteriously replaced by country sweetheart Faith Hill during the second season.


For some reason, I don't think that NBC was too thrilled when Pink voiced her political views.


I may be wrong about that of course. But I'm sure that NBC/General Electric never has to worry about hearing anything like this from Faith Hill.

Oh well.

I'll still watch Monday Night Football. I'll just have to hold my nose and skip the beginning. And then I'll wait all week to see Keith Olbermann and Bob Costas on Sunday Night.

I can't until Oliver Stone makes a movie about McCain and Palin :-)

Related post:

What Ever Happened to Pink?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Don't Take Anything About This Election For Granted

According to the polls, Barack Obama can't lose the US Presidential Election, right?


As Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and journalist Greg Palast provide evidence that the voter suppression techniques employed during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections may have just been test runs for stealing the most critical election in generations.


An Investigation by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast released today

Don’t worry about Mickey Mouse or ACORN stealing the election. According to an investigative report out today in Rolling Stone magazine, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, after a year-long investigation, reveal a systematic program of "GOP vote tampering" on a massive scale.

- Republican Secretaries of State of swing-state Colorado have quietly purged one in six names from their voter rolls.

Over several months, the GOP politicos in Colorado stonewalled every attempt by Rolling Stone to get an answer to the massive purge - ten times the average state's rate of removal.

- While Obama dreams of riding to the White House on a wave of new voters, more then 2.7 million have had their registrations REJECTED under new procedures signed into law by George Bush.

Kennedy, a voting rights lawyer, charges this is a resurgence of 'Jim Crow' tactics to wrongly block Black and Hispanic voters.

- A fired US prosecutor levels new charges - accusing leaders of his own party, Republicans, with criminal acts in an attempt to block legal voters as "fraudulent."

- Digging through government records, the Kennedy-Palast team discovered that, in 2004, a GOP scheme called "caging” ultimately took away the rights of 1.1 million voters. The Rolling Stone duo predict that, this November 4, it will be far worse.

There's more:

- Since the last presidential race, "States used dubious 'list management' rules to scrub at least 10 million voters from their rolls."

Among those was Paul Maez of Las Vegas, New Mexico - a victim of an unreported but devastating purge of voters in that state that left as many as one in nine Democrats without a vote. For Maez, the state's purging his registration was particularly shocking - he's the county elections supervisor.

The Kennedy-Palast revelations go far beyond the sum of questionably purged voters recently reported by the New York Times.

"Republican operatives - the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics," report Kennedy and Palast, under the cover of fighting fraudulent voting, are "systematically disenfranchis[ing] Democrats."

The investigators level a deadly serious charge:

"If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat McCain at the polls - they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering."

Block the Vote by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. & Greg Palast in the current issue (#1064) of Rolling Stone. [Media enquiries - Dave Falkenstein, Sunshine Sachs & Assoc, via]

Note - Kennedy and Palast are releasing, simultaneously with the Rolling Stone investigative report what they call, the vote-theft 'antidote': a 24-page full-color comic book, Steal Back Your Vote, which can be downloaded or obtained in print from their non-partisan website,

Don't take anything for granted. Just registering to vote isn't enough.

You have to vote.

If you are planing on voting by absentee ballot and can afford the expense send in your ballot via registered mail.

If you didn't vote in the last election, make sure that your name hasn't been dropped from the polls.

If you are going to the polls make sure to take your photo ID and, if you have one, your voter registration card.

Make an Election Day plan for how you will handle long lines or voting machine problems.
How will you notify your employer if you have to wait for hours to vote.

If you have a camera phone or digital camera take it with you to the polls, if anything looks suspicious take a picture and/or call it in to your local election monitoring group. In Philadelphia, you can report election irregularities to the Committee of Seventy.

Some people are also making a visual record of their paper ballot or their selections on the electronic voting machine. Check out Video Your Vote.

Young people consider accompanying your older neighbors or family members to the polls. After all, you're probably the one with the iphone and/or camera.

Don't forget your local or statewide election races. In many ways, these candidates have more of an impact on your daily life.

No matter who your candidate of choice is, elections should be fair.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

John McCain Just Doesn't Get It And Never Will

When during the course of the final US Presidential Debate moderator Bob Schieffer gave both Senators McCain and Obama a chance to accept responsibility for the negative campaign rhetoric of their campaigns, John McCain chose to blame everything on Barack Obama's failure to agree to his proposed town hall meetings and whined about his feelings being hurt by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

As the New York Times reported:
WASHINGTON — Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights leader, said Saturday that Senator John McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, were “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” in a way that reminded him of former Gov. George Wallace and “another destructive period” in the nation’s history.

John McCain didn't get it. This was his moment to truly raise the level of political discourse and reach out to the America people. This was his chance to prove that he, John McCain, could be a leader for ALL Americans. But instead, John McCain did the typical "Washington insider" thing, played to his right-wing conservative base and blamed everything on "the other guy".

This was John McCain's chance to put "Country First" but instead the self proclaimed "maverick" pandered to the people who scream "Traitor". "Treason", "Off With His Head" and "Kill Him". Instead of taking a few moments to simply state that he does not condone that language, behavior and viewpoint, John McCain stated that Barack Obama should denounce the comments and concerns of a civil rights leader who is intimately acquainted with what happens when hateful rhetoric escalates into hateful actions.

Instead of doing the right thing, John McCain sent a message, albeit by his silence, to the radical fringe that he is proud of all of the people who attend McCain/Palin rallies.

John McCain stated tonight that he wants to change the culture in America.

Well, after you watch the following video clip ask yourself which candidate do you want to shape the culture for the next eight years. And then, pray that you can live with your choice.

C-SPAN Video

Related posts:

Hockey Mom Sarah Palin Boo'd At Hockey Game

Is This Really What You Want to Hear from Pennsylvania Avenue

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is this Really What We Want to Hear from Pennsylvania Avenue?

Over the past few weeks, the McCain/Palin campaign has injected an element into the political discourse that is scarily reminiscent of a very, sad period in US history. And I find myself asking the question, If the McCain/Palin campaign will stoop to this level to win an election what can we expect if they are given the bully pulpit of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

McCain and Palin aren't fooling anyone with their debate buzz words, suggestive campaign ads, and carefully crafted campaign rhetoric. It is clear that they are pulling out all stops to win an election by appealing to the racial fears and prejudices in a fringe element of society.

In "An Open Letter to John McCain" Frank Schaeffer wrote:

Senator John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.


In his op-ed for NYT, "The Terrorist Barack Obama" Frank Rich writes:

All’s fair in politics. John McCain and Sarah Palin have every right to bring up William Ayers, even if his connection to Obama is minor, even if Ayers’s Weather Underground history dates back to Obama’s childhood, even if establishment Republicans and Democrats alike have collaborated with the present-day Ayers in educational reform. But it’s not just the old Joe McCarthyesque guilt-by-association game, however spurious, that’s going on here. Don’t for an instant believe the many mindlessly “even-handed” journalists who keep saying that the McCain campaign’s use of Ayers is the moral or political equivalent of the Obama campaign’s hammering on Charles Keating.

What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real Barack Obama?” it’s no surprise that someone cries out “Terrorist!” The rhetorical conflation of Obama with terrorism is complete. It is stoked further by the repeated invocation of Obama’s middle name by surrogates introducing McCain and Palin at these rallies. This sleight of hand at once synchronizes with the poisonous Obama-is-a-Muslim e-mail blasts and shifts the brand of terrorism from Ayers’s Vietnam-era variety to the radical Islamic threats of today.

That’s a far cry from simply accusing Obama of being a guilty-by-association radical leftist. Obama is being branded as a potential killer and an accessory to past attempts at murder. “Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family” was how a McCain press release last week packaged the remembrance of a Weather Underground incident from 1970 — when Obama was 8.

We all know what punishment fits the crime of murder, or even potential murder, if the security of post-9/11 America is at stake. We all know how self-appointed “patriotic” martyrs always justify taking the law into their own hands.

Maria Niles shares the following insights on the impact of the McCain/Palin rhetoric in her post "The Political Rhetoric of Race and Racism Invokes Historical Perspective and Potential Backlash":

This type of othering has moved from email rumor campaigns to much more explicit and public expressions. The Mayor of Fort Mill, South Carolina sought scriptural backup for the rumor that Obama is the antichrist. In North Carolina a real estate agency put up a sign reading "Obsama-Obama. Not American. Not Welcome." Karen Tumulty, in Time magazine, reports that The Virginia state GOP chairman urged volunteers to compare Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden as they go campaigning door to door. Recently at a John McCain town hall appearance a woman told McCain that she could not trust Obama because she read that "he's an Arab." McCain did take the microphone from the woman and say that it was not true but unfortunately did so in a way that implied that Arab people are not decent family people as BlogHer member, ManagementProf noted. And Rochelle Nelson at Sagacious Rambling reports that the woman who made the statement about Obama remains unconvinced despite McCain's rebuttal.

Of course, over the past few days McCain and Palin have toned down their rhetoric at bit. But the damage has been done as discussed in the following video from "Hardball With Chris Matthews":

Do Americans really want to hear the type of rhetoric that McCain and Palin are using for the next eight years?

In a recent email Robert Greenwald of BraveNewFilms asked everyone who thinks that the McCain/Palin rhetoric is offensive, unacceptable and dangerous to speak up. Greewald writes:

"Instead of discussing the real issues plaguing Americans, McCain and Palin have turned to fear-mongering and race-baiting, stoking the prejudices of their supporters. The situation has become so critical that we've teamed up with Color of Change to put an end to these dangerous mob scenes.

Watch the video:

Things have gotten so out of control that some conservatives have come forward to denounce McCain and Palin's hate-mongering. In an Op-Ed for The Baltimore Sun, Frank Schaeffer writes: "John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence."

Here's how you can take action:

1. Sign the open letter calling on McCain and Palin to reject the politics of hate.
2. Sign up for a free video subscription and get the latest on the real McCain.
3. Send this video to yours friends, and post it on your blogs and networking sites like Digg, where it will effectively reach those outside the choir.

Don't let McCain and Palin undo the decades spent fighting for civil rights and equality in our country."

Video by Brave New Films:

Lest you think that this is all "much ado about nothing" consider this.

Last Friday voters in Rensselear County in upstate New York received absentee ballots with the name "Barack Osama" as the Democratic choice for the US Presidency. Local elections officials are calling this an "unfortunate typo". But as blogger Anita Lane points out in a post for The Political Voices of Women:
" Let me say it up front: Yes, Rensselaer County is a Republican led county. However, there were supposedly three proofreaders and no one caught the error before the absentee ballot went out to over 300 residents.

Certainly, no one expects stupid errors on a simple ballot with names we’ve all become extremely familiar with. I suspect the person who typed the ballot assumed right—that no one would be paying close enough attention to notice until it was too late.

What could incite an American—let alone a New Yorker—more than being asked to vote for Osama? By the way, the letter “s” is no where near the letter “b” on the keyboard. The “s” is typed with the middle finger of the left hand and the “b” with the index finger.

A more accurate “typo” would have been “Onama”, “Ovama” or “Ogama.” Nah… those don’t have the same effect—and they certainly would have been caught."

Things do have a way of escalating.

Is this really the message that you want to hear from Pennsylvania Avenue for the next eight years?

Yesterday I posted an item on my blog Pam's Coffee Conversation on how Sarah Palin was jeered when she appeared at a recent Philadelphia Flyers hockey game. Shortly after a fellow blogger, new friend and a Republican :-) and I began an open, honest and civil discussion about public behavior, political rhetoric and race relations. Of course, I saw this as a learning opportunity and a chance for a real dialogue,

So earlier today I invited a few friends from various political, racial, gender, age, national, ethnic and professional backgrounds to share their thoughts on this topic.

Now I invite you to add your comments, post a reference to a related article, pose a question, and/or be open to reading the comments of others. Also, if you are a fellow blogger, feel free to link to related posts on your blogs.

For those of you who are new to this:

  • you can begin by click on the link "Hockey mom Sarah Palin boo'd at hockey game.
  • Scroll down the page and then click on the link entitled "Post A Comment"
  • You don't have to have a Blogger ID to log on you can log on with an OpenID (from yahoo, google, etc.).
  • You can click on the option to "Preview" your comment before you publish it.
  • Once you're satisfied with you comment just click on "Publish" and you're done. That's all there is to it.
I hope that you'll consider participating in this discussion or stopping by later and reading the posts. It may confirm what I believe that we all have more in common than we have differences.

Pamela Lyn

Related articles:

John McCain Can't Have It Both Ways
by Catherine Morgan for The Political Voices of Women

Sowing Seeds of Hate
by Tami of Tami Said

The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama

by Frank Rich for NYT

An Open Letter to John McCain
by Frank Schaeffer for HuffPo

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Message from Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

The documentary "What Would Jesus Buy?", released in 2007, follows Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping gospel choir on a cross-country tour, preaching their message in such destinations as the Mall of America, Wal-mart headquarters, Starbucks and Disneyland. In this clip, Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow interviews, Rev. Billy, and the film's producer Morgan Spurlock.

Maybe this year people will really get it. What do you think?

Excerpt from Fareed Zakaria's Op-Ed: The Crisis's Silver Lining

Fareed Zakaria states what should have been obvious all along.  An economy based on spending and debt is not sustainable. 

Now that the US manufacturing base has eroded how long will the recovery take?

excerpt from:
Fareed Zakaria: The Crisis's Silver Lining - PostGlobal at

Amid the financial chaos and economic uncertainty that has rocked world
markets, I can see one silver lining. This crisis has forced the United
States to confront the bad habits it developed over the past few decades.
If we can kick those habits, today's pain will translate into gains in the
long run.

Since the 1980s, Americans have consumed more than they produced and have
made up the difference by borrowing. Two decades of easy money and
innovative financial products meant that virtually anyone could borrow any
amount for any purpose. Household debt ballooned from $680 billion in 1974
to $14 trillion today. The average household has 13 credit cards, and 40
percent of these carry a balance, up from 6 percent in 1970.

But the average American's behavior was virtuous compared with government
behavior. Every city, county and state has wanted to preserve its
proliferating operations yet not raise taxes. How to square this circle? By
borrowing, using ever more elaborate financial instruments.

Local pols weren't the only problem. Under Alan Greenspan, the Federal
Reserve refused to inflict pain. Russian default? Cut interest rates. The
economic slowdown after Sept. 11? Cut rates. Whatever the problem, the
solution was to keep money flowing and goose the economy.

In 1990, the national debt was $3 trillion. It is now $10.2 trillion.

If there is a lesson to be taken from this crisis, it's an old rule:
There is no free lunch. Now, debt is not a bad thing. Used responsibly, it
is at the heart of modern capitalism. But hiding mountains of debt in
complex instruments is an invitation to irresponsible behavior

Hockey mom Sarah Palin boo'd at hockey game.

YouTube Member JimJones24680, who posted this video noted:

"The arena had to raise the music volume to drown out the booing. Some have claimed they also piped in cheers. Awesome.

Notice the Obama/Biden signs at the 44-second mark. Big thanks to whoever that is holding them.

I guess Pennsylvania isn't a swing state anymore.

Update: Palin has said she put her 7-year-old daughter Piper in a Flyers jersey to discourage some of the booing.


Oh well, Sarah don't feel bad, Philly fans once booed Santa Claus too :-)

Thanks Flyers fans for making this girl feel proud of her hometown

'Bradley Effect' or Something Else?

With what we now know about the wide variety of voter suppression techniques; absentee ballots that are tossed in the trash; and rigged voting machines , you have to wonder what really accounts for the differences between poll numbers and vote counts.

excerpt from:
Pollsters Debate 'Bradley Effect'

By Steven A. Holmes
Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, October 12, 2008; A06

Not long ago, it was considered political gospel: Be wary of polls when an election involves an African American candidate, because many whites will voice support but then vote for the white opponent.

Now, poll-watchers are asking whether that could be skewing the numbers as Democrat Barack Obama, the first African American presidential nominee, moves ahead of Republican John McCain.

Most experts say they do not believe that the phenomenon, known as the "Bradley effect," is at work in this election. But some disagree. And if the effect has disappeared, it is not clear whether that is because polling techniques have improved or because the country has become more tolerant about race.

"The Bradley effect may have been an artifact of the country 20 years ago, but I don't think it's a factor now," said Republican pollster Neil Newhouse. "Polling has gotten better, but I think, more importantly, the country has changed."

The phenomenon got its name a generation ago, after former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley (D), an African American, lost the 1982 gubernatorial race in California despite leading his white opponent in the polls on the eve of the election. Some experts suspected at the time that a portion of white voters, reluctant to appear biased, had essentially lied to pollsters about which candidate they were supporting. But whether Bradley lost because of hidden racism has never been clear.

A post-election analysis by Mervin Field, whose California Field Poll showed Bradley up seven points in the campaign's final stage, attributed the late shift to an unusually large number of GOP absentee voters, relatively low turnout among nonwhite voters and the coincidence of a handgun initiative on the state ballot.

He also highlighted the role of race, which may have been enough to tip the balance to Bradley's opponent, George Deukmejian (R), but emphasized that that alone would not have been enough to turnaround the Democrat's lead.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New PCC Poll: Do You Feel That You Were Lied To About the Urgency of the Bailout?

Over two weeks ago, US President George W. Bush addressed Americans stating, in essence, that if an emergency bailout bill was not passed within days, the economy would falter.

Now despite Congress' rush to pass the Emergency Economic Stabilization Bill, Wall Street is anything but stable.

As the Washington Post reported today:
"The $700 billion package was approved by Congress but still needs to be implemented. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said yesterday that it will be weeks before the government starts buying troubled assets from financial institutions"
So tell me, Do you feel that you were lied to about the urgency of the Wall Street bailout?

Stop by the Coffee Conversation blog and participate in the poll.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What's New on Coffee Conversation

As my longtime readers know, I'm always tinkering with my blogs trying to improve their formatting and provide you with more information, tools, and (hopefully) fun stuff. Over the past week I've been trying to add a calendar that will keep you updated on all of the great documentaries and movies that I've come across.

Since many of you subscribe to the blogfeed and don't always visit the site, I thought I'd take a moment and update you on a few of the recent changes.

Looking for Not So Trivial Trivia?

A countdown to the 2009 US Presidential Inauguration as well as tickers calculating the US National Debt and the Cost of the Iraq War is in the sidebar.

You can now view my calendar.

Not my personal calendar. I wouldn't want to bore you to tears. It's my public google calendar and it will be viewable at the bottom of the blog. This way, the next time that I recommend a LinkTV special like "The Art of Spin". you'll have an idea of when it will be airing in your area.

Other blog features:
  • View my Youtube PCCTV playlist and see the my video picks for the day;
  • Check out the blogs and articles that I read by viewing my bookmarks, my blogroll, and the Political Voices of Women widget; and.
  • Follow my Twitter "Tweets" as a live blog the debates and election night.
So stop by the blog and let me know how you like the changes.

The Tragic Story of Athan Gibbs

"Nashville businessman Athan Gibbs had a dream: Count every vote. Athan Gibbs had a standard: You should be able to verify your vote like you can verify how much money you have in the bank. Athan Gibbs had a question: Why, if you're an ATM manufacturer, would you make a machine that doesn't provide a paper trail and can't be audited? Athan Gibbs had an idea: Make a voting machine where the voter has an opportunity to verify that their vote has been received , recorded and counted. This is the story of Athan Gibbs' quintessential dream - and its tragic conclusion."

From Uncounted The Movie.

If you don't watch any other movie this month, please see this one before November.

To learn more go to:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What You Should Know About McCain, Keating and The Economy

On Wednesday, October 1st, Sen. John McCain voted "Yea" during the Senate vote on the $700 Billion Financial Markets Stabilization Bill. A bill that passed after approximately $150 billion of "sweeteners" ( aka "earmarks") was added to the bill. A vote from the candidate who promises to veto every earmark that crosses his desk if the American people elect him as President.

Surprised? You shouldn't be.

The following video clips posted by YouTube member ConsciousGood provide insight into why McCain's vote should have come as no surprise to anyone. Here's what you should know about GOP Presidential Candidate, Senator John McCain, the "Keating Five" and today's economy.

To borrow a phrase, "past IS prologue."

ConsciousGood posted the following introduction to the videos:

"The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain's attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late '80s and early '90s.

John McCain was accused of improperly aiding his political patron, Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan ssociation. The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee launched investigations and formally reprimanded Senator McCain for his role in the scandal -- the first such Senator to receive a major party nomination for president.

At the heart of the scandal was Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which took advantage of deregulation in the 1980s to make risky investments with its depositors' money. McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry -- actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers.

When the savings and loan industry collapsed, Keating's failed company put taxpayers on the hook for $3.4 billion and more than 20,000 Americans lost their savings. John McCain was reprimanded by the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee, but the ultimate cost of the crisis to American taxpayers reached more than $120 billion.

The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today's credit crisis, where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules. And in both cases, John McCain's judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history."

Related articles:

McCain Profile: The Keating Five

McCain Revisiting Keating 5 Banking Scandal Again

John McCain Says Nothing When Crowd Member Threatens Barack Obama

When a woman referred to Hillary Clinton as "the bitch" at a town meeting, John McCain said nothing.

Now someone in the crowd at a McCain rally shouts "kill him" in reference to Barack Obama and John McCain says nothing.

That should tell you all you need to know about the character of John McCain.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Excerpt from Danny Schechter: The Bush Bullydozer Strategy to Preempt His Successor

In his recent article for the Huffington Post,  journalist Danny Schechter comments on the mind games that led to the
passing of the $700 bailout bill.

Danny Schechter: The Bush Bullydozer Strategy to Preempt His Successor

Then Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman brought their power points to the hill in an unusually alarmist nighttime hush-hush "briefing" to "prove" that unless Congress acted immediately, the whole system would melt down. They argued something had to be done and they just happen to have that "something" in hand: a three page emergency plan for a mere $700 billion that had to be passed now!

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted to add a role for Bankruptcy courts to adjudicate foreclosures, she was shot down. Paulson, even went down on his knees to beg her to withdraw the idea because it was complicating his "clean" proposal.

Has anyone looked into who was pushing this, at the role of China which demanded to be "made whole" on its loans and investments, or who would benefit the most? Nah.

Did the media hold debates featuring the more than 400 top economists, including two Nobel Prize winners who opposed this hastily conceived"Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008." Nope.

To add more anxiety to the process, it was suddenly announced that a military unit trained in crowd control was being brought back from Iraq to prepare to contain expected civil unrest. Congressman Brad Sherman of California's 27th congressional district told the House that he personally knew of several Congressional representatives who have said they were threatened with the prospect of all out martial law should they vote in opposition to the $700 billion bailout.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

IHT reports: Pakistan's frontier turns into war zone

excerpt from:

Pakistan's frontier turns into war zone - Print Version - International Herald Tribune

By Jane Perlez and Pir Zubair Shah
Friday, October 3, 2008

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: War has come to Pakistan, not just as terrorist bombings, but as full-scale battles, leaving Pakistanis angry and dismayed as the dead, wounded and displaced turn up right on their doorstep.

An estimated 250,000 people have now fled the gunship helicopters, jets, artillery and mortar fire of the Pakistani Army, and the assaults, intimidation and rough justice of the Taliban who have dug into Pakistan's tribal areas.

About 20,000 people are so desperate that they have flooded over the border from the Bajaur tribal area to seek safety in war-torn Afghanistan. Many others are crowding around this northwest Pakistani city, where staff members from the UN refugee agency are present at nearly a dozen camps.

The International Committee of the Red Cross flew in a special surgical team from abroad last week to work alongside Pakistani doctors and help treat the wounded in two hospitals, so urgent has the need become.

"This is now a war zone," said Marco Succi, the spokesman for the Red Cross.

Not since Pakistan forged an alliance with the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has the Pakistani Army fought its own people on such a scale and so close to a major city. After years of relative passivity, the army is now engaged in heavy fighting with the militants on at least three fronts.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Mantra for Our Times: Why, Why, Why?

Earlier today the US House of Representatives passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 - H.R.1424, aka the $700 billion (actually closer to $850B now) bailout, and sent it to President Bush who almost immediately signed it.

To view a breakdown of the vote click here.

Now Congress can adjourn for the weekend and return to the comfort of their homes. Unlike 90 year old Addie Polk, who will spend this weekend in a hospital bed. You see the 90 year old shot herself when sheriffs tried to evict her from the home in which she has resided since 1970.

CNN is reporting:

Fannie Mae said it will set aside the loan of a woman who shot herself as sheriff's deputies tried to evict her from her foreclosed home.

Addie Polk, 90, of Akron, Ohio, became a symbol of the nation's home mortgage crisis when she was hospitalized after shooting herself at least twice in the upper body Wednesday afternoon.

Residents of Akron have rallied behind Polk, who is being treated at Akron General Medical Center. She was listed in critical condition Friday afternoon, according to Akron City Council President Marco Sommerville.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, mentioned Polk on the House floor Friday during debate over the latest economic rescue proposal.

"This bill does nothing for the Addie Polks of the world," Kucinich said after telling her story. "This bill fails to address the fact that millions of homeowners are facing foreclosure, are facing the loss of their home. This bill will take care of Wall Street, and the market may go up for a few days, but democracy is going downhill."

"There's a lot of people like Miss Polk right now. That's the sad thing about it," said Sommerville, who had met Polk before and rushed to the scene when contacted by police. "They might not be as old as her, some could be as old as her. This is just a major problem."

In 2004, Polk took out a 30-year, 6.375 percent mortgage for $45,620 with a Countrywide Home Loan office in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The same day, she also took out an $11,380 line of credit.

Over the next couple of years, Polk missed payments on the 101-year-old home that she and her late husband purchased in 1970. In 2007, Fannie Mae assumed the mortgage and later filed for foreclosure.

Just think, while so many of us were worrying about how much money our investments were losing or were anxiously awaiting the Vice Presidential debate, a 90 year old woman in Akron, OH was debating whether it was better to die than find herself homeless. Here are Rep. Kucinich's comments about Ms. Polk on the floor of the House.

Of course according to Minnnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, Addie Polk isn't a victim but just one of the many reasons the financial markets are crashing.

You see Rep. Michelle Bachmann,( R-Minn.), read aloud a quote from an article in Investors Business Daily about the economic crisis which seemed to blame everything on blacks and other minorities. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann explains the rest of her comments during his "Worst Persons in the World" segment which aired on Sept. 30.

Is Rep. Bachmann racist? I don't know.

What I do know is that Ms. Bachmann's comments are shared by millions of Americans.

It's easy to blame the poor for their misfortune and now blame them for causing ours.

It's easier blaming the poor than looking at those with extreme wealth, (a state to which we all aspire), and holding them accountable for the manner in which they attained their wealth.

It's easier blaming the poor than looking at the flaws in a financial system based not on manufacturing, agriculture or technological innovation but debt and credit instead.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich raised the following questions about the "bailout bill" as he addressed his colleagues earlier today.

For more on this topic check out this week's edition of Bill Moyer's Journal and his interview with scholar Emma Coleman Jordan

The 2008 V.P. Debate Meets

In all fairness, both candidates took a few liberties (I'm being polite) when it came to citing their opponent's records.

Fair is Fair Reviews the VP Debate

In all fairness, both candidates took a few liberties (I'm being polite) when it came to citing their opponent's records.

Fair is Fair

Rep DeFazio the Rush to Bailout Wall Street

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon addresses the truth behind the Wall Street bailout aka stabilization plan.

The Most Moving Moment of the VP Debate

Joe Biden understands

Only Two Questions Remain About Sarah Palin

After watching tonight's Vice Presidential Debate only two questions remain about Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, Governor Sarah Palin.

One, Do you like her style?

Sarah Palin's style is her strong suit.

Sarah Palin is attractive, folksy, opinionated, and strong. And during, tonight's Vice Presidential Debate she got away with employing a technique that no man could have ever gotten away with. She simply refused to participate in any real debate. Sarah Palin had a script, and by God, no matter what anyone asked her, she was sticking to it. When pressed to address Senator John McCain's position on deregulation Ms. Palin responded:

Time and time again, Sarah Palin refused to directly answer the questions posed by the moderator or address criticisms of her running mate's voting record. Sarah Palin tells you what she does and doesn't want to argue about.

Instead, Sarah Palin smiled, winked and used folksy sayings like " you betcha". "gotcha", "darn right", "say it ain't so Joe", and "God bless your wife, her reward is in heaven."

You have to give her credit for knowing how to deliver a "zinger" and a "dig".

She knows how and when to use all the right buzz words: "maverick", "reform", "hockey moms", "executive experience" "Joe six-pack", "great American hero", "white flag of surrender" and of course, "drill baby drill".

And she knows how to throw out just enough half-truths in order to spin her tale.

Forget substance, Sarah Palin has style and knows how to sell it.

Now you have to ask yourself if this is the person that you can trust:
  • negotiating with oil industry executives;
  • working with the Senate in a bipartisan manner; or
  • serving as a diplomatic envoy?

Two, Do you trust Sarah Palin?

Don't kid yourself whatever her knowledge level or experience, Sarah Palin is no illiterate, small town, "hockey mom" who just wants to "put country first".

Sarah Palin wants to be the next Dick Cheney. She shares the Cheney view of the Vice Presidency.

During tonight's debate Joe Biden stated that "Vice President Cheney is the most dangerous Vice President in American history"

Well friends, if you think that Dick Cheney was dangerous, Sarah Palin wants to do to the Constitution ( and you ) what Dick Cheney did but she'll do it with a smile, a wink and a "aw shucks". And like Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin does not believe that she has any weaknesses.

Sarah Palin states that she wants to shatter the "glass ceiing".

Well, based on her responses during last night's debate, Sarah Palin wants to shatter that glass, let it rain down on your head, smile and say "oh gosh darn, you're bleeding".

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Will the Neocons Make Up Their Minds!

First they were upset because Sarah Palin hasn't been invited to appear on Oprah Winfrey's program, even though the latter has openly stated that she supports Barack Obama. Several Republican women's groups have asked viewers to boycott Oprah's show.

Now they're upset because PBS' Gwen Ifill, who is scheduled to release a book in January which analyzes the new era of black political leaders (obviously including a section on Barack Obama), is moderating tomorrow night's Vice Presidential debate.

They want Sarah Palin to appear on Oprah. They don't want Sarah Palin to be questioned by Gwen Ifill.


Let me see, the neocons are trying to discredit both Oprah Winfrey and Gwen Ifill.

What do Oprah and Gwen Ifill have in common?


Still Thinking .......

Still Thinking .......

Ah yes, they're both members of that evil, elitist, left wing media.

Well, if Sarah Palin is worried about Gwen Ifill being biased she can always ask John McCain to sit in the audience. That way he'll be able to run up on the stage and answer any questions that he feels are too hard for Sarah to handle.
After all, Sarah has been listening to Joe Biden since she was in the second grade and seems to be in awe of his experience.

Watch CBS Videos Online

This is getting to be too ridiculous


Related posts:

Ifill's Book Is No Secret.

Oprah: Sarah Palin Can Come On My Show After The Election